How to prepare for bikini season.

Maybe your swimsuit hasn’t seen the light of day this year, but it is definitely right around the corner.. You are seeing them in stores and in catalogs, and many people have already had spring break.

Let’s make bathing suit shopping a little less painful this year by making some simple changes to our diet and workout. We can’t change the terrible dressing room lighting, but we can definitely take control of our health and be a little more confident standing under the lights of shame.

prepare for bikini season

Chug, chug, chug!

camel back

Water that is. Getting into the habit now will prepare you for those hot summer days when dehydration is more common. Also, drinking enough water will help manage your calorie consumption.

Incorporate full body exercises – Using compound moves (moves that target more than one muscle group) will allow you to burn the most calories, plus, doing them in a circuit will double as a cardio workout. So, you are burning fat while building lean muscle. 

dumbbells

Find the right suit for your body type – The right bathing suit can make you look like you just got a boob job, butt lift or tummy tuck. Find one that accentuates your assets and covers the less- flattering areas. Here is a good guide.

Eat your greens – Most vegetables are a good source of fiber, this means filling full longer with fewer calories. smoothie

 Bonus: they have been linked to reducing your risk of many diseases (heart disease, cancer etc.)

Reduce sodium intake- Consuming too much sodium can cause you to retain water, which can lead to bloating. Many processed foods contain too much sodium, so be sure to check labels and if you buy canned beans, be sure to get the low- sodium option.

Steer clear of artificial sweeteners- These will cause major bloating (high sugar alcohol content) and increases cravings.

Get over your cardio crush and hit the weight room- You can run until the cows come home, but if you don’t build lean muscles you will be, I believe the technical term is,  ‘skinny fat’. Lifting weights will not only get you a sleek, toned body, but it also burns more calories after you have quick your workout. So hit the weight room, and remember, don’t be afraid of heavy weights!

Avoid processed foods- Not only do they contain gross chemicals that could have number of damaging effects to our body, most of the time they contain an extremely high amount of sodium which causes bloating. Do yourself a favor and READ LABELS. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.donuts

What are some ways you prepare for swimsuit weather?

Do you cringe every you go into a dressing room? 

 

 

Reality check on processed foods: What they are and how to avoid them.

It’s time to get real about our food, quite literally. We need to talk about what kind of crap the FDA is allowing us to consume, why its not okay and what we should really be eating.

Let’s talk a little bit about processed foods, shall we?

What are processed foods?

Foods that have been altered from their natural state.

Why are they so bad?

Processed foods are altered by artificial ingredients; think not actual food. You know, the list of 20 different ingredients that you can’t pronounce? Well, they’re probably not even real food, but chemicals that give it a certain color or texture.

They are usually high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and I think we have all read the dangers excess sugar in our diet, but if you haven’t- check this article out.

They have little nutritional value. Having been altered so much, any nutritional substance the food had before is stripped away and replaced with the nasty chemicals we previously talked about.

They are usually loaded with unhealthy fat. Think Trans- fat, which can lead to a greater risk of heart disease and obesity.

ways to avoid processed foods

Here are some ways you can avoid these bad boys.

(It’s easier than you might think!)

  1. Make your own salad dressing- Making your own salad dressing is super easy and takes no time at all. Simply drizzle your salad with extra- virgin olive oil, lemon and pepper. Feel free to add any other spices you might enjoy. I promise, you won’t miss the chunky monkey ranch at all.
  2. Cook your meals at home during the week and splurge with a meal (or two) out on the weekend- Just make it a priority to cook meals during the week. Take some time out on Sunday and figure out what you will have each day. Write a grocery list and stock up with everything you need. It may take a little extra time, but the benefits outweigh the hassle, and honestly, it isn’t that time consuming once you get in the habit.home cooked meals
  3. Shop at a farmers market- Try to find a good farmers market in your area. I am lucky enough to have one just a few minutes away and I frequent it at least two times a week. You will find the freshest produce at the best price.whole foodsIf you don’t have one near, stick to the rule of shopping on the outside edge of the grocery store. This is where you will find fruits, veggies and high quality meats.
  4. Read labels- Simply don’t buy anything you can’t pronounce or you do not know what it is. As I stated before, it’s probably an artificial chemical that wants to wreak havoc on your body.
  5. Decide to have veggies and fruits at every meal- Mainly your veggies. I know it can sometimes be hard to fit them in at breakfast, but make it a priority for lunch and dinner. The fiber they provide will fill you up, while providing all kinds of nutrients your body needs to stay strong and healthy.
  6. Stick to whole grain- They are unrefined, which means they have plenty of fiber and their nutrients haven’t been stripped away.

I hope this has shed some light on what processed foods actually are and ways you can avoid them.

What are you tricks to eating healthy, whole foods instead of a pre- packaged option?

When is the perfect time to get your sweat on?

Some people are serious about their morning workout, saying it revs up their metabolism and sets the precedent for the day. Others couldn’t think of waking up a second earlier then the third time their alarm goes off.

People worry they won’t reap the benefits of exercise if they don’t work out at the ‘right’ time of day.

So what’s the truth? Should we exercise before the day begins, or skip happy hour and hit the gym?

best time to exercise

Here are some benefits to both.

Why workout in the morning?

  • It’s true. Most of the time, it will set a positive tone for the day. The endorphin’s you get after a workout will give you energy and boost your mood. Also, you are more likely to make better dietary decisions. Why ruin all your hard work with that donut or burger?

greens  (1280x1278)

  • You will have fewer distractions and conflicts to keep you from your workout. I don’t know how many times something has come up during the day that has kept me from my scheduled workout. If you get it done first thing in the morning, its one less thing you have to worry about.

Why workout in the evening?

photo (36)

  • Waiting to workout will help with making better decisions in the evening. If you meet up with friends for dinner right after a hardcore gym session, you are less likely to indulge in sugary drinks and calorie filled apps.
  • It will help you unwind. If you save your workout for the evening, you can use it as a stress reliever, a way to relax and get rid of the anxiety built up from the day.

So, when should you exercise?

  • The perfect time of day to workout varies with everyone.
  • Your circadian rhythm determines if you a morning or night person, thus the time of day you will have the most energy, and ideally, the most efficient workout.  This article explains it perfectly.

  • What if you are an evening person, but only have time to workout first thing in the morning? Stick with that schedule. The most important thing is getting into a routine of exercise, morning or night makes no difference.

  • Personally, I exercise midday because that’s what works best for my schedule. I do notice I lack energy and motivation in the morning, so I don’t even try that anymore.

    When do you exercise?

    Do you notice a difference in your energy levels certain times of the day?

    Weekly Workout Schedule

    Good Mornin’!

    I hope you all enjoyed your weekend! Mine has been pretty great so far. Yesterday, Charlie and I did something we never do anymore- RELAX! While Joseph was taking his nap, we just sat on the couch and watched a movie. I can’t tell you the last time he have done this, especially during the day!

    When Joe woke up we went to our new Lululemon store! I got the coziest sweater that I can definitely see myself wearing all summer when it gets cooler at night, and a silver 105 F slinglet. Of course Charlie and Joseph had to walk over to the BBQ joint for a beer, blue grass music and cornhole..

    photo (79)

    I would say it was a pretty successful weekend.

    Here is the workout schedule for the week!

    weekly workout schedule 2

    MONDAY

    Start off the week right with a lower body circuit that really will probably leave me sore for days since I haven’t done it in awhile!

    sore-for-days-lower-body-circuit

    TUESDAY

    Balance it out with a hardcore upper body workout

    Upper Body Burner

    WEDNESDAY 

    Change it up with a low- intensity workout and do my barre DVD, which is perfect for days when I don’t want to beat myself up.. ;)

    milehigh2

    THURSDAY

    Nothing like a good AMRAP workout to leave your muscles burning in under 30 minutes

    amrap 7 min_edited-1

    FRIDAY

    I plan on taking it easy. Nothing planned, maybe a walk to the park or bike ride!

    SATURDAY

    I plan on going to hot yoga and do a quick interval run after.

    SUNDAY

    A relaxing trail run in the morning.

    photo (59)

    What is on your workout schedule?

    Upper Body Burner.

    Happy Friday friends!

    photo (78)

    Joe Joe couldn’t be more happy it’s the weekend, and that he is eating a banana baby..

    I have a great upper body workout to share with you guys today! We are combining strength with cardio to burn some major fat, while sculpting your muscles.

    Upper Body Burner

    You will alternate from a strength move to a cardio move, do them back to back with little to no break in between.

    Do three rounds.

    There are three different cardio exercises to choose from. pick one to do for the entire workout, or all three to alternate from.

    cardio

    Upper Body Burner

    Burpee

    Mountain Climbers 

    Plyo Plank March- Start in plank position, bring your left foot to your left hand.while bringing your left foot back to starting, jump your right foot to your right hand. Continue to do this in a plyo movement for the full thirty seconds.

    Alternating Chest Press- Lie back on stability ball holding a dumbbell in both hands and position then above your chest. Raise the dumbbell you are holding in your left hand straight above chest. Lower back down and repeat on opposite side.

    Boat Pose Curl- Sit with your kneed bent, feet flat on floor. Lean your upper body back and lift your feet off the ground, holding dumbbells by your side. Brace your core, inhale and on the exhale curl the dumbbells to your chest.

    Alternating bent- over row

    Tricep Kickbacks

    Squat with twisting shoulder press

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart, holding dumbbells at shoulder- width, palms facing out. Squat, and when you come up press dumbbells to ceiling and twist upper body to right. Repeat on the same side until all reps are completed. Repeat prescribed reps on opposite side.

    Plie Pulse holding dumbbell

    Stand with feet wider than shoulder width apart, toes pointed out, holding a dumbbell out in front of chest. Squat down and pulse (think the smaller the better).

    The best equipment for your home gym.

    Even though I am a personal trainer and boot camp instructor, I do most of my workouts at home. Right now, the only time I have to squeeze one in is when Joseph is napping. This also means I have to get everything done that I can’t do while he is awake. As a result, I have accumulated some great fitness equipment for my home gym. And by home gym I mean a corner in our spare bedroom.

    home gym

    Here are the essentials:

    Dumbbells

    This is the most important piece of equipment, and really, you can get by with just these. You want a few sets in different sizes, that way you can do a variety of workouts, which will allow you to progress at a much quicker rate. Ideally you want a lighter pair, a pair that is a moderate weight, and a heavier pair. As you progress you can build up your collection. Bonus: they are pretty cheap, ranging from 1-3 dollars a pound.

    dumbbells

    Exercise/ yoga mat

    I have four of five cheap yoga mats lying around. I keep a couple outside because when the weather gets warmer, that’s where all my workouts happen.

    Medicine ball

    I love my balls. J I only have one, but it gets the job done. Okay, enough with the innuendo’s..

    medicine balls

    Medicine balls are such a versatile piece of equipment. It doubles as a strength and cardio exercise. Throwing them down or passing them to a partner will work the muscles and get your heart- rate up.

    Swiss ball

    swiss ball

     

    This is a great piece of equipment is great for core exercises. Even if the exercise you are doing with it doesn’t necessarily focus on the core (i.e. dumbbell curls sitting on the Swiss ball) you will engage the core trying to keep your body stable.

    Kettlebell (This on is optionally, but I use mine all the time)

    I love the kettlebell because most of the exercises combine strength and cardio so you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.  Also, they are a full- body workout which is another factor that allows you to get the most out of your workout in a shorter amount of time.  It’s also great for functional training.

    total body toning 2

    There you have it- My list of essential exercise equipment for the home.

    What is a must for you when working out at home?

     

    Healthy girls night out ideas you will actually enjoy doing.

    So this picture was taken at my friends bachelorette party in Atlanta. It was St. Patty’s day so obviously we wore green wigs everywhere, which was awesome for me since I was 6 months pregnant and couldn’t drink. ;) The things we do for our friends.

    This, obviously, wasn’t the healthiest girls night out, but special occasions are for indulging. There are plenty of healthier options for the nights you want to keep it light. Bonus, we still get our wine!

    Mani/ Pedi’s with a glass of vino- What girl doesn’t love a good mani/ pedi? It’s relaxing and makes you feel pretty. Go for a glass of red wine after, we all know the anti- oxidants have great benefits in moderation. Strapped for cash? Make it a DIY spa date. Bonus, you still get the wine.

    Try a new activity- It could be a fitness class you have been dying to try, or a new trail you’ve been meaning to run. Try to find something that’s new to you and your friends so you can experience together.

    Healthy potluck- Have everyone bring a healthy dish. Watch a good chick flick while enjoying them all.

    The Girls Christmas potluck!

    Sign up for a race together- Training is way better when you have a partner. The accountability and camaraderie that comes along with it keeps things positive and fun.

    photo (76)

    Shop ‘til ya drop- Retail therapy is probably my favorite kind of therapy. (Sorry Charlie!) I will admit, sometimes I enjoy zoning out and shopping until my feet get blistered (what can I say, I’ve got lot’s of issues), but going with a friend really is much better. A second opinion means less impulse buys. You know,  ’I swear I am going to wear these geo- print leggings,’ and they remain in your closet with the price tag on them until you give them to goodwill.

    photo (17)

    Drinks and dancing- Okay, I know it doesn’t sound too healthy, but I’m not saying you have to take shot after shot and go on a margarita binder. Choose a couple of ‘healthier’ options for the drinks, then go dance it off all night- because there is NOTHING unhealthy about dancing.

    Froyo- I’m not saying frozen yogurt is the healthiest dessert out there, but it’s a better option than Ben & Jerry’s for a splurge.

    Cooking dinner– Try out one of the million recipes you have on your Pinterest board.  You can feel good about marking one off your list  and can be feel guilt- free after dinner.

    Now that you have some great options, go have a girl’s night asap!photo (77)

    Check out the date on this one. We were so young, but I have to say, we haven’t aged a bit! Must be all those (cough, cough) ‘healthy’ girls nights.. ;)

    What do you do with your girls for fun?