Sunday, December 30, 2012

Post-Cardio Core Blast

You probably already know that your core gets a workout whenever you snag some cardiovascular exercise. If you didn't know this, then you should know that it's because your core is what keeps you upright. Balanced. On your very own two laced-up feet. But even when you're sitting and sweating, your core is still engaged because there's most likely a seat of sorts you need to keep yourself in. Nowhere is this more evident than in a cycling situation.

But here's the thing: Your core needs a little more than a hard-core sweat session on the bike, treadmill or elliptical. Which is why I love sliding in some core exercises post-cardio.

I'll be teaching a Spinning/Core class this week, so I hit the gym today for a trial run. Here's what we'll be doing post-ride, and perhaps you might enjoy a little post-cardio core blast, too:

It's not much, but a good core blast is quick, efficient and engaging.Move through each element of the plank without dropping to your knees or stopping the clock. And for the reverse plank, remember to plant your hands directly beneath your shoulders with your fingers pointing toward your feed.

Any questions? dailydose (dot) notes (at) gmail (dot) com.

Speaking of "post" cardio, if you're looking for something delicious and healthy to snack on, you might want to consider a Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio KIND Bar. 

They're new to me, but perhaps not so new to you. Either way, I'm telling you—they're good.

Question: What's your favorite core exercise...besides the plank?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

How to Make and Keep Your Fitness Resolutions

With only a few days left in 2012, we're left to reflect on all that we've accomplished this year. And all that we wish to accomplish next year. Are you making resolutions? Perhaps you like to call them goals, which is wonderful. Resolutions and goals, in my opinion, are one in the same. They're both benchmarks, targets and ideas we wish to instill upon ourselves in an effort to make change, achieve something new or affect others in a positive light. While some of these resolutions/goals are easy to maintain from January through to December (or from start to finish), others stay unresolved or without achievement. This is especially true for many a fitness resolution. But I'm telling can make and keep your fitness resolutions. You just have to be SMART about it:

For example, don't just say that you want to hit the gym more often. Determine that you've got the time to go at least twice a week at 6:00AM (or whatever) and make it happen. Don't just say that you want to become a runner. Find a training plan for a 5K race, one that you feel comfortable with, then research and sign up for a suitable 5K race. 

I'm still not quite sure what my fitness resolutions/goals for 2013 will be. You can expect a post on that in the very near future. Until then, I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Question: What are your fitness resolutions for 2013? Tell me below and set them in stone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas is gone in a flash.

Well, there you have it. Christmas is gone in a flash, it seems. It was our first with Hannah, and although it lasted for almost an entire week between celebrations with both sides of the family and our own little family, it went by way too quickly. I feel like I didn't take enough pictures, like I didn't savor every second of every present she unwrapped, but really—I did. I took in every last second, cemented it within my brain so as not to forget her excitement. Her smiles. Her wide eyes at each and every new toy and outfit. Gosh, it just gets better and better with that little one. She's so big now, drinking real milk and semi-standing on her own without support. Walking is inevitably going to occur any day now. I can't hardly believe it. But I do, just like I believe in the spirit of Christmas—of course, that could be the cookies talking.

I won't even try to hide the fact that I overindulged.
This is all I wanted by the time we got home yesterday:

Salad, yogurt and granola. My go-to meal when I need to restart. Needless to say, we had a great holiday. I didn't spend an ounce of it blogging, as I'm sure you've noticed. I had to walk away...rather, I wanted to walk away. I didn't want to balance blogging and life. I wanted to enjoy life and all the moments and memories it brings at this time of year.

You understand, right?

But today, it's back at's not like I'd stay away forever. Come now, you know me better. And while the workouts were sparse this past week, I did snag a run on Christmas Day. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you've probably already seen this cheesy proof:

I love me a good run in the cold. I find it crisp and refreshing. And, if I'm being totally honest, the prelude to an awesome shower. There's nothing like a hot shower after a cold run. Agree?

Anyway, I'm still digging out from all that needs to be taken care of post-holiday (like laundry, putting together new toys, catching up on the Internet). I worked this morning and the husband is sick as a dog on the couch, my girl is sleeping and here I sit. So I thought I'd quick share with you some of the fitness gifts that Santa sent my way. I'm super excited about all of them:

Bright is right! And when it comes to the socks and iTunes cards, let's be honest, who doesn't need more socks and tunes? As a fitness instructor, I can always use access to legally downloadable tunes. And as a Spinning instructor, well, check these out:

Speaking of "bright is right," eh? I am so in love with them! They fit perfectly, but they are still without clips, so I'll need to get those before I can actually take 'em for a ride. Seriously, you have no idea how excited I am about these.

But guess what? I'm not the only one that got new shoes:

Hannah got her first pair of Nikes. I mean, have you ever seen anything so cute? She's actually way decked out in Nike now:

Question: What fitness gifts did the man in red bring you this year?

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Merry Merits of Milk (#Infographic)

In just about two weeks, my little Hannah Banana will be one. ONE! I cannot even process it! At this time last year, I was bursting at the seams with hope and love for a little bean of a baby—and now I'm chasing her around the house as she pushes an empty Keurig box from here to there. She isn't quite walking on her own yet, but the girl can get her move on. This, of course, makes me a proud momma. And a momma that barely breastfeeds anymore. We're down to one feeding in the morning, and I'm thawing out breast milk for her for lunch, an afternoon snack and a bedtime bottle. I think we'll continue this until January 3, at which point I'll introduce cow's milk.

Which brings me to today's post. It's about milk of the moo variety. Do you drink it? Obviously it's chock full of calcium, protein and other essential nutrients like Vitamins A and B. I should probably drink more of it myself...I generally just use it in my cereal, or to liven up a cup of coffee. Or, if I'm being completely honest and open with you, I dip my cookie in it. You know, like Santa does. Do your kids leave cookies and milk out for Santa? I'm certain Hannah will when she's old enough to understand. I mean, milk is good for the man:

In case you missed it, please read the red box in the lower right-hand corner. "All data was determined using Santa's magic calculator." Gosh, that makes me happy. I'll never stop believing. It's just too much fun.

Question: How much milk do you drink in a day? Do you drink cow's milk or something else? I'm a fan of almond milk, too.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Be in love with your life. (#pinspirationthursday)

Hey guys. Do you follow me on Pinterest? It's where I find and store a lot of my inspiration for Pinspiration Thursday (obviously). And now that I've sort of made this a regular thing, the PT posts are piling up and I'm getting more and more worried about duplicating. So, I created a new board: On Pinspiration Thursday. Anything I post to this board will be tagged with #pinspirationthursday. I invite you to:

1) Use this tag as well, should you find anything inspiring for your own boards.
2) Leave a comment below with your Pinterest username, should you wish to pin directly to this board.

It's my hope that together, we can grow one big and happy board to which we can all turn for a little inspiration each and every Thursday. (Or any day, really.) And if you have a site of your own, keep an eye out for a Pinspiration Thursday link-up in the near future. I'd love to gather inspiring posts from around the Internet right here on Daily Dose. Until then, here's your Pinspiration Thursday:

Remember that you only get one life, so live it. All of it, the good and the bad. The hard and the easy. The successes and the failures. The stuff that makes sense and the stuff that doesn't. Embrace it all, day in and day out because it's you. It's your life. And you only get one. So love it with all your heart. Treat it right...treat it with respect. For what it brings you. For the body it gives you. Be so in love with it that you couldn't imagine it any other way.

Don't forget: #pinspirationthursday, and let me know if you'd like access to the board.

Can't wait to see what's inspiring you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hustling About...and Other Random Thoughts

I feel like I'm walking around in a hustle right now. Our shopping is pretty much done, and I've got all the presents wrapped and under the tree, so now I'm in cookie mode:

And I'm also trying to get the house cleaned before we leave it for a few days—although I'm not sure how good of an idea that is since my husband has been home sick with the flu. And this, of course, makes me the prime parent all day. Which is not a complaint, just a reflection of my reality.

Hannah takes a wonderfully long nap in the afternoon, which gives me plenty of time to run around like a chicken sans head being all productive and stuff. I actually like working my way through a to-do list, so it's NBD.

Thankfully, I've been able to keep up with the workouts despite the current craziness that is getting ready for the holidays. It helps that I get paid to keep up with them, for sure. I taught Circuit Sculpt on Monday, Spinning and Kettlebells on Tuesday and today I hit the track for four bust-ass miles after an early session with a client. Tomorrow...well, it might be a day off. Although I might pop into a Spinning class before I teach my TRX class. (We'll see.) And then it's home again for more baking and cleaning and child-rearing, then back again Friday morning for another round of Circuit Sculpt

Is your head twirling in circles yet?

What's cool, though: 'Tis the season for awesome mail. Thanks to my SweatPink Ambassadorship, I got the opportunity to try out a Bulu Box without charge:

Sadly, it's not for me. I'm not big on supplements, so most of the samples hit the trash. Actually, all of them did except for the Sunwarrior protein powder. I don't mind using plant-based proteins in smoothies or by themselves. But I digress, if you dig samples of supplements, Bulu Box might be for you.

I also got a box of goodies from Teeccino.

They make caffeine-free alternatives to coffee. I've already got some of the Vanilla Nut pictured above and I love it, so I'm super stoked to try some of the other goods. Expect a full review soonish. Turns out, they also make a breakfast cereal, too. A Chia seed breakfast cereal, which I am skeptical of. I've had a Chia seed cereal before and couldn't get it down. Here's to hoping this stuff is different. And better.

So anyway, that's what I'm doing today. Hustling about, getting organized, cooking and cleaning and mommy-ing. Random, totally. This post has hardly a thing to do with fitness, leaning more toward the "living" side of "healthy living." But I needed a brain break, so if you've made it this far, I thank you for indulging me.

Tune in tomorrow for another edition of Pinspiration Thursday.

Question: Are you ready for the holidays?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Get fitness clothes in the mail from @pvbody!

UPDATE (1/15/13): A lot of folks are none too pleased with pvBody. You can read this post as an example. I'm not sure what to believe, but I do know that they will be using their own line of clothing moving forward. This means you will no longer be getting brands like Nike, American Apparel, etc. If any of you made purchases using my affiliate link, I hope those purchases went smoothy and I apologize for any trouble. And for the uninformed switch up. Know that I feel guilty for standing behind a company that is causing so many problems for so many. Until more is known and issues are resolved, I cannot support pvBody. I thought about taking down this post but decided against it in favor of this statement I am now making. I won't hide my experience, but I also won't promote it further. Proceed with this company as you see fit. Cancel your subscriptions if you feel uncomfortable. And, as always, thank you for reading Daily Dose. Rest assured, I do my best at all times to support products and people that are legitimately cool. Sometimes, I just get fooled.


Before I got married, I lived and worked in a town that was an hour's drive away from my boyfriend (the husband) and my family. So when I didn't have anything to do, I'd do one of two things: Hit the gym or go shopping. I had more disposable income at the time, so I'd scour the racks for awesome deals, casually strolling from one to the next without a care in the world and loving every fashionable minute of it. But I don't have as much time or money for it these days (and when I do, I usually do so in the name of my girl or our house). So the idea of sending off an affordable amount of money in exchange for a new outfit is appealing. And the idea of doing so without having to pick out the outfit, knowing that it'll be exactly what I want when it arrives on my doorstep? Awesomely appealing. Especially when said outfit is well-suited to fitness activities. Which is why I am so excited to be a pv.body affiliate. (You might remember them from this year's gift guide.)

Here's the gist of it: You take a style quiz which ultimately determines what kind of activewear is best-suited to your fitness. For example: Do you run? Yoga? Do you like shorts or capris? Colors? Patterns? Of course, you'll give your size, too. Then you send off $49.95 and wait. (Or, you can save 20% thanks to my affiliate link.) In due time, you'll get a top and a bottom, perfectly matched to your fitness style. And worth at least $100, thanks to clothing from brands like Lululemon and American Apparel. Here's what I got:

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
The top:

It's Electric Yoga by Michele Bohbot. It retails at $68 and is made for "good coverage and support for your intense workout routine." I loved it, but didn't feel comfortable in it without the added support of a sports bra. Aside from that, it achieved all that it set out to:

The bottoms:

They're from American Apparel. They retail at $48—go ahead, do the math—and they're probably the most comfortable fitness pants I've ever worn. I'm not even joking. They fit like butter. They don't fall down. You can't see through them. I swoon over them right now. Even the little pocket in the waistband:

Anyway. Seriously, did you do the math yet?

If you buy fitness clothing on the regular, or if you wish you had the time to...OR, if you can't seem to find awesome fitness clothing where you live, then this is one of those monthly subscription services that you'll love. For real. $49.95 a month...and I can help you save 20%. (And with that, buying an outfit at Target might be more expensive!) Sure, I get a small kick-back, but let's be honest, I'll use the money to get another box. Because I live in fitness gear. And I love getting mail.

Who doesn't love getting mail?!

Question: What's the one article of fitness clothing you can't live without?

Note: The clothing above was sent to me to review, and I receive a small stipend for every order placed using my affiliate link—but that doesn't impact my thoughts on this company, and all opinions stated above are my own. Seriously, this company is the coolest.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Everything you need is already inside you. (#pinspirationthursday)

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While it's true that we can't go at life alone, mostly because that would just be boring, I think we get a bit lost in the shuffle...the guidance and confidence that comes from friends, family, teachers and trainers. All of whom seem to inspire us, to help us do better. But when it boils down to it, that's all they do. Inspire and help. Because really, we're the ones doing all the work. We are more than capable of doing all the work. But we forget that. We forget that everything we need is inside of us. These outside gems, they're great and wonderful, but we can't get lost in them...dependent on them. We can only embrace them with the knowledge that they push and inspire us to discover that which we are.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the gym. Or the kitchen. You have the power within you to live a happy, healthy life. Your personal trainer or group fitness instructor, or that person who came up with the diet you're following is there for you in person, on the screen or in the book—but that person cannot BE for you. Only you can bring out the best in you. Only you can flip the switch and make it happen. "It" is the healthy life you were meant to live.

Go, have a date with your inner self and see where it takes you. "Be bold, be brave, be brilliant."

Be healthy.

Follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more of the above.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 Workout

In case you didn't know—It's December 12, 2012. For those of you that dig numbers, that makes it 12-12-12. Obviously it's the only time this year that the numbers align, unless you count January 2. (Cool, but not AS cool as today's date, right?) So let's have some fun. I put together the following no-equipment workout. The moves are simple so you can keep proper form throughout. See how many repetitions of the sequence you can do in 12 minutes, or go through it 12 times.

Lemme know how it goes.

Question: What's the most important number in your life? Do you have a "lucky" number? Tell me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I taught my first Spinning class.

My alarm went off at 5:00AM today. In a cough-medicine state of delirium, I hauled myself out of bed and scarfed down some oatmeal (no time for pancakes) before heading out the door for a 6:00AM Spinning class. It was my first time instructing a class, and I think it went well...although, rumor has it, I wasn't loud enough. But I attribute that to the fact that my ears were damn near plugged up. I always sound louder to myself when my ears are plugged up. More on that later.

Anyway. I had four people in my class, which might seem like a small amount to some of you. To me, however, that is a personal challenge. When I first started teaching my Circuit Sculpt class at 6:00AM on Mondays and Fridays, I'd get five people in there on a good day. Now, I see at least nine. Sometimes even more. I worked hard to grow that class and I'm going to work hard to grow this one, too. That's always a challenge when you're talking about such an early morning slot. So if you're a member of my gym and you feel like waking up early, come hang with me in the Spinning room next week. I swear, we'll have fun. I mean, hello. I play the most random music ever:

Ride aside, I still felt like crap when it was over. I came home for a shower and damn near cancelled my client and my Kettlebell class but couldn't find a sub teacher, so I sucked it up and headed back to the gym. And then I headed to the doctor's office. Turns out, I have two ear infections and a mild case of bronchitis. Thus, the reason my ears were plugged up. So here I sit, with $80-worth of medication, tapping away at a keyboard that'll need to be disinfected. It's a good thing I also have this nearby:

A giant tin full of chocolate from Godiva. (Does anyone else think the chick on the lid looks like She-Ra, Princess of Power?!) I have the best clients in the world, but seriously—chocolate? I rank it up there with drugs. I am a chocolate junkie, and I fail to resist the temptation every single time.  Case and point: I had three pieces on the way home.

Just keepin' it real with you. Honesty is my policy, after all. And just so you know, here are three layers to this tin. I can't be held responsible.

Question: What is your current personal challenge?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Healthy Pancakes for Baby (and You)

A girl can only have so much oatmeal. I'm speaking, of course, about myself—and Hannah, too. She loves oatmeal (we both do) but variety is the spice of life and I'd like to keep her interested in both oatmeal and breakfast so I recently introduced her to that which is the pancake. But not just any pancake. You see, my girl can't have eggs yet. Or cow's milk. So I can't just whip up a batch of Kodiak Cakes. Not yet, anyway.

I took to the Internet in search of a recipe for healthy pancakes for babies. I got a lot of vegan pancake options, which is exactly what I needed, but most of them called for ingredients that I didn't necessarily have on hand. I did, however, find one that looked promising courtesy of Charissa over at Colorful Palate. The results were delicious, well-received by daughter...

..and mother.

Note: I did make two changes to Charissa's recipe: I used plain water instead of soy milk and I added a teaspoon of cinnamon. On a different occasion, I also added some blueberries which tasted mighty fine.

This recipe makes a ton of pancake batter, which keeps well, so it's an ideal recipe for make-ahead breakfasts. I poured all of mine into a plastic container, which sits ready and waiting for me in the 'fridge. Our mornings are sometimes rushed, but now I can serve Hannah something tasty no matter what.

In other news, my silence as of late has had much to do with this:

We're painting our living room, so instead of sitting down to the computer while Hannah sleeps, I've been taking to the walls with brush in hand. So glad we're putting the finishing touches on everything at this point, which is why I am (once again) sitting in front of the computer.

Speaking of "sitting in front of," I am taking over the 6AM Spinning class tomorrow. First time on the head bike in front of a crowd. Let's hope my playlist pleases.

Question: What's your go-to motivational song?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Go the extra mile. (#pinspirationthursday)

One of the things I love the most about being a personal trainer and group fitness instructor: Doing what I can to motivate people mid-workout to push beyond what they think they're capable of, because far too often I see people ready and willing to quit when they've evidently got more juice in them. Sure, workouts are hard—but they're not supposed to be easy, and they're certainly supposed to make you sweat. And work, thus the name. So don't quit. Don't stop. Remember:

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Question: How do you self-motivate when the going gets tough? How do you like to be motivated by others? Signs? Screams? Claps?! Tell me. I'm always looking for new ways to motivate others.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Have a Healthy Winter

From holiday parties to the flu bug, cold temperatures that derail outdoor activity and warm fires that beg you to curl up with cocoa...this time of year can really take a toll on your health. But does it have to? Answer with me (loudly): No! Head on over to PokitDok and check out my latest post for five tips that help you stay healthy for the holidays.

Question: What's your best "healthy for the holidays" tip? 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

5 Healthy Christmas Gifts under $50

How's it going with the Christmas shopping? I've been making my list and checking it twice, and I've got a few things checked off completely, but there are presents that still need to be purchased. For some, I know exactly what I need to get them, but for others...I'm stumped. Totally stumped. So I though, just in case you've got some stumpers on your list, I might share some healthy Christmas gift ideas under $50.

1) NatureBox. Because who doesn't love food?

I've been lucky enough to sample a few different boxes over the course of the past year and they've all been quite pleasing to the palate. For just $19.95/month, you can send a box to whomever. So technically, you could send two months and still be under $50. (It'd be the gift that keeps on giving!) To sweeten the deal, you can use ADDOF at checkout and save 25% on the first month you order. (Note: Every box is filled with five full-size bags of treats, all of which are different.)

2) Activewear from JCPenney. It's cheap and cute.

Have you been inside a JCP lately? So awesome. I went in there the other day and drooled all over their activewear. It's all so cute! But in the spirit of buying things for other people, I limited myself to two tops:

Yeah. I'm not even joking about those prices. I bought the one on the left off the clearance rack, but let's be real for a second: It was $20 at full price. The one on the right was just too stinkin' cute to pass up. It's that layered effect that Lulu does so the purple is like a sports bra and the grey just sort of drapes over it. But anyway, my point is that you can find multiple pieces or build an entire outfit for way less than what you'd pay for a single piece at other stores.

3) Activewear from PuraVit. Delivered right to your doorstep.

You guys. I'm super excited about this one. Don't get me wrong, I love the act of driving to the store and buying new things, but the idea of getting a new fitness outfit delivered to my doorstep every month is,'s awesome. So for just $49.95 per month, you can send someone a top and a bottom. This would make a great gift for someone that lives afar. Or, let's be honest, it would be a great gift for yourself. And don't worry, the outfits are totally tailored to your needs thanks to a style quiz. I'm currently waiting for a box myself, and you know I'll tell you more when it arrives, but if you want to jump on this one Santa-style, click through and you'll save 20%.

4) "This Is Yoga" with Tara Stiles. Because who doesn't love a good yoga class at h-omm-e.

This series is phenomenal, and it will only run you $20 (plus shipping) on Amazon. It comes with four DVDs, and each DVD has at least two sessions on it. I'll let her tell you more:

5) Croc-Pot Lunch Croc Warmer. Because good things come in small packages.

Healthy people everywhere love packing food for lunch, trips and other adventures away from home. This little guy makes me giggle with delight because not only is it super cute, it's super functional.

Think hot oatmeal for breakfast at your desk or in the hotel when you wake up. Think soup and other delicious leftovers for lunch. While it currently sells for $19.99 on the Croc-Pot website, I've seen it cheaper  (ahem, Target). Notice it comes in pink, my personal favorite.

Previous Gift Lists:

Great Gifts For Fitness Fanatics
Great Gifts For Fitness Fanatics, Vol. 2

Question: What healthy Christmas gift is on your list this year?

Note: While it's true that I work with both NatureBox and PuraVit as a brand ambassador, they did not pay me to include them on this list. In fact, I did not receive any compensation from any of the companies on this post (except for the free product as noted). I chose each product because, well...they're awesome and I think you'd think so, too. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

31 Days of Healthier Choices with @Greatist

Feeling competitive? Wanna win a Trigger Point GRID foam roller? Then you should totally jump into  this challenge from Greatist. It started on Saturday and runs through the entire month of December—and it's all about making at least one healthy choice each and every day for 31 days straight. (Or for 29 days straight, if you're just starting out.)

All you have to do is share it  with the group on Challenge Loop. Greatist might choose you to win the foam roller when all is said and done. That is, if they don't choose me. HA! It's so on. But really, making healthy choices couldn't be any more fun. Hopefully you're already doing this on a regular basis. If you aren't, now is the perfect time to begin.


1) Because you might win a sweet foam roller.
2) Because you can find inspiration in the choices that other participants are making.
3) Because it's the holidays, so why not reinforce all things healthy?
4) Because WHY NOT?!

I missed out on recording any photographic evidence from December 1, but I did post a photo of yesterday's lunch:

Salad. Always a healthy choice. (Is anyone else obsessed with mixing berries into their salads? I can't eat one without them now.)

Curious about today's healthy choice? Well, you'll just have to join the challenge to see what it is.  Need some inspiration? Check out Greatist's new motivational site: Instamotivation. It's pretty slick. (If you follow me on Facebook, you may have already discovered this awesome place on the Internet.)

Happy Monday! (Speaking of Mondays, my little girlie is 11 months old today. WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?)

Question: What healthy choices have you made already today?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I'm currently obsessed with my @Keurig.

There, I said it.

Here's the story: I'm not an avid coffee drinker. I can't stand the stuff straight up, but I love a nice trip to Starbucks for a latte or a warm cup of coffee brewed at home with a splash of vanilla-infused cream. Caffeine? Don't need it. I get crazy loopy shaky and then I end up snacking on things to make the shakes go away, so it's an off-kilter day when I do drink caffeinated coffee. Or, its my only option. So typically, decaf for me please. And when I say typically, I mean every so often which translates to me not needing a standard brewer. To make a full pot every day would seriously waste some joe. Enter the Keurig, which was a gift from my parents for my birthday on the 24th.

Yep. Obsessed.

I think I've used it every day this past week, be it for a cup of coffee in the morning or some cocoa at night. It's such a fun little contraption, this Keurig! And mine's not even the top-notch version. In fact, I think it might be one of the low-end models. It's the Keurig MINI Plus Brewing system. and it retails for about $99. And here's a tip: They sell it at Bed Bath & Beyond which means you could use one of those giant coupons they send in the mail to save 20%.

What's so MINI about it? Well, it's smaller so it takes up less countertop space. Which means it doesn't store water like most Keurigs, but for someone who doesn't (normally) wake up needing a daily dose of joe as she dashes out the door, that's no big deal. And besides, it still makes coffee in a flash—just one cup—always perfect.

Let's not forget that dash of cream:

I picked this stuff up at the grocery store. There are a variety of different creamers in the coolers, but this one jumped out at me for its lack of ingredients.

Sure, the "natural flavors" might be decidedly unnatural when all is said and done, but at least it isn't accompanied by a gazillion other ingredients I cannot even pronounce.

I think it also comes in a caramel flavor.
Sinful, right?

I just can't do straight coffee. I like how it smells, I like how it tastes...but it has to be mixed with something for me to really enjoy it. That's where you get into trouble with coffee, the mix-ins often translate to sugar and calories. But only if you choose wrongly. Choose right and you'll keep your coffee decently healthy.

And coffee can be really good for you. According to WebMD, "coffee drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and dementia" and they have "fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes." But that's only when you drink it within reason. Guzzle it all day long and you'll counter all the good effects.

I think it's safe to say that I'll never have to worry about going overboard on a daily basis. One cup is enough for me, thank you.

Question: How much coffee do you drink in a day? How do you like your coffee? If you have a Keurig, what K-Cups should I try?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why climb the same hill twice? (#pinspirationthursday)

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Do you have weight loss goals that are currently being threatened by all that is the holidays? No doubt we all do, what with the cookies and the parties and the drinks, etc...just remember—accept tiny slips . You can always redeem yourself, and it's much easier than falling back to your beginning (whatever it may be). I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again): You're human. Slips happen. Learn from them and keep pushing forward, up and on.

Question: Do you follow me on Pinterest yet? Do so for a sneak peek at upcoming Pinspiration Thursdays!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Biceps Workout

I thought I'd go out on a limb here and give you a biceps workout. (Get it? "Go out on a limb...") That's not to say you should only work your biceps on any given day, but I thought what follows might be something fresh for you on back/biceps or upper body (maybe even total body) days.

Remember to choose a weight that challenges you in the back half of your repetitions. Meaning, you should feel a slow increase in the resulting burn. If you don't have weights, you can use an exercise band. Although it won't work for the hold...try a body bar or weight plate. Or maybe a bag full of books!

In terms of form, always keep your elbows below your shoulders, and don't let your shoulders move too want to use your biceps, not your shoulders, to move the weight in your hands. And once you've got that in check, check your lower back for any excessive arching. If you have to lean back at all to lift your weights, then the weights are probably too heavy.

Some clarifications on the above:

Curl the weight up and toward your heart before lowering it again. The unused arm can relax at your side sans weight. This type of exercise targets the outer portion of your biceps muscle.

With weights in both hand, bend the arms to 90 degrees with your palms facing the ceiling. Hold for 15 seconds.

This is a standard up-down biceps curl, but your palms face the ground.

This is also a standard up-down biceps curl, but your hands are turned out to the side. This type of exercise targets the inner portion of your biceps muscle.

Try it and let me now what you think. I don't know about you, but I've always enjoyed working my biceps. Especially at this time of year. Sure, they're hidden beneath sweaters and coats and turtlenecks—that just makes them my little secret. My little reminder that hard work pays off. Speaking of hard work, today was a Spinning day.

I still haven't taught a class on my own,  but I don't have a class of my own yet. I'm at the top of the sub list, but I haven't claimed any open classes yet. I attribute this to A) not having the actual Spinning certificate in my hand, B) not having any cycling shoes yet and C) nerves. Yeah, I'm a little nervous about jumping in the instructor's saddle.

I just need to do it. I felt the same way right before I took on my 6AM class, which is definitely going well. Has been for awhile now.

So why don't I have the certificate yet? The spinning program is hands-on. Teach, learn, take the test...etc. And I realize that you don't need shoes to ride successfully, so that's just a silly reason for me to avoid teaching. And maybe just a cover-up for #3.

Anyway, this morning's ride was nice. Love me some seated climbs (even though they burn like a biatch). Also nice:

Salad in a jar. Over chopped chicken and avocado. Best prep-ahead meal ever.

Question: What fitness classes and/or events/situations intimidate you? Did you rise above the intimidation factor? If so, how?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Raspberry and Brie Turkey Panini

Are you guys sick of turkey and stuffing yet? Did you have your fill of it on Thursday, or did you save some for later. In my case—both. I ate a healthy dose of all the goods on Thursday, and we had tons of everything left over. And I got sort of sick of it all by Sunday, but I'm not one to let food go to waste. So I decided to repurpose it in the form of a panini. A raspberry and brie turkey panini.

So good, and so totally inspired by an appetizer that we forgot to make this weekend. Well, perhaps we didn't forget to make it—perhaps we were just too full to make it. Baked brie with fruit preserves? Ever have it? So sinfully awesome, delicious and filling.

I think it's my favorite appetizer, actually. But since we never made it, I never got the chance to suppress my craving. Hence, my inspiration for the above. I'd give you a recipe, but there really is no need. Layer up fresh Brie with leftover turkey, low-sugar raspberry preserves and some spinach. Toast and eat.

Thank me later.

Question: What's your favorite way to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How We Celebrate Thanksgiving (#Infographic)

Well, they are here. The holidays. And up first, we have Thanksgiving. Perhaps you've traveled to family afar or maybe you've stayed put. We're at my parents' this year, where plenty of family will soon gather for what will prove to be a loud, crazy and fun time. So in the spirit of things—I can already taste the stuffing (in fact, I did just get a preview sampling of it)—I thought I'd share this infographic. At the very least, it'll give you some awesome Thanksgiving stats to shout out across the dinner table tomorrow. Who's the smart family member? You are, my friend!

  Learn interesting Thanksgiving facts and travel statistics in this Thanksgiving infographic.

Question: What random tradition or food not normally associated with Thanksgiving does your family have?

Monday, November 19, 2012

10 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Healthy

Well, it's official. The holidays are here. In just a few days, a vast majority of us will gather around a table bursting with food and we'll pile up our plates in celebration of all that we are thankful for. And in the back of our heads, at some point or another, we'll freak out about that very plate full of food. We're human, it happens. But that's okay. The holidays come once a year and they don't have to wreck all that you've done to live a fit life thus far. As proof, let's review some of the ways you can make the holidays healthy, particularly Thanksgiving as it's this week.

1) Participate in a fitness event with a holiday theme. Turkey Trot, anyone? Recruit your relatives to join in the fun. Winner gets to opt out of doing the dishes after dinner. Or put the wishbone up for grabs.

2) Offer to contribute something to the menu, be it an appetizer or a main dish, and make it healthy. Even the classics like stuffing and green bean casserole can be made with the best of ingredients and the healthiest of intentions. And if you're the cook, cook it clean. Fresh is best and often quite delicious.

3) Indulge in your favorite "naughty" treat. Otherwise, you'll just obsess about avoiding it. And by "indulge," I do mean with portion control in mind.

4) Drink if you must. But keep the water flowing, too. For every glass of wine or bottle of beer, chug a wine glass or beer bottle full of water. Rinse them out first, of course.

5) Fill a plate. Walk away. Eat, and be done. Pretend that "seconds" don't exist.

6) Don't "wait for dinner" to eat for the first time. You'll be way too hungry to eat clearly. Have breakfast and lunch, treat your holiday dinner like any other.

7) Pack your workout gear—and use it! Who wants to lug something for no reason at all? And let's be honest, if you go for a nice run the day of a delicious family meal, that nice run'll be fresh in your mind as you build your plate. Right?

8) If you're visiting family for the weekend, check out their gym. Attend your aunt or cousin's favorite fitness class.

9) Power walk post-dinner with your favorite family members. It's the best way to catch up on all the family drama—or to help the kiddos and cousins burn off the energy such a grand meal will surely provide.

10) Forget about being unhealthy. If you eat too much of something or consume one too many glasses of wine or decide not to go for that run in the morning, so be it. It's a holiday and you're human. You can pick up right where you left off the second you realize that you've gone astray. Or, you can wait until the next day.

Question: How you do plan on keeping the holidays healthy this year?

Friday, November 16, 2012

5 Things That Make Me Happy

I really should just call this post "6 Things That Make Me Happy" because today is Friday. And let's be honest, Friday always makes me happy. But since that's sort of a given, we'll go with just 5 things that make me happy. And just so we're clear, these aren't the only five things that make me happy.

1) Pomegranates.

Did you know that November is National Pomegranate Month? I had no clue, but oddly enough, I had two pomegranates in my fruit/produce bowl that I finally managed to cut into last night. If you don't eat pomegranates...seriously, why? They're so good and SO GOOD for you. Say it with me: Antioxidants are awesome! If you don't eat them because they're a pain in the rear to de-seed, well, I don't blame you because they are. But not really. You just have to cut them in a big bowl of cold water. You won't stain anything with the juice and the gook will separate from the seeds because the seeds sink. It's so worth it. I promise.

2) New clothes.

Especially when they're the type of clothes I can wear to the gym. I wake up in the morning, go to work/workout, then come home. Very rarely am I in anything other than gym clothes, so it's nice to add something new to the rotation. Even if it screams "trainer" across the back. Then again, that's what I am. (Also, the purple shirt has thumbholes. WIN.)

3) Gym equipment for babies and tots.

I still haven't tried a CrossFit workout, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the equipment commonly featured in a WOD. Honestly, I use the same equipment all the time, just not in WOD format. So this stuff in the video...anything in miniature form is adorable, so workout toys for kiddos...straight to my heart. I'll have to get some WOD toys for Hannah someday.

4) BOSU Burpees.

I haven't done a good burpee in quite some time, but I recently decided to introduce them to my 6AM class. I've been toying with this idea, and we've played with burpees before, but my students are much stronger now and I think they're ready to give them a go so I'm going to progress them slowly but surely toward a full-on burpee. Today, we did a set of wide-leg squats with an overhead BOSU press. Here's how we'll progress from there:

5) Kettlebells.

You guys, I'm so stoked. We finally got a set of kettlebells at the gym and I'm slated to teach a 30-minute kettlebell workout on Tuesday mornings. I've played with kettlebells before, but it's been awhile so I need to refresh. We also got hula hoops, but that's on someone else's schedule. Seriously, the hoops are huge. I couldn't manage them.

Question: Have you ever taken a hula hoop class? What did you think? If you could add any piece of equipment or class type to your gym or home gym, what would you add?


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