Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Song Every Woman Should Listen To

Every Thursday morning, I wake up before the sun (and my family) to run. Today, it was six miles with a negative split. Here's what I discovered: I suck at keeping a steady pace.

But we'll talk about that later. 
First, I want to tell you about the song that every woman should listen to.

Tweet: Ladies everywhere: You need to hear this song by @ColbieCaillat! via @adailydoseoffit

When I wake up on mornings like this, I literally roll out of bed, throw my running clothes on, brush my teeth and go. I don't wash my face. I don't usually comb my hair either because #ponytail. Translation: I look like crap. AND I DON'T CARE.

running, selfie
I'm not going to the gym or lacing up my running shoes to look good. And no one judges me for it. In fact, today (in all my unwashed and sweaty glory), someone complimented me. "You look nice this morning, pink is a good color for you." And then I heard this song on the way home:

Ladies, memorize this song. (And watch the video.)

We absolutely do not have to try so hard. Society will make you feel otherwise, but gems like this song remind us to rise above it. We really just have to be ourselves. And in being ourselves, it means we're totally loving ourselves.

And that's all that really matters. Personal confidence is the best makeup, even the best outfit ever.

Go ahead, re-listen to the song...

Good stuff, right?
Back to my running game.

runchat, runner, running
I seriously need to work on keeping a steady pace. It's really hard for me! Maybe I'm overthinking miles aren't that off from each other, but still. Why is it so hard to keep it consistent?

I just signed up for the Michigan 13.Wine Half Marathon, so it's official, and I'm suddenly very nervous. There are A LOT of hills on this course, and it will be mid-August so I expect the temperatures to be up there. Hills and heat. My two favorite things to run in (except not).

I can do this, right?

Up first, Logan's Run 10K this weekend.
Another chance to test the endurance through heat and humidity.
Maybe some hills, too.

Question: How do you keep a consistent pace while your are running? 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

45-Minute #Spinning Playlist

I've been teaching group fitness for almost five years now, and I'll say this: Spinning has always been my biggest challenge. I can't just sit down and whip out a class in five minutes. I mean, I could...but not if I want the class to coincide with the playlist. So put a lot of effort into planning my Spinning classes, which is why I've been feeling a little burned out over it. That is, until I went to IDEA World. That "Pimp My Playlist" class changed me and I'm newly motivated to ride hard.

So I sat down on Monday night and played DJ for awhile, ultimately coming up with this 45-minute playlist for today's class. It lends itself naturally to a ride with a lot of variety. My students loved it:

Spinning, Spin, Cycling, Stationary Bike, Music, Playlist, Cycling Playlist, Cycling Instructor, Spinning Instructor, Group Fitness
That standing climb in the middle? Christina Aguilera helped me motivate one of my riders: She stood up for the duration of the climb, which is something she's never been able to do before. She was totally a fighter, per the song. As for me, I definitely enjoyed it, too. The workout, and seeing one of my students push beyond her previous limits.

spinning instructor, cycling instructor, cycling playlist, spinning music, spinning workout, cycling workout, group fitness, music
If you're not a Spinning instructor or Spinning student, you can totally use this playlist while you're running...especially if you're running on a treadmill. Create a hill when the ride calls for a climb, and definitely play with your speed as indicated. Otherwise, just run your little heart out to some party music. That's always fun, too.

Question: Do you have a theme song? Is there a song that you turn to when you really need some motivation?

Monday, July 27, 2015

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, #IDEAworld and #BlogFest Edition

I swear to you, this is my last conference post (maybe). One thing I haven't talked about yet: All the products I got to test and/or take home with me. So I thought I'd share with you six of my favorite things from IDEA World and BlogFest.

1) Truitt Family Foods Grab and Go Hummus

snacks, healthy eating, quick treat, sanctum
2) Merrithew Weighted Massage Rollers

sore muscles, idea world, blogfest
These came in our BlogFest attendee bags. They're super great, especially if you like using a tennis ball to dig into sore muscles. But these weighted massage rollers have spikes (and weight, obviously) that increase the intensity. I like using them where my quads hit my knees and on my neck and shoulders.

3) Trigger Point GRID STK Foam Roller
After a long morning of working out, Renee and I hit the Expo Hall and quickly discovered these bad boys. Seriously, we could have sat ourselves at this bench forever.

massage tools, foam roller, Blog Fest, fitness conference
But, you know, we figured it would be rude to hang out and hog the toys.

4) Lebert Buddy System
When I first walked up to the Lebert booth, it was to check out (drool over) the pink bars. And then I noticed a strappy lookin' thing hanging over some yellow bars. I thought they might be the Lebert version of a TRX strap, but I was wrong. It's actually a buddy system that takes sharing a resistance band to an entirely different level. Renee and I checked it out:

BlogFest, Fitness Expo, Lebert, Partner Exercises
I really, seriously, so bad want one of these for my personal training team. If you've ever shared a resistance band with a partner, you know what that feels like: It challenges the core and your coordination a bit. But for the most part, you're both working against the tug of the band. But with the Lebert buddy system, you're working against your partner's body weight and their ability to work against YOUR body weight. Which, loosely translated, means it's a kick-ass core workout no matter what you're doing. For real, I think I'm going to order one.

5) Climawear Ruched Woodland Runner Shirt

fitness clothing, fitness fashion, run gear, runner
I have a tank top from Climawear. It was the only piece I kept from my Wantable fitness edit. It's super comfortable, so I was excited to check out their gear at the expo. I ended up buying this grey shirt because it A) has polka dots on it, B) has thumb holes, and C) has the cutest ruching up at the shoulders. I also don't have a lot of long-sleeve shirts, so I'll get A LOT of use out of this in the Winter.

6) Kashi Overnight Muesli
This is a new product that's not even in the stores yet, or maybe it is now, I haven't seen it yet myself. But I sampled it at the expo and it's delish. If you like overnight oats, you'll love this quick-prep option. Literally, you just pour in the water. You've seen hot oatmeal cups, right? This is the first time I've ever seen COLD oatmeal cups. And I bet it won't be the last time, either. Currently stalking my cereal aisle so I can pick up a few of these for those nights that I don't feel like prepping overnight oats (for those mornings I don't really have time to make breakfast).

If you missed the rest of my IDEA World and BlogFest recaps, here's where you can find them:
5 Blogging and Social Media Tips from #BlogFest
Workouts from #IDEAworld and #BlogFest
How to Create an Awesome Spinning Playlist

Question: What's one thing you're really loving right now?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

10 Miles and 1 Donut: A #Running Update

The past two weeks have been extremely inconsistent for me, which means that my training runs have been off. Between traveling to Los Angeles for IDEA World and BlogFest, and then rearranging my schedule before and after to accommodate the time off, it's been hard to fit in the necessary milage. But I'm still targeting the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon on August 16, and I ran ten miles yesterday morning:

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According to my training plan, I needed to go anywhere from 10 to 12 miles. But I knew that 12 would be pushing it, so I stuck with 10. No time goals. No pace work. I literally just wanted to get out there and run.

running, Michigan, Pure Michigan, Saturday, selfie
My town is the best, I swear. I met my running group at 6:00AM and ended up running with them until about 8:00AM. They kept going when I cut out at 10 miles, which gave me a few minutes of solo running. Literally, it was the calm before the tourist storm, which is one of the main reasons I love getting up early to run downtown: Because I get my town to myself again, at least for a few minutes. I love the tourists and everything they bring to our economy, but still. I love my quite town, too.

I also love my Saturday morning coffee and donut.
It's become a tradition.

iced coffee, sour cream donut, saturday morning
Judge me if you want to, I don't care because #yum.
Now, let's circle back to the point of this post: A running update.

After successfully—and comfortably—completing ten miles yesterday, I feel comfortable jumping right back into my training plan. I've already laid out the upcoming week, which has me doing a 6-miler on Monday and a negative-split 6-miler on Thursday. Plus, I'm doing a local 10K on Saturday.

I'm actually scheduled for eight miles on Saturday, so I might need to catch a few miles before my race. I still have to figure that out.

I also need to actually sign up for the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon. I procrastinated so badly with this one, and now I'm (literally) going to pay for it. BUT—I'm on top of things for The Color Run in South Bend this fall.

I'll be "running" it with my daughter.
She's so excited to "win" her first race.

Also currently contemplating: The Chicago Women's Half Marathon and The Foster Swift Half Marathon in Grand Rapids.

Question: How do you feel about race medals? The Chicago Women's Half Marathon is giving away a necklace at the finish line instead of a medal...this bums me out. How much emphasis do you place on the medal when you sign up for a race? Could you care less, or do you really want one?

Friday, July 24, 2015

5 Blogging and Social Media Tips from #BlogFest

There are post ideas swirling around in my head, all of which are influenced by my experience at IDEA World and BlogFest. Maybe you've been reading what my fellow bloggers are saying about this event? It's all good stuff, I promise.

Today, I'd like to venture outside of the fitness component and talk a little bit about the blogging and social media tips I picked up.

blog, blog tips, blogfest, idea world, fit approach, sweat pink
1) You need to find your niche, which means you need to be yourself. Ask yourself what it is that you want to offer your readers. Or, ask them what they want! Then decide what makes your blog and/or social media channels different. The more specific you are with your content and your, the more engaged your target audience will be. In other words, be an influencer (not a blogger).

Tweet: "Why fit in when you're meant to stand out?" - @kwidrick via @adailydoseoffit #blogfest #sweatpink

2) Become a content machine. And no, this does not mean that you need to churn out post after post in order to stay relevant. You just need to create content that lends itself to distribution. Hence, the shift from life casting to informative blogging (er, I mean influencing). And you need to distribute content. Yours and your blogging friends' content. Get out of your bubble and participate in the community. Support and you will be supported. Distribute and you will be distributed.

Blogging, Blog, Blogger, Tips and Tricks, BlogFest, FitApproach, SweatPink
3) Get specific with Pinterest. It's really easy to get lost in all that is pinnable, but if you want to grow, you need to get organized. Create boards with specific names. Choose cover images that stand out and describe the content you're pinning. Additionally, consider which boards pop up above the fold (as in, which boards are visible when a user opens your page in their browser). Yes, you can rearrange. Always direct the images you upload to the right spot on your site, and when you create said images, consider making them long and skinny (which Pinterest happens to love).

4) Tell the truth. This goes without saying, right? We bloggers so easily fall into character, but we are human. And as such, we make mistakes. We're imperfect. Our readers know this, and they want us to say it. Why? Because that's what makes us relatable and trustworthy.

5) Blog posts should be at least 500 words. Google doesn't like anything shorter. Sure, it can be longer, but consider your audience's attention span. And to make every post count, you should research and use the right keywords. Again, what is your audience looking for? Google helps you with this in a number of different ways: You can use actual keyword tools, or simply do a search and see what Google suggests. And when you land on and use the keywords, be sure to apply them to your image descriptions and tags, too. This is all part of search engine optimization. It's confusing, but totally doable.

Again, I could go on and on with all the blogging and social media tips that I learned at BlogFest, but there were a few that hit home. They seemed relevant and doable. Am I doing all of them? Not always, or not always the most efficiently.

Tweet: 5 Blogging and Social Media Tips from #BlogFest via @adailydoseoffit #sweatpink

May this list help you, my fellow bloggers, and may it also help me continue growing this place I've created.

Question: If you went to BlogFest, what's one tip you took away from the event? If you're not a blogger, what's one tip you (as a reader) would like to give us?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Workouts from #IDEAworld and #BlogFest #wildworkoutwednesday

For me, one of the biggest draws to BlogFest was the association with IDEA World, which is the biggest fitness convention in the world. As a fitness professional and fitness blogger, it's literally the best of both worlds. I intend to share some of the blogging tips I learned at BlogFest, but I'm super geeked out over the workouts I tried. And since it's Workout Wednesday, it's a perfect day to share them.

Between the expo and all of the continuing education courses, there was plenty of opportunity to test out some butt-kicking workouts (like the "Pimp My Playlist" ride I did). Additionally, both IDEA and BlogFest lined up some really great speakers that were also willing to share their group exercise formats.

I literally geeked out on exercise the whole weekend.
Starting with a fun run before BlogFest started.

IDEA World, BlogFest 2015, Running, Bloggers, Downtown Los Angeles
After a long night of travel, my legs needed a good shakeout. We ran three miles at a pretty good clip, but that didn't stop me from making some new friends. Like Hollie from Muscles and Munchkins.

running bloggers, BlogFest 2015, IDEA World
She and I were in the same group for the HIGHX workout, too.

Sweat Pink, FitApproach, IDEA World, Gabrielle Reece
I had no clue what HIGHX was before BlogFest. It's actually Gabrielle Reece's pride and fitness joy. She was the keynote speaker at BlogFest, and she blew us all away with her frank speech. More on that later.

The HIGHX workout is "a high intensity explosive training and conditioning program designed to maximize the body’s ability to burn fat, build muscle, optimize the body’s hormone and physiological response to exercise while improving overall daily and athletic performance." A typical workout consists of multiple mini circuits of two exercises each, which are done for :30/exercise until 3:00 is achieved, at which point you rotate to the next mini circuit. Translation: It's an ass-kicker. Take a look:

I was pretty sweaty at the end.
Poor thing posed for pictures with a long line of people, all sweaty like me:

HIGHX, IDEA World, BlogFest, Sweat Pink, FitApproach, Fitness Conference, Keynote Speaker
Shortly after that, I tested out the dynamic cable training system from FlexLine. Think cable machine, without the need for a pin and weights. The power to add and subtract weight is all in the handle. Literally, there are buttons on the handle that let you increase or decrease the weight. Super, super cool. In their workout, they mixed up high intensity exercises like mountain climbers with more  traditional strength exercises, like chest flyes:

That was on Friday, my Spinning class was Saturday morning, and then I worked out with Jillian Michaels. Which was AWESOME. Renee, Annemarie, Nicole and I were all super sweaty:

A Daily Dose of Fit, Bendiful Blog, Fitful Focus, The Fit Foodie Mama, Jillian Michaels

Say what you will about Jillian. We all have our opinions. But I think her BODYSHRED group exercise format is pretty sweet. It's right up my alley with its minimal use of equipment and super intense 3-2-1 combo of traditional (and non-traditional) bodyweight exercises.

Jillian Michaels, BlogFest
Three minutes of strength.
Two minutes of cardio.
One minute of core.
Repeat for 30:00.

I'm really bummed I didn't write down all the exercises.

Suffice it to say, my body was shot after this and Spinning. But the show must go on so I got some lunch and headed into my next session, which was a barre class for instructors that teach without a barre. It burned my booty something fierce.

All in all, I left IDEA World and BlogFest totally sore and newly inspired. The workouts at this fitness convention where off the hook, and I only experienced a portion of them. Doing continuing education on the computer is super convenient and often cheaper, but being there in person...that's an incredible experience that I recommend every fitness professional give themselves at least once in their career.

Question: Were you at IDEA World and BlogFest? What was your favorite workout? If you weren't there, which of the above interests you most?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How to Create an Awesome Spinning Playlist

IDEA awesome...much inspiration. I don't even know where to begin recapping what an awesome weekend it was, so I'll start by pimping your playlist. Let me explain: IDEA World is the largest fitness convention for fitness professionals, and as such, it gives fitpros like myself the opportunity to learn from the best. There were a wide variety of sessions to choose from, and I seriously wanted to take almost every single one, but I narrowed it down to the few I had time for. One in particular was (literally) called "Pimp My Playlist."

Schwann Cycling, Jeffrey Scott, Spinning, Fitness Conference
It was a cycling session taught by Jeffery Scott, a Schwinn Master Trainer and seriously playlist rockstar. To be honest: I woke up the day of my session less than motivated to jump on a bike, which is how I've really been feeling for quite some time now. Generally just burned out on the bike. But now, after taking this class, I'm newly motivated to ride.

Schwinn, Pimp My Playlist, Bendiful Blog
Renee came with me to the session. She was one of my roommates this weekend, and she's also a Spinning instructor. Man, we had fun. And we both learned quite a bit from Jeffery.

Main point: Music is the heart and soul of a Spinning class. It really is. If your playlist isn't good, if you aren't connecting with your riders, then the ride itself doesn't really matter. I'm not lying, every single song this guy played in our session made every single person in the room smile. And ride with heart.

Schwann Cycling, Bendiful Blog, Jeffrey Scott, Schwinn Master Trainer
We spent a good portion of the session off the bike, but then we hopped on to see all of Jeffrey's tips implemented in a playlist that made me want to ride my heart out. Or, you know, sweat my butt off:

Cycling Instructor, Sweaty Selfie
So, how does one pimp their playlist?
How do you create a Spinning playlist that works?

Let's take a look at some of the tips I brought home with me.

Schwann Cycling, Group Fitness, Music, IDEA World, Jeffrey Scott, fitness tips
1) Appeal to a wide variety of people. Not everyone in your class will love the same exact music, so you need to offer some variety. This, of course, is true in any group fitness class. And it goes without saying that you need to put your personal taste in music to the side, because not everyone likes your taste in music either.

2) Surprise and delight your audience with a song they won't expect. Maybe it's something old that doesn't get played a lot, something nostalgic, or maybe a remix that turns into a crowd favorite.

3) Start at the bottom of the Top 100 list in iTunes. Why? Because everyone goes to the top when they search for music. What's at the bottom is still good and might eventually get up to the top. In which case, you'll be one step ahead.

4) Map your music. Know what happens when, and build your ride around it. Climb at the chorus, sprint when the music speeds up. Don't just listen to the music when you ride, integrate it into your actions.

5) Pay attention to song order, contrast and transitions. Get this right and you'll take your students on a musical adventure that's so fun they'll forget they're working out.

6) Search beyond the original version of a song. Use words like "remix," "mashup," "dubstep," and even "cycling," or "workout." Because even if the song is all over the radio, it might sound differently  when it's tagged with one of the above. And it also might change the song to a version that's easier to ride to.

In the end, it's your class and you know your students. Appeal to their interests, do what feels right and appropriate and cue accordingly. You'll be successful, I'm sure.

I taught class today using the playlist we had in class, plus a few extra songs to make it long enough. My students loved it. We rode hard, fast and ended up full of sweat.

Cycling Instructor, Spinning Bikes, Cooling Towel, Group Fitness
The towel? No, I didn't get that at the conference. I bought it yesterday at Meijer, although I hear they have them at Target, too. It's a cooling of the girls in my "Pimp My Playlist" class had one. I'm newly obsessed with it.

But, wait—what else did I learn at IDEA World and BlogFest? More to come.

Question: What song seriously pumps you up? If you take Spinning classes, is there a song that you absolutely love to ride to?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lemon Frozen Yogurt #sgsnackswap

The following post is sponsored by Skinnygirl. As always, the opinions within are my own. 

Time to celebrate—it's National Ice Cream Day! Go out and get yourself a cone of goodness. Or, maybe you're up for making your own? For the bulk of winter, my ice cream maker gathers dust in the basement. But in the summer, particularly at this point in time, it tends to get a lot of use because temps are soaring. And there's no better way to fight the heat than with a cup or cone of cold ice cream. But let's be honest, ice cream isn't always the healthiest of choices. Sugar, fat...chemicals you can't pronounce. #yuck

At the same time, ice cream is delicious and worth it on occasion. It's also incredibly easy to make at home (with or without an ice cream maker). And when you make it at home, it can be a really great opportunity to swap a bad snack with a good snack.

Skinnygirl Snack Swap
Last year, I had the opportunity to explore the Skinnygirl snack swap campaign. They're at it again this year, helping people everywhere make better snack choices. You pick your favorite snack, and the website offers up nutritionist-approved recipes and/or Skinnygirl snack bars that are ultimately better snack choices.

Out of all the new Skinnygirl snack bar flavors, I'm loving Lemon Swirl the most.

Skinnygirl Snack Swap
Lemons are just so...

...light and fresh, right? And perfect for the summer months, when everything seems so hot and heavy. Ugh.

One of the recipes on the Snack Swap website: Lemon Frozen Yogurt. Yum.

Homemade yogurt, recipe from Skinnnygirl snack swap
You might assume that ice cream is super complicated to make. But really, it couldn't be any easier. Especially if you have an ice cream maker. All you really have to do is gather, mix and dump the ingredients into the ice cream maker.

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
It churns up into nice, creamy soft-serve type of ice cream. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you just have to gather, mix an dump the ingredients into a bowl, then put the bowl in the freezer. Of course, you'll need to go back and give it a stir every so often, which only takes a few seconds. The end result is totally worth it.

Any time you can make a healthy snack swap at home is totally, completely worth it. Right?
Let's take a look at the Skinnygirl recipe for Lemon Frozen Yogurt.

Homemade yogurt recipe ingredients
Source: Skinnygirl

• 2 cups plain 2% Greek yogurt
• 1 tbsp lemon zest, finely chopped
• 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 cup agave nectar
• 2 tsp vanilla extract

1) Combine agave nectar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until consistency is that of a syrup. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Allow to cool and refrigerate.

2) Once lemon syrup has chilled, stir in lemon zest. Add yogurt and stir until completely combined.

3) If you do not have an ice cream maker, pour mixture into baking dish or shallow container. Cover and freeze. Stir and scrape the mixture every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours. If you have an ice cream maker, you can pour the mixture in and freeze/churn according to the manufacturers' instructions.

Nutrition analysis per 1/2 cup serving: 190 calories, 12 grams of protein.

Note: I only used three lemons, which provided less than the required amount of lemon juice. It was perfect, maybe even slightly TOO tangy! I swapped out the agave for honey and eyeballed the vanilla. Delish!

If you make this or any other Skinnygirl Snack Swap, be sure to use #sgsnackswap and share it with the rest of us!

Question: If you crave sweets or something "unhealthy," what's your go-to snack swap that satisfies your craving?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

#linklove: Good Reads from Around the Internet, Vol. 7

Today is my busiest day over here at IDEA World.
I've got four workouts lined up, including one with Jillian Michaels (WHAT).
Exhaustion is definitely in my future.

Perhaps, if you're relaxing today, you might need something fun to read.

1) When my kids were eating purees, I bought an ice cube tray to freeze perfect portions of homemade food. Now, it's collecting dust in a cabinet somewhere because my kids eat solid food and our freezer has a built-in ice maker. I gotta clean it off, though—these are 12 completely genius things to do with an ice cube tray.

2) I've been waking up every Saturday morning and hitting the town with my friends. My running friends. I leave the husband and the kiddos behind to fend for themselves. Translation: They're still sleeping, they really don't need me. And yet, I still feel guilty for leaving them to do something for myself. Something I need, that actually makes me a better person. Other moms: Does this happen to you? Here's what's really behind our mom guilt.

3) The inspiration at IDEA is over the top. Here, some advice on success and happiness from 20 IDEA world-renowned presenters.

4) iPhones and other high-tech gadgets are commonplace. Paper is the curiosity. #ilovenotebooks

5) Do you listen to TED talks? Admittedly, I don't. Or at least I haven't just yet. But I'm thinking of starting my TED experience with the 22 best TED talks for fitness, health and happiness inspiration.

6) A guy who's never seen Frozen attempts to explain the plot of Frozen. Enough said.

7) As the fitness director at a health and racquet club, I am responsible for writing and/or fine-tuning group fitness class descriptions. Literally, though...I wish I had more freedom because if fitness class descriptions where actually honest, this is what they'd say.

8) I've always been a fan of Lee Hersh and her blog, Fit Foodie Finds. She shares some great advice in this post: How I Tripled My Food Blog's Traffic in 12 Months.

9) "The spirit of a little boy is a burning desire to touch, build, fix, destruct, fight, and love." — from A Plea for Boyhood and Rough Play

10) When I turn on the TV, I turn on Netflix. You can betcha I'll be adding these healthy Netflix documentaries to my list.

Question: Do you have Netflix? Anything you've tuned into that I should be watching?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My #IDEAworld and #BlogFest Goals

Goals for IDEA and BlogFest
My bags are packed. Today is the day. I'm headed to IDEA World and BlogFest in Los Angeles, California! I cannot believe it is finally here. This is totally happening! Am I excited? Yes, extremely. Nervous? Of course, for a variety of different reasons. I'll be across the country from my fam, which is different. I will be surrounded by people that I barely know, and I'll be seeing and doing things I've never done.

This is the best kind of nervous possible.

To get the most out of this event, I've decided to give myself a few goals. They reflect me, the fitness blogger, and me, the fitness professional. Two hats, one event. Let's do this:

1) Learn five new blogging and social media tips. 
2) Try five new-to-me foods and/or beverages.
3) Discover five new industry trends that might fit my gym.
4) Make new friends.
5) Hang out with old friends.
6) Connect with five key brands.
7) Learn something new in each of my sessions at IDEA World.
8) Have fun.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so keep up with the fun.
Recaps to follow, for sure.

If you're going to IDEA World and BlogFest, be sure to introduce yourself if you see me.
I wanna meet you!

Question: Are you going to IDEA World and BlogFest? What is one of your goals?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

5 Healthy Things You Can Do in 10 Minutes or Less #dishthefit

Last week, Workout Wednesday was dedicated to 30-minute workouts because we're all pressed for time. And what tends to fall by the wayside when time is of the essence? Our health, yes. So today, I'm linking up with Jill and Jessica to help you answer this question:

If you had 10 minutes, how would you fit in something healthy?

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Friendly reminder: Doing something healthy doesn't always mean going to the gym and getting sweaty, although that does count. Doing something healthy means getting up and moving, educating yourself on healthy ways and means, or even snacking on something deliciously good for you. Yes, you absolutely need to be proactive with your health. It should not slide behind your to-do list and/or other distracting things. And it should NOT matter if you only have ten minutes.

A ten-minute window is great, and sometimes all you need to get yourself back on track.
Here, five healthy things you can do in ten minutes (or less):

1) Get up and go for a walk (or run). And while you're at it, tune into a podcast that can teach you something about healthy living. Move physically while you change mentally. #winning

2) Schedule that doctor's appointment. For real, make it happen! It's not like you'll have to go in that day, so if you spend ten minutes on the phone finding an ideal time to attend it, you'll check something off your to-do list that falls under the "keep myself healthy" header. (Note to self: Schedule that eye exam, it's been too long.)

3) Make a smoothie. I know, but you gotta cut stuff and measure Smoothies aren't that hard to make. Blenders blend, so aside from making sure you're not throwing in strawberry stems and banana peels, you can pretty much just grab and toss and sip. It's really a much better use of your ten-minute window than making a pit stop at your local fast food joint for a bag of fries. Amiright?

4) Meditate, snag a savasana or just close your eyes and breath in silence. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Do this for ten minutes, do this or one minute. The choice is yours, and like that short walk or run, it'll really do wonders for your general well being on a crazy hectic day.

5) Exercise. No, seriously. Ten minutes of exercising can be fun, physically beneficial and mentally awakening (see #1). I mean, you can't really bank on 10-minute workouts every single day, but in a pinch, they most certainly work! Here's an example:

A quick workout that doesn't require any equipment.
Remember, you need to modify if necessary! When I say "break," I literally want you to take a breather before starting over in reverse. Do as many repetitions as you can at an intensity that works for you. Stretch when you're done if you've got time, and use the initial jog to wake up your muscles.

Quick clarification: Half burped. Take your hands down to the floor, bounce your feet back to plank, bring them back in to your hands and repeat. Maybe I should call this a "double-leg frogger" instead.

Question: If you had ten minutes, how would you fit in something healthy?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

9 Things I'm Packing for #IDEAworld and #BlogFest

Next week, I head out to California for IDEA World and BlogFest. Am I excited? No, not at all—YEAH RIGHT. This is a huge bucket list item for me, and I've been bouncing off the walls about it since I registered last November. It will obviously be my first time attending, and even my first time in California, so I've been doing some research about what to bring. And, because I love packing, I've been chipping away at it this week.

End goal: One small suitcase and a backpack filled with everything I'll need for four days of fun.

what to pack for a fitness and blog conference
I'm a notorious over-packer, so my inclination is to pack anything and everything I might need. But I'm trying really hard to pack the basics. I went to BlogHer in Chicago a few years ago, so I have some sense of what a convention can be like. But IDEA World and BlogFest will be much more physical, so there are a few extra needs I'll have to address. That said, here are 9 things I'm packing for IDEA World and BlogFest (besides the obvious, like underwear and toothpaste and makeup and stuff):

1) An Extra Duffle Bag
Word on the street: The swag is real, and I'll need an extra bag for it on the way home. My trusty ol' Vera Bradley bag is totally collapsible and will fit nicely in my suitcase on the way over. Random fact: Never in my life have I ever traveled by plane without having to check at least one bag. Guess I'll experience that going there, but not coming home. I plan to check my suitcase (stuffed full) when I come home, and I'll carry on my duffel bag with whatever doesn't fit inside it.

2) Protein Powder
I seriously cannot go without food, especially if I've just hit a workout. And since I'll be doing a lot of working out next week—and good food is hard to come by at a huge conference—protein powder will be nice to have on hand. I'd much rather eat real, wholesome food, for sure. But I'd also rather get something healthy in my system instead of consuming nothing at all. So I'm bringing four servings of my favorite whey protein, perfectly portioned into small baggies. (I'm also bringing some Cocogo and my Starbucks card, locked and loaded.)

3) A Packet of Laundry Detergent
I packed enough clothes and underwear to get me through the weekend, but I only have two days' worth of sports bras. I just don't have a huge collection right now, and I don't even need them with some of my shelf-bra tanks, so the plan is to wash them at night. They'll dry quickly over the course of the next day (I hope).

4) A Snack Box

ready to eat meal, gluten freen
My flight to California leaves right at dinner time. And since airports are notoriously lacking in healthy options, I'm bringing this GoPicnic box with me. If I do end up finding something awesome to eat, I'll save it for the conference. I'm also bringing a few snack bars and a small bag of animal crackers. And I'm really hoping to hit up a grocery store for some fresh fruit (among other things).

5) A Book
Speaking of airports. I'm flying solo and its not exactly a short hop from Michigan to California. So I'm bringing The Girl on the Train, which has been collecting dust on my bookshelf. I won't read it while I'm at the conference, obviously, but it'll be a nice travel companion.

6) A Notebook and Pen
I am so old-fashioned when it comes to taking notes. I do much better with a pen and some paper. Sure, I'm bringing my computer, but it might just stay in the hotel room during the conference...we'll see.

7) A Portable Phone Charger

silver phone charger for iPhone
One of the girls I met at BlogHer had something similar to the above. She let me use it and I was thoroughly convinced that I needed one. Outlets and/or charging stations are hard to come by at conferences, and one basically never stops using their phone at such an event, so having this phone charger in my bag will be nice if my battery dies out. Of course, I won't leave home without my usual phone and computer chargers either.

8) Shirts to Keep Me Warm
I hear it's ridiculously hot in California right now, but convention halls are ALWAYS cold. Add to it the fact that I'll be working out, then sitting still in lectures, then working out again...I'll need a layer  to keep me warm when I'm not moving. So I'm bringing three options to wear and re-wear, one of which is my A Daily Dose of Fit shirt.

9) Baby Wipes
Because I hear there's no time in-between things to shower. So if they're good enough for my kid's little booty, they're good enough for my sweaty body.

Some other things:
• Running shoes and my Studio Wraps (for the barre class I'll be taking)
• Three casual-but-nice outfits that pack easily (and match the same pair of sandals)
• Business cards (my blog card AND my gym card)
• Tons of Momentum Jewelry (mine, and some stuff to give away)

Now, there's only one thing I'm really mulling over. My big camera. To bring, or not to bring? That's the question. It's a Canon Eos Rebel SL1, so it's smaller than your average DSLR. But still. I do have an iPhone that takes great pictures, BUT STILL! I feel strange relying on it for pictures. Hmm.

Question: Are you going to BlogFest? If you've been before, any thoughts on the above? Is there something I'm forgetting that I'll really need?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Exercising in the Heat: 5 Tips to Keep You Safe When the Temps Rise

Today is the second Saturday in July, which means that my health column is running in a local newspaper. If you're here today because of it, welcome! And since some of you readers don't have access to the paper, I'm reprinting the article just for you:

We are experiencing a relatively mild summer. With the onset of July, that might change. The temperature always seems to rise at this time of year. If you’ve been exercising outside, you probably haven’t given it much thought, but if and when the temperature does change, you’ll want to be prepared. So let’s talk about exercising in the heat. There are a few things you’ll want to consider in order to stay safe. Heat can, after all, make or break your outdoor workout.

1) Stay hydrated. 
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), 75% of all muscle tissue is water. It’s an essential ingredient in the recipe of our existence and we cannot function without it. According to a 2004 report from the Food and Nutrition Board, women must consume 2.7 liters and men must consume 3.7 liters each day. Of course, active people need more—especially if they are exercising in the heat.

ACE explains that the human body can lose more than a quart of water during 60 minutes of exercise. When the body doesn’t have enough water to create the sweat necessary to cool itself, it gets dehydrated. This leads to poor performance—among other dangerous side effects, like heat stroke. Long story short, you need to hydrate before, during and after your workout. So fill up those water bottles, then reach for another bottle—one that’s filled with sunscreen.

2) Protect yourself from the sun. 
Skin cancer is a very real thing, so sunscreen is an absolute must. Choose one that provides both UVA and UVB protection with an SPF that’s relatively high. You’ll also want a formula that resists water and sweat—when it’s hot out, you’ll encounter both. And remember, clouds don’t block harmful rays, so apply sunscreen even when it is overcast.

Additionally, you’ll want to wear sunglasses when you exercise outside. This might sound silly, but the eyes are extremely susceptible to UV overexposure and can become sunburned. According to The Vision Council, this can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, premature aging and even cancer. So protect yourself by choosing the right eyewear for your workouts. You might, for example, look for polarized lenses and frames that wrap around your face.

Already have a pair with dark lenses? That doesn’t always indicate accurate sun protection. Simply wearing a hat to shade your eyes doesn’t get the job done, either.

3) Wear breathable gear. 
Hats can, however, be a wonderful choice when you’re exercising in the heat. They might not protect your eyes, but they’ll shade your face. Pick one that’s lightweight and made of breathable materials so heat and sweat can travel up and off the top of your head.

Look for lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing, too. When you sweat, it needs to be removed from your body. This is your body’s way of cooling itself. Cotton absorbs sweat and then holds on to it, making your outfit a soggy, sloppy mess. Moisture-wicking materials take the sweat off your body and help it evaporate quickly, which leaves you much cooler and ultimately more comfortable.

4) Choose the right time of day. 
Speaking of comfort, exercising at the right time of day can make a big difference. Keep an eye on hourly weather reports to find windows of opportunity. At this time of year, afternoons can be quite hot, so working out in the morning or evening might be your best bet. One thing to remember: These low-heat times are prime-time for UV rays. The sun might not be as hot, but its rays can be just as damaging.

5) Go inside. 
Ultimately, if you can’t find a decent window of opportunity, or if you really just don’t feel comfortable in the heat, just take your workout inside. The risks far outweigh the disappointment in having to come inside on a beautiful day. Whether you choose to stay at home or hit the gym, successful completion of any workout (wherever that workout takes place) is a win no matter what.

Question: How do you beat the heat when you exercise outdoors?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ten 30-Minute Workouts #workoutwednesday

I'm busy. You're busy. We are all super busy, right? Let's be honest...that's still not an excuse to NOT exercise. Right? We should all have time to exercise. It's honestly very easy to squeeze in a workout. They can be quick, yet still quite effective. You just have to make the most out of your window of opportunity. If 30 minutes is all you have, then a 30-minute workout is what you'll get. Here, ten 30-minute workouts that might get the job done for you:

I'm busy. You're busy. We are all super busy. Valid excuse for skipping a workout? Not always. We should all have time to exercise, right? It's honestly very easy to squeeze in a workout. They can be quick, yet effective, which is something a lot of people don't realize. You just have to make the most out of your window of opportunity. If 30 minutes is all you have, then a 30-minute workout is what you should aim for.

Here, a roundup of ten 30-minute workouts:

1) Firecracker Workout
"If you're traveling away from your gym, or if you don't feel like going to your gym, I give you the following workout that you can easily do on your own wherever you want to. You don't need any equipment!"

2) Total Body Ten
"There's nothing wrong with working by repetition, and you absolutely can tweak this workout to take that approach, but I challenge you to work by time and count your repetitions."

3) 30-Minute Backyard Workout
"When I did this workout, 30 minutes flew by me as if they were just 10 minutes. It's a go-go-go format."

4) Quick Kettlebell Workout
"Sure, it's only nine moves done three times, but that's the beauty of a kettlebell workout. I call it my 'quick and dirty' workout, because that's really what it is. Super quick, downright dirty to your muscles if you do all the moves correctly."

5) 30-Minute Kettlebell and BOSU Workout
"Remember, a kettlebell swing is NOT a squat. Hinge from those hips."

1) 30-Minute Upper Body Workout
"Most of the exercises are pretty straightforward. My guess is that you've heard of them before."

2) 30-Minute Upper Body and Core Workout
"Burn some muscles above the belt."

3) 30-Minute Lower Body Workout
"You can use this workout on its own for leg day, or combine it with an upper body/core workout for a 60-minute burner."

1) 30-Minute Hill and Flat #Treadmill Workout
"Not only are we heading up a hill with this one, we're playing a bit of an interval game and ending with a sprint. Triple whammy."

2) 30-Minute Lateral #Elliptical Workout
"If you don't have a lateral elliptical at your gym, request one. I'm serious. Even if you hate ellipticals, which I kind of do, the odds are very good that you'll love (or love to hate) the lateral."

For more workouts like this from bloggers like me, check out the Wild Workout Wednesday link-up on Annmarie's site, The Fit Foodie Mama!

Question: What is your least favorite piece of fitness equipment? The treadmill doesn't count.

Monday, July 6, 2015

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, Vol. 15

One thing that's so great about the Internet—You never know when you're going to come across your next favorite thing. I love it when other bloggers share their lists of current favorites, and it's something I've been doing for a few months now, too. Although,'s been awhile. So here we are. My current favorites.

1) My First Running Trophy
So when I ran that glow run a few weekends ago, I seriously ran it. And ended up being the first female to cross the finish line. I know for a fact that there are faster women in my running community that could have crossed before me...but, man. I gave everything I had to that 5K because a friend of mine planned it. It was the first year, small crowd. He thought for sure I could win it, so...I can't let a friend down, can you? The trophy is cool, but the best part of it all: "Look daddy! Mommy won a trophy for me!" 

Yes, baby girl. I did it just for you and you can keep it in your room, for sure.

Note: I received the following favorite free of charge from Mizuno via my partnership with FitFluential. All opinions are my own...I tell it like it is.

2) Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 Running Shoes
I love Mizuno running shoes. I've had the opportunity to review the Wave Sayonara, Wave Rider 18, and now the new Wave Enigma 5 running shoes. 

All neutral, all different. Honest truth: I think these are my least favorite, but that's not saying much because I still love them. Super cushiony, which is great for long distances, but not my favorite feature for shorter (and faster) running. Also, the toe box feels a bit narrower than the other styles, but that could be my feet (ahem, bunions). Needless to say, I've been rotating them in with the Wave Riders and my Puma Ignite running shoes.

3) Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Nothing beats a recipe that's been passed down from one generation to the next, right? Such is the case with the Strawberry Rhubarb Jam that I made yesterday. 

The recipe itself is not the only thing that's been passed down. The rhubarb plant that I have is an offshoot of a rhubarb plant that grew on my great-grandfather's farm. I think one of the things I was most excited about when we bought our first house was the fact that I could now grow my own rhubarb. And make my own Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. I have so much of it my 'fridge right now. I'll be eating it every day until it's gone, for sure.

4) Baby Steps
My little buddy is officially walking. It's the cutest thing ever. I'm totally loving the pitter-patter of his little feet on our hardwood floors. And secretly, I love it when he falls because it's the darn cutest thing ever—99% of the time, a hard fall is followed by a laugh and some clapping. #bestever

5) Pink Flowers
I suck at growing everything but rhubarb, but so far, my pink plants are doing well (despite a few days without water). Most of the plants in my yard are fairly low maintenance, so I don't really have to worry about it. But I like looking out our big front window and seeing a splash of pink. So I'm doing what I can to keep these pretties alive for the duration of the season. 

6) The Train Like a Mother  Half Marathon Training Plans
I keep talking about the training plans in this book because I'm absolutely loving how they are changing my running game. I can only run three times a week, more if I'd like to over train (which I don't), so I'm doing what I can to make the most of those three runs. This includes speed and hill work, which is much more fun than just going out and adding miles. And yes, it's definitely making me stronger and faster. There are two plans in the book. I'm doing a mash up of both, tailored to fit my three-days-a-week schedule. 

Question: Tell me about one thing you're loving right now.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Travel Workout from @CohesiveFitness (my new #BlogFest buddy!) #workoutwednesday

A few days ago, I got an email from the powers that be over at IDEA. Would I consider being buddies with yet another blogger at BlogFest? Tiffany and I had already been paired up. I'm a total newbie at this event and am so ready to meet some fun and exciting bloggers/fitness enthusiasts, so of course I said "yes." Enter Stephanie of Cohesive Fitness.

She's a Pilates instructor and new blogger and I can't wait to meet her! Up first, a little question/answer session so you can get to know her, too:

1) Who are you? Tell us in a brief paragraph who you are, what city you live in and what you blog about. My name is Stephanie and I live in San Diego, CA where I was born and raised. I went to college at Long Beach State and received a BA in Dance in 2009. After graduating, I went into corporate and set my dreams aside to pay the bills. I am finally in a position where I was able to leave my corporate career (May 15, 2015) and follow my dreams of writing and teaching Pilates. Becoming a blogger just made so much sense, and I love it! My blog, Cohesive Fitness, is a healthy living blog. I take the approach that feeding your soul will help you to accomplish your fitness goals. I post workouts, playlists and lifestyle articles. I try to deliver a lot of value to my readers by offering helpful tips and advice.

2) If you could meet your fitness celebrity crush, what would you say to them? Todd Durkin is my fitness crush. My husband actually works at his fitness facility so I have met him before, but for some reason I am so shy around him! He is so energetic and it's infectious but I guess I feel a little intimidated. I am taking one of his sessions at the conference this year, and I am totally looking forward  to it!

3) Anything you'e really excited, nervous, anxious about the conference? I think I am excited and nervous about meeting the bloggers that are further along in their careers than I am. I launched Cohesive Fitness on My 1, 2015 so I am super new! Also, I am nervous about approaching brands for partnership because I know that I don't have the biggest readership yet. I made gorgeous business cards that I am proud of, so I hope that boosts my confidence.

4) If you could close one fast food chain, due to disgusting food, what would you pick? McDonald's. I really don't like anything they make there (except maybe the fudge sundaes).

5) When did you first become interested in the fitness world and what sucked you in? I have been interested in the fitness world since I stopped dancing as much. I never had to worry about fitness as a dancer because I was just so active. The second I took a corporate job, the pounds came on quickly. I decided to get certified as a Pilates instructor back in February 2014 and haven't looked back since. Although I am heavier than I would like, I have built up a lot more muscle mass than I had as a dancer, and I love the way  my body feels now! I know I am fit on the inside, and my self-esteem has grown exponentially because of work I have done on the inside.

6) What is your go-to place for fitness questions? My husband. He is a Kinesiology major at SDSU, so I love asking him all the scientific questions. I also love chatting with Heather for nutrition advice.

For more from Stephanie, visit her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

And now, that travel workout I promised you. I don't know about you, but when I travel, I like to stick to my workout schedule if at all possible. Lack of equipment can sometimes derail those plans. Or at the very least, change them in a good way. Here, a workout you can do without any equipment...well, unless you count your suitcase and a chair, which are usually readily available when you're traveling.

As always, be sure to warm up and cool down—and modify as necessary to fit your individual fitness needs.

Question: How do you stick to your fitness routines when you travel? Do you travel with equipment? Source out local gyms? Use travel as an excuse to take a break? Tell me!


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