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

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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

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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.

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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...


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