Monday, December 28, 2015

How to Add Protein to Iced Coffee #SkinnygirlProtein

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Skinnygirl. As a Skinnygirl Savvy Snacker, I was given product and compensated for my opinions which are, of course, my own.

Did you guys know that I'm addicted to iced coffee? Yes, you did. This is not news. So let me confess this: I crave iced coffee after my workouts, and it's a craving that I'm all too willing to satisfy. Nutritionally speaking, coffee isn't the best post-workout snack. I know this and I should be reaching for protein, right? And I do. I reach for protein-based snacks and snack bars and build protein-based meals—to go with my coffee, of course. It's bad, it's seriously really bad and out of control that I can't go without iced coffee.

How to Add Protein to iced Coffee #SkinnygirlProtein
But there are worse things I could be eating and/or doing.

So when Skinnygirl reached out with the opportunity to feature, once again, their new protein shakes, I got to thinking: Could I use these shakes to add some protein to my coffee?

Answer: Yes.

How to Add Protein to Iced Coffee
It's true that I stop by the coffee shop quite frequently, but I also brew my own iced coffee at home to save money and time. I add a bit of creamer and a squirt of caramel syrup (#sinfullygood) to round out the flavor. Again, not exactly nutritional, but I've been playing with my Skinnygirl shakes to change it up a little.

How to Add Protein to Iced Coffee
With flavors like Vanilla Bean Sundae and Rich Chocolate Brownie, no description of their great taste is necessary. They're just that good. Each shake has 80 calories and 12 grams of protein—and NO grams of sugar, which is a nice bonus. Eaten solo, the shakes are a great source of protein on the go. I'm not normally a huge fan of pre-mixed protein shakes, but seriously, these are good.

Going back to the coffee talk, they make a great add-in to iced coffee. I poured a bottle of Vanilla Bean Sundae into an ice cube tray, then put about four cubes into my cup of coffee (along with a small squirt of my caramel syrup).

 How to Add Protein to Iced Coffee
As they melted, my cup of plain iced coffee turned into a Vanilla Bean Sundae iced coffee with a touch of protein. Note: Probably not enough protein to satisfy my post-workout nutritional needs, but upgrades my coffee, for sure. To get even more protein in my iced coffee, I turned to the Rich Chocolate Brownie flavor.

Essentially, I made a Rich Chocolate Brownie iced mocha.

How to Add Protein to Iced Coffee #SkinnygirlProtein
I poured equal parts iced coffee and Skinnygirl protein shake into a glass with some ice cubes and sipped away.

How to Add Protein to Iced Coffee
Literally, so good.

Skinnygirl protein shakes can be purchased at your local Walmart or via the Skinnygirl website. But if premixed protein shakes aren't your thing, you might consider whipping up a protein shake with your favorite powder and freezing it into cubes. Or using iced coffee instead of water to liquefy your protein powder. Please note that I haven't tried either of these two options, so I can't say for sure if they'll work. But it seems like they would, right?

If you try it, let me know.

FYI:  If you share your Skinnygirl protein shake experience on social media, be sure to use #SkinnygirlProtein so we can all see what you're up to! You can find out more about Skinnygirl on Facebook. Or check out these posts:

I'm making healthy snack swaps with @SkinnygirlDaily.
New @SkinnygirlDaily Tasty Nutrition Bar Flavors
Lemon Frozen Yogurt #sgsnackswap
What you need to know about protein (...and, a Skinnygirl protein shake review)

Question: How do you like your iced coffee? Do you ever sneak in protein? Are you as addicted as I am? If you make iced coffee at home, what coffee do you use?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

#linklove: Good Reads from Around the Internet, Vol. 11

Are you in a cookie-induced coma? Perhaps there are still presents under your tree. Whatever you've got planned for today, it's Saturday and you're bound to do some relaxing (I hope). In case you want to zone out with a cup of coffee (or maybe some wine, if you're reading this later), I present to you some links from the Internet that will take you to some fairly interesting articles. At least, they were to me.

1) Here's a solid tip: Instead of focusing on the elimination of unhealthy habits, you should focus on adding healthy habits to your life. Read the article, it just makes sense.

2) I bought a Kate Spade planner in August that will carry me through 2016, but that's not stopping me from wanting every single planner on this list of small and stylish planners. #plannerjunkie

3) I love the treadmill. Except not really. So I can totally relate to the 17 stages of running on a treadmill. For the most part, anyway.

4) We fit geeks love our gear, right? Check out this list of cool products from The Running Event, which is apparently an industry show that tells running stores what to stock. #takemethere

5) Roasted garlic mac and cheese. Need I say more?

6) How often do you use sliders at the gym? We have them in our studios and I always...literally, always forget about them. But they are so versatile, and so good and making muscles burn. So I'm loving this list of 31 bodyweight exercises using sliders.

7) Does anyone else spend an arm and a leg on groceries? Seriously, so expensive. Seems like all the cheap stuff is unhealthy, except it isn't. Read: How to save money on groceries and stay healthy.

8) Wanna know how to be happier? Here are 25 ways.

9) Did you know that there's a right way to wash your face? I didn't, either.

10) These peppermint baked donuts look like everything I've ever wanted.

Oh, and speaking of links, you should totally check out my Link Love page. I've updated it with some of the sites I can't go without. It's a work in progress, so check back often!

Question: What's on the agenda for you today? Anything fun? Tell me!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

4 Arm Balance Yoga Poses I Want To Master

Yesterday was a great fitness day for me. I woke up early to run at the gym, snagging four miles before calling it quits. I don't usually go more than three per session during the week, which is sort of low for me right now, but I had extra time and wanted to push myself, so I tagged on another mile and did some sprint intervals.

Running Equipment. Fitness Trackers.
Not too bad. I spent a majority of those four miles thinking about races I want to run next year, feeling somewhat inspired to start training again.

I also thought about yoga.

We offer a Power Yoga class on Tuesday mornings, which very much falls into line with an Ashtanga style. Don't ask me to explain what that means, I'm not well-versed on the definitions of each style. I just know that it's an intense class that's meant to really challenge the students. And our students (myself included) happen to love the version we offer on Tuesday mornings.

I was still feeling pretty warm after my run, so I practiced my new favorite arm balance pose while I was waiting for the class to start. I recreated that moment a few hours ago:

Arm Balance Yoga Poses

Eka Pada Koundinyanasana II. I had to Google the name because I only know it as the one-legged arm balance. I guess it's also referred to as Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II. I can only do it pretty with my right leg forward. I'm less flexible on the left, which makes it not-so-pretty. Something to work on, for sure.

Now, I don't have a lot of arm balances in my pocket of tricks.
I can do Crow (Bakasana):

Arm Balance Yoga Poses
And Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana:

Arm Balance Yoga Poses
But that's about it. For now, because I love practicing arm balances! I've got the bug to master a few more. Man, they look cool. And they're fun to work on. Also super challenging, which is the kind of yoga that I love.

I'm not really into the spiritual aspects of yoga, some might argue that you can't have yoga without it. But for me, it's all about the movement. The challenge of getting your body into specific positions and holding it there to max out on strength and flexibility at one time. I think teaching PiYo Live has really helped me recognize the benefits and tune into that aspect of a yoga class.

But, tangent. Back to arm balance yoga poses.
Here are a few that I want to work on:

1) Eight-Angle Pose (Astavakrasana)
2) Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)
3) Twisted One Legged Arm Balance (Eka Pada Koundinyanasana I)
4) Forearm Balance (Pincha Mayurasana)

Back in the day, I could handstand like no other. And I still can when I'm against the wall. Away from the wall, my ability to hold it steady is questionable. I need to practice. But forearm balance...I've honestly never tried it, and I think it looks so cool when people do it away from the wall.



Check out the Wild Workout Wednesday linkup for more fitness inspiration.

Question: What's one yoga pose you really want to master? Are there any arm balance poses I should add to my list?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Thoughts on 2015...

Blogging around the holidays. It's always a challenge. There is so much to get done, so much to do, so many people to see....something has to give, hence the weeklong hiatus. When things go silent on A Daily Dose of Fit, you can always keep track of me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because #socialmedia. It's always hopping.

But, here I am today.
Somehow finding time.

I want to reflect on 2015 out loud, right here. I know it's not over yet, but that's not stopping me from thinking about all that is and was this year. Normally at this time, I'm knee deep in thoughts about the upcoming year: What are my goals? Do I need to change anything? Should I make resolutions? I tend to forget about all that was in favor of all that could be. But my BlogFest buddy is putting a pause on that. Tiffany recently posted her template for year-end reflections, and it's pretty good.

So I'm not thinking about 2016 just yet.

Thoughts on 2015 from a health and fitness blogger.
I'm grateful for each and every year I get to celebrate.
I'm grateful for the highs AND the lows.
I'm grateful for every moment and minute.

I'm grateful for all of 2015.
Even the few days it still owes me.

10 Highlights
1) I finished first in my age group at a 5K.
2) We spent a week in Mexico.
3) I set a new half marathon PR.

Thoughts on 2015...
4) My little man turned one.
5) I set a new 5K PR.
6) I went to BlogFest and IDEA World, and it was awesome.

7) I fell in love with Spinning again.
8) I started writing a monthly column in one of my local papers.
9) My daughter ran her first 5K...
10)...she also started going to school.

3 Disappointments
1) I didn't run my goal race.
2) I had to run/walk the last three miles of a half marathon.
3) I volunteered to coach Girls on the Run, but was ultimately told that I couldn't because my kids wouldn't be allowed to come with me to the practices.

2 Game Changers
1) I suffered major IT band issues in a half marathon, which ultimately forced me to reassess my running plans. I stopped training, and started running for the love of it. And now, I feel stronger and mentally ready to get back into training mode again. For what, I don't know yet.

2) The KonMari Method. Seriously, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up changed me way more than I thought it would. Printed words inspired me to act, and were wonderful. I had boxes and shelves and closets full of things that I didn't need, and it was all weighing me (and my family) down. This book is not about organizing or getting rid of things, it's about changing your perspective. It's about appreciating the things you have that you really, truly do need in your life—and letting go of the things you don't. I'm not done implementing what I have learned (ahem, basement). But I am working on it and it feels so good to be getting rid of clutter and junk. See bags below, and imagine a giant pile of boxes that were equal parts donated and trashed.

Thoughts on 2015...
3 Areas of Focus
1) We recently rebranded the gym I work at, which has instilled new life into the place. As a result, I've been hell bent on extending that life into every corner of the fitness department. Staying current, staying ahead of our our members everything they's been a huge priority for me, and I get the sense that it's paying off. I'm blessed to have a wonderful, talented and very willing team. And our members are equally wonderful, which makes my job worth focusing on.

2) I've been really zoned in on the essence of Daily Dose. I want to grow. I want to share my message. But I don't want to get lost in the shuffle or the pressure to conform to certain blogging standards. It's who I am and what I do with my space on the Internet that matters most. It's how I will ultimately stand out as unique and informative, right? So when I sit down to write, it's fueled by a pure and honest focus on being me. Always.

3) Motherhood. I tend to focus on things that don't matter, or ultimately don't need my attention. And the bigger my son gets, the more I am reminded that these early years, these precious sweet years can't come back. Babies aren't babies forever. My kids are definitely not babies anymore, but they're little and I need to be there for them. I need to be present and loving, and I need to enjoy them even when they annoy the you-know-what out of me. Motherhood is not easy, but I am a mother. And I am focused on being the best mother (and wife) that I can be.

3 Things I Forgot
1) I didn't start studying for my group fitness certification.
2) I didn't read as much as I wanted to (hence, the giant pile of magazines in my nightstand).
3) I totally didn't do the HeartMiRun virtual race for Michigan parks. Boo.

What does this mean for 2016? I'm still processing it, but this I know for sure: I'm thinking about that goal race again. And I'm hoping to purchase my group fitness materials after the first of the year. Beyond that, it remains to be seen. I feel like I've paid homage to 2015, and will probably spend the next few days pondering what it all means in terms of 2016. Expect a goal post soon. In the meantime, I'm going to sit back and relax...and be grateful for all that I have, have done and will do.

Question: What's one thing you forgot to do this year?

Monday, December 14, 2015

8 Healthy Snack Tips

Disclaimer: The following post is sponsored by Big Slice. I was not compensated for my opinions, but I did receive free product to facilitate this post and my review. My opinions are, as they always are, my very own.

Do you eat snacks? Do they pretty much dominate your day? Then we can be friends because I, friend, am a snack monster. I eat healthy and balanced meals, but I can't go from breakfast to lunch, or lunch to dinner without eating a good snack. I know I'm not alone. See, snacks are important. They're little sparks of delicious energy that keep us moving through our day. True, some snacks are better than others, and it's really easy to pick a bad snack. But it's also really easy to pick a healthy snack. One that's delicious AND nutritious.

Let's talk about that today.
Let's talk about healthy snacks.

First and foremost, you need to know this: While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not a registered dietitian or nutritionist. If you have serious dietary questions, I urge you to speak with one of the aforementioned food professionals. But if you're like me, if you're looking for snack advice, then you might find these healthy snack tips useful.

Because I promise you, healthy snacks are totally easy to master. Proof:

1) When in doubt, choose produce.
You know the saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Perhaps not really, but I won't discredit the apple as an excellent snack option. In fact, almost all fruits and vegetables fall into this category. Apples, specifically, are filled with fiber and Vitamin C (and flavor). And they're a healthy carb option.

8 Healthy Snack Tips
2) Pick protein with a side of carbs.
Carbs fuel you, and protein fills you. Balance the two and you'll eat happy. Hummus and crackers, anyone? Or maybe an apple with some peanut butter. You pick.

3) Stock up on grab-and-go options.
The innermost aisles of your local grocery store are filled with a zillion different prepackaged snacks. Some of which are quite tasty. And healthy, even nutritious. You just have weed through the snacks  that aren't. My kids are big fans of applesauce packets. And admittedly, so am I. In fact, I've been known to steal from their supply. Thanks to these packs of Big Slice kettle-cooked apples, I don't have to:

4) Always consider the ingredients.
This is especially important with grab-and-go snack options. Many of them, as you know, are filled with unhealthy ingredients. Check out your options and choose the one with a small, recognizable list of ingredients. Fruit packs generally fit this bill. (Just watch out for added sugars.)

5) Control portions with containers.
In other words: Don't eat the whole bag of chips. Or the entire jar of applesauce. There's a reason you own so many dishes, right? Use them!

8 Healthy Snack Tips
6) Balance bad with good.
If you desperately want chocolate, please eat it. If you desperately want French fries, please eat them.  If you eat healthy for the most part, know that eating one unhealthy snack is not necessarily going to send you over the edge. It just won't. But the more you obsess about not eating that one thing you really want, the more it literally starts to consume your every thought. Not healthy, not at all.

7) Snack prep on Sunday.
Do you spend time prepping meals for the week? What about snacks? Turn bulk options into grab-and-go options with some snack prep. Cut fruit, slice cheese into cubes. Whatever your snack of choice, make it ready (and easy) to eat.

8) Employ an emergency stash.
I keep a granola bar in my bag at all times. If hunger pangs ever kick in while I'm out and about, my granola bar saves me from grabbing something unhealthy out of desperation. I've also been keeping a pack of Big Slice apples in my gym bag. Definitely easy to eat, especially when I'm bouncing in between thing (not literally) at the gym.

8 Healthy Snack Tips
Interested in Big Slice kettle-cooked apples? You totally should be. Local friends, I found them at Meijer. Everyone else, there's a search feature on the Big Slice website that will help you hunt them down. I'll admit, they're slightly pricey with a MSRP of $2.29-$2.79/pack, but you're paying for some great nutrition.

8 Healthy Snack Tips
Big Slice is:

• All-natural without any artificial ingredients or preservatives
• Made with real fruit and superfoods
• Naturally gluten- and fat-free
• Vegan (and obviously vegetarian)
• Around 100 calories per pack

Oh, and with 16 different flavors to pick from, Big Slice is also delicious. Like, seriously delicious. Cherry Vanilla reminds me of a sinfully good cherry pie. There's even a Peach Green Tea and Aloe combination, which sounds completely great. Also great: This product stems from a company that grew out of a family kitchen.

Those are always the best kind of companies, right?

Now, here's where it gets fun. To inspire you to implement the healthy snack tips above, I'm giving away a Big Slice prize pack to one lucky Daily Dose reader. It will be something like this:

8 Healthy Snack Tips
Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. Contest ends Friday, December 18, 2015 at Midnight EST. Winner will be notified via email. Good luck, healthy snackers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Six Miles on a Saturday Morning

I am truly loving my Saturday morning runs. Right now, I am only running six miles, but those six miles feel really good to me. Strong, fast...I could probably do more, but I don't need to right now. I'm not training for anything. I'm only thinking about training for races that I want to run in 2016. Runs like today keep me in shape for when (if) that training starts :

Six Mils on a Saturday Morning: How much I love running with a running group.
Aside from the actual  running, the running group I am a part of makes Saturday morning really great. I've met so many awesome people in my community that I probably wouldn't have met without our shared interest in running. Seriously, you should join (or start) a running group in your community. I mean, if you aren't already a part of one.

I wish I could take pictures of my group, but I respect their privacy and...honestly...I'm not interested in being THAT girl that always takes pictures of people. It's funny, I keep my blogger status on the down low when I'm in groups that don't necessary have an interest in blogging.

I'm also protective of my own privacy and safety.

Maybe this is hindering my ability to communicate my message, or maybe it's hindering my ability to grow A Daily Dose of Fit. I don't know. I'm just doing what I'm doing.

With a coffee:

Six Miles on a Saturday Morning.
Because that's part of my Saturday morning running tradition, too. Run six miles, grab coffee on the way home. Oh, and donuts. Coffee AND donuts.

If I show up without the donuts, I'm pretty sure my little family would disown me.

I get six, they get donuts.

OK, fine. I get a donut, too.
No pics. It's long gone.

Question: If you're a blogger, does taking pictures for your blog ever make you feel uncomfortable? Are you quiet about your blog in certain situations?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Indoor Cycling Playlist with Music from the 80's

I taught Spinning class today for the first time in three weeks. It felt good to be back on the bike again. I'm currently sharing a time slot with another instructor, and Thanksgiving fell on my Thursday, so I didn't teach a Spinning class that day. I had a pretty good number of people signed up, so I knew I would need an awesome Spinning playlist that represented a challenging ride.

I mean, what's more awesome than music from the 80's?

Indoor Cycling Playlist with Music from the 80's
Two songs by Journey, some AC/DC. Bon Jovi. Insert rock star head banging here. Literally, by the end of class, almost everyone was singing out loud. I don't repeat classes too frequently, but this one might resurface sooner than later. I sure did make me sweat:

Indoor Cycling Playlist with Music from the 80's
Essentially, it's a ride that takes you up and down two hills. It builds slowly, and has a lot of variety in and out of the saddle. And, you know, 80's music...I could sit and spin on a seated flat to music from the 80's for 45 minutes and still be one happy spinning instructor. Boring ride made better by party music that never gets old.

This isn't that boring ride, though.

Indoor Cycling Playlist with Music from the 80's
It's built for a 45-minute Spinning class, give or take a few minutes depending on the song version you use. It's truly "nothing but a good time." You'll ride like a "maniac" the whole time and your "legs" will be forever grateful when it's time to cool down.

Question: If you had to build a themed playlist for a group fitness class or workout, what would you go with?

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Right Way to Do Pushups

So I'm doing a pushup challenge. One of the guys at the gym runs it at this time every year, and I got roped into participating by one of my trainers who is also participating. He wanted someone with which he could complain about being sore, and I'm not one to back down from a challenge I know I can do, so I'm in. The premise: AMRAP every day, max 250 (for the girls) until January 3. One rest day per week. I did 100/day last week (but I started on Thursday), and am targeting 125/day this week (but I did 140 today because of this post—ha!)

Yes, you guessed it. Today's post is about pushups.
We're going to talk about proper pushup form.

The Right Way to Do Pushups: What to Avoid to Maintain Proper Form
First and foremost, let's start with head placement: Keep your head in line with your spine. A lot of people (including myself) let their head hang when the going gets tough. Or they look ahead.

The Right Way to Do Pushups: What to Avoid to Maintain Proper Form

Maintaining a neutral spine is fairly important when it comes to exercise, and losing it is often the first step toward bad form. So think about making (and keeping) your head an extension of your spine. One straight line. A common concept when it comes to proper pushup form and technique. Which brings me to the next pushup tip: Keep your hips in line with your shoulders and your ankles. This point is best illustrated with a video:

You also need to make sure your hips aren't too high, especially if you're modifying to your knees. This is the biggest mistake people make when they modify:

The Right Way to Do Pushups: What to Avoid to Maintain Proper Form
It puts a lot of pressure on your lower back, and ultimately takes away from the work that your chest and arms are doing. Which brings me to another tip: Don't put your elbows directly out to the side.

The Right Way to Do Pushups: What to Avoid to Maintain Proper Form
It's a bit unnatural for the shoulders. Here's another view:

The Right Way to Do Pushups: What to Avoid to Maintain Proper Form
My hands are also too far forward...they look a bit forced, no? Keep your hands in line with your shoulders.

Start with your wrists under your shoulders, or slightly out to the side, and let the elbows fall as they will. You can see what I mean in the graphic above. And finally, one major tip: Don't forget to breathe when you do pushups. Inhale when you go down, and exhale when you push yourself up. Use your breath to get the most out of your muscles.

Bottom line: Don't hesitate to modify if your pushup form isn't where you want it to be. Build up strength in the modified version, then slowly begin to lift those knees for a few reps. If you can't keep form, return to the modified version. This is the best way to build strength safely and efficiently.

Now, let's talk about my awesome home gym.
Basement home gyms are the best, right?

Nothing like piles of laundry and dry clothes to make you get it done quickly.

Want more pushup posts? Check these out:
5 Pushup Variations
Chest Fly Pushups
Can't do pushups?

Question: Have you ever done a fitness challenge? What was it and how did you do?

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Cold Weather Running Outfit from @Kohls

A few Friday nights ago, snow fell for the first time up here in Michigan, which made for a very chilly and sloppy (and awesome) Saturday morning run. I remember digging through my gear that night before, noting that I was low on cold weather running outfits. So I've been keeping my eye out for sweet deals on workout clothes that will keep me warm through the Winter. Of course, I found stuff at Kohl's.

A Cold Weather Running Outfit (and some accessories, too)
It's a very odd day when I walk into Kohl's and don't see anything I like. In this case, the FILA SPORT gear caught my eye. Such a great, affordable and fashionable line of workout clothing. I ended up buying an entire outfit:

A Cold Weather Running Outfit from Kohl's (and some accessories, too)

A Cold Weather Running Outfit from Kohl's (and some accessories, too)
Fleece-lined leggings, a long-sleeve workout tee and a fleece top that I can't find online:

A Cold Weather Running Outfit from Kohl's (and some accessories, too)
It has thumb holes, and the material is super thick. I don't think it'll be warm enough for those seriously chilly  Winter mornings, but I have a super thin Nike running jacket that will fit over it nicely. Seriously, I've had my Nike jacket for at least ten years I think. I wish I could link you to it (you can see it here). My only complaint about it (which is not really a complaint): It doesn't have a hood so I'll be grateful for the hood on this FILA SPORT fleece.

A Cold Weather Running Outfit from Kohl's (and some accessories, too)
I also have a black fleece-lined Nike  beanie and a black fleece headband (with a ponytail hole!) that I rotate wearing based on the temperature.

I wear some cheap black knit gloves, too.

But my favorite cold-weather running accessory is this fleece neck warmer that I got as a gift a few years ago:

A Cold Weather Running Outfit from Kohl's (and some accessories, too)

At first, I didn't think I'd use it very much, but it's literally the best thing ever. It's a scarf and a face protector all in one. And it's cute, so...bonus points. And since we're talking about cold-weather running accessories now, I feel like I have to mention my Yaktrax.

A Cold Weather Running Outfit from Kohl's (and some accessories, too)
I haven't had to wear them yet this year, but Yaktrax are a must-have for any runner that wants to keep running outside in the winter.

Other things I can't go running without, even in the Winter: My Garmin Forerunner 15 and my Mizuno running shoes. Currently rotating between Wave Rider 18s and Enigma 5s. Oh, and lip gloss. I always run with lip gloss in the Winter because I hate chapped lips.

That's just the worst.

Tomorrow, I'm leading a 7:00AM run. No snow is expected to fall tonight, so I'll be a flash of green running around with a bunch of other fun runners. To see what my blog friends are wearing these days, check out the #fitnfashionable linkup.

Oh, and if you find any running outfits for cold weather on sale, let a girl know.

Question: Do you prefer running in cold weather, or is warm weather your thing? Tell me why!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Product Review: @Garmin vivofit 2 Activity Tracker #BeatYesterday #ad

Disclaimer: The following post is sponsored by Garmin through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. I was compensated to write about the vívofit 2 activity tracker, but all opinions are my own. 

Earlier this year, I purchased a Garmin Forerunner 15 running watch. I did my research, looking specifically for something that would track miles outside and on the treadmill. This, in fact, is what sold me on the FR15. With the addition of a foot pod, I can do both. And the Forerunner 15 is also an activity tracker. It can be used to track steps and calories, and will notify me when it senses large chunks of inactivity.

I wasn't really interested in those features, but decided to test them out anyway. Here's the thing: The FR15 needs to be charged every so often, and I found that using the activity tracking features meant that I had to charge it more frequently. This, of course, is not convenient.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Forerunner 15 and highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a running watch. I never run without it. It's completely awesome and worth the investment as most Garmin products are. So when POPSUGAR Select reached out with the opportunity to review the Garmin vívofit 2 activity tracker, I accepted rather quickly.

Product Review: Garmin vivofit 2 Activity Tracker
I'm a fairly active person. It's hard not to be when you're a fitness professional and mother of two littles who have a never-ending supply of energy. I definitely don't need motivation to move—which is the number one reason I encourage activity trackers when people ask me about them. If something motivates you to move more, then...why not?

So me owning an official activity tracker? Why not! Also, I love Garmin.
As it turns out, I also love the vívofit 2 activity tracker. Here's why:

Product Review: Garmin vivofit 2 Activity Tracker
1) The battery will last for an entire year (maybe even longer). Ding! Sold. You don't have to charge the vívofit 2 activity tracker. It's all-systems-go the minute you fire it up. When the battery does die, it's entirely possible to replace it for consistent and continual tracking.

2) It looks somewhat fashionable. Activity trackers are meant to be worn all day, every day and they're not always easy to conceal. They go from the gym, to work, school...wherever! Many trackers, including the Forerunner 15, have a sporty look to them that can't be changed. But the vívofit 2? It's sleek as-is, and you can purchase additional covers. I'm loving this Jonathan Adler trio:

Product Review: Garmin vivofit 2 Activity Tracker
3) It tells you the date and time, and can provide heart rate information. At the very least, the Garmin vívofit 2 is a watch. Digital, easy to read, and with the touch of a button, it will give you the date. If you have a heart rate monitor, it will also tell you what your heart rate is. This right here...aside from the favorite feature. I needed a watch, one that could be worn at the gym. I was using my Forerunner as a HRM during my classes, and while it worked, it was a bit cumbersome to pull out of my bag and put on, then take off again after class. With the vívofit 2, since I'm consistently wearing it, all I have to do is strap on my HRM and push a button and I have my heart rate on my wrist.

4) It details calorie burn and can sync with other trackers like MyFitnessPal. Now, I don't really keep track of calorie consumption, but I do like to see how many I burn during my workouts because it's fun to know. The vívofit 2 will keep a running total of calories burned for the day, which is good information if you are keeping track. Additionally, when you start and stop the timer on the vívofit 2, specific calorie burn info will appear on Garmin Connect when you sync up.

Product Review: Garmin vivofit 2 Activity Tracker
5) It learns your activity level and assigns an appropriate step goal. No guessing or computing on your part! The vívofit 2 suggests a certain number of steps based on what you achieved the day before. After an hour of inactivity, a simple chime will alert you. A red bar will also start to appear on the face of the tracker for every 15 minutes of inactivity thereafter. Take a few steps and it won't grow and/or it'll shrink. I didn't think I'd really care about my step goals, but it's totally a game now. I'm not obsessed, but dang it if that red bar appears!

6) It will monitor you while you sleep. But wait, you aren't stepping when you sleep! Which is fine, because the vívofit 2 has a sleep mode. When you sync to Garmin Connect, it will tell you when you hit a deep sleep (left) and how much movement you made throughout the night (right):

Product Review: Garmin vivofit 2 Activity Tracker
7) The clasp is hard to undo. You might think it's a negative to struggle with the clasp, but I'm actually glad this is the case. I've heard of other activity trackers falling off mid-run, and I think the clasp on the vívofit 2 is actually an upgrade from the first version, which might not have been so secure.

8) You can wear it in the shower. It only makes sense, right? The Garmin vívofit 2 has a 5 ATM water rating, which essentially means that (according to the website) it can be worn "surface swimming, shallow snorkeling and during similar activities." So that's cool.

9) It can be paired with a foot pod to track mileage. Of course, if I'm using a foot pod, I'm probably also using my Forerunner 15. But, in the off-chance that I forget my running watch, I can track distance a little more efficiently with the vívofit 2...and upload the information to Garmin Connect, where all the information from my Forerunner is also stored.

10) It isn't that expensive, all things considered. Wearable technology isn't always cheap. The vívofit 2 is listed on the Garmin website at $ will be more, of course, if you opt for the heart rate monitor.

Oh, and did I mention that the vívofit 2 can be purchased with either a black, navy, pink or white band? I picked the white band, thinking it would go with everything (and it does).

Product Review: Garmin vivofit 2 Activity Tracker
At first, I was nervous about it because I figured it would just get dirty, but I've been wearing it pretty religiously and it still looks clean as new.

So, who should get a Garmin vívofit 2 activity tracker?
• People who dig wearable tech
• People who need motivation to move
• People who want a watch that does more
• People who need to purchase a gift for someone who digs health and fitness

Long story short: There's much to love about the Garmin vívofit 2 activity tracker, and I think it's something a variety of people can use efficiently. It's affordable, motivational and educational.

Perhaps another great gift idea for the tech-obsessed fitness fan on your must-buy-for list?

Question: Do you wear an activity tracker? How do you incorporate the data and/or features into your lifestyle?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How Fitness Makes You Confident

If you're human, you've probably experienced those moments that make you question yourself. They're different (and difficult) for everyone, but that feeling...that lack of common. Incredibly common, unfortunately. But there are so many ways to gain confidence that a published list could be a thousand blog posts long. So today, I'll focus on one of the ways you can gain confidence. You guessed it: Fitness.

Because it's true.
Fitness can totally make you confident.

I know what you're thinking: "Well, duh. Way to be obvious. Fitness tones my muscles, makes me healthy and sends feel-good endorphins from head to toe. All of which translates to confidence."

Yes, that's all true. And you've heard it a million times before. But what about the not-so-obvious ways that fitness makes you confident?

1) Fitness teaches you how to set achievable goals.
Nothing boosts confidence more than a goal that's been achieved. Because when you do something successfully, it's an achievement that doesn't go away. Even if you take steps backward, you can always stop and think "yes...I absolutely can because I did it before." That's you being confident in yourself. That's you believing that you have what it takes to rise above the challenges before you.

2) Fitness teaches you how to be honest with yourself.
Honesty is always the best policy. Whether you're upping reps or adding miles, admitting that you actually want to...that you're ready for the you believing in yourself. It's you finding comfort beyond your comfort zone. It's you admitting to the reality of the situation, and with admittance comes a ton of acceptance because nothing hidden is haunting you.

3) Fitness gives you the power to rise above negativity.
Confidence is the polar opposite of negativity. When you choose to be confident about your health and fitness goals, when you take that positive step toward achieving them, that's you rising above the negativity. And by doing so, you're teaching yourself that there's no need for negative naysayers in or outside of your head. Which, in turn, helps you lift YOUR head a little higher (and learn from the negativity, too).

4) Fitness gives you the power to move mountains.
OK, maybe not literally. But fitness can and ultimately will increase your physical strength. And when you actually feel yourself doing things with greater power, it's a boost to the esteem that will propel you to move more efficiently through your days and nights.

5) Fitness shows you the best version of you. 
Physically, yes. It changes your body for the better. And the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more comfortable you are in your own mind—this is what really counts. When you are comfortable being the best version of yourself, that's you being confident.

How Fitness Makes You Confident
Everyone's fitness journey is different, this is true. But one thing is for sure: Steps big and small both in and out of the gym change us for the better. They lift us, carry us and propel us forward.

So harness the power of fitness.
Let it change you.

Let it make you confident.

Visit #thefitdish link-up to see what my peers are saying about confidence.

Question: How does fitness make you feel more confident?

Monday, November 30, 2015

#linklove: Good Reads from Around the Internet, Vol. 10

Hello! Coming at you today with a few great things to read on the Internet. The browser on my phone is full of interesting articles and informative pieces, and I've been sent some awesome links in my e-mail, too. If you're looking for something fun to read, perhaps I can help. It is Monday, after all. And I know you'll need a break from all that is, well...Monday.

Link Love: Good Reads from Around the Internet
1) I've been thinking about taking Hannah to see The Good Dinosaur. She's almost four, an age that can still make it hard for her to comprehend certain things...which is both good and bad when it comes to the media. I appreciate this website and their honest review, and will be better prepared to answer questions (should they arise) when she sees the movie.

2) We might have some sort of stomach bug going through the house right now. Or it could be a mild funk, I'm not sure. Either way, I went to bed at 7:30PM yesterday because I wasn't feeling good. To relax, I did everything I could to focus exclusively on breathing from the belly (like in yoga class) and I swear it helped. Further research proves that there are mind-body healing benefits of pranayama, and that yoga can aid digestion issues.

3) I never know what kind of music to play in my Barre Fit class. Clearly I turn to Pinterest for inspiration, which is where I recently found this list of songs to match any barre workout routine.

4) How's it going with the holiday shopping? If you need inspiration, I highly suggest you check out the 2015 POPSUGAR gift guide. I'll take one of each, please.

5) Who loves Chicago? I do, I do! And I haven't been there in what seems like forever—totally pinning The Everygirl's Weekend City Guide to Chicago for when I can make the trip.

6) I'm still making my way through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I've got a short list of must-reads on my phone. It includes Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, Big Magic, which is all about living a creative life. After reading these 31 quotes from Big Magic, I think I'm going to bump it up on the list.

7) 25 of the most basic (yet delicious) recipes ever. Need I say more?

8) Wanna teach group fitness? Trust me, it's awesome, but it's not always easy (or glamorous). Here are some things you might want to know before becoming a fitness instructor.

9) If you're not yet following Jill Conyers, you need to put her in your list of must-reads. Every post she writes is beautiful and informative. Jill is also an NASM-Certified personal trainer and she's launching a Healthy Living Jumpstart. If you want to start 2016 off with a bang, join her group. I have no doubt that it's going to be awesome.

10) Next time I don't feel like running on a treadmill, I'm going to take a printout of this treadmill workout with me (and supposedly burn 500 calories).

Question: What kind of music do you like to hear in barre classes? How big of a role does music play in your workouts? 


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