Sweat It Out With a Protein-Packed Snack Attack

There’s a 50/50 chance I might’ve *casually* mentioned once—maaaaybe twice—that 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—for pre-workout energy or post-workout recovery—is 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—hey, fine by me!—why 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—talk 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 fiancé 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—especially 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—guaranteed.

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 fiancé knows that her appearance and physique will never disappoint me. From my—okay, biased—viewpoint, 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—rather than just “Sweating for the Wedding”—you’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—realistic,  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® 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—optional.)

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!

My Top 5 Picks for any Fitness Fanatic’s Holiday Run List

If you’re among those brave souls, who refuse to let frigid temperatures stand between you and staying in shape, here’s a golf clap. I applaud that dedication!

But — sigh! — I can’t sit with you.

Partly, because I don’t wear pink on Wednesdays. But, mostly, because my body and winter weather don’t get along.

In my defense, I’ve spent most of my life in the sub-tropics, so anything below 60-degrees sends me running for a hoodie. If I faced the same conditions  that Northerners (Or, anyone above the Florida-Georgia line, really. Yep, I’m that warm blooded!) deal with on a daily basis, then outdoor workouts could just kiss my booty goodbye until spring.

Fortunately, in my stomping grounds, exercising throughout winter months requires leggings and long sleeves at the most. If you live in a colder climate, though, you’re probably laughing at me right about now. As you should. Your badassery puts my year-round flip-flopped feet to shame.

But, before heading outside to conquer the elements this season, better make sure you’re equipped for combat, right?

Right.

(Or, so I’ve heard. I’m still new at this “brrrrr!” stuff).

The following #HolidayRunList will help you accomplish just that. Although it’s specifically tailored toward runners, fitness enthusiasts of every activity level can also get in on the action.  Below, I’ve featured my favorite winter-ready workout gear — which I may or may not sport in 60-degree temps — that will keep you moving despite Jack Frost nipping at your nose. See what I did there?!

Whether you’re a hardcore marathoner or casual jogger, these seasonal must haves are perfect for running in a winter wonderland. Plus, they make snazzy gifts and stocking stuffers, so you might wanna include them in that letter to Santa. Or, just #TreatYoself.

Since you managed to avoid the Naughty List, and all.

Anyway, without further ado…

My #HolidayRunList (in no particular order):

  1.  Nike Lightweight Tech Gloves ($14.97) — These gloves are made from patented Dri-Fit material to keep your hands cozy, without building up sweat. Added Bonus: the fingertips are touch-screen compatible, so you can easily track your distance, check the time, or crank up your running playlist on a mobile device.
  2. Lululemon Run With Me Ear Warmer ($26.00) —  This ear warmer fits snugly against your skin, with a comfortable 4-way stretch to prevent chafing. Added Bonus: both sides are reversible and provide 360-degree reflectivity, so you can stay stylish, visible, and safe when clocking some miles after dark.
  3. ASICS Lite-Show Favorite Pullover ($60.00) — This pullover top is figure flattering and brightly colored to keep you feeling confident, while working those muscles. Added Bonus: the fabric is climate-controlled to increase breathability and help your body adapt to unpredictable weather patterns.
  4. Fabletics Salar Capri ($39.95) — These capri pants provide a full range-of-motion with smooth, stretchy material that wicks moisture, while warming your legs from the inside out. Added Bonus: eye-catching designs, such as chevron, make these bottoms a sure-bet for effortless street-style, as well.
  5. ProCompression Calf Sleeves ($45.00) — Now for the main attraction! These calf sleeves have recently become my go-to workout accessories. Ideal for a wide range of physical activities, they’re made with graduated compression technology that optimizes blood circulation and oxygenation, supports lower leg muscles and tendons, and prevents stiffness and inflammation. Plus, they’re available in various colors and prints for extra cuteness on Race Day. Read all about the amazing benefits of your new “exercise bestie” — and snag a pair for yourself — on ProCompression’s website. Then, enter the code PINK2 at check-out for a 40% discount (valid until December 15, 2014)!

And, just for kicks, here’s yours truly rocking my ProCompression Calf Sleeves in the pseudo-winter Sunshine State…

ProCompression Calf Sleeves

when they first arrived in the mail

ProCompression Calf Sleeves Resting

they’re not only functional, but fashion-forward too!

ProCompression Calf Sleeves Running

out for a test run…final verdict: 2 thumbs up!!! 

Now, what are you waiting for? Hit the pavement this season without a case of those cha-cha-cha-chills slowing you down.

Plank It ‘Til You Make It!

If you’re in search of an effective full-body tone that won’t interfere with your hectic daily life, look no further than the stupendous plank!

This exercise works both the upper and lower body, sculpting lean muscle – even hard-to-reach “problem regions” – in a super short amount of time. And, for those peeps, who can’t fit a gym membership into their schedule or budget, here’s more incentive: you can literally plank from anywhere, no fancy fitness equipment required!

So, shape on up with these 4 fat-torching variations on the classic plank. And you’ll be good to get on with your day in under 15 minutes.


Two-Point Plank

two-point plank 1

two-point plank 2

  • Areas It Targets: 
  1. Obliques
  2. Abdominals
  3. Glutes
  4. Quadriceps
  5. Hamstrings
  6. Biceps
  7. Triceps
  • How To Do It:
  1. Lower your body into a standard plank position (feet together, legs straightened, back flat and level, elbows locked, and hands shoulder-width apart).
  2. Shift your right leg slightly outward and lift your left leg off the ground until your heel is level with your pelvis.
  3. Tighten your torso and raise your right arm directly in front of you, then hold this position for 10 seconds.
  4. Tuck your navel deeper into your spine for balance, then pull your right elbow to meet your left knee underneath your body (avoid rounding back, lifting pelvis, or twisting spine).
  5. Push your right arm and left leg back outward and away from each other, then return to a standard plank position.
  6. Repeat steps 2-4, with your right leg and left arm.
  7. Do 3 sets of 5 reps, alternating sides.

Side-Twist Plank

side-twist plank 1

side-twist plank 2

  • Areas It Targets:
  1. Obliques
  2. Abdominals
  3. Shoulders
  4. Glutes
  5. Lower Back
  • How To Do It:
  1. Lower your body into a modified side plank position on your right side (right elbow bent and resting on the ground, feet stacked on top of each other, legs straightened, and core tightened).
  2. Support your weight on your right elbow and raise your left arm, bending at the elbow, and anchor your hand behind your head.
  3. Tuck your navel into your spine and rotate your left rib cage toward the ground, pulling your left arm down to meet your right arm.
  4. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then return to a modified side plank position.
  5. Do 3 sets of 5 reps on the right side of your body.
  6. Switch to the left side of your body, then repeat steps 2-4 with your right hand anchored behind your head.
  7. Do 3 sets of 5 reps on the left side of your body.

Reverse Leg-Lift Plank

reverse leg-lift plank

  • Areas It Targets:
  1. Abdominals
  2. Upper Back
  3. Lower Back
  4. Glutes
  5. Quadriceps
  6. Hamstrings
  • How To Do It:
  1. Start in a reverse plank position (hands behind the body, elbows locked, core facing up, legs straightened out in front, feet together, and back tightened).
  2. Keep your body in a straight diagonal line with your hips and glutes pressed as far from the ground as possible.
  3. Support your weight on your hands and lift your right leg with a slow, controlled movement until your foot is level with your chin.
  4. Point your toe and hold this position for 10 seconds, squeezing your quads and core for balance.
  5. Lower your right leg back to the ground and return to a reverse plank position.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5, with your left leg.
  7. Do 3 sets of 5 reps, alternating sides.

Up-Down Plank

up-down plank 1

up-down plank 2

  • Areas It Targets:
  1. Obliques
  2. Abdominals
  3. Upper Back
  4. Shoulders
  5. Biceps
  • How To Do It:
  1. Lower your body into a standard plank position (feet together, legs straightened, back flat and level, elbows locked, and hands shoulder-width apart).
  2. Lower your right elbow to the ground, followed by your left elbow, making sure both arms are parallel, so that you are now in modified plank position.
  3. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then return to a standard plank position (while raising your body, keep core engaged and avoid twisting spine).
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 and do 3 sets of 5 reps, leading with your right elbow.
  5. Switch sides by lowering your left elbow to the ground first, followed by your right elbow.
  6. Repeat steps 2-3 and do 3 sets of 5 reps, leading with your left elbow.

Give the Gift of Yoga!

Yoga is not only fabulous for spiritual serenity and physical flexibility, it’s also a proven couples’ bonding activity. Practicing yoga regularly with your significant other offers tons of benefits: a shared hobby, an inexpensive and out-of-the-ordinary date, an exercise in syncing with one another’s mind and body.

My boyfriend, Brandon, and I have recently started discovering yoga, which has given us even more common ground to talk about and participate in together whenever he visits.

Last week, our yoga journey conveniently coincided with our 1 year anniversary, so I wanted to incorporate this newfound interest into my gift for him. After some extensive deliberation, I came up with the following DIY project: a personalized yoga workout that corresponds to standout moments from our past year of dating, decoratively written on a yoga mat.

Brandon loved the finished product (because…well, he’s easy to please…but seriously, this mat was adorable!), and he’s actually finding it functional too. Mission accomplished.

So, next time you and your S.O. celebrate a major relationship milestone, instead of the stereotypical roses or another been-done-before sentiment, give something totally unique and embark on a new pastime together.


  •  What You’ll Need:
  1. 1 standard size solid colored Yoga Mat (approx. 72″ x 24″)
  2. 1 package multi-colored Puffy Pain Pens*
  3. ready access to your Romantic Side!

*I used Scribbles brand neon Puffy Paint. Find it here or visit any art supply dealer, such as Michaels.

  • Time To Make It:
  1. Roll the yoga mat out on a flat and sturdy work surface.
  2. Using the puffy paint, write a personal message across the top of the yoga mat.
  3. Think of approximately 10 intimate aspects of your relationship (they can range anywhere from silly to sentimental – see my list of brainstorming suggestions below).
  4. Assign a yoga pose to each of these 10 relationship-isms (based on your partner’s yoga skill level, they can be either basic or challenging – I went with basic since my boy is still new to the practice).
  5. Using the puffy paint again, write the first 5 relationship-isms and corresponding poses on 1 side of the yoga mat (i.e. “For every time we _____, do a _____ pose for 30 seconds”).
  6. Allow the paint on this side of the yoga mat to dry completely for 2-4 hours.
  7. Flip the yoga mat over onto its other side and write the remaining 5 relationship-isms and corresponding poses, using the same format.
  8. Allow the paint on this side of the yoga mat to dry completely for 2-4 hours.
  9. Tightly roll the yoga mat back up, then secure it with a ribbon.
  • Ideas To Get the Creative Juices Flowing:
  1. Do you and your partner have a special song?
  2. Do you and your partner enjoy certain activities together?
  3. Do you and your partner have a favorite date spot?
  4. Do you and your partner watch any TV shows together?
  5. Do you and your partner share any inside jokes?
  6. Do you and your partner make fun of each other’s quirks?
  7. Do you and your partner show each other new things?
  8. Do you and your partner swap childhood stories?
  9. Do you and your partner have any “couple” traditions?
  10. Do you and your partner end up on misadventures together?

 And, for your viewing pleasure, here’s what my creation looked like upon its completion (plus, Brandon showing off his moves…eat those hearts out, ladies!):

yoga mat 1

yoga mat 2

yoga mat 3

yoga mat 4

yoga mat 5