Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How To Exercise With A Swing

The following post contains an Ellie Activewear review. I was not paid for my opinions, but was given a free outfit to wear. All opinions, as they always are, belong to me. 

If you have kids, then there might be a good chance you have fitness equipment in your backyard. If you live near a park, then you certain have access to free fitness equipment. One piece in particular: The swing. It's basically a makeshift TRX suspension trainer! So today, I thought I'd give you some pointers and share a few exercises that just might inspire you to take your workout outside.

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness
First and foremost, we need to talk about safety. The swing is a movable (and often moving) object that might show no mercy. As such, you need to take a few precautions if you're going to use a swing to exercise outside. Here are a few safety tips for swing workouts:

Safety Tips For Swing Workouts
1) Make sure the swing is securely attached to the anchor point. If it's not and it comes tumbling down, you'll fall with it—and who knows what'll ultimately fall on top of you. (Tree branch? Ow.)

2) Survey the ground below the swing. Outdoor surfaces can introduce an element of instability. Look for loose gravel, protruding tree stumps...anything that'll make your foot slip or hurt your hands.

3) Check out the swing itself for possible rough spots. Especially if your'e working with a wooden swing. Splinters aren't fun. (Double-check the chains, too.)

4) Make sure there is plenty of space around the swing. Because if you fall for whatever reason (which you won't, hopefully) you won't want to fall into a pole or someone else on a swing.

Now, where to start?

What kind of exercises can you do with a swing?
Can you do TRX exercises on a swing?

The answers are "tons" and "yes," in that order. A swing is essentially a suspended piece of fitness equipment, minus the handles. But you can still grip a swing in a variety of different ways. If your swing is bendable (like mine), you are somewhat limited. A flat, wooden swing may give you more places to grip. Ultimately, you'll have to play around to see what works for you and with yours. A
and don't forget about the chains. Depending on the style of the chains on your swing, you may be able to grip them comfortably, too.

Here are some exercises I did with my swing, starting with a single-leg lunge:

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
Add a hop. Add a pulse. Hold some weights if you have those at home (or can get them to the park).

Side note: My intent is not to provide a full-body workout, but to inspire you to play with a swing. That said, the exercises contained in this post will hit all of your major muscle groups. If you choose to put them together, please do so with caution and while honoring your body and fitness level.

Next up, pushups:

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
You might also add a pike at the top of your pushup:

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
Too much? Keep them separate, or switch the pike for a tuck.

Swings make for some great hamstring curls, too:

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
Of course, you'll have to check out the height of your swing. You'll ultimately want to start the hamstring curl with your legs bent to 90 degrees, give or take an inch. Anything more than that might render the exercise ineffective.

Back work:

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
This close-grip row will Fchallengeyour hand strength, too, if you're using a bendable rubber swing. If you're using a wooden swing, you might try grabbing the sides of the swing. Either way, you should be able to turn it into a high pull, too, if your shoulders allow it.

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
Let's not forget planks:

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
Put both feet in the swing. Or leave one underneath and challenge your inner thighs. Come to high plank, low plank, or even reverse plank. Again, you'll want to play around which (ahem) is the point of a swing anyway (#playtime). Here are some other exercises you can do with a swing:

Exercises You Can Do With A Swing
• Side Lunges
• Assisted Pistol Squats
• TRX Burpees
• Sprinter Starts
• Triceps Presses
• Side Bends
• Rollouts

The options are endless. Use your creativity...but keep safety at the forefront of everything that you do. Speaking of "forefront," let's take a look at the tops that Ellie Activewear sent me:

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
I dig the details on the bra. It's Marika brand, and so comfortable. The tank is a bit see-through for my liking...I don't think I could wear it at the gym...but it's still cute. I'm really liking the knot/tie trend that's happening right now.

Here's a closer look at the pants. 

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
At first, I wasn't too sure about them. I felt like they were just too geometric for my taste, but dang...these tights are super comfortable. SO super comfortable. And I like the subtle mesh detailing around the calf muscles.

If you like monthly subscription boxes and wear workout clothes every day, then you might like receiving the Ellie Activewear box. It has yet to disappoint me. I mean, there's a reason it's the #1 activewear subscription box. And it's not that expensive, either! $39.95 gets you three pieces: a top, bottom and bra. Pay $10 more and you'll get at least two accessories, too. Here are some other posts I've written about Ellie:

May 2017 Box
June 2017 Box

This creeper:

fitness, fashion, fit fashion, workout clothes, workout, outdoor fitness, ellie activewear
Ha.

Question: Do you use any unconventional items as fitness equipment? Have you ever worked out with a swing? If so, what exercises did you do?
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 2017 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review

The following post is sponsored by POPSUGAR Select. I was sent the August box for free in exchange for a fair and honest review, which is par for the course around here. All opinions are always my own.

Thinking about signing up for a monthly subscription box? Not sure which one to choose? Let me convince you that the POPSUGAR Must Have box is a great choice. Fashion-forward, trend-loving  style-mavens will love this perfectly curated box of goodies. I promise you: It's my favorite. And, it makes a great gift. At just $39.99 per month, the Must Have box over $100 worth of full-size products on your door step every month.

Let's take a look at the August POPSUGAR Must Have box:

subscription, monthly box, POPSUGAR
It happens to be a particularly special month. POPSUGAR Must Have is five years old! Every box centers around a theme, so clearly this month's theme is "celebrate." First up, this Bouncy Mask from First Aid Beauty:

POPSUGAR Must Have Box
Truth be told, I haven't tried it yet, but it's on my bathroom counter just waiting for me. I've been getting into face masks and scrubs a lot more than I ever have, and I just purchased a new one from LUSH that I put to good use. Bouncy Mask, get ready. You're up next.

Cheers to these cookies, though (and the adorable tray):

POPSUGAR Must Have Box
Gluten-free, and every bit delicious! And widely available, too. I can purchase this brand at my local grocery store, I bey you can, too.

Straight to my hear with this notebook:

POPSUGAR Must Have Box
I hoard notebooks like no other. I think I have at least six unused notebooks on the shelf in my closet. I can't stop buying them! (Especially when you can buy them at TJ Maxx for next to nothing). Also, I love that POPSUGAR Must Have collaborated with Jeep to #BreakTheDawn. Mornings are hard! Here's how they suggest you make the most of yours:

1) Put the phone down.
2) Make a to-do list.
3) Hit the gym.
4) Press play.
5) Eat smart.

How many of those things do you do?

Also, have you ever heard of Shoptiques?
This online boutique is new to me:

monthly subscription service, Shoptiques, friendship bracelet
I'm looking forward to using this gift card. Check this out: It's worth $25. Proof that you get your money's worth when you order this curated monthly box.

Interested? Say "yes" to the box! Use code PARTY at checkout to take $10 off your first box.

So worth it.

Question: Are you big on face masks? Which one do you use the most? Do you subscribe to a monthly subscription box? Which one?

Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 IDEA World and BlogFest Recap

The "Super Bowl of fitness conventions" took place last month in Las Vegas, and I'm still flying high on all of the energy I got from it. The IDEA World Fitness Convention is an absolute must for any fitness professional. You need to go at least once. I go every two years because that's what works for me. I get so much information and inspiration from this conference that, realistically, it's almost impossible to process everything. Hence, the recap delay.

But I want to tell you all about it now. Let's talk about what I learned, and why you should attend.

fitness, blogger, convention, idea fit, sweat pink, fit approach


Whenever I attend a conference, I do my homework first. I research sessions and pick those that will help me be the best trainer/instructor/fitness director that I can be. I also pick a few sessions that will entertain and/or motivate me—because it can't be all work and no play, eh? Essentially, this leads to a list of goals and things I'm looking forward to.

This also gives me an easy way to process the convention when I get home.

Let's take a look:

1) Vegas, baby!
Oh, Vegas. You crazy, weird, jaw-dropping and highly entertaining little place. It was my first time. I highly recommend the Aria casino. I didn't stay there, but I spent a lot of time walking around the place. It's beautiful. And the restaurants are Aria are delicious. Specifically, the buffet, Julian Serrano's Tapas and Five50 Pizza Bar. I want to go back just so I can eat at all of these places again. Which, by the way, is why I don't have any pictures of the food I ate—because I was too focused on it. But here's a picture of me in front of the Las Vegas sign because #tourist:

A post shared by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on

And also, the Bellagio fountains because #vegas:

vegas, nevada, eiffel tower, paris
2) Dinner with the Momentum Jewelry Crew
It's always fun to connect with other health and fitness bloggers. And to meet some of the brands we get the opportunity to work with. I've been a huge fan of Momentum for a very long time. Amy (the owner) is absolutely wonderful. She and I shared a hotel room, and spent a lot of time talking about the Momentum Jewelry blog. Long story short, fun things are coming and I'm going to be working with her very closely to facilitate the posts. More on that later!

3) Energetic and Educational Sessions
I don't even know where to start. I did a G2S Workout full of ground-to-standing exercises. At one point, I was doing forward rolls. Toward the end, I was on the ground with my hands behind my back prisoner-style trying to stand up without using my arms. I love non-traditional exercises like that. They really emphasize functional training that strengthens activities of daily living. I also did a Schwinn cycling workout with Amy Dixon that left me in a pile of sweat:

Schwinn cycling, IDEA World Fitness Convention, spinning instructor, continuing education
Spinning is a class that drains me physically and mentally. I love it, but it's not a class I can plan very easily for a variety of reasons, so taking sessions like this A) gives me new teaching and cueing techniques, and B) totally motivates me to get in the saddle. Also awesome: Indo-Row, which taught me how to row correctly and efficiently. It was the most time I've ever spent on a rower, and it was probably one of the best workouts I did at the conference.

I also listened to a lecture for Group Fitness Directors, which gave me some tools to effectively manage a staff that works less than part time. It was nice to hear that some of my struggles are not unique, and pretty commonplace in this industry!

Bloggers, this is where I tell you that BlogFest is full of educational and inspirational sessions, too! I sat in on a few sessions that addressed SEO and how to make old content new...seriously, so good. If you're new to the fitness blogging scene, this is absolutely a conference you need to attend it's incredibly welcoming (and because you get IDEA World, too).

4) Kick It With Kaisa

Vital Proteions, IDEA World Fitness Convention, BlogFest
OMG. This session was everything. KaisaFit is so awesome, strong and motivating...and the best part, she's all that in person, too. So many big-name fitness folks are super high on their fame. But this girl, she's real. And in it for the right reasons. I enjoyed every minute of her workout. After it, she talked about Vital Proteins, a company she originally approached because she loves their stuff that much. Her favorite product was a collagen powder, which I ended up buying at the expo.

collagen, supplements, IDEA World, fitness convention, KaisaFit
So many people are buzzing about the benefits of collagen: Bone and joint health, skin and hair improvements, more energy, etc. I'm not big on supplements, but like what this can do for me. Kaisa talked about the Lavender and Honey Beauty Water, which sounds and tastes pretty good. I thought maybe it could also help me drink more water, which it has.

5) Brands, brands and more brands!
You won't find a better expo at any other fitness convention! It's part of the reason they call it the "Super Bowl of fitness conventions," I'm sure. I spent all my free time wandering up and down the aisles, and came home with a giant bag full of goodies to prove it. Some highlights:

Keiser: They didn't have any bikes on the fitness floor, but my Schwinn session (on Schwinn bikes) reinforced my belief in Keiser cycling bikes as being the best.

La Colombe Coffee Roasters: They had a Starbucks on site, which I hit up in the morning, but samples from La Colombe kept me going throughout the afternoon.

Prana: I literally bought something from their booth on three separate occasions. They wouldn't have my size in something, then they would. And everything was 50% off, so I basically had to keep buying.

Trigger Point: The vibrating foam roller is epic. My calf muscles were tights, so I just sat there for a bit and let the vibration release them. It was relaxing, even more so because you don't have to actually roll over the vibrating foam roller. Ah, so nice. Might have to get a demo version for the running store I work at.

TRX: Always a great booth to walk by! With all those straps out, people were constantly at play, so I got some awesome ideas to use with my clients.

Takeya: Say what you will about your Swell bottles, I think Takeya bottles are equally impressive and I absolutely love, love, love mine. Plus, it's pink.

pink water bottle, rowing machine, new balance, fitness convention, idea world
But that's only six reasons why the expo was so awesome. I can't even begin to list all the little toys I saw that I now want...various types of sandbags and weighted hammers being at the top of the list.

If I don't have you convinced yet, here are five reasons you need to attend IDEA World:

1) You'll learn from the leaders in the fitness industry.
2) You'll earn a bulk of your continuing education credits.
3) There is never a dull moment.
4) New and upcoming equipment is yours to play with.
5) The crowd is welcome, supportive, and inspirational.

Trust me, it's worth the cost and the trip and...you just need to go.

Question: Have you ever been to a fitness or blogging convention? If so, which one and what was your experience?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

60-Minute Spinning Workout

"Wanna go for a bike ride?" My kids ask me this all the time. So do the members at my gym—I haven't been teaching Spinning lately. My schedule changed, and it forced me to hand over my class. Sad, because Spinning class is always a good time (and a good workout) and I've been missing it. I did fill in a few weeks ago and, man...it felt good to be back in the saddle.

A post shared by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on


I thought it would be fun to share that cycling workout with you.

First and foremost, if cycling workouts are new to you, I highly suggest you schedule some time with a certified cycling instructor. You'll want expert instruction on bike setup and safety. If and when you're clear on all of that, you'll be ready to pedal. Spinning workouts are highly adaptable to a variety of fitness levels, but:

Exercise at your own pace at all times. I am a certified cycling instructor, but I don't know your specific fitness challenges, so I can't say for sure whether or not this ride is for you. Proceed accordingly, honoring you body the entire way through to prevent serious injury.

Let's refresh on a few cycling terms.

Working flat: Find this by adding a gear or two to the bike when you're pedaling easily. You'll feel a slight tug on your pedal, however you won't feel like you're going up a hill. It will bring your heart rate up slightly. This is also where you might recover from heavier climbs.

Sprints: Give it everything you've got! However, you must stay in control of the bike.

Standing flat: Exactly what it sounds like. Stand up, keeping your hips over the pedals. Your glutes might tap the very end of your saddle.

Climb: Whether moderate or heavy, seated or standing, this is where you pile on the resistance accordingly. RPMs will slow down. Heart rate will increase.

RPMs: Some bikes have a computer system with this information built in. The following ride assumes that your bike does. If you do not have a computer, tune into the hill, flat or sprint and ride accordingly and consistently from one hill, flat or spring to another.

Let's talk about heart rate for a second.

I speak very generally about heart rate throughout this ride. I don't know if you have a heart rate monitor, or if you know your max heart rate. Truth is, you can still get a great ride without that information. You will need to stay in tune with your rate of perceived exertion. Or, how hard you are working. And, as always, you can pull back if the intensity gets to be too much.

Here's the ride:

spinning, cycling, bike riding, cardio, workout, kaiser, group fitness
Some other Spinning posts you might be interested in:

Indoor Cycling Playlist with Music from the 80's
Spinning Playlist with Rolling Hills
45-Minute Spinning Playlist
Should you buy Spinning shoes?
8 Tips for Taking Your First Spinning Class
How to Make the Most of Your Time In Spinning Class
How to Stretch After Spinning
Spinning During Pregnancy: How to Ride Safely When You Are Expecting

Question: Are you a fan of Spinning classes? Why or why not?

Monday, July 17, 2017

How to Stop Hating Mondays: Make them your healthy restart.

In case you haven't noticed, today is Monday. If it's your favorite day of the week, kudos to you. But for most of us, Mondays stink so bad. We love to hate them because fresh off the weekend, we loathe going back to work. Or going back into the weekly routine. So today, let's talk about Mondays. Because not all Mondays have to be bad. Instead of hating them, make Mondays your healthy restart days.

mental health, monday, planning, self help
1) Get everything ready for Monday morning. 
Take a little time on Sunday night to get ready for your Monday morning routine. Pick an outfit, pack your bags, have your shower towel ready to go. Basically, do everything you can to make sure your morning routine goes as smoothly as possible. Stress less at home, leave all that for the office (because you can't always control the stressful situations that come at you while you work).

2) Make sure you eat a great breakfast. 
Don't start your day on an empty tank. And don't set yourself up for #hangry. If breakfast isn't your thing, if "eating that early makes you nauseous," maybe ask yourself if you're eating the right thing. And the whole "but I'm not hungry that early" excuse...eating is not about fulfilling hunger. It's about giving your body what it needs to function. So start your Monday with a full tank so you don't reach empty from the get-go.

3) Accept your Monday for what it is. 
Monday comes every single week. You know you have to go back to work, or back to whatever routine your Monday brings. So give up the fight! Let it come. Let it happen. Accept it for what it is, and conquer it with all that you've got.

4) Schedule a Monday night workout.
Get those feel-good endorphins! Most importantly, get Monday out of your system so you can spend the rest of your evening feeling great. And, you know, workouts can be good for relieving stress. So take the day out on your weights, the treadmill or whatever it is you like to do for exercise.

5) Come up with a Monday treat. 
Maybe it's a pre-workout coffee...or maybe you add the whipped cream to that mocha. Maybe it's a certain on-the-go breakfast or a standing lunch date. Or maybe you spend five minutes looking for a new desktop image for your computer, something that will motivate you for the rest of the week. Whatever it is, do it every Monday...and only on Monday. It'll give you something positive to look forward to.

Bottom line, Mondays can suck so bad. But a quick attitude check and some changes to your routine can help you stop hating Mondays. Think of them as your healthy restart days. Here before you is a new week, so let Monday launch you into it. There will be crap to deal with. There will be snafus. But, use the day for what it is: A fresh start to a new week.

Question: How do you feel about Mondays? What do you do to make them work for (not against) you?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I'm going to IDEA World and BlogFest!

In exactly one week, I will be traveling to Las Vegas to attend the 2017 IDEA World Fitness Convention. I went in 2015 and had the time of my life, so I absolutely cannot wait to return. I will also be popping into BlogFest, which is a special portion of the conference dedicated to fitness bloggers. Guys, I'm bouncing out of my seat right now because I simply cannot wait. To hold me over, I decided to put together this list of things I am looking forward to:

1) Vegas, baby!
This girl has never been to Las Vegas. I'll be in a convention hall most of the time, but my evenings will be open for exploring Sin City. Two of my clients will be in town at the same time, and they promise to show me some must-see things: Zipline on Fremont Street? Sounds fun. Bellagio fountains? Gotta see it.

2) Dinner with the Momentum Jewelry Crew
I am sharing a hotel room with Amy, Tam and Jill. I adore all of these people from afar, and can't wait to see them in person again...we met at IDEA in 2015 (see above). We'll be joining a few other Momentum Jewelry ambassadors for dinner on Wednesday night, and that sounds like the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

3) Energetic and Educational Sessions
As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I have to fulfill a certain amount of continuing education credits to maintain my certifications. There is absolutely no better way to do just that then at a fitness convention—at THIS fitness convention, to be specific. There are hundreds of sessions available, which makes it very hard to pick your schedule. Here are a few that I've chosen, that I am really looking forward to:

• The G2S Workout (Ground-to-standing drills.)
• Barre Choreography Overload (Because I teach two classes a week.)
• Schwinn Cycling: To Breathless and Back (Spinning inspiration is a must.)
• Run, Injury Free! Understanding Impact Forces (Because I run, and run a running store.)
• Indo-Row: The Perfect Calorie Burn (Love me some row machine.)

4) Kick it With Kaisa
You guys. Are you following @KaisaFit on Instagram? She is amazing. And I get to attend her workout at IDEA. To say that I am pumped for this is an understatement. It literally might be what I am most excited for, and I will totally fangirl for a picture with her. 

5) Brands, brands and more brands!
The expo hall at IDEA is crazy. So much to see, do and sample that your head just spins. I've been looking at the list of attendees and have a few must-hits:

• ACE Fitness (Obviously.)
• Beachbody (Why can't I get hard copies of PiYo Live formats anymore?)
• doTerra (Lemme smell all the oils, please.)
• Hedstrom Fitness (Love their Surge and Kamagon ball.)
• Keiser (I teach on Keiser bikes.)
• La Colombe Coffee Roasters (Obsessed.)
• MINDBODY Online (We might use their software, so I need info.)
• NOW (Foods? Not sure if it's them or not...)
• Prana (Love their clothes.)
• Trigger Point (We carry their products. Wanna see the new vibrating roller...)

And now it's time to pack.

Question: Are you going to IDEA World and/or BlogFest? What's something I should do in Vegas?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Do Anywhere HIIT Workout

Going on vacation? Daily schedule keeping you out of the gym? Life happens. There's no stopping it. But don't let it stop your fitness routine. If you can't get to the gym, or if you're away from home, focus on the one piece of fitness equipment you'll always have access to—your body.

Bodyweight workouts can be extremely effective if you take them seriously. Push and you'll feel it, I promise. Additionally, HIIT workouts raise intensity levels to a point that could leave you dripping with sweat. Best part? Your bodyweight and the HIIT concept fuse together in a way that's highly adaptable.

Test my theory with the following do anywhere HIIT workout.

high intensity interval training, hiit, athleta, fitness, workout, exercise
If you are new to high intensity interval training, please check with your doctor before proceeding. Always respect your body! I am an ACE-certified fitness professional, but I don't know what your individual needs are. Promise me you'll honor and respect your body at all times.

INSTRUCTIONS: This do anywhere HIIT workout has three small circuits. Do each circuit three times, and do each exercise for (:30). Rest for (:15) in between each exercise, and take a minute or two between each circuit. Of course, you'll need to warm up before you begin. Light running or walking should be fine, or use the cardio machine of your choice. Have water ready, you'll need it! The entire workout should take you 45 minutes at the most. Less if you're really pushing it.

fitness, exercise, workout, bodyweight exercises, high intensity interval training
Let's break it down:

Circuit #1

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
1) Clap Squat
Squat, then come up and clap underneath your right knee. Repeat, left leg. Continue alternating, moving as quickly as you can.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
2) Kick Through Start in a high plank position, step up into a right-leg lunge, then kick your left leg through. Step back into the high plank and repeat to the other side.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
3) Pike Up Press your lower back into the grass, then lift your arms and legs up above your stomach. Repeat, bending the knees if it irritates your lower back.

Circuit #2

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
1) Burpees 
Skip the pushup and jump, focusing instead on speed and consistency.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
2) Down Ups
Start in high plank and make your way down to elbow plank and back again, alternating your starting arm each time. Try not to let the hips rotate!

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
3) Punch Squats
Put some force into this one! Squat, come up into a punch over your knee, squat again, then hop your feet together. Repeat on the other side.

Circuit #3

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
1) Push-up to Lunge 
As you come up out of your pushup, bring your left leg forward into a low lunge, then step up and together, reverse and repeat on the right side.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
2) Superman with Lat Pull 
Lift up, pull back, lower down and repeat! If this move is too intense for your lower back, remove the lat pull.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
3) High Knees Keep those elbows bent to 90 degrees and lift those knees up to your hands! Make it fast! Keep it consistent!

Questions? Reach out: tara (at) adailydoseoffit (dot) com!

Question: What's your go-to workout when you can't get to the gym? Something at home? Got a bodyweight circuit? Tell me about it!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 Things Your Trainer Wants You To Stop Doing

I love all of my clients. So clients, if you are reading this, let me preface this post with a giant "this may or may not pertain to you." But I've been a personal trainer for over seven years now, and I've seen a variety of people come and go. So today, I thought I'd take you into the mind of a personal trainer. We keep it professional (always), but there are ten things we really want you to stop doing:

personal training, certified personal trainer, fitness, exercise
If you are currently working with a personal trainer or might one day pursue that relationship, the following points will help you get the most out of your sessions:

1) Don't exercise immediately before your session.
This needs an explanation because (obviously) warming up before your session is totally fine. Going through an entire workout, or even starting your workout, defeats the purpose of hiring a professional to help you meet your goals. We have a plan. We always have a plan! And we come to every session ready and willing to execute it. One set of biceps curls could throw an entire session off. So if you find yourself waiting for your trainer, err on the side of doing some light cardio to get (or keep) yourself moving.

2) Don't apologize for failing to complete an exercise.
Do a new move wrong? Don't apologize for that, either! The client/trainer relationship is very much based on teacher/student methods. We are here to instruct you, and we realize there will be learning curves with certain moves. That's why modifications exist. That's why we break things down. And that's also why we watch you like a hawk. If you try something new, even if you can't do it right or all the way, we'll be proud of you for making the attempt. And we'll guide you toward eventual success.

3) Don't expect immediate results. 
Personal trainers are not miracle workers. We are guidance counselors, ready and willing to help you find your fitness. We can't predict how long it'll take you to meet your goals, but we can certainly set you up for success. Our job is to push you in the right direction, session after session. Key: "session after session." One session will not get you there, we promise. So don't expect it. Instead, expect to work hard and progress forward. With those expectations, the need for immediate gratification will diminish (and so will your frustrations).

4) Don't compare yourself to others. 
Every single body is different, and so are the people that own them. Their fitness journeys are not yours. So if the person next to you is doing something you feel you'll never be able to accomplish, don't let it get to you. Instead, let it motivate you! Let it inspire you to work harder, and to get stronger. Because focusing on anything else sends you down to the dumps (and fitness should always make you happy).

5) Don't show up late. 
We get it, things happen. And we'll be as flexible for you as we can, but here's the thing: We have a schedule—and you do, too. Honor it! Respect the time you've set aside for this journey, because we trainers plan to use it wisely for your benefit.

6) Don't yo-yo diet.
Nutrition is a very important part of your fitness journey. It's also one component we trainers can't really control because YOU are in charge of what you eat. And we aren't necessarily certified to tell you WHAT to eat. That's why we keep registered dietitians and nutritionists in our back pockets. So do what you can to eat a well-balanced diet. Messing around with nutritional trends that aren't backed by science and research and what is right for you can, essentially, work against you in the long run.

7) Don't forget to have fun.
We personal trainers do our best to make every session a grand ol' time. Come ready to have fun! If you're in a funk, be up front about it. Let your trainer know so they can motivate you correctly. And if you can, leave the junk in the locker room. Use the time with your trainer to regroup. Focus on nothing but your workout, because only then can you make the most of it—and capture all those feel good endorphins!

8) Stop talking.
Clarification: It's perfectly fine to talk, but don't let it distract you from the workout. Trust us, we love chatting, but we also want to help you get the job done. You focus, we'll focus. Deal? (And on the flip, if we're talking too much, don't hesitate to have us put a sock in it! You're paying for our time!)

9) Don't tell us you can't do something.
All we ask is that you try it. If you have a legitimate reason why you can't do something, let's talk about it. Maybe there's a modification, or a way we can tweak things to help you out. Outright refusal without good reason, well..anyone can at least try something, right? Trust us.

10) Don't hide your injuries.
Our main goal, no matter what your main goals are, is to keep you safe. If something hurts, previous to or during our sessions together, please let us know! The last thing we want to do is increase your pain or discomfort. And if we don't address either of those, it will ultimately set you back.

Question: Certified trainers, what can you add to this list? Non-trainers, have you ever worked with a personal trainer? What did you take away from that experience?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What I've been up to...

Crickets. They've taken over my website! Can you hear them chirping? Guys...I've been busy.  I've got two jobs, two kids and a life. So naturally, blogging took a backseat to all of that (as it should have, I believe). But here I sit, on a random Tuesday night, feeling creative and ready to share. So, if you've missed me, here's what I've been up to:

I ran two races.
I haven't really been training, per se. But I did tack on miles in order to complete the Soldier Field 10-Mile race in Chicago on May 27th. I held an 8:00/mile pace, and that made me smile. Note: I was also smiling because this race was a bucket list thing. I've been meaning to run it for years, and I finally made it happen:

A post shared by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on

I also did Alex's Duck Duck Run, which is a big local 5K where I live. It's typically a hot one, so I go into it with little to no expectations. I won my age group last year with a time of 22:36. I won my age group again this year with a time of 23:26.

A post shared by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on

I organized a beer run.

Saucony, running shoes, cold beer, Watermark Brewing Co
I don't even drink beer, but I manage a running store. So give the people what they want, right? We (the other managing partner and I) threw out the information hoping we'd get a handful of people—we ended up getting over 60 people to show up, which was great because all of the money we collected went to a local charity. We've got another beer run this Thursday night, so we'll see if we can keep the momentum going.

I got really busy at work.
Two jobs, y'all. Together, they equal one full-time job. I wouldn't trade these jobs for the world because, for the first time ever, I feel like I'm truly doing what I love and it's great. But, man. They keep me busy in the best way possible! From shoe orders and shoe rep meetings at the store, to personal training sessions, classes and admin work at the gym—I'm all systems go all the time. Again, it helps that I love my jobs, but there's little wiggle room for play. And most of that wiggle room is reserved for time with the family.

I read a book.
Guys, despite the crazy, I've been doing really well with my "read one book a month" goal for 2017. My latest page-turner was Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Neiquist. And it was really good. I'm sure you can imagine (based on this post alone) how it would speak to me on multiple levels. I highly suggest it.

I received another Ellie box.
I literally move from one fitness outfit to the next, and my wardrobe is embarrassingly heavy on the fitness fashion. But, it technically is my professional wardrobe. So I justify every new outfit. Super  grateful to Ellie for sending me the June box:

fitness clothing, fitness fashion, subscription box review
If you live in fitness clothing, you need to check out this fitness subscription service. I have not been disappointed yet...all three outfits have been awesome. $50/month gets you a top, bottom, sports bra and two accessories. This month's accessories (not pictured) were a hat and running belt. $50 might seem like a lot, but you definitely get your money's worth. See the May box HERE.

I spent time at the beach.
Because #summer. I am so fortunate to live along the shores of Lake Michigan. We made a vow to visit the beach at least once a week this Summer because, well...because we can! Twist my arm, I'm down with beach time anytime.

I was featured on two different websites.
Our Favorite 25 Fitness Bloggers of 2017
Motivating Mom Tara

I feel like there's so much more to tell, but at the risk of boring you, I'll stop right here with a promise to keep sharing. So many post ideas in my head! So little time. Boo.

Question: What's one exciting thing you've done so far this month?

Monday, May 15, 2017

NOW Foods: Why this company will change the way you do supplements, oils and more. #nowgetfit


The following post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Now Foods. All opinions are, as per the usual my very own. 

A few weeks ago, I was asked to attend an immersion event at the NOW Foods headquarters with a group of my fellow bloggers. Now Foods is located outside of Chicago, and I was thrilled to receive this invitation. But, life happened. My grandmother passed away.

I stayed home with my family instead of making the trip to Bloomingdale, IL. I had to, it's where I wanted to be. And I'll forever be grateful to social media for giving me the opportunity to follow my fellow bloggers on the adventure. It was a nice break from the tears.

I will also be forever grateful to FitFluential and NOW Foods for understanding why I had to back out at the last minute—and especially grateful to Now Foods for sending me the box of goodies I would have received upon my arrival at the event.

Many bloggers out there talk about NOW Foods. And now I know why. As a certified personal trainer, people ask me all the time about supplements. What they should use and why, and from where they should buy them. My ability to respond is very limited because I am not a registered dietitian or nutritionist, and I don't live in a bustling metropolis with a lot of shopping options. But now (pardon the pun), I can tell them about NOW Foods.

supplements, natural products, now immersion event
This company is wonderful and I've only just begun to learn all there is to know about them. They manufacture natural products which, when you're talking about supplements and personal care, is very important. Plus, the products themselves are quite affordable.

Supplements can get expensive, yes?

And then there's this: NOW is one of the largest independent manufacturers of natural products in the U.S. health food store channel. Buy local, just on a bigger scale! Bonus, their quality control game is on point, something I would have loved to see firsthand at the blogger immersion.

Let's talk about some of the products they offer.
First up, dietary supplements.

probiotic, fiber, curcumin
I'll admit, I'm ultra hesitant about supplements. I'm a daily multi-vitamin kind of girl. But NOW makes it so easy to learn about supplements, that it makes them super approachable. Conversations with your doctor about supplements are enhanced by detailed product packaging and a library full of additional articles attached to each of the product pages online. So super helpful!

Admittedly, I have not yet tried any of the above, but am extremely interested in the respiratory care probiotic after a recent dance with some seasonal allergies. I think I'm going to switch out my normal probiotic for this one for a few days to see if I can finally get myself over this yuck.

Next up, natural foods.

organic living, healthy foods, eat healthy, clean eating, #nowgetfit
I love that, in addition to supplements, they offer healthy foods from which you can get essential nutrients. That organic triple omega seed mix is the perfect addition to any smoothie. Normally, I hesitate to throw nuts and seeds into a smoothie because I don't like that gritty, sand-in-mouth texture. But this stuff blended up wonderfully and added a great pop of nutrition.

A post shared by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on

Of course, the quinoa penne pasta was quite good, too. My family had no idea that it wasn't your stereotypical noodle. Chunky sauce for the win:

natural foods, whole foods, pasta, pasta sauce, noodles, healthy carbs
Time to talk about sports nutrition:

NOW Foods, natural supplements, protein powder, BCAA, pre workout mix.
As I said before, this is a hot topic at the gym for obvious reasons. Everyone wants to get the most out of their workouts, and the supplement industry is winning the game. But, not all supplements are created equal, and not all supplements are essential. Here's what I like about NOW sports nutrition products: World-class research and development standards and high-quality ingredients go into every product. No artificial ingredients, colors or flavors. What you see is what you get, and what you get is a premium product.

I put the plant protein complex in the aforementioned smoothie and it was delicious. I've always been a little hesitant about pre-workouts, to be honest. So much caffeine (and it's not even coffee), but I'm learning more and more about BCAAs. Branched chain amino acids. Good for muscle retention and recovery. Long story short: When you exercise, your body breaks down carbs for energy. When it runs out of carbs, it starts eating away at your hard-earned muscles in search of amino acids. Enter the amino acid supplement, which can help prevent this particular type of muscle loss.

I'll play around with the BCAAs and let you know what I think...oh, and I'll also play around with that MCT oil. Word on the street: Bulletproof coffee. You know I'm game for anything coffee.

I also love essential oils and natural home remedies.

essential oils, diffuser, arnica, pain relief
The arnica warming relief oil? So great. I've been using it on my knee and it seems to be working.

A post shared by Tara (@adailydoseoffit) on

Speaking of oils, NOW essential oils are certified organic and 100% pure. There are a TON of essential oil companies out there. If you want to avoid the "order from me" scheme, you can NOW essential oils from a variety of different places. The store locater on the NOW website will tell you exactly where those places are.

To keep up with NOW Foods, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

If you want to hear what my fellow bloggers are saying about NOW, click through some of these links. You'll get event recaps, and see some of the products being put to use:

1) What a Healthy Obsession Looks Like
2) Natural, Pure Products for a Happier Healthier Life Now
3) Triple Omega Seed Chocolate Energy Bites
4) Now Foods #NowGetFit Influencer Immersion is SUPER!
5) Blueberry Protein Smoothie
6) Now Foods Immersion Recap

Keep in touch with me, too, as I'll be posting more about NOW moving forward.

Question: Do you use any products from NOW? How do you feel about supplements?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ellie Activewear Subscription Box Review, May 2017 #loveellie #ad

The following post is sponsored by Ellie. I received a free box of clothing in exchange for my opinions, They are, as always, my very own.

I have way too much activewear in my closet. When I have to wear real clothes, I feel like I never have anything to choose from. Remember this: I work at a gym (and a running store), so activewear is my professional uniform. But I live in a small town, so shopping is limited. If I find a cute pair of leggings, chances are good that I'll run into someone else wearing them because #tjmaxx and #target. That's all we have to choose from, basically. So when Ellie offered to partner with me, I said yes because #activewear.

activewear, fitness fashion, clothing, fitgear, Marika, Balanced Collection
Ellie is a company that curates a monthly subscription box for fitness folks like you and me. Price? $49.95/month for five items. And yes, they make it really easy to adjust your subscription. Cancelling is easy, and you can also skip a month. If you don't, you'll get a box with a bag that contains one complete outfit and two accessories.

I received the May box.

activewear, fitness fashion, clothing, fitgear, Marika, Balanced Collection
This is not a surprise box, so if you see someone opening their box on Instagram while you wait for yours, you'll be getting what they got. This month, however, they're getting crafty and making a few swaps here and there. This goes along with May's theme: #SquadGoals and #DifferentButSame. Every month has a theme, which is super fun.

So, if you order May's box, you might get an outfit that is "different but same" as the one I got:

activewear, fitness fashion, clothing, fitgear, Marika, Balanced Collection
I've had two Ellie boxes so far, and it looks like a majority of the pieces are coming from Marika right now, with the exception of the leggings above.

Quality: Great.
Fit: True to size.
Style: On trend.

Take a closer look at the back of this month's tank top:

tank top, fitness top, yoga top, fitness clothing, fashion, Marika
It kind of looks like a zipper, yes? I like it. And then, some strap action on the front of an otherwise plain black sports bra:

sports bra, fitness top, fitness gear, fashion, fitfashion
As you know, I am SUPER picky about my workout bottoms. Someone at Ellie knows what's up because both pairs I've received from them were far from see-thru. And incredibly comfortable from a movement standpoint. These leggings are from Balanced Collection, a brand I have never heard of:

activewear, fitness fashion, clothing, fitgear, Marika, Balanced Collection
That mesh, though! Anyone else obsessed with this trend? I think it's really fun in small doses.

Let's get to the accessories:

activewear, fitness clothing, fitgear, marika, balanced collection, monthly box
So, I don't really use an arm wallet when I run. I have a FlipBelt, but...who knows. This may come in handy some day. And speaking of hands, I'm really looking forward to using the hand therapy set. Probably after I type this post. I got a yoga mat towel in last month's box. And a water bottle. So the accessories are well-picked, too.

Verdict? I like the box! I've done other fitness clothing subscription boxes and haven't been as satisfied. I don't like having to send items back that I don't want, and I don't like paying over $50 bucks for something I can't pick out myself. But $50 for an entire outfit (and then some)? That's a pretty good deal, yeah? Especially when it's a deal on stuff that's actually pretty great.

Question: Have any experience with fitness clothing subscription services? Do you like the mesh trend on leggings?
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