Monday, August 31, 2015

September Instagram Photo Challenge with @MomentumJewelry and @MusclesAndMunchkins #momentumphotochallenge

As you know, I am a Momentum Jewelry ambassador. I am not getting paid to create this photo challenge, but the following post does contain affiliate links. Use them to save 10% when you order, or don't. It's entirely up to you! I love Momentum Jewelry and would support Amy's business with or without the kickback. Seriously, she's awesome.

I'd give it all up for Instagram. It's such a great way to see what people are up to. Plus, I'm a visual personal and dig artful approaches to communication. But sometimes, I need a little photo inspiration. This is why I love photo-a-day challenges. I've always thought about leading one myself, but the timing never felt right. So when Hollie reached out to me last month and asked me if I wanted to co-host one with her, I agreed to.

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, then you've seen me hinting at what's to come. In fact, it's coming at you tomorrow. Join Hollie and I on Instagram every day in September for the Momentum Instagram Photo Challenge!

September is a crazy time of year, right? Summer is coming to an end, the days are getting shorter and if you have kids, they're adjusting to being at school again. After-school activities? I bet you've got some of those on your calendar, too. Now, when life gets crazy, what typically suffers? Your health and fitness. So let's put that tradition in the trash. Let's motivate each other to keep our health and fitness momentum going every single day this whole entire month.

Use the above graphic for photo cues and post a picture to your Instagram account on the corresponding date of the month. Start tomorrow with a picture that represents your interpretation of "momentum" and tag me, Hollie and Momentum Jewelry. Use #momentumphotochallenge in every post so we can keep track of your awesomeness.

Here's what we're looking for this week:

Tuesday, 9/1: Momentum: Get moving. Show some action. Tell us how you're going to keep going through this crazy month.

Wednesday, 9/2: Goal: What are you working toward? Did you achieve a major goal that you want to build upon?

Thursday, 9/3: Focus: What are you focusing on today? How are you staying focused?

Friday, 9/4: Fitness Fashion: Strut your stuff in your best fitness gear, or show us what you're shopping for. Show us your functional fitness fashion!

Saturday, 9/5: Happiness: Needs no explanation, right? Show us what makes you happy!

Sunday, 9/6: Cardio: Show us how you're getting your heart pumping today.

But seriously, don't overthink it. It's going to be loads of fun and we'll pick a winner at the end of each week. Yes, there will be prizes. Participate as often as you can to increase your chances of winning. At the end of each week, we'll pick one lucky participant at random, and that person will get their choice of a Motivate Wrap or Footnote:

And then, at the end of September, we'll pick one participant to receive a basket of goodies chosen by Hollie and myself. Here's a look at one of the things I'm putting in the basket:

Oh, and you'll also get Momentum's newest bracelet:

wrap bracelet, motivational jewelry, yes you can
It's motivational AND interchangeable! So you'll get the wrap and two sayings so you can switch and change it according to your motivational needs for the day. Seriously, it's such a cool bracelet. I love it almost as much as I love Instagram. in? Say yes.
I can't wait to see your pics.

Also, stay tuned because i'll be showcasing my favorites at the end of each week!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How to Fix a Workout Rut

After my last half marathon, I sort of realized that I needed to shift things up. I needed a break from distance training, as it was doing a number on my knees. Specifically, my IT band. Plus, a small part of me was bored with my routine. And then we decided to add another Barre Fit class to the schedule at my gym, which gave me a great excuse to shift things around a bit: Instead of teaching Barre Fit on Wednesday morning, I will be teaching it on Monday. A small change, but one that effectively helps me fix a workout rut.

How? Because it gives me an extra day to play with.

Let me explain.
Here's my current schedule with the new Barre Fit class:

Monday: Barre Fit
Tuesday: Spinning
Thursday: Running
Friday: PiYo Live
Saturday: Running
Sunday: Rest

Note how Wednesday is open. I've been going in early for some heavy weightlifting, and yesterday I did an at-home BOSU workout, followed by a short yoga sequence:

I'm alternating between strength and cardio all week, and that's exactly how I like it. Will I be OK with only two days of running? For the time being, yes. If I go into heavy training mode again, I can always add an extra run on Barre Fit Mondays—I typically run light on Mondays anyway. And there's even a small chance I might share that class with another instructor, which means I'd have every other week open for running and/or another strength workout.

Workout rut?
Yeah, I fixed it.

Here's how you can fix your workout rut:

workouts, exercise, fitness, fit tips, personal trainer, exercise advice
1) Sit down with your schedule. We do our best to stay organized and on-time, but life gets the best of us and something always suffers. Maybe it's your workouts. Maybe you're rushing things and/or working out at a time that's not conducive to your success. Perhaps you can switch things around a bit to help you make fitness a priority again. When it's not a priority, it pretty much zaps motivation. When you're highly motivated, ruts are few and far in between.

2) Meet with a personal trainer. I know, training sessions are expensive. And no, you don't have to buy a full package. Tell a trainer you need some new ideas and they'll be happy to "play" with you.

3) Try a new group fitness class. Is there one going on at the time of day you're typically at the gym? Maybe you need to spend time in the studio instead of on the fitness floor. Trust me, group fitness classes can be just as good (sometimes better than) time spent on the fitness floor.

4) Take a break. Sounds counterintuitive, I know. But sometimes if something isn't going well, the best thing to do is walk away for a minute. Get out of the gym for a week or put away your has-been favorite DVD. Spend a week walking around outside. Or maybe you just need a day or two of something different. And don't worry, it takes more than a week to ruin any advances you've created.

5) Buy a new piece of equipment. If you exercise at home, make your at-home gym a touch more awesome by purchasing a new piece of fitness equipment. Remember when you were a kid? That new toy did wonders for your creative play, right?

6) Buy a new piece of fitness clothing. Sounds silly, but it works. #retailtherapy

7) Enlist a friend to exercise with you. Because #fun.

Now it's your turn:

Question: How do you bust through a workout rut?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Zucchini Bread Waffles

Guess what? It's National Waffle Day. Are you hungry? I am. And I'm going to nosh on some zucchini bread waffles because YUM. I love zucchini, it's literally one of my favorites. I have an entire cookbook devoted to recipes with zucchini.

recipes, recipe book, zucchini, 101 things
But obviously, I always want zucchini bread because there's nothing better than a warm slice of it. Except I'm usually the only one that eats it. So with an abundance of zucchini in the house and only so much space in the belly for zucchini bread, I decided to get creative. Hence, the zucchini bread waffles.

waffle, waffle recipe, national waffle day, zucchini squash, breakfast
I literally just whipped up the dough as per the zucchini bread recipe in my cookbook, sprayed down the waffle iron and cooked up a few large waffles. So as not to waste them (or get sick of them) I cut them all up...

waffle, waffle recipe, national waffle day, zucchini squash, breakfast
...and now they're in the freezer. Lesson of the day, though: Your favorite quick bread recipe turns into delicious waffles. Banana bread waffles? Sounds delish. You just have to be ready for longer cooking times. As in, a few minutes longer than your standard waffle mix recipe.

Trust me, it's worth the wait.

I had some zucchini left over that I ended up sautéing, which added some extra flavor to the whole concoction. And you can't go wrong with bananas and syrup, either.

waffle, waffle recipe, national waffle day, zucchini squash, breakfast
I'm dreaming of breakfast right now.
I'm always dreaming of breakfast.
Your favorite meal, too? We can be friends, then.

Go ahead, find a zucchini bread recipe you know and love and give this technique a try. Or, check out these ten delicious waffle recipes from some of my fellow blog friends:

national waffle day, breakfast, food, waffles, recipe
1) Oatmeal Waffles with Cinnamon Maple Greek Yogurt (This Runner's Recipes)
2) Chocolate Chip Banana Oat Waffles (Food Pleasure and Health)
3) Breakfast Wafflewich (The Fit Foodie Mama)
4) Mini Waffle Crostini with Gorgonzola, Cranberries, Pecans and Honey (Run Wiki)
5) Secret Ingredient Carrot Cake Waffles (Strength and Sunshine)
6) Whole Wheat Applesauce Waffles (Slim Sanity)
7) Pumpkin Spice Waffles (The Live Fit Girls)
8) Blueberry Lemon Buttermilk Waffles (Ari's Menu)
9) Breakfast Waffle Sundaes (Uproot From Oregon)
10) Green Chile Cornbread Waffles (The Fit Fork)

Question: Waffles or pancakes and why? Favorite topping?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How to Find Your #Fitness Community

Every person everywhere needs this one thing in their life: A tribe of positive people. Be it your friends, coworkers, your family or even your favorite Facebook groups...if positive people are present, then you will reap many a benefit. Nowhere is this more important than in the fitness community. Fitness goals are not easy to achieve. They require mental and physical toughness, and actual know-how. Which is why it's so important for us all to be a part of a fitness community.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a fitness community that isn't filled with positive people.

page a day calendar, inspiration, quote, quote of the day, positivity
We need inspiration.
We need to be educated.
We want friends to sweat with.
We want to have fun working out.

Negativity? No time.

Being a part of a positive fitness community makes all of these needs and wants your reality.
But it's not always easy to find the right fitness community for you.

Where do you even look? How do you connect? I thought I'd give you some pointers.

1) Use social media to connect with like-minded individuals. Training for a marathon? Connect with the mother runners and swap stories. Follow your favorite magazines on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join the conversations underneath their posts. Stalk applicable hashtags, like #runchat or #instarunner. Whatever your interests, link up with those that share it because then—you're never alone!

2) Join a gym. This seems like an obvious tip, but gym memberships are worth every penny. In addition to fitness classes and top-notch equipment at the ready, gyms offer up built-in communities. And if you pick the right gym, there will be a spot for you in those communities.

3) Seek out local groups and events. Now, it's true that I work at a gym and this may seem contradictory to the above, but I don't believe you need a gym membership to be successful with finding your fitness community. You CAN find this in your ACTUAL community. You just have to look for it. Look for running or walking groups. Keep an eye on coffee shop message boards and events sections in your local papers. And, most importantly, participate in these things that appeal to you.

4) Be outgoing. People who love fitness love to share fitness with others, it's true 99.9% of the time. So if you see people running, walking, or heading toward that one group fitness class you've always wanted to try, don't be afraid to introduce yourself. Say, "hey! I see you guys doing this all the time and I'm totally interested...can I join?" They'll most-likely welcome you with open arms.

Note #1: It took me a few weeks to actually show up at one of the Saturday morning runs that my running group puts on. I was nervous. I literally did not know anyone, a situation that always intimidates me. And I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up. But I went, and I haven't stopped going...and I've made a lot of runner friends because of it.

Note #2: I ran six miles this morning and didn't have any knee pain! Hooray!

5) Be the ringleader. And I quote: "If you build it, they will come!" Want a running group? Start one. Get your coworkers or friends together for more than just coffee or lunch dates. Run! Or if running isn't your thing, do those workout DVDs you keep reading about. Or purchase group training sessions!

Bottom line, fitness is fun and is best when shared. You need a buddy. You need solo fitness time, too. This is true. But having a buddy, a group or a go-to event is key to keeping yourself on track.

Fitness is diverse. It's universal.
There is literally something for everyone.

As a result, there is literally a fitness community for everyone.
Find yours, embrace it and grow because of it.

Question: What is your fitness community? How did you find it?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to Get a Job in the #Fitness Industry

The fitness industry is an incredible, constantly changing and perpetually awesome industry to be a part of. I've been working as a certified personal trainer for over five years now and I absolutely love it. I started without experience, and am now the fitness director at the largest health and racquet club in my community. Am I bragging? Absolutely not. I'm sharing this to prove that you (yes, you) can find a job in the fitness industry if that's what you really want.

careers, fitpro, fitness professional, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, fitness director
If you find yourself dreaming about becoming a personal trainer or group fitness instructor, have no idea how to make that a reality, these 6 tips might help you take that first step toward your new career:

1) Research certifications, then study for, take and pass the test.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's a hard step and one that people get hung up on. (If you already have your certification, you can skip this section.) There are a wide variety of certifications out there—and a wide variety of opinions on which fitness certification is best.  You'll want one that's accredited by the NCCA, and you'll want one that your potential employer will accept. So when you do your research, call the gyms in your area and ask which certifications they accept and/or recommend. When it comes to personal training, I always recommend the American Council on Exercise, but also accept ACSM and NASM as respectable certifications. (But ultimately, it has everything to do with the candidate.)

(Note: You might also want to research liability insurance. Most gyms will cover you under their policy, but it's always nice to know if a gym you're interested in won't so you can apply with that on your resume.)

2) Get your CPR and AED certification.
You will need this to get hired. New members of the industry often forget about this key requirement! Once you're on staff at a gym, they might pay your fees to stay current, but most will require it upon hire. And even if they don't, you having it shows that you're on top of things...and totally ready to work.!

3) Make a resume.
If you are totally new to the industry and have literally no experience, you can still make an impressive resume. I switched over from advertising, so there wasn't much I could say to exhibit my ability to train, other than the fact that I had passed my test and gotten my CPR/AED certification. So my first resume was really a reiteration of the resume I used to get the job at the last agency I worked for. I listed my certifications at the top, included a few bullets about the half marathons I'd run to show my ability to train myself toward a goal, and then listed my advertising experience as "other applicable work experience." Because even though that experience had nothing to do with fitness, it showed that I was able to hold a job, that I was reliable, and that I could keep myself organized, productive, etc. Plus, the more you can offer a potential employer, the more appealing you are.

4) Research potential employers. 
If you want to work at a gym that you've been going to for some time already, this is a moot point. You're already familiar with the culture and policies of the place. But if you're new to the area and have no idea what the gyms are like, purchase a day pass or ask if you can test the place out. This will help you decide which place might be right for you, and if you get an interview, you'll be familiar with it which can further exhibit your interest in working there.

5) Connect with the right person when you turn in your resume.
Gyms structure themselves differently, so a "fitness director" at one place might be the "personal training coordinator" at another place. There might also be a "group fitness manager." Find out who needs to see your resume and get it to that person. Don't just stop in and ask if they're hiring. For example, I'm not necessarily hiring right now, but if the right trainer or group fitness instructor walked through my gym doors, I'd give them the time of day.

(Note: Please do not turn in your resume until you've proofed it. Nothing makes your resume look weaker than spelling/grammar errors. Trust me. #endrant)

6) Be willing to work for free.
Say what? Hear me out: This is especially relevant for those of you that don't have experience. If you want experience, ask for the opportunity to get it. Maybe you can shadow a personal trainer, or assist group fitness instructors that teach the format you're studying. A lot of fitness certifications are done at home with little to no hands-on experience. Seek out that hands-on experience! You might work for free, but as you dive into that work and gain knowledge, you might impress whomever you're working with...get where I'm going with this? Yes, it could turn into a job. Mentorship, man. It's everything. So is showing initiative.

Tweet: This is how you get a job in the fitness industry... via @adailydoseoffit #fitfluential #sweatpink

Here are a few other posts I've written that might prove to be useful as well:

Want a career in the fitness industry? What you need to know.
What's it like to be a personal trainer?
How to Study for a Personal Trainer Exam
Teaching Group Fitness
8 Tips for Group Fitness Instructors
A Spinning Certification Review
So you want to teach #PiYoLive...

Question: If you are a fitness professional, what tips can you offer someone who wants a job in the fitness industry? If you want a job in the fitness industry, are there questions you have that I might be able to answer?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Race Recap: Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon (and, why I'm grateful for good running buddies) #dishthefit

This past weekend, I ran the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon in Baroda, Michigan. If you follow me Twitter or Instagram, then you've seen me indicate that it wasn't my best half marathon. It was my sixth half marathon, but still...not my best. And yet, it was still pretty awesome because nothing beats running through the vineyards of Southwest Michigan.

run Michigan, Pure Michigan, Southwest Michigan, race medal
I have always wanted to run this race. For one, it's close to home. But I couldn't run it the first year because it fell too close to other half marathons that I was signed up for. And I couldn't run it the second year because it was the Summer that Evan was born. But this year, it was all systems go.

I used a combination of the two Train Like a Mother half marathon plans to prep, and despite two weeks of crazy because of BlogFest and IDEA, I felt ready. Sort of. I guess not really.

I was super nervous about the hills.
Like, super really nervous.
Here's the course elevation:

pure michigan, run michigan, michigan wine trail, half marathon, running, run chat, race course
I am not a hill girl, so I upped the hill training a bit toward the end. And then we got an email about the race being under caution because of the projected heat and humidity, which didn't help my nerves at all. Heat + hills = death by half marathon.

But, I decided not to give up on myself or my training.
My left knee, on the other hand, had a mind of it's own.
Problem: IT band issues.

So I rolled the heck out of it all week.

Race day came, it felt good, and I decided to not let the hills (or heat) get me down.

Hal Higdon, running quote, inspiration, fitness, half marathon, run chat

Additionally, I found out one of my running friends would be there so I reached out to him. This girl needed a race day buddy, and he was willing to accommodate.

Sunset Coast Striders, running group, Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon, Southwest Michigan, Pure Michigan, Run Michigan, 13.Wine
Dan runs the Saturday morning group I meet up with, and he was a great friend to run with. He knew about my nerves and my knee issues before we even hit the starting line, and kept me going for most of the race with distracting conversation and words of wisdom. And excellent pace work...we were on target for a strong finish despite the hills.

And then I hit mile 9, which is when my right knee decided to act like my left knee (which, by the way, was feeling great). IT band issues. Insert f-bombs here, for real.

I thought I could tough it out, but knew that would be stupid, so I sent Dan flying through the last there miles of the race and literally almost lost it in a pool of tears.

I even sent a text message to a trainer on my staff that also happens to be a running coach.

After his first quote came through, I put on my big-girl panties and came up with a plan: I'd walk until the 10:30 mark, then run...until I hit a downhill. I knew my knee wouldn't like the pounding of a downhill, so I gave myself that wiggle room.

And it worked.
I finished.

I've never loved a finish line so much in my life. I didn't even care that I finished with one of my slower times to date...because I finished. I ran the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon and I finished that thing despite the hills and heat (which didn't really bother me) and my knee (which really bothered me).

run Michigan, Pure Michigan, Southwest Michigan, 13.Wine, runner, run chat, Tara Sabo
So grateful for good running buddies.
You need to get yourself some good running buddies if you don't have them already.

Of course, then this happened:

Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon and 5K, run Michigan, Pure Michigan, Southwest Michigan, Garmin Forerunner 15

Seriously, when I run a half marathon, I could eat the world all day afterwards. What is UP with that? Twizzlers at the end of a race? Straight to my heart!

Here are the goodies I went home with:

run Michigan, pure Michigan, Southwest Michigan, Wine Glass, race bib, race bling,
And here are five reasons why I loved the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon:
1) The wine trail in Southwest Michigan is beautiful, and you get to see a lot of it on the course.
2) There was a pregnant woman running ahead of me, and she totally rocked it.
3) The race director added two extra aid stations to help combat the hot conditions.
4) There is definitely wine (and beer) at the finish line.
5) The race was local, so I got to run with a friend.

And, of course, here are a few things I disliked about the race:
1) It started on a grassy field, which meant I also came home with some mosquito bites.
2) For such a steep fee, there was very little at the post-race party besides wine.
3) They wouldn't let myTEAM TRIUMPH participate.

These minor issues (and some knee pain) aside, it was a great morning.
So grateful for my running buddy. Thanks again, Dan.

To learn more about running in the beautiful state of Michigan, you should follow Michigan Runner Girl. She knows all about it. And if you're local and want to meet my running group, check out the Sunset Coast Striders (you'll love them). 

Finally, it's #dishthefit day. To see what my blogger friends are grateful for, head on over to Jill's blog and check out the posts.

Question: What are you grateful for today? 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

#linklove: Good Reads from Around the Internet, Vol. 8

Today is the day. I'm running the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon today. By the time you read this, I might even be done! A race recap will certainly be written, but for now, here are a few links to keep you entertained:

1) Exercise goals are usually based on long-term results. However, exercise can be a source of immediate rewards.

2) I do my best to make healthy snacks and meals for my family. Everyone's definition of "healthy meal" is different, and it's really easy to get caught up in all the so-called rules. But this list of 32 tips for healthier cooking is good. And quite applicable in a way that doesn't require much thinking (or spending).

3) Are you stressed? Do you find yourself stressing about certain things? Like, the same things everyone else is stressing about? Turns out, there are 8 common worries that aren't worth stressing about. So stop!

4) If there's one thing I think about every day, it's whether or not I'm being the best parent I can be. There are certain things I do that I'm sure the "perfect" parent wouldn't. But, seriously...perfect parents don't exist. So I keep telling myself this: These things won't mess up your kids, Tara.

5) When graphic tees sum up how we feel about working out. Want: #6, #8, and #19.

6) I'm on a huge salad kick right now. Like, every day for lunch. But I'm super-inspired to try these healthy lunches that aren't salads because yum.

7) I'm trying to be a smart runner. It's no longer about piling on the miles. I'm trying to educate myself. To build in a way that makes me more efficient. To run with purpose (and tons of heart). So I'll be pocketing these 25 golden rules of running (and hopefully absorbing and/or adding them to my routine).

8) I was born and raised in Indiana, but I've lived in Michigan for about ten years now (which is crazy). You'll never turn me into a Michigan football fan, but you can call me a Michigan foodie. I love eating (and drinking local), and it would be fun to check out these 50 reasons why Michigan is a foodie paradise.

9) As a fitness director and group fitness instructor, I am constantly thinking about the classes we offer our members. Are we giving them what they want? Are making them feel welcome? Thanks to this article from ACE, I've just been reminded about making group exercise accessible to everyone.

10) I'm such a geek when it comes to writing. So for all my blogger friends out there, here's list of writing tools to attract readers.

Question: Have you read any interesting articles lately? What did you learn?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

How to Choose the Right Gym

Do you live in a community that delivers an overabundance of get-fit things to do? I certainly do. From paddle boarding at the beach to hiking in the dunes, to running groups that meet thrice weekly and plenty of sidewalks for walking around town—there is literally something for everyone and every fitness level. Members of my community are also lucky to have a number of different fitness facilities to choose from. You might be in this same position.

The million dollar question: Which gym is right for you? How do you choose the right gym?

gym, fitness, exercise, work out, fitness facility, racquet club
A gym membership is an investment, sometimes even a luxury. If you’re going to spend the money, you should be spending it on a place where you’ll fit in. Sure, location is important. So is price. But if you take those two things away, will you still love your gym? If the answer is “no,” then you’re wasting your money.

As the fitness director at a fairly large health and racquet club, I do my best to create a welcoming fitness floor. This is an end-goal that my entire team shares. We want our members to feel welcome the minute they walk through the doors. We want the to feel like they fit in.

Why do we emphasize this? If they feel uncomfortable at out club, they won’t come in— which means they won’t reach their health and fitness goals. And we really care about our members and their goals.

This brings me to the first question you need to ask yourself when you’re scoping out new fitness facilities:

1) Do you feel comfortable inside the facility? If you don’t, then it’s not the right place for you. Drive the extra five minutes to get yourself to a place that feels like home.

You might ask yourself these questions, too:

2) Does this gym offer the type of programming that I need/want/like? Simply having an overabundance of equipment is not enough. Is there support? Are there group fit classes that interest you? Can you feel the motivation without having to look for it?

3) How are current members behaving toward each other? Is there any interaction? Are they having fun? Gyms can be a very social place. In fact, they should be! Socialization is built-in inspiration and support.

4) Is the staff attentive? Gyms employ a wide variety of staff members, all of whom have their individual responsibilities. But there is one responsibility they all share: The members. Every staff member at any gym anywhere should be ready and willing to help and if they can’t, they should be able to find someone that can.

5) What else is happening? The right gym can be so much more than a place to go and sweat. When you tour a potential gym, find out what happens when people aren’t working out. Are there birthday parties? Free internet? What about food or beverages? Member parties? You might not need these things, but knowing they are available is just as good. It symbolizes a facility that wants to go the extra mile for you (because you probably deserve it).

Bottom line, you have to choose the right gym for YOU (and your family, too). Like everything in life, you have to do what makes you happy. And for those of you that have already chosen a gym, remember to help the new gym members out a little!

Question: Why do you love your gym so much? What makes you choose one gym over another? 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How to Make the Perfect Smoothie (and, 7 delicious smoothie recipes) #dishthefit

It's Tuesday. Time for my favorite blog link-up. Today's topic: Smoothies. So let's #dishthefit about this healthy snack or meal option, shall we? I totally enjoy smoothies, but admittedly, I have not been making them—and I have no idea why. Smoothies are healthy, super easy to make and downright delicious. If your blender is collecting dust like mine is, maybe we can both find some inspiration in the following smoothie tips.

But first: Why are smoothies healthy? Because they're filled with fruit, veggies and all things natural and good. That is, if you pay attention to what you put in them. Coming up with good smoothie combinations is part of the fun, and it's really hard to go wrong.

Back to those smoothie tips.

blender, smoothies, smoothie tips, smoothie recipes, drinks, beverages
1) Cut up your ingredients and freeze them. I prepped a bunch of smoothie bags before I had Evan. Adjusting to two children took up a lot of time, but I had fresh fruit frozen in the freezer (say that five times fast) for when the snack monster attacked. I added a bit of yogurt and a splash of milk, and the whole process took mere minutes.

2) Throw your heavy ingredients in the blender first. These often take more time to process, and starting off right by the blades gets them going right away.

3) Mix fruits and veggies. You wouldn't normally do this, I know. But combining the two can produce wicked delicious results. Granted, the end results might look like sludge, but we don't judge books by their covers now, do we?

4) Add protein if you're making it a meal. Protein is what keeps us full and also fulfilled. Consider protein powders, but choose wisely. Or add a nut butter. Of course, if you're using Greek yogurt or milk, you'll get a bit of protein that way, too.

5) Put powders (like proteins or spices) in between other ingredients. That way, they won't fly all over your blender when you start it up. When this happens, it's a mess and you can never really get it all back into the rest of the smoothie.

6) Add a few ice cubes. Four seems to work well for me. It waters down the smoothie just enough, and also cools it off to perfection. Of course, the more you add, the icier the smoothie will get. Do what works for you, of course.

7) Pay attention to the amount of ingredients you add. That way, you won't be left with a smoothie that's double the serving size. I have this problem, mostly because I like to keep throwing things in the blender. And then, suddenly I'm left with a smoothie fit for three people.

8) Think outside the ingredient box. Try putting unconventional items in your smoothie, like oats or nuts. Chia seeds. And as I said before, nut butters are awesome in smoothies. Maybe you want to throw in some espresso for a kick?

Or maybe you want to try one of these smoothies:

1) Nutella Smoothie
2) Mini Pumpkin Smoothie
3) Blackberry Oat Smoothie
4) Strawberry Spinach Smoothie
5) Healthy Chocolate Milkshake
6) Orange Vanilla Carrot Smoothie
7) Chocolate Cherry Milkshake

Question: What's in your favorite smoothie? Do you use any unconventional ingredients in your smoothies? What's your best smoothie-making tip?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Last Long Run (plus, my half marathon goals)

I usually do my long runs on Saturday morning with my running group, but my sister went and had a baby and kept me up all night (YAY!) so I banked the run for today. I was a little more up and at 'em:

momentum jewelry, aspire to inspire, fuel belt, mizuno wave enigma 5, arm candy, running gear, run chat
I feel like I haven't been running long enough distances this time around, so I was really gunning for at least ten miles. Double digits, please. Additionally, I see some hills in my future so I decided to run a route that would take me up and down a few.

hills, hill work, running route, runner, road
Honestly, I'm pretty happy with how it went. I started out slow, then maintained a 9:30/mile pace for a majority of the run. I hit 10:00/mile around mile 8 and stayed there until I got home.

arm candy, momentum jewelry, running, runchat, mizuno wave enigma 5
AD: Like my bracelet? You can use my affiliate link to save 10% if you want to get your own.

Here's the thing: The hills weren't so bad, which is good because I'm super intimidated by the hills in this upcoming half marathon. A friend of mine ran it last year, and when I picked her brain about it, she said "there are hills, lots of hills...and mile 8 will be hard as hell." I mean, I'm going to be running through the rolling hills of Southwest Michigan wine country. So yes, I fully expected "hard as hell" when I signed up.

Saving grace: It should also be a fairly beautiful course. And there will be wine at the finish line.

runner, running, mizuno wave enigma 5, momentum jewelry, garmin forerunner 15, fuel belt, reebok tank top, selfie
Despite the smile, I'm also grimacing inside just a tiny bit because my left knee is being a little pistol. I think it's an IT band issue, honestly. Which is something I've dealt with before. I came home and immediately broke out my pink foam roller.

Gaiam, foam rolling, IT band, running

Hopefully it won't flare up on me at the race. One thing that might have worked against me today: I ran on a sidewalk that is somewhat uneven, and uneven running surfaces are never an IT band's best friend. So, we'll see.

My running goals for next weekend:
1) Start slow, then pace well to finish strong.
2) Survive Mile 8.
3) Keep the knee happy.
4) Enjoy the scenery.
5) Drink wine at the finish line.

Basically, this:

accept no limits, momentum jewelry, footnotes, running, running shoes, every mile counts
I just have to remember that limits are challenges, and challenges can be overcome.
Time to get through the week, and then...#igotthis.

My week in workouts:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Spinning
Wednesday: Barre Fit
Thursday: 3 Miles
Friday: PiYo Live
Saturday: Rest
Sunday Race

Question: Do you have any race week traditions? Are you racing this coming weekend?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Healthy Snack Alert: Plenti Greek Yogurt (plus, a BOSU workout) #workoutwednesday #sponsored

You guys know how much I love making my own healthy yogurt. Time for a confession: I haven't been making it lately because #life. So I've been relying on the grocery store for Greek yogurts that are packed full of goodness. And lately, my grocery store has truly been there for me with their selection. My current favorite: Plenti Greek yogurt, which I initially discovered at BlogFest.

Plenti yogurt from Yoplait is Greek-style yogurt, but it has whole grain oats, flax and pumpkin seeds, and fruit mixed right in. This means two things: That Plenti yogurt is delicious, and that it fits into my daily routine. This is a snack I can rely on when I need a quick fix. And with eight different flavors, I'll never get bored.

I doubt you will, either.
There is literally a flavor for everyone.
This is what I've been eating:

Yoplait, Packed Full of Goodness, healthy snack

Additional flavors include Coconut, Peach, Spiced Apple and Strawberry.
(Seriously craving the Spiced Apple version right now.)

If you're like me, you love (and need) healthy snacks in your life. I'm constantly on-the-go and don't always have time to stop and make something substantial, so things like snack bars and (obviously) this Plenti Greek yogurt are perfect because they transport easily. I can literally grab-and-go.

Yoplait, Cherry, Packed Full of Goodness, healthy snack
Side note: I'm loving the cold pack in my new backpack.
It's the perfect size for a cup of yogurt.

As I said before, everything is already mixed in:

Yoplait, Blueberry, Packed Full of Goodness, healthy snack
I very rarely eat my yogurt plain, which is another reason I love Plenti yogurt. They put more in—and I get more out. It has a 1:1 ratio of protein and sugar. 12 grams each, to be specific. And for those of you that eat gluten-free, worry not. This stuff doesn't have any gluten in it.

Just healthy deliciousness, I promise.
I mean, seriously, I've had this yogurt twice now in between things at the gym:

Yoplait, Blueberry, Packed Full of Goodness, healthy snack
I took Barre today, had a client...then found myself with some free time to tackle emails and paperwork, during which I noshed on the Blueberry version. Super good. Currently trying to decide if I should throw another cup into my backpack as I head to the gym for round two. I'm subbing a 30-minute BOSU class tonight. This is what I've got planned:

AMRAP, BOSU, workouts, exercises, burpees
That said, I better get going.

Next time you hit the grocery store, see if you can find some Plenti Greek yogurt. If you can find Coconut, Peach or Spiced Apple, definitely give one of them a try and let me know what you think. (Although, truth be told, I suspect I won't like Coconut...I prefer my coconut in candle and sunscreen form.)

For more information on Plenti Greek Yogurt, check out their website and/or follow them on Instagram.

Question: Do you like BOSU workouts? What's your favorite BOSU exercise?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Week in Workout Clothes #dishthefit

I've become a bit obsessive about workout clothes. I mean, the colors. And I'm in exercise clothes all week long, so it's kind of hard not to be obsessed with them. They are, after all, my professional wardrobe since I work at a gym. So I thought it would be fun to take a look at my week in workout clothes. To give you a glimpse of what I like to wear because fitness fashion is, well...due to the bright's just so much fun.

workout clothes, fitfashion, dishthefit, fitnfashionable, fitness clothes
Seriously, there's no such thing as a capsule wardrobe when it comes to fitness fashion. The more I have in my drawer, the merrier I am. Thankfully, good fitness clothing isn't always expensive. And it can last a really long time if you take care of it. For example, I rarely dry my fitness gear. And I use a special detergent.

But, I digress.
You want to see the outfits.
So let's do this.

First up, a running outfit:

workout clothes, fitfashion, dishthefit, fitnfashionable, fitness clothes, running clothes, wave enigma 5, flipbelt, reebok, momentum jewelry, garmin forerunner 15
I run three times a week (Monday, Thursday and Saturday), and I'm usually in a skirt. I hate running in shorts, and at this time of year, tights of any kind get too hot. I only wear them if I'm on a treadmill at the gym. And I always have my Garmin and my FlipBelt on me, too.

And while I like to rotate my running shoes, these days, I'm putting one foot in front of the other in my Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 shoes.

On Tuesday, I teach Spinning:

workout clothes, old navy, fitfashion, dishthefit, fitnfashionable, fitness clothes, spinning outfit, pink cycling shoes, garmin forerunner 15
Fact: I literally did a Google search for pink cycling shoes and the rest is history. I don't wear padded shorts, but I do like "bike" shorts. This entire outfit is from Old Navy, and I'm obsessed with it's comfort level. With the built-in bra and flowing tank, it's a clutch choice for staying cool.

Have you caught on that I'm never without a Momentum Wrap Bracelet when I work out?

AD: If you want to save 10% on your purchase, you can use my affiliate link.

On to Wednesdays. Barre Fit:

workout clothes, fitfashion, dishthefit, fitnfashionable, fitness clothes, puma, vibram five fingers, climawear, momentum jewelry
I don't sweat ridiculously in my Barre class, so I tend to just keep it comfortable. I like this cropped top from Puma. It's super cute layered over a tank for before, after and sometimes during class.

I don't run in my Vibrams anymore, but I do love them for Barre. I'm just not one to go barefoot in the studio. I like a little something on my feet, and these let me stay completely connected to the ground with minimal but effective support.

I sometimes wear my Nike Studio Wraps in Barre, too, but I almost always wear them on Fridays when I teach PiYo Live.

Nike studio wraps, workout clothes, fitfashion, dishthefit, fitnfashionable, fitness clothes, piyo live, momentum jewelry
This is another class that makes me sweat bullets, so I like to keep the clothing to a flowing minimum.

I'm currently loving sports bras with awesome backs, and will pair them with open-back tanks and/or loose fitting tanks so you can see the details in the bra. One thing that stinks about PiYo Live: I don't have time to completely change between class and my Friday client, so I usually switch out my tank for a "trainer" shirt when I leave the studio.

Seriously, though. All of this totally beats the professional, iron-shirt and heels type of gear I used to sport when I was working in advertising. Not only is it all much more comfortable, it's way more fun to shop for.

The obsession, otherwise known as the addiction to cute workout clothing, is completely real. Take me to rehab. No, wait. Please don't.

At least there are plenty of great spots for finding cheap fitness clothes: Old Navy, Target, TJ Maxx (dangerous!) and Kohl's are just a few of my favorites. But if I'm willing to spend a little more, I think the first place I like to look is at Athleta. Man, that stuff is adorbs.

PS: For more cuteness, you should totally check out today's #dishthefit linkup.

Question: What is your favorite piece of fitness clothing? Is there a particular style you're digging right now?

Monday, August 3, 2015

#RaceRecap: @RunWithLogan 10K

It's definitely Summer up here in Michigan. We spent a ton of time outside this weekend. Lunch by a water fountain, an outdoor antiques, I ran a race. It was Logan's Run through Notre Dame. I ran the 5K last year and finished 9th in my age group. This year, I ran the 10K and finished 7th in my age group. I might have been able to finish a little faster, but that wasn't the point. I ran with my mom, and I literally just wanted to run six enjoyable miles with her because we always have fun when we run together.

mom and daughter, running, family, logan's run 10k
The course itself was great, although we didn't get any water until the second mile marker which was sort of a bummer on such a warm day. But this Irish fan loved the scenery. Notre Dame is a great campus to run through. And this particular race is filled with people who (like us) just want to run for fun. Logan's Run raises money for Logan Center, which is a local organization that provides resources and opportunities for people with disabilities. My mom's place of employment is one of the sponsors, so we were able to run for free as they had entries to share.

Obligatory finish line shots:

running, run chat, race day, mother, daughter, notre dame, race medal
race medal, race bling, runchat, runner, tara sabo

Obligatory post-race coffee:

coffee, iced coffee, starbucks, run chat
I've been extremely impressed with the food at Starbucks as of late. I ate the best veggie and brown rice salad when I was out in California, and then picked up this delish cheese snack this weekend to go with my coffee:

food, snacks, apple, gouda, cheese and crackers, almonds
And now, I focus on the next two weeks and last-minute preps for my next half marathon. I ran five miles this morning, the last of which was done on the treadmill to mimic a killer hill. The legs are feeling good.

flower pants, everymilecounts, runner, rungear
I'm running the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon on August 16th. It will be hilly and probably hot. I'm nervous, and equally excited. Let's do it, right?

Question: How do you feel about hills? Do you like running them? What's your favorite way to train for them?


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