Sunday, July 31, 2011

And the winner is...

Congrats, Rita! Check your in-box for an email from yours truly. I'll need to get your address so that I can ship off your prize pack. And to everyone else—thank you so much for participating. I don't know when my next giveaway will be, but I hope you'll keep reading!

I wish I had a witty, fun, slightly educational dose of fit for you today, but this momma is wiped out. I spent the entire day at Ikea, and if you've ever been to Ikea, you know that it takes everything out of you. The trip was a great success, even found this little rattle for Baby:

I thought it was appropriate and adorable.

Off to make a playlist for class tomorrow, and then to bed I go.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Back Row + Leg Abduction = Good Exercise

I tend to keep an eye on my fellow trainers. Not because I don't trust them, and not because I wish to compete with them. Rather, because I like to learn from them. You never know when someone is going to debut an awesome exercise with one of their clients.  Like a back row and leg abduction combo. Supposedly it's in an issue of Oxygen, but for now I'll credit my fellow trainer who shall remain nameless. Here's what you do, and I'm sorry it lacks a visual:

Back Row/Leg Abduction Combo
Tools needed: One dumbell that meets your upright row needs and an exercise ball or other object that hits at your knee (such as a bench or plyo box, maybe even a chair seat)

1) Place the weight in your right hand. Stand to the right of the exercise ball, holding on to it for balance with your left hand. Hinge forward with a flat back until you are almost parallel with the floor, right arm hanging down.

2) With your palm facing behind you, row the weight up to your side—lifting your shoulder up behind you while bending your elbow to 90 degrees. As you do this, simultaneously lift your LEFT leg up behind you. Keep it straight, contract your glutes.

3) Return to your starting position, which is the bent-forward position. Repeat as desired, then move to the other side of the ball and switch arms and legs.

NOTE: Stay in that bent-forward position at all times, keeping your head in line with your neck and spine. Keep your leg straight as you lift it in a controlled manner. Don't let your lower back arch. If it does, don't lift your leg as high. Remember, leg and arm come up together.

You'll ultimately feel this along the entire back, working specifically your upper back and glutes, but truly calling on your entire back and core to help you maintain a balanced position.

Try it. I think you'll like it.
I think you'll like this quote, too:

Question: What do you love about your body? Go ahead, brag a little!

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win a prize pack from Fiber One featuring the new 80 Calorie cereal! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 29, 2011).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mmmmm, French fries.

Did I get your attention? Thought so.

If you're anything like me, you love French fries but hate the calories (and the guilt) that so commonly come with them. But you indulge, every so often, because life is meant to be lived and French fries are meant to be consumed. On occasion. Once in a while. Blah, blah and blah. But dang nabbit, French fries are effin' good.

That's what you think if you're anything like me. So let's come together and tip our hats to those little sticks of salty goodness and love (with a side of ketchup, of course). But let's only tip those hats just a little bit. Tip fully, however, to these little sticks of no-salt delightfulness you can make at home. In fact, I made them at home for lunch today:

No deep fryer required. For real. These babies were baked. And guess what? They're made of zucchini wedges, rather than potato wedges. But I bet you could use potato wedges if you wanted to—they'd just take longer to bake. And the sauce? A combo of low-fat sour cream, garlic and Frank's Red Hot. So good, I wish I had come up with the recipe on my own. What you see above is loosely based on a recipe for Oven-Fried Squash Spears that I found in Clean Eating (June 2011). Here's my version of it:

Squash Fries with Spicy Garlic Sour Cream
2 egg whites
1/2 cup skim milk
2 slices of wheat bread, chopped in a food processor
1 tsp. garlic powder
A healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper
A couple shakes of Cayenne pepper
1 zucchini
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream, sliced into spears
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp. Frank's Red Hot (or equivalent)

1) Preheat your oven to 450F, then prepare to make a bit of a mess.

2) Put the egg whites and milk in a large bowl, then whisk until combined. Set aside.

3) Slice the zucchini into semi-thin, fry style wedges. Put them in the bowl with the egg white mix, stir with a fork to cover. In a shallow dish, combine the bread bits, garlic powder and peppers. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.

4) This is where it gets dirty: Grab a spear, roll it in the breadcrumb mix, then place it on the pan. Some will cover easier than others. I found it worked best if I pushed one side into the mix, then flipped it and pushed the other side into it. But I inevitably ended up rolling the last few because my fingers got so sticky.

5) Once finished, bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Rotate, then bake another three minutes. Prep the sauce while they're baking...

6) It couldn't be easier: Mix the sour cream, garlic and Frank's in a bowl. Done and done.

7) When all is done, simply enjoy!

According to the magazine, a single serving clocks in at 80 calories and 3 grams of fat. If you ask me, that's a side dish worth enjoying. Sorry...rather, that's a French fry worth enjoying.

Question: Have you turned anything other than potatoes into French fries? (I kind of want to try making some baked pickle wedge fries at home. Don't knock it. It tastes better than it sounds. Last question: when you give into your French fry craving, to what restaurant do you inevitably go to?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win a prize pack from Fiber One featuring the new 80 Calorie cereal! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 29, 2011).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Official Book Review: Run Like a Girl

A very long time ago (like, before I was pregnant or even a homeowner), Mina Samuels sent me a copy of Run Like a Girl to review. Even though life got the best of me over the past few months, I did what I could to stick with it because I truly began to enjoy it from page one—but could never really find the time to enjoy page two, or more than two pages at a time. But as we settled into the house, I began to find pockets of time suitable for reading and, well...I finished the book this week. I feel so accomplished.

And I feel compelled to let you know that it's a great read. Really great, actually. It's not a book out running, per se, but it's a book about women who choose to run. And women who choose to ski, climb rocks, etc. It's about women who choose to rise about the status quo and power through their athleticism (and various road blocks) to excel at the sports of their choosing. Sure, it talks a little bit about Title IX and the whole male/female/women can't beat men thing—but in a sense that explains we sure can beat men, and we shouldn't feel guilty doing so. Which is really affirmation that we should be proud of our accomplishments, no matter what our fellow males (or females) are accomplishing.

That's a message that doesn't get delivered enough, if I do say so myself.

Speaking from a technical writer's standpoint, I have to say that I truly enjoyed Mina's approach to non-fiction. Sometimes I pick up non-fiction books and brace myself for a history lesson. And if you think back to those history classes you took as a student, you know what I'm talking about. Serious zzzzzzz's. Such is not the case with Run Like a Girl. I felt like I was listening to my best girlfriend talk. Her style is very conversational, which totally engages you from start to finish. I honestly would find myself responding in my head to what she was saying, only to have her then respond in text to herself with my exact same thoughts.

It's a good read, 'nuff said. If you're looking for some inspiration, no matter what your age or athleticism, this surely qualifies as just that.  To prove it, I'll share a few of my favorite quotes:

Question: Do you run like a girl?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win a prize pack from Fiber One featuring the new 80 Calorie cereal! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 29, 2011).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bumpers, bottles and...helpful blog-readers?

Alright, so this post will have absolutely nothing to do with fitness. I apologize in advance. I am pulling a selfish move today and using Daily Dose as a megaphone for my call for help. Well, more like my cry for information. Because currently, I'm in research mode. As you know by now, my husband and I are expecting our first little one. Which means we have not a single baby item in our house, nor do we know for sure what baby items we truly need in our house. Besides the obvious, I mean. But when it comes to the obvious, like strollers and car seats and bottles (oh my!)—

What do I need to know?

What has worked for you?
What hasn't?

What did you register for that you didn't use?
What did you wish you had registered for?

Did you register for diapers? All sizes?
How many sets of this or that clothing item?

Seriously, any tips (from good brands to awesome models in particular) are welcome. Feel free to leave them in the comments section below. As always, you can email me directly at dailydose (dot) notes (at) gmail (dot) com. I would love, love to hear from you mommas and daddies out there that might be reading this. (Seriously, how cute is Precious Moments stuff? I like it now, more than ever.)

And I promise, I'll get back to fitness tomorrow.

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win a prize pack from Fiber One featuring the new 80 Calorie cereal! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 29, 2011).

Monday, July 25, 2011

WIN THIS: A Fiber One Prize Pack

A couple of days ago, I signed up to be a guinea pig for General Mills. They're rolling out a new Fiber One 80 Calories cereal and (through MyBlogSpark) they sent some my way—along with a pedometer and iPod armband. Take a look:

Now, as you know, I don't promote anything and everything on my blog. And I always...always give you my honest opinion. So we'll start with the following: 1) I love cereal. 2) I'm very picky about the cereal I eat. 3) I can't always digest fiber. 4) No, really...digesting fiber is sometimes not fun for me.

I was a little nervous about trying a cereal that boasts an ability to provide 40% of my dietary fiber requirements in one fell swoop. Egads, my poor stomach. But, I know that fiber is good for me. There are two types: Soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers absorb water and essentially swell up inside of you. Insoluble fibers pass right through. Both, for lack of better description, scrape your stomach and intestines ever so gently to aid the digestive process. And they take longer to digest. Yes, this is a good thing, mostly because it means we'll stay full for longer. And the better we digest our foods, even if it's a slow process, the less issues we have inside us and the more we benefit from said foods. And if we're eating healthy, all the better our workouts will be. (For an excellent article from WebMD that details all there is to know about fiber, click here.)

Back to the cereal. It had me at "honey" so I poured myself a box for lunch today, and promptly added half a banana because half a banana in my cereal makes me oh-so happy. See:

First impression? Tasty. Sweet enough that even your kids might eat it, which actually had me very curious about the ingredients. Tons of sugar, right? Not really, and no high fructose corn syrup. Just sugar and honey and some added sucralose, which also makes me nervous when it comes to my digestive track. I have a hard time with sweeteners other than sugar and honey. But, so good. It's been about an hour. Usually any problems kick in right away.

On top of the flavor, it was pretty crunchy, too.

So with the added skim milk, it comes out to 120 calories per bowl. Add the bananas and you'll up it even more, which is acceptable because bananas are good for you. And let's face it, an 80-calorie meal is not so much a meal at all. So don't be afraid to add that fruit to bump it up a notch.

Do I recommend this cereal? Yes. Fiber One, you impress me with your 80-calorie cereal. But, I do note: I almost always prefer oats when I'm headed for cereal, but sometimes life gets the best of you and you just don't have time to pull a bowl of it together. And that's where boxed cereals come into play. If you pick the right box, you'll be fine.

But you have to pick the right box. If there's marshmallows in it...probably not the right box at all. But you already knew that. Right? Right!

So here's the good news: You, too can test out this tasty creation. Leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite way to get more fiber into your diet. Please include your email address. In the event that you win, I'll need to get in touch with you for your mailing address. If I can't get in touch with you, you can't win!

Oh, and here's a few more ways to win:
1) Like Fiber One on Facebook.
2) Like A Daily Dose of Fit on Facebook.
3) Subscribe to A Daily Dose of Fit emails.

Best of luck! Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 29, 2011. I will announce the winner on Sunday, July 31, 2011. Looking forward to your entries, as always. Until then, I'm going to take my pregnant belly to the beach. Yep, still sportin' the two-piece. Watch out, beach! Here comes the bump!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

And the winner is...

Congrats, Kara! I'll bring the bars to class on Tuesday. Yep, Kara is one of my fearless TRX Bootcampers. She's super strong and puts everything into her workouts. And she looks great because of it. Kara, you'll love the bars!

And just so the rest of you know, I don't play favorites when I pick my winners. I use a random number generator, so it's really out of my hands! And I do read each and every entry I get—it's actually what I love best about hosting a giveaway, as many of your entrants link me up to your presence on the Internet. For example, I never knew that Kara wrote a food blog. And when I clicked over to Mrs. Jimison's blog, I found a link to Tagxedo.

What is Tagxedo? Word fun, people! Especially if you write a blog. Much like Wordle, it generates an image made of words inspired by "famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters" or you can type in a URL. For example, I typed in and it gave me this:

Pretty sweet, right? Get to testin'. And get excited. I've got another giveaway ready to go live tomorrow.

Question: Did you try Tagxedo? If you test out any fitness related words, send a copy of it my way and I might feature it on Daily Dose!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chest Fly Pushups

Got a new move for ya. I read about it in Oxygen. I think it's hard. Pushups are hard, but chest fly pushups are even harder. Trust me, and trust my 6:00AMers. Here's what you'll need:

Yep, that's it...well, except you'll also need to be on a smooth floor. Otherwise the gliding discs won't glide, and you need them to. If you don't have access to the discs, you can use two hand towels. They'll work just fine. What to do?

Put a mat or towel under your knees, this pushup variation on your knees. Even if your standard pushups rocks. Trust me. Now place a glider under each hand. Or a towel, like so:

Shoulder-width apart, hands right under your shoulders. Make sure your body is in one straight line from your shoulders to your hips and through to your knees. No butts in the air! And now, as you come down into your pushup, slide your right hand out until your elbow are bent to 90 degrees, then use your chest muscles to pull your hand back to your starting position. This, of course, is the modified version. As it gets easier, and as you develop strength, slide both hands out at the same time to bring yourself down into a pushup. Stay on your knees though. Pop up only if you perfect the full chest fly pushup on your knees.

Of course, this works your chest muscles. And your arms, even your core. Love it!

Lemme know how it goes.

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win two boxes of EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bars! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 21, 2011).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

'bobs on the barb.

Say what? Clarification: Shish-kebobs on the bar-b-que. Make sense now? I knew it would. And man, oh man were they ever good. Quite the perfect summer meal, if I do say so myself. I mean, just look at these beauties:

The longer they cooked, the better they got (obviously). Especially once slathered in sauce.

The lineup included some chicken, baby 'bellas, yellow squash and zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion and green pepper. Topped with BBQ sauce, seasoned salt and pepper. So easy, so healthy. Totally clean. And totally versatile, too. Other ingredients worth adding to the stick: pineapple, shrimp, other meats and peppers, slices of corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes...I mean, the list of options is seriously endless as you can grill just about anything. I bet you could even make up a fruit-filled, dessert-type bob.

I drool just thinking about it.

And I drool just looking at this plate full of goodness and healthy love:

The side of cheesy garlic pita helps, indeed. (I may have burned the bottom a little, but I think the hubs saved it just in time.)

Now to the grocery store and buy the ingredients for your idea of the perfect shis-kebab. You know you want to!

Question: What is your perfect shis-kebab?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win two boxes of EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bars! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 21, 2011).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Buff Kids: Good or bad?

"The Today Show" was on at the gym yesterday morning, and I caught a glimpse of a promo for a segment about a 13-year old boy who was more ripped than almost every grown man currently working out at the gym. Unfortunately, duty called and I missed the segment. But it stuck with me, and I hit the Internet in search of the story.

While I applaud the kid for his physique, I don't necessarily support what he's doing. Not at his age. I agree with the professionals in the interview, specifically when they say that weight training is safe but  bodybuilding is different—clearly the kid above is doing some serious bodybuilding. But weight training, lifting lighter weights with higher repetitions, is actually quite good for growing children when done correctly and with expert supervision. Strength training creates better muscle function, which helps kiddos avoid unnecessary injuries in their sports and during their playtime. It supports the growth of healthy, strong bones. And it keeps the ticker pumping more so than any intense video game ever could.

If your kid wants to hit the gym, find a youth program that will teach them how to do so correctly. At my gym, we give interested children orientations during which we go over every last detail regarding gym safety, equipment use, etc. And we point out machines that are just too much for them. Because really, all the machines in most gyms, unless otherwise noted, are built for an adult body.

If you don't belong to a gym, buy your kid their very own set of hand weights. But make them a reasonable weight, probably nothing above ten pounds to start. Show them what to do, and then make sure they do it correctly.

And most importantly, teach them why strength training is important. As stated in the segment, make it about health and happiness, not ripped muscles and hot physiques. Kids go through enough already when it comes to body image, strength training need not add to it.

Everything in moderation, right? Strength training, not bodybuilding.

Question: If you have kids, how do you keep them fit and active? Do they express an interest in strength training? How old are they?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win two boxes of EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bars! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 21, 2011).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Eclectic Playlist

This post goes out to Jenny, who kicks butt in my TRX class week after week. (Work it, girl!) She requested that I post today's playlist on this here blog, which I am happy to do. For her and for you, because if you're looking for an eclectic (love that word) playlist that lasts for about an hour...well, this definitely fits the bill.

Check it:

I have to say, though. I think everyone in my TRX class kicks some serious butt. They work hard, and it shows—and it challenges me, too! It's the type of group that will and usually can do just about anything, so that opens a whole slew of doors in terms of picking and choosing the right combo of exercises. What can I do to make them sweat? How can I tweak this exercise now that it's getting too easy? It's seriously so fun for me to plan. I love working out with people who clearly love it, too. People who put their everything into it.

If I could bottle their energy for you, I would. But I think if you dig deep, you'll find your own energy bottled up somewhere inside.

PS: I think my husband secretly likes Britney's new song. He sings it a lot, but when I call him out on it, he swears he's just kidding around. Maybe he is, but I still think it's funny that he knows the words. If you were to take a peek at his iPod, you'd find a lot of Frank Sinatra and movie scores and, well...some 80's music. Definitely not Britney.

Question: What's the most eclectic song you've got on your current playlist? Anything completely random or totally old school?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win two boxes of EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bars! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 21, 2011).

Monday, July 18, 2011

WIN THIS: Two boxes of EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bars

I recently reviewed two EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bars, and when Cari (producer of said bars) got wind of my words, she wrote me almost immediately with an offer I could not refuse:

Two unopened boxes, one Chocolate Raspberry and one Chocolate Peanut Butter, that I could pass along to one lucky Daily Dose reader. (If I can keep myself from digging into them...I tease. I wouldn't do that to you.)

Here's how to enter: Leave a comment on this post telling me which bar sounds the best. Be sure to let me know if you do any of the following, all of which get you extra entries!
1) Like FitGirlCari: Cari Draft on Facebook.
2) Like A Daily Dose of Fit on Facebook.
3) Subscribe to A Daily Dose of Fit.

BE SURE TO LEAVE ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS, otherwise I can't get in touch with you for a street address. Send it to dailydose (dot) notes (at) gmail (dot) com if you don't want to leave it within your comment. Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 22. The winner will be announced on Sunday, July 24. Thanks! And good luck.

(Unfortunately, you must reside within the continental US of A to win this's food, and it's chocolate. Which means I need to be able to ship it to you in a quicklike manner. Thanks for understanding!)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What is a Zercher squat?

Jason and I went to the gym this morning for some cardio. Of course, I took the July issue of Oxygen with me—because when it's too hot outside and I'm forced to walk indoors on a stationary piece of equipment, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to get through it. I found the following, which happens to be final part of an article entitled "30 Ultimate Fitness Adventures":

I don't know what the heck a Zercher squat is, so I did what anyone does when they need to learn something. I hit the Internet. YouTube, to be specific. Check it:

First of all, I can't post this without saying how much I love this guy's shorts. I tried to convince Jason he needed a pair, but he just walked away from me without comment. I guess that means he didn't like them. Moving on.

Zercher squats are standard squats with a barbell, but that barbell is rested in the bend of your elbow joint. Obviously this guy only does one repetition—you would not set the bar down in between repetitions, and you don't have to pick it up from the floor. Your trainer, or training partner can hand it to you, or you can pick it up off a rack.

What's the benefit? More searching on the Internet leads me to conclude that Zercher squats target the quads (clearly), but take some of the load off your spine while simultaneously calling on your core a bit more than your usual squats. Why? Because the bar isn't hanging from your hands. It's cradled in the crook of your elbow, urging you to tip forward, so clenching up those core muscles provides the support and stability you need to keep that back upright as you squat down and up.

Try it. Tell me what you think. (Just make sure to pick an appropriate sense hurting yourself as you learn something new.)

And now, some motivational words from an advertisement I found in the same issue of Oxygen:

Good mantra, eh? Just switch out "I train with Max" in the last line to "I train to the max" sounds better, I think. Max is actually an "ultimate pre-workout supplement experience" that I don't particularly believe in, so I won't give you any further details on the product itself, but I will tell you to believe in the words above. Chant them, memorize them, find motivation in them. Because even if you don't look like the girl in the picture, you're still beautiful and strong're YOU. Which is awesome.

Speaking of awesome, I'm posting an exciting giveaway tomorrow. Come back and check it out!

Question: Have you ever heard of Zercher squats, or am I simply out of the loop on this one? Do you have a personal mantra when it comes to your health and fitness? Do share!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Egads, what a week!

When I started this blog, I intended to post something every single day. And for a while there, it happened. But as of late, life has been getting the best of me. From freelance projects to personal training clients, a new house and my bulging belly—you haven't been getting your "daily dose" of me. And as I sit here right now, I wonder if that's acceptable. Will you stop reading if I stop posting on a daily basis? Do you mind that I often post about other things unrelated to fitness? What will happen when the baby is born? Questions I often ask myself.

Questions I might not ever have the right answer to, so I trek on and do the best I can. I think, in all honestly, that you understand. Life probably gets the best of you, too. But there's one thing I can assure you. Through it all, even though I don't share it, life has yet to get the best of my fitness. I'm still hitting the gym, still stealing walks along the bluff. Because realistically speaking, life is granted because of fitness. It's like the gas in our gas tanks. That which keeps us going. Well, along with the right food.

So let's keep going...

The first thing I need to tell you about is Emily's Blueberry Banana Bread. Seriously, it's amazing. Quite possibly the best banana bread I've ever eaten. And if you don't like banana bread, I urge you to try it nonetheless. Even the hubs liked it, and he's picky. Does this not get your mouth watering?

 It's not overly banana-y, but perfectly moist like most banana breads are. And really, can you go wrong when you add blueberries to a baked good? Not in my opinion. The last loaf is de-thawing as we speak. Perhaps that's why my jeans aren't fitting.

Oh, wait. I'm pregnant. Whoever decided that a ponytail holder works to extend the life of non-preggo pants—you're a genius. I'm using it with gusto whenever I wear my jeans. But it doesn't work with my wide-leg linen pants. I may have popped a button trying to squeeze into them. Looks like they're headed to the back of the closet for a while. And it looks like I'll be hitting up the maternity sections today. We're headed to South Bend to get some shopping done. We need a filter for, well...I don't know what. But the hubs says we need one. Yeah, we shop for boring things now.

Which brings me to the house. Things are falling into place quite smoothly!

And when I say "falling into place," I mean that all the furniture is where it needs to be. I haven't touched any of my decorations yet. Those are all still in boxes in Baby's room.

Along with a few other random things, like wet laundry and photo albums that need a bookshelf. My list for IKEA is growing by the minute!

As is, apparently, my belly.

One last pic:

I found this delightful message when I went walking along the beach. I don't know who wrote it, but I know why—it's the truth! Exercise is, despite what you may think, really fun! Consider it a game, your own personal challenge, or something you do with friends. However you approach it, remember these fundamental words: Exercise is fun. Because only when you have fun with it, can you truly embrace it as good.

Question: When was the last time you had fun exercising?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Update your playlist!

So I've been rocking out to some new songs. Despite the fact that I am certainly not hitting the club scene as of late, said songs take me right there. And it's that carefree party-on-the-dance-floor feeling that truly gets me moving on the gym floor. Needless to say, I've put them on the the playlists I've been using in my classes. Have a listen:

I seriously wish I could dance like Beyonce. I mean, I can shake it with the best of them, but girl can MOVE. How she shakes her shoulders like that is beyond me. I guess some women are just born with it. Kinda like Britney, although I think Beyonce does it better. And no...I'm not afraid to admit that I still like Britney:

I'm not really sure she can sing, and I feel like there's a bit of a disconnect in her eyes, but her songs still entertain me. Maybe even more so than they've ever entertained me. Good beat, fun lyrics...yeah, I'm in. Rounding out the ladies, another classic chick:

It's decided—I need to have a dance party right quick before this torso can't twist anymore. I hope this little potato inside me loves dancing as much as its momma.

Oh, sure. I listen to dudes, too. Time to bring the token male to the table. Males, in this case. I just heard the following song today, and although I have yet to download it, I'm seriously liking it so far. It's called "Turn It Up," and it's by Kalup Linzy. Who? No clue, but he features James Franco on the following track. Yeah, as in the guy who flopped at the Oscars. Listen:

So anyways, that's how I updated my playlist. And here's my advice to you for the day: Make sure you keep your playlists updated with songs that totally motivate you. That's why we plug in at the gym, right? To keep us moving, to tune out distractions. So don't let yourself tune out the tunes in your ears. Spend a few bucks now and then on some new songs. It's really worth it.

Question: What's on your playlist these days? Anything I should know about?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bump alert!

So I'm working on my 15th week right now, and although this picture was taken post-lunch, I assure you the bump is all baby. And I still think it's crazy! Don't get me wrong, I'm loving it...I just can't believe it's actually happening to me. Well, to us. Daddy is pregnant, too. Right? Jason obviously isn't getting any of the physical symptoms, but he's had to do a lot of the physical things around the house that I can't do. Like move heavy boxes. And laundry (when I'm too tired to stay up to finish it).

I thought maybe you'd like to see where I'm at, and can I honestly say, taking your picture in a mirror is hard work! Maybe it's just me. Anyways...

It was a long weekend and I apologize for my absence. The sister-in-law is married, and she's currently on the beach in Jamaica with her husband. Beautiful bride, beautiful groom. Gorgeous (hot) day. Ain't weddings grand? I'd show you pics, but alas, I didn't take a single one.

And so here we are. Monday! Did you start your week off with a workout? Are you planning to get one in tonight? I obviously taught Circuit Sculpt today. I just love it! But I'm having to modify because of Baby. "Do as I say, not as I do," I continuously bark. They love me.

But I don't love that I have to modify ab workout. I think abs are one of my favorite muscle groups to work, but I am scaling back on that one because of Baby. Given that I'm at the start of my second trimester, it's definitely time for me to switch things up as one can't compress the core too much when she's got a bun baking. So, I thought I'd give YOU a 3-move ab circuit. Someone has to keep the ab workout going. I elect you!

1) LEG EXTENSION CRUNCHES WITH A MEDICINE BALL:  Lie flat on your back with your legs and arms extended, hands holding an eight to ten pound medicine ball. Press your lower back into the ground, lift your feet and hands about six inches off the ground. Crunch up and bend in one knee, keeping your arms straight as you bring the ball up and over that bent knee. Return to start and repeat with your other leg to complete one repetition.

2) SIDE PLANK WITH EXTENDED ARM AND LEG: Start on your right, straighten your right arm underneath your shoulder while extending the left arm toward the ceiling. Lift your left food away from your least six inches, more if you can handle. Hold. (Start with 15 seconds if you don't have experience with planks. Otherwise, go all out and start with 30 seconds per side.)

3) BUDDY TORSO TWISTS ON AN EXERCISE BALL: If you're working out with a friend, this exercise will work perfectly. If you aren't, you can always jump on a cable machine. Back to the buddy system...sit on an exercise ball, hold one end of an exercise band with handles and give the other end to your friend. Extend your arms out in front of you, then have your friend walk away from you to the left in order to put some tension on the band. Twist to the right, fighting the tension the whole way by using your entire core muscle group. Complete all repetitions, then switch to the other side.

Got it? Good.

And now, I'm out. Time to make a chicken salad for dinner.

Question: When will this nausea go away?! And, what are your three most favorite ab exercises?

Friday, July 8, 2011

EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bars

I like trying new things. Especially when it comes to food. So when Cari Draft of EcoTrek Fitness rolled out her new whole food bars...I knew that getting my hands on some would become a priority. And since I'm currently in Spring Lake (MI), I headed over to Orchard Market and bought some.

For $2.29 each, I bought one Chocolate Raspberry and one Chocolate Peanut Butter. Both are awesome and good., and I already know that I'll be stopping by the store for more before this weekend is over.

Cari's bars are gluten-free, 100% natural and free of dairy—but full of protein. 10 grams each, actually. And at 195 calories with only 80 fat calories and 9 fat grams (only two of which are saturated fat grams), they're a healthy alternative to other "protein bars" on the shelves. Plus, they're quite tasty.

That's something you don't always get from a protein bar. Know what I mean?

I dug into the Chocolate Raspberry first.

Sweet, like eating chocolate-covered raspberries. And soft, too. Not at all crunchy, which made it a bit like a truffle from your favorite chocolate shop. I happen to love truffles, so I'd know! The personalized pic is great, too. But I think the Chocolate Peanut Butter bar is my favorite.

Then again, I do love me some peanut butter cups, but I don't eat them a lot because they certainly aren't good for you—so this bar cemented itself in my stomach as a great substitute! Hooray!

But what I love the most about these bars is not the flavors or the ingredients (things like sunflower butter, aloe vera juice, dates and more), it's that they're local. They're Cari, and that's totally cool. And absolutely worth supporting. Never, ever hesitate to support something that's of local origin, whatever that something may be.

But that's enough about the bars.

If you want to learn more about Cari and EcoTrek fitness, head on over to her website.

Me...I've got a mani and pedi to finish, then I'm off to a rehearsal dinner. Fun!

Question: What products made locally in your community are totally worth splurging on?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Squats with Weights (and a Wedding)

I like to entertain my clients while they work out. Not just with some witty conversation, but with exercises that never feel repetitive. While I repeat exercises, I never do so two sessions in a row. (The exception, of course, being planks.) But in my flurry to bring new and exciting things to the gym floor, I often forget that simplicity is often just as good. There are so many oldie-but-goodies out there! And as I check out the gym floor each day, I walk away from my shift having been reminded of at least one. Maybe two. was one. A good, totally simple one,

It was the side-to-side wide squat with a shoulder press. Which, of course, involves a set of hand weights...or a suitable bar of sorts.

The how-to:

Pick a set of hand weights or a body bar that's heavy enough to challenge your shoulder muscles, even if it won't much challenge your leg. Remember, any added weight counts—but not at the expense of the weaker muscle group which, in this case, happens to be your shoulders.

Start with your feet together, weights at shoulder/chest height. Step to the right, hit a wide squat, step back in and press the weights up above your shoulders. Bring them back down again, then repeat the squat, starting with your left foot. Continue this side-to-side motion until you've done 12, maybe 15 shoulder presses. Move on to another exercise that targets a different muscle group, then come back for one more set of this combo.

Of course, you can alter sets and repetitions according to your typical training schedule. And if you have any questions about what those sets and repetitions should be, feel free to send a note to dailydose (dot) notes (at) gmail (dot) com.

I am always willing to help out as best I can without seeing you in action!

But now, I must leave town. We're headed north to celebrate my sister-in-law's wedding! (Jason's sister, if that sounds confusing.)

You'll make a beautiful bride, Chandra!

I feel like it was just yesterday that you and Art got all dressed up for our wedding. Of course, your brother and I (and Baby) can't wait to return the favor. I'm just glad Baby isn't much bigger, 'cuz my dress fits JUUUUST RIGHT! Maybe all the dancing I intend to do will loosen it up a bit. Here's to an awesome weekend! Can't WAIT to get it started! And I'm so excited for you and Art. Marriage is a beautiful thing, and you'll both just love it...the good times and the bad. Love you both!

Question: What's your favorite oldie-but-goodie exercise? Were you invited to any weddings this wedding season?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Complete Guide to Interval Training (#Infographic)

I subbed the Wednesday 6:00AM class today. The typical teacher goes the step route, which I know nothing about, so I taught it like every other Circuit Sculpt class I've taught. Cardio and strength training in one fell swoop. And today, I realized that this whole keep-HR-below-140 thing is going to be hard for me. Really hard, actually. I am much more used to working at a higher intensity. My brain says "WTF!" while my body says "Baby on board, lady." Of course, I listen to my body which means that I am modifying my little heart out, much to my brain's dismay.

"Do as I say, not as I do..." barked this lady this morning as she slowed down her efforts during the cardio portions of class. Just because I have to lower the intensity does not mean they have to! And it doesn't mean you have to either. Which is why I'd like to present the following infographic.

You know I love me some infographic.

Question: How intense are your workouts? Do you monitor your heart rate? If you do interval training, what kind of exercises do you do?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On food.

When I'm not reading Oxygen, I can typically be found nose-deep in a book...or Marie Claire magazine. In my opinion, this is a fashion mag that combines equal parts beauty and brains. I love every page they fill with the latest in clothes, and I devour all of the feature stories that cover content that's totally relevant to life as we know it. And in the issue (Hello, Jen Aniston!), one such article had me hooked from headline to sign-off.

If you think eating disorders are a sensitive subject, you might wish to discontinue reading.

"Starvation Nation: Inside a Groundbreaking Eating Disorder Clinic" was both a captivating and concerning article. And I'm not sure which is worse. I found it captivating because I cannot relate—I don't have an eating disorder. I can say that with certainty. But I can see how those with an eating disorder would latch on to such an article for its detailed accounts of counting calories and methods of starvation. And pictures of "thin" individuals, who (of course) are completely unhealthy (but perhaps beautiful and inspiring in the eyes of someone who suffers from an eating disorder).

Irresponsible journalism? Perhaps.
But the above is also the reason why I find this article so concerning. If it is irresponsible journalism, my concern lies in the fact that those suffering from an eating disorder would, in fact, find encouragement in their ways from some of the details written withing. My heart goes out to those who suffer an eating disorder. If you have risen above one, having found a healthy relationship with food, I applaud you and send pride your way. Congrats for finding yourself. Your true and real self. On the flip side, this article makes me want to help every individual out there who suffers from an eating disorder. Could someone close to me qualify? Have I been missing signals? I don't know, thus my concern.

As a personal trainer, the concept of a healthy diet comes up all too frequently. I try to encourage my clients (and anyone who simply seeks my advice), to find a healthy relationship with food. Food is our source of energy, and we need it to survive. It does not define us, it simply gives us the ability to be. Which is why it is truly important to build that healthy relationship, because the healthy foods help us out the best—but that doesn't mean we should fret if we eat something less than healthy.

I've been eating sour gummy worms lately. One might think it's my job.

Do I know they aren't good for me? Yes. Do I picture them on my thighs in the form of cellulite? Yeah, sure. But then I laugh at myself. "Tara, get a grip. You eat healthy 75% of the time, so it's perfectly normal to feel like indulging on occasion. It won't kill you."

It's all about balance. And moderation.

And honestly, the sour gummy worms soothe my nauseous baby belly. So what if I happen to really like them.

Back to the topic at hand.

I guess the point in sharing this article with you is to remind you to find that healthy relationship with food. Don't obsess about it. Be conscious of what you put in your mouth, sure. But (once again) don't obsess about it.

For example, I've been craving lemon poppy seed muffins. I love (LOVE) lemon poppy seed anything, and used to get those big 'ol grocery store muffins all the time. They aren't that good for me, but that shouldn't stop me from indulging in something that I love to eat on occasion. But...because I love finding the healthier option (and didn't really have time to bake them from scratch), I bought a box of Meijer Naturals Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Mix.

Options. Find the options, leave the guilt.

I made the muffins about an hour ago, and my kitchen still smells lovely. And these guys taste lovely, too. Take a look:

If you live near a Meijer and happen to love lemon poppy seed muffins like I do, then you'll love this cake mix. Did I mention it's all natural? Every ingredient is recognizable, and calorie, fat and sugar contents are kept at reasonable levels. Important to know, but not something you should necessarily obsess about.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm obsessed with the latest issue of Marie Claire. Time to finish it.

Question: What is your relationship with food like?

Monday, July 4, 2011

I'm proud to be an American.

While I don't think the original can ever be replaced, Beyonce gives Lee Greenwood a good run for his money. Can't deny the girl's got some pipes! So may she instill the spirit of this country in your hearts today, Independence Day. Our country's birthday. Despite the economy, despite our boys fighting wars...we're still Americans. We live in the land of the free and, most definitely, the home of the brave. A country that gives us every opportunity we need to succeed in life, love and good health.

God bless the U.S.A.!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

4 Moves for the 4th

I's not the 4th of July yet. And I didn't write a post yesterday. But I'm here today, albeit late, but nevertheless...I'm here. And I've got a 4-move workout for you in case you want to sneak in a quickie before you hit the Independence Day celebrations tomorrow. But first, I'd like to wish my mother a very happy birthday!

She's 50. And she's amazing. The woman runs at least twice a week, does yoga...and looks damn good for someone her age! I can only hope to have the same experience when I turn 50. God bless her, and God bless those genes! Pictured at right: The last few seconds of the Shamrock Shuffle. We paced together the entire way through. She managed to edge past me right at the end, although I think we crossed the finish line at the same time. I will say, though, that I never have ever minded following her footsteps. She's cool like that.

Now, let's get to that 4-move workout. Do it at the end of your cardio, or mix the four moves throughout. You'll hit each major muscle group, and you won't need a single piece of equipment. Do as many repetitions as you typically do. Not sure? Try 12, increase to 15 if that's too easy. And do two sets, maybe three of each depending on your fitness level.


1) STRAIGHT-LEG SIDE LUNGE TO REVERSE LUNGE: Start on the right. Plant your left foot, then step out to the right with your right foot. Complete the lunge, keeping your left leg straight the entire time. Return to start, then immediately step back with your right foot to complete the reverse lunge. Complete all repetitions on the right before moving on to the left leg. (Muscles used: Glutes, hamstrings, quads...inner and outer thigh, too!)

2) PUSHUPS: I know, generic. But when you're going sans equipment, they're really the best upper body move out there. At least in my opinion. Variations include, but are not limited to: Hands shoulder-width apart with your elbows at your sides, hands staggered forward and back, one-arm against the wall or a bench (or the floor if you're that good), one hand on a curb or rock or low step, explode (push up off the ground)...what else?

3) CALF PRESS WITH SHOULDER PRESS: Nope, you don't need any weights to challenge those shoulders. Remember, your arms weigh something. In this case, to get the challenge, you'll have to increase the fact, go by time instead. Like, for example, 30 seconds. Trust me, your arms and your calf muscles will get tired. How to? Perform a calf press while simultaneously pressing your hands above your head.

4) PLANK: Obviously. Does it get any better than a plank? Methinks not.

And there you have it. Go time!

Question: Do you workout on holidays or do you take the day off? And if you take the day off, do you build that day off into your weekly fitness regime, or do you just take it as a freebie?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Are you fitter than a senior?

...let's be honest, is there anything better (or more inspiring) than a bunch of old people kicking a bunch of young-people butt? When I'm a senior, I better be worthy of this show! It just goes to show ya that a little hard work in your younger years truly pays off later in life.

Question: What fitness show do you love?


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