Tuesday, July 29, 2014

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, Vol. 7

Every month, I like to round up some of the things that I'm really enjoying. They might be products. They might be experiences. Either way, maybe they're things you can relate to and/or find interest in.

If you're new to Daily Dose, toward the end of each month, I like to share six things I'm really loving. These things might be experiences. They might be products. Either way, they might be things you can relate to and/or find interest in. So here goes, this month's six things:

1) STRONG Fitness Magazine

It's a lot like Oxygen, actually. Full of useful information without a lot of fluff. If you can get past all the ads for supplements you'll probably never need and/or use, then you'll like it, too. My only complaint: It's really hard for me to find the newest issue. They're a young magazine, so maybe distribution isn't up yet. Or maybe there's just a mad rush every month and I'm missing out.

2) Running
It's happening again, and I've got races on the calendar. #enoughsaid

3) Stonyfield Organic Petit Creme
I'm a total creature of habit when it comes to the grocery shopping. I tend to buy the same stuff every week. Unless, of course, I need a random ingredient for a recipe I might be testing out. But I'm always on the lookout for something new (and healthy) to try. Does that make me a foodie? Regardless, I found this in the yogurt section a few days ago:

Totally hooked. Plain vanilla is good, too. It's thick and creamy, not at all sour, and it's organic. Stonyfield calls it "Greek's creamy French cousin." So delish.

4) Nike Training Club and Sworkit
I know what it takes to put together a decent workout, but I don't always have the time to. Especially right now with two kids that constantly need my attention. So I downloaded Nike Training Club and Sworkit, two apps that do the work for me.

Both consistently kick my butt. The workouts are fun, require minimal equipment, and can be adapted to individual time and/or training needs. Oh, and they're free. So go download them!

5) Starbucks Caramel Syrup
I'm extremely addicted to iced coffee right now. And I've been trying to use my Keurig more to facilitate said addiction because it's ultimately cheaper. When I hit up Starbucks, I always get an iced Caramel Macchiato or Latte. Last time I was in an actual store, I found this:

Starbucks Caramel Syrup. Definitely not good for me as it's pure sugar with multiple additives, but...you know...a girl's gotta live (and fuel her coffee addiction). I will have you know: I only use two out of the three pumps that are recommended, and I honestly don't think I'm using complete pumps. Whatever, though. That's just how I like it.

6) Smiles
My little man is two months old and smiling something fierce these days! Each one melts my heart and forever cements itself into my brain. They can't be beat, really. Toothless, gummy old-man smiles. The best, really. I'd show you a picture, but...well, you know I keep my kids off the Internet. You get it, right?

Question: What are you loving lately? What kind of fitness apps do you use? What's your go-to drink at Starbucks?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Running Toward the Relay: A Training Update

Realistically speaking, all of my miles are leading me toward the Grand Rapids Marathon—even though I have a few smaller races beforehand. And just so we're clear, I'm running GR as part of a three-person relay team that includes my mom and sister. This means I'll be taking on at least ten miles. So I've got some work to do.

I hit the gym today for a three-miler. Dang, I hate the treadmill. I pushed at a nice 9:30 pace for one mile, then I hopped off and did an 8:30ish mile around the track. And then I got back ON the treadmill for some hill work.

Suffice it to say, I was significantly pooped at the end.
Enter a mat and some core work to really top things off.

I don't know about you, but after I work out, I need food. Like, immediately.

I hit up Whole Foods last week for a small stash of these Vega snack bars and one came in handy today.

Seriously good stuff right there. Expensive, but good. I don't get to Whole Foods as often these days, so when I do, I stock up on my favorites. (Because momma needs her "special treats," too.)

What's up for the rest of the week?

Tuesday: Strength
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Strength
Friday: 4 Miles
Saturday: Logan's Run 5K

For some reason I thought I'd be hitting up my first 5-miler this weekend, but I'll have to wait until next Saturday for that one. Next week will be a busy week—I'm getting certified to teach Piyo Live on the 10th.

Ask me how excited I am for that one. #superexcited

I mean, I'll get to use these for the first time:

I'm a girl. I love shoes. Any and all shoes for any and all occasion.

My husband would argue that I have too many. (He doesn't understand these things.)

In all seriousness, for some reason, I hate being barefoot in yoga/pilates/barre classes. Our studios aren't dirty, but I just...I dunno, I just want something on my feet when I'm working out. When I saw these Nike studio shoes on clearance: #nobrainer

Question: How do you feel about bare feet in fitness classes? Are you a Piyo Live instructor? Any tips?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Feedly Finds, Vol. 6

Every month, I round up a few of my favorite posts. I usually share five links from various sites I read, but this month I'm doubling the fun. There are just too many good reads out there. So for what's left of your weekend, I urge you to relax. And if you've got nothing else to read, perhaps one of the following will entertain you as it did me.

1) Before Hannah was born, I read all the books and bought all the things. And then after she was born, I turned to those same books (and a few websites) for more. The rules? I played by them. And freaked out when I couldn't. This time around? So NOT the case. I can definitely relate to the 13 ways this blogger changed between her first and second baby.

2) Tamara is one of my favorite bloggers these days. Her posts are well-written and never short of useful information. Recently, she wrote about fitness routines of personal trainers. Spoiler alert: I'm one of the trainers she featured.

3) I love my friends. From the BFF that I've known since Kindergarten to the giant group of ladies I met in college, to the women I've gotten to know at the gym...I seriously have some awesome people in my life. Each one of them is worth keeping. These 15 tips remind me to return the favor.

4) One can never have enough running inspiration, amiright?

5) To say that my daughter is obsessed with Dora the Explorer would be a huge understatement. I know there are parents out there who think she's incredibly annoying, but I think she's great. In fact, here are ten reasons why Dora is cool.

6) I've had a lot of opportunities come my way because of Daily Dose. Some companies have been easier to work with than others. Some companies value my time more than others. If you're a company that works with bloggers, a blogger that works with companies, or a reader that wants some behind-the-scenes info—read these tips for companies wanting to work with bloggers.

7) I'm obsessed with maxi dresses right now.

8) Ever have a fat day? Fat days are more than OK.

9) I have a rhubarb plant in my backyard that came from my great grandfather's farm. Both he and the farm are no longer with the family, but the rhubarb plant is...my great grandfather gave some to my grandmother, who gave some to my dad, who gave some to me! I chopped a bunch off a few days ago to make rhubarb jam, but I really hope there's enough left to make some sparkling rhubarb raspberry lemonade.

10) It's not about living the healthiest and longest life possible. It's about living, and I think that's something we so easily forget.

Question: Read anything good lately? Share a link in the comments!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A @JostRunning #VirtualRace #RaceRecap

The following post contains a sponsored opportunity: I was not compensated to write about my experience with Jost Running, however I did receive virtual race entries in exchange. As always, the opinions within are my own.

Postpartum running presents a giant question mark. It will either go really well, or you'll feel the effects of pregnancy on your body. Or you might fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Regardless, you'll need some serious motivation to lace back up again.

A few months ago, Cynthia from Jost Running asked if I'd like to participate in a few of their races in exchange for an honest review. Of course, I said "yes" because I knew it would be some awesome postpartum running inspiration—even though you're not running with a giant group of people, it's still a race and you can still compete. Which is fun, at least it is for me.

So up first, a Beat the Heat 5K. Cynthia sent me the race medal in advance:

Pretty, right? And hefty. If you're into race medals, Jost Running won't disappoint. For a small fee, you'll get a voucher to participate. The fee goes to Jost's charity of the month. This month, it happens to be Girls on the Run in San Diego, California.

You run the miles, you support the charity—and then you get a medal. So everyone wins. To make the race even more official, Jost Running sets you up with a race bib:

Wear it, don't wear it. It's up to you. After you clock your miles, you can enter your time onto the leader board. I came in at 26:36, which puts me in second place right now.

The leader came in :10 ahead of me. I checked the board before I headed out to see what the standings were. This, of course, motivated me throughout my run. I knew I had to push my current pace to come in close. Translation: Postpartum running inspiration.

So how's it going for me? I've been feeling really good. Definitely in a much better, more comfortable spot than I was after my first pregnancy. Is my running where it should be? Not necessarily. The legs are heavy and I have miles to build on, but it's all coming back to me.

I'm scheduled for another 4-miler this weekend, and when I get up to the 6-mile mark next month, I'll be running another Jost race: the Home Run 10K.

Every month, Jost Running presents 5K, 10K, half and full marathons. Why this is cool: There's a race distance for everyone. Even if you aren't a runner. You can walk a virtual race...you can run/walk a virtual race. You won't have to worry about missing the finish, because in a virtual race, the finish is yours for the taking—whenever and however you can take it.

1) Virtual races rock.
2) Jost Running rocks.

I'll be sharing more on the subject over the next few weeks. Virtual racing is new to me and my mind is on overdrive with thoughts and ideas! Until then, follow Jost Running on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be in-the-know on all of their upcoming races.

See you on the leader board?

Don't forget to enter my Cuppow giveaway! Your canning jars will thank you.

Question: Are you a fan of virtual races? Why or why not?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fall Race Schedule, Featuring @JostRunning and #Happiest5K

The following post contains sponsored opportunities, which are indicated appropriately within the text. I was not compensated to write about and participate in the sponsored opportunities, I was just given race entries. You guessed it: All opinions are my own.

It feels so good to be running again. Oh, how I missed it. I definitely have some work to do, but it's going well. I still have to buy a new pair of running shoes, though. But for now, my Sayonaras are hanging in there. I hit the gym yesterday for a quick two miles.

Just two, because that's what my training plan called for. I'll run again tomorrow, and then again on Saturday with some strength sessions (and rest days) in between. (I got my butt handed to me in a TRX Bootcamp today. Dang, it felt good.)

Speaking of training, I've been doing a lot of thinking about my race schedule—what to run and when—and I've narrowed it down to the following. There are so many awesome races this fall, but I can only do so many for whatever reason. So for now, this is what I'm doing. Things may or may not change.

1) July 23: Beat the Heat 5K
A few months ago, Cynthia from Jost Running offered up the opportunity to participate in a few of their virtual races free of charge. At the time, I wasn't running as much because I was in the latter stages of my pregnancy, but I signed on knowing this would be just what I needed for postpartum running inspiration. So up first, I'm doing a 5K. From the Jost Running website:

I love that proceeds from every race go to a charity, and I especially love that this race benefits Girls on the Run. There are, of course, 10K, Half and Full options, too. But I'm nowhere near ready for those. Expect a recap (and more on virtual racing with Jost Running) after I've earned the medal.

2) August 2: Logan's Run 5K
This one is in my hometown, and both my parents work for the presenting sponsor, so my race entry was comped. The race itself supports Logan's Center, which provides resources and opportunities for people with disabilities. It's a cause near to my heart so I couldn't miss it. I'm looking forward to running with my mom and sister. It's been a while.

3) August 31: Home Run 10K

Another virtual race from Jost Running! This distance coincides with my current training plan. I consider it extra motivation because long runs get hard when you're doing them on your own.

4) September 27: The Color Run 5K

The Happiest 5K is putting on a Kaleidescope Tour and it's stopping in South Bend again. I ran it last year and am looking forward to running it again this year. It's just so fun, and a nice break to the serious miles commonly associated with training. Note: They comped my registration this year in exchange for some promotion, which I am all too happy to provide. If you're local and want to save some cash, use code COLOR5OFF to save $5 at registration.

5) October 15: Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon (Relay)
I really don't have any major goals to run a full marathon, but doing so as a member of a relay team sounds positively exciting. Especially since I'll be running on a team of three: My sister, my mom and myself. I'll be taking on an 11-mile leg,  hence the training I've begun. Should be a good time.

6) November 2: Hot Chocolate 15K
I mean, I have to visit Chicago for at least one race this year. And this one happens to be one of my favorites, so we'll go and have a blast (and eat lots of chocolate). Just like last time.

I'm still not ruling out a half marathon, I just need to find one that fits my schedule. Or maybe I'll leave that distance for next year. I've got no less than six half marathons that interest me for 2015. We'll see.

Don't forget to enter my Cuppow giveaway. Turn your canning jars into lunchboxes and travel mugs. Seriously awesome stuff.

Question: What's the one race you're looking forward to this fall?

Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Register For and Run a @runDisney Race

Bucket list: Run a Disney race. Some day, somehow...I'll make it happen. But for this Michigan girl with a family, it's just not an easy thing to pull off right now. Because, you know, it takes time and money. For now, it's something that's always in the back of my mind. I'm keeping a pulse on all things runDisney, just in case I get the perfect opportunity to swing it. And I'm totally noting these tips from Denise of Healthy Disney Family. She breaks it down and tells you everything you need to know about running a runDisney race at either Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Who else is listening?

RunDisney races are awesome to participate in and are inclusive of absolutely everyone. Whether you run, walk, or do a combination of the two like I often do, you will find other like minded people who are out there to have a blast and celebrate their love of Disney. Planning to participate in a runDisney race requires some careful timing and planning ahead. These tips can help you get registered and be well prepared to have a fun and exciting runDisney race weekend!

1. Be ready to register early.
If you’re even just toying with the idea of doing a runDisney race right now, check their website for the registration date and time of the race you’d like to do. Make note of it in your calendar and set a reminder. Registration is several months before the actual race date and the races sell out fast!

Be ready to sign up the minute registration opens as runDisney races are extremely popular. I set a goal to run the runDisney Dopey Challenge—the 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon all run over four days at Walt Disney World. I took note of the registration date and time and made sure my calendar was clear for the minute registration opened. It was a good thing I registered immediately because the Dopey Challenge, along with most of the other races, were sold out within hours. When you register for a Half Marathon or longer distance, be prepared by knowing your qualifying Proof of Time from a recent race.

2. Have proof of time.
If you’re planning to do a runDisney Half Marathon, do a 10K or longer distance race in the months before your race. Especially if you haven’t done one within the past year or so. It will qualify you for the right corral placement for your pace and estimated finish time. At registration, Active.com will request the race name, city and state, date, race distance, and finishing time when you register so have it ready. There is also a window to submit a future race’s proof of time via e-mail to Track Shack after you register for your runDisney race. Check on runDisney.com for details.

3. Find a good training plan that you like and stick with it. 
I followed runDisney Running Coach Jeff Galloway’s training plan to do the Tinker Bell Half at Disneyland. I had a great first Half Marathon experience because of it. His training plans are available for free on runDisney.com and for sale in the App Store if you’re an iPhone user.

4. Train at a 16:00 minute mile pace or faster. 
The 16:00/mi pace must include all water stops, character pictures and bathroom breaks. If you do not keep the pace, you risk getting swept and not being able to finish the race. The runDisney people wait until the very last possible minute to sweep. The time limits are in place to ensure the roads and parks can reopen on schedule. 

5. Costumes are not required but they can be fun! 
If you choose to wear a costume, remember to do at least one long training run in it to find any problem areas for chafing, pinching, etc. If you’re looking for costume ideas, there are many different Disney themed running costume pins on Pinterest. 

6. Take character pictures in the parks after the race.
There will be many stops for character pictures along the race route, no matter which race you do. There are a few schools of thought on pictures: Some people like to stop for all of them. Others like me only stop for one or none. I really like taking my character pictures in the parks after I’ve showered, rehydrated, and am wearing my medals. We buy the Disney Memory Maker package (formerly PhotoPass). With the Memory Maker package, the professional Disney photographers take your pictures in the parks at certain scenic areas and at character stops. You have digital copies as well as the ability to print them as you’d like. There are also fun overlays and borders you can add in to your digital pics like the Very Merry Christmas Party one we used here after last year’s WDW Wine and Dine Half. 
Hope you will find these tips useful when planning to run or walk a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, and/or Marathon at your favorite Disney park! Be sure to check runDisney.com for any changes or updates to their races.
You can check out my blog, Healthy Disney Family, for upcoming runDisney race and training info as well. Feel free to follow along as I train for next January’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Dopey Challenge and February’s WDW Princess Weekend Glass Slipper Challenge.

Princess Weekend! That's SO the runDisney race weekend I want to participate in.

Before you answer the following question, don't forget to enter my Cuppow giveaway! If you have a stock of canning and/or random jars, you'll want to check it out. Tomorrow, we talk about my upcoming race schedule. So excited to get back into it.

Question: If you've ever done a runDisney race, what tips can you add to the above?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Guest Post: Good Morning Drinks

When I was little, I'd start every morning with an ice cold glass of milk. These days, it's water. Or coffee. Like a latte or macchiato if I'm venturing out to Starbucks. But there are other ways I could be starting my day, and Precious of The Coily Bombshell is here today with some of her favorites.

But first, let me tell you some more about Precious: She's a fitness and beauty blogger. After losing over 100 pounds, she decided she wanted to inspire others to reach their goals as well. When she's not typing up a post, filming a video for her YouTube channel or hitting the pavement for a run—you can find her reading a book or spending way too much money at the mall. A girl of my own heart, really. She keeps it real and I'll drink to that.

When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you do? Hit the snooze button? Whine? Roll back over? Jump right out of bed ready to start your day? Well, no matter what you do, I have the perfect way for you to start your day right. Every morning, I drag myself out my bed, into the kitchen, and fix myself my morning drink. This usually consists of warm water and a freshly squeezed lemon.

Warm water with lemon has so many great benefits. It's definitely in the lemon. First and foremost, this drink will help kick start your digestion system. You've been sleeping for (hopefully) eight hours, so your body can use that extra kick! The second thing I love about this drink is that it helps to boost your immune system. Lemons are full of vitamin C. Personally, I get sick easily so I have to keep my immune system as strong as possible! One final thing I love about this drink is the way it makes me feel. I feel much more energized—this is great because I also tend to work out about 30 minutes after I drink it.

How to make it? Simple: One cup of warm water and half a lemon.

Another great drink that will help to start your morning off right is a mixture of cranberry juice and psyllium husk.

Psyllium husks are an indigestible, soluble dietary fiber. They’re great for balancing hormones, and they help reduce blood sugar and insulin. Cranberries also have their string of benefits as they are full of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Only thing with this one—make sure you drink a cup of water right after it because psyllium husk can cause dehydration.

How to make it? Simple: Combine 7oz. of water with 1.5oz of unsweetened cranberry juice and 1tablespoon of psyllium husk.

Both of these drinks should be consumed first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything else! Both are an acquired taste, but trust me, you'll be happy that you're starting your morning off right! It is important to start your morning off with something that is going to really wake up your body. Something that will put you in a good mindset that will hopefully keep you pushing to being healthy and fit all day long!

Because, here at Daily Dose, you know I'm all about being healthy and fit all day long! For more from Precious, be sure to connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Question: What is your go-to good morning drink?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Kale Salad with Poppyseed Dressing (and a @Cuppow #giveaway)

The following post contains a set of products that I was given free of charge in order to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced by the company.

A few weeks ago, in the name of not having enough time to make a meal, I hit up the deli at our local grocery store for some fresh eats. Instead of ransacking the salad bar, I opted for a pre-made kale salad that was mixed up with some poppyseed dressing. It sounded healthy, it tasted healthy (yes to free samples, always) and it was priced right.

I should have taken a picture, but delicious eats don't last long around me. Instead, I wrote down the ingredients. Now, I'm always hesitant to share a salad recipe because salads really don't require recipes—it's all about creative combination. But this combination happens to work well, so pin this picture if you feel so inclined:

The original, store-bought salad had chia seeds on it, too, of which I had none. Add 'em if you want to. And if you choose not to go the canning jar route, I'd throw everything in a bowl and mix it up before serving it to ensure that everything was well-coated by the dressing. And then, of course, dump it on a plate:

Yum, right?

Let's go back to the concept of canning jar salads. Quick tip: If you don't have a BNTO by Cuppow, I suggest you put the dressing at the bottom of the jar so that your kale stays fresh (and not soggy).

What's a BNTO? Let me tell you!
A few weeks ago, Cuppow so graciously sent me the following to review:

Much to my husband's dismay, I have quite the canning jar collection—but I hardly ever use them for canning. To me, they are cups and lunchboxes, or Earth-friendly alternatives to plastic food storage systems. And Cuppow makes all of that so much easier.  Their lids literally turn canning jars in to travel mugs and lunchboxes. I mean, so cool. Right?

Back to the BNTO:

It's a little cup that sits in between the lid of your wide-mouth canning jar and the jar itself. Great for salad dressing, or maybe fruit and nuts for the top of your overnight oats. Really, it's for whatever. It creates an extra compartment, that's what it does. And it comes in a variety of different colors, too. (Yes, even pink.)

Here. Another look at how it works:

Yep. Cuppow makes drinking lids, too (shown in the directions above). They fit both wide- and regular-mouth canning jars. I mean, who needs a fancy coffee cup when you have a canning jar?

Both products retail for $8.99, which is a decent deal when you consider the cost of a lunchbox or travel mug. Even if you don't have canning jars at home, you might be able to use an old pasta sauce or salsa jar. (I have plenty of those in my collection, too, much to the husband's dismay.)

Here's where it gets fun: Cuppow sent me two of everything you see above, so I have a set to give away. Note: The jars are not included, and you must be a resident of the USA to win. Use the following Rafflecopter to enter. Contest ends Friday, June 25, 2014 at Midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How to Attack the Day (#pinspirationthursday)

Funny story: I actually published this yesterday because I thought yesterday was Thursday. Clearly it wasn't, so I'm reposting today. On Thursday. Because that's when I post Pinspiration Thursday. Can I play the "mommy brain" card, maybe just this once? Or maybe I just "attacked" yesterday with a little TOO much enthusiasm. Either way, I give you this:

OK, so right now BOTH OF MY KIDS ARE SLEEPING. In their respective beds, I might add. Not such a big deal for Hannah, but having Evan in his crib means that I can use the monitor...which means that I can put myself on a different floor of the house...which means that I can use the computer uninterrupted.

Sigh, this is nice.
And a good sign that our days are getting more and more predictable.


Here's how I'm making it happen:

Pin / Source
I like having a schedule. I like knowing and/or being able to anticipate when things are going to happen. But that rigidity, that structure...not really sustainable with two kids. Also not sustainable if I want to make the most of this life I've been given. So I'm doing my best mentally (and physically) to adjust, attacking each day as it comes to me.

Here's how I do that:

1) I smile, then I smile again.
2) I plan ahead, but do my best to stay flexible.
3) I do what I can, when I can.
4) I absorb all the moments.
5) I try hard to let go of all negativity.
6) I make time for all the fun, whenever possible.

Question: How do you attack the day with enthusiasm?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guest Post: A Pick-Your-Distance Swimming Workout

Once again, it's Workout Wednesday! Today's post comes at you from Megan at Outlaw on the Run. She's a NASM-certified personal trainer with plenty of swimming experience, which is why I asked her to put together a basic swimming workout for you—because, let's be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of swimming and therefore don't know much about putting together a pool workout. This needs to change, I know. Until then, I'll let Megan speak to it:

Hi, I'm Megan! Let me tell you a little about my swimming background: I started swimming in Summer and YMCA leagues when I was around 12 years old. I was never great (a few second place ribbons at swim meets), but it was the major sport I participated in throughout middle and high school. However, throughout college and for a few years after, I was drawn instead to the elliptical machine, weight lifting, and eventually running. 

Running and me, however, don’t always get along and I’ve had several running-related injuries over the past few years. When I'm injured, I always go back to my old friend swimming. So I’m very grateful to have the use of a lap pool and the ability to swim. It’s saved me a lot of workout-related (or lack thereof) stress, as I know I can still get in a great workout when I swim.

Why swim?
• Great cross-training exercise and it helps build endurance
• Low impact—easy on the joints
• Easy to modify if you're injured
• Limited equipment needed

Swimming countless freestyle laps, however, can get really boring really quickly. I find that I have to make up a new workout every few weeks to keep me motivated (and of course—switching up ANY workout is important to avoid fitness plateaus and overuse injuries).

Lately, I’ve been swimming either a mile when it's my only form of cardio that day. Or I swim half a mile when I’m doing another workout afterwards or if I’m short on time or energy. 

Believe it or not, there is some inconsistency regarding how many laps a mile is when swimming laps in a pool. After excessive Googling, I decided to go with 1600 meters (so 800 meters will equal half a mile).

Here's the workout:

Some terminology:

1) 50 Meters 
Usually two lengths of the pool, unless you’re swimming in an Olympic-sized pool where one length is 50 meters (another way to think of it is swimming to one side of the pool and back to where you started). 100 meters = 2 x 50; 200 = 4 X 50.

2) Freestyle Pull
Swim using only your upper body. When my knees were seriously inflamed, I would just pull and I still try to incorporate at least some of these laps in every workout. If your pool has a pull buoy available, I recommend using this so you are unable to kick your feet. You can also use a pull buoy to build upper body strength and endurance, as well as for developing correct body position.

3) Catch-Up Drill 
Pretty similar to a regular freestyle, except that one arm is extended out in front of you the entire time (and the other has to catch up). This drill works on alignment, timing, and extension. This guide from Tribesports explains it much better.

4) Sprint
Swim as fast as you can for the entire length of the pool

One more thing—Don't get discouraged if you can't swim the entire half mile (much less an entire mile) when you first start out. Just like you wouldn't expect to be able to run five miles the first time you go for a run, you may not be able to just jump in the pool and swim for an entire mile. Start slow, take breaks and keep trying!

I think I need to start trying. One of these days, all of this info about swimming that I've been getting from people in person and on the Internet will finally push me over the edge and into the water for a true swimming workout. Maybe I just need a chic swimming suit, who knows. Regardless, I'll be following Megan on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and you should, too.

Question: How did you start swimming, running and/or biking? What finally pushed you over the edge? Inspire me!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Guest Post: 5 Ways to Fuel Up for a Long Run

Talk to any distance runner and you'll soon find yourself discussing the art of fueling up for a long run—it really is an art, also a science. The market is overflowing with options, some of which are healthier than others. And some of which work better than others. It's really a matter of figuring out what works for you, but this can often be an overwhelming trial/error type of task. So today, I'm thrilled to share with you a post from Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC. She lists out five products that work for her, some of which you've no doubt seen on the shelves and/or wondered about yourself.

Everyone fuels up differently and not everything will work for everybody, so I really recommend that you use your training runs as a test ground. See what works or doesn't work for you so that by the time race day comes around, you have it down to a science.

1) Clif's Shot Bloks
These energy chews are my go to fuel for runs over six miles. I usually take half every two miles starting at mile six on longer runs. I like the variety of flavors and they are easy to get down. I do have to have a swig of water after I take one though, so keep that in mind if you're trying them! My favorite flavor is strawberry but I also really like the margarita flavor—they contain extra salt to replace the salt you lose while running.

2) Honey Stinger Waffles
Sometimes I need actual food when I'm running, but I don't want anything that is hard to digest. This is where Honey Stinger Waffles come into play. It's real food but easy to eat on the run. I also love these with peanut butter (see below for more on that).

3) Huma Gels
I cannot do Gu. It grosses me out. However, I love Huma Gels—chia energy gels that are 100% natural and I love the taste. I primarily like to use these right before a run or right after, although I've had them on the run as well and they are easy to use on the move.

4) PowerBar Performance Energy Gels
Another gel that is tasty and I may or may not have actually eaten them when I wasn't even running. Ahem. Yeah, they're that good.

5) Good ol' PB
Peanut butter is the perfect fuel for a run. I love to put peanut butter on my Honey Stinger Waffles for a great pre-run snack. Or peanut butter on a whole wheat English muffin. Or on basically anything. PB for the win—always.

I think the most important thing about fueling is to test out what works for you. There were some things I tried that forced me to have unintended potty stops on the run and some things I just couldn't stomach first thing in the morning. I have a hard enough time eating before a run, so it was important for me to find options that I could rotate and wouldn't feel like I was choking down. I hope this list is helpful for you in your search for fuels to try!

Always great to hear what works for others, right? I've used the Shot Bloks before, and I do really like them, but have since switched up to GoGoSqueeze and Cocogo. Looking forward to getting back into some training soon...

For more about running (and other topics) from Courtney, be sure to keep up with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too! Now tell us...

Question: How do you fuel up for a long run? What are some of your go-to products?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Guest Post: 10 Tips for a Better Baby Jogging Experiene

I'm so excited about today's guest post. It's coming atcha from Natalie of Hello Day. The topic: Running with a jogging stroller. If you've ever done this, you know it's a totally different experience than running on your own. Hannah and I went out a lot last summer. She had a blast watching the scenery, and I enjoyed getting in some exercise. But this summer, things will surely be different. She's a lot more active, and her patience for sitting confined for too long wears thin pretty quickly. But I'm looking forward to it...eventually, once I'm up for it. Obviously I won't be taking the baby out this year. But when I take Hannah out, I'll be remembering all of Natalie's tips for a better baby jogging experience.

The jogging stroller is innovation’s best gift to motherhood. The world would be a better place if every mom on Earth had a solid jog stroller at her disposal. There isn't much that 30 minutes with the jogger can't fix— toddler tantrums, fussy babies, moms on the brink, etc.

I have used mine almost daily for the past three years and lovingly refer to it as my “Freedom Trailer." Needless to say, I have learned a few things along the way.

1) Gear up.
There are many joggers to choose from. Do your homework to find one that best suits your needs. I highly recommend getting a jogger with a front wheel that can both swivel and lock. They’re not cheap, but neither is your fitness (or sanity). So, find a good one and make the investment. I cannot say enough wonderful things about both my single and double BOB joggers.

2) Bring supplies.
When thinking through supplies, I put myself in my kids' shoes. What would I want if I were strapped in a seat for 60 minutes? The answer varies based on time of day, age of kid, kid's interests, weather, etc. Most often my supplies include wipes and diapers, a water bottle, snack, and an item of choice for each kid.

3) The Cozy Factor 
I want my kids to enjoy the jog stroller experience, and making sure they're comfortable to begin with is key. Cozy, weather appropriate clothing is a must, as is a fresh diaper. In the warmer months, I go with minimal clothes and lots of sunscreen on exposed skin. The bitter cold winter months (here in So Cal) require a cozy blanket to keep their feet and hands warm.

4) Set realistic expectations for yourself. 
Pushing a jog stroller (single or double) is no small deal. Whether you're walking or running, set a goal. Each time I head out, I establish either a distance or duration goal, but usually not both. I cut myself some slack when it comes to pace while pushing the jogger, especially the big double. Unless you're training for a race, I encourage you to do the same. Hauling yourself and your kids up steep hills is a challenge, which is either an added bonus for your booty or a total headache if you're not aiming to work up too much of a sweat. So, choose your route carefully.

5) Set realistic expectations for your kids.
While cruising in a jog stroller sounds wonderfully relaxing, your kid(s) may see it differently. After all, they are strapped in a seat for an extended period of time. My kids seem to go downhill after 60 minutes in the jogger. If I were to venture longer than an hour, I plan play stops along the way so the girls can stretch their legs out.

6) Engage your passengers.
Cruising in the jog stroller provides great opportunities to engage your kid(s) in conversation. You know your little one(s) best and know what will get them excited. Our hot topics include buses, dogs, cars, flags, birds, waves, trees, and familiar landmarks. As with most things you do with your kids, it is a learning opportunity, so keep them engaged!

7) Don't delay.
Rallying kids to do anything can be a challenge, and getting them loaded in a jog stroller is no exception. Amen? I have the most success when I act with speed and confidence. Try it. Ready yourself, load your jog stroller with your supplies, and then quickly load those kiddos. While it may be an ordeal (i.e. physical battle) to load the crew, keep your eye on the prize and stay strong. It is worth it.

8) Protect your valuables.
Many a toy, doll, book, and blankie have been tossed over the BOB. More often than not, I don't notice until I hear a kid screaming, "uh oh...blankie/doggie/snacks/[insert cherished item]." So, bring whatever keeps the kids happy, but do so at your own risk.

9) Create win/win experiences.
The jog stroller allows for all sorts of fitness challenges for the mama and fun for the kids. Whatever your adventure and activity, make it a win for you and a win for them. Take them on a park tour. Choose a route that has a few parks or play areas along the way. Run (or walk) from park to park and let the kids out to play at each stop. While they play, challenge yourself by doing some strength, toning, or stretching moves. I like to use my Nike Training Club app for 15-minute targeted exercises. Or, you could go on a stair hunt. Get your kids to search for staircases along your run/walk. When you find them, act like its the coolest thing ever, park your jogger at the bottom and run up and down several times. Make sure your kids can see you and know that you're not leaving them.

10) Have some perspective.
Kids cry. Kids throw tantrums. Kids go nuts. Kids are not always happy. As a result, it is likely that your kid will cry/throw a tantrum/go nuts/be unhappy at some point in the jog stroller. Decide in advance how you are going to deal with it. I’m not trying to offer parenting advice, but instead just reminding you that it will happen and assuring you that when it does, it's not the end of the world. As with all else, do what you're comfortable with. I tend to take this approach: As long as they are safe, and their physical needs are met, it's not unreasonable to expect them to have a good attitude along the way. When my kids start to lose it, I tell them that "this is what we are doing right now so you might as well enjoy it." Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. Such is life.

If you haven't ventured out with a jog stroller, perhaps go for a 30-minute test run/walk. If you're looking for some direction and camaraderie, check out Stroller Strides. Stroller Strides is an organized fitness class designed for moms with strollers (and babies). It's a great way to get into a groove post baby, mix up your fitness routine, and meet new friends.

Whether you're strolling, speed walking, running, journeying solo, walking with a friend, or in a group...enjoy yourself!

For more from Natalie, follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

Question: If you run with a jogging stroller, what tips can you add to the above?

Friday, July 11, 2014

8 Tips for Postpartum Fitness

I'm so excited. My doctor cleared me to resume normal activity, which means I can start kicking my own butt again. So today, I popped in a Tara Stiles DVD and did some energizing flow. It felt good...

...hard, but good. I'm definitely pretty weak right now, and I seriously need to be stretched out. Rusty. That's me, a rusty bod. I expected this, of course, having gone through it before.

Back in March, I wrote a post for Kate of Kate Moving Forward. She had just given birth to her first daughter, so I provided some tips for postpartum fitness. Originally titled "What to Expect: Fitness After Pregnancy," I outlined some of the things I wish I had known after Hannah was born.

I thought it'd be appropriate to repost those same tips right here (with the addition of two more tips):

1) Your doctor or midwife might request that you wait six weeks before returning to the gym. After those six weeks, you’ll have a checkup and (if all goes well), you should get the all-clear. The important thing here is to listen to your doctor AND your body. They both know what they’re doing.

2) Your core will be extremely weak. No matter what you did during your pregnancy to help maintain muscle tone and strength, a flat, toned and super-strong stomach you will not have after that baby evacuates itself! Your abdomen was stretched during pregnancy, which means that your muscles were, too. Ease your way back into core exercises with isolation exercises. Especially if you’ve experienced any diastis rectii (separation of the rectus abdominus muscle). And remember, core work will only be a part of your baby weight-loss story.

3) When you run, jump or otherwise move rapidly, you just might pee a little. Too much info? It happens to the best of us, so practice your kegels and wear your pantyliners just in case. Typically, this phenomenon rights itself as the muscles in your pelvis regain their strength.

4) Your workouts will be hard. Really hard. But they’ll feel good. Slow and steady wins the race in this situation. Even though you’ve been given the all-clear after that six-week mark, you’ve still got some healing to do. And your muscles, let’s be honest, have some work to do because they’ve probably taken it easier and easier on the downward slope to delivery.

5) Believe in the “nine months on, nine months off” theory. Baby weight doesn’t fall off when the baby is born. Some of it will, yes. But it’ll be all baby, water and anything otherwise associated with your womb. Any fat you gained during pregnancy will need to come off on its own in a healthy way. Work at it when you get the all-clear and you’ll see results in due time.

6) If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need a comfortable sports bra. The ladies will change on a daily basis to accommodate milk supply and demand. Your sports bra should support this! Exercise comes with bouncing, jogging and otherwise jiggling…but all of this should be done with your extremities, not your chest. And speaking of comfort, you may experience discomfort if you exercise too closely to a feeding or pumping session. Be careful with any exercises that require you to be on your chest/stomach just in case.

7) You will be extremely hungry all of the time. Especially if you're breastfeeding. Take into account the need for additional calories, especially when you start working out again. Now is the time to eat healthy and balanced. Don't starve yourself in the name of babyweight loss. It'll have a reverse effect, and may even affect your milk supply.

8) You will have good days, and you will have bad days. Your hormones are still righting themselves after baby. And let's be honest—you have a different life now. So go easy on yourself when you feel like all is lost in a sea of baby weight, boobs and the constant eat/sleep/poop routine that your kiddo is adopting. Life, even though it's different now, will develop into a new type of normal and you will feel like yourself again. Physically and mentally. You will, I promise.

Bottom line, remember that health and fitness is a unique journey. Listen to your body, mind and soul and, once again, respect what it tells you. And even though you’ve got baby in hand now, keep an open dialogue with your doctor or midwife to facilitate an active, appropriate and successful recovery.

Question: Moms, what's the one thing that surprised you the most when you returned to fitness after baby? What advice would you give to a postpartum mother that's about to return to fitness?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

NOURISH: The Fit Woman's Cookbook from @LornaJaneACTIVE

The following post is sponsored by Lorna Jane via my partnership with FitApproach and SweatPink. In exchange for my honest review, I received an electronic copy of the cookbook and a gift card to Lorna Jane. This, of course, in no way influences what you're about to read.

Recipes can make or break my experience in the kitchen. As an active mom with a budget, I have to plan accordingly—which means any recipe I pin, print or purchase in a cookbook has to meet the following requirements:

1) The list of ingredients cannot be longer than my grocery list, so to speak.
2) Items on the ingredients list must be readily available at an affordable price.
3) The recipe itself must not require a ton of actions.
4) There needs to be a picture so I can "wing it" if necessary.

Bottom line, I just don't have a time for anything over-the-top. But I need help in the kitchen. I need new ideas and fresh inspiration because eating (mostly) healthy is hard. And can definitely be costly. Which is why I accepted the opportunity to review Lorna Jane Clarkson's new cookbook, Nourish: The Fit Woman's Cookbook.

Are you familiar with Lorna Jane's Move, Nourish, Believe initiative? This cookbook is an extension of that. Of active living and guidance toward a healthy, happy existence. It's about feeling "uplifted, educated and excited to live the life you have always imagined (and deserved)." Surf the site and you'll find workouts, inspirational quotes and (of course) deliciously doable healthy recipes. Visually speaking, it's love at first click. And really, you'll feel the same about the cookbook.

I flagged a ton of recipes, including this one:

If you think roasted balsamic tomato and avocado on toast sounds delicious, then your mind is in the right place. Aside from the ten minutes it took to roast the tomatoes, it took me seconds to make this for a snack:

Confession: I didn't measure a single ingredient (see recipe requirement #4). Clearly, we're dealing with some stunning photography in this cookbook. And as I said before, you also get a number of notes, tips, tricks and quotes. Plus diet advice, should you be interested in that. So far, the only thing I hate about this cookbook is the fact that my copy is electronic and not printed.

I'm so old-fashioned like that, especially when I'm cooking.
Speaking of, I tried this recipe as well:

But I used feta instead of goat cheese because I just can't with goat cheese. Um...yuck. Unlike the raspberry vinaigrette which is, um...uh-mayzing.

Want to learn more about this cookbook and the Move, Nourish, Believe initiative? Join me at the #LiveLoveNOURISH Twitter party on Wednesday, July 9 at 6:00PM PDT / 9:00PM EST. Follow @LornaJaneActive, @FitApproach and (of course, me) @adailydoseoffit beforehand so you don't miss a single tweet. The most active participant will receive a $150 Lorna Jane gift card and a copy of the cookbook.

Sweet, right?
Who's going?

Question: What is your favorite cookbook? Why?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Guest Post: Nutella Smoothie (#vegan) (#glutenfree)

So you guys know I'm not one to follow a vegan or gluten-free diet. In fact, the only diet I really follow is the "moderate" diet. As in, everything in moderation with an emphasis on trying to watch for the best, healthiest options at all times. Translation: Love me some veggies, but I won't turn down a scoop of something like Nutella. Which is super tasty delicious, but not always the healthiest of options. Unless you make your own. Or make something that tastes LIKE it. For example, a smoothie. So when Nicole of Fitful Focus offered up a recipe to share, I was doubly excited to see that it was a Nutella Smoothie. And no, you don't need a jar of Nutella to make it happen. And yes, it's vegan and gluten-free so those of you that follow those diets can still indulge. Check it:

Hi there, A Daily Dose of Fit readers! I’m pumped to be guest posting for Tara today while she’s taking care of the newest member of her family. (Yay! Thanks for helping out, Nicole!) A quick fact about me: I am a morning workout gal. Well, I’m a morning workout gal when my pillow doesn’t win the daily battle of “do I really want to work out right now? This pillow is so comfy...and I’m still sleepy...maybe my body is telling me I should keep sleeping...sleep is important, too...I’ll work out after work. Zzzzzz.”

Another fact about me: I NEVER work out after work. I’m either working late or just don’t have the motivation after a long day. For me, I have to get my butt outta bed and get to it or I don’t work out at all. Luckily, when it comes to the pillow battle, I win 60% of the time. Just kidding (kinda)! I aim to get up and work out 4 to 5 days a week.

After a workout, the last thing I want to do is whip up a complicated breakfast. I want something quick and easy to help me refuel, but it has to satisfy my taste buds. Enter: the Nutella Smoothie!

That’s some chocolatey, hazelnutty goodness right there. I use a chocolate protein powder to fuel my muscles, but hazelnuts also have a ton of health benefits. They provide your body with healthy fats, have magnesium to help regulate calcium flow, and are rich in B vitamins.

This bad boy is so satisfying after a good sweat sesh, and it tastes like dessert for breakfast! IT's also vegan, gluten-free and uber delicious. Oh, and it takes all of two minutes to whip up! Here's the recipe

So what are you waiting for? Go sweat it out and refuel it up with this Nutella Smoothie. Or, if you're not into the whole hazelnut thing, you can check out a ton of other smoothie recipes on Fitful Focus!

Seriously, go check out those smoothie recipes. I'm drooling over here. You can also find Nicole on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Now tell me:

Question: What is your favorite smoothie ingredient? Why?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Silent Killers of Your Metabolism (#Infographic)

Let's get scientific today: Can you define "metabolism?" No, it's not just your body's ability to make you skinny. It's actually much more complicated than that. Just because someone is tall, long, lean...whatever...doesn't necessarily make them blessed with an efficient metabolism. Metabolism is actually your body's ability to take the calories you consume and turn them into energy, which ultimately keeps you moving.

It's the "keeps you moving" part that encourages a lean body.

That's not, however, to discredit your individual metabolism and it's role in your healthy lifestyle. Your metabolism is quite important and you should, in all honesty, keep an eye on it. Loosely translated: That just means you have to eat right and move more. Because if you don't encourage your body with healthy fuel, and if you don't use that fuel, well...everything backs up and your metabolism says "fine, then I don't really need to work hard."

Behold the following infographic, which dives into a few silent killers of your metabolism.

Silent Killers of Your Metabolism Infographic
Question: According to the infographic, not getting enough sleep each night can negatively affect your metabolism. Tell me, how many hours do you clock, and is it working for you?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Guest Post: Staying Fit with Running and Ballet

I took ballet as a child, studied a semester's worth as an elective in college, and have since taken one or two classes just for fun. It's always been one of those things for me...I just wish I had been better at it, or that I had stuck with it long enough to dance en pointe because those that do look so damn elegant. And let's be honest, ballet is a great workout. Evidence: The onslaught of barre-style classes. We offer one at my gym, it's a cross between ballet-based moves and traditional strength moves, and it's oh-so popular. But even when I take classes like this, I still get nostalgic for my days in light pink shoes. Perhaps someday I'll find a way to take a class more regularly. Or even dance en pointe.

I'm sure it would do wonders for my running game and/or my flexibility. Although she's primarily into ballet, Kristen of Adult Ballerina Project combines the two to stay fit. She offered to share with you how she got back into ballet as an adult, and how you can do the same.

While in college, I stayed in shape with frequent trips to the gym. During my senior year, I started taking ballet classes once a week and fell in love with it. I also started running, mostly on a track (both indoors and out), as I knew I’d be losing my gym membership soon.

Now that I’ve been away from college for a year (a scary thought), it’s been an adjustment being away from the gym, too. It hasn’t always been easy. Luckily, my ballet membership only costs me $45 a month, so it’s been easy on my wallet. However, I have had to deal with stress fractures in both of my legs, probably due to the switch in styles of workouts. Fortunately, I’ve done a lot of at-home workouts to help improve my calf muscles and it finally seems to be working. As long as I properly space out my workouts and (most importantly) listen to my body, working out and staying fit is completely possible.

Here are some of my tips:

1) Find a cheap dance studio or other type of fitness studio that offers a wide variety of classes. I take as many classes as I want every month for less than what some gym memberships cost!

2) If you're new to running or new to running outdoors, take it slow—I learned this one the hard way!

3) Don't skimp on good gear. Make sure you have proper footwear for ballet and running, or whatever sport or fitness activity you've taken up.

4)  If you're a runner and deal with shin splints like me, run on softer surfaces. For me, this sometimes means running on the grass beside the sidewalk, or going out of my way to get to a running trail.

5) Check out at-home workout options. When it's snowy, rainy or you just don't feel like leaving the house—have some options available for an at-home workout.

6) Listen to your body and don't push yourself. If you're achy, take a day (or two or three) off to let yourself heal.

And since I've taken a few ballet classes in my time, I'd also like to contribute the following:

7) Be confident and have fun if you choose to pursue ballet again. In my experience, the adults in adult-only ballet classes are typically there to continue a dream, remember an old passion, or to just have fun. Go and do the same, even if you don't have the tutu or leo. If I take a ballet class, I'm in fitness clothing—and no one seems to care. 

8) If ballet classes really, truly intimidate you—take a friend and be the two newbies in the back row. Or pursue barre-style classes where you'll get a taste of dancing with a bite of fitness, too.

For more ballet inspiration, or to connect with other adults returning to the art of dance, follow Kristen on Facebook and Twitter.

Question: What is your experience with ballet? Have you ever taken a dance class in your adult years? What about barre-style fitness classes? Are you a fan? Why or why not?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hello, July!

What a week. Our little neck of the woods got hit with some serious storms. We went to be on Monday night, woke up in the middle of the night to a sky lit up like a Christmas tree, which is why this happened:

We are incredibly lucky that it fell the way it did. Otherwise, it would be on the house right now and God only knows what else we'd be dealing with.

70mph winds = 1.
My town = 0.

Driving around, you can't even believe some of the damage. Power lines are down everywhere—we were without power for a day, which ultimately forced me to disconnect when my phone ran out of juice. Not gonna lie, it was nice. Obviously I'm up and running again. Figuratively, of course. And since I've got some catching up to do, I thought I'd forgo the usual Pinspiration Thursday post and welcome this new month:

And that means its time for new goals. But first, let's see how I fared in June.

1) Have a baby.
Done. So in love.

2) Respect my post-baby body...let it heal.
I'm 99.9% sure that I'm good to go. The final .1% will come next week when I visit the doctor. I definitely feel great, and I can't wait to get back into some hardcore exercise (like running and HIIT).

3) Finish the baby book and order gender-specific nursery essentials.
The baby book is done from a creation standpoint, but I'm lacking the motivation to fill in the blanks. So it haunts me from my dresser. But the nursery is coming along, albeit slowly. These things take time.

4) Test out the double stroller with a few fun walks.
For more on this goal, read THIS post.

5) Research/purchase new gear for post-baby running.
I haven't purchased any new running shoes yet, but I'm leaning heavily toward the new Mizuno Wave Sayonaras. But first, I want to pop into my local running store. Also being debated: Garmin Forerunner 15 versus the 220.

As I continue that internal debate, I'll focus on these July goals.

1) Get into a regular exercise schedule, pending my doctor's approval.
2) Visit my local running store to test out neutral running shoes and/or the new Sayonaras.
3) Put together a list of potential races to run.
4) Run at least 3 miles comfortably.
5) Count calories using MyFitnessPal.

Question: What is your biggest goal this month? How do you plan to reward yourself upon completion?


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