What is collagen?

Have you heard of collagen?

If you’re the least bit interested in beauty and/or health, I’m sure you’ve seen it referenced a time or two. It is the newest buzzword in the health and beauty industries… and for good reason!

So, what IS collagen?

Per Medical News Today, “Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons.”

Okay, so collagen is a protein… what’s the big deal?

Well it IS a big deal if you care about the health of your connective tissues… I’m talking joint health, healthy skin, nails and hair, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Did I catch your attention yet?

Collagen is important when it comes to your body growing new connective tissue – that means keeping joints, bones and tendons healthy as well as quickly replenishing skin, hair and nail cells (the quicker our body can replenish cells, the younger our skin/hair/nails appear). When we are young, collagen is produced by our bodies in abundance, but as we age and expose our body to UV radiation and other environmental factors, our bodies produce less and less collagen. This is why we associate popping joints, brittle nails/hair, and wrinkles with aging… our body produces less collagen to prevent these age-related issues.

Besides age, what else can reduce collagen production?

  • High sugar consumption (UGH, I KNOWWW… even more reason to keep that sweet tooth in check!)
  • Smoking
  • UV Rays
  • Genetics

So, what can we do to prevent collagen loss?

The biggest factor in maintaining healthy collagen production is – you guessed it, a healthy diet. Consuming the correct amounts of Vitamins A and C, copper (found in nuts, red meats and shellfish), as well as Proline (found in egg whites, meat, and cheese) can aid in the production of collagen.

Along with a healthy diet, I’ve chosen to supplement my collagen over the past few months. I’ve tried a few brands and while, I do think they work (although it is still a bit early to tell…), they either don’t mix well or leave an awful flavor when I mix them into my smoothies or water.

Because I’m always looking for new health and beauty supplements to try, I was SO excited when AdvoCare announced the launch of its Glow system a few weeks ago! There are three products in the system, one of which is a collagen supplment. YAY!!!

Glow is a three-step system designed to promote the health of our skin, hair and nails. It is comprised of three products – Collagen, Skin, and Hair & Nails, and it has received only RAVE reviews from the ladies (and gentlemen!) that were given the opportunity to test it before it was released to the public.

Glow Header Image

Step 1 is Glow Collagen. This supplement supports skin firmness and elasticity, promotes healthy skin cell function, and helps support natural collagen and elastin fiber production. It is a drink mix that is a cherry berry flavor and my oh my is it ever tasty!! It is much better than other collagen products I’ve tasted!

Step 2 is Glow Skin. This supplement provides antioxidants to support skin health, helps promote healthy aging of the skin, and supports healthy skin quality and structure. It is a single pill you consume daily.

Step 3 is Glow Hair & Nails. This supplement promotes healthy hair growth, supports lustrous hair (yes, please!!), and contains nutrients that support hair and nail strength. It is also a single pill you consume daily.

As I am now entering my mid-30’s (say whattt??), taking care of my body is one of my main priorities. I eat mostly healthy, I exercise, I *try* to get enough sleep (LOL, I’m a mom… yeah, right!), and I supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps my diet may not provide.

For me, staying healthy also means looking healthy. Is that shallow? Maybe, but if products can not only make me look better but also keep my skin, hair, nails, and other connective tissues healthier, count me in!

I am currently participating in a Glow Challenge where everyone is taking the new AdvoCare Glow System for 30 days and sharing their real results. The online group is private and very supportive, open, and a big ol’ self-love fest. We have been sharing photos of our before images this week along with photos that make us feel like we are GLOWing. I am loving this new “challenge” and all of the love and support we are showing each other.

If you’re interested in learning more about Glow, please don’t hesitate to reach out. There is no time like the present to put a little love into yourself and begin glowing both inside and out!

Time for a change!

Tomorrow, July 8th, marks ONE month since James arrived in our world. Where does the time go?!

I would say that I had a fairly easy pregnancy… actually, I take that back. No pregnancy is EASY, but I had zero health complications and for that I am grateful. I was pretty nauseous until midway through my pregnancy however. For me, nausea = ONLY consuming carb- and fat-filled foods like pizza, quesadillas, cheese, pizza, and more pizza. Did I mention pizza? Ha! I was on the carb-loading pregnancy train, and to be honest, I haven’t yet jumped off yet.

My eating is a bit better these days (by a bit I mean I don’t eat pizza once per day…) and I have more self-control now that my body isn’t being ravaged by crazy pregnancy hormones <– read: I don’t give into every. single. craving. my body throws my way these days. Thank goodness because with James, my cravings were NOT healthy, haha! But my eating still needs a major shift back to the healthy side.

I am *slowly* dropping some of my baby weight, or so I assume based on photos of myself. I won’t weigh myself again until my 6 week appointment in a few weeks. I’m thankful that breastfeeding helps me get back to my non-pregnancy normal. BUT I must say that I am more than ready to kick this postpartum booty into gear and get rid of the rest of my baby weight!

Here are my 2 week postpartum photos:

And my 4 week postpartum photos:

In case you’re wondering, nope, I definitely do NOT like these images of myself but these “before” photos are going to make my “after” photos even more rewarding!

Some may say that 2 months postpartum is far too early to focus on weight loss. I say to each their own! I feel good, James is already a much better sleeper than Dean ever was (knock on wood…), and I’m getting back into my fitness routine next week (Eek! Join me for BODYPUMP, Naples friends!). Eating well and losing the extra weight will only give me more energy to be a better mom and teach better classes!

On August 1st (yes, I know it is a Tuesday – I like starting with the number 1, LOL), I will be kicking off my postpartum 24 Day Challenge! I am ridiculously excited for it if you couldn’t tell ;-)

I know I’ve raved about AdvoCare often on this little blog of mine, but I absolutely believe in this program. It works if you work. Nope, it’s not a quick fix or a crash diet. You don’t starve your body. It is a real food program that teaches us how to incorporate healthy habits into a lifestyle. It is sustainable and you will see results if you follow the plan.

You can find my “Dean postpartum” AdvoCare results here.

Whole, healthy foods + supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps = A healthy, more energized YOU!

If you’re looking to lose a few pounds, find more energy, feel fantastic, or you just want to kickstart a healthy lifestyle, I’d LOVE to have you join me.

The products are safe and effective and my supportive and motivating AdvoCare community is the best! If 24 days isn’t your thang, there are plenty of other options – You can shoot me an email (becky@olivesnwine.com) for details or to join me.

I am super excited to start feeling healthy and energetic again and can’t wait for you to feel the same – Let’s do this together!

January 2, 2017 – What are YOUR goals?

2017 is right around the corner and I have one question for you. Okay, actually TWO questions for you ;)

What are YOUR health goals for 2017? And what will you be doing to improve your health on January 2, 2017?

  • Are you looking to lose a few of those holiday pounds? Or maybe, finally – once and for all, shed that baby weight? 
  • Do you want to improve your fitness game? Gain lean muscle mass? See those biceps POP?
  • What about your energy? Is one of your health focuses for the new year to have the same amount of energy you did as a teenager?
  • Eat healthier? Be more active? Feel fantastic inside and out? Fulfill something that is missing in your life?

What is stopping you from achieving your goals? Do you not know where to start? Does it seem intimidating? Have you ever considered working with a personal trainer and/or health coach to reach your goals?

I can’t answer these questions for you, you gotta dig deep for that. I can, however, tell you what program changed my health and life (and many of my personal training clients’ lives) for the better. Are you willing to listen? Maybe you already know…

AdvoCare.

Yup, this company has changed my life and I am so grateful. They released a HUGE announcement today and I cannot wait to share it with you all.

I am SO excited to announce that AdvoCare shared their 2017 ALL-IN 24-Day Challenge with the world TODAY!

AdvoCare has been my choice for a healthier lifestyle going on 3 years (has it been that long?! Read more about my story here.) I use AdvoCare products daily for energy, improved workout performance (BODYPUMP!!), gaining lean muscle mass, and to feel great! My personal training clients have seen incredible results with the addition of not only the 24-Day Challenge, but also the Performance Elite products into their fitness routine. I love that the products are developed and tested by a team of scientists, nutritionists, and physicians, the products are 3rd party tested for banned substances, AND that AdvoCare provides multiple solutions for both the physical (energy, weight management, wellness, sports performance) and financial areas of your life.

I am so very grateful AdvoCare entered my life almost 3 years ago!

So, what’s this ALL-In 24-Day Challenge?!

The ALL-IN Challenge includes the same fabulous products as the regular 24-Day Challenge PLUS bonus items AND free shipping from now until December 20, 2016. *While supplies last!*

Oh, and did I mention a JUMBO BOTTLE OF CATALYST?! <– Can you tell I’m excited? This mega bottle is only available to those who decide to go ALL-IN and is going FAST.

You better bet your britches that my January 2017 AdvoCare ALL-IN 24-Day Challenge has been ordered… Plus the jumbo bottle of Catalyst (obviously…)! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE for you to join me and kick start a healthier lifestyle for YOUR 2017!

The challenge can be customized to fit any health goals and/or budget, so please comment below or shoot me an email (becky@olivesnwine.com) so I can help you customize a package to meet your needs. I would love to tell you about the fantastic products, discount options, and business opportunity if you are interested.

There are so many important health goals to choose from, not only for the beginning of 2017 but for each and every day that we wake up. I encourage you to make the decision to make 2017 your healthiest year yet. It doesn’t matter which program you decide to follow or how small the step, any movement towards health is in the right direction!

AfterShokz Headphones Review + Challenge

I have a fun (and pink!) review for y’all today. A few weeks ago Aftershokz sent me a pair of their Trekz Titanium Pink headphones to review… Wireless PINK headphones? I was pumped to give ’em a try!

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Before I get into my review, here is a quick overview of Aftershokz:

AfterShokz launched in 2011, bringing patented bone conduction technology to the consumer electronics industry with their unique headphones. What sets AfterShokz headphones apart from any other brand is the unique open ear design, allowing users to remain aware of their surroundings while they listen to premium stereo sound. AfterShokz headphones are Bluetooth enabled, wireless (woohoo!), and they allow you to listen to music and/or take a phone call all while being able to listen to your surroundings.

When I look for a pair of headphones to use while working out, my primary focus is running because that is when I’ll be using them! I need my headphones to stay in place, be lightweight, preferably be wireless, provide great sound while allowing me to stay tuned into my surroundings (you  know, to avoid getting hit by a car, LOL).

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I’m happy to report that the Trekz Titanium Pink headphones meet all of my requirements and then some! The headphones are not only pink (!!!), but they are super lightweight. I would actually forget I was wearing them if it weren’t for the music in my ears ;) Even though they are feather light, they don’t move out of place which I love. I don’t need to adjust my ear pieces at all when using my Aftershokz. The design makes it super easy to switch between music and my phone… not that I would need to chat on the phone while running but it’s nice to keep my options open. And – as safety is most important – I like that I can still hear the outdoors (and my running partner) while listening to music. I am always nervous wearing headphones while running as it is very important to be able to hear your surroundings. Thankfully, with my Aftershokz, I don’t have to choose between my tunes and safety!

I give the Trekz Titanium Pink headphones TWO thumbs up! They’re cute. They’re easy to use. They sound fantastic. And they promote a safe running experience. WOOHOO!

#AwareWithPink Campaign

With October right around the corner, AfterShokz is joining the fight against breast and ovarian cancer by going (Bright) Pink! Our limited edition open ear Trekz Titanium Pink headphones are designed to keep you aware, but in more than one way. For every unit sold on aftershokz.com through October 31st, 2016, AfterShokz will donate 25% of proceeds to Bright Pink, a non-profit that focuses on breast and ovarian cancer awareness and action. Every time #AwareWithPink is used on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, AfterShokz will donate an additional 25 cents to Bright Pink to extend the awareness. Spreading the hashtag will fund Bright Pink’s ongoing efforts to educate and drive awareness about how being proactive can make all the difference.

In addition to the donations to Bright Pink, AfterShokz is offering all of YOU a free gift with purchase through October 31, 2016. AfterShokz will send a hard storage case as an additional gift for every purchase of Trekz Titanium Pink to the Fit Approach community. Just add the small portable storage case to your cart, and use code PinkGift at checkout to grab yours for FREE! YAY!! 

You can order your AfterShokz here.

Have you ever worn AfterShokz headphones? What is your favorite music to listen to while running?

Burn Boot Camp {BBC} – Review

I have one day left in my 30-day Burn Boot Camp trial, so I thought today would be the perfect time to review my experience there. I’ve had enough time at Burn to get a good feel for the workouts and trainers and right now, the last month is still fresh in my totally burned-out mama brain… See what I did there?! ;)

For those that are not familiar with Burn Boot Camp, it is a female-only gym that offers high intensity workouts. No two workouts are ever the same and each workout is led by well-trained coaches.

Burn Boot Camp™ – Fit Community of Moms

My overall experience has been AWESOME! The workouts are efficient and effective and offered at multiple times to fit most schedules. The trainers are also informed and provide great coaching. That being said, I like to break down reviews into “pros” and “cons” to give everyone a full understanding of what I love and what I think could use some improvement.

Let’s start with the pros…

– The workouts! Holy moly, the workouts are QUICK (45 minutes start to finish), fun (if you like to torture yourself, LOL), and most definitely effective. I really like the fast pace, the ever-changing routines (no day is ever the same), and the focus on specific muscle groups/types of training. If you’re looking for a great workout in a group atmosphere, Burn will definitely force you to push yourself and it will provide results with fantastic workouts. The same workout is offered 8x daily each weekday and twice on Saturdays. That gives members multiple times to attend and fits almost any schedule.

– The bouncy mat. Okay, “bouncy mat” isn’t the official name of the floor, but basically Burn’s fitness floor has some bounce to it (while still being firm). The bounce makes all of the jumping they require much easier on your joints which I’m sure I’ll appreciate in my old age ;) It is covered in a carpet-like material which makes it easier on your elbows/knees during floor work.

– Child care. As a mom, any gym/fitness center that doesn’t offer a child care center is officially out of my scope. I gotta do something with the Deany while I get my fitness on. The play area has always been clean and well staffed and Dean seems to have a great time there while I workout.

– Female-only atmosphere. While this isn’t super important to me, I can see how some women prefer to workout without men. It can be intimidating and make someone self-conscious if they feel they are being watched and/or judged in a gym setting.

– Nutrition meetings. I LOVE the concept of this (although I do think they suggest calorie counts that are a bit too low). We all know that you can’t out train a bad diet and I like that they do try to coach members on good eating habits.

And now for the cons…

– Cleanliness. Let me start out by stating that I am most definitely NOT a germophobe. I work in a gym setting. I have a kid (germy little critters…). I have a dog (also germy little critters…). Germs don’t scare me and we need exposure to some germs to keep our immune systems strong. That being said, the “bouncy mat” I referred to above disgusts me when I think about how many women sweat on them daily. With the number of bootcamps offered daily, I think the mat should be cleaned at least once, if not twice, daily. A friend of mine asked and was told that the mat is only cleaned twice per week. GROSS. All of the sweaty germs residing in that mat make me cringe… Especially because my shoulders have been breaking out (and they rarely break out) non-stop since I began my trial membership. Blech!

– Product pushing. I get it, the gym needs to make a profit, but pushing products is not the way to go about that in my opinion. Before and after every class (and during their one-on-one nutrition meetings), shakes and other products are mentioned if you want to see “best results.” While they don’t force products on you, they do make you feel that if you don’t use them, you won’t see results. When I was asked about the products in my one-on-one meeting, I told them that I used AdvoCare performance products and they left me alone after that :)

– Macro counts. Burn recommends a daily macro count of 45% protein, 35% carbs, and 20% fat. While I agree that those macros WILL get you results, I absolutely do not believe they are sustainable. I find it very difficult to consume that much protein on a daily basis, and at least personally, I need a high percentage of carbs to function at my highest level. I would definitely follow that macro breakdown for a short period of time, but day-to-day? It wouldn’t be possible for me.

– The amount of jumping. While jumping/plyometrics is a GREAT way to burn a lot of calories and see results quickly, you have a gym full of women – many of which have been pregnant/given birth… Jumping is NOT a good thing. Pee happens. LOL. Think back to the germs in the bouncy mat. Gross, yes? Anyways, back to jumping. I think some jumping is good to incorporate into a workout but a warm-up or finisher of tuck jumps, jumping jacks, squat jumps, etc. is not good on the ol’ bladder. Yikes.

– Price. $150/month if you sign a 12-month contract. $175 month-to-month. Wowzers. If it weren’t for the price, I most definitely would have joined but there is no way I can justify the cost when I have access to multiple other gyms in town for free.

Like I said, I would 100% join burn regardless of the germs and jumping if it weren’t for the price. I love the workouts and the atmosphere is super positive and motivating!

Have you tried Burn? What are the things you like the least and the most about your current gym/group fitness program?

My experience with carb cycling

I received quite a few requests for a post on my experience with carb cycling after mentioning it last week. Now that I’m in the midst of round #2 – and feel like I have enough experience to be somewhat knowledgeable! – I thought today would be a great time to share the ins and outs of carb cycling with y’all.

Before I get started, I have a few caveats…

  1. Carb cycling is NOT a lifestyle – well, I suppose it may be if you are prepping for a bikini competition but most of us do not fall into that category. It is meant to be a short term eating plan that will provide fast results.
  2. I will not be sharing the specific plan that I am following. If you’d like further details on that plan, please reach out to me via email (becky@olivesnwine.com) or request information in the comments below.
  3. Carb cycling is not for everyone (particularly those who are pregnant/nursing), but it DOES work for everyone if they choose to give it a try.

Okay, phew – Now that those points are out of the way, here is my experience with good ol’ carb cycling.

Carb cycling

Let me begin with answering the question, What IS carb cycling??

In a nutshell, carb cycling is alternating days of consuming a lower carb diet and a higher carb diet without decreasing overall calorie consumption. On lower carb intake days, individuals should increase their fat/protein intake to keep calories at their goal consumption level. There are different ratios/styles for high and low carb days that I will mention later on in this post, but the desired goal is to get your body to burn fat rather than your carb intake for fuel. This results in body fat loss and major muscle poppin’!

At first I was skeptical about the whole carb cycling trend (to be honest, I am still give the side eye to programs that last more than a handful of days because as I mentioned, it is NOT a lifestyle and should only be used short term…), but I decided to give it a try when I found a program that was only 13 days in length and allowed me to adjust the high to low carb days as I saw fit. I also wanted to burn through my milk supply (AKA decrease it to ZERO) as quickly as possible and drastically reducing your carbs will do that… anything for comfort, haha!

What were/are my carb cycling goals?

As I eluded to above, one of my goals was to decrease my milk supply. I also wanted to see more muscle tone throughout my body by decreasing my body fat. Finally, I didn’t want to feel restricted/bored with eating. I hate to disappoint, but I didn’t measure my body fat prior to beginning my program so I can’t report on body fat loss BUT others who have followed the same program as I did have lost more than 5% of their body fat during the 13 days (say what?!). I DID see a huge increase in my muscle tone so I know I did decrease my body fat percentage, but unfortunately I can’t report on how much I actually lost. BUMMER.

My milk supply definitely decrease – Not 100% as I had hoped, but it shrunk drastically. THANK GOODNESS. This is why I do not recommend and highly discourage nursing mothers from carb cycling. You need those carbs and the nutrients they provide your body to make the best milk for your baby.

I did feel slightly bored when it came to eating. Protein and fat. Fat and protein. UGH. Part of the reason I was bored was because Kyle was out of town and I am extremely lazy with meal prep/recipes when he is gone. I hate cooking for one… Now that he is here while I am carb cycling, I have found quite a few delicious recipes (particularly on Skinny Taste!) that meet requirements and will definitely not bore my taste buds. Thankfully, the program I followed was only 13 days in length and considering I’m doing it again, it must mean it wasn’t THAT bad ;)

What plan did I follow? What did my macro intake look like?

Like I mentioned above, my plan was 13 days in length. I followed a 2:1 ratio (two lower carb days to one higher carb day) and know others on the plan who have followed a 3:1 ratio with insanely great results. I have a friend who recently decided to do a 1:1 ratio and she was even impressed with her results <– I’m sharing this to illustrate you don’t need to do anything drastic in terms of carb cycling to see changes in your body.

As an example, I would have a lower carb intake on Monday and Tuesday followed by a higher carb day on Wednesday and then return to lower carb intake on Thursday and Friday. Starting on Day 9, I really had to mentally prepare myself to follow the plan. Items I don’t normally consume – think cupcakes, pretzels, etc. – started sounding super appealing!

Anyways, to my macros… On lower carb days, I aimed to consume between 50-75g of carbs and on my higher carb days, my goal was 150-175g carbs. I was by no means perfect and fell out of goal range more than a few days. Also, I should note that 30-40 of these carbs were fiber so they don’t technically count in my overall consumption number. I didn’t have fat/protein macro goals, I just ate until I fulfilled my daily calorie goal of 1,750-1,850.

As a side note, I have seen other thoughts on carb cycling and ratios that are along the lines of 1:1:1 with one super low carb day, one medium carb day and one high carb day. Individuals find what works best for their body type and adjust from there. I think as long as you find something that works for you (and doesn’t harm your body while doing it), go for it! There isn’t necessarily a right or a wrong way to do this.

My results?

Like I mentioned, I sadly don’t have any body fat percentage numbers to share (whomp, whomp…) BUT I did weigh myself and was down just under 5 pounds during those 13 days. Some of that was most definitely water weight, but considering how much my muscle tone improved, I know some was body fat loss. I didn’t have a lull in energy like some report while carb cycling. Overall, I was impressed with how great I felt and how my muscles looked.

Final thoughts on carb cycling…

I really like it! I am a tried and true “carb girl” so if I can complete this program, ANYONE can complete this program. I realized that a lot of the carbs I have been consuming have been junk carbs. I’m all about fruits and vegetables and whole grains, but processed foods are never a great way to consume carbohydrates. The main negative I can think of is the amount of NUTS you consume during the 13 days, LOL. If I see another almond in my near future, it ain’t going to be pretty ;)

Carb cycling will provide FAST results. If you’re wanting to see more muscle definition for an event or a vacation – or if you’re looking to shed body fat quickly, carb cycling is most definitely something you should look into. Obviously some of the weight is going to return if you go back to crazy high carb consumption and/or eating a lot of processed foods, but if you follow a mostly healthy eating plan, your results should stick.

I hope this post helps to clarify some of the carb cycling questions y’all have! Again, please reach out if you want further details on my specific program or if you have additional questions. I’d love to help if I can!

Workout Wednesday

It’s Workout Wednesday, party people!!!… er, workout people? Fitness people? Party people sounds a heck of a lot better if you ask me ;)

Can I tell you about my morning for a minute? Yes? (Not that you have a choice in the matter…)

Okay, so I meant to get this post up bright and early today but a few things happened. First, I subbed a few classes and taught back-to-back Spinning then BODYPUMP then Spinning again. HELLO legs. Holy majoly that was difficult. But that isn’t really part of my story…

As I was teaching my first Spinning class of the day – and nearing the end of class, thank goodness! – I see my gym’s CEO stroll into the fitness room across the hall. You guys. Our CEO DOES NOT casually stroll into our group ex room unless there is an emergency. I’m certain my face looked something like the gritted teeth emoji as I hurriedly finished class and then sprinted across the hall to figure out what the heck could be the issue with group ex that needed our CEO’s attention.

Turns out the sound system in one of our busiest rooms decided to stop working. And my IT guy is out for the remainder of the week. FUN. I managed to scrounge up a couple of makeshift speakers for the instructor and then sprinted my booty to BODYPUMP. I was flustered but taught a pretty darn good class (except for the lunge track – sorry guys!) if I do say so myself… even if my legs wanted to fall off. Then it was back to Spinning.

THEN I ATE ALL THE FOOD. Well, a PB sammie, Post Workout Recovery in chocolate (because it tastes like chocolate milk – yummooooo) and a Quest Bar. So, not all the food but I forgot my wallet at home and that’s what I had in my bag. I survived.

Oh, and have I mentioned that I’m currently on antibiotics for my never ending cold turned upper respiratory infection that are wrecking havoc on my stomach? Food is not agreeing with me right now (not convenient when you teach 3 classes in a day…) and each time I eat, I bloat up like I’m 6 months pregnant. SUPER fun. And painful. But my head and chest are feeling MUCH better and that is what counts, right? All I know is that Augmentin should be recategorized as a diet pill… Since it’s preventing me from eating without pain, I’ll probably be super skinny by the time I’m done with my treatment, LOL.

Anyways, I digress. Moral of the story? There is no moral, ha. I should just anticipate everything breaking when I am unable to help (AKA in the middle of class) and our IT department is out of the office. Murphy’s Law, right?

Back to the topic at hand, WORKOUT WEDNESDAY! (Party people ;) Ha!) I’ve been contemplating writing a little series on Wednesdays – probably not EVERY Wednesday considering my current posting habits, but possibly every other Wednesday – about fitness and workouts and all that jazz. Whatcha think? Yay? Nay? I think I’ll start by focusing on a specific exercise each week that I tend to see performed incorrectly with my clients and/or in the gym. I’ll explain proper form and (hopefully) provide photos to help y’all do the exercise safely and effectively! AND I’ll give y’all a little workout to finish out the post.

Let me know your thoughts and if there are any exercises you’d like me to focus on first!

Spring Fitness Fashion + Discount Code!

At the beginning of February, I participated in a fun Instagram challenge with Fit Approach and prAna – The #PoseofTheDay challenge for prAna’s spring clothing line.

I’m always up for a challenge and incorporating yoga into my life always provides positive benefits. Who couldn’t use a little extra stretching and zen in their lives?!

Check out a few of my yoga poses (FYI – My form is definitely not perfect… I’m a yoga work in progress ;) ) from the challenge:

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You can find all of my poses on my Instagram account.

As a gift for participating in the challenge, prAna sent me a gorgeous new pair of their Ashley Capri Leggings in Azalea. What a gorgeous pink color, right?

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These leggings are part of their new spring line (I want everyyyyything!) and I couldn’t love them more! I was a bit hesitant to try out a pair of solid colored leggings that were not my typical black. Sometimes the material is NOT flattering and I was worried these leggings would look awful once I put them on. I’m thankful that was not the case – The material hides all of my bumps and lumps – LOL – and the pants look great on. Plus, I mean, they’re pink… That’s never a bad thing ;)

Now that I wear active wear to work day in and day out, I’m always looking for new pieces to incorporate into my wardrobe. These pants are great for yoga (obviously!) but also great for classes I teach like HIIT, BODYPUMP, and Spinning. They don’t move or twist or change position which I definitely appreciate when I’m teaching in front of 30 people! The Ashley Capri Leggings are also great to wear for errand day (they look awesome with a chambray button up shirt) or a day of lounging around the house.

A few other pieces I love from prAna’s new spring line include the Roxanne Capri (super fun designs), the Emma Knicker (perfect for the beach), and the Sutra Shirt (hello casual Saturday).

Another thing I especially love about prAna is their focus on sustainability. Before this challenge, I had no familiarity with bluesign or that prAna was committed to environmentally-friendly apparel production. What is bluesign, you ask?

Per the bluesign website:

The bluesign® system is the solution for a sustainable textile production. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for an environmentally friendly and safe production. This not only ensures that the final textile product meets very stringent consumer safety requirements worldwide but also provides confidence to the consumer  to acquire a sustainable product.

Pretty interesting, right? I’m all about protecting our planet for future generations and am happy to support the process with my clothing purchases.

Thanks for making great clothing AND for supporting sustainability, prAna!

Now, what y’all have been waiting for… A discount code! You can save 15% off of prAna’s new spring line (and any of their gear) by using the code: PSSS16ONW 

Let me know what you’re going to purchase!

Have you ever participated in a yoga challenge? Do you focus on sustainable practices when making purchases? What is your favorite item from prAna’s spring line?

Baby Strong Workout – Review and Discount!

If you’ve been following my Instagram account, you know that Dean and I have been participating in the Baby Strong Workout Challenge! We were challenged to workout together for 5 days… And let me tell you, working out with an almost 9-month old is fun yet quite challenging at times ;)

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I’m excited to share my thoughts on the Baby Strong Workout Challenge today and give y’all a discount code so you can try it out for yourself!

But first, a little about Baby Strong Workout:

Baby Strong Workout is a fun, effective workout option that helps moms of all sizes, shapes and fitness levels feel strong, healthy, happy and confident.

Baby Strong Workout is an innovative deck of “mommy and me” exercise cards that incorporate your baby in every single exercise. Baby is held by you the entire time, either as your weight during resistance exercises or in your arms while you stretch and strengthen. No more choosing between baby care and mommy care. Take care of baby while you take care of yourself. Build functional strength so you can do all of the things you need and want to do as a mom.

Each Baby Strong deck includes individual exercise cards and a series of pre-made workouts. You can do one-off exercises, put together your own workouts or try the pre-made ones. You’ll get a great workout no matter what!

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While I can’t share specific workouts with you, I can say that each workout and exercise was definitely hard work. I think that I have a fair amount of exercise experience by teaching group fitness and the Baby Strong Workouts were most certainly difficult!

Now, let’s chat about what I loved and what posed a few difficulties for me with the workouts…

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Pros:

  • The deck of cards with workouts <– LOVED the cards!! Not only did Dean like to chew on them (LOL), they are baby-proof and will survive a bit of slobber. The deck is also small and easy to throw into a suitcase, diaper bag, or gym bag. The words and images on each card are large enough to see from a distance and they describe each exercise with the perfect amount of detail.
  • The exercises are easy to follow. You don’t need to have prior training knowledge in order to complete the workouts which is great for mama’s who don’t have time to talk with a trainer prior to working out. There is an introduction that explains proper form and then each card shows you exactly how to perform the move.
  • Baby Strong Workout offers A TON of variety! I don’t know about you, but I get bored doing the same workouts over and over and over again. I love that you can switch it up quite easily by forming your own workouts with the deck of cards.
  • Convenience – With a baby, convenience is everything. All you have to do for these workouts is pull out a deck of cards! No DVD, no gym… It’s as easy as walking to your bookshelf. Plus, they’re easy to carry while you’re trying to hold an infant as well ;)

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Cons:

  • Sometimes babies do not want to participate <– This doesn’t really have anything to do with the workouts but it’s more just an FYI to be flexible with your little one and understand that if you plan on a 9am workout, sometimes it may be 1pm before it happens ;)
  • Unless you have a very baby-friendly gym, these workouts should be done at home. This isn’t really a con, just an FYI.

Overall, I give Baby Strong Workout two thumbs up – or two biceps flexed?! (Hahahahahah – I crack myself up!) It is a great workout for mama’s of all fitness levels and it is fun to workout with your baby in your arms!

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Now, for the discount code! You can try Baby Strong Workout for yourself and save 20% with the discount code: “sweatpink”.

Let me know if you try it!

This post is sponsored by Baby Strong Workout and Fit Approach. All opinions – and the little dude – are my own :) Thank you for your support!

March 2016 CORE Bootcamp!

If you’re in my Fit Squad Facebook group, you’ve already seen this announcement… And if you’re not a member, WHY NOT?! Let me know and I’ll get you in!

I’m launching my FIRST EVER core bootcamp in March – Woohoo!

March 2016 Core Bootcamp

Get excited!

This bootcamp can be done at home or in the gym and only requires minimal equipment, a yoga mat and a 10 pound weight. The workouts will be QUICK and EFFECTIVE and will increase your core strength over a 4-week timeframe.

I’m super excited for this bootcamp to begin! I know my core can always use some extra work and I’m looking forward to coaching a fun group starting in March.

While I’m still working on finalizing the workouts, rumor has it there will be a plank challenge involved… hehehe ;)

If you would like more information or you want IN, shoot me an email or leave a comment below.

 

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