Friday, January 31, 2014

January Recap

One month down, eleven more to go! I don't know about you, but I think this year is off to a great start. I mean, despite this whole "polar vortex" thing. Is it affecting you? We're freezing up here in Michigan. A girl can only hope this means we'll have some awesome beach weather come summer. (Mother Nature, are you listening?) Until then, since February is upon us tomorrow, I thought I'd review some of the things I was looking forward to this month. You know, just to see how it all turned out.

1) A fresh start in good health.
Currently 21 weeks into this pregnancy, I'm at that stage where everything feels comfortable. And thankfully, I've gotten myself through the bad flu/coughing spell that I was in for most of December and some of November, too. But here's the catch: I've been dealing with some congestion all week and I'm seriously hoping it goes away quickly. I sound like a frog. Starbucks was a must:

2) New beginnings at the gym.
January is typically a crazy month in the fitness industry. Most clubs see an influx of new members, and we certainly did. In addition, old members not otherwise coming regularly seemed to resurface, which added to the hustle and bustle of things. And, cue the snow, which forced us to close shop for two days and close early for another. But, attendance is up in all of our classes and my personal trainers are stacked with clients. We're off to a great start.

3) Seeing Baby in a second ultrasound.
Just this week, we got to see Baby! Ultrasounds will never cease to amaze me (or freak me out with their ability to make my kid look like an alien). Long story short: All is good. And no, we didn't find out the gender.

4) Celebrating Hannah's birthday. 
Oh, did we celebrate! Girl had so much fun at her party. And so did we. Some of the decorations are still all over the house, despite having taking down a ton of them already. Honestly, I'd be rid of all of them by now, but the husband keeps protesting. I never knew he was such a Dora the Explorer fan.

5) Blogging regularly again.
I think I've found my blogging vibe again. I posted on all but five days, and never once did I feel as if I was posting just to post. So that's good. I've also been working on some back end things that will continue to improve Daily Dose. I'm also trying to connect with you more on Twitter and Facebook. (You can still find me all over Instagram and Pinterest, too.)

And just in case you missed them, here aew five top posts from this month:

1) 8 Tips for Taking Your First #Spinning Class
2) Easy Garlic Hummus with @WholeFoods #365Organic Tahini
3) Infographic: 10 Common Weight Loss Mistakes
4) 6 Things I'm Loving Right Now
5) Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog

Conclusion? January really was good.
Up next? February. But first, a get-together with friends tonight.

And don't forget to enter the MyRaceRagz custom race tee giveaway. 
It'll be open for a few more hours!

Question: What was the highlight of your January;

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Don't undervalue yourself. (#pinspirationthursday)

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" This question, it's asked of us from (essentially) the moment we are born. We are expected to be something, to do something with our lives at some point, so we grow up reaching for stars. Now, I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Not at all. It's good to have goals and dreams. It's good to want more for ourselves. But, we have to be realistic about it, too. We have to know that failure is a path to growth. That sometimes, something else is better for us. And that it's okay to not be what our neighbors are. We, ultimately, have to be unique in our individual selves. We have to live and learn in the moments that make us who we are.

And we have to do that without regret.

No regret for the things we don't have.
No regret for the things we can't be.
No regret for the things we'll never do.

And it's all because of this:

Pin / Source
You are exactly who you are. You can change that person, you can grow within that person. But if you're striving for something and it doesn't come to fruition, it doesn't make you any less of a person.

It makes you, once again, exactly who you are.

That's not a negative.
It's a positive.

And when you learn to turn the negatives into positives, life really starts to blossom.

Overvalue who you are. Not who you aren't, because there is only one you and that person should get all of your respect.

All of it.

Question: What did you want to be when you grew up? Me, I wanted to be a grocery store checkout lady. I still think that would be fun.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Lower Body

One of my unofficial blog goals this year is to offer up a different workout every Wednesday. So far this year, we've done a Prenatal Workout, Reps for Time, and an Upper Body Workout with Cable Machine. It seems only logical that this week's workout revolves around your lower body...and, you know, I promised you that it would.

Let's review: Splitting up your workouts in this manner is a great way to charge past a plateau. It also gives you the opportunity to focus intently on specific muscle groups. And if you like going to the gym every day, it can also be a great way to avoid over training. Because seriously, you don't need to work your entire body every day. In fact, you shouldn't. (But that's an entirely different post, to say the least. End rant.)

Remember, you need to warm up first and stretch when you're done. Even though I'm a certified personal trainer, I need you to proceed with caution. I don't know what your specific needs and limitations are, and only you can prevent injury in regards to what follows.

What kind of equipment will you need? A cable machine, free weights and a weighted bar. We'll talk modifications toward the end.

Pin this for now or later:


1) Elevate your heels using weight plates as shown in the image. Use a loaded bar, but you can substitute free weights if that's all you have. Use the free weights for your dead lifts, too. Or stick with the bar. Whatever works!

2) Stand with the outside of your hip facing the lowered anchor point. Pull your attached foot toward the base leg, crossing in front of the base ankle just a bit to burn the muscles in your inner thigh. When Without switching ankles, adjust your position so that you're kneeling on a bench with your base leg (you should be facing the anchor at this point. Your working leg should be perpendicular to the floor...until you lift it up behind you, which actively works the gluteus group. If you don't have access to a cable machine, you might find success with ankle weights or bands.

3) When performing lateral band walks, you want the band itself to sit comfortably just below your knees. Take 12 giant steps to the right, followed by 12 giant steps to the left. Repeat and enjoy the burn.

Question: What's your favorite lower body exercise?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sponsored Post: @MyRaceRagz Review and #Giveaway

The following post is sponsored by MyRaceRagz. No compensation was provided, but they did send me a custom race tee to review. All opinions are my own. And there's a giveaway at the end!

I've been reading (and loving) a lot of winter race recaps lately. Right now, my running game is somewhat limited as I am 21 weeks along with baby #2. I'm still comfortable when I run, but I couldn't possibly add any race training to my schedule since I am already teaching group fitness four times a week. That would just be too much for this momma. So I'm keeping it to 3-milers at least twice a week, usually on Thursday and Saturday mornings.

Until this baby is born and I can return to some solid training, race recaps will continue to motivate me, as will looking ahead to potential fall races. This certainly helps, too:

MyRaceRagz reached out to me a few weeks ago and offered up the chance to review their service. They're an awesome company, really. And I totally dig the concept of customized race shirts. I got a few made through a local service last summer when a group of us ran the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon, and even though that company was right down the road, it was a difficult process and the customization definitely added up, too. Had I known about MyRaceRags, that's probably the direction I would have gone.

You're not limited to text only.
You're not limited to certain colors.

You can basically do what you want, as long as you're okay with a white tech tee...but that tech tee can be long- or short-sleeved, even sleeveless. Yes, they all wick moisture away which we all know is key. And you can very easily print on both sides.

If you're not good with design work, they've got over 700 designs and slogans you can pick from. If you are good with design work and decide to make your own, I give you one warning: Be careful to follow their directions exactly, especially when it comes to color. They make no guarantees and you cannot return unwanted product. While I love my shirt, the blue is significantly darker than it should have been. Here's the original file:

See the difference? I thought for sure I had followed their directions perfectly. But I guess something got lost in translation. It is what it is and I'm still happy with the shirt. Just mad I can't wear it right now:

I don't dare stretch it out. But I can tell it's going to fit perfectly when I'm without bump. But if you're with bump and you order a shirt, I would definitely go up a size just to be safe.

Other things to note:
• No order minimums.
• Custom shirts range from $31-$40.
• Free shipping after you spend $50.
• 10% discount on ten or more items.

Want one?

MyRaceRagz is giving one lucky Daily Dose reader the chance to customize their own race tee. Literally, you can do whatever you want with it! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. I'll pick a winner after Midnight EST on Friday, January 31, 2014. Unfortunately, you must be a resident of the USA to enter, per MyRaceRagz. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 26, 2014

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now

It's Sunday, right? So let's keep it light. How about a post filled with things I'm currently loving! I enjoy it when bloggers do this. Because seriously, in this world we live in, how can I possibly find all the things I should be loving? I need recommendations! I need tips! So here, six things I'm loving right now:

1) Canon Eos Rebel SL1

I've been taking pictures with a Canon point/shoot for years. We bought our latest over four years ago right before we got married. Needless to say, it was starting to show it's age. With another baby on the way, I decided to search for a replacement. Now, I'm not a pro and know very little about these advanced  cameras, so I read a lot of reviews and talked to a few different salespeople before ultimately deciding on the SL1. I loved the smaller body, the user interface seemed friendly, and it was a Canon. Tradition continues. I still have a lot to learn, but so far, I've been loving it.

2) Decaf / Non-Fat / 2-Pump / Caramel Lattes

I've been on a serious Starbucks kick lately. I got a gift certificate for my birthday back in November, and it's been a renewed love affair ever since. I was a few drinks shy of Gold status at the end of the year, which made me angry, so consider me on a mission. With 11 months to go, I think I'll make it. I'm also seriously in love with one of their's tall, skinny and white. And not on their website or I'd show you. But the $22 price tag keeps me away (sad face). Why so expensive?

3) Maternity Fitness Clothes

I never wore maternity fitness clothes when I was pregnant with Hannah. I just scoured the clearance racks for one size up, or bought bubble-style tops that fit the belly. It worked then and does so again now, but I was lucky enough to get a few maternity pieces for Christmas. Seriously, they're awesome. Slow clap for anything from Gap or Old Navy, and I dig these capris from Impact Fitness Wear. 

4) Benefit "Hello Flawless!" Liquid and Powder Foundation

I work at a gym, so honestly, I don't wear a lot of makeup. Sometimes I don't wear any. But if I can, I will because it's so fun to put on. And every time I do, I end up reminding myself how much I love my current foundation. I have the liquid and the powder version, which I only use for touch ups.

5) The New Oxygen Magazine 

If you haven't been reading Oxygen, then you might not know that it folded for a few months when their publishing company closed up shop. I read a lot of fitness magazines, but Oxygen was and always will be my go-to because it's filled with legit information. Needless to say, so glad it's back. And it's looking pretty good these days, too. Seriously, don't be intimidated by all the fit, buff girls within. If you're into health and fitness, you'll learn so much from this publication.

(Note: The following favorite is sponsored by MixMyOwn. While I was not compensated to write this review, they so kindly sent me two bags of cereal to test out. As always, the opinions are my own.)

6) MixMyOwn Cereal

Breakfast is often a quick meal in this house, so I often turn to cold cereal. But I won't eat just any cold cereal, and I get sick of my two favorite brands, so the idea of making my own cereal is quite appealing. And that's exactly what MixMyOwn lets you do. Granted, it's a bit more expensive than your average box from the store, but the end result is a totally worth-it treat.

You can even name your mixes. I went with "The Daily Dose Mix" and "The Tropical Mix" (shown above). The first is a combination of dried berries, almonds, brans and quinoa. The second heads straight to the islands with macadamia nuts, dried banana, mango and pineapple, and oats and millet. My only complaint? The prescribed serving size was really very tiny and not at all equivalent to a typical bowl of cereal. An error on my bag? I'll never know. Regardless, if you're looking to shake up your morning routine, or if you need a fit gift for someone, then I highly recommend MixMyOwn. My two bags were super delish, for sure.

For more information, follow MixMyOwn on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for more information.

BONUS: One thing I'm hating.

1) Old Man Winter

Seriously, this weather can go away now. House-bound this weekend. Missing out on things. But at least I've got the husband and the girl with me.

Question: What are you loving right now?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Doubt your limits. (#pinspirationthursday)

Whenever I train for a race or work really hard toward a goal, the slightest mishap or challenge makes me second-guess myself. For example, when I trained for the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon last summer, I developed some knee pain that had me contemplating my strategy. Could I really run two half marathons so closely together? (I had just completed the Chicago Women's Half Marathon.) And when race day came, I very literally scared myself silly when the heat index jumped to fairly unmanageable levels.

I believed in my limitations.
I let them get underneath my skin.

Ultimately, I doubted myself. I lost all faith in my training, my drive and my will to succeed. And then I brought out the cheerleader within so that she could shout louder than those doubts.

And guess what? I set a new PR because of it.
Today's lesson:

Pin / Source
Question: How do you cope with self-doubt? What do you do to overcome limitations that affect your health and fitness goals? Are you currently experiencing any of these limitations?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Upper Body Workout with Cable Machine

In keeping with tradition, I'm here today with a Workout Wednesday post devoted entirely to your upper body. What about your lower body? We'll talk about that next week—Don't forget to train your lower body this week, though! Still a must. It's totally fine to split your workouts in this way. If you've never done so, you might consider trying it. Especially if you've hit a plateau.

Change your workout, change your body!

Anyway. This workout assumes you have access to a cable machine. You know, that huge contraption with an overabundance of pulleys, all of which can be attached to one of two opposing anchor points. It's not just for the big boys. And trust me, it's super user friendly.

This workout also assumes you've done some cardio to get the blood flowing. And even though I'm a certified personal trainer equipped with the knowledge to produce such a workout, that doesn't mean it's right for you. Be smart when trying out new workouts. Touch base with your physician if need be and always, always listen to your body if/when you proceed.

Pin this for now or later:


1) You can use the same d-shaped handle for single-arm rows and chest flyes, but you'll need to set up the opposing anchor points as you'll need to use both for the chest flyes.  You might also have to adjust the height of the anchor point for your rows—it should be just below your shoulder, versus head-height at most in a chest fly.

2) By "3-way biceps curls," I'm asking you to grip a longer bar wide on your first set, normally for the second set, and right next to the anchor point for your third set. You'll need a double rope for your triceps presses.

3) Underhand? Your palms should face your chin. You'll do the ab twists for six sets as you'll need to get both right and left sides.

4) Use a single rope for front shoulder abductions. You'll do one arm at a time, pulling from a lowered anchor point.

Was it an upper body day for me? Sort of. I taught my 6:00AM High Intensity class. I'm still able to participate, but it's getting harder. For example. I max out around 2:00 on the planks that we do before and after our HIIT circuit. And I certainly can't do burpees to the extent that I want to...I'm modifying to a soft hop back without a pushup or squat jump. Sometimes I just walk my feet out to plank, too. And obviously I'm not doing some of the core work in the lineup. But seriously, I'm feeling great and so thankful for that.

Question: What's your favorite upper body exercise? Favorite upper body cable exercise?!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog

Let me preface this post: I am no blog expert. I have a lot to learn, but I've learned a lot in the past four years that I've been writing Daily Dose. I'm also a blog reader, so I've developed opinions and noticed trends through personal engagement. And for what it's worth, I have a communications degree with a professional background in advertising, marketing and writing. So there's that perspective, too. And with all that under my hat, I'd like to present to you (in no particular order) a few easy ways to improve your blog, no matter what kind of blog you write.

1) Clean up your sidebar.
First, decide what (if anything) can go. Then prioritize the information in a way that makes sense to you as a blog reader. Make any and all logos the same size and line them up properly. Consider using headers to break things up, and make sure those headers match the look and feel of your blog. And be very careful with ad placement. Above all else, this should be expertly organized and efficiently designed into the look and feel of your blog. If I get distracted by too many ads flashing at me from the sidebar or up above, I start to lose track of the information you're presenting.

2) Choose your post title wisely.
As a reader, this is what hooks me. Especially if I'm reading it on Twitter where images aren't always available. If your title isn't interesting, or if it doesn't tell me exactly what your post is about, then the likelihood of me clicking through to your actual blog might be slim to none.

3) Spell check your posts and edit them for grammar.
Seriously, this is major. Especially if you want to present a professional front. Your blog is your resume as far as potential brand partners are concerned. Would you send a resume out that's full of errors? We all make mistakes, just do what you can to minimize them.

4) Use an artistic eye when you take and post photographs. 
You don't have to use a fancy camera, and you certainly don't have to have photography experience. Just be smart about the photos you post. Like your words, they convey who you are. Are they blurry? Cropped right? How's the color? Get creative, pictures are meant to be fun! And make sure there's at least one that's worth pinning.

5) Develop a planning system and use it.

As your blog grows, you'll have more to organize. Like brand contracts or expense reports. And post ideas. Stay on top of everything behind the scenes, and you'll eliminate some of the rush to post on time. Which, in turn, translates to a thought-out blog and/or post.

6) Stay true to yourself.
Don't try to be something (or someone) that you aren't. It's very boring! Different is good, honestly is good...fake is not. It's boring and stale. If I get the sense that you're trying too hard to convey a contrived image of yourself, then it feels like I'm being lied to. So what's the point in me following you, ya know?

7) Make it easy for people to get in touch with you and/or share your content.
Are all of your applicable social media buttons live and active? Do you have an email address that you're willing to publish, perhaps one associated only with your blog? Make that easy to find, especially if you want to work with brands. If they can't find it, they'll move on. And if I can't easily engage you and/or share your content, then I'll move on, too. Big question here: How easy is it for someone to leave a comment on your site?

8) Be careful with fonts.
Scripted fonts are fun, but they can be really hard to read on a computer. Get creative with headers, sure. But stay true to a simple, straightforward font within your posts. And stick with one or two fonts to represent your site. Too much difference throughout your blog creates a chaotic sense that leaves me wanting, well...not more.


Question: If you write a blog, what's the best tip you've ever received? As a blog reader, what tip(s) would you give to blog writers?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Musings

Around these parts, today is your standard run-of-the-mill Monday. Nothing too exciting and/or extraordinary is worth mentioning. We're just truckin' along so I thought I'd just share some random thoughts. Some "musings," if you will as per the title.

1) I'm so in love with my new page-a-day calendar. 
Not only is there something so satisfying about ripping off a new page each day, these pages happen to be visually stimulating and intellectually educating. Today's quote:

2) A new desk makes such a big difference.
We started working on the baby's bedroom, so everything in it got shifted down into the basement. Our basement bedroom now does double-duty as our home office, complete with a new desk from IKEA. It's much more spacious than our previous desk, and it makes all the difference in the world in terms of productivity. I have no idea why, really. Same computer, same chair...same reference materials. And yet, it's awesome and I love being down here. Except for this creeper behind me:

3) I'm going to Italy tonight with a virtual ride in Spinning class.

I didn't teach my 6:00AM Circuit Sculpt class this morning because I'm subbing the 6:00PM Spinning class. Hence, the no-makeup/no-shower look that I'm rocking. (The day would have been too long for this preggo had I done both.) We have a video system in our studio and a few different rides to choose from, and tonight, I'm taking my class to Italy—because Italy is the hardest ride (and I've never been to Italy so I like to live vicariously through the video). Here's a glimpse of what it's like:

4) I'm on a kale smoothie kick right now.
I'm still making mass effort to snack smartly, and ever since I broke out the blender for that kale and fruit smoothie the other day, it's all I've been craving around 3:00PM. Don't you love it when you crave healthy things? Because let's be honest, it's much easier to crave cookies. But anyway, this just happened:

Kale, banana, strawberry, peach, yogurt and milk smoothie. Go make it.

Question: Tell me something random about your Monday. Seriously, it can be anything! I love getting to know people through the random things they do, say, love, think or whatever!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

6 Tips for New Gym Members

I have been a working professional in the fitness industry for almost five years (WHAT!), and I've spent a majority of those years at the same health club. I started out as a certified personal trainer, became a group fitness instructor, and now I am the fitness director, too. All of these roles are different, but they bring me into close contact with the same person quite frequently—the new gym member.

It's not easy being the newbie in any situation, mostly because we're humans with feelings and we get nervous and self-conscious. But seriously, there's no greater environment than a gym when it comes to integrating yourself into a new situation. If you're reading this and you've just signed up for your first gym membership, I congratulate you for taking that step. And I'm here to help:

Gyms are all run quite differently, but most should be well-equipped to help new members get started. If this is true, you'll notice a camaraderie among the old members, all sharing in a warm and welcoming environment. They've all been in your shoes at one point, so you can take their actions...their confidence in navigating the a positive form of inspiration. But still, what should you do those first few days after you've activated your membership? Start with these six tips:

1) Ask about equipment orientations or free training sessions.
Many gyms will offer new members a free equipment orientation which should, at the very least, introduce you to the fitness floor and its equipment. Sign up for one even if you don't think it's necessary. During this orientation, you should learn everything you need to know about navigating the machines. You'll get one-on-one time with a qualified fitness professional...especially if it's an actual training session.

2) Speak with a group fitness instructor.
Group fitness schedules can be overwhelming. Class descriptions are great, but they don't tell you whether or not the class is right for YOU. If you speak with a group fitness instructor, that person can give you even more details and perhaps even recommend a plan of attack.

3) Ask for a tour of the facilities.
If you walk into a gym and request membership information, the staff should be more than willing to show you the facility right then and there. If, however, this doesn't happen for whatever reason, then you should totally ask for a tour of the facilities. I mean, how can you take full advantage of your membership if you don't know where everything is?

4) Seek out like-minded individuals.
If you're a triathlete, find out who the triathletes are. Odds are, they stick together. If you like yoga and see a woman with a yoga mat, introduce yourself and ask her about the programs. Essentially, put yourself out there and make some friends at the gym. In doing so, you'll create a social environment that buzzes with activity and inspiration.

5) Read through all of the materials.
Whether you get a folder full of pamphlets or a brochure with a few pages of information, you should totally take the time to read through everything. From policies to parent-tot classes and pool times, you might find something within that resonates with your fitness goals. And, trust me, your experience will be a lot better if you know all the rules, regulations and policies up front. Because let's be honest, no one likes to argue the fine print.

6) Be confident.
Gyms can be very intimidating, but as I've indicated, they really are not when you get to know the environment! But the only way you can truly do that is if you enter with confidence. Don't worry, no one is judging your workouts. And they won't laugh if you trip, do an exercise wrong or clang the plates on a machine. It happens, they've done it, too. You are a paying customer and you deserve to be there just as much as the next guy or girl.

Now, if you're not a new gym member, remember that you play a role in the newbie's experience. There are certainly things you can do to make their experience a positive one!

Question: Did you recently join a gym? What did the staff do to make sure you're ready to tackle your fitness goals? What was your experience being the new kid on the block?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sponsored Post: #Koss Fit Series Headphones (...are awesome)

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential, LLC on behalf of Koss Headphones. As a FitFluential Ambassador, I was given the opportunity to review two products from the Koss Fit Series line. Further compensation was provided, however, all opinions are my own.

When I run indoors on a track or treadmill, I have to be entertained by music. I use my iPhone and crank up Pandora. This works for me...but the ear buds that came with my phone do not. I'm a huge Apple fan, but their ear buds suck. The minute I move and/or sweat, they fall out. And for some reason, they hurt my ears. So when FitFluential offered up the chance to review products in the Koss Fit Series lineup—FitBuds and FitClips—I took this as my chance to try out some ear buds that might actually be awesome.

While they dabble in a variety of different styles, this line of headphones is different because it's championed by women and for women. And, it's done so in partnership with Olympic Gold Medalist Dara Torres (a swimmer, in case you couldn't place her).

Ladies, seriously...if you need new headphones, I urge you to consider these.

I've only had these for a week and I think my Apple ear buds are in the trash already. Not even joking, it was love at first listen. Let's talk about the FitBuds first.

The "for women, by women" comes into play here because these ear buds are 33% smaller than any other buds in the Koss line. I don't know if my ear is smaller than a dude's, but I hate bulky ear buds, earphones and/or headphones. They've gotta be small and bearable, especially if I'm using them on a run—these were definitely bearable, and they didn't come out of my ear once.

Love the mint color, too.

Let's talk about these now:

When I first tried a pair of around-the-ear headphones, I didn't really like them because they sort of dug into the back of my ear. But this style actually grew on me and the last pair I owned (and consequently loved) was a random cheapie I think I got for free at a blog conference or something. But they rocked because they fit my ear so perfectly. And then they died. Which took me back to my (stupid) Apple ear buds. So when I opened the box from Koss and saw the FitClips, I did a little happy dance.

No pinching, and they don't fall out.

They're super lightweight and bendy, and adjust to any ear...I would know because mine are different (for real). Honestly, I could barely feel them when I was running.

Like the FitBuds, they're sweat resistant (clutch), come in five different colors and with three different cushion sizes for the perfect fit. I'm pretty sure I used mine right out of the box, though:

They retail for about $29.99 (worth every penny). You can purchase them online, or at major retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Sears, Kmart and even Walgreens.

Oh, and if you're wondering how the running is going during my pregnancy...I'm easily capable of knocking out three miles without issue. I run twice a week unless my teaching schedule interferes. Last time, I was able to keep it up until just shy of my 8th month, and I'm hoping I'll have the same luck again this time around. Fingers crossed!

Question: What is the newest piece of fitness gear in your collection? Anything you have your eyes set on to support your efforts this year?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sponsored Post: Make #OneChange with #VegaOne and the @VegaTeam

The following post is sponsored by SweatPink and Vega. As a SweatPink Ambassador, I was given the opportunity to review Vega products, but no other compensation was received. As always, the following thoughts and opinions are my own.

Earlier this year, I indicated that I really needed to work on my snacking habits. I'm what you might call a Serial Snacker. Aways hungry, never without a fix. Even more so now that I'm pregnant. But lately, those fixes haven't been so great. So I've been doing what I can to keep a stock of healthy granola bars, plenty of fruits and veggies, get it.

So when SweatPink offered up the chance to review the new Vega One Nutritional Shake as part of the Vega #OneChange initiative, I jumped to participate. I like Vega products and knew this one wouldn't be an exception—and, I knew that it would be yet another healthy option for me when I got hungry.

Especially in the afternoon when snacks need to be not only healthy, but quick because I'm usually running out the door shortly thereafter for one thing or another. Or maybe I'm just chasing a toddler around the house. But when I have a little more time than usual, I like to make smoothies. They are beyond delicious and never boring. However, they sometimes aren't filling, which is where this Nutritional Shake from Vega comes into play.

(Please forgive my assistant, she's still learning.)

Packets full of protein and vitamins, that's what they are. So they have the power to add that extra little oomph to whatever you're blending.

Mixed on their own, they're not so bad...although, I think the French Vanilla flavor is a bit too sweet for me. I'm usually better served with a chocolate-based flavor if I'm going to mix something like this on it's own. Because who doesn't love chocolate milk, right?


I made a smoothie yesterday with the following:

(Not pictured: Four ice cubes and a cup of water. And yes, those are frozen peaches. They're not in season right now, and I find no fault in the frozen version.)

Smoothies don't really take that much time to make, but in the grand scheme of opening a granola bar or peeling the top off some yogurt, there's more prep. Unless you prep ahead. Either way, everything gets thrown into the blender in one fell swoop.

And two seconds later you have healthy deliciousness.

Don't judge a book by it's cover. This combination of fruits and kale was wonderful. But again, just a bit too sweet because of the French Vanilla. However, when I used only half of the packet, it was perfect. Realize, though, that my taste buds are different than yours. Maybe you'll like the full packet in the mix! Either way, you're still packing an extra punch into the end result.

This year, regardless of your resolutions or goals, join me in making healthy snack choices.  Just #OneChange each day can go a long way towards your overall health and fitness. When 3:00PM rolls around and you get hungry, remind yourself that you have one choice: Healthy or not. What's your snack going to be? If it typically leans toward being not healthy, then this #OneChange is yours to make. And it's an easy one, really.

Question: What kind of snacker are you? Perhaps you fall into one of the categories on the #OneChange website? Check it out and let me know, and be sure to share with me your go-to, on-the-go snack! I'm always looking for new options! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Reps for Time

There are a number of different ways to approach the logistics of your workout. Traditionally speaking, it's quite easy to count a predetermined number of reps. You can lift less weight and do more repetitions to maintain muscle mass and build both endurance and strength, or you can lift more and do less reps. Some argue this approach builds more muscle faster. And that's the beauty of the fitness industry: There are so many different right ways to approach your workout.

Today, I'm going to throw a wrench in the predetermined reps approach and suggest you try reps for time. There are two ways you can do it:

1) Count reps, but time yourself—and aim for less time in each round.
2) Count reps within a predetermined amount of time—and aim for more reps as you go.

Now, I'm not suggesting you rush through those repetitions in either scenario. It's absolutely essential that you move through each one with precision in order to maintain proper form. But you can absolutely introduce a certain amount of swiftness to it. The stronger you get, the more repetitions you'll crank out with excellent form.

I've put together the following workout for you to give either of these rep-for-time methods a try. You'll work each muscle group while getting your heart rate up. It's a bit of a high intensity approach as well, so modify as needed. And always, even though I'm a certified personal trainer, you always need to check with your physician before trying anything new. Train safe, my friends, otherwise you might not be able to train at all (which would be a total bummer).

Please warm up and cool down appropriately! #essential

The workout:


1) Goblet Squats: A wide-leg squat, but you'll need to hold a weight at your chest.

2) Alternating Jump Lunges: Stationary lunges, but with a jump in between during which you'll switch legs. If the jump is too much, you can modify by landing the jump with feet together before hopping back out into your next lunge.

3) Sprinter Crunches: Like bicycle crunches, except you'll aim to get more of your upper body off the ground while bringing a knee to it's opposite elbow across the body.

4) Med. Ball Throwdowns: You'll need a medicine ball (without handles) and plenty of space for this one. Essentially, raise the ball above your head and slam it down to the ground with as much force as you can muster. The bounce of the ball will create a bit of a chase scenario, which will keep you moving.

5) Dead Man Burpees: A regular burpee minus the pushup, but you'll come flat to the ground. Hit the Superman position before you hop back up and repeat.

Any questions? Let me know! Keep track of yourself—I wanna know if/when you hit a new record!

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Would You Rather..." #Running Survey: My Answers

Inspiration is everywhere and it's wise of you to seek it out. Me, I find a lot of mine in the fitness community. Particularly the online fitness community. There are A TON of blogs out there worth reading. I couldn't possibly read them all which is unfortunate, but I do check out as many of them as I can. Most recently, I discovered Olive to Run. Cori puts out a "Would You Rather..." survey with questions that revolve around running. I thought I'd participate in her seventh round. Here goes:

1) Would you rather run in a thunderstorm or a snowstorm?
I live just off the shores of Lake Michigan. While I enjoy running in the snow, it gets damn cold in these parts during legitimate snow storms. I have, however, gone on some awesome trail runs in the dunes. Super tough, incredibly beautiful.

But I love me some rainstorm running even more.

I mean, as long as there isn't lightening. There's something so incredibly refreshing about raindrops.

2) Would you rather breathe through your nose or breathe through your mouth?
I'm a mouth breather when I run. A lot of people have a legitimate pattern for their breathing, many breaths per step or whatever...but me, I just relax into it. If I try to control my breathing too much, I feel like I'm going to hyperventilate which ultimately kills my momentum.

3) Would you rather do 100 squats or 100 crunches?
Honestly, I'm not a big fan of classic crunches. I prefer to work my core in other, more creative ways. So I choose squats. I love squats...prisoner squats, goblet squats. Squats with a medicine ball. Oh, so many ways to squat!

4) Would you rather have a baked good for dessert or an extra serving of your favorite entree?
Of course it's the food question that trips me up. I have a massive sweet tooth, but when dinner is good...dinner is good. So I'll go with the entree.

5) Would you rather run on a treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour? 
Street block, hands down. I get ADD on the treadmill. I feel like I'm stuck in an unchanging world when I'm on the treadmill, even if I can watch TV. The street block changes...I'd rather watch the flowers grow and the bees play or the leaves blow. Or the waves roll in:

Even at the gym, I choose to run our short indoor track. It takes 14 laps to run a mile, and those 14 laps are so much better than the treadmill.

6) Would you rather have a headache during a run or a side stitch?
Side stitch. They're much easier to get rid of. When I get a headache, I feel like a sledgehammer is attacking my skull every time I take a step.

7) Would you rather have a rest day on a work day or a day off?
When I was working full time at the advertising agency, I would have said chosen a work day. I would wake up early to hit the gym, or I'd go right after work. On rest days, I didn't have to do either of those things. Nothing beat sleeping in or being able to go straight home after work to do nothing. But now, since I work at a gym, I can't honestly say that I have a preference.

8) Would you rather be a race director or a race volunteer? 
I think it would be so much fun to plan a race. Hectic, crazy and stressful...but incredibly fun. And that's the advertising background coming out of me. Oh, the ideas! I'd have so much fun planning the race itself, the after party. And the medals. Yes, the medals.

9) Would you rather spend your money on running gadgets or running shoes? 

A girl can never have too many shoes. Especially if that girl is a fitness professional. I mean, I used to buy fancy shoes to wear with my dress pants. Now I buy fitness shoes to wear with my compression pants and running skirts. And when it comes to shoes, I love trying all the brands. As for gadgets? I have my iPhone and a heart rate monitor. If either one of those dies, I'll fork out the moolah. But it'll always be the shoe department for me.

10) Would you rather run in a relay or do the run portion of a distance triathlon?
I have no hope whatsoever of ever completing a triathlon, so I'd rather do the run portion of a distance triathlon to enjoy the experience with friends in team form. Unless it's a full Ironman. If I'm running a marathon, it's going to be on my own and at Disney or in Hawaii. But, honestly, I'm more of a half marathon girl. And honestly, I'd have just as much fun doing the relay. So basically, I'm not really giving you an legit answer to this question, eh?

Fun, right?

Head on over to Olive to Run to read Cori's survey answers. She also hosts a linkup, where you can find other bloggers who are participating. Now, it's your turn:

Question: Would you rather run in a relay or do the run portion of a distance triathlon?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2 Recipes You Must Try

It's been an interesting weekend. We thought maybe Hannah was ready for potty training, so we gave it a go. But it was a total no-go. I really think she gets the concept, but for some reason, she wasn't committing to the process so we backed off. The very sight of the potty chair brought on tears and fits, and we don't want her to hate the potty chair (or us), so we put her back in diapers. I know you're supposed to be diligent about these things, but we were all miserable. So, we'll try again in a few weeks.

Why am I telling you this? In an effort to save all furniture and carpeting from mass soakage, I decided to keep her in the kitchen with me for a bit after yesterday's nap. We cooked a few things together, which she loves to do.

You must know about these things. First up, doughnuts:

I love doughnuts, but I hate eating them from the store because they're so obviously not good for me. For Christmas last year, I got a set of doughnut pans. This year, I got Ashley McLaughlin's new book:

If you don't follow her blog, you absolutely need to. Not only is her photography awesome, she keeps it real with true-life experiences and healthy recipes. Hence, the doughnut book. I'm anxious to try every recipe in it, so I started right at the beginning with glazed buttermilk doughnuts. There is a similar vegan version on her blog. You won't regret buying the book, though.

This looks delicious, right?

Even the husband thought they were good, and he is way picky about his doughnuts. (His theory: Why mess with a good thing.) Hannah obviously loved them.

We ate those for breakfast today, and so while they were cooking yesterday, Hannah and I prepped dinner from a recipe that NatureBox posted on their blog. Vegetable One-Pot Pasta.

I love pasta, but it takes a lot of pans, no? One for the noodles, another for the meat and veggies. A colander to drain the noodles. It's such a simple food, but it always leaves my kitchen in a state of shock and awe. Except not this version. After you prep the ingredients, you literally throw it all in a single stock pot (see above). Yep, even the noodles.

What results is a perfectly prepped, delicious and filling pasta dish.

But the best part of this recipe is not the easy factor. It's that you can totally adapt it to your individual tastes. For example, you could add more or different veggies and spices. Maybe even some meat or beans.

I'm all about recipes that are multifunctional. And easy, obviously.

Easy is important, which is why I'm still getting a box of snacks from NatureBox every month. They're good, they're healthy and they show up on my doorstep. No thought required. In last month's delivery:

Not pictured: Baked sweet potato fries because I dove in right away. Those bad boys were gone before I knew it (oops). Remember: If you're new to NatureBox, you can get your first month at 50% off if you use my affiliate link.

Question: How was your weekend? Did you try any new recipes that I should know about?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

10 Common Weight Loss Mistakes (#Infographic)

Do your resolutions contain weight loss goals? I doubt you are alone. When the following infographic popped up in my Feedly, I flagged it to share with you. Weight loss is hard, complicated and different for each person, but there are a few common weight loss mistakes that can affect the best of us:

Question: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to weight loss and/or weight maintenance? Mine...snacks and sweets.

Friday, January 10, 2014

5 Popular Posts from 2013

I'm not one to just walk away from a year filled with memories. I like to look back and reflect. Even when it comes to Daily Dose. And thanks to my analytics, I can easily determine which posts you enjoyed the most...which is always fun for me, because quite often, they're not the posts I think they'll be. So, for your re-viewing pleasure, my five most popular posts from 2013:

1) Let's Review: @belVita Breakfast Biscuits

2) Kale Guacamole

3) Training for a Half Marathon: How far do you run before the race?

4) Sore Calf Muscles and a #Kettlebell Workout

5) How to Make Salads in a Jar

Question: Do you have a favorite post from 2013 from this or any other site? If you're a blogger, leave me a link to YOUR most popular post. I'd love to check it out!


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