Monday, November 30, 2015

#linklove: Good Reads from Around the Internet, Vol. 10

Hello! Coming at you today with a few great things to read on the Internet. The browser on my phone is full of interesting articles and informative pieces, and I've been sent some awesome links in my e-mail, too. If you're looking for something fun to read, perhaps I can help. It is Monday, after all. And I know you'll need a break from all that is, well...Monday.

Link Love: Good Reads from Around the Internet
1) I've been thinking about taking Hannah to see The Good Dinosaur. She's almost four, an age that can still make it hard for her to comprehend certain things...which is both good and bad when it comes to the media. I appreciate this website and their honest review, and will be better prepared to answer questions (should they arise) when she sees the movie.

2) We might have some sort of stomach bug going through the house right now. Or it could be a mild funk, I'm not sure. Either way, I went to bed at 7:30PM yesterday because I wasn't feeling good. To relax, I did everything I could to focus exclusively on breathing from the belly (like in yoga class) and I swear it helped. Further research proves that there are mind-body healing benefits of pranayama, and that yoga can aid digestion issues.

3) I never know what kind of music to play in my Barre Fit class. Clearly I turn to Pinterest for inspiration, which is where I recently found this list of songs to match any barre workout routine.

4) How's it going with the holiday shopping? If you need inspiration, I highly suggest you check out the 2015 POPSUGAR gift guide. I'll take one of each, please.

5) Who loves Chicago? I do, I do! And I haven't been there in what seems like forever—totally pinning The Everygirl's Weekend City Guide to Chicago for when I can make the trip.

6) I'm still making my way through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I've got a short list of must-reads on my phone. It includes Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, Big Magic, which is all about living a creative life. After reading these 31 quotes from Big Magic, I think I'm going to bump it up on the list.

7) 25 of the most basic (yet delicious) recipes ever. Need I say more?

8) Wanna teach group fitness? Trust me, it's awesome, but it's not always easy (or glamorous). Here are some things you might want to know before becoming a fitness instructor.

9) If you're not yet following Jill Conyers, you need to put her in your list of must-reads. Every post she writes is beautiful and informative. Jill is also an NASM-Certified personal trainer and she's launching a Healthy Living Jumpstart. If you want to start 2016 off with a bang, join her group. I have no doubt that it's going to be awesome.

10) Next time I don't feel like running on a treadmill, I'm going to take a printout of this treadmill workout with me (and supposedly burn 500 calories).

Question: What kind of music do you like to hear in barre classes? How big of a role does music play in your workouts? 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

How the @Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle Helps with #HydrationGoals #ad

Confession: I don't drink enough water. Do you? I don't know why it's so hard for me. I struggle with water consumption every day! I have a gazillion water bottles, but I only use them successfully when I'm working out. Otherwise, I totally forget about them and the water they're holding for me. So when Linqia reached out behalf of Genuine Thermos Brand with an opportunity to review the new Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle, I accepted because #hydrationgoals.

This water bottle is seriously cool.
It would be a great gift for your favorite fit or tech-obsessed friend.
Or anyone that wants to meet and exceed their hydration goals.

How the Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle Helps with #HydrationGoals
I know what you're thinking: How will this water bottle make a difference if I can't manage to use the gazillion bottles (total exaggeration, by the way) that I already have? What makes it seriously cool?

Get this: It has a Smart Lid.

How the Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle Helps with #HydrationGoals
See that port right there? That's how you charge the internal battery.

The Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid has a rechargeable internal battery because it continuously tracks the amount of water I consume throughout the day and uses Bluetooth Smart Wireless Technology to send the data to my phone...onto which I've downloaded the free Thermos Smart Lid App. (It also syncs to a FitBit if you have one, which I don't.)

How the Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle Helps with #HydrationGoals

High-tech, right? 

The app itself is compatible with a variety of Apple products that use iOS 7 (or any subsequent versions). It's free and totally easy to set up. First, you have to identify your hydration goal based on age, gender, height, weight and activity level. Then, you just sync and drink.

How the Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle Helps with #HydrationGoals
The Connected Hydration Bottle does the rest. It tracks the amount of water I've consumed throughout the day, providing the number of sips I've taken, individual sip size and total ounces consumed. It also tells me how cold my water is. And if it's been too long since my last drink, the app will notify me that it's time to gulp some water down.

How the Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle Helps with #HydrationGoals
Back up, though: Why is water so important anyway?

Because without it, our systems wouldn't function quite like they should. Hydration ultimately increases energy levels, regulates circulation, aids digestion and improves skin quality.

Picture a car without gas.
Or the desert sans rain.

It's just really important to stay hydrated. And yet, it's so hard!

It is for me, anyway
But a water bottle that keeps track of my hydration goals?
How fun. And how useful!

How the Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle Helps with #HydrationGoals
The Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid is a totally new way to stay hydrated. It holds 24 ounces of water, and the bottle itself is BPA-free and impact-resistant.

How the Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle Helps with #HydrationGoals
At $59.99, it's a bit expensive, but most tech-based gear is.
'Tis the season to splurge on awesome gifts, though. Right?

To find out more about the Connected Hydration Bottle, you can check out Genuine Thermos Brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. And if you search #hydrationgoals on any platform, you'll see the bottle itself in use.

Of course, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I'm sure you'll see a lot of the Connected Hydration Bottle there, too.

Question: Do you drink enough water? How do you keep yourself focused on hydration? How do you think this product would help you?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

35 Things I Am Thankful For

Today is my birthday. I am 35 years old. I accept this age wholeheartedly. I know it sounds cliche, but age is just a number. I don't feel 35. What is 35 supposed to feel like? Can it really be defined? I just feel happy, healthy and thankful for every single one of my years and the promise of more to come.

To start the day off right, I woke up early to run at the gym. I normally snag three miles during the week. But today, since I am 35 now, I pushed it to 3.5 miles:

Garmin Fitness Gear and Momentum Jewelry
And then I snuck into a Power Yoga class for some flow. I can't normally get into any of the yoga classes because I'm either training, teaching or meeting with people. But today, my schedule was wide open so I made it happen. With elements of yoga in my beloved PiYo Live class, and my recent adventure doing yoga at a winery, I'm newly energized to keep practicing. We'll see how that goes.

Did I mention it's my birthday? #ilovebirthdays
Who is gearing up for Thanksgiving? #wantallthestuffing

To honor both events (because every birthday is an event, no matter what you think), I thought it would be fun to reflect on 35 things that I am extremely thankful for. Some are completely serious, others are a bit light-hearted. They all make me happy.

1) My husband
2) My daughter 
3) My son

Top three. Needs no explanation.

4) My mother and father
5) My mother-in-law and my father-in-law

We are lucky to have four people in our lives that support us no matter what. They are our rocks from which we've learned so much that has and will continue to propel us through life.

6) My sister and her little family
7) My brother-in-law, my sisters-in-law and their little families

The best. All of them. Because never a dull moment.

8) My best friend
9) My girls from college

Sisters from other mothers, for real.

10) The gym
11) My job
12) My clients
13) My classes
14) My employees

Seriously, fitness has given me so much more than good health. It's given me a career, a work family and a home away from home. Every time I show up to work, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I get to share my passion with others on a daily basis. I get to help change lives, and in turn, my life is changed, too. I get to share smiles, jokes, laughs and sometimes even tears with people pretty regularly. It's incredible, this industry (and this gym) that I am a part of.

15) The blog
16) My readers
17) My blog friends

This year was super great for A Daily Dose of Fit. I worked with some really awesome brands, attended BlogFest and IDEA World (dream come true), and met some fantastic people along the way. I don't write for the money or the free products, both of which are an added bonus that I am extremely appreciative of. I write because I love to write. And I love to write about fitness. Bringing the two together in one creative place has been an enjoyable adventure that I never take for granted.

18) Running
19) Sunset Coast Striders
20) Runner's World Magazine

I used to hate running, and now, it's my therapy. Running is so much more than clocking miles or getting medals. It's about perseverance. Proving to yourself that you can and you will. It's about making friends, and joining a team...runners band together, even when they're running against each other. I see it when I run with my club, and I see it when I read Runner's World (which is my trusty go-to for inspiration when I don't feel like running).

21) PiYo Live

I had no idea how much this class would change me. I took the certification course just two months after I had Evan. I was weak and full of baby weight. PiYo Live literally whipped me back into shape. Not immediately, of course. But over time, I noticed a huge difference in terms of muscle tone, general strength and flexibility. It's also given me a huge confidence boost—trust me, memorizing 60 minutes of activity and delivering it in front of a huge class is no small task. I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I did...and I do...and I'm better because of it.

22) Wine
23) Starbucks Coffee

24) The KonMarie Method

Pretty sure my husband is thankful he bought this book for me because I am finally weeding through all the crap that's been collecting dust. So much stuff I don't need! The more I get rid of, the lighter and happier I feel. Go buy the book. Just do it.

25) TJ Maxx

Who ISN'T thankful for T.J. Maxx?

26) Facetime
27) My MacBook Air

28) My safe community
29) My beautiful town

I live where people take vacations. #spoiled

30) Scandal
31) Madame Secretary

Because we all need guilty pleasures

32) Food
33) Clothing
34) Shelter

I won't let a day go by without giving thanks for these three things. Because out there, people don't have these things. These common things we should all have.

35) Good health

Because without it, the things above wouldn't be nearly as joyful as they are.
Me, I'm blessed. And I remind myself of this every single day.

To see what my friends are thankful for, visit #thefitdish linkup.

Question: Tell me one thing you are extremely thankful for today.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Yoga at Dablon Vineyards

It's officially Winter up here in Michigan. We've had a relatively mild November, but it's promising to go out with a bang—snow fell on Friday night. We woke up to a few inches, just enough to send us all out for new boots, coats and ice scrapers. In true fashion, I woke up to run a few miles with my running club.

I doubled up on the socks and picked my fleece-lined tights.

Running in the Snow
The sidewalks were covered, and my feet felt like icy sponges fairly quickly into it.
But it was a beautiful run, nonetheless.

Running in the Snow
Five miles of Winter bliss: Snow-covered trees, ice-capped sand dunes. a quiet and quaint beach town. And me, running through it. Truth is, I'd choose running in the snow over running in high heat, hands down. There's something so relaxing and peaceful about it, I think. You just have to get the layers right.

Or do yoga by a fire when you're done.

After a quick post-run shower, I headed out to Dablon Vineyards in Baroda for an awesome yoga event hosted by one of my favorite yoga instructors. Here in Southwest Michigan, we have an overabundance of delicious vineyards complete with picturesque tasting rooms. And honestly, I've probably only been to half of them. So when I saw that Dablon was hosting Maria (aforementioned favorite instructor), I signed up with a few friends. I hadn't been to Dablon yet and felt this would be the perfect opportunity to change that.

Wine and yoga. #nobrainer

We started out with a short meditation to let go and be thankful.
Then we proceeded into our practice.

Yoga at Dablon Vineyards in Southwest Michigan
I was particularly grateful for the downward dogs after my run through the snow. I rushed to get home, so I didn't stretch as sufficiently as I should have. Translation: I needed this yoga class.

Yoga at Dablon Vineyards in Southwest Michigan
You might think that wine and yoga don't go together.
I think this picture will convince you otherwise:

Yoga at Dablon Vineyards in Southwest Michigan
Balance poses in a beautiful atmosphere, completed by the promise of wine.

And delicious food.

Yoga at Dablon Vineyards in Southwest Michigan
She brought brunch:

• Carrot and Fennel Soup
• Parmesan Zucchini Frittata
• Cheddar Broccolini Frittata
• Banana Muffins
• Fresh Blueberry Cake
• Fruit
• Coffee

So good, all of it. Made even better by great company.

Yoga at Dablon Vineyards in Southwest Michigan
People from the gym, people from the running club. And my best friend:

Yoga at Dablon Vineyards in Southwest Michigan
So much fun. The best, really.

I'm already looking forward to the next email I get from Maria. Rumor has it she's coming back for more (and you know I'll be signing up). For the yoga AND for the wine:

Yoga at Dablon Vineyards in Southwest Michigan
Question: Have you participated in any fitness events held in unconventional locations? Also, tell me, what's your favorite bottle of wine? I'm always looking for new varieties to try...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

5 Different Plank Exercises

I've been a certified personal trainer for almost six years, but my personal experience with exercise goes way back to college, really. That's when I first got into it. And when I think back to all of the workouts I've done, there is clearly a short list of go-to exercises that always get the job done. Today, we'll talk about one of them: Planks.

5 Different Plank Positions to Work Your Core
Who doesn't love a good plank? We do them in every single one of my classes...with the exception of Spinning, obviously...and I make every single one of my clients do them, too. In fact, one of my clients is inspiring this post and she doesn't even know it.

A few weeks ago, she was telling me about an article she read in Muscle and Fitness Hers. (Good choice, lady! A shout-out because I know she reads Daily Dose.) It was a 30-day plank challenge that provided, you guessed it, 30 different planks. She brought the article in and I photocopied it.

5 Different Plank Positions to Work Your Core
I told her she might regret sharing the article with me. *Insert evil laugh (and a smile) here.* But I'm so glad she did because it reminded me of so many planks that I had forgotten about, and it also taught me a few new planks, too.

Seriously, if you're not doing planks, you should! They literally engage almost every muscle in your body. And no, it doesn't matter how long you can hold it. What matters more is that you try, and that you're doing so with the right form.

Here's what you need to remember: Keep your head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in one straight line. Tighten your abs and breathe deeply. Spread your fingertips apart to create a nice, solid base below your wrists. And finally, do your best to relax into the position without losing form.

10 seconds, 10 minutes...start where you can and build from there.
I promise you can do it, unless you have one of these contradictions:

• Wrist, shoulder , elbow or toe issues
• Low back pain
• Pregnancy in the second or third trimester
• Vertigo

Should any of the above apply to you, you'll need to proceed with caution. I'm not saying you CAN'T do planks, but you might want to ask for guidance before you try. Consult with your physician or a certified personal trainer. Both will be full of information.

If you don't have any of the aforementioned contraindications and you want to give planks a try, start with the basic plank position (shown above). Once you've mastered that pose, consider one of the following plank exercises:

5 Difference Plank Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

1) Balancing Plank
It's as easy as lifting the opposite arm and leg at the same time. But it's not so easy to hold. Too much? Start with one arm. Or one leg. Gradually build up to both at the same time.

2) Tree Plank
Essentially, it's a side plank with your knee up in tree pose. You can also grab your leg. This, however, would be an advanced move that requires strength and flexibility. It's also known as a star side plank:

5 Different Plank Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
3) Stir the Pot
Oh, the exercise ball! Such a simple piece of equipment, and yet, it makes core exercises so evil! If you reference the picture above, it looks like a simple forearm plank on an exercise ball. But really, you're in motion as you "stir the pot." Translation: You move your forearms in a small circle.

4) Full Plank on Ball
So much harder than it looks! To progress, start with a BOSU (dome side down). Or maybe a medicine ball. Both of which put you closer to the ground and give you a slightly more stable surface on which to rest your hands.

5) Toe Tap Plank
Planking with your feet on the exercises ball can be a challenge in and of itself. But if you've mastered it, you might start toe-tapping the ground. Alternating sides, of course. Again, much harder than it looks because you can't lose control of the ball. You can do these without the ball to start, then move up to a BOSU (dome side up), then finally move up to the exercise ball.

Seriously, though...there are so many plank variations out there. More than 30, for sure. Some of them get tricky, so you need to be careful. Never work beyond your fitness level—that's where injuries happen. Push yourself, but don't push yourself over the edge.

Oh, and—don't forget that it's #wildworkoutwednesday!
Click the hashtag for more fitness inspiration.

Question: What's your favorite plank variation? What do you think is harder: Forearms or straight arms?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Should you buy Spinning shoes?

When I first started Spinning, I would ride in my running shoes. I knew that Spinning shoes were a thing among avid cycling students, but I wasn't convinced that I truly needed them (and couldn't really afford to buy Spinning shoes). That changed after I got my Spinning certification. If I was going to ride the lead bike, I figured that I should be setting a good example. Thankfully, Santa came to my rescue with a pretty schnazzy pair:

Should you buy Spinning shoes?
I've had my pink Spinning shoes for years and they, to this day, are perfect.
I don't ride without them.

Yesterday, I taught a 45-minute endurance ride (my personal favorite). And today, I thought it would be fun to educate you on the benefits of riding in Spinning shoes. Specifically, what to look for and how they help.

Should you buy Spinning shoes?
First and foremost, you really do not need to have Spinning shoes to take a Spinning class. Most bikes in studio settings are equipped with pedals that allow for both options. To ride with running shoes, you'll just need to slide your foot into the cage part of the pedal:

Should you buy Spinning shoes?
You might already be doing this, or if you're a Spinning newbie, you can rest assured that you won't be the only one in regular shoes.

But, are Spinning shoes right for you? My answer is "yes, absolutely...if you take classes regularly." It's absolutely worth the investment if you frequent the saddle.

Consider this: Spinning shoes are worn in a relatively clean and confined studio. So wear and tear is minimal. Bike shoes are not at all like running shoes. They don't need to be replaced after a certain number of miles. They just need to fit comfortably and securely for as long as you're using them.

So, want a pair?
Here are a few things to consider:

1) The sole of the shoe.
2) The clip style.
3) Overall fit.

Here's a closeup of the first two:

Should you buy Spinning shoes?
As you can see, the soles of my Spinning shoes are smooth. A lot of road bikers have this style, and the three-hole clip system is preferred. But most Spinning bikes use the two-hole clip, otherwise known as an SPD clip, which is what you see on my shoe.

I'll be honest: My shoes sound like tap shoes when I walk around the studio. It's not the safest option, but I'm not walking long or far in them, so it works for me. If you're prone to falling or have conditions that require extra caution, or if you just don't want to worry about it, get cycling shoes that have rubberized soles. The clip is recessed, so you won't even notice it.

Which one to choose? To each his own, as long as your choice is compatible with the necessary clip. Oh, and—you want them to be comfortable, specifically in the toe box. Spinning shoes aren't super padded, which is fine because impact is minimal. You want a bike shoe that holds your foot securely with plenty of wiggle room in the toes.

Beware not to pick a shoe that's too loose, as your foot will fly right out of it, which could lead to injury. Always, always properly tighten your Spinning shoes! If your feet ever go numb, then your shoes are probably too tight.

Once you clip in, you'll notice immediately why Spinning shoes are so awesome:

\Should you buy Spinning shoes?
1) They're quite breathable, and we all know how awesome airflow is in a Spinning class.
2) The stiff sole helps you put more power into your pedaling.
3) They secure your foot to the bike which increases stability.
4) With your feet attached to the bike, you can focus on engaging more leg muscles.

Bottom line, if Spinning is your thing and you aren't wearing bike shoes, you should get some. I promise it'll enhance your workout. A new instructor at my gym finally got himself a pair and said to me, "woah...yeah, such a huge difference."

Fair warning, they can be expensive, but there are literally shoes for everyone out there. Here are a few that I think are pretty sexy:

6 Pairs of Fashion-Forward Cycling Shoes for Spinning Class
1) Pearl Izumi Women's Tri Fly V
2) Giro Women's Facet Tri Cycling Shoe
3) Pearl Izumi Women's X-Project 3.0 Cycling Shoe
4) Northwave Women's Starlight 3S Road Cycling Shoe
5) Shimano SH-WR62L
6) SIDI Women's Genius Fit Carbon Road Shoes

PS: It's #fitnfashionable Friday.

Question: Do you ride in cycling shoes? Can you remember what it was like the first time you clipped in?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

11 Awesome HIIT Workouts

When I first started teaching group fitness classes, I took ownership of a 6:00AM class filled with awesome people. We did strength circuits and they loved it. At a certain point, one of the classes turned into a high intensity interval workout. They wanted more, and I was willing to deliver. HIIT is my favorite. It's so effective, and makes the student or client feel like a badass. (Well, at least I always feel like a badass after a sweaty HIIT session. Don't you?)

This morning, I returned to my 6:00AM HIIT class because the current instructor needed a schedule change. I didn't even hesitate. Teach good people my favorite format? Yep.

Today, since it's #wildworkoutwednesday, I thought I'd share our workout.

But first, what is high intensity interval training? Let me give you the basic answer from the American Council on Exercise: HIIT is a  "cardiorespiratory training technique that alternates brief speed and recovery intervals to increase the overall intensity of your workout." Boom. Fun stuff.

Please note: Before you try anything new at the gym, you need to check in with your physician. Especially when you're increasing the intensity. This style is not necessarily right for everyone as it does really push you to a max intensity that might not be familiar. I am an ACE-certified personal trainer, but that doesn't mean I know what's right for you. That can only be determined with one-on-one time. So, proceed at your own risk. 

Here's the workout:

Find this HIIT workout in a collection of high intensity interval workouts.
Should be pretty easy to follow. 

Working against the clock takes you out of repetition confinement, so really push to see how many repetitions you can do in (:45). Or, if you're feeling pretty taxed, slow it down and work at a pace that keeps you comfortable. Remember, high intensity interval training will push your heart rate and endurance. Train smart, friends.

Whatcha think?
If you like it, you might also enjoy these other HIIT workouts I've posted:

1) 60-Minute High Intensity Interval Class
2) 45-Minute High Intensity Interval Workout
3) Quick HIIT Workout
4) Wall Sit HIIT Workout
5) Reps for Time: A Total Body Workout

As an added bonus, I polled some of my favorite people (fitness bloggers, of course) for some of their favorite HIIT workouts. So add them to the above and you've got 11 awesome HIIT workouts to try:

11 Awesome High Intensity HIIT Workouts
1) 25-Minute High Energy Elliptical HIIT Workout (He and She Eat Clean)
2) Heart Jumping HIIT Workout (Lean, Clean and Brie)
3) The Pick Up Workout (Fitful Focus)
4) #BOSUSTRONG HIIT Workout (The Fit Foodie Mama)
5) The Best HIIT Workout Ever (Bendiful Blog)

Question: How do you feel about high intensity interval training? Do you like to use equipment in your HIIT workouts? How do you feel about workouts that don't use equipment?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What you need to know about protein... (and, a Skinnygirl protein shake review)

Disclaimer: The following post is sponsored by Skinnygirl. As a Skinnygirl Savvy Snacker, I was given product and compensated for my opinions which are, of course, my own.

"What are good sources of protein?"
"How much protein should I eat?"
"Why do I need protein?"
"What IS protein?

These are great questions about protein. I get asked them pretty frequently at the gym and via Daily Dose. I'm not a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist, but I am a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise. As such, I can talk about nutrition very generally without crossing any lines. And that's what I intend to do today regarding protein—because protein is a hot topic in the fitness world.

What you need to know about, a Skinnygirl protein shake review.
Protein is not just a hot topic, though. It's actually very important, and you need to make sure you're getting enough of it in your diet. Most people do without even realizing it, but their sources are not always the best. Sometimes intake is too high, or it doesn't occur at the right time. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's answer this basic question:

What is protein?

Protein is a very important chain of amino acids. I won't bore you with a bunch of fancy science terms, but it's important to understand that amino acids combine to keep the cells in our body functioning as they should. According to ACE, protein "is needed to build and repair tissues. It provides the building blocks for important hormones and digestive enzymes. Your body uses protein to carry oxygen in the blood and is needed for a healthy immune system. Protein is also important for blood sugar control and keeping you feeling fuller for longer periods of time." #proteinisarockstar

Why do you need protein?

Because despite the fact that our bodies can make some of these amino acids, others...known as "essential amino acids"...must come from outside sources. Protein sources, to be specific, like from meat, soy, quinoa, and peanut butter (to name a few). I'm sure you're familiar with other popular sources, too. Like powders, drinks and bars.

When it comes to food, I'm very open to natural protein sources. I am, however, quite picky when it comes to processed sources (like the aforementioned powders, drinks and bars). The fitness and food industries are overflowing with protein options—and a lot of them aren't super healthy.

I've been really happy with Skinnygirl Snack bars in the past, so when they offered to send me the new Skinnygirl protein shakes, I got pretty excited to give them a try.

What you need to know about protein, plus...a Skinnygirl protein shake review.
I definitely prefer to get my protein from whole foods, but as an on-the-go active lady, I need to have backups that will travel from house to gym to wherever I might be going. I don't always get to hit the kitchen after a workout, and for me, "hangry" is a real thing.So I always pack a snack. At just 80 calories and with 12 grams of protein, the Rich Chocolate Brownie protein shake kept me going after one of my Barre Fit classes:

What you need to know about protein, plus...a Skinnygirl protein shake review.
I literally get ten minutes between Barre Fit and a training client. Just enough time to put some shoes on while eating a snack! And when it comes to protein-based snacks, I tend to keep mine in the 10-15 gram range. If something has more than that, it's borderline a meal.

In addition to the new Skinnygirl protein shakes, the brand recently relaunched their snack bars with more protein. Every flavor has ten grams of protein.

What you need to know about protein, plus...a Skinnygirl protein shake review.
And yes, they're all delicious.
But, you can't just eat 10 grams of protein.

How much protein should you eat?

This brings me to a fine line. I don't know how much protein YOU should eat, but ACE states that the general recommendation is "0.8-1.0g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (.4-.5g/lb)." I'll let you do the math if you wish. And remember, the body doesn't store protein, so excess protein is used quite inefficiently. So pay attention to your plate, friends.

Speaking of your plate...

What are good sources of protein?

As I said before, natural protein sources rock. Like the aforementioned meat, soy, quinoa, peanut butter...there are oh, so many options. Some are better than others. This is why eating a balanced diet is good and necessary. Protein powders, drinks and bars supplement those natural sources. You just have to make sure that what you're choosing is actually good for you.

Do you recognize the ingredients? How long is the list? Ask yourself these things when you're shopping. You might be surprised to discover that a protein shake is not always a protein shake.

Skinnygirl protein shakes and snack bars are, comparatively, a fairly decent choice.

Bottom line, protein is necessary. Do what you can to take in an amount that works for you from sources that make sense on your menu. Be sure every meal features a serving, and choose post-workout snacks that offer up a decent amount. Your body will thank you for it.

What you need to know about protein, plus...a Skinnygirl protein shake review.
To keep track of Skinnygirl protein shakes and snack bars, connect on Facebook.

To hear more about my experience with the snack bars, read these posts:
I'm making healthy snack swaps with @SkinnygirlDaily
New @SkinnygirlDaily tasty nutrition bar flavors!
Lemon Frozen Yogurt #sgsnsackswap

Question: Do you stick to natural protein sources or do you supplement with shakes and/r bars? What are your favorite sources of protein?


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