Thursday, April 13, 2017

So you want to be a runner...

There's something so incredible about the concept of running. It harnesses two of our greatest human sensations: fear and pleasure. In a book appropriately titled Born to Run, author Christopher McDougall explores this concept. "We run when we're scared, we run when we're ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time," he writes. And he's right. We run. All of us.

Some of us do it for fitness reasons.
Maybe this is you?

If it isn't, that's perfectly fine. Running isn't the only worthwhile of exercise. But if you want to make it your exercise of choice, then I encourage you to begin. Take that first step, maybe two or three, and see how running make you feel.

Good? That's wonderful.
Bad? Totally normal.

As a beginner, you should know the following...

running, running advice, run chat, running shoes
1) Running is hard, and it always will be.
Consider it a beautiful challenge. Running will constantly push you above and beyond your limit, taking you in and out of your comfort zone every time you lace up.

2) Two steps count, so does a mile or a marathon.
Running can be a team sport, but it's very much an individual battle. It's you, your feet, the road ahead and your determination to rise above what you did the day before.Therefore, every step counts.

3) Forward is a pace.
Running is often associated with racing. To some runners, pace (how fast you run) is everything. To others, it doesn't really matter—and that's perfectly fine—because forward movement of any kind will always generate progress toward the end result.

4) Rest is important.
Once you embrace running and all the joys it can generate, it can very easily become that one thing you need to do every single day. BUT—you must rest. The physical aspects of running will challenge any body, and you need to honor yours at all times. So don't deny yourself a rest day when you need it.

running, run chat, running shoes
5) Good shoes make all the difference.
One doesn't need much to run. sure, you can find a wide variety of accessories that will enhance the experience. Realistically, there's only one thing you truly need—great running shoes. So invest in a pair that makes your feet happy, because when your feet are happy, the rest of your body will be, too.

And therein lies the beauty of running.
You can always find joy in the journey.

Question: Are you a runner? Why do you run?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

So I'm running a running store...

I worked a lot of retail in college. I started off at American Eagle Outfitters, after which I went to Bath and Body Works, then Abercrombie and Fitch. When I finished school, I moved on to my first job in advertising, but worked a few hours at Express to fund the professional wardrobe. Truth: I hated that job at Express, so I quit retail and focused on my advertising career, which lasted for seven years before I decided to start a fitness career.

While I made the switch to fitness, I worked at a local boutique. But only for one Summer. Fast forward to today: I've been in the fitness industry for almost seven years now, and I'm not leaving it anytime soon.

Guess what, though?
I'm going back to my roots in the retail industry.

I'm running a running store.

running, run chat, run store, Saucony, Kinvara
No, I didn't quit my job at the gym. I am still the fitness director, also a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. That was, and still is, my primary part-time job. I just added another 15 hours a week to my life with this new position at the running store—managing partner, officially.

I have been tasked with revamping a dying running store that has buckets and buckets of potential. Don't worry, I'm not in it alone. My partner is my running buddy, also a personal trainer on my team at the gym. Neither one of us could do it without the other. We wouldn't have the time. But together, we can be the type of manager the store needs. And we are so excited about that.

Also, we're like Willy Wonka in his chocolate factory.
We are literally surrounded by shoes (and desperately trying not to buy them all).

running shoes, running store, run chat
We are meeting left and right with shoe reps. We've checked Saucony and Mizuno off the list, and are anxiously awaiting our scheduled meetings with Brooks, New Balance and TOPO.

Guys, it's so much fun.
A lot of work, indeed.
But, it's so...so much fun.

This is a different type of retail job than I've ever had before. I'm not following corporate rules and punching a clock. I'm making something, a new environment for every local runner in my town. My partner and I are full of ideas. We have a vision, and we cannot wait to bring it to life.

But first, we have to learn this shoe industry thing. How to order, when to restock...all that good stuff. So some of those big ideas have to wait for a minute while we familiarize ourselves with the inventory, for example:

running store, run gear, run chat
We are fairly stocked with all the essentials, but we see room for more. I'm learning so much about running shoes. I'm even getting sneak peeks at shoes that aren't out yet. Really, though—I'm helping people find shoe love, and in doing so, I'm making connections in the community. And that's what we hope to do with the store.

We want to reconnect it to the community.

My partner and I are (hopefully) going to make this store a hub of running activity. This community we live in, it's full of runners. My town is an active town and hopefully this store will be a bigger part of that.

Again, it's hard work, but I'm loving it.
And I'm so grateful for this new opportunity.

#wishmeluck
#herewego
#letsdothis

Question: Do you have any retail experience? What stores have you worked at? If you frequent a local running store, what makes you go there versus websites on the Internet? 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Protein Truffles

The following post is sponsored by Naked Nutrition. Despite compensation and free product, all opinions are my own, as per the usual. 

I like chocolate. My body needs protein. So when chocolate and protein combine, it generally ends up being a very special treat. This is why, for instance, I usually buy chocolate protein powders. A few weeks ago, Naked Nutrition reached out with an opportunity to test a tub of their whey protein powder. I, of course, chose the Less Naked Chocolate Whey protein powder.

Naked Nutrition, whey protein, protein powder, nutrition, diet, food, supplements
Let's make one thing clear: I am super picky about protein powders. For starters, I am a huge fan of getting necessary nutrients from a well-balanced diet, and I recommend this first and foremost to anyone that asks me if they need a protein shake after they work out. But, I'm also completely realistic. I understand that life doesn't always allow a person to create a well-balanced meal or snack after they hit the gym. And this, I believe, is where a good protein shake can help. And it's how I fit protein shakes into my life.

For example, on Tuesday nights, I teach a Barre Fit class at 5:15PM, followed immediately thereafter by a Buddy Bootcamp at 6:30PM. I often bring a protein shake to the gym with me to hold me over until I get home.

But again, I am super picky about protein powders. So many of them have unnecessary and unclean ingredients in them. This is one of the reasons I agreed to test Less Naked Chocolate Whey Protein Powder. The stuff is pure, hence the name. Take a look:

protein, supplements, fitness, nutrition, protein powder
Now take a look again: There are three ingredients. Grass-fed whey, raw cacao and coconut sugar. That's it. "Nothing to hide." Totally winning, right? Admittedly, this doesn't make it the most potent in terms of flavor. The chocolate is very subtle, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. In addition to drinking it straight up with some water, I used it to create peanut butter and chocolate chip protein truffles.

snacks, protein, protein powder, fitness, nutrition, eat clean
These little bites of yum are about the size of a golf ball, and take minimal time and effort to make, but go a long way in the healthy snack department. Also, chocolate meets peanut butter. Totally winning.

We'll get to the recipe in a second, but you should know that protein powder isn't required. But it will up the protein content of each truffle if you use it. And for what it's worth, they can probably be made with just about any type of protein powder.

Seriously, though. Check out Naked Nutrition if you need to restock. The protein I got will cost you $90 per tub, which is very pricey. But the tub itself has 60 servings of protein, here's what one looks like:

protein powder, chocolate, Naked Nutrition, whey protein, supplements
So do the math. That's about $1.50 per protein shake. And if you use protein like I do, one tub will last you a very long time.

Now it's time for the recipe.

easy to make, snacks, chocolate, whey protein, protein powder, supplements
PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE CHIP PROTEIN TRUFFLES
Source: A Daily Dose of Fit 

Ingredients
• 3 Cups peanuts, processed into peanut butter
• 3 Scoops Less Naked Whey protein powder
• 1/2 Tsp. vanilla
• 1/2 Tsp. honey
• 1 Cup mini chocolate chips
• 2 Bars dark chocolate
• 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Directions
1) Put everything but the dark chocolate bars and coconut oil in a bowl and mix. Refrigerate until solidified enough to form into balls.

2) Create truffles the size of golf balls, then freeze them all for an hour at most.

3) Melt the chocolate bars slowly, adding the coconut oil halfway through.

4) Dip each truffle in the chocolate.

5) Store them all in the refrigerator.

Good luck not eating them all at once. The recipe will make a little more than a dozen truffles, and as you can see, I don't have that many left. Whoops. Eating them like a champ over here, don't mind me.

If you're wondering, this is my dark chocolate of choice:

fitness, nutrition, health, chocolate, chocolate bar, truffle recipe
Question: What's your take on protein powder? Do you incorporate it? Do you rely on it? Do you have a favorite?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Should you exercise when you are sick?

Doesn’t it feel like everyone is sick? Germs are floating around like snowflakes, landing on every surface and infecting us with illnesses that won’t go away. No one likes to get sick. It’s disruptive. And nowhere is this more evident than at the gym. It can be really hard to exercise effectively when you are sick.

But, is it safe to exercise when you are sick?

fitness, health, exercise


First and foremost, you need to honor your body. It speaks loudly! Rest is often the best medicine, but consulting with your physician will tell you otherwise—and you should always listen to your physician.

You should change your health goals, too. When you are sick, your first goal should always be to get better. Your weight loss or long distance training goals can wait. Setting them aside for a few days will not diminish the progress you’ve made. Instead, it will give your body the time in needs to heal. Exercise ignites a stress response in the body. This isn’t always a bad thing when you’re in good health. But when you’re down, it can be counterintuitive to progress and it can hinder your ability to get better.

Letting your body rest ultimately preps it to push hard when it’s back on top again.

Remember, too, that your immune system is working overtime when you are sick. This makes you susceptible to even more unwanted germs. And hitting the gym will undoubtedly expose you to them. Plus, it will expose others to the germs that you carry.

Do your part to stop the spread of unwanted germs!

That said, there’s a tiny bit of grey area. Some illnesses are worse than others, and some are quite manageable. When you’re lucky enough to catch a manageable illness that doesn’t knock you down for days, you might be well enough to keep up your fitness routine. But if you can answer “yes” to any of the following, then you might want to stick with the “stay home” plan:

• Do you have a fever?
• Is your chest congested?
• Are you having gastrointestinal issues?
• Does your body ache?
• Do you feel more fatigued than usual?
• Are you having strong headaches?

These are all signs that your body is fighting something strong. Give it time to fight. Give it time to heal. Remember, you need to honor your body.

Respect it, too. It’s the only one you’ve got.

Please remember that, although I am a certified fitness professional, I am not a physician. If you are sick and unsure of whether or not you should be exercising, you should absolutely reach out to your physician. If you have fitness questions, you can reach out to me at tara (at) adailydoseoffit (dot) com! I’d be happy to help.

Question: How do you tweak your fitness routine when you are sick? Do you take time off or do you modify your routine?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

10 Ways to Spring Clean Your Fitness (...plus, a prAna clothing review)

The following post is sponsored by prAna through my partnership with Fit Approach. 
I received an outfit in exchange for my honest review. 

The weather in Michigan is so unpredictable, but warmer(ish) temps and a few drops of rain have been giving us that Spring feeling. It's only the very beginning of March, though. Mother Nature has this funny way of playing snowy cold tricks on us through April. So we'll see. But still, it's beginning to look a lot like Spring—so it's time to start thinking about Spring cleaning.

prana, fitness clothing, yoga clothes, fitfluential, sweat pink
Every once in a while, you have to check in with your fitness routine. If it's going well, great! If not, then it's worth it to make some changes, do some things differently, or seek out new methods of motivation. Let's talk about that today. Let's talk about ten ways to Spring clean your fitness routine.

1) Purchase new workout clothes.
If you're like me, you can't walk into Target or TJ Maxx without buying something for the gym. But hear me out—new gear is so motivating! If you're in a rut, or if you've got a bit fitness event coming up, go buy yourself something new to wear. New clothes have this way of motivating you...they have this way of making YOU feel like new.

Consider this Mika Strappy Top from prAna:

yoga top, open back workout top, yoga, prana
It features an open back, but offers up plenty of coverage in the front.

prana, yoga clothes, fitfluential, sweat pink
The material is incredibly soft and movable. Perfect for all of your favorite twists and turns in yoga class:

yoga clothes, fitness clothes, gym clothes, fitfluential, sweat pink
It pairs perfectly with the Chetan Capri, which fits like butter:

yoga tights, yoga capris, yoga clothes, prana spring collection, fitfluential, sweat pink
You might call this a sustainable article of clothing. It is made with recycled, organic and Fair Trade materials. Really, though...they're just super comfortable capris that won't fall down while you move. And the higher waistband is nice for all of those inverted poses you love so much:

prana spring collection, yoga clothes, yoga poses, down dog, fitfluential, sweat pink
If you want to get your hands on some prAna gear—because you're Spring cleaning your fitness routine—use S4P17DDF at checkout to save 15%!

Speaking of "spring cleaning your fitness routine," let's look at the rest of the list:

2) Hire a personal trainer.
When you don't know what to do, seek help from someone that does! It's that simple. Personal trainers know what to do at the gym. Whether you work with them once a year, twice a month or three times weekly...they'll give you good advice and keep you moving toward your fitness goals. Next time you hit the gym, strike up a conversation with one of the trainers. See if they can help you move past your plateaus.

3) Asses the quality of your running shoes.
If you experience all four seasons, you might be slowly venturing outside again. Before you do, take a look at your running shoes. Check the tread, scope out any obvious wear and tear. And really tune in to how they make you feel while you are running. Need new shoes? Go buy some! (See #1, because new shoes are also motivating.)

4) Decide if what you're doing is actually working for you.
Now is the time to be honest with yourself. Especially if you've set some lofty goals for 2017. Are you still working toward those goals? Is your plan fostering success? If not, decide that you need to make a change. You must be honest with yourself.

5) Try one new thing.
When it comes to health and fitness, you can't let boredom win. Because when your body gets bored, it stops responding to change. And when you need a change, trying something new can be just what the fitness doctor ordered.

6) Read a book related to health or fitness.
If new clothes aren't your thing, maybe a book will reignite your interest in health and fitness. I am currently reading Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight. It reads like a novel and is so incredibly good. Plus, it's getting me psyched for some long-distance outdoor running in this warmer than usual March weather.

7) Buy an amazing water bottle (or at least make sure you always carry your favorite).
Yes, you know—it's important to drink a lot of water. But are you doing that? Are you drinking enough water? If not, get yourself a great water bottle. One that not only functions well, but looks cool, too. Heck, make it an expensive one, because then you'll really want to carry it everywhere!

8) Throw away the comparison trap.
You are you. There is only one of you. Stop looking at someone else and thinking it's how you should be. Be yourself, there is no other. And that's why this world is so amazing. Because we are all different. We all have different goals, and we'll all achieve them in our own special ways.

inspiration, fitspiration, prana spring collection, fitfluential, sweat pink
9) Clean out your refrigerator and pantry.
If you struggle with healthy eating, take a few minutes and rid your refrigerator and pantry of anything that goes against your healthy eating goals. Just do it. Make room for foods that make a difference in your overall health and well-being.

10) Clean your schedule.
If your workout schedule fell off the calendar weeks ago, put it back on. Right now, get your calendar out, and put it back on. Clear yourself some space on your schedule for, well...for YOU. We can clean our house and our cars, we can clean our 'fridge all we want, but if we don't clean our schedules, too, we'll never find time for fitness.

Whether you take time to complete all ten of the items on this list, whether you do just one or two, be sure to stop and breath for a second. We live in a go-go-go society and so much falls through the cracks because of it. Don't let your fitness fall, too. Take a minute to asses your situation so that you can continue going down a road that promotes the best version of you.

Don't forget to use S4P17DDF to take 15% off your prAna purchase!

Question: Out of these ten action items, which would be the most challenging for you to complete? How do you Spring clean your fitness routine?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Make Your Own Starbucks Bistro Boxes

It's no secret that I love Starbucks. A warm Cascara latte is the perfect pick-me-up, and their snacks...oh, so delicious! Have you tried the sous vide egg bites yet? Current obsession. Last month, I showed you how I make my own. And today, I'm going to show you how I make something else I like to buy at Starbucks. The very convenient Bistro box.

starbucks, snacks, lunchables, homemade, eat healthy, foodSadly, I can't buy these Bistro boxes at my Starbucks because it's located inside a grocery store. So I don't get them often, but they're my go-to when I'm on-the-go in other places. If you don't know what a Bistro box is, it's very much the adult version of a Lunchable. Perfectly packed food that's easy to eat. Lunchables aren't the healthiest, but thankfully, Bistro boxes are.

So as I'm sure you guessed, I've taken to making my own. I've seen a lot of other people doing this on Pinterest and Instagram. Here's how I do it:

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I have a ton of plastic containers. My husband is always trying to throw some out. But none of them are worthy of the trash bin (in my opinion), but I wanted something that would be tossable...hopefully recyclable, too...and inexpensive. So I bought a set of cheap containers from the grocery store. I'll have no qualms about getting rid of them if need be, and I love that they stack perfectly in my refrigerator.

snacks, food, eat clean, healthy eating, Starbucks, Lunchables
Plus, they're a great size for just the right amount of food. In true Starbucks form, I added dairy, a protein, some fruits and veggies, and a carb. Specifically, these little biscuits:

carbs, bread, snacks, food, eat clean, healthy, apple cinnamon
I put a hard boiled egg, one chunk of cheese, mini peppers, and grapes in with the biscuit. Plus a chunk of super dark chocolate because #dessertalways. You can do anything you want, though. I made five of the same variation. And when I emptied one, I filled it right back up again with whatever else I had on hand.

Here are a few of the Bistro boxes I've made:

snacks, snacking, food, eat clean, healthy, starbucks bistro boxes, lunchables
These Bistro boxes aren't the biggest meals you'll ever eat. I don't know about you, but when I'm on the go, I tend to eat less anyway, so they prove to be perfect. I like throwing them in my gym back to snack on in between clients:

Starbucks Bistro Box, food, eat healthy, clean eating, snacks,
Also, it's worth noting, in terms of food prep—these take little to no time to throw together. Make a list of everything you want in your Bistro box and hit the grocery store. (Don't forget to buy some convenient containers, too.)

Question: What would you fill your Bistro box with?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

30-Minute Barre Workout You Can Do At Home

Are you looking for a quick and effective at-home workout? If so, I have one for you: It's a 30-minute barre workout you can do at home, or anywhere, with or without equipment. Barre workouts move quick and target your major and minor muscle groups simultaneously. I teach barre classes twice a week, and like to incorporate non-traditional barre moves, too. Pulsing, pointing and tucking...sure, this workout does that, too.

workout, fitness, exercise, barre, barre class, home gym, group fitness
If you're new to barre workouts, or are coming off a medical issue, please consult with your physician before trying this workout. I am an ACE-certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer, but haven't talked to you individually. While this workout is fine for most, it might not work for you. Listen to your body.

Now, for the workout. When I teach Barre Fit at the gym, I typically grab 5-, 8- or 10-pound weights. I don't have a wide variety of weights at home (believe it or not), but I do have these little 1.5-pounders I got at IDEA World a few years ago:

Merrithew, hand weights, fitness, fitness equipment, exercise, workout, barre, personal trainer, group fitness
Whatever works, right? If you don't have weights, your challenge changes: It's less about moving around weights, and more about harnessing the power of your muscles to contract in a way that leaves them challenged.

If that doesn't work for you, remember that any movement is better than no movement at all. Here's the actual workout:

workouts, fitness, exercise, barre, fitfluential, sweat pink
As noted, you'll need to warm up and cool down appropriately. As for the guts of the workout, you'll do (15) repetitions per exercise, completing the entire circuit (2-3X) through. Maybe more if you want a longer workout.

Here's a video with a shortened version of the entire workout so you can see each move in action:



Some form cues:

1) Knee Pull
Be sure to put your weight into your standing leg, pushing the hips out behind you a little to protect the knee. Be sure to contract your abs as you pull your knee up.

2) Plank to Down Dog w/ Alternating Ankle Taps
If downward facing dog isn't part of your fitness, flip yourself onto your back and connect hands and ankles above your belly. Note: In either situation, touching your ankle isn't a requirement. Using your abdominals to move through the exercise is most important!

3) Front Abductions to Reverse Fly
Note the position of the palms: Facing up toward the ceiling! This increases the intensity of the exercise, and can be modified by rotating the palms toward the ground instead. Try to keep your elbows as close to straight as possible.

4) Wide Squat with Alternating Hip Pulls
As you rotate your hip inward, really pull with your inner thigh muscles. If, however, you've had any type of hip surgery, you will need to consult with your physician before trying this exercises. Rotational restrictions may exist for you.

5) Low Plank with Double Knee Taps
It may look like a modified plank, but it's not! Lightly tap your knees to floor, using every ounce of your legs (quads, glutes, hams) to return back to your plank positing. Also, fight to keep your hips in line with the rest of your body!

Any questions? Reach out: tara (at) adailydoseoffit (dot) com.

Other barre workouts you might be interested in:
30-Minute Barre Workout
Barre Fit: A 30-Minute Workout
60-Minute Barre Workout You Can Do At Home
60-Minute Barre Workout
Barre and BOSU: A 60-Minute Workout

Question: Do you exercise at home or at a gym/fitness studio? What is your go-to at-home workout? 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Running shoes that look like boots? Yes, I want them (because I love @Saucony shoes).

I'm a girl, so I like shoes. Most girls are born this way, it's just a thing (in case you didn't know, but I'm sure you did). I mean, shoes are fun. They are highly functional accessories and we need more than one pair because, well...we just do. No two pairs of shoes are alike. Unless, of course, they are exactly alike:

A post shared by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on

I am obsessed with my Saucony Kinvara 7 running shoes. I've clocked miles in a variety of different brands and styles, but these...oh, these Kinvaras are my jam. Never in my life have I purchased a second pair of the exact same running shoes. Theory? There are so many running shoes out there and I want to try them all! Except I like the Kinvaras, and I needed new shoes.

Also, this particular pair matches the color scheme of Daily Dose, so yeah.

Needless to say, I like Saucony shoes.
I had a pair of Triumph 10 running shoes once.
They were great, too.

Now, I'm bouncing around in a pair of Saucony Kineta Relay shoes.

fitness, fitness fashion, running shoes, saucy


Technically speaking, they are a neutral running shoe. But realistically, I think they're more of a training shoe. Or a "these are cute and fashionable and go with my athleisure look" shoe.

running shoes, gym shoes, fitness, exercise, workout, fashion
I bought them to wear when I'm working. (Translation: Training clients and teaching classes.) My running buddy is also a huge Saucony fan, and this is what he wears when he's working. (Translation: Training clients and teaching classes.) So I trusted his opinion and bought them because I also thought they were pretty cute.

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Guys, they're ridiculously comfortable. Super light weight, breathable mesh upper, and a memory foam insole that gives your foot everything it needs.

saucony, running shoes, gym shoes, workout shoes, fitness, exercise
My only complaint? Not a lot of lateral support, and my running buddy agrees. My foot slides a little from left to right, which is something I notice mostly when I'm doing shuffles or lateral lunges, etc. I think this is a testament to the breathable upper, which is very sock-like.

If you're looking for an everyday runaround workout shoe that's also cute, I'd still recommend the Saucony Kineta Relay. There are a wide variety of colors and styles out there, too.

Speaking of styles.
These shoes literally come in a boot version, too.
Behold, the Saucony Kineta Relay Boot:

gym shoes, running shoes, running shoe boots, fitness, exercise, fashion
I want.

I go to and from the gym all the time, and in the Winter, it's kind of a pain to shift from boots to gym shoes. I like that these function as both, so if I'm running late and need to meet a client, I can technically wear these on the gym floor.

Full disclosure, I have yet to try them on, but I recently ran a race and saw a spectator wearing them. She loved them, and recommended them. So they're on my list.

Other Saucony shoes on my list, because i'm obsessed with the brand:

running shoes, saucony, kinvara, fitness, fashion
1) Freedom ISO
2) Kinvara 8
3) Endorphin Racer 2
4) Type A

Now, I just need to find a way to justify purchasing all of them because I still have two racks full of gym shoes in the basement. (Translation: Because I can't bring myself to throw away the cute ones, even though they're blown out.) I mean, they're still sorta comfortable! Nikes and Mizunos and New Balances and Reeboks, oh my!

Friendly reminder...I'm a girl. We like shoes.

The end.

Question: What's your shoe brand of choice? Do you have a hard time getting rid of gym shoes?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Does stress affect your workout?

Stress is a common part of everyday life. I am stressed, you are stressed…we are all some form of stressed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. I could sit here today and tell you all the magical ways to combat it. How you need to take a deep breath and get organized. How you need to meditate, keep a journal or find more time for the things you love. Or, I could just tell you to let it all go. But you’ve read those articles already.

So let’s just talk about what stress does to your workouts.

stress, stress busters, exercise, workout, fitness, fitness tips, mental health
If there’s one thing in your life that should be consistently good, it’s your workouts. Stress, according to the dictionary, is a “state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

But it’s not just a mental thing.

Extended states of stress put immense pressure on your body. It can add to many health issues, like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and even diabetes. That’s big picture, though. Small picture: It consumes you, and it affects everything you do from one minute to the next. This is especially true when you are a stressed-out exerciser.

So let’s talk about what stress does to your workout:

1) Stress keeps you from working out.
When you are “so busy” or “so behind” at work, you feel obligated to focus on work. What suffers the most? That 5:30PM fitness class you like to attend is scrapped for more time at the office. Early AM sessions with a personal trainer are pushed off for quality time at your desk before the boss gets in.

2) Stress prevents you from focusing on your workout.
When your to-do list gets to be a mile long, or when your schedule is void of wiggle room—your workout becomes another item on your list. Another thing you have to get through so you can do what comes next. Which, of course, affects the quality of your workout.

3) Stress takes away recovery time.
According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, stress uses up everything you’ve got. It puts an immense amount of pressure on your body, zapping it of the resources it needs to function properly. And it needs a lot of resources to recover from a solid workout.

4) Stress can make you gain weight.
Many studies have been done on the effects of stress on weight gain, and they all show that it does bring on the pounds. So if losing weight is your primary motivator for working out, you’ll have to be really good at leaving stress in the car when you pull up to the gym—we all know how easy that is (but I assure you, it can be done).

Here’s the positive:
Stress CAN motivate you.

I know that sounds counterintuitive to the above, but you should use all of that stress to fire up your workout. So make time for the gym when you are stressed, and be mindful of all the ways that stress can negatively affect you.

Your body, mind and soul (and ultimately your workout) will thank you for it.

Question: How do you handle stress? Does it ever affect your workout? Do you find that working out helps you de-stress?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

An Easy Way to Make Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites At Home

I suffer from a pretty intense addiction to Starbucks. I make coffee at home quite a bit, but nothing beats what they make at an actual Starbucks store. And now, they have these new sous vide egg bites.  Egg white and red pepper, or bacon and Gruyere. I go for the red pepper version:

A photo posted by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on

If you haven't tried this quick and healthy breakfast or snack option from Starbucks yet, you probably should...if you can get your hands on it. Word on the street is that Starbucks' supply is not meeting the demand for these little treats. My local store hasn't had any for a few days now. So I did what any girl would do.

I tried to make Starbucks sous vide egg bites at home:

vegetarian food, egg cupcakes, recipe, Starbucks Coffee, England's Best
Here's the thing, actual sous vide cooking can take a bit of time. You have to heat water to a desirable temperature, keep it there, then submerge your food (which is in a plastic bag) for the time it takes to cook it. There are special sous vide machines, or you can use a cooking thermometer in conjunction with your favorite pot. 

In theory, it's a relatively easy and effective way to cook food. But easy and effective do not always mean practical. And for me, it's not practical to cook this way. So decided to take the flavor and ingredients in Starbucks' egg white and red pepper egg bites and make them my way. 

You know, like egg cups. 
Because it doesn't get much easier than making egg cups in the oven.

cooking, recipe, breakfast, snack, on-the-go, England's Best, clean eating


Starbucks sous vide egg white and red pepper egg bites have spinach, green onions and Monterey Jack cheese in them. Plus, obviously, red peppers and egg whites.

breakfast, lunch, ingredients, egg cups, England's Best, healthy eating
I wanted this to be quick and easy, and I didn't want to waste egg yolks, so I bought a carton of  Eggland's Best egg whites. I chopped up the spinach, green onions and red peppers—literally all the prep I had to do. (Well, I sprayed the pan with non-stick cooking spray...two seconds of additional prep.)

breakfast, healthy snack, lunch, recipe, cooking, England's Best
I got about nine egg cups from one carton of egg whites, so I opened a second carton to finish off the pan. (Fill each cup halfway.) And then I put a pinch of each of the other ingredients in every cup. There's no need to measure.

clean eating, healthy eating, eggs, cupcake pan
Bake the pan at 350F for about 20 minutes.
Pop out the cups when they're done and let them cool. 

You can store them in an airtight container in the 'fridge, or you can divide them up in snack bags for easy grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks.

Starbucks sous vide egg bites, England's Best, egg cupcakes, healthy eating, clean eating
Here's the full recipe:

breakfast, lunch, snack, healthy eating, clean eating
RED PEPPER EGG WHITE BITES
Source: Inspired by Starbucks Sous Vida Egg Bites

Ingredients
• (1) Carton of egg whites
• 1 Cup of Monterey Jack cheese
• 1 Cup of spinach
• 1/2 Cup of green onions
• 1 red pepper
• Non-stick cooking spray

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray your cupcake pan with non-stick cooking spray (even if it's a non-stick pan...trust me).

2) Shred the cheese, chop the rest of the ingredients. 

3) Fill each cup halfway with egg whites. Distribute the rest of the ingredients evenly among each of the cups. 

4) Place in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when done, and shake the egg cups out of the pan to cool. 

5) Store in an airtight container in the 'fridge, or divide among snack bags.

Easy, right? 

You can also totally adapt this. If you haven't discovered egg cups yet, now is the time. You'll find a million different recipes on Pinterest, and I bet you can even come up with one on your own. They're so simple to make. 

But if you're crunched for time, I highly suggest you visit Starbucks and try the sous vide egg bites. And a coffee because #coffee. 

Question: Have you tried the egg bites from Starbucks yet? Do you like them? Have you ever used the sous vide cooking method? Did it work?

Monday, January 30, 2017

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, January 2017

Wow, so it's been awhile since I've A) checked in, and B) shared a few things that I am loving. True testament to life and all that it's throwing at me right now. Needless to say, 2017 did not start slow. Case and point: February is right around the corner. So I'm taking a break from the mayhem to reflect on a few of the thing I am loving right now. Maybe you'll love them, too.

1) The January POPSUGAR Must Have Box
My friends at POPSUGAR sent me another free box to review. But you should know, I would absolutely fork over my own money for this monthly subscription service. I am obsessed with everything they always send me. And on the off chance they send me something I can't use, I can usually find someone that will. For example, there's a peppermint tea in this month's box that I'll never drink (because coffee).

A video posted by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on


But everything else, you know I'll use it. If you'd like to get a box for yourself (you totally should!), you can use SHOP5 at checkout to save $5. I promise you'll get your money's worth. This month's box adds up to about $200, but a monthly subscription costs $39/month. For real.

2) The Five Minute Journal
This year, I am trying to spend more time on my mental health. I think we all need to do more of this. Physical fitness is a total thing right now, and as we strive for strength, we often forget that mental strength is just as important. Journals help, but I suck at keeping them. So I hunted down something that would guide my thoughts, and I ended up with The Five Minute Journal:

journal, writing, books, guided meditation, thoughts
It's literally a gratitude adventure in five minutes. They call it a "secret weapon to focus on the good in your life, become more mindful, and live with intention." You get one page every day, and it literally takes five minutes to fill out at the start and end of each day. You write down things that you are grateful for, things that would make your day great, and then you reflect on that at the end of the day.

3) Angels on Bare Skin from Lush Cosmetics
I feel like I've been in a skincare funk. I haven't been able to find a face soap or lotion that I like, so maybe that means my skin is changing? I've always thought it to be sensitive, and it's got a hint of redness to it that can totally be covered by makeup, so that's good. But still. I just want a soap that works. Currently, I'm using two. One is cream-based and I use it regularly. The other is this gentle scrub from Lush.

cosmetics, face soap, face scrub, lush, homemade body products
It's not cheap, but it's worth it. My sister gave me a sample and one use convinced me to buy some. Plus, if you're not familiar with Lush, I'll tell you that almost all of the ingredients are natural and the products themselves are essentially homemade. My skin feels so soft and clean when I use this stuff. I probably use it three times a week.

I'm headed to Chicago in a few weeks and I think I'm going to splurge on some face lotion from Lush since I'm having such good luck with the brand. Also, their Rose Jam body wash is to die for, too.

4) Cascara Lattes from Starbucks
Now, full disclosure, I get non-fat milk and only one pump of the syrup...but, dang. This latte tastes good because it's subtly sweet. I'm over the super sweet coffee concoctions.

(Have you guys seen all the cute Valentine's Day stuff yet? So much pink!)

5) Planks
I go through phases with exercises. Right now, I'm in a plank phase. I was invited to participate in a fitness challenge at the gym, and it involved doing as many planks as possible each day. My longest plank so far was 25 minutes...and by "longest," I mean that I held 25 minutes of planks throughout one single day. Do planks, you'll notice a difference. I promise.

A photo posted by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on


6) Momentum Jewelry
I've been an ambassador for Momentum Jewelry for a few years now. Amy is wonderful and it shows through every single product she puts out. Each piece is handmade, highly motivational and absolutely fun to wear. My collection of Wrist Wraps is out of control, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Literally, a color for any outfit:

inspiration, fitspiration, quotes, jewelry, bracelets
In addition to the Wraps, Momentum also makes something they call a Sparklet. A smaller bracelet that's equally full of motivation.

motivation, inspiration, jewelry, bracelet,
You can totally use these bracelets as hair ties, or maybe they go around your water bottle. Endless options, and endless motivation. (PS: If you have a local running store, tell them about Momentum Jewelry. I was able to bring Momentum to my local running store and the locals are loving it.)

Question: What's one thing you are loving right now?
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Hydro-Inertia Training with the Surge and Kamagon Ball from Hedstrom Fitness

The following post is sponsored by Hedstrom Fitness via my partnership with Fit Approach. I am also a Hedstrom Fitness ambassador. In addition to compensation, I was given free product to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Last Friday, I introduced you to the concept of dynamic-fluid resistance training. There's another name for it: hydro-inertia training. Long story short, this method of resistance training uses equipment that is filled with water. Specifically, the Surge and Kamagon Ball from Hedstrom Fitness. These two products are filled with water, which is constantly in motion when the products are in use. This allows the user to "train integrated, multi-joint, multi-planar movements to not only enhance appearance, but to also increase whole body coordination and neuromuscular compliance."

Sounds like a good workout, right?
Hedstrom Fitness is really on top of it with this one.

I put together a total-body dynamic-fluid resistance workout for you last week, and I've got another one this week. I'm really digging the Surge and Kamagon ball. In fact, I've taken this equipment to my gym and have been using both pieces all over the place. The feedback: "wow, this equipment is awesome." Because it is.

Hedstrom Fitness, fitness, exercise, fitness equipment, strength training
If you don't have a Surge or Kamagon ball, you can get one HERE. Or, feel free to replace the following with a medicine ball, weighted bar or sandbag. It will remove the hydro-inertia element, but you will still feel the burn.

It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Please honor your body and work according to your fitness level. Before you try anything new, you should consult with a professional if you aren't sure such an exercise or program is right for you.

Now, let's get started.
Here are the exercises:

Jump Squats
Classic move. Even harder with a medicine ball...especially one that doesn't like to sit still.

Hedstrom Fitness, fitness, exercise, fitness equipment, strength training
Side Lunge to Biceps Curl
Another classic move. Alternate sides on each lunge.

Hedstrom Fitness, fitness, exercise, fitness equipment, strength training
Triceps Pressbacks
Harder than it looks! That water moving around...it makes it harder to control the Kamagon Ball. Be sure to get each arm. You can also change this one to an overhead triceps press, holding on to both handles at the same time.

Hedstrom Fitness, fitness, exercise, fitness equipment, strength training
Russian Twists
This core exercise is a total challenge! You can swap out the Surge for a Kamagon Ball if that's easier to hold. Keep your back straight and feet up, or place the feet on the floor to decrease the intensity. Rotate side to side, feel the burn.

Hedstrom Fitness, fitness, exercise, fitness equipment, strength training
Weighted Side Plank
Hold that Kamagon Ball right above your shoulder! This can also be done with a straight base arm to increase the intensity. Be sure to get both sides!

Hedstrom Fitness, fitness, exercise, fitness equipment, strength training
Do each move for (:45). Rest in between. Repeat the circuit 3-5 times, depending on time. In other words, make it a 30- to 45-minute workout.

FYI: If you want a Surge or Kamagon Ball, you can save 20% with code SPHF25 at checkout. CLICK HERE to order.

Question: What's your favorite piece of fitness equipment? Because, you know, they're basically toys for adults. So what do you like to play with?

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