Saturday, March 19, 2016

#linklove: Good Reads from Around the Internet, March 2016

Saturday night, friends. Here we are! Have you been enjoying the weekend? I started mine off with a nice 6-mile run, as I do most weekends, and I am pretty pleased with the time (and the new shoes):

It was cold out and my muscles were tight, but I got it done. I've been running with one of my trainers who also happens to be a track and cross country coach, and he definitely brings out some of that experience when we're running. I feel like he really pushes me to run faster, simply because he runs faster, so it's good stuff. I signed up for another local 5K in mid-April, and look forward to testing out the feet (and the new shoes) in another official event. It's not about winning medals, but it IS about beating me, myself and I. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Regardless, it's fun to try.

Also noteworthy, I'm headed to Florida tomorrow for a huge fitness convention. My gym is a member of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, and the annual convention and trade show starts Monday. From what I've been told, it's huge. It targets the fitness industry from the business side, rather than the fitness professional side, if that makes sense. Here are some of the sessions that I'll be attending:

• Social Media Makeover: Tips & Strategies for Success
• Strength to Sell: Proven Strategies to Sell Personal Training
• Grow Your Business with Small Group Training
• Becoming Results Focused: A New Approach to Group Fitness

I'm also looking forward to early morning workouts and Randi Zuckerberg's keynote. And I can't wait to connect with some of our vendors on the trade show floor. As the Fitness Director, I'm given a yearly budget to buy new equipment, and my wish list is filled with possibility.

Needless to say, I've been packing.

I approached it much like I did for the IDEA fitness convention, and I think I'm ready to go. So here's to a safe, fun-filled trip. And some link love for you. If you're reading this on Sunday, I might be rushing around the airport. Hopefully, unlike me, you are relaxing on this very last day before the new week begins. Enjoy:

1) One of the things I love so much about my gym: The diverse membership. Our slogan is "get fit where you fit in" because we do our best to make everyone feel right at home when they're working out. I think that's why I love this "Every Body Happy" commercial so much. Great job, Blink Fitness, whoever you are.

2) Apparently, extreme yoga is a thing...or at least looks like a thing because some people are so damn flexible that they can get into crazy awesome poses (that I will never, ever be able to get into).

3) Calling all boss ladies! You need to follow these Instagram accounts.

4) Make marriage your new child. Read: When Marriage Feels Heavy

5) Girl power! I love Michelle Obama and the theme song for her new campaign, #62MillionGirls, which focuses on helping girls who don't get the opportunity to go to school. Listen to it, ladies.

6) Self-lacing shoes? Oh, Nike. How futuristic of you. #kindawant

7) I am a runner, and I laughed. Read: 8 Snarky Race Signs Guaranteed to Make Runners Laugh

8) I love pineapples, so I basically want all 28 of these products for people who are super excited about pineapples. I mean, don't you?

9) Hey, you stop that. Read: 25 Things to Stop Doing To Yourself Right NOW

10) Baked Vanilla Coffee Donuts. Get in my mouth.

Question: If you could leave on a jet plane and go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why? (Random, I know, but since I'm flying out this weekend, let's have fun with the QOTD.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

60-Minute Kettlebell, Cardio and Battle Ropes Workout (, delicious frozen food. #LiveHealthyChoice #Ad)

I tell all my clients and class participants not to overwork themselves, but that's exactly what I did yesterday. I got up at 5:00AM (as per the usual) for a 3-mile run at the gym, then I headed home to shower and get the kids ready so I could return in time for the 8:30AM Power Yoga class. Run, then stretch. Always a great combo, except I probably should have eliminated the yoga class because I was asked to sub the 5:30PM Kettlebell, Cardio and Battle Ropes class. And since I'm the boss, I can't technically say no when there isn't other backup. Duty calls.

And duty left me tired.

Here's what we did, in case you're looking for a 60-minute workout that uses kettlebells and battling ropes. (Remember this, though: Always consult with your physician before you try anything new. This workout can produce a relatively high intensity, which might not be right for you. As a certified professional, I stand behind the workout, but can't verify that it will work for you.)

This 60-Minute high intensity workout challenges your strength and endurance.
Let's clarify some of those exercises:

Side Lunge to Curtsy Lunge with Foot on BOSU
Start with your left food on top of the BOSU and your right foot out to the right, with your legs in a side lunge. Step up and over the BOSU as you bring your right foot back into a reverse curtsy lunge. Essentially, your left foot never leaves the BOSU. You'll repeat this on the other side.

Side Plank with Exercise Ball Squeeze on BOSU
This is not as complicated as it seems! Put your bottom foot on a BOSU, then put an exercise ball in between your ankles. Hold the plank, then switch sides when your time is up.

Alternating Forward Lunges with Kettlebell Side Bends
There's nothing revolutionary about the forward lunges, except that you'll add a side bend to them. So hold a kettlebell above your head—you'll probably want something light—then step forward with your right leg and lunge. Once you hit the bottom of your lunge, side bend to the right. It's a small movement. Step back together and repeat toward the other side

Further directions: Warm up! Cool down! Never forget those two things. You can throw some quick bursts of cardio in between each circuit, too. I make my class run two laps around the short track inside our gym, followed by a slow walking lap to give the heart and lungs a break.

And then, you should rest.

By the time I got home from class, I was sufficiently wiped. In between my first and second shifts at the gym, I had to take my daughter to ballet and visit Target, so it was a crazy, hectic day (for sure). All I wanted to do when I got home was eat, shower and sleep.

Emphasis on the eating part. Evening workouts leave me hungry for all the things, especially when I have to double up with a morning workout (which I don't like to do or recommend doing, just so we're clear). Crazy kids and evening routines, coupled with an empty stomach leave me searching for all the foods in the world to eat right here, right now. Two things keep me headed in the right direction:

1) Meal prepping and/or leftovers. When there are healthy, homemade options in the 'fridge, they're all I ever want and most definitely what I grab.

2) Pre-made, store-bought options that cook up in minutes. Like stuff from the deli at my local supermarket. Or frozen meals—yeah, you read that right. Frozen meals, which typically get a bad reputation. But, hey...they can be downright delicious.

I was recently given the opportunity to test out a Healthy Choice Simply Cafe Steamer meal.

healthy frozen dinners
I picked Lemon Herb Chicken (because someone in my house doesn't like lemon, so I never get to cook with it). I knew this ready-to-go meal option would come in handy rather quickly, and it did last night.

Here's what it looks like before you cook it:

healthy frozen dinners

Technically, you're not supposed to remove the plastic cover before you cook it, but I wanted you to see how good it looks right out of the box. Not always the case with frozen meals! Sometimes they look like a simple blob of ingredients, without a bright color in site, while other times they look...well, nothing like the picture on the box (translation: a hot mess).

Not the case with Healthy Choice Simply Cafe Steamer meals.
I was pleasantly surprised by this—and the low amount of sodium (500mg).

It took about four minutes to cook. And yes, the double bowl actually steams the ingredients in your microwave, which helps retain the flavor. When it's done, I had to combine it with the sauce, which heats up in a separate bowl below the rest of the ingredients.

Seriously, it was so good:

Healthy Choice: Healthy frozen dinners with natural ingredients
Really good, actually. I'm a tough critic because, while I appreciate the value of a frozen meal, I need that frozen meal to be perfect from a health perspective or else I won't eat it. And yes, I do understand that fresh is always best. But in this case, fresh has been frozen. Healthy Choice meals are made with real ingredients, minus the preservatives. And with these Simply Cafe Steamer meals, the ingredients are not frozen in the sauce which makes everything taste that much better.

Have I mentioned how fantastic the whole Lemon Herb thing was?

Tired girl, sore muscles...full belly.
Yesterday was long, but dinner was short because I inhaled it.

Check out all the Simply Cafe Steamer varieties.
Good luck picking your favorite (because they all look good).

Questions about the workout? Let me know: tara (at) adailydoseoffit (dot) com

Question: What are some of the quick-fix meal items?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Step outside your fitness comfort zone.

I did something this weekend that I have never done before: I modeled clothing at a fashion show. I live in a small lakeside town that caters to tourists, but at this time of year, the tourists aren't really around so a number of the businesses get together regularly to give locals (and some tourists) a reason to come out. This weekend's event catered to women, and was complete with a fashion show and late-night shopping downtown. One of the girls that works for me does the show regularly, and she asked myself and one of our members (pictured below) to participate with her this year.

Normally, we two girls are found all sweaty in spandex. But this weekend, we got dressed up to represent...and we had so much fun! I was incredibly nervous, but the cute outfit and solid updo helped me walk a little taller.

Thing is, every so often, it's good to do something different. Something you’ve never done before that makes you nervous AND excites you both physically and mentally.

In this post, I want to place emphasis on “physically,” and here’s why: It’s very easy to get locked into a fitness routine. Yes, routines can be good, but running the same miles on the treadmill or doing the same strength exercises week after week can diminish their effects. So as we stare down Monday and a new week, I want you to think about this:

According to the American Council on Exercise, “many of the body’s physiological systems adapt to an exercise program within approximately six to eight weeks.”

At adaptation, it becomes harder to meet milestones or achieve goals. In the fitness world, we call this a plateau. Plateaus can be very, very frustrating. They can also be avoided if you switch up your routine. This may seem daunting, but your options are truly endless.

Here are a few quick ideas:
1) Add miles or intervals to your treadmill run. Play with speed and (or) incline.
2) Pick up heavier weights. Experiment with more or less repetitions.
3) Incorporate different styles of exercise, like HIIT or bodyweight work.
4) Try a group fitness class and let someone else lead you.

We recently added aerial yoga classes to the group fitness schedule at my gym. Many of our members look at the hammocks with equal parts intimidation and interest. “I love yoga, but I’m not sure I can hang upside down,” people say. Consider this: You never know what you can or cannot do (or what something will actually be like) until you try it.

You have to be willing to put (or push) yourself outside of your fitness comfort zone to really experience the side effects of a great sweat session. True change is made when you take yourself to the edge…or maybe even beyond it.

Do you know where the edge of your fitness comfort zone is?

Step just beyond it and be inspired by your own ability to ignite change from within. Then, when you eventually find yourself in a new fitness comfort zone, repeat the process again (and again) to see everlasting change.

Your homework:

Think about the week ahead of you. What is your workout schedule going to be like? Same as last week? Where can you do something different? How can you switch things up a little to push yourself a bit harder? Is this the week where you'll finally try that class you've been eyeing up?

Question: How will you change up your fitness routine this week?

Friday, March 11, 2016

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, March 2016

Disclaimer: The following post is sponsored (partially) by prAna via my partnership with Fit Approach. As always, the opinions that follow are my own and in no way influenced by free product.

Life has been really busy lately. In a great way, of course. The kids are growing, the gym is busy and our personal schedule is packed with fun. Translation: I'm loving life. So I thought I'd roll onward with that theme by sharing six specific things that I'm loving right now. Up first, some pants.

1) prAna Ryley Crop

I am all about fashion-forward fitness gear. I traded in my business casual gear for sneakers and yoga pants a few years ago, and my closet proves that I basically buy all the fitgear. So when Fit Approach gave me the opportunity to pick out something from prAna's "Bluesign Certified" collection, I jumped...basically right into this pair of relaxed yoga pants:

prAna Ryley Cropped Yoga Pants
Truth be told, I'd never wear them in yoga because I like a tight pant when I'm down-dogging (or working on arm balances), but I've been wearing these pretties when I train my clients and they are every bit as comfortable as they look. Baggy in all the right places, but fitted where you want them to be (around the waist and below the knee). Plus, they have pockets.

Let's back up to that "Bluesign Certified" factor, which essentially means that the pants are made in a way that puts the environment first. Cute and conscious? Go get yourself something: Save 15% with code prAnaSpringStyleS16. (This code expires on March 30, 2016.)

2) Mossimo Low Rise Skinny Jeans from Target

Target does it again! Super cute jeans at a price you can afford.
I hate buying jeans. It's a horrible process, but I ran into Target a few weeks ago to buy diapers and (par for the course) I walked out with something else, too: Skinny jeans that fit like a glove. Seriously, I put them on and decided to purchase them within seconds, which never happens when I'm shopping for jeans. I've worn them a few times and they fit like new every single time.

3) Essential Oil Diffuser
I still don't have a wide variety of oils to play with, but I do have a diffuser now. It came the same day my kid barfed in her bed, so I immediately started diffusing the OnGuard blend from doTERRA, which I also just got. It smells good, quite possibly worked well, and now I'm waiting patiently for some Lavender to arrive so I can diffuse that when I go to bed. I have a Sleep blend from 21 Drops that I love, but it's almost gone. I hope the Lavender has the same effect, because I'm a huge fan of my Sleep blend.

4) Saucony Kinvara 7 Running Shoes
I've been running in Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 shoes for awhile now, previously alternating them with my Wave Rider 18 shoes. And before that, I had the Wave Sayonara running shoes. All three shoes are really different, and I liked them all. The Sayonaras were my favorite, as they felt really light and fast. I wanted to go back to that feeling, especially since it's looking like I'm going to spend my summer running short and (hopefully) fast. I tried on a few different neutral running shoes at my local running store, and these felt the best:

I've done two 3-milers in them already (both indoor on a track), and they seem to be really comfortable. No complaints now, hopefully not ever. Also, please note that the colors match my blog's color scheme, #thankyouverymuch. Ha!

5) Evan's Language Skills
My son is such a chatterbox. He will be two in June, and he is finding ihs way about the English language. I swear, in the last month alone, he's learned to put full sentences together. Sometimes more than that...most of which is usually understandable. Although, there are times when he just babbles, complete with hand and head movement and it's the most hilarious thing ever. I love this age so much, and I'm doing everything I can to soak it up before he turns into a teenager.

6) Park Dates

It's beginning to look a lot like Spring up here in Michigan. I dusted off the bike and trailer, and we've already made two trips to the park that's close to our house. I love Spring so much. I love not having to wear a coat. I love the sun, the warmth and the promise of Summer shortly thereafter. I hope it's here to stay.

Check out the #fitnfashionable linkup for more fab gear, and be sure to visit the Fitness, Health and Happiness linkup for a hefty dose of motivation.

Question: Tell me, what's one thing you are really loving right now

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Let's have coffee.

Saturday mornings are for long runs and coffee. One giant cup of caramel-infused latte love. Let's pretend we can run together, then enjoy our coffee together, because if we're being totally honest—there is nothing better than a running friend who wants to chill over a hot cup of jo. Amiright?

But since we can't really do that, you and me, let's just pretend. We'll do it virtually, and since I'm sure you'd ask what I've been up to, I'll go ahead and tell you (because it's been so long since we've last talked):

1) I'm studying for my ACE group fitness exam.
I've been teaching group fitness for a few years now under the authority of my ACE personal training certification, but in January, I decided to make it official. So I've been working through the ACE group fitness books, a lot of which (thankfully) is a review of my CPT studies. The hardest part about it? Finding the time to study. So hard.

2) I'm going to a fitness convention and trade show in a few weeks.
The club I work for is a member of the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association, which puts on a massive convention and trade show every year. This the will be the first year I get to attend, so I've been actively preparing for that. I went to IDEA last year as a personal trainer and blogger. I'll be attending IHRSA as a fitness director. Different perspective, different set of goals. It should be fun.

3) I'm still running...somewhat aimlessly. 
I decided not to run the 25K in Grand Rapids. It just didn't feel right. And when something doesn't feel right, it makes sense to let go. So now I'm trying to figure out what my next move is. Possibly the Soldier Field 10-Miler in Chicago? My mom and sister are running it, and I always enjoy running with them. Ten miles seems within reason. Something to train for, but not something that will push me too far above and beyond what I'm currently doing. My long run right now is six miles, and those miles are very comfortable.

4) I'm doing what I can to operate with a "it is what it is" mentality. 
I love my kids, and I've been trying really hard to let go of things that don't matter, because I'm waisting time on them instead of spending more time with my kids. Like, who cares if the laundry is piled up? So what if there are toys everywhere or dishes in the sink. These things can wait. My house is what it is, and I'm trying so hard to accept that and do what I can.

5) I'm losing time to blog.
If you've been following me for awhile now, you've probably noticed how sporadic I've been about posting to Daily Dose. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going anywhere. I love the art of blogging. But I don't have time to force it, and I don't really want to force any post. You deserve better. I'm increasingly more content with my "what you can, when you can" blogging mentality. It works, and it  keeps the heart of Daily Dose alive and untainted by any pressure to conform.

That said, it's time for me to head out from this coffee date.
Big family birthday party today, and family is everything.

Question: What's your house like right now? Are there things you're neglecting for good reason? If you had all the time to perfect one space in your house, what space would it be and what would you do? Clean the bathrooms? Organize the basement? Tell me.


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