Monday, December 26, 2016

Product Review: Mizuno Cold Weather Running Gear #BreathThermo

The following post is sponsored by Mizuno via my partnership with FitFluential, LLC. All opinions are, as per the usual, my very own. 

Ask my running buddy how much I love running in the heat of Summer, and he'll tell you that I have one thought for him: "Just wait until I make you run with me in the Winter." See, Winter running is my jam. Cold weather provides crisp air which makes the miles feel so refreshing. But I get it, Winter running can be awful. It's cold when the snow falls! But if you're prepared for it with awesome cold weather running gear, Winter running can be enjoyable.

running, running gear, winter running clothes, fitness fashion, Mizuno, cold weather running gear
I've made it my mission to upgrade my Winter running essentials (it was time), so I jumped at the chance to review a few items from Mizuno. Heat-generating technology that will keep me warm? Breath Thermo, you're the best. Here's a closer look at what they sent me:

running, running gear, winter running clothes, fitness fashion, Mizuno, cold weather running gear
Is that blue not to die for? Mizuno nailed it with this Breath Thermo base layer crew. See how it's dark on the inside? That's the technology that supposedly generates heat. Please note the details on the right shoulder:

running, running gear, winter running clothes, fitness fashion, Mizuno, cold weather running gear
I love it.
Look closer:

running, running gear, winter running clothes, fitness fashion, Mizuno, cold weather running gear
This shirt also lives up to its name in another way:

running, running gear, winter running clothes, fitness fashion, Mizuno, cold weather running gear
It really does make a great base layer. I think the only thing I don't like about the shirt is the lack of thumb holes. Life is best lived in shirts with thumb holes, amiright?

But that's why gloves exist, amialsoright? Here's why these rock:

running, running gear, winter running clothes, fitness fashion, Mizuno, cold weather running gear
Plus, they come in different sizes so you can pick a pair that will, in fact, fit you right:

running, running gear, winter running clothes, fitness fashion, Mizuno, cold weather running gear
I'm wearing a small and found them to fit pretty snugly. In fact, they weren't easy to get on and off, which I actually didn't mind. One thing I didn't like: The touch screen forefinger. It wasn't working very well on my Apple Watch and iPhone. Could just be me, though. Who knows. addition to the headband, long pants and light jacket, this Mizuno gear kept me comfortable on a 30ish-degree day. Toward the end of my run, I pulled the gloves off and felt like I could ditch my jacket, but ultimately kept both on and made it home safely.

Today's lesson: Don't let Old Man Winter deter you from running outside in cold weather. Just get the right gear, layer up and pound pavement (just watch out for any ice, hidden or otherwise visible).

Question: Winter running or Summer running? Which one and why?


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Fitness, Health and Happiness Goals: A Year in Review, 2016 Edition

December is a fun month. In addition to all of the wonderful celebrations, December carries with it the promise of yet another great year. January is coming, friends. Are you pondering your 2017 fitness, health and happiness goals? I am, too. And since I'm not quite ready to set them in stone just yet, I thought it would be fun to look back on my 2016 fitness, health and happiness goals.

1) Do more yoga.
Success. I've been regularly attending the Tuesday morning Power Yoga class at my gym. I've noticed a huge difference both physically and mentally. I've also been playing a lot outside of class. Clearly I'm in love with arm balance poses.

2) Run the Fifth Third Riverbank Run 25K.
Major failure. I definitely did not do this. It remains on the bucket list.

3) Get my ACE Group Fitness certification.

group exercise certification, fitness professional
Success. Finally. I spent the entire first half of the year studying for the exam, and the back half of the year praising God that it was over with. It wasn't hard, per se. But I spent a lot of my free time studying for it. I highly recommend the ACE Group Fitness certification. The American Council on Exercise is a great organization that's easy to work with.

1) Get back to prepping meals and snacks.
Success. Not every week is perfectly planned out and/or prepped to perfection, but I'm certainly putting forth the effort. When I build my grocery list, I always try to have at least one make-ahead meal or snack on the list. Sometimes more.

2) Get my eyes checked.
Another major failure. Unless you count the eye test you take when you renew your driver's license. It's been so long! Yikes.

3) Explore essential oils.
Success. This girl is hooked on learning about oils.

1) Return to my faith.
I'm still working on this. Faith isn't a perfect journey, and I think that's what makes it so beautiful. We all have our own way of believing in a higher power. It's a journey, one that I won't ever give up on. I have a few guided Bible studies at home, and am slowly working on them. I bought a Bible that can be doodled in, and have been doing that here and there as a method of relaxation:

2) Take time to relax—with and without my children.
I am constantly addressing my need to slow down. Case and point: Shutting down the blog for a few months. The whole "relax" thing will always be a struggle for me because there will always be a list of things that need to get done or people that need my attention, but I'm learning to recognize my own personal need for space and time in which to breathe. It's important, that whole self care thing. And I need to do more of it.

3) Spend less money on things so I can spend more money on experiences.
Damn you, Target. #thatisall

Question: How did you do on your goals this year? Is there anything on your list that didn't happen? How about an accomplishment you're really proud of?


Saturday, December 10, 2016

8 Reasons You Should Take Group Fitness Classes

If you sign up for sessions with a personal trainer, you will get targeted attention that will help you reach your health and fitness goals—but what if personal training sessions don't interest you? Or maybe it's not in your budget. The answer: Group fitness. Join any gym and you will gain access to a list of classes, one of which is bound to meet your needs. And, yes—you can (and should) take the class.

fitness, group fitness, group exercise, exercise, working out. gym, fitness studioPeople don't take group fitness classes for a number of reasons:

"What if I can't keep up?"
"I've never done it before."
"I'm not strong enough."
"I don't know anyone else."
"It won't be a good workout."

The list goes on, and many these reasons are quickly debunked the moment you take that first step into the fitness studio. Group fitness processionals are trained to make you feel at ease as they challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone. I'm sure yo've heard: That's where all the magic happens.

There are a variety of  reasons why you should be attending group fitness classes.
Today, let's talk about eight of them.

group fitness, fitness, group exercise, exercise, gym, fitness studio
1) Go and keep going and you'll have a room full of accountability partners. You will make friends and they will help you stay motivated to reach your health and fitness goals.

2) Group fitness is fun, it really is.

3) You don't have to worry about coming up with a workout that is effective. The instructor will provide effective workouts for you, every class...every time.

4) Every group fitness class can be modified, which is totally acceptable. Safe modifications are key, and also a way for you to monitor your progress. Eventually, you won't need them!

5) Most of the time, group fitness classes are free with your gym membership. If and when they aren't, there is probably a good reason why. All things considered, the price of attendance will be less than personal training sessions—and certainly less than a medical bill.

6) Informative instructors can educate you about health and fitness, and are always ready and willing to provide answers to your questions. If they can't, they will almost always point you to someone who can.

7) Consistent schedules help you keep your fitness routine consistent from week to week.

8) In terms of interest, there is literally something for everyone! Find what fits your interests and embrace every aspect of the challenge. Don't know what class is right for you? Ask the staff! They can describe the variety of styles available to you.

More information on group fitness classes:

ACE Group Fitness Exam Review and Study Tips
6 Tips for Group Fitness Instructors

Question: What is your favorite group fitness class? What's your take on group fitness in general? If you don't take group fitness classes, why not?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

5 Inspirational Running Quotes

Winters in Michigan are always fun. I live on the shores of Lake Michigan, which makes for some very interesting snowstorms. This, of course, changes the way I approach running in the Winter. Despite having access to a track and treadmills at the gym, I still prefer to run outside. Even when it's cold. But again, up here in Michigan, when it's cold...oh, baby it's cold outside. So I need all the running motivation I can get at this time of year. So today, I thought it would be fun to share five inspirational running quotes.

running, run chat, runner, inspirational running quotes, run quote, runner's world
The local weatherman is predicting loads of snow for the duration of this week, and I'm already wondering how that will affect my long run this weekend. (I teach Spinning this week, so I won't be running again until Sunday). It snowed a little bit this past Sunday, but I headed out early and missed the bulk of it:

running, run chat, runner, fitsnap
Might not get so lucky this weekend. Time will tell.

Back to the quotes. Although they aren't specific to Winter running, I find them extremely motivations and uplifting. And as I've said before, I need all the motivation I can get at this time of year. Maybe you'll find them useful, too.

running, runner's world, quotes, inspiration, run chat

running, runner, run chat, inspirational, quotes, runners world

running, run quotes, runners world, fitness, inspiration

running, runner, run quote, quotes, inspiration, fitspiration

run, runner, running, run chat, inspiration, fitspiration, quotes, motivation

Question: What's your take on Winter running? How do you stay motivated at this crazy time of year?  Is there a quote that keeps you going?

Monday, November 28, 2016

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, November 2016

Is it just me, or did November fly right past us? It's a true testament to the general busy-ness of life, which I'm sure you know all about. To keep it chill, I thought I'd reflect on a few of my favorite things. It's always so hard to narrow it down to six, but nonetheless, I enjoy it when people say "hey, you should check this out" or "man, this is great." I find it informative and inspiring in various ways, and maybe you will, too.

1) Hourglass Makeup and Marc Jacobs Lipgloss
I love makeup. It's too much fun. A few months ago, Influenster sent me an Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish foundation stick. I had to guess at the color, and it ended up working out because I had a tan. I've since switched to something a little lighter. At $46, it's not the cheapest foundation you'll ever buy,'s pretty good. I love the coverage, and it couldn't go on any easier. You don't need much, which means the tube'll last a long time. I wish I could show you a decent picture of it on me, but for now, here's the stick itself...

makeup, foundation, lipgloss, marc jacobs, hourglass, influenster
...and my new Marc Jacobs Enamored High Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer in Allow Me. I don't know where I got it, but I've had a teeny tiny little tube of this stuff for the longest time. Finally bit the bullet and bought the full-size tube. It's my favorite gloss. The right amount of color and shine. Perfect for every day, perfect over my favorite MAC lipstick in Brave.

2) Young Living Stress Away Essential Oil

essential oils, roller ball, oil blends, fight stress with essential oils
You guys. Please get yourself some of this stuff if you have access to Young Living oils. It's so good in so many ways. We did a yin yoga workshop at the gym a few weeks ago and my instructor piped this stuff through the studio. Hooked. Instantly. She handed out the little roller ball to all the students. I had her buy me the bottle, and then I made my own roller ball. Seriously, it's now my daily perfume.

3) The November POPSUGAR Must Have Box

monthly subscription box, popsugar, must have box
Have I told you lately how much I love the POPSUGAR Must Have subscription box? Stop right now and think about all the people you have to buy presents for. Who can you send this to because, seriously, they'll love it. This month's box was filled with goodies, and I'm so grateful to them for sending it my way. It came with a rose gold Kendra Scott bracelet and some popcorn you'll never see because I ate it right up. If you want your own box, you'll save $5 if you use SHOP5 at checkout.

4) TRX
I've been on a huge TRX kick lately. I'm teaching a TRX class again, and have been able to take a few TRX Bootcamps as well. I've also been training (torturing?) my clients with them, too. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Get yourself into a TRX class pronto! Man, it has this ability to work your muscle groups simultaneously for the most effective, time-saving workout ever.

Some TRX workouts you might like to check out:

TRX and BOSU Interval Workout
45-Minute TRX Workout

5) New Balance Shoes

athletic shoes, running shoes, New Balance, Athleta, fitness clothing, fitness fashion
So pretty. So comfy. I bought these at the start of Fall and have basically been wearing them whenever I am outside of the gym. Because, you know, you can take a girl out of the gym but you can't take the gym out of the girl. So these shoes are a bit of a fashion compromise: Extremely cute and on-trend, yet totally comfortable and much like the running shoes I basically live in all day at work. I got them from Athleta using the discount offered to all fitness professionals. Sa-weet score!

6) Running Outside in Colder Weather
This is my absolute favorite time of year to run outside. I would much rather run in the cold than in the sweltering heat of summer. Yuck! That Thanksgiving Day Turkey Run I've been talking about? I snagged a birthday PR of 22:05 and I couldn't be happier with that time. I followed it up with a nice 6-miler on Sunday:

Question: What is one thing you are absolutely loving right now? A product, book, class? I know there's something you're obsessed with, so tell me about it! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

TRX Exercises That Work Two Muscle Groups

It's TRX Tuesday! I teach a 45-minute TRX class on Tuesday nights and this morning, I traded in my Power Yoga for a TRX Bootcamp. Butt kicked! I've been out of the TRX game for awhile, and I rarely do much more than demo an exercise, so it was great to get back into a TRX class and be the student.

There are so many great TRX exercises. I thought about sharing my favorites with you, but they are all my favorite for one reason or another which would make for a very long post. So today, I thought I'd break down a handful of TRX exercises that work more than one muscle group. Exercises like this save you time in the gym, and generally present a greater challenge.

trx, suspension training, fitness equipment, compound exercises
If you are new to TRX training, please use caution. Always speak with your physician, a certified personal trainer or a group fitness instructor if you have any concerns.

Before I break down the aforementioned exercises, let me share a few reasons why the TRX suspension system is so great:

1) One piece of equipment can work every single muscle group.
2) Your core is actively involved from start to finish—no crunches!
3) It travels well, so you can take your workout with you.
4) Almost anyone at any fitness level can do it.
5) It will change the way you challenge your muscles.

Here come the exercises:

First up, a squat to a twisted high pull. Legs and core work together in this one. You'll start in a squat and as you stand up, you'll twist up toward the ceiling. Squat again, then twist up in the opposite direction.

trx, suspension training, fitness equipment, compound exercises, upper body exercise, core exercise
Try to keep your arms straight the entire time, forcing your core (not the arms) to produce the twist.

Save your arm muscles for a biceps curl to a reverse high pull.

trx, suspension training, fitness equipment, compound exercises, biceps exercise, compound exercises, shoulder exercises
Back and biceps. Opposing muscle groups. Keep the elbows lifted as you curl, lifting up and over to bring your knuckles to your shoulders. As you open up again, you'll turn the wrists and go back up in a reverse high pull. Alternate between the two and appreciate all that your arms are doing.

Glutes and hamstrings power this one:

trx, suspension training, fitness equipment, compound exercises, butt exercise, hamstring exercise
I promise you this hamstring curl to a hip press will make your backside burn. All of it. lift the hips, bring the heels in, then press the hips up. Return to the start and repeat.

Chest and obliques:

trx, suspension training, fitness equipment, compound exercises, upper body, core exercise, pushup variation
Spiderman pushups aren't easy, and the straps certainly enhance the challenge. Consider this an advanced exercise! Start in a plank, then pull your knee to your shoulder as you drop down into a  pushup. Alternate your legs to keep it even. If you need to modify, do a pushup, then pull in the knee while you stay in plank position.

If you need further modifications, or if you have any questions about TRX suspension training, feel free to reach out: tara (at) adailydoseoffit (dot) com.

Question: Is there a workout or exercise that kicks your butt every single time no matter what? What kind of TRX classes are offered at your gym? If you have a TRX suspension trainer at your house, where do you anchor it?

Friday, November 18, 2016

How To Prevent Fitness Injuries

Fitness is fun, but it can also be quite dangerous. Whether you exercise at a fitness facility or in the privacy of your own home, the opportunity for injury will exist—and nothing can sideline your progress quite like an unexpected injury. But don't let this risk stop you! Fitness injuries can be preventable. Here are a few things to consider:

fitness, workout, exercise, fitness tips, fitness injuries
1) Keep an open dialogue with your physician.
If you have any recurring health issues, or if you are beginning a new exercise program, you should always check in with your doctor. They may protect you with valid reasons why you should stop before you start. Or change what you're doing. Additionally, if something doesn't feel right to you (like a painful muscle or joint), your physician can address the potential injury before it gets worse.

2) Warm up and cool down.
Jump into any workout without warming up and you're basically asking your body to work before it's ready to. Give your body a chance to prepare for the challenge ahead of it—to redistribute the flow of blood to working muscles, to bring your heart rate up gradually, and to prepare the lungs for enhanced breathing. Additionally, the warm up prepares you body for any movement patterns it will need to perform.And on the flip, the cool down will safely return you body back to its resting state.

3) Inspect your equipment and the space around it.
Fitness equipment does not last forever. It is always a good idea to inspect what you intend o use before you begin your workout. Faulty equipment cannot be trusted, and if it fails, it can affect your ability to correctly perform an exercise. Make sure the space around you is clear so that you can move about without falling over anything. It takes two seconds to put something away, but far longer to recover from a sprained ankle.

4) Respect your limit and adjust as needed.
The greatest risk for injury occurs the moment you are unable to execute an exercise with proper form or alignment. When the going gets tough, there is nothing wrong with modify the one to reach the finish line. This is exactly how you work toward new levels of strength without hurting yourself. Biceps curls don't count if you have to kick out your elbows or lean back in order to lift the weight to your shoulders. And furthermore, "no gain" is not necessarily the golden rule. Paint will often translate to "problem." Honor your limit and rest if necessary.

5) Ask for help.
If you don't know how to use a piece of equipment, or if you don't know how to perform an exercise that intrigues you—ask a fitness professional for help. Attempting to figure it out on your own can A) lead to immediate injury, or B) set you up for injuries down the road.

6) Question the help.
If you are working with a personal trainer, or if your group fitness instructor is leading you down a path that doesn't feel right—employ the open dialogue technique. Communicate questions and concerns. Fitness professionals are really good at noticing issues, but they truly welcome your feedback. They want you to speak up if something doesn't feel right. Yes, they are the professionals and you can trust them—but it is ultimately your body and only know what that body is feeling.

Bottom line, fitness should be fun AND positive. And the only way to keep it that way is by ensuring you are taking the right...the safe...approach. Getting hurt is a thousand steps back, and in the case of fitness, forward is the progress you're looking for.

Question: Ever experience a fitness related injury? How did you cope? What did you do? And what could you have done differently to prevent it?

Monday, November 14, 2016

How to Stay Happy and Healthy Over the Holidays

November is here, which means the Holidays are upon us. The celebrations are about to begin, filling your schedule with multiple events and loading your plate with foods that challenge your diet. Will all of this derail the healthy habits you've worked so hard to establish? Don't despair—there are simple things you can do to stay healthy over the Holidays:

healthy living, happy holidays, thanksgiving, christmas, elf on a shelf, tips and tricks
First and foremost, you need to relax.
This is a very fun time of year. Embrace the Holidays from the get-go and you'll hit January in a much better state. Yes, it's crazy. Yes, opportunities to eat more than you usually do will present themselves. And yes, you'll miss a few workouts along the way. Be ready for all of this and you'll be able to accept the stumbles—and recover from them—with much less stress.

Don't be afraid to say "no."
Parties, parties and more parties! First and second helpings—and dessert! There is only one of you, so don't say "yes" to everything. Attend the parties that mean the most to you, and eat portions that mimic your usual meals.  Keeping the season in perspective will help you avoid the overload.

Keep fitness at the forefront of your routine. 
Make it a priority. If your visits to the gym create a happier, healthier you—fight to maintain your routine! Again, it's perfectly find to let the occasional party take precendence, but now (more than ever) is the time to exercise the fitness discipline you've created. If you know this will be difficult, gift yourself personal training sessions or start taking group fitness classes. Accountability at its finest!

Be mindful of germs. 
This sounds like a silly reminder. We're all adults, yes? But there's nothing more frustrating than a virus or bug that brings you down. So wash your hands. Eat your veggies. Take your vitamins. Get your flu shot. Always try to stay one step ahead of the illnesses that can bring you down at this time of year.

Treat yourself.
The Holidays ask us to help those in need. We give gifts, send love and offer support. This is great, but don't forget about your own needs. Sure, it's important to stay on top of your physical health and fitness. You must pay attention to your mental health, too! So treat yourself. To rest. Or a massage. Or a new pair of shoes if that's what makes you smile.

This time of year is crazy, but you don't have to be! Maintain the lifestyle you've worked so hard to create, but add in the fun stuff as you see fit—and enjoy every minute. These weeks of celebration only come around once a year. Embrace them and you'll be happy and stay healthy.

Here are some other posts I've written that address this same topic:

10 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Healthy
5 Ways to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

Question: How do you stay healthy over the Holidays? Any tips and tricks that work for you?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Running Update, 10/31-11/6

A few weeks ago, I tossed out my year-end running goals. One of which was to run at least three times per week. So far, so good on that count—I ran four times last week! I thought it would be fun to recap those runs for you because #accountability. And outside of the goals themselves, I haven't really talked that much about my running on Daily Dose. So, here goes.

running, runner, run chat, mother runner, running goals, garmin forerunner 15
As a group fitness instructor that teaches almost every day, it can be very hard to sneak in my own personal workouts.  Gratefully, I am able to participate in four out of the five classes that I teach without compromising my ability to instruct. But I'm not a fan of physical overload, and I know my own limits. Here's how last week broke down for me:

No running for me on Monday! I woke up at 4:30AM for clients, and I taught a Barre Fit class at 9:15AM. So by the time I got free time, I was wiped clean of any and all energy. Plus, it was Halloween and costumes and candy were more important.

I hit the gym around 5:30AM and clocked a few miles:

running, runner, run chat, mother runner, running goals, garmin forerunner 15
I started off on the track, clocked one mile, then did two miles of speed work. I started at about 8:30/mile and dropped it down roughly :15 every .25 miles. At that point, I hit the streets with my running buddy. I don't normally clock this many miles during the week, so I was pretty happy with the run. I also did some Power Yoga. Much needed stretching.

It was another early morning for me. I had a client, then taught my HIIT class. No running, unless you count the laps we took in class. Roughly half a mile, I suppose. 

Every other week, I teach Spinning on Thursdays. Last week, I did not have to teach so I snuck in another run. But I was up late watching the World Series. So I only clocked three miles. And they were slow:

running, runner, mother runner, fitness equipment, gps watch. garmin

I woke up early again for a 6:00AM client, then taught PiYo Live at 9:00AM. No running.

OK, so I don't normally run on Saturdays, but I snuck in 3.78 miles (according to my Garmin). I signed up for the HeartMiRun Virtual 5K. All of the proceeds go to Michigan state parks, so I met m local running group at ours to clock some time at our local park. I don't get out there much. It's full of trails that I don't know very well, It was beautiful. The perfect Fall experience. My mom came with me:

I met the running buddy. Here's what we clocked:

running, runner, run chat, fitness equipment, GPS watch. activity tracker
So, pretty happy with the week. I ran a total of 16.98  miles. Let's just call it 17 miles. Still haven't been out to the track to really work on speed, and I'm not sure this'll be the week because I teach Spinning on Thursday so I'm losing a day of running. We'll see, though. Never say never. 

Today, I taught Barre Fit.
Tomorrow, it's time to vote. 
Get out there, Americans. 

Question: Is your week in fitness off to a great start? How was last week? What are you currently working on, goal-wise?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pumpkin Bar Overnight Oats

November kicks my pumpkin cravings into high gear. Say what you will about October, but November and pumpkins just go together. I'm all in now. Completely. Maybe it's because I get homemade pumpkin bars on my birthday—which, by the way, happens to fall on Thanksgiving this year. So I have to wait for Thanksgiving to eat the aforementioned pumpkin bars because #tradition.

But I'm cheating a bit this year.
Just kind of.

oats, oatmeal, overnight oats, pumpkin recipe, pumpkins, breakfast, easy food
I decided to try my hand at pumpkin bar overnight oats. Not warm oats because we're still wearing shorts and walking around without coats up here in Michigan. For real. So, overnight oats. I pulled out my mom's recipe for pumpkin bars, and then pulled out some of the ingredients, plus my oats.

pumpkins, oatmeal, breakfast, breakfast recipe, quick and easy, clean eating
The best part of the pumpkin bars, by far, is the cream cheese icing. It's basically cream cheese and powdered sugar (so healthy). So I put just a touch of powdered sugar into the oats.

pumpkins, oatmeal, breakfast, breakfast recipe, quick and easy, clean eating
It provided just the right amount of sweetness to not make the oats themselves seem too much like a dessert. I topped the oats with chia seeds and pepitas, which do not make an appearance on the original pumpkin bars.

pumpkins, oatmeal, breakfast, breakfast recipe, quick and easy, clean eating
The beautiful thing about overnight oats: You just have to throw everything in a jar, stir it up, then let it sit (you guessed it) overnight in the 'fridge.

pumpkins, oatmeal, breakfast, breakfast recipe, quick and easy, clean eating
They were really delicious. Not too sweet, not too savory. Here's the recipe. Of course, with overnight oats, you can do as you please. They'll turn out every time, right?

Source: A Daily Dose Original

• 1/2 Cup Old-Fashioned Oats
• 3/4 Cup Milk
• 1/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
• 1/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
• 1/8 Tsp. Nutmeg
• 1/4 Tsp. Powdered Sugar
• 1 Tsp. Chia Seeds
• 1 Tbsp. Pepitas (Raw Pumpkin Seeds)

Throw everything in a single-serve jar or bowl. Mix, then store in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy! And adapt the recipe as you see fit. So much fun to play with flavors!

Question: What is your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin at this time of year? Do you switch to warm oats when the weather gets cold, or does weather not affect your hot/cold cravings?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Quick At-Home Barre Workout (...with pumpkins!)

Do you like barre workouts? They're all the rage, understandably so. At my gym, we offer (and I teach) a 60-minute barre class. We call it "Barre Fit" because it's a bit non-traditional. We don't have a  barre in the studio, so we improvise with chairs and/or weighted bars for balance. We also incorporate some traditional strength exercises, hence the "Fit." It's a really fun class to teach, and yesterday's class was no exception. 

It was Halloween, so I purchased a pumpkin for each of my students—the only weight we used for the duration of the class! How fun! Also, I taught in costume because #halloween. Here's the complete look:

My high school cheerleading uniform, circa 1999. I kept having these weird "never in my life would I ever imagine myself in this situation, in this uniform" moments throughout class. My students got a kick out of it. And the pumpkins. 

We used them as weights. They worked nicely for triceps press backs:

And weighted chair squats:

And sometimes we just held them as a way to easily move from one exercise to the next, or to further test our ability to balance while moving:

Again, the class I teach is a 60-minute Barre Fit class. If you're looking for a quicker barre workout you can do at home, I pared down our workout into the following 30-minute barre workout:

barre, workouts, easy workouts, at home workouts, fitness, exercise
You really don't need any equipment. Use a medicine ball (or a pumpkin, if you still have one). You can also use a weight. Remember to honor your body, though. If barre workouts are new to you, or if you're fresh off an injury or some other physical setback, please consult with your physician first. That said, let's break down some off the less obvious moves:

Dead Lift to Shoulder Press to Alternating Side Bends
Hinge forward from the hips while holding the medicine ball, then rise up to standing. Shift seamlessly into a shoulder press, and once the medicine ball is overhead, side bend to the right. Repeat from the top, bending to the left and alternating with every rep. If the medicine ball feels light, you can increase the weight—or use the opportunity to really focus on what your hamstrings and glutes are doing throughout the exercise. Translation: Squeeze and pull with those muscles!

Superman Lifts with Lat Pulls
On your belly for this one! As you lift and lower the arms and legs at the same time, pause for a brief second at the top to perform a lat pull. In other words, slide your shoulder blades down your back and pull as if you were holding on to a lat bar.

Leg Lifts Up and Over Medicine Ball
Place your medicine ball at the end of your mat. Sit in front of it, legs together and feet resting to the right side of the medicine ball. While keeping your back nice and straight, engage your core and lift your legs up and over the BOSU. Keep the legs glued together (and strong!) throughout.

Any questions? Read out: tara (at) adailydoseoffit (dot) com.
I'm always ready to help. 

Look at this beautiful class of mine:

They're the best.

Some other barre workouts for you:

Question: What's the most unconventional piece of fitness equipment you've ever used? What is your favorite Halloween treat? C'mon. I know you like at least one type of candy...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Year End Running Goals

Anyone else shocked that November is right around the corner? I am finally in pumpkin mode and totally feeling the effects of Fall. Did Summer go by in a blur for you, too? here we are, staring down the last two months of the year. Start thinking about the holidays yet? Yeah, I haven't either. But I have been thinking about my running game and what I intend to do with it for the rest of the year.

My half marathon is behind me now, and while I do enjoy running without a purpose, I like to have some sort of goal or race on the horizon. I've been focusing on one thing only: Three runs per week.

I'm going to change that now. Sort of.

I signed up for two races: The HeartMiRun Virtual 5K and the Niles-Buchanan YMCA Thanksgiving Day Run. Another 5K. On my birthday. Yes, my birthday is on Thanksgiving.

So, here are my new year-end running goals.

1) Run three times a week. 10-15 miles per week. 
That might not seem like a lot of miles to you, but that's about all I can handle because of my work schedule and my priorities at home. I teach quite frequently throughout the week, so I currently use Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for running—BUT, I teach Spinning on Thursdays every other week. So every other week, I struggle to fit in three runs. If it doesn't happen, I don't beat myself up about it, but I love running. And honestly, I'd rather run than spin.

2) PR at the Thanksgiving Day Run.
I felt really strong at the Chicago Half Marathon. I have never paced so well in my life. 8:30/miles felt really comfortable on race day, and I can push sub-8:00 for shorter distances. So I'm gunning for a new PR at the Thanksgiving Day Run, which is on Thanksgiving...which is my birthday! A good present to myself, yes? I've enlisted the help of my running buddy, a track and cross country coach. He insists we need to hit the local track, which I am all for. So we'll see.

3) Gear up for cold weather running.
It's getting colder up here in Michigan, and as I was looking for a long-sleeve top to wear this past weekend, I realized that I don't have much to choose from. So I need a handful of cold-weather running shirts to wear alone and as layers. I have a ton of pants, just not tops. I think, when I go shopping, that I focus too intently on the cute tanks and bras.

4) Pick a long-distance Spring race to run.
There are a handful of local 5K races in the Winter and early Spring that I intend to run, but if I want to run a late-spring half marathon, then I'll need to pick that one sooner than later to a) avoid higher race fees, and b) map out a good start date for training when the new year hits.

So I guess that's it.
That's where I am at right now.

With all the heavy training I did for Chicago, it feels good to be staring down a few lighter goals.

Question: What is one of your year-end fitness goals? Are you running a race on my birthday, otherwise known as Thanksgiving Day? Ha!

Friday, October 21, 2016

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, October 2016

Raise your hand if you can't believe we are staring down November. I can handle October, but when November hits, I feel like the year is over and the Holiday shenanigans are hitting me full-speed ahead. But yes, it's still October. So I thought I'd pop in with a few things I am loving this month. In no particular order:

1) Do Everything Cuffed Pant from Lucy Activewear

active wear, workout pants, athleisure, fashion, style
Literally obsessed with these pants. They are lightweight and super comfortable. AND...super cute. Lucy came out to my gym for a trunk show a few weeks ago and, once I spotted these on the rack, I knew immediately that I'd get my money's worth within days. Literally, they are the best. The epitome of athleisure.

2) Open-Back Shirts with Pretty Sports Bras

fitness, fashion, fitness fashion, fitgear, fit fashion, workout clothes, style
I have the hardest time finding bras that fit. I blame my children (she says with a smile). So I basically said "screw it" and decided to spend some money on cute sports bras that I can wear outside of the gym, too. Cue up the Lululemon Free to Be Bra (Wild). It's literally the most adorable sports bra I've ever worn. Also, the most expensive. Even with the fitness pro discount. But I'm wearing it all over the place, for almost all of the workouts I've done, and it is really proving itself to be quite good. And cute, as seen through the back of this cut out fashion tee from Target.

3) Dahlia Flowers

You guys. I am the absolute worst gardener in the world. My thumbs are not green and I absolutely hate maintaining the plantlife in my yard. So these dahlias are my pride and joy right now. They are blooming like mad! I have done nothing—NOTHING!—to them all Summer. Word is they'll keep blooming until it frosts. Thankfully, we are experiencing an usually warm Fall right now. Keep it up, Mother Nature! Another picture, because you can't just have one picture of pretty flowers:

flowers, garden, favorite things
4) Running Without a Purpose

I spent all of Spring and Summer training for a half marathon. I love running long, but I get lost in the pressure of fitting in training runs. And my body always feels heavier when I get higher in miles. Now that the Chicago Half Marathon is behind me, I'm running without a purpose again. Or, without pressure. And it feels really good. My only goal is to get at least 15 miles per week. But, there's a Thanksgiving Day run on the horizon, and I'd love a PR. So I might take on some speed work to decrease my 5K time. Compared to half marathon training, speed work just sounds like fun.

5) Healthy, Prepackaged Foodie Finds

little potato company, vega, kodiak cakes, food, healthy food,
These three items are quickly becoming staples in my grocery cart. I am a fan of eating fresh and homemade, but there are days and times during the week where healthy, prepackaged foods really help me out. For example, I buy the potatoes when I'm making a meat-based meal that calls for a side dish (and I'd rather spend more time on the meat than the side). I buy the Minute Muffins for Monday mornings when I have to be at the gym by 4:30AM. And the Vega bars, well...I always have a Vega snack bar in my gym bag.

6) School Work

I mean, who wouldn't love a wall covered in artwork from your kid?

Question: What is one thing you are loving right now?


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