Sweat It Out With a Protein-Packed Snack Attack

There’s a 50/50 chance I might’ve *casually* mentioned once‚ÄĒmaaaaybe twice‚ÄĒthat I’m getting married in the near future. 160 days if you wanna get technical, but who’s counting?

Although I don’t buy into¬†that¬†stereotypical “wedding workout” mentality (fitness is a¬†lifestyle, not some¬†Must. Drop. Two. Dress. Sizes.¬†For. The. Big. Day. thing), exercise does¬†have a prominent¬†place in my routine. That would still be true regardless of this whole bride-to-be caveat…but¬†extra motivation a la¬†Alfred Angelo never hurts either!

post pure barre

That time I dragged¬†the (almost) hubs to Pure Barre…Couples who sweat together stay together, dontcha know!

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not just about¬†turning heads on your walk down the aisle or rocking that honeymoon bikini you’ve ogled for months. Exercise¬†relieves stress¬†(pre-wedding jitters, anyone?), boosts productivity (those guest lists¬†aren’t gonna write¬†themselves!), and influences even more healthy habits too.

Like eating. A.K.A. the other¬†part of this wellness equation.¬†In order to sustain¬†physical activity, our bodies need fuel. Mainly¬†protein-dense fuel which promotes muscular development, strength and endurance, so we can keep moving for longer periods of time. Fact: no¬†snacking repertoire‚ÄĒfor¬†pre-workout energy¬†or¬†post-workout recovery‚ÄĒis complete without this nutritional powerhouse.

Think¬†raw almonds, steamed edamame, roasted chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, plain Greek yogurt and nut butters, for example. Or,¬†need¬†some further¬†“nom”spiration?¬†(Just invented a new word. No biggie.) Check out my Sweat Sesh Snack Attack¬†go-tos¬†for your protein loading pleasure!

protein post-workout snacks

Whether you’re¬†#SweatingForTheWedding or craving a healthier alternative to Cool Ranch Doritos, these mindful munchies just reinvented snacktime. Yup…don’t underestimate the¬†power of protein. This bride-to-be has spoken.


*For even more ideas, recipes and tidbits to pack your diet with protein,  Nuts.com  has you covered!

Netflix and…Don’t Chill!

On average, Netflix subscribers spend about 1 1/2 hours per day binge-watching their favorite shows. Which is 1 1/2 hours that¬†could¬†be devoted to exercise instead. But since the Netflix trend is here to stay‚ÄĒhey, fine by me!‚ÄĒwhy not put those multi-tasking skills to work rather than…you know…just sitting there?

If a show typically runs between 30 minutes and 1 hour, maximize this time by combining your daily Netflix binge with those easy-to-overlook-but-doesn’t-mean-you-should fitness commitments.

So, all you streamer extraordinaires, take a look at these suggestions for some no chill motivation…

stay active while watching netflix

 

1.  Sneak in Cardio Intervals:

  • 5 minutes of jogging in place
  • 3 minutes of skipping rope
  • 100 jumping jacks
  • 50 high-knee climbers
  • between 30-50 burpees

2.  Do Bodyweight Exercises: 

  • 3 minutes of planks
  • 1 minute of wall sits
  • between 50-100 pushups
  • between 50-70 squats
  • 50 lunges on each side
  • 50 lower abdominal curls
  • 50 bicycle crunches
  • between 20-30 leg lifts

3.  Keep Dumbbells On-Hand:

  • 30 arm circles in each direction
  • 30 overhead tricep extensions
  • between 20-30 overhead presses
  • between 20-30 bicep curls
  • between 20-30 lateral arm raises

4.  Practice a Yoga Sequence: 

  • 1 minute of modified bridge pose
  • 1 minute of seated twist pose on each side
  • 30 seconds of warrior 1 pose on each side
  • 30 seconds of tree pose on each side
  • between 20-30 seconds of chair pose
  • 10 seconds of triangle pose on each side
  • 10 seconds of downward dog pose
  • 10 seconds of upward dog pose

5.  Give Circuit Training a Try:

  • during scene 1, do a cardio exercise
  • during scene 2, do an upper body exercise
  • during scene 3, do a core exercise
  • during scene 4, do a lower body exercise
  • repeat during the remaining scenes

 

image courtesy of Pinterest

Alrighty. So, that’s how I¬†tune into workout/streaming success. How do you fuel a Netflix addiction without skimping on physical activity? Lemme hear¬†your fitness tips for a zero chill Netflix binge. And…go!

A Groom’s Take on “Sweating for the Wedding”

If you follow me on social media, you might’ve noticed my not-so-subtle references to recently getting engaged. BUT, if you follow almost any engaged woman on social media, you’ll be hard pressed to escape #SweatingForTheWedding posts.

In fact, this Instagram search yields 171,277 results‚ÄĒtalk about a staggering number of body conscious brides-to-be! Yet, with all the emphasis placed on that “feminine ideal,” who could blame them?!

Since I’ve been tempted to dabble in said fitness fad (hellllooooo…this girl’s gotta fit into an Alfred Angelo dress 8 months from now!), I enlisted my future hubby for his stance on the subject. Thus, our discussion became a blog post.

Check it out, bridal beauties, straight from a guy’s POV:

Sweating for the Wedding

image courtesy of CNDY via Flickr Creative Commons  (changes have been made)

I’m fairly new to this whole “Sweating for the Wedding” thing. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until my fianc√© brought me up to speed once I put a ring on her finger.

Now, after Googling the phrase, I can attest that “Sweating for the Wedding” has indeed gone viral. Brides can get dri-fit shirts with this hashtag printed across the front. There are even water bottles, car decals, sweat bands and more, urging women to jump on the bandwagon.

Listen, I’m all about exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but I also feel this trend could send a harmful message to some women‚ÄĒespecially those who struggle with insecurities surrounding weight or body image.

Not to mention, if these insecurities are triggered by stress, they’ll escalate into overdrive once those wedding plans get underway. I’ve only been engaged for about a month, yet I can already vouch for all the time, energy and craziness that goes into this process. So, with the added pressure of sculpting that “perfect bod”…well, you’re eventually gonna crack.

While there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing fitness, “Sweating for the Wedding” is not a prerequisite for marriage. Your future husband already finds you sexy. He wouldn’t have pursued you in the first place if he wasn’t sexually attracted, right? Exactly. You’ve got nothing to prove.

Men are visual creatures. I am a man, so I’ll freely admit this. But I can also assure you that any guy, who kneels down and proposes, thinks the girl standing in front of him is drop-dead gorgeous. She’s the only woman he sees‚ÄĒguaranteed.

Anyone, who’s anxiously anticipating their wedding day, wants to turn their spouse’s head. However, when this goal manifests itself through extreme workout regimens, it could result in serious physical damage.

I hope my fianc√© knows that her appearance and physique will never disappoint me. From my‚ÄĒokay, biased‚ÄĒviewpoint, she’s the most beautiful woman alive, and my jaw will drop when I see her walk down the aisle. She doesn’t need to impress me…or anyone else, for that matter.  

Same goes for you other brides out there. Imagine how your husband will perceive you that day. After all, his devotion isn’t only surface-deep.

And, if you opt to workout beforehand, make it a bonding activity for both of you. Be each other’s accountability partner, so‚ÄĒrather than just “Sweating for the Wedding”‚ÄĒyou’ll discover positive motivation for long-term health.  No hashtag needed.

******

Can you see why I’m marrying him, ladies? The dude’s a keeper (and my self-esteem levels concur)!

engagement 1

I’m painfully awkward sometimes.

engagement 2

But at least we clean up good.

 

Crunching the Numbers for Your Healthiest 2016

We’re 3 weeks into the New Year, people. How are those resolutions going?

Is your will-power a force to be reckoned with, or does¬†your lack of motivation beg the question, “why even keep up this charade?”

Or, maybe you’re like me and would rather¬†take a neutral stance on this whole “resolution” business. I believe in setting (and achieving!) positive intentions for self-improvement…but those stereotypical “must-fit-into-skinny-jeans-by-such-and-such-arbitrary-date” goals?¬†Hard pass.

In order for any lifestyle change to have staying power, it’s gotta be 3 things‚ÄĒrealistic,¬†¬†fulfilling and¬†sustainable.¬†

Exhibit A: “I will lose 15 pounds before bikini season.” Slim¬†chance for long-term success. No action plan whatsoever…just wishful thinking,¬†fueled by¬†body shame. And, ultimately¬†doomed to fail.

Exhibit B:¬†“I will engage in regular physical exertion¬†and choose¬†whole foods over processed ingredients because my health takes priority.” Now, this meets all the¬†requirements for success. A clearly stated initiative with tangible benefits and definitive follow-through potential. Ding…ding…ding. We have a winner!

So, in the interest of tackling¬†realistic, fulfilling and sustainable¬†(yep, those magic words are back!) wellness goals throughout 2016, I’ve teamed up with Chobani Simply 100¬ģ Crunch¬†and their “crunch the numbers” fitness campaign.

You don’t need an expensive gym membership or unlimited free time to add more movement into your daily grind. If you’ve got a body and about 30 spare minutes, these 100 calorie-burning activities will be right up your alley. Take that, New Year’s¬†resolutions! (mic drop‚ÄĒoptional.)

12 fun ways to burn 100 calories

Special thanks to¬†Chobani for providing the infographic¬†featured in this post. I’m proud to support their Crunch the Numbers campaign to “live life lighter” throughout¬†2016.

3 Ways to Beat a ‘Cold’ Summer {Guest Post}

Those “dog days of summer” are upon us, and the season is synonymous with¬†warmer weather, more daylight, plus the freedom to enjoy every single minute!

Most of us can confidently say we have grand¬†plans in the works to make the¬†most of this fantastic season — with no signs of slowing down. However, one of the quickest ways to bring¬†summer fun to a screeching halt¬†is by getting sick!

While you may¬†think you’re only susceptible to colds during¬†winter, the truth is anyone can catch a cold, anytime of year. Unfortunately, that¬†includes our beloved summertime.

With that said though, check out these foolproof tips for keeping your summer anything but cold this year!

1.   Regular Exercise

Physical activity can benefit our bodies in numerous ways, like preventing obesity or diabetes, reducing stress and improving cardiovascular health. But, did you know exercise can also reduce the risk of catching a cold? Movement increases blood flow and circulation throughout your body, bolstering overall immunity. Therefore, your immune system can rapidly detect cold-bearing intruders and stop them before they spread!

regular exercise

2. Nutritious Diet

Your body relies on the absorption of essential nutrients from daily food intake to function optimally because these¬†vitamins and minerals boost your body’s natural defenses against the common cold. Therefore, eating a diet packed with vitamin C and antioxidants¬†— including berries, citrus fruits and even kiwi — is extremely beneficial. Vitamin C, in particular, boosts¬†your immune system by exciting the production of antibodies to strengthen and support disease-fighting responses.

Additionally, consider eating more seafood this summer — specifically tuna, salmon and mackerel. These oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, compounds that keep your immune system in check by reducing potentially detrimental inflammation.

nutritious diet

3.   Vital Vitamins

If you’re not a fan of fish or fruit, you can still fight¬†colds by taking daily vitamins! These¬†supplements are a simple¬†way to support physical health because¬†they require minimal thought or¬†effort ¬†If you prefer¬†the all-in-one approach, consider a multivitamin that¬†provides the basic nutrient building blocks your body craves. However, if you’d rather focus on the main cold-fighting essentials, here are a few supplements worth trying:

For starters, stock up on¬†supplements like vitamin C. Studies have shown that vitamin C decreases the length of a cold by 24-36 hours. Next, you’ll want to consider a Vitamin D supplement, which promotes healthy teeth and bones, while reducing the risk of respiratory infections and the flu. Finally, enhance your immune system’s ability to fend off bacteria by taking a Vitamin B supplement.

IF

Nothing ruins¬†warm weather bliss¬†like feeling¬†“under the weather.” So, implement these preventative measures for a cold-free, fun-filled summer!


Huge thanks to Vita Living Wellness Supplements for supplying the research, content and graphics for this post.

Why I’m No Longer Pro-Fitspo

Lately, I’ve noticed several articles cropping up around the web — from fellow Bloggers to the Huff Post — all focused on the same controversial issue: FITSPO.

Since this has become such a hot topic in the fitness community, I’m suddenly feeling the urge to “weigh in” and add my voice to the conversation. But, first, let’s clarify why Fitspo is even a thing and what its original intent was.

Here’s how Urban Dictionary defines the trend:

Short for “fitspiration.” Images of active, strong and fit women that promote proper exercise and diet.

So, that’s the purpose Fitspo supposedly aims to fulfill. However, now it’s teetering on the brink of soft porn.

Soft porn that makes you kinda sorta question everything about your physical worth.

(Like…does this REALLY have to be either-or?!?!)

flat stomach or sweets

image courtesy of Pinterest

How did this movement — which should have been a positive and dynamic lifestyle initiative — veer so far off-course?

Hell, that’s what I wanna know.

When I initially heard about the whole “fitspiration” concept, I wasted no time jumping on-board. I mean, here was the confidence-booster we’d been waiting for, right?!

Thinspiration’s healthier twin sister.

Social media’s gift to female psyches everywhere.

Rather than bombarding us with airbrushed propaganda of unrealistically skeletal frames, Fitspo motivated us to strive for “strong” over “skinny.”

image courtesy of Pinterest

image courtesy of Pinterest

Well, in theory anyway. Because that’s where the motivation ends. Despite these so-called good intentions, Fitspo still panders to an exclusive audience. It doesn’t celebrate the beauty of each unique physique but, instead, discriminates against body types that aren’t tucked and toned in all the right places.

Case-in-point: “strong not skinny” is actually a derogatory message. Some women are naturally thin — not eating disorder thin per se, but thin. They can’t change their builds any more than curvy women can.

Nor should they. Stick-straight, hourglass or voluptuous — the female figure is worth embracing, regardless of shape or size.

So, why have sculpted obliques and sinewy biceps become the arbitrary benchmark to gauge our “hotness” levels?

Well…umm…compliments of Fitspo.

Don’t get me wrong, if you do have sculpted obliques and sinewy biceps, take pride in those accomplishments. After all, fitness requires both effort and commitment. You know what though? Sometimes, even the most vigilant efforts won’t turn us all into Miranda Kerr doubles. And there’s no shame in that either.

Here’s the bottom line: I don’t feel inspired by body-shaming mantras disguised as “healthy” workout incentives.

I’m not gonna run a marathon because some Pinterest meme-creator thinks I’ll be spurred into action by Victoria’s Secret angels in barely-there spandex, sports bras and the uplifting text overlay — “Train Insane or Remain the Same.”

image courtesy of Pinterest

image courtesy of Pinterest

Nope. I’ll exercise for ME, thanks. Not a subliminal you-aren’t-working-hard-enough quote, or some sexually stimulating model with an unattainable bod. Those are illusions. And illusions won’t get results.

Society has begun equating fitness with the feminine ideal, but this label misses the mark. Who cares about looking like a superficial slice of eye-candy when you can strive for personal acceptance instead? Exercise isn’t about some fleeting “Dayyyum, girl!” once-over.

Exercise is about vitalitytoughnessexhilaration — both physically and mentally. Fitspo, however, won’t get you there.

So, what will?

  1. Gradual progress at your own steady pace.
  2. And self-love. Yeah, TONS of self-love.

My final advice, then? Unplug from this Fitspo trend. It’s basically just Thinspo with a sportier-sounding name.

love yourself

image courtesy of Pinterest

10 Thoughts Just About Every Woman Has While Working Out

Because when it’s time to get that #BeastMode on, the emotions are raw, the muscles are burning, and the satisfaction is worth…well, everything.

But, seriously. Can’t we all¬†just¬†relate?

1. When the motivation to move simply doesn’t exist:

Sure, blame it on the bod. Seems legit!

But, of course! Blame it on the bod. Seems legit.

¬†2. When you kick lazy’s ass and enter the fitness zone:

workout thought 2

Leg day? Ab day? Cardio day? Doesn’t matter. It. Is. On.

¬†3. When you’ve been sweating for a solid 10 minutes:

workout thought 3

So…Is that a roll or a 6-pack? Definitely a 6-pack.

 4. When the endorphins start working their magic:

workout thought 4

Body = numb. Brain = euphoric. It all evens out!

 5. When you notice that your gym clothes are kinda ratty:

workout thought 5

Finish sit-ups. Buy new active wear. Brilliant plan.

 6. When social media distractions start calling your name:

workout thought 6

Never too sweaty to post a selfie, right?!

¬†7. When you are almost…almost…almost…done:¬†

workout thought 7

Just…One…More. Aaaaaand, nap time. Forever.

 8. When it feels like your hotness level just tripled:

workout thought 8

Exercise: because your confidence demands it.

¬†9. When all that pride is replaced by pain — so much pain:

workout thought 9

Yeah, but it’s a “good” sore. No pain, no gain. Or, whatever…

¬†10. And when you’re suddenly too hungry to care anymore:

Dear, progress: same time, same place tomorrow. But right now, you no longer exist to me!

Same time and place tomorrow, Progress. But right now, you don’t exist

Yep. The struggle sure is real. But every #FitChick knows she wouldn’t have it any other way!