Monday, June 30, 2014

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, Vol. 6

How 'bout we not discuss the fact that June is over with (too sad). Let's jump right into six things I'm loving right now...

1) Newborn Snuggles and Squeaks
I forgot how much a little hug can warm the heart!  Big hugs work, too...but you can't beat the arms of a newborn. I could hold him forever and always, really. And the squeaks and coos! Quite the contrast to Hannah's toddler talk—which, by the way, is also the best.

2) The Skimm
I do my best to keep up on the world, but my attention span for articles detailing the latest in Iraq or the President's next move is quite minimal at best. But this is why I love The Skimm. It does the reading for me, ultimately condensing the need-to-know into one fun-to-read email that comes to me every morning. Sign up. It's free. Here's a glimpse at what you get:

(Note: POPSUGAR provided the following Must Have box free of charge in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own, as they always are.)

3) POPSUGAR Must Have Box
I said it before and I'll say it again: This is definitely one of my favorite monthly subscription services. Why? Full-size products, all of which are high quality and cool. I devoured the chips in two seconds, and the book just as fast. The towel is divine and the hair ties double as bracelets. Repeat pic:

Perhaps the only thing I didn't like? The Native Union gift card...nothing on their site really appealed to me at this time. And I'm not sure how I feel about getting gift cards in subscription boxes. I'd almost rather get another full-size product. That said, if you need to give a gift or simply want to treat yourself, go with a Must Have box. It's worth the $39.95/month.

4) BabyTrend Sit 'N Stand Ultra Stroller
Long before Evan was born, I came to the conclusion that we'd need a double stroller if I wanted any hope of getting out on my own with the two kiddos. I knew that Evan would be too little for a jogging stroller this Summer, so we went with the Sit 'N Stand, which seemed to present an option that would grow with us. And so far, it's been nice. Big, yes. But it gets me out of the house. Both kids sit comfortably while I walk behind:

5) Warm Weather
I'm so glad it's summer. Granted, I'm spending a lot of time indoors with my little man, but still...I'm doing everything I can to soak up this season. And the sunshine coming through my windows is making me very, very happy after such a long and cold Winter.

6) Scandal on Netflix

A girl can only spend so much time on her iPhone while she's breastfeeding. So I turned to Netflix and consequently tore through "Orange is the New Black" after which it recommended "Scandal." I heard good things about the series, so I tuned in—now I'm hooked. Politics, the law,'s got a little bit of everything for everyone, all championed by a strong female character. And Kerry Washington is pretty phenomenal to watch in said role.

Question: What are you loving right now? Got any favorite shows on Netflix? 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Guest Post: 5 Awesome Apps for Health and Fitness

I upgraded to an iPhone 5C back in April. It's got more memory than my last iPhone, and since we've chosen to reserve that for my daughter's apps, I've got even MORE room for fun. But I have no clue what apps are good, other than the ones I've been using. So when Kate offered to supply a list of awesome apps for health and fitness, I did a little happy dance.

Hi everyone! I’m Kate from KateMovingForward and I’m so excited to share with you today while Tara is enjoying her new little one! She has been such an encouragement to me in having a healthy pregnancy and getting back into fitness afterward! (Blushing. Thanks, girl!) Today, I wanted to share five awesome apps for health and fitness with you! I don’t know where I’d be without my smart phone and these apps make exercise and smart food choices so easy!

1) MyFitnessPal
I love this app. It is designed to help you track your calories in order to lose, maintain, or gain weight. It has a barcode scanner so it’s simple to add in foods and the database has seriously everything out there so it’s incredibly easy to track calories even while you’re out and about! Plus, you can also track all your workouts there and add and cheer on friends! If you want to follow me I’m katiescott1309

2) Nike Running
This is my favorite app to track my running and walking workouts. You can calculate mileage and receive your pace as you go. You can also upload your runs to social media to get “cheers” from your friends and keep track of your runs over time. I’ve never had trouble with the satellites working on my phone although, if you live somewhere without 3G, you might be out of luck.

3) 30 Days
Want to challenge yourself to do more pushups, lunges, or planks? This app tests your starting point and then builds a daily workout program for you to follow to improve making small daily changes that add up over time—I love that!

4) Yummly
This is a super cool way to find new healthy recipes! Basically, it is an app that shares recipes and food photos that you “yum” or like and then it gives you more recipes in the same vein. So it is kind of like a food-only Pinterest that predicts food you’ll like! You can access the recipes, which are garnered all over the Internet, right from the app. You can also see how many ingredients they call for and build a shopping list. So cool!

5) Lumosity
Of course, you can’t neglect training your brain! I downloaded this app after hearing SO much about it and it really is a fun way to exercise your noggin! The games are fun and challenging and you can pick areas to focus on like memory, recall, prediction, concentration or more.

For what it's worth, guys...I second the MyFitnessPal recommendation! This app is widely used, which means you might already be using it. But if you're one to track calories and weight gains/losses and you're NOT using it, then I highly recommend you check it out! And while you're at it, check out Kate on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to see how she's doing with all of her health and fitness goals (and to cheer her on, too)

Question: What apps do you use to help improve your health? Do you think having a smart phone makes your more or less healthy?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Crowdsourcing: Best Neutral #RunningShoes

I've worn a variety of different running shoes in my day:

Comes with the territory, right? I mean, you can't clock miles in worn out kicks, can you? No. The general rule of thumb for replacing running shoes: 300 miles. And if I haven't hit that yet in my Mizuno Wave Sayonaras, then I'm pretty dang close. So I think it's time to replace them. Especially since I'm about to get back into running after pregnancy and postpartum recovery. Needless to say, I've been doing my research.

What do I look for?

It has to be a neutral running shoe. The toe box can't be too narrow. And when it comes to support, it has to be there but it can't make the shoe feel heavy or bulky. Bonus points if fashion meets function. How far do I plan on running? I don't have a race schedule yet, but I anticipate getting back into two/three sessions a week that increase in mileage. (I would love to sneak in a half mary before the year is out, but we'll see.)

Generally speaking, I have to like the shoe when I put it on...and I have to love it when I do a test-run in the store (or at home if I've ordered it). I like to think that my feet are pretty easy going when it comes to running shoes. They like to try new things (evidenced by the photo above). But at the same time, they're not opposed to sticking with tried-and-true running shoes. Which is why the Sayonaras are on the following list of running shoes that I'm considering:

1) Mizuno Wave Sayonara/Sayonara 2
I've read across the Internet that the Wave Sayonara 2 is coming out next month. I loved my previous pair, and would order those again...or do I go for the upgrade, which seems to be minimally changed? I mean, I dig the bright green:

2) Nike Air Pegasus+ 30
I really enjoyed my Lunar Glides. In fact, I have two pairs. I don't know how this shoe compares, but it seems to get great reviews. And fit my requirements. I've also found it priced fairly cheaply online, which is always nice.

3) Saucony Type A5
I had a pair of Triumph 10's that I liked, but they did feel bulkier than other shoes I've run in. I'm curious about these, as they seem more in line with a lighter-yet-durable type of shoe.

4) Aesics Gel-Noosa Tri 9
I'll admit—I've always been drawn to this shoe for its looks. But one of my trainers swears by them for comfort and functionality. So I'm curious. Granted, they're more expensive (but I've seen them cheaper on other websites).

So, that's where I'm at. #helpme

Question: Do you run in any of the above? If so, thoughts? Is there a neutral shoe that isn't on this list that I should consider?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

3 Discount Codes, 2 Running Features

Can you believe it's been three weeks since my little E-man came into this world? I mean, he's practically a toddler now. Yes, that's an exaggeration—but as I marvel at how quickly Hannah is growing, I realize that it's not far from the truth.

So how's it going? Still inching our way toward a predictable day. If I play my cards right, I get an hour or two in the afternoon during which both kiddos zonk out at the same time. If I'm not madly racing through some housework, I can be found at the kitchen table with my blogging notebooks and calendar.

As in, paper and pencil. #oldschool

Our computer is in the basement. Evan's Rock 'n Play sleeper is not, so when he sleeps, I have to stay upstairs. (Translation: I need a laptop.) So I've taken to planning out posts the old-fashioned way. And then I run downstairs at some point in the evening when the kids are either sleeping or playing with my husband and type up/publish the post. But once Evan transitions to his crib (where the monitor is), things will be different. Until then, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Enough about that.
You're here for the discount codes.

Note: If I can save you money on something fabulous, then you know I'll share whatever code I've stumbled upon—even if they don't produce a kickback. Such is the case with the first two codes. But as a Cocogo ambassador, I do receive product based on purchases made using my specific code. 

1) Take 15% off all purchases at with code GGS158. 
(Ends 7/15/14.)
Momentum Jewelry is all the rage right now with good reason. Fashion definitely meets function—and "free" if you win my giveaway. Enter now! It ends tonight (6/24/14) at Midnight EST.

2) Take $10 off a 3-month POPSUGAR Must Have box subscription with code JUNESELECT10. (Ends 6/30/14.)

As a POPSUGAR Select blogger, I was given the opportunity to check out the June box. I have yet to make my way through all of the products within, but this monthly subscription service is slowly becoming one of my favorites. More on that in my "things I'm loving" post later this week.

3) Take 40% off all orders at with code ADAILYDOSEOFFIT—and get free shipping when you place an order this week. (Free shipping ends 6/29/14.)

Cocogo recently relaunched their website, which happened to include an overhaul of their e-store. To celebrate, you get free shipping this week. Take advantage! It's summer, hydration is key. Especially if you're out there running in the heat.

Speaking of running. You can find out more about me and my running game on two different website right now: Loving on the Run, and Another Mother Runner. Such a pleasure to be featured on two really great sites.

Question: When did you start running? Why?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Post: Inspiring Friends and Family to Get Healthy

Every once in a while, someone important to me raves about something they read on Daily Dose. Whether it's a recipe, product or workout, I find joy in these moments. Not because it means that someone is reading what I write, rather, because it means that someone is finding inspiration or learning something from what I write. And that, in a nutshell, is why I keep Daily Dose alive. To inspire, educate and entertain people with healthy tips, tricks and more. 

It's a hard journey, the whole healthy living thing, and it's one that we all have to take on our own. Push it on someone, and you'll inevitably hit roadblocks. As much as we want our friends and family to embrace the healthy lifestyle we've chosen for ourselves, we can't force them. But we can encourage and inspire them. I'll let Coco tell you more:

Hey, there! I'm Coco, and I blog at Running With Perseverance. You also can find me on Twitter and Instagram as @Got2Run4Me. I'm so grateful to Tara for the opportunity to guest post over here today, and I hope you enjoy my thoughts on how we can inspire our friends and family members to get healthy.

If you didn't know me 15 years ago, you might think I was one of those people who was always fit. But until I had graduated from college, gotten married, had two kids, and graduated from law school, just the opposite was true—I had been overweight all my life. It was an honest (and scary!) lecture from my doctor that finally got me started on my journey to healthy living, and now there is no looking back. I have friends who knew me way-back-when, and while some have been inspired by the changes I made to start making healthier choices in their own lives, it is frustrating to see others still stuck in their unhealthy ways. But diet, exercise, weight loss, and fitness are such personal and touchy topics. How can we encourage our friends and family members to get healthy without being annoying or coming off as condescending?

1) Set an example.
I think the first and best thing that we can do to inspire others is to set an example. When friends and family see us making healthy choices—eating healthier foods and exercising—they do notice. When they see us enjoying our lighter dishes and having fun being fit and active, they just might be willing to try a new recipe, or join us for a walk or gym class. We need to look for those windows of opportunity and be ready to act on them.

2) Tempt them with tastes of your own healthy lifestyle.
When I make a fantastic new recipe, I often share it with my friends, either by bringing them samples or leftovers, or by making it for our next potluck gathering. When they comment on how delicious it is, I offer them the recipe. It may be a while before they start making healthy dishes on their own, but when they realize how good healthy food can be, they won't be afraid to try something just because it is "low-fat" or "nutritious." It can be harder to "share" my love for fitness. Few friends who aren't runners will want to join me for a 6:00 am run! But inviting a friend to meet for a walk or even a hike can be a great way to shift your socializing from the coffee shop (or wine bar) to something healthier. At least once in a while. If you belong to a gym and have a friend who expresses any interest at all, see if they can come with you as a guest. Walking into a gym on your own can be so intimidating, but going with a friend is less scary and hopefully at least a little bit fun.

3) Be a cheerleader, competitor or coach.
Once a friend or family member has started to make healthy changes, it can be important to encourage them to keep at it, especially after their initial enthusiasm wears off. How best to offer encouragement will depend on your relationship, your personalities, and their needs. Some people need a cheerleader to congratulate them for every healthy choice. Some people need an accountability partner to nudge them and check in on them. Some people need a competitor to challenge them. Some people need a coach who will do a little bit of all of these things.

4) Back off. 
It's also important to recognize when to back off. Diet, exercise, weight loss, and fitness are very personal, and your friends and family may not be ready to make the changes that you would like to see them make, may encounter hurdles they aren't ready to overcome, or just may have different priorities at the moment. If they know that you care for them no matter what they eat, what they (don't) do, or what they weigh, they will know that you are someone they can turn to when they are ready to start taking better care of themselves.

Question: How have you inspired others to get healthy? What are the biggest challenges you've encountered?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Egg and Guacamole on a Rice Cake

I don't get much time in the kitchen these days. Elaborate meals are a thing of the past (for now). Instead, I'm relying pretty heavily on freezer meals and quick, healthy bites to eat. If I'm not physically feeding one child, I'm rushing to plate a delicious breakfast or lunch for the other. Only after these two monkeys eat do I finally get the chance to eat something myself. And I'm typically so starved that I don't have the patience to really get into the art of making a meal. Hence, quick and healthy (or freezer, which is typically reserved for dinner).

Today, I have a recipe for you that outlines my new favorite quick-and-healthy. I view it as a starter recipe because honestly, there are so many directions you can go with flavor and/or ingredient customization.

Behold, egg and guac on a rice cake.

(Insert drool here.)

It's so easy, I shouldn't even post the recipe (which is loosely based on something I tore out of Clean Eating at some point in the not-too-distant past). You can probably guess the ingredients just by looking at the picture above. If not, I give you the following list.

• A rice cake
• A scrambled egg
• A slice of Pepper Jack cheese
• Fresh guacamole
• Chopped tomatos
• Freshly ground black pepper

Potential customizations include, but are not limited to:
• Replace the rice cake with a pita or slice of toasted bread.
• Use your favorite cheese, or forgo it completely.
• Mix onions into the egg before you scramble it.
• Add a slice of green pepper.
• Sprinkle some Cayenne pepper on top.

I mean, have at it.
And have at this giveaway, too (click the pic for all the details):

Question: What is your go-to quick, healthy meal?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Guest Post: Mint Chocolate Energy Bites

You guys. Grab a pen or get your printer ready, because you're seriously going to want everything about the following recipe. Selva from Poppies and Papayas combined chocolate with health to create Mint Chocolate Energy Bites that are positively divine. I'm not kidding, I made them as soon as I got the recipe. They're a great post-workout protein snack or a special treat after dinner. Either way, you can't go wrong. I mean, mint and chocolate together just screams great success.

As a nutrition graduate student, I often have patients in the clinic tell me that in the first half of the day they “do really well” and eat what they believe is a healthy diet. However, in the second half of the day, they often “fall apart,” getting hungry and grazing all the way to dinner, usually not on healthy foods.

More often than not, I see this trend: In the mornings, they eat a small carbohydrate-rich breakfast like a muffin or a fruit bowl, or sometimes they even skip breakfast altogether. Then around 11:00AM, they break for lunch at work, ravenous and starved. Generally, lunch choices are light, such as a salad or turkey sandwich. And then the haunting hours arrive. Starting between 2-3:00PM, patients often become ravenous, reaching for workplace snacks such as a handful of candy or chips, or even a second cup of joe. They feel tired and have low energy, and the caffeine and sugar can’t pick them up so they continue to graze. Finally, dinner is around the corner. Typically, as they only ate a small, light breakfast and lunch, and then snacked on refined carbohydrates, they often over compensate with a heavy dinner and a glass or two of wine. As this routine continues, their weight gradually increases.

With this in mind I often recommend the following:

1) Start your day with a hearty breakfast, balancing complex carbohydrates (whole wheat toast, oatmeal, etc.) with lean proteins and healthy fats. A great example is a whole-wheat flour tortilla with scrambled eggs, black beans, avocado, salsa and a sprinkle of cheese. This helps keep you full and energized.

2) Make lunch your main meal. Instead of having a light salad for lunch, try bringing in a stir-fry with fresh veggies, quinoa and a lean protein. Then you can have your mixed salad and a glass of wine for dinner.

3) Incorporate balanced snacks between meals to stabilize blood sugar and maintain energy. Combining a complex carbohydrate, a protein and a fat together in a snack is optimal. A good example would be an apple with peanut butter or these mint chocolate energy bites:

They are wonderful to have on hand. Not only are they balanced in carbohydrates, protein and fat as recommended by the Institute of Medicine, but they also contain 3.6g of soluble fiber and many other vital nutrients. They are also gluten-free and vegan, using mostly whole foods! Bring one or two to work in a small Ziploc bag and you will be ready with delicious snack-time treats when hunger strikes.

Note: This recipe is quick and easy if you have the ingredients on hand. And it can easily be doubled!

Makes 6 servings (140 kcal each)

• ¼ cup rolled oats
• ½ tablespoon chia seeds
• 2 tablespoons Sunspire 42% chocolate chips
• 2 tablespoons raw cashews, coarsely chopped
• 3 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
• 1 scoop Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder (plain/unsweetened)
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon organic peppermint extract
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• 3 tablespoons water
• ½ bar of Endangered Species
• 72% Chocolate Forest Mint

1) In a food processor, add the rolled oats and chia seeds. Process until fine. Add the chocolate chips and cashews, and process until the chips are broken down to small pieces.

2) Then add the dates, protein powder, cocoa powder, vanilla and peppermint extract, and sea salt. Process until fine.

3) Add one tablespoon of water at a time, and pulse in between. The mixture should start to stick together.

4) Roll the mixture into six equal-sized balls. Place the balls onto a plate covered with parchment paper.

5) Fill a small saucepan with one inch of water. Place a small heatproof bowl inside the saucepan to create a double boiler.

6) Coarsely chop half the chocolate bar and add into the small heatproof bowl. Heat the saucepan over medium heat and stir the chocolate until melted and smooth.

7) Reduce the heat to low and roll each ball in the molten chocolate with a fork and immediately place onto the parchment-covered plate.

8) Put plate into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.

9) Store in an airtight container.

It's really so easy to make these. And if you can't find the specific ingredients above, like the chocolate bar or the Chia seeds, you can make modifications and still get awesome results. For more from Selva, be sure to follow her at Poppies and Papayas...and on Instagram, too!

Question: What is your favorite chocolate and/or mint treat? Me, personally...hard to pick, but this one ranks up at the top.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Feedly Finds, Vol. 5

So I'm finally...FINALLY...on top of all the sites I follow in my Feedly. I've been ending each night without a single unread post. Sounds a bit miraculous, eh? To that I say: Thank you, iPhone, for keeping me awake and/or entertained while I breastfeed my little man. Because seriously, I could fall asleep during each and every feeding. Not because I'm bored...because it totally puts me in this zen state of mind.

Without further ado, I give you this month's Feedly Finds.

1) Do you read fitness magazines? How do they make you feel? Some would argue that fitness magazines are hypocritical because they showcase perfect models doing workouts that promote strong as the new skinny. Should they not use real women, sweating and busting their asses off doing workouts that promote strong as the new HEALTHY? And what about the hypocrisy of women's fitness, generally speaking? We should probably just break away from societal standards as dictated by so many fitness magazines and focus on realistic bodies, minds and souls. Agree?

2) Not gonna lie—we've had a giant bag of M&Ms in the 'fridge for about a month now. Also not gonna lie—it hasn't been just one, single bag that we've been milking. No, we've been chowing the little nuggets as dessert after practically every meal. Hey, what can I say, my daughter loves them. You try denying her big, brown eyes as she asks for "emanemanems, please?" Needless to say, I'm excited to try out this recipe for the best M&M cookies. Vanilla pudding in the dough? Oh, god...

3) Got a toddler or two in your house? Keep them safe all summer long. Review the tips in this summer safety guide!

4) Whether you're a seasoned blogger, total newbie, or somewhere in the middle (like me), you probably want people to read what you write. Translation: You want traffic. And it's typically yours for the taking. Consider these insider tips from The SITS Girls.

5) I'm newly obsessed with black and white clothing, so I'm totally drooling over every single outfit in this post. Look for the maxi with the denim coat. My favorite.

Question: Read anything good on the Internet lately?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Guest Post: Total Body HIIT Workout

One of the reasons an individual might seek out a personal trainer: They don't know how to build a workout. This is common, totally normal and the reason we trainers spend so much time doing continuing education and reading all the research—so we can build workouts that are specifically tailored to you and your needs. But, I get that not everyone has money (or time) to invest in such a thing. So that's where the Internet and books come into play, and if this is the route you take—I encourage you to read wisely because a lot of people claim to be experts that aren't.  And it's often hard to distinguish these people from the professionals. 

Translation: You need to educate yourself, taking into consideration current findings and your own health history. And from where you're getting your information.

Which brings me to today's Workout Wednesday. It's from someone who is NOT certified. Counter intuitive to the above? You might think so, but I think she's on to something with the workout below. Krista of Krista Mae's Healthy Ways put together a total body HIIT workout for you. It doesn't require any equipment and can be done virtually anywhere. With a background in NPC Figure and Bikini competitions, she is clearly someone who does her research. 

Note from the certified PT (me): As with any HIIT workout, remember that such an intensity is not right for everyone. Please speak with your physician and/or a qualified fitness professional before diving into this workout if you question whether or not you should.

Now, let's hear from Krista:

Hi everyone! I'm Krista from Krista Mae's Healthy Ways. I blog about everything from health and fitness to what we did over the weekend! I am so excited for this opportunity to guest post for Tara while she's taking some time to be with her little one! Congratulations, Tara! (Thank you!) 

So for today's Workout Wednesday, I am sharing a total body HIIT workout. I love high intensity interval training! Since the weather has been nicer, I wanted to create a workout that you could do outside without any equipment. For this particular workout, there are intervals of cardio and strength training exercises. The point of this is to get your heart rate up and then slow it back down a little bit with active recovery.

This workout should take 20-30 minutes depending on how many rounds you complete.

(Hey, me again. In addition to the above, I asked Krista to share a few tips for building workouts. Just to further prove that, with the right knowledge and research, you can still build a good workout for yourself...just like Krista did above! From a trainer's perspective, this type of information might be bad for business, and I do encourage you to seek professional help building a program whenever possible, but I'm realistic. And all about helping YOU get YOUR daily dose of fitness. And if that means you can only do it on your own, I'm here to support you. And so is Krista.)

1) Have a plan! If I have a workout written down, I am much more likely to actually complete the entire thing. I find that when I go into the gym without a plan, I tend to waste time thinking of what to do next or I'll even quit my workout early.

2) Don't skip the exercises that you hate. I despise burpees…but I still include them in my workouts. Why? They are an excellent total body exercise and are great to get the heart pumping! It's always good to keep challenging yourself.

3) Switch it up! Just like anything else, our bodies crave variety. If you get stuck doing the same workout week after week, your body will adjust to that and you'll stop seeing results. Variety can be as simple as training different body parts together. If you normally train back and biceps together, try training back and triceps.

4) Have fun and be creative! Although workouts can be brutal, they should also be fun. There are so many different options out there these days, so don't be afraid to try something new. If there's a machine at your gym that you've always wanted to try…go try it! Or even take some classes to get new ideas that you can incorporate into your own gym sessions.

I hope these tips help you when you plan your next workout! And let me know if you try the HIIT workout posted above! I would love to hear how it went!

You can reach out to Krista on Twitter, and be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for additional workouts and more. 

Question: If you aren't a certified fitness professional, how do you approach the overabundance of fitness information on the web? Are you cautious about the information posted? Do you only trust certified professionals, or are you open to seeking advice from individuals like Krista who do their research and share their knowledge? 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#Giveaway: @MomentumJewelry

The following post contains a product review. I was not compensated for my opinions, but I did receive free product in order to facilitate the review. As always, the opinions herein are my own and in no way influenced by the company.

Me, holding a baby—that pretty much sums up my arm workout these days. I honestly haven't touched a weight in what might be almost a month by now, but that's not because I haven't wanted to. Pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery...all workouts in and of themselves, and I'm currently giving my body the time it needs to move on. It's not easy to take it easy when you're used to go-go-going, but I'm doing it and dreaming up plans for my return to the world of exercise.

Anyway. Notice my arm candy?

The pretty pink thing is from Momentum Jewelry. They make hand-crafted, athletic and inspired jewelry that looks good in the gym and beyond—and I'm so excited to share them with you today. The kind people behind this company gave me the opportunity to customize a Motivate Wrap and Foot Notes. Tough decision, indeed, but I ended up going with the following:

Let's focus on the Motivate Wrap ($20) for a second: It features a washable fabric that totally adjusts to any wrist size, and the pendant is made of aluminum which means it shouldn't tarnish. You can choose from a wide variety of sayings like "believe in yourself," "run and be happy," or "you shall see wonders." Got your own personal mantra? They're willing to customize.

And speaking of customization, yes...there are other fabric colors besides pink.
Also, the pendant can be an oval or a rectangle.

A closer look at mine:

I mean, seriously. I love this bracelet so much. And almost every time I wear it, I get a compliment on it. Speaking of wearing it..I can hardly feel it on my wrist! It's so lightweight and totally flexible so you don't have to worry about it getting in the way.

OK, but what's the other thing they sent me?

It's the Foot Note ($10), which will ultimately go on my new running shoes. And since I have yet to purchase them, this little bit of wonderful is sitting pretty in my box of post-baby fitness inspiration.

It's a tab for your shoes that goes right at the bottom of your laces, perfectly placed to inspire every step you take. I chose "run happy" because I never want to forget how much I love the sport. No matter how much an individual run or race might suck, it shouldn't matter. I should still be happy that I can run. Other sayings include "beast mode," "no excuses," and "positive energy." And if one Foot Note isn't enough for you, you can absolutely order a double set ($17).

If you make a purchase between now and July 15th, be sure to use code GGS158 at checkout to save 15%! (Note: I am in no way affiliated with that code. I don't get anything in return if you use it. I'm just passing along an awesome deal.)

Speaking of "passing things along," Momentum Jewelry has so graciously donated either a Motivate Wrap or single Foot Note of choice to one lucky Daily Dose reader.

This giveaway is open to residents of the USA, and will close on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at Midnight EST. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. All entries must be submitted through the following Rafflecopter widget:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 16, 2014

Guest Post: 5 Reasons to Run a Triathlon

So there's this great group of triathletes that work out at my gym every morning. And they are always trying to get me to join them, specifically in the pool, as they know I'm not too good at swimming. Which also makes my dreams of ever competing in a triathlon fairly null and void. I'd rather take on a half marathon, to be honest. But there is a small part of me that would love (maybe) to learn the proper strokes in the pool and cross the finish line of a sprint. So when Courtney of The TriGirl Chronicles offered to write up a guest post, I asked her to share a few reasons why I (and you) should run a triathlon.

When people first hear that I run triathlons, their immediate response is always “I could never do that.” I think a lot of this has to do with the word “triathlon.” When people hear it, their first thought goes to what they know and what is mainstream—Ironman.

Each November, NBC shows the race coverage from the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii and a lot of the coverage talks about the grueling physical and mental aspects. Essentially, how insanely difficult and painful it is. And that’s true, there’s nothing about covering 140.6 miles by the power of your own body in under 17 hours that won’t hurt.

But I’m not talking about Ironman. I’m talking about your local sprint triathlon. A sprint triathlon is typically a 400-800 meter swim, a 12-20 mile bike, and a 2-3.1 mile run. A race that tops out anywhere from 15-22 miles and can be completed in as little as an hour and a half to four hours time. And it’s incredible how many people can do this. Just go to a local race event and look around at the participants and you will see that the triathlon does not discriminate.

Crossing the finish line is not only the greatest feeling of accomplishment, but it will make you realize just how capable you are. And that is priceless.

So, why should you run a triathlon?

1) Fitness and Health 
The obvious, of course. A lot of people already run, swim, or bike for fun or fitness. I’m pushing two decades as a runner myself but am only on my third season of triathlon. And any of those fitness activities on their own are excellent workouts to gain fitness and get healthier. But when you’re doing all three, it’s incredible how your body reacts and transforms. When my training peaked last year, I was in the best shape of my life. And I’m looking forward to my training peak again this summer so I can feel that fit again—because it feels incredible.

2) Cross Training 
All three sports play off each other and benefit each other exponentially. Love to run? Swimming will increase your V02 max and lung capacity, so adding in swimming will actually make you a stronger runner for longer. Imagine that! Plus, by cross training, you’re less likely to have an injury. People who only do one sport (like running, for example) are more injury prone than those who mix things up regularly. And triathlon training is a giant mixed bag!

3) Bragging Rights 
Not even kidding. Telling people you’re a TRIATHLETE produces a feeling unlike any other. Their eyes pop every time. Some kid sharing my swim lane a few weeks ago asked if I wanted to race a single pool length with him. I crushed him, and then he asked if I swam competitively. I answered with, “well, sort of...I’m a triathlete.”

4) To Challenge Yourself
It’s the same reason you ran that first-ever 5k. It was a challenge. A triathlon is no different. I ran my first triathlon half on a whim. I saw a few friends I went to college and high school with run a local Iron Girl triathlon and though “If they can, I can.” And I did. Taking risks and challenging ourselves makes us stronger, more well-rounded and insightful. And constantly challenging myself to bigger or harder races makes me feel invincible in every aspect of life. Because when you succeed at a challenge you set forth for yourself, there is no better feeling. Which leads me to number five...

5. To Be Capable
I truly believe that anyone is capable of anything they set their mind to. With the right attitude and the right work ethic, anything is possible. Triathlon has taught me more about myself and everything I am able to accomplish more than anything else I’ve done in my life. The training itself can be extremely cathartic and help ease you out of the stresses of everyday life. It’s time that you have to focus on just yourself and really make yourself who and what you want to be. Triathlon has taught me that I am capable of everything I know I can be and anything I think I can't be. And that has become the most invaluable tool both mentally, emotionally, and physically to me. I appreciate it above almost anything.

So really, the next time you think to yourself that “I could never do that,” stop for a minute and truly think about it. Odds are you can absolutely do it because you can do anything if you put enough focus and determination into it. Don’t limit yourself. Dream big!

Still not convinced the triathlon is for you? Follow Courtney on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for more insight.

Question: Are you a triathlete? What was your first triathlon like? Are you stronger in one event over the other?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Guest Post: 12 Ways to Stay Sane while Distance Training/Running

I don't care how long it takes you to finish, if you train for and run a marathon, I will be completely impressed. I know they say "never say never," but I doubt I'll ever run one. Don't get me wrong—I love distance running. The half marathon is my perfect race. But I almost always reach THAT POINT in my training when I feel a bit insane. I just can't imagine training past 13 miles. I don't doubt that I can do it, I just doubt that I can put up with the training schedule. 

But Sara can. She's the Boston-based writer behind Life Between the Miles, and she ran this year's Boston Marathon. (Pause to send her a virtual high five, please.) When she offered to write a guest post, I knew I wanted to get her perspective on distance training and what it takes to stay matter what distance you're running. After all, she's a wife, mother and full-time employee (so clearly she's got her challenges when it comes to training). 

Hello, Daily Dose readers! I am thrilled that Tara asked me to share my thoughts on how to have fun and stay sane while distance training/running. I ran the Boston Marathon this year, so everything is still fresh in my head!

n my 16 weeks of training, I went through three pairs of Brooks, ran over 450 miles, tried three training plans, had strep throat three times, caught the stomach flu, became best friends with my physical therapist...and a whole host of other fun situations happened. All while training alone in the deep freeze we called the Polar Vortex. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a tough Winter, but the tips below helped me push through. And the feeling I had running the Boston Marathon and crossing that finish line after all those weeks of hard work...that provided me memories that will last a lifetime, and that made it all worth it.

So, here are my tips for having fun and staying sane while distance training/running:

1) Find your motivation. 
Everyone has their reason for running. Find yours. Write it down, put it somewhere it can be seen and remind yourself of it often.

2) Find a support system. 
They aren’t kidding when they say it takes a village! My husband, mother, sister and friends all pitched in or offered words of encouragement when I needed it. I couldn’t have made it through the training without them. The texts when I was out on my long runs, the beeping of car horns when they passed me, my husband getting the hot tub ready for me to jump into as soon as I got in from those negative degree runs...all of those things helped push me through the tough times. Find your cheering squad, share your goals with them and let them support you!

3) Create a reasonable training plan.
Everyone’s abilities and needs are different ,so you need to find a plan that works for you, your goals and lifestyle. Not everyone can log 50+ miles weekly or run 4-5 days a week and stay healthy—and that is OK. You have to find a plan that allows you to train and run happy! If a stock plan doesn’t work for you, look for a certified running coach. I went through two training plans before my PT (who is also a running coach) created a plan that worked for me.

4) Live day by day.
16 (or more) weeks of training is a LONG time and running is 80% mental, so don’t look ahead to what your next workout is. Live your training plan day by day. This will allow you to focus on the task at hand and not get overwhelmed with what is to come.

5) Celebrate your accomplishments. 
Log your longest run? Kill your times during your speed session? Celebrate it! It doesn’t have to be anything big, it could be a night in with your favorite movie, a new nail polish or a yummy drink at Starbucks (my personal favorite). Those little celebrations help keep you motivated and engaged.

6) Take care of your body.
I don’t know anyone who makes it through distance training without help from a PT, a foam roller, a ball...something. I am a big fan of the trigger point foam roller and lived on for those 16 weeks, but find what works for you and make the time for it. Your body will thank you.

7) Create a motivational playlist.  
Or compile a list of podcasts/audiobooks you enjoy. Keeping your music or other listening material fresh is key to making it through those long runs. I tried to cycle my music every few weeks and I started listening to audiobooks on the really long runs and it makes time go by SO much faster!

8) Be consistent.
Life happens and not all runs go as planned, but the most important thing is that you stay consistent with your training. The end result is, after all a compilation of it.,

9) Cross train! 
I’m a firm believer that every runner should cross train. There are so many reasons why it’s good for runners, mainly that it helps you get stronger which prevents injuries. It also helps maintain fitness by creating active recovery sessions. And gives you a break from running, allowing you to feel rejuvenated. The benefits are me and do it!

10) Understand and accept that all runs will not be stellar.
Some days, the stars align and you feel like you can run forever,. But then, you have days when every step is a struggle and you don’t know how you are going to keep moving forward. This is normal. I had my very first DNF (did not finish) run during this training cycle. It was tough, but I learned a lot from it and was able to take that experience and become a better runner.

11) Respect your rest days.
You should take at least one full day off each week (and maybe more). It doesn’t matter how good you may feel, respect your rest days. Your body needs them...even if you don’t feel like you do.

12) Track your training.
Tracking your training (and routine) is helpful to identify potential improvements, to keep you on track and to help you look back on all your hard work. Everyone does this differently. I had my training plan posted in my office at work and my home office, so I would cross off every single day of training as I went. I also used DailyMile to track my runs, times, and how I was feeling.

Finally, once you’ve hit your taper—trust in your training. Your mind and body will likely play tricks on you during that taper week, so keep reminding yourself that you have done all the hard work necessary to get to that finish line and you ARE ready. Then, on race day, visualize yourself crossing that finish line strong. Go out there and run your heart out. Have fun, and don’t forget to smile at the race photographers. Those pictures will be on the internet forever!

Yeah, seriously. Those race photographers...they always seem to catch me with the worst look on my face. Anyway...for more from Sara, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Question: How do you stay sane while distance training?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Go with the flow. (#pinspirationthursday)

It's funny, I'm totally the kind of person that likes to get stuff done no matter what. If I'm walking out the door and I see a pile of papers in disarray, I'll straighten them before continuing. Obsessive, slightly compulsive? Perhaps. Neat freak? Undoubtedly. But all that's out the window right now as I learn the ropes of caring for two children. Granted, I've had some help lately...first, from the husband while he was home on a babycation. And now, from my mom who took a few days off work to come help.

It's been great, and I have no idea how I'll function when I'm on my own during the day, but I am absolutely certain that I'll figure it out. Gone are the days of neat freakness, I'm sure. Life is a new kind of unpredictable now, at least until we get ourselves into a new normalcy. And until we do, I'll continue to embrace the help that I've got. And when that help runs out, I'll go with the flow. Because in that flow, well...that's where life is lived.

And I trust in the life that has been given to me.

Pin / Source
Question: Is it easy for you to "go with the flow?" Why or why not?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Guest Post: Slow Cooker Blackberry BBQ Chicken

Today's guest post comes atcha from one of my personal favorites. Kelly McNelis is a psychologist-turned-blogger for New Leaf Wellness. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and three young daughters, and makes most of her money selling cookbooks—which are awesome. I referenced them a ton when I was prepping freezer meals.  So naturally, I'm excited that she agreed to write up a new recipe for all of you. Prep your slow cookers!

Many people associate slow cookers ("crockpots") with heavy recipes full of cream-based condensed soups. I'm here to tell you that those days are over. If you want to make healthy cooking easy, your slow cooker is your best friend.

Take this slow cooker blackberry BBQ chicken, for example. It's made with a lean meat and it's low fat. It's also sweet, delicious, and so easy to make!

I have three young daughters (ages four and under) and work part-time blogging for New Leaf Wellness. Prepping an easy slow cooker recipe in the morning means I can forget about dinner and take my daughters to the mall or park instead. In the winter, I make a lot of slow cooker soup and chili recipes, and when summer rolls around I turn to slow cooker Hawaiian chicken and shredded barbecue chicken.

I even wrote a summer slow cooker cookbook inspired by fresh and seasonal ingredients called, 'Easy and Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes.'

This slow cooker blackberry BBQ chicken is the perfect addition to your summer recipe rotation. The blackberry BBQ sauce is sweet and spicy and it makes this recipe more special than your average BBQ chicken. Make it on a day when you don't feel like grilling and don't want to heat up your kitchen by turning on your oven.

Source: A New Leaf Wellness Original

• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1/2 cup blackberry jam (store-bought or homemade)
• 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (store-bought or homemade)
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper (optional, but recommended)

1) Add chicken breasts to your slow cooker.

2) In a medium-sized bowl, create sauce by adding blackberry jam, BBQ sauce, and ground cayenne pepper. Stir to combine.

3) Spoon sauce over chicken.

4) Add lid and cook on “low” setting for 3-6 hours or until the chicken shreds easily. (The cooking time will depend on the size and strength of your slow cooker).

5) Shred chicken and return to slow cooker to mix with sauce.

This slow cooker blackberry chicken tastes great served on a roll or plain with sides of broccoli and brown rice. My husband and I also like to eat the leftovers on top of a salad. Enjoy!

I mean, yum. Right? For more deliciousness (and tons of DIY ideas) from Kelly, be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And don't forget to check out her cookbooks!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Oh, baby!

Today is the day the doctors predicted our child would come into this world, but he chose to come early. Evan joined our family on Tuesday morning. He and I are both doing well, and we are all adapting to this new life as a family of four. Schedules are off. The girl is throwing a few more fits than usual. But in the grand scheme of things, we are adapting. Together. As one.

Someday I'll share his birth story, but for now, I leave you in good hands. Are you enjoying the guest posts I've lined up so far? Such great words from my peers! I am eternally grateful for their help and incredibly excited to share each of them with you. There's more to come. From them and from me, too!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Guest Post: Working Out While Pregnant with Twins

I can't imagine what it's like to carry two babies in my belly at one time. One is equal parts insane and surreal and awesome, but two...or more...probably something I will never experience for myself. Knock on wood. So when Sarah of Creating Better Tomorrow volunteered to write a guest post, I asked her specifically to talk about what it's like to exercise while carrying twins. Because, you know, she's pregnant with twins!

Imagine being so excited to find out you were pregnant after a rough road getting there. Now imagine lying on the exam table of your first ultrasound, so happy to hear a heartbeat—and then you hear the words, "the heartbeats sound great!" Yep, you got it. Imagine finding out you were going to have twins!

As Tara indicated, I am a mom-to-be of twin boys. We struggled with infertility challenges, and at first I was shocked, terrified and completely surprised, but now I almost can’t imagine it any other way (I know...ask me about this again after they've both been here for a month). I’m currently in my 3rd trimester, due late July.

Before our pregnancy, I was an avid runner and diehard exerciser. I cut back in our attempts to conceive and it helped. So when I found out I was pregnant, I wasn’t sure what or how much exercise I could work into my daily routine. I won’t lie, with twins...the hormones come double-duty. In my first trimester, I tried to walk 30 minutes a day. Some days, it just did not happen. I was exhausted and though I never got sick, I just felt terrible! Welcome, 2nd trimester!

I picked up with a nice five to six day routine of working out. Now, this working out pales in comparison to my pre-pregnancy regime, but I know my body is working hard to make two babies! So, per Tara's suggestion, I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the ways I have kept on moving throughout my pregnancy—even with it being a slightly higher risk pregnancy. And me being a bit bigger than normal.

Each Sunday, I like to lay out my workout plan for the week ahead. One HUGE difference compared to my pre-pregnancy days—I really listen to my body each day. If my body isn’t up for the planned activity, then I don't do it and I’ll either rest or find a more suitable exercise. Listening to your body whether you're pregnant, not pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or postpartum is key!

A sample week of my workouts might look like this:

Monday: Walk 45-60 minutes on the treadmill. Speed of 3.8 to 4 with 1% incline.
Tuesday: A resistance DVD
Wednesday: Walk 45 minutes on the treadmill. Speed of 3 to 3.5 with 5 to 8% incline.
Thursday: Two 10-minute circuit videos, one lower and one upper body.
Friday: Rest.
Saturday: Leisurely dog walk with the hubby.
Sunday: Rest.

For some, this might seem like a lot. But some of you reading this might think it's too easy. But I want to circle back around to the best part of pregnancy for me—It has taught me to LISTEN TO MY BODY when it comes to food and exercise. My body knows what is best for me and my babies. I know once the babies arrive I will have a new appreciation and love for my body, and I hope I never forget to LISTEN TO MY BODY!

She's right, you know. Whether or not you're pregnant, pregnant with twins, or just a fit/active person—you absolutely have to listen to your body! Kudos to Sarah for continuing to listen to hers while she finds fitness throughout her pregnancy. Remember, every pregnancy is different and every mother's needs are different, too. Always consult your OB or midwife when making fitness decisions while pregnant, just to be sure what you're doing is safe and effective without being harmful to you or your baby...or babies!

Follow Sarah on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep track of her journey toward the birth of her boys!

Question: If you've ever been pregnant, tell me how you approached fitness. Were you able to exercise throughout your pregnancy? If you carried multiples, how did that affect your fitness?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Are your memories too public? (#pinspirationthursday)

For the longest time, I fought the whole Facebook thing. I fought all social media, actually. I'm so...old fashioned and protective when it comes to my life. Especially now that I'm a mother. There's something about splashing my child across the Internet that, even though these social sites can be private, doesn't sit well with me. If you do it, I don't judge you. At all, actually. To each his/her own. Seriously. I love seeing pics of your kids, your adventures and your selves. But that's really not the point of this post. I should be speaking more generally, and specifically about the fact that we humans love our dang phones now that they're essentially computers.

We have easy access to the world that's not right in front of us. To our friends and family that can't stand next to us. Often at the expense of those that ARE right next to us.

I'm guilty of it.
You're probably guilty of it.

People everywhere are guilty of it. Go to a public place and you'll see proof. Sign into your social accounts and you'll see proof. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. It's fun to share, we all have levels of sharing in which we participate. (Hello, I have a blog with public social media accounts.) But here's what I propose:

Pin / Source
Because doesn't that sound positively refreshing? It is, after all, just a phone and a social website. But memories, they're equal parts heart and soul. And it's not Facebook or Instagram (or whatever) that keeps them front and center. It's you. It's your friends and family. It's face-to-face interaction.

It's life.

Question: What's your take on social media and over-sharing? Do you follow people that drive you nuts with this? Are you protective of your family and friends? 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Guest Post: The No-Crunch Core Workout

Flashback story: My husband drove an hour in a snowstorm to propose to me. I had no idea he was coming, and when he called me outside of my apartment complex, I ignored him because I was in the middle of a Pilates workout. Had I known he was standing outside in the freezing cold, I would have let him in. Someone else ended up letting him in and he knocked on the door, completely scaring the crap out of me and ending my workout. And then I got the surprise of my life.

Moral of the story: Pilates is awesome and so are surprise proposals. Which brings me to today's Workout Wednesday. Allyson, the certified yoga and Pilates teacher behind nthefitzone, put together a no-crunch core workout for you that's totally great. I'm filing it away for post-baby ab repair. Check it:

I find that when the word “core” is mentioned, people often think of just the abs. Well, it is not all about the abs or the six pack. The core is a complex group of muscles. To keep it simple, think of it as everything besides your arms and legs. It is true that a tight midsection feels and looks great, but to me, it is more important to have a strong, functional, stable core to feel the best and to prevent injury. This is why I love mat Pilates so much. In Pilates, we work the powerhouse (the abdominal muscles, low back muscles, pelvic floor, muscles around the hips, and the glutes). You focus and concentrate from the center of your body with a wide variety of moves that are crunch free.

Mat Pilates can be done anywhere.
All you need is a little time and practice on the six principles of Pilates.

1) Concentration: Mind-body awareness.
2) Centering: Attention to the powerhouse.
3) Control:  Slow/steady moves with precision.
4) Breathing: Breath control with deep exhalations.
5) Precision: Practice proper form.
6) Flow: Moves are smooth and graceful.

The following video is a quick five moves/five reps routine. I demonstrate each move on one side. For a full routine, practice this on both sides. To increase the intensity, it can be repeated. When done correctly you will get a great core workout in a short amount of time. Endless, repetitive and boring crunches are in your past.

(In addition to the video, Allyson provided a pinnable image with all the details.)

Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.

For more from Allyson, visit nthefitzone and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In addition to her Pilates and yoga practices, she posts a lot about running and clean eating. A little something for everyone, if you ask me. 

Question: Are you a fan of Pilates? Why or why not? What is your favorite core exercise (besides the plank)?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Effects of Flip Flops on Your Body (#Infographic)

If there's one thing I love about June, it's the inevitable wearing of the flip flop. There's nothing quite like slipping your bare feet into a pair of barely there shoes to traipse about town. They're not the most supportive shoes on the planet, but darn if they aren't comfortable. Amiright? Back to that whole "not the most supportive" thing, though. They really aren't that great for your body:

Now, I won't even try to convince you not to wear them because that would make me a huge hypocrite. I put them on as fast as I can, even if it's still a bit chilly, but I will encourage you to wear them responsibly, as the infographic suggests. Especially if you lead an active lifestyle with lots of leg activity. Fashion often comes before function, I get it. But do your best to make sure your flip flops fit. Walk as well as you can in them (ahem, those of you that flop excessively), and alternate between other forms of summer foot fashion (like minimalist sneaker-style shoes, for example).

And, you know, keep an eye on the sole. Replace your flip flops when things start to look thin and/or excessively warn out. They're not the most expensive shoe on the planet, either.

Question: Do you have a favorite flip flop brand that exudes both comfort and style? Link me! Will you wear flip flops for comfort, even if your toes get a little cold?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Guest Post: Lessons I've Learned as a Runner

At this point, I'm about to pop. So as I tie up loose ends around the house, and as I eventually adjust to my new role as mother of two, I will be sharing a series of guest posts that I have collected from my peers. These posts will be peppered in between words from yours truly (because you can't get rid of me that easily), but as anyone going through a life-changing moment knows...all help is good, very welcomed help. So first up, we have Kathryn of From Dancing to Running. She's here today to share a newbie's perspective on running. Essentially, a compilation of the things she's learned thus far along the way. Because, you know, dancers can be runners, too.

I started running in March 2013. I was inspired by my husband to train for and complete my first half marathon after he completed his first marathon in January 2013. When I made the decision to set this goal, I had no idea how much I’d learn about myself in the process of training to run my first race, or the lessons that I’d learn about running in general.

1) You can push yourself to do things you never thought were possible. 

I started dancing when I was four, and I danced all the way through college. Because I’ve always been told that dancers can’t run, I never once thought about giving running a try. That is, until my husband inspired me with his completion of the Disney World Marathon. Seeing the time, focus, and dedication that he poured into training for and preparing to run his first marathon showed me that I could do the same. After years of sticking to the idea of running not being for me, I pushed the boundaries and proved to myself that I was able to do something that I never once thought was possible.

2) You can plan all you want, but training doesn’t always go as planned. 

No matter how much you plan or whose expert training plan you follow, something will likely happen that will interfere with your training. Life happens, like illness, injury, long hours at work, family events – you name it, something is bound to force you to adjust your training plan. While training for my first half marathon, I faced all of these but injury. Some weeks it meant moving my long run to a Friday evening in order to accommodate weekend activities, while other weeks it meant skipping a weekday run due to feeling run down or sick. Although I tend to get hard on myself for having to miss a weekday run here or there, in the long run, missing one or two runs won’t have an adverse effect on your overall training.

3) Just because you’re burning lots of calories doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. 

Training for a major race and burning lots of extra calories doesn’t mean you can stuff your face with whatever food you want to. In order to train efficiently, you have to properly fuel your body. Fueling your body with nutritious foods instead of junk will assist you in yielding the training results that you’re after. If weight loss isn’t your goal with long race training, then you’ll have to up your calorie intake to accommodate the extra calories that you’re burning. But if you eat poorly, then you’ll train poorly. The weeks that I have focused on eating clean, unprocessed foods have also been some of my best training weeks.

4) You can only measure your improvement in running speed against yourself, not against others. 

Every runner starts at a different starting point, and every runner at a race has been running for a different length of time. While it is very easy to measure your speed and success as a runner against others, it is critical to remember that every runner is different and has a different background. What might seem fast to one runner might seem slow to another, and that’s perfectly okay. Measuring yourself against others will only yield disappointment and likely lead to less movement toward reaching your own goals. Celebrate your individuality and your own accomplishments, but never measure your success against the speed and abilities of others.

5) Crossing the finish line of your first major race will give you adrenaline to register for more. 

When I registered for my first half marathon I never imagined signing up for more. But as I progressed through my training and discovered just how much I was enjoying it, I knew that I’d been bitten by the running bug. I signed up for my second half marathon about two months before I even crossed the finish line of my first, and now I’m signed up for my third and fourth half marathons! Running is addicting, and I can’t wait to see where my running continues to take me!

Now, I don't know about you, but I sure do wanna know where Kathryn's running takes her next! Follow along with me: From Dancing to Running is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, too.

Question: Think back to your days as a newbie runner. What is one of the very first things you learned about the sport? 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

May Recap / Hello, June!

Nope, no baby just yet. We are exactly one week away from my due date. Dropping? Doc says baby is still a bit high. I didn't drop with Hannah until my water broke, only then was it obvious. And then it took about 12 hours for the contractions to start. So we'll see how it goes this time around. (A little nervous about that, actually.)

Anyway, there's your (somewhat brief) bumpdate.
Let's take a look back at my May goals:

1) Pack my hospital bag.
The only things that aren't packed in my hospital bag just yet are the things I'm still using on a daily basis. Like my phone and charger, camera, wallet, etc. I still question whether I've got everything I'll need (one can never really know what one wants in the moment, whatever the moment may be), but I think I've got myself fairly covered. My packing list was pretty complete.

2) Make freezer meals. 
Done! And I'm so excited about every one of the meals I made. It's been hard to save them because they all sound so delish, but I'm definitely going to appreciate the ease at which they'll feed my family when things get crazy (as I'm sure they will).

3) Start making Baby's baby book.

Success! Although it's not finished yet. All of the pages are cut, they just need to be assembled, but I'm waiting to see whether Baby is a boy or girl before I actually complete it.

4) Continue fitness four, maybe five times a week. 
Sigh. My fitness routine starting falling short mid-month. That's really when I started to notice a significant lack of energy. I haven't touched a weight in two weeks, choosing instead to focus on walking...but that's proving to be difficult. I can't get that far without having to relieve the bladder or the back. Ha! So I've also been doing my best to stay active, like with watering the flowers, going up and down the stairs with laundry. Playing with Hannah. Things like that to keep me up and moving instead of couch-bound. Needless to say, I'm very much craving a solid workout.

5) Read Kate Horning's new book, Healthy Living Redefined: Live It. Share It.

I love this book. The fact that I was able to read it with everything I had going on these past few weeks...a true testament to it's ability to suck you in with solid and inspiring information, such as the above quote. The only part I skimmed: "The 28-Day Road Map to Create Your Healthy Lifestyle." I want to dive into that a little deeper when I've been cleared by the doc to return to my regular activities, so I've added this book to my box of post-baby inspiration.

How did you do on your May goals?
Can you believe it's June already?

Time to set some new goals.

I'm going easy on myself this month because I'll have my hands full. Now isn't the time to set any lofty fitness goals or put too much pressure on myself to be and do, so what follows is a list of goals that should be easily attainable. And if I don't, so be it. They'll transfer to July! (Except for the first one.)

1) Have a baby.
2) Respect my post-baby body...let it heal.
3) Finish the baby book and order gender-specific nursery essentials.
4) Test out the double stroller with a few fun walks.
5) Research/purchase new gear for post-baby running.

Let me clarify that last one, just so you don't think I'm jumping the gun on getting back into it.

For starters, I need new shoes. I love my Mizuno Wave Sayonara running shoes, but I'm not opposed to trying something just as good and/or cheaper. I've also been contemplating a Garmin or Polar to track my running/fitness. I have a Polar HRM, but it doesn't track my running, just my HR and not my calorie burn. Also, my BOB has two popped tires. Here's one of them:

Not sure if I overfilled them, or if it's just time to replace's an older model from a garage sale, who knows.  Regardless, I don't plan on running with it anytime soon, but I might as well get it in tip-top shape.

Question: What is one goal you've set for yourself this month?


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