Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I prefer treat. Tricks make me nervous, like something will happen to me and I'll look funny. Or I'll do something and look silly, so silly that I'll never live it down. Like that one time I called Neopolitan ice cream "Napoleon" ice cream. Whatever. So in the name of good treats everywhere, I'd like to give the up-for-grabs NatureBox to (drumroll, please):

If you didn't win, please don't despair. You can use  "ADDOFIT" at checkout to get 25% off your first month of NatureBox goodies, which is pretty sweet deal. Perhaps literally and figuratively. And speaking of "sweet," I'm really hoping we get a steady stream of kiddos at the house tonight. This cannot remain in my house:

I HAVE NO WILLPOWER. But Halloween comes once a year, and I love it, so a few pieces today won't hurt. I mean, I did do an easy 45-minute Spinning® ride today. And I did wear green and white tights to the gym:

Yep, to the gym. I would have worn my witch hat, too, but I figured that would make spotting a little harder. Anyway, if you'll excuse me, I have some pumpkin seeds to roast.

I haven't roasted pumpkin seeds in years, and I decided to deal with the goo in an effort to separate them. I can't wait...they sound so delicious. I'm thinking pumpkin pie pumpkin seeds.

Question: Did you dress up today? If so, as what?

Monday, October 29, 2012

WIN THIS: Delicious snacks from @NatureBox

If you follow me on Instagram, then you've probably taken notice of the excellent snacks that I've been noshing on courtesy of NatureBox—it's no secret that NatureBox is one of my most favorite subscription services. For $19.95 a month, I can always count on five bags of deliciousness when the green and brown box arrives on my doorstep. And since the people behind NatureBox are so kind, they sent me two boxes this time. One for me. One for you:

Well, at least one of you lucky peeps.

You have until Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 at midnight EST to enter. Leave a comment below and tell me your most favorite Halloween treat. Bonus entry if you leave a separate comment and tell me your best ever Halloween costume. I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, October 31, 2012. If you want to give NatureBox a try, feel free to use code "ADDOFIT" at checkout to get 25% off your first month. Seriously, it's worth it—but no purchase is necessary to enter the giveaway.

Trick or treat!

Disclaimer: NatureBox did not compensate me for this review. I am a NatureBox ambassador, therefore, I receive free boxes on occasion. All opinions are my own. I eat the snacks because I like them, not because I have to.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scenes from a Pumpkin Patch

I'm not sure where you live, but in my neck of the woods, it was a pretty wonderful fall weekend. The temps were chilly, but the sun was out. The air was breezy, but the swirling leaves made it bearable. These two conditions combined to make for an excellent 8-miler on Saturday. Suffice it to say, I think I'm ready for the Hot Chocolate 15K this weekend. We (mom and I) finished eight miles and I felt like I could keep going...despite the strange knee pain in my right leg, but so far it's nothing capable of stopping my momentum, so I'll definitely keep an eye on it this week with high-hopes it'll go away. I guess that's what taper weeks are for anyway. Running light so that you've got top-notch energy and performance levels on race day.

I ran the eight in my new Saucony Triumph 10 running shoes. I'm almost certain I will wear them on race day, but the verdict is in: They are an official part of my running regime. The proof is in the pile by our back door:

Never, ever in my life have I had four decent pairs of athletic shoes at my beck and call—You know you're a personal trainer when your beloved high heels gather dust while your athletic shoes claim front and center. (You know you're a personal trainer when you jump at the chance to do something that requires a pair of high heels. Plus makeup and GASP! some fancy jewelry, too.)

Speaking of shoes:

It's boot season. Which means that it's also knee-high sock season. Nothing comforts a runner's feet like boots and knee-high socks (in my opinion). I called upon both today as we ventured down the road to a local pumpkin patch:

Our picks:

I'm currently debating on whether or not I want to spend the time dividing the seeds from the guts in an effort to keep and roast them. It always sounds like fun in theory, but then when I get elbow-deep in the slimy orange innards, I typically say "to hell with it" and dump everything but the resulting jack-'o-lanterns. We'll see.

Before I forget—there are still a few spaces left in my prenatal and postpartum fitness classes through New Leaf Wellness! Please sign up if you are interested! AND—please check in tomorrow for a delicious giveaway!

Sunday isn't over it. Make the rest of it good and wonderful.

Question: Did you do anything fall or pumpkin-y this weekend? Did you run any races?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Affordable Winter Running Pants from @Target

Can you believe it's almost November? Let's not even go there. Let's go, instead, to Target where they currently have an awesome stash of fitness gear. Then again, when DON'T they have an awesome stash of fitness gear? Target is always awesome. And so, so bad for the budget. Just this week I was talking to two of my clients about the dangers of walking through those big red doors. I'm sure you understand dear friends. Unless, of course, you aren't human.

Back to that fitness gear. Specifically, these C9 by Champion compression tights:

Best $24.99 I've spent in a very long time. Seriously, they're like skin. And they're lined with fleece...

...which makes them comfortable and totally practical for cold-weather runs. When I run in less than stellar temperatures, my legs always freeze, but I hate running in sweatpants—hello, bulky—so these are truly a perfect solution. Plus, the waistband is fairly seamless.

I like my outfits, running and any other, to be as smooth as possible. I hate bulky seams the most, so these are really great for me. Did you catch that they were only $24.99? And they come in a   sweet black and white pattern, too.

You might say those are on my need-to-have list.

And I think you need-to-have a great weekend. It's Friday, y'all!

Question: What's the last fitness item you added to your collection, be it clothing or shoes or equipment? Tell me, I'm curious.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I sweat when I cycle (and other thoughts).

Today feels like Tuesday. Clearly my head is still on vacation, sitting poolside with a bag of snacks from NatureBox, soaking up the Florida sun. Yes, that's right. I was in Florida. Land of sunshine and Mickey Mouse—although we did not partake in the magic of mousedom. No, we sat poolside in a wonderful home. AND DID NOTHING. Which was great. Seriously great. I mean:

Right? But now here I am, back in Michigan where it's truly Fall yet oddly warm at almost 80 degrees. Wha? Yeah. You read that right, which means I'm fairly certain we're in for a massively annoying, nostril-freezing and toes-blue type of winter. I even heard the s-word on the news today. I refuse to even think about the s-word yet. 


I finally finished unpacking all the tanks and swimsuits that are bound to collect dust in my closet from here on out. It's back to reality, folks. Back to work, and working out. And running. I did a little bit of running down in Florida, but did NOT clock the mileage I had hoped for. I just couldn't tear myself away from my family. It was too nice to have them all to myself without serious commitment or household chores. So I'm playing a bit of catch-up this week—in a new pair of Saucony running shoes.

Yes, another new pair of running shoes courtesy of Saucony and FitFluential. This ambassador is certainly happy to be testing out the new Saucony Triumph 10 running shoes. They're neutral in nature, and will be available in November. I've only clocked five miles in them, so I'm not prepared to give my complete opinion just yet, but this is my first pair of Saucony running shoes and so far...well, I'm not disappointed. More to come. 

More Spinning® to come, too.

You might remember my certification, which I completed right before we left for Florida. Today was the first time I got back in the saddle. I had our Spinning® room all to myself, so I hopped on the lead bike for a 45-minute ride.

Seriously, I sweat so much when I cycle:

It's out of control. 

Also out of control? My laundry room. And my kitchen sink. So I better get to it. Tomorrow? Another five miles in my new Sauconys, a foam rolling class and a witch party. 

Yeah, I said "witch party." 

Question: What type of exercise really, truly makes you sweat bullets every single time?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Post: A-Doctor-In-The-House

I might work part time, but that doesn't mean I'm not a busy woman. I realize that I have more time than most to keep a clean house, work on freelance projects and raise a child—but there are still days where I can't seem to get everything done. It's on these days that I feel like there's just not enough time, which is why I'm super excited about today's guest post. Quite frankly, I love hearing how other people get it done. There are so many ways to go about it, and Andrea talks about it from a time crunched med student's perspective. And I'm sure you'll love her advice as much as I did when I first read this:
Hi! I’m Andrea, a 3rd year medical student and I blog over at A-Doctor-In-The-House. I’m passionate about all things healthy, science, and living life the way that makes you happy! (For me, that means eating tons of frozen yogurt and cookies in between my healthy meals).

We've all had weeks when we are on the go non-stop. Get up first thing in the morning, race out the door, work hard all day, tend to other responsibilities at night (family, extra-curriculars, homework) and crash into bed only to repeat the same thing the next day.

For some, every single day looks like this.

So how is one supposed to stay healthy when it's hard to find time to even stay sane? Do you find yourself thinking it's so much easier to grab lunch while you're out, deal with dinner later, and not waste time packing food or cooking? Do you find yourself thinking there is zero time to workout? I am totally with you! I've had many weeks like this in medical school and it's not always easy to stay on track. But I've picked up a few tricks and I thought I would share them today!

1. Once a week, make a ton of food. I know it sounds time consuming, but I promise it's not. If you spend 3 hours cooking on a Sunday, you save yourself SO MUCH time every other day of the week! Obviously, cooking each day takes a ton of time. But buying food every day takes time too! Think about it—you have to go down to the cafeteria, stop and wait at a drive through or run over to a restaurant. That all takes time! If you can prepare two different meals in large batches one time each week, you have lunch and dinner ready to go every day! If this is something you've never done before, it might sound crazy, but once you get used to cooking on Sundays, it becomes a part of your life!

Some of my favorite foods to make in bulk are soups, chili, turkey meatloaf muffins, and pumpkin muffins. The easiest way to prep food on sunday is to buy tons of chicken breast and throw it on a baking sheet with some spices on top. Cut up a ton of veggies and roast those, too. Meanwhile, on the stove, sauté more vegetables and cook up quinoa. Now you have yummy chicken, quinoa and veggies to put into individual Tupperware. Grab and go all week long!

Oatmeal, coffee, snack, and lunch—ready to go! This technique sounds intense, but think of all the money and calories you can save!!

2. Streamline your routine. Making breakfast in the morning can be time consuming and lead you to skip it. But as we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Find a breakfast you love that keeps you full until lunch (or snack time—I can't go more than three hours without feeling starved) and make it every day. You will get so fast at making this breakfast, it won't be a big deal! Make a smoothie with protein powder, spinach, a frozen banana and blueberries. Take it with you in the car! Make oatmeal and mix in some liquid egg whites to eat while you check your email. Have a bowl of greek yogurt and dump in a handful of chia seeds or flax seeds and berries.

I am such a pro at making my voluminous oatmeal every morning. It takes me exactly three minutes!

3. Plan your workout like you would plan an appointment. If you can schedule in time to work out, you will be more likely to stick to it! I actually don't do this because whenever I make a schedule for myself I automatically rebel and literally never stick to it. I am so bad! But, I know myself and so I know when I can fit in a workout and when I can't. If you LOVE working out at night, then get up early, grab a huge cup of coffee and work your booty off while everyone sleeps so you have all of your to-dos done before 8AM! Then you will have more free time at night to hit the gym. If you would rather work out in the morning, put out your clothes the night before and immediately get up when your alarm goes off. If I lay around and think about it, I always talk myself out of going. So try to leave the house before your brain wakes up!

Other random time-saving things I do:
• Study on the treadmill/elliptical.
• Make to-do lists all the time to keep yourself in line.
• Record yourself reading your study notes and then listen to it in the car.
• Find a hairstyle that takes no time.
• Work out at home!! Huge time saver!
• Do small workouts throughout the day—15 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night.
• Make extra food and freeze it a few weeks before an upcoming busy week.
• Get up early! 4am rocks. It's the best time of the day, I swear. No one will bother you.

Lastly, don't forget to enjoy yourself and eat lots of ice cream! We all struggle to stay healthy when life seems to get in the way. If you can remember that you're more efficient when you are eating well, sleeping and exercising, then putting in the extra time to pack lunch or go to the gym might not seem so bad!

Question: What are some of your favorite meals to make in bulk?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Guest Post: Kate Is Eating

In my opinion, one of the hardest concepts for people to grasp is that exercise is the be-all, end-all to looking and feeling your best. In reality, exercise is only part of it. Healthy eating is huge. What you eat before, during and after your workouts solidifies your efforts during said workouts. So when Kate of Kate Is Eating offered up a post about food as fuel, I couldn't resist. Enjoy, and be sure to follow her on Twitter, too (@lecksicon).

Saying I’m a huge fan of food is a gross understatement. I love it and I live it, and sometimes it gets the better of me. There are definitely instances when food should be thought of as nourishing your body rather than a means of wreaking havoc on your digestive system. Before, during, and after exercising all require different types of nutrition and digestion. To maximize your workout and recovery, try some of these meal and snack ideas for your workouts.

Your body needs good sugars to fuel workouts. While glucose is what you want before you workout intensely, it does get burned out quickly and needs to be replenished. Don’t ingest a large amount of protein before working out that your body is using up all of its resources to digest it. Brendan Brazier, the man behind Vega, recommends dates for being an abundant glucose source. It’s made available right away so your body isn’t expending energy to break it down. Bananas are an awesome source of sugar and potassium and are good for a quick burst of energy. Oatmeal is perfect if you want a slower-digesting pre-exercise meal. Packing it with fruit and consuming this about an hour before you work out gives your body a good source of sugars to work with. This lentil bread recipe with roasted pepper sunflower spread from Purely Twins is a good source of carbohydrates before a workout.

In addition to hydrating with water throughout your exercising, you need to replenish any lost electrolytes during physical activity. Aside from Gatorade or powdered mixes, you can also try coconut water, which is filled with electrolytes. Another good option is to try carbohydrate gels, which are concentrated carbohydrates that contain no protein or fat so they’re easily digested. Try Gu, Clif Shot Bloks, or PowerBar Energy Gel the next time you’re working out at a pretty high intensity.

Brazier also recommends his carob gel recipe: 4 dates, ¼ cup agave nectar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp roasted carob powder (or cocoa nibs), 2 tsp lemon zest, and sea salt to taste. You just blend all of these ingredients to make about 8 oz. of gel.

There are a variety of post-workout protein mixes out there for you to take with you and consume within the first hour of working out. This should ideally be something with little fat and fiber, and not much protein, just so all of the carbohydrates can be quickly released into the bloodstream with minimal work on the part of your digestive system. A scoop or two of whey protein powder for quick protein-absorption, or some juices and shakes that contain maca root or chlorella are awesome for recovery. Here’s a good recovery drink: Sprint2theTable’s cherry ginger smoothie. Cherries and ginger are great anti-inflammatories, and combining them with some protein powder will help with the protein your body needs.

After consuming your instant-recovery snack, you can sit down and eat a protein-rich meal, with some good fats. Think lean meats (grilled chicken or turkey), leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, collard greens), and quinoa and sweet potatoes are all protein-rich and nutrient-dense. A good recipe is Live, Love, & Run’s spicy sausage and butternut squash quinoa.

You can add some greens and substitute chicken or turkey sausage to make this even more nutritious. Depending on the intensity of your workout you’ll want to gauge how much you want to eat. If you work out intensely, the more liquid the meal is, the more your body will be able to tend to recovery instead of digestion.

Sources: Thrivein30, Sprint2theTable, Live, Love, & Run


Question: What is your favorite way to fuel up during a workout? I'm specifically interested in your response if you're a distance runner, as I am currently in training and about to hit peak milage.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Guest Post: JFoYo Health

One of the hats I wear as a personal trainer is that of "Motivator." It's my job to keep my clients pumped about exercise and positive about their ability to reach their goals. But I can only spend so much time with them in a given week, which means it's ultimately up to them to be the motivation they need to succeed. But life, has a way of killing motivation sometimes which is why I can't wait for you to read Jennifer's post. She's a beacon of positivity on her website, JFoYo Health
Motivation is the psychological feature that arouses an organism to act toward a desired goal and elicits, controls and sustains certain goal-directed behaviors. Motivation involves positive thinking and for most of us average human beings, it's hard. We let our daily life stresses hold our not-so-great moods over our heads. Those bad vibes can then trickle into the way we view ourselves. We may look into the mirror and start picking at every little thing WE think is wrong (arms, hips, derriere, etc...) and then say to ourselves, "I will never have a body like that" while looking at Vogue. 

Well, for on thing, that cover was probably air brushed.

I know that it's easier said than done to bulldoze those WRONG thoughts out the window. Where I am today, mentally, is a place I didn't think was possible for me to be. I was such a negative thinker. And thinking like that caused my behavior to be horrible. I did not like who I was. I just accepted it. I thought it was normal.

Around the time that I had my "Aha" moment, I started to repeatedly tell myself that I was a great person...that I could do whatever I wanted to. At that time, I wanted to lose weight. And this new habit was something I didn't stiff once I started to lose the weight. Instead, I adapted it into every other aspect of my life. By doing that, my motivation grew. My self confidence grew. My view of my own self worth grew. I was slowly becoming different person.

When you are becoming a "motivated" person, it doesn't mean that things won't bother you anymore, but you will handle them differently. For example, not all people are supportive. This is usually because they don't understand what you are doing, are jealous or are just plain mean enough to pop your bubble. But with your new frame of mind, they might only be able to put a small leak in it that you will patch up because you'll remember that you are smart, kind, beautiful and special.

Staying positive through a setback is hard, but you need to remember that you're only human and it isn't the end-all. Take the setback and use it against itself. Turn it into motivation. For example, instead of having one goal, set smaller and more frequent goals. Still keep that larger main goal for the end, but let those small goals boost your mood. You will notice more results. You will see changes you might not have seen if you had just set that larger goal. This type of progress was a big motivator for me.

Every little thing that changed on my body or every 1/4 of a mile further I could run was motivational progress. All these changes were making me a happier person. I was really starting to see me for me. No matter my size or weight, I had become a happy, confident, strong (both mentally and physically) woman. And at some point in my journey, I had become more than just a self motivator. I was helping others get motivated. Knowing I was helping others had become so rewarding.

If getting healthy and getting in shape was easy, everyone would do it. There would be no need for motivation and inspiration. It's easy to give up when the going gets tough.

But it's so worth it to keep moving forward because I promise you that you'll love the person you become. So remember this:


Question: What motivates you?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Guest Post: ASPIRE Fitness

A personal trainer spends a lot of his or her time putting together workouts for other people, so when it comes to our own workouts, we typically feel one of two things: super excited to plan our own workouts, or sick and tired of planning workouts. It all depends on the day. At least for me. So I'm stoked to bring you a post by Tracey of ASPIRE Fitness. Read along and you'll find some awesome workouts. I've already got them in my back pocket for those days where I'm feeling less than inspired to plan my next workout.

Hey there! So this is my first guest post, I’ll admit it. I have my own blog, but when you’re headed over to someone else’s blog, it all becomes so...well, official! So here I am, Tracey English, owner and trainer of Aspire Fitness, LLC in Lawrence, Kansas. I’m approaching my one-year anniversary as a business owner, but I’ve been in the fitness industry for more than 16 years. Whew. I love everything about it—the excitement of trying new exercises, the strong feeling of working to exhaustion, the enthusiasm that comes from watching people excel in my classes and/or sessions. (I’m an instructor and a trainer). And, of course, the knowledge that with every class I take, every challenge I meet, I am becoming a stronger, healthier person.

What I do not love is the mentality that if you don’t go all out all of the time, you may as well go home. If that’s true, then I’m sunk. There are so many days when it takes all of me—literally, every ounce of my being—to psyche myself up to workout. Now I know, it shouldn’t be something I have to should be something I want to do...but sorry, people, there are simply some days when that isn’t the case. Please tell me I’m not alone in this sentiment. Anyone?

So MY personal philosophy is this—do what you can with the time you have, and do it to the best of your ability and then LEAVE IT ALONE AND STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP! Make sense? Too often when I have an appointment with clients they tell me they can’t meet with me because they don’t have enough time. What? How much time do you have? 20 minutes? 45 minutes? Then yes, you have time. If you use it wisely.

So I’m here to offer all you super-busy people an easy out. No, not an easy out in the sense that you get a free ride to NOT exercise. Rather, an easy easy way to fit in some super effective exercises that work with your schedule. Your very busy schedule. After all, just because you only have 10 minutes doesn’t mean you can’t work yourself hard during those 10 minutes. So read on, comment, try these things out and let me know what you think. I’ve found them to be very effective, very easy to do with little time (and space) and very empowering. It’s pretty cool when you’re busier than you knew possible and yet you are STILL a bad ass who cranked out a workout. ass. So go!

Got 10 minutes? TABATA!
Tabata = super effective, high intensity training. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Work to exhaustion. Literally. 4 minutes per set. In 10 minutes, you can complete the following:

Mountain climbers
Jump Squats

Seal jacks
5 dice jumps
High knee runs
Side shuffles

100 bicycles (50 forward. 50 back.)
25 plank walk ups
1-2 minute plank hold


The wonderful thing about Tabata is that you can literally plug in any exercise at all and complete it for 20 seconds. So if you have more time, add in another set...think squat jumps, pushups, triceps dips, jump rope, etc. Add in some “toys”—kettlebells, TRX, BOSU—and you’ve got a killer workout you can do in no time flat. (Side note – free Tabata apps for your iPhone or Droid are available online and can greatly enhance your workouts!)

Talking about the “toys” brings me to my next workout—TRX and Kettlebells. Love them—a lot! I absolutely love the way the TRX gets me out of the “regular” comfort zone/plane of motion while training. Not familiar with it? The concept of TRX suspension training is pretty basic. Users hold on to one or two cables on their feet or hands and partially suspend their body, using their body weight as resistance. Your positioning on the cables directly affects how hard you are working and what muscle groups you are using. TRX is a great workout for anyone because it is very beginner-friendly, yet can be tailored as you progress through your workouts.

Kettlebells—another awesome tool—challenge your core and stabilizing muscles because of the unique way you hold them. Another reason I love incorporating Kettlebells into my workouts is because they can be used as a piece of cardio equipment or as an extreme strengthening tool. They can be used to increase mobility and stability and, of course, to enhance your workout and overall fitness plan. I highly recommend incorporating both of these tools into your fitness routine if you can. Find a local gym that offers classes so you can get some proper training, and/or invest in some equipment for your home and you’ll never have to step foot in a gym again.

TRX/Kettlebell Workout

No toys? No problem!
Alright, here’s your last two workouts. Copy and paste these, tape them to your fridge or basement wall and commit to completing the following 2-3 times/week. Some days you may only get through lower body or upper body. Other days, try to complete both. No equipment needed.

LOWER BODY WORKOUT Complete 3-4 rounds.
Jog in place for 1 minute and do 30 jumping jacks to warm up.
25 squats
30 alternating or walking lunges
20 jump squats
20 jumping lunges
30 side lunges
30 bridges (with one or both feet on floor) and then hold bridge off the floor for 30 seconds.

UPPER BODY WORKOUT Complete 2-3 rounds
20 pushups
20 triceps pushups
20 bench dips
20 side shoulder raises (No weights at home? Find some cans or heavy water bottles.)
20 front shoulder raises
Plank or mountain climbers for 30 seconds

And there you have it. Easy workouts to complete in little to no time, and an extra one with toys if they are available to you. Bottom line—you have to do what works for you. Stop wasting your time beating yourself up because you can’t devote an hour or two to your workout. Every moment you spend moving—walking, lifting weights, running with your kids, stretching, planking, squatting—is a moment that enhances your fitness and overall health. So get moving! And let me know how these workouts work for you! I look forward to hearing all about it!

Yep, seriously...let us know how you do! Give them a try and come back to the comments section below, and tweet Tracey @ASPIREFitnessKS. (While you're at it, be sure to follow @adailydoseoffit, too!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Guest Post: The Hungry Runner

The grocery store is a very dangerous place. If you think about it, it's where we make or break our efforts at the gym. I often tell people to focus on the outskirts of the store rather than venturing into the aisles because it's within those aisles that we come across most of the "diet foods." You know, those  "low-fat" and "low-calorie" alternatives to things that are bad for you. Like the baked chips and the 100-calorie breakfast bars and the, know. You've no doubt purchased these things at least once in your life. And sure, they taste good, but are they good? Katie from The Hungry Runner takes a closer look.

"Diet foods": If you're trying to lose weight and look fit, you shouldn't be eating them. In fact, nobody should be eating them. (See also: Why Diets Don't Work). 

Labels that advertise their products as low-fat, sugar-free, and low-calorie should not be trusted. They'll never help you reach your goals, because while they might assist you in consuming less fat, or less sugar, or less calories, they're most likely only adding more highly processed chemicals and preservatives to your diet. And trust me, none of those things are doing anything to help your health. In fact they could be harming it and sneakily sabotaging your health and fitness goals.

When it comes to weight loss, monitoring daily caloric intake can be a useful tool to help move progress along smoothly. But what's even more important than paying attention to the number of calories you're eating, is taking into consideration the quality of the different foods you consume throughout the day.

It would be much harder to lose 10 pounds eating 1,500 calories of Arctic Zero low-calorie ice cream everyday than it would be to do so by eating a balanced diet of whole foods that will provide your body with all of the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients it needs to function healthily and keep your metabolism running properly. I'm not saying it wouldn't be possible, but it would be much harder. Sure, eating only ice cream might sound appealing on paper, but think about how you'd feel. Probably not so great. Your motivation to keep up an exercise routine would probably dwindle, and your body would react to the lack of vitamins and minerals by making you feel sluggish and bogged down. Not an ideal state of mind for someone with serious health and fitness goals.

I specifically chose to mention Arctic Zero ice cream, because it was  recently featured on a segment of The Today Show titled, "Can you believe diet frozen dessert labels?

As part of the report, a team of scientists calculated how many calories were in several different diet dessert products, many of which have tons of health and weight loss claims on their labels. Arctic Zero's ice creams turned out to have 48-68% more calories than the nutrition labels claimed!

Not surprisingly, most of the other ice cream products also had more calories than their nutrition facts said. The worst part? Most of these companies can't even be penalized for this because the FDA says that it's OK for food labels to be as much as 20% off of the actual amount of calories in their products. This proves that tracking the quality of your food, rather than the quantity, can be much more beneficial because it's almost impossible to really know just how many calories you're eating everyday.

So all of this is pretty crazy, right? Diet foods are liars and you may have been eating 68% more calories of ice cream  than you actually thought. Absurd! But what's even more surprising to me is that The Today Show put together that entire investigative report, but never once took a look into what kinds of ingredients make up these bogus diet foods.

For example Skinny Cow's Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches (a popular product in the world of "diet desserts") boast about having only 140 calories and 1.5 grams of fat on the front of their label, yet the ingredient list on the back of the box is more than 30 items long and includes things like high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol monostearate, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, and a bunch of other things that sound like they were made in a lab and definitely not meant for the human body to consume.

Long story short, if you want to lose weight, be healthier, feel more fit -whatever it is your goals are- none of these foods can help you get there because they are made of crap. If you want to reach your fitness goals the right way, the only answer is clean, whole foods eating. Yes, you can have the occasional treat every now and then, but if you're eating diet desserts after dinner every single night of the week, you may need to re-evaluate your plan.

If you're like me and you just gotta have dessert at the end of the day, try fresh fruit or bake your own low-cal,  low-sugar baked goods instead.

Reading the ingredients of the products that you buy is so important . Maybe that bag of almonds has 14g of fat per serving, but that's 14g of healthy, complex fats that your body can use as energy. Which is much better than 5g of saturated fat in those seemingly healthy Special K Strawberry Meal Bars. Plus the only ingredient in the bag of almonds is ... Almonds! It would take me 20 minutes to try and figure out how to pronounce and then list all of the ingredients in the Special K bar.

Remember this: Eat whole foods as often as possible. Aim to buy products with short ingredient lists that only contain things you can pronounce and have heard of before. Follow these rules as closely as possible without completely depriving yourself (you can totally have a crazy-good, over-sized ice cream sandwich every once in a while), and you'll reach your health and fitness goals before you can even say diet foods are for dummies.


Question: What "diet" foods do you indulge in on occasion?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Post: One Little Becca

I can't even remember the first race that I ran. I'm sure it was a 5K, and I was probably pretty nervous about it. But I've learned that with a little heart and soul, we can do anything we want to. And that what might have seemed like a scary or impossible feat really isn't with a little sweat. So that's why I'm excited to host Becca today. She's going to tell you all about running her first 5K in 13 years. And if you check out her blog, you'll notice she's pretty much hooked on racing now.

When I decided to sign up for my first race, I had been casually running for about two and a half years already. I started out on an elliptical and when it got a bit warmer, I decided to head outside for the real deal. It began with walking three miles a day, every morning around 5:30AM (I had to be at work at 7:30). It slowly evolved into running. My thoughts on running were more fears than anything else. I was scared of hurting my knees again (20 years of soccer, an ACL tear and a lot of arthritis at the ripe age of 28) and was afraid of what the running would do to my back, but walking wasn't cutting it and I wanted to move faster.

So I started running. Three miles every morning as the sun came up over the hills of Oklahoma is a much better way to start your day then a cup of coffee. My running turned from a weight loss tool into a comfort tool when I picked up and moved to the Washington, DC metro area. I had a lot of unsettling events happen in my old town and was nervous about returning. My running kept me sane and kept me in good spirits. As those fears were conquered, running turned into a stress reliever.

In August of 2012, a good friend from high school came to stay with my husband and me. She had just accepted a job in Arlington and was moving back from NYC. This friend had been running also, for some time. She is training for the NYC marathon in November. I started running with her every morning. She started getting up at 5:00AM with me and I forced her to hold a steady pace. We worked together and pushed each other's running further and further. With her, I discussed a lot of different running ideas, tactics and strategies.

One morning, I saw a Facebook post from a friend who was organizing a race. In a fit of whimsy, I registered to race an 8K.

Mentally, this was challenging. I have not run a race since Cross Country in high school and I was not very good then. I am competitive and not being good at something bothered me then and still bothers me now. However, I thought long and hard about my decision (after the fact, of most thoughts tend to occur) and I decided that A) it was too late to change my mind, and B) it was time to try again. I am 29. It has been 13 years and it was time. So I went forward thinking that. I discussed with my running buddy my fears on our long runs: What if I suck? What if I fail? What if I don't finish? What if, what if, what many hypotheticals to keep track of. Her response was always "you won't, you can do this"; which to me means, "man up and stop being a wuss." Before I had actually run my 8K, I had already signed up for three other races, one being a triathlon. Apparently, my belief is if I am going to do it, I am going to do it all of the way, no holds barred and also I felt the need to invest in my racing before even starting so that I could not back out. 

I got really nervous the day before race day.

But everything was awesome! I ran so well! My friend Sheena ran with me and she kept me at a solid 10:50/mile pace. I completed the five-mile race in under 55 minutes which was my goal and an improvement from my training which was 5 miles in one hour and two minutes on average.


Bottom line? Don't be afraid of the race. If it's something you've been wanting to try, then you should. Race yourself, not anyone else around you, because no matter what—you'll win. You'll always win if you complete something you set out to do.

Question: Were you ever nervous to compete in a race of any kind? Tell me about it, and tell me how you kept yourself in it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Post: My Life My Way

As a certified personal trainer, it's part of my job to be a source of motivation. People pay me to deliver solid workouts that promote results, sure. And that's something I am all too willing to provide. But that's just the basic definition of my job. I can stand there and count out repetitions all day, but it's the "you can do it" and "push harder" and "good job" and all the talk about the scale and the do and don't advice that really solidifies a personal trainer's ability to motivate their clients to reach goals. But sometimes, no matter what we say, it pales in comparison to real life stories from people who meet and continue to exceed similar goals.

I am excited to introduce you to Nikki today. If you have weight loss goals, big or small, her story will inspire you to believe in yourself. But first, if you're a fan of Daily Dose on Facebook, make sure you click "show in news feed" under the "liked" button so that you keep getting my updates. On top of my daily blog posts, I add about one or two other updates a day (if that). Facebook, man. They keep changing things around. Makes me wonder what else I'm missing out on. 

Hi friends! My name is Nikki and I blog over at My Life My Way. Today, I want to share my story with you. My story of going from 280 pounds to 150 pounds and being a group fitness instructor. Believe me, it is possible. If I can do it, believe me...YOU can do it! 

FACT: I used to weigh 280 pounds.

I kid you not. That was me in 2005. 

Here is another...

I was always big. Growing up, I was always the "fat kid." I was always the one who got picked on. As I got to be an adult, it didn't change. I was always the butt of jokes and it sucked. I HATED it. I remember when I was a teenager and living with my step-mother would bring me to the doctor and ask the doctor how she could get me to lose weight. The doctor would always tell her "she has to do it on her own when she is ready." That is exactly what I did.

FACT: I now weigh 150 pounds.


That was me this past winter. 

Another from this summer....


I worked my butt off to get where I am now. I work my butt off to keep myself where I am. 

WHAT DID YOU DO? That, friends, is the question I get all the time. Along with DID YOU HAVE SURGERY? Rest assured, I DID NOT have surgery. What I did was change my entire lifestyle. 

Weight loss is really simple. Calories in versus calories out plus some good old exercising. That, my friends, is my recipe for success! It was not easy nor did it happen overnight. It was a long two-year battle to get where I am today. It is a constant 'fight' to stay where I am, but I love every minute of it.


I started by walking. Simple as that may sound. I would go to the mall on my breaks from work and just walk laps. Laps and laps and laps. I started to see a difference in my weight and thought that if I just changed some of the things I was eating that I would lose more weight. Sure enough, it worked! I totally overhauled my eating and started to work out regularly. When I hit a plateau, I would simply change something. I started to add weights to my workouts or I would just try a different exercise.

I changed my eating. I used to eat crap ALL. THE. TIME. Don't get me wrong, I still have my splurges but they are few and far between now. I stopped eating fast food. I stopped eating candy EVERY DAY. I switched to whole wheat bread. Grilled chicken and vegetables became a staple in my diet. I started to eat clean. Let me tell you what a difference it made in my life. Just changing the food I put in my body gave me so much more energy. I was not eating all that sugar and processed food that tears you down.


All those "get thin quick" scams are just that—scams. You need to move. You need to eat healthy. You need to invest some time and energy into yourself and you will be where you want to be.

Today I am not only 130 pounds lighter, I am an instructor. I teach Les Mills BodyCombat and I love it. It helped me tone and lose weight...and if me sharing my story can help someone, then I have done my job! If you have any questions for me about how or what I did, please please please do NOT hesitate to ask! I would love to answer any questions you may have.


You can read about the supplements I take HERE.
You can read about the first time I ran an 8K HERE.
You can read about my typical workout week HERE.
You can read about my in-depth weight loss HERE.
You can read about my 6 weeks AdvoCare results HERE.

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Question: What is your current fitness goal and how do you stay motivated to achieve it?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

We went to Mexico last January, but we haven't been anywhere since then. So we're going somewhere. With a baby. On a plane. For the very first time in our lives. Needless to say, it should be interesting. And needless to say, I've been mentally and physically packing our suitcases for at least a month now so I'm almost ready to go. And by "our," I mean mine which is also Hannah's. The husband, well...this explains it:

You think I'm joking. My jealousy of his ability to pull a suitcase together LIKE THAT is through the roof. But alas, Type A runs from my head down to my toe.

Anyway, so we're off today. But that's not to say it's going to be all crickets and cobwebs here at Daily Dose. As an ambassador for both FitFluential and SweatPink, I have access to some amazing individuals who strive to live the fit life as I do—some of which have so graciously agreed to share a thing or two with you while I'm gone. So stay tuned, and show my guest bloggers some love. I'll be back eventually, I swear.

Question: How long has it been since your last vacation? If you could leave on a jet plane today, where would you go?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Spinning® Certification Review

The weather was quite rainy yesterday which made it the perfect day for some indoor cycling. I'm an off-and-on type of rider, mostly because I prefer my running shoes to the bike saddle, but I've always enjoyed taking Spinning® classes so I thought I'd add a certification to my bag of tricks. We're a Spinning® facility, so it only seemed logical that I go the Spinning® route. And besides, they are the champions of indoor cycling.

It was a nine-hour course, at least two of which were spent in the saddle—yes, my bum is a little sore today. And when we weren't in the saddle, we were discussing the ins and outs of teaching a Spinning® class. Needless to say, I am newly motivated to spend even more time in the bike saddle. And slightly overwhelmed. I wish I had more pictures for you, but we were that busy. I do, however, have a shot of the lunch I packed. You might have seen it if you follow @adailydoseoffit on Instagram:

I piled up some plain Chobani greek yogurt, homemade honey-cinnamon granola, blueberries and pomegranate seeds. You could do the same, it's so easy and makes for a great portable meal. And no, you don't have to go out and buy a bunch of fancy Ball jars. What you see above is most likely an empty peanut butter or salsa jar.

I digress. Let's talk about my Spinning® certification course. Long story short: It was awesome. The instructor was awesome. Full of information and extremely passionate about Spinning®  which is why I find myself newly motivated to spend more time in the bike saddle. We completed Phase 1 of the certification process yesterday, which basically gets you ready to teach. I don't know that I'm ready to teach RIGHT NOW, although I technically can. Phases 2 and 3 involve some self-study and are meant to fine-tune your knowledge base while developing your skills as a rider. I'd like to spend another week or two on the bike before I get on the lead bike. But that's just me. Always the perfectionist.

And really, the entire certification process is meant to be a six-month thing that ends with an open-book test. But again, it's set up so you can teach right away if you're ready. I'll be ready soon enough. I want to wrap my mind around the incorporation of one's heart rate, which carries great emphasis in any Spinning® class. This is a concept that's not unfamiliar to me, as it's also a big part of personal training, but it's a concept I'd like to review nonetheless. And one that has great emphasis in Phase 3 of the certification process, in case you're wondering.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about having this notch on my belt. Once I start teaching Spinning®  I'll have three very important elements of fitness in my class schedule: Strength (Circuit Sculpt and TRX), Stretching (Foam Rolling) and Cardio (Spinning®). Hooray!

Why should you get a Spinning® certification?

1) If you participate in Spinning® classes on a regular basis, think about the money you'll save by getting paid to ride instead of PAYING to ride—or thing about the education you'll get which, in turn, will enhance your riding experience.

2) The Spinning® program was the first of its kind, inspiring other programs along the way. Why not choose the leader of the pack? And why not choose the only program that truly mimics road biking at its finest?

3) If you're already a group fit instructor or certified personal trainer, it's a good trick to have up your sleeve. And it will broaden your understanding of the human body and what it takes to train it, which will carry over to your other classes/clients. If you're not already an instructor or a certified personal trainer, it's still a good trick to have up your sleeve and I can assure you the process of getting certified will be manageable. Especially if you already ride. See below.

4) If you're an avid cyclist, it's a great way to transition your training indoors during the off season or when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

5) It's fun. 'Nuff said.

I have so much to learn as a new Spinning® instructor and I'm really looking forward to doing just that. Here's to hoping I can balance time on the bike with time on the road in my running shoes. This week in particular was tough. I only logged four miles and I logged them today.

Sad face.
...happy face after those four miles:

My ears and sinuses were acting up at the beginning of the week which put a huge damper on my efforts to run. Trust me when I say that I was hugely disappointed, especially after such a great run last Sunday. But it's back on now, and I'm on my way to eight miles in a week. Race day is slowly approaching.

Speaking of slowly approaching, I'm teaching in the morning so I should probably prep my class. Watch out Circuit Sculpters, I'm in the mood for a good one.

And if you're in the mood for a salad, perhaps for lunch tomorrow, you can make salads in a jar, too:

Oh, and before I forget: Many thanks to NatureBox for sending me another stash of deliciousness.

If you've yet to discover this mailbox service, please check them out. And if you want to get some delivered to your home, use ADDOFIT at checkout to save 25%.

Question: If you are a Spinning instructor, what advice can you give this newbie? If you're an avid rider, what do you love the most about your instructor?

Note: NatureBox did not compensate me for this brief review. They just sent me a free box of goodies which I happily accepted as a brand ambassador. All opinions are my own and I mention them here because I am a true fan. You know if I hated the product that I'd tell you as much, right? Right. Also, Spinning did not compensate me for this brief review either. I paid for the course with my own money and speak of it here because, well...if you're reading this, then you probably already know why.

Friday, October 12, 2012

5 Things Motherhood Taught Me About Fitness

There are times when I sit down to write and I can't come up with a single word. Other times, the words pour out of me with ease. And there are even other times when those words come from a part of me that's just...deep. Proud. Happy. Emotional. Which makes me really love the resulting piece of work. No, I'm not bragging, but I recently wrote one such piece. I sent it to Jennifer of JFoYoHealth as a guest post, and I mentioned as much to you last week. Did you check it out on her blog? If not, today is your lucky day as I've decided to repost it here on Daily Dose. Why? Because I've been reflecting on motherhood a lot lately. My girl is growing up, and she's officially been on the outside of this world more than inside of me. I keep telling her to stop growing up, but my Hannah-Banana doesn't listen. And truthfully, I'm loving every minute of it, even if the minutes sometimes feel like milliseconds. Enjoy:

As a certified personal trainer and new mother, I have spent the last nine months juggling these two hats. I don’t ever expect to balance them perfectly, which is why I’ve succumbed to life and let them both teach me a thing or two about merging them into one. I am, after all, a fit mother. And as such, this is what I’ve learned:


1) The female body is an amazing thing. As such, it should be worshipped. Respected. Taken care of. And for those of you that cannot give birth to a child, this doesn’t make your body any less so. As mothers, we all give instinctively from the depths of our being. And our bodies respond, tired sometimes, but strong nonetheless. And when we bring light to that strength by lifting weights at the gym or running miles on the sidewalks, we do nothing but highlight what it is our bodies are capable of.

2) It’s an example worth setting. Our children are quite impressionable. Give them something worth impressing into their minds. If they see you working out, if they are familiar with your gym…if they partake by playing quietly in the jogging stroller as you jog…they are learning that fitness is important. And most importantly, that living fit is the norm.

3) It really isn’t about fitting into jeans. No mom will deny the satisfaction of slipping into her pre-pregnancy jeans, but when your body goes through pregnancy, labor and delivery, it builds within you a newfound focus. Sure, I still hit the gym to build muscle, lean out and look strong. But above that, I go to build a body that sustains life for the long haul. I do, after all, have a child that needs me as I still need my own mother. Now and forever, really.

4) Quality workouts are best. I’ve learned that a child inserts an element of unpredictability into life, which means I can’t always rely on a schedule. Which means I can’t always guarantee myself the workout I might have planned. So every workout I do manage to snag has to be full of heart and focus. This, of course, should be the case even if one isn’t a mother.

5) It can reset the mind, body and spirit. Not only does fitness have the ability to transform the physical you, it can change the mental and spiritual you as well. Take an hour to lift weights or go for a run. Get lost in yourself, forgetting about the laundry, the job or child that needs to be entertained. Let someone else handle those tasks because slipping away for some fitness is “me” time at its finest. 

Question: Did your approach to fitness change after you became a mother? If so, how?


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