5 Workplace Secrets To Stop The 3pm Energy Slump

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Being at work for 9-5pm can be exhausting! Then consider that you’re sitting for a large portion of the day and you may have even rushed your way through breakfast, if you even ate it at all, and now you’ve got a recipe for the common 3pm slump!

The truth of the matter is that you don’t have to experience that late afternoon dip in energy if you follow a few simple rules that I’ve used when working on Wall Street. Keep in mind they’re simple but they’re also going to require you to me mindful during the day of what time it is and what you choose to eat and drink.


With that said, enjoy my top 5 workplace secrets:

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Sit down and eat a protein rich breakfast. This is not the time of day to skip a meal or hurry and eat something on the go. Nothing predicts the kind of energy you’re going to have in the afternoon more than your breakfast routine! A breakfast eaten calmly that is packed with protein and healthy fats sets you up for a productive, energized day. Smart breakfast options are organic eggs, avocado, sliced tomato and a handful of nuts or organic bacon, eggs and side of spinach. You can also go for a clean vegan protein shake with frozen blueberries, almond butter and a handful of baby greens.

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Drink more water. Most people are chronically dehydrated and they don’t even realize it. Drinking caffeinated liquids such as coffee, black tea or even soft drinks actually dehydrates the body. A dehydrated body is a tired body. By starting the morning with a 20 ounce glass of water you will rev your metabolism and get your body ready for a busy day at the office. A good rule of thumb is to drink ½ your bodyweight in ounces every day if not more on hot days (200 lb person needs 100 ounces of water).

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Take a mid-morning break. Most people don’t think about taking breaks from what they’re doing once they get to work. The stress of a super jam packed day without giving the body a physical break will cause cravings for energy in the form of sugar and caffeine. Sugar and caffeine will give you an initial energy boost followed by a mid-afternoon slump. By giving the body a break and going for a brief walk you can get circulation moving and have an energized afternoon.

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Skip the office donuts and grab an organic apple instead! When you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy. The problem with grabbing the donut is that they will cause a spike in blood sugar (that high you feel right after eating something sweet) followed by a mid-afternoon crash. By eating an apple, you get just the right amount of natural sugar to give you an energy boost and it’s packed with vitamins and minerals to support the body’s natural energy!

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Avoid the office gossip. What people don’t realize is that negativity in the workplace can zap your energy and cause a huge energy slump! By hanging around uplifting colleagues and speaking only highly of those you work with, or keeping quiet if there is nothing nice to say about someone, will absolutely impact how you feel as the day starts to wind down. Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself and see. Uplifting words produce uplifting energy!

So there you have it, the secret to having the same energy you walked into the office with at 9am that you do when leaving at 5pm or later! Keep in mind following these tips is like riding a bike. It will take practice and patience and for sure you will have setbacks and “fall down a lot”, but I promise if you follow them consistently, over time you will notice a difference in your energy and even your late night cravings!  

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A Holistic Connection Between Mind and Body

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In order to be truly healthy, you need to balance both physical and mental aspects of your life; true health is not just about eating right or exercising a lot but also about thinking positively. Moreover, one affects the other, so if you want a healthy body, you must have a healthy mind and vice versa.

So, if you’d like to know what you can do to improve this connection between your body and mind, here are a couple of suggestions that might help you.

Relax As Much As You Can

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Avoiding stress can sometimes be quite difficult, which is why you should have ways of de-stressing when it starts to overwhelm you. One of the most effective ways to relax is by meditating at least a few times per week, depending on how much free time you have. Doing it before sleep, for example, can also help you sleep better and wake up more rested.

There are many health benefits of meditation but one of the most important ones for you is the fact that it can soothe your mind. Once you include meditation into your weekly – or daily – routine, you will start feeling much better, and you’ll become more patient and emotionally stable in general. Consequently, having more energy and feeling good about yourself will also make you look great at all times.

Change The Way You Think

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As mentioned, in this day and age, being stressed out has become almost expected. Moreover, we tend to impose even more stress on ourselves by criticizing how we look and what we eat, worrying about things we can’t change, and trying to find something bad in everything that is good. However, the thing is, our bodies can respond to our thoughts. It’s not an unknown fact that stress can lead to actual physical problems, so besides meditation and other relaxation techniques, try to think more positively in everyday situations as well.

What you can also do, for example, is try to recognize situations that usually make you anxious, feel bad about yourself, or simply drain your energy, and develop coping mechanisms, like learning how to shift your focus to something positive. Adjusting the way you think is not just about reducing the amount of stress you feel – it shapes your whole perception of yourself, which then affects your health.

Keep Your Body Active

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Exercising is not just good for your physical health and appearance – it can make you feel better as well. It can help you de-stress, clear your thoughts, and feel more focused overall. Working out every day can also improve your metabolism and blood circulation.

Therefore, get a nice pair of gym shoes, some comfortable clothes, and start working out today. Whether it is dancing, running, or cycling, it’s bound to make you feel more physically and emotionally resilient in time.

Spend Time With The Right People

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Spending time with pessimistic people can not only ruin your mood but also have a negative effect on your health. After all, moods tend to rub off. This is why you should surround yourself with positive people who care about you and about themselves as well. This will calm your mind, and make you feel like everything is as it should be. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should avoid your best friends just because they are going through rough patches; in such cases, it’s best to be there for them and try to make them feel better, but don’t let their feelings affect yours too much.

Building relationships with positive people will make your mind thrive. Those kinds of friends will inspire you to enjoy every moment of your life. They will support you in your choices and encourage you when you start doubting yourself. In short, spending time in an environment that is filled with love and respect will greatly improve both your physical and your emotional health.

Improve Your Diet

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You know what they say – you are what you eat. So, try to enrich your diet with nutritious, healthy food like fish, fruits, vegetables, fatty acids, etc. Also, instead of buying meals, learn how to cook and prepare your own. By eating healthy food, you’ll have more energy, you’ll look better, and you’ll feel better about yourself too.

If you want to be healthy, you need to take care of not just your body but your mind as well. So, try to improve your diet, and exercise as much as you can. Moreover, include meditation into your routine so you can de-stress more easily when necessary. Also, surround yourself with people who spread positive energy. Finally, change your own mindset – don’t criticize yourself and hang on to past mistakes. Learn to let go of things that don’t matter, and enjoy the things that do.

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A Guide to Cruelty-Free and Vegan Makeup and Skincare

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you must have noticed the overwhelming change that has reshaped the face of the beauty industry – the green mindset has become the predominant one. It not only dictates our shopping decisions, but our overall lifestyle choices, which is precisely why so many brands have joined the green ranks.

However, the terms describing makeup and other beauty products, including “vegan” and “cruelty-free”, are far from interchangeable. In order to be able to make the right choices, you first need to understand the essential labels of the products you need, and the best ways to incorporate them into your everyday routine.

Defining The Difference

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In order to deserve to be called “vegan”, a product cannot contain any animal by-products on the ingredient list. That means that both ingredients that are of animal origin, and derived from animals, are off the limits, and there are literally thousands of these ingredients used in the industry.

On the other hand, cruelty-free means that the product, whichever its ingredients may be, hasn’t been tested on animals during production and creation. This is where it gets tricky: some companies often use this “loophole” as a legal basis to claim their products are cruelty-free simply because they haven’t done the testing themselves, but they still have the right to purchase individual ingredients that have been tested on animals by third parties or their parent companies.

A product can be defined as vegan but still not be considered cruelty-free, and vice versa, so learning the distinction will help you shop precisely what you want. People often confuse the two and end up buying a brand that uses animal by-products, which means it cannot be labeled as vegan, or supporting a brand that tests on animals, which means it cannot be cruelty-free.

Names You Can Trust

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Before you schedule your next makeup shopping spree, it’s best to do some research and discover which brands best suit your needs and your wallet, as well. Look for names that contain few ingredients and preferably use organic goodies, such as the Edible Beauty Australia line, that has everything you need for skincare and for every skin type. Think about simplifying your entire shopping experience!

Other names, including Phlur famous for their cruelty-free perfumes, also aim for variety without compromising quality or breaking your budget. If you’re looking for a palette to refresh your nails, look no further than Gabriel Cosmetics and their exquisite polish sets of various shades. As for mascara-lovers among you, the one made by Pacifica is not only cruelty-free and vegan, but also water-resistant and very durable for your everyday rush.

The Perks Of Both

Vegan makeup is often based on a minimalistic principle – meaning that they use fewer ingredients altogether, which makes them much more skin-friendly, and they use goodies that are not harmful for your skin or the environment. These plant-based and synthetically-produced alternatives are less harmful for your complexion, as they are much less likely to cause allergic reactions, particularly for sensitive skin.

Add to that the impact of not testing on animals, and you have a much happier, healthier world. Natural ingredients and plant-derived ones are safer for the environment, as they are non-toxic, biodegradable, and vegan-oriented companies also often aim to use recyclable packaging for the sake of a fully eco-friendly approach. Some are even much more affordable than you’d imagine, especially when compared to your traditional makeup names, making them a perfect long-term choice.

Ingredients To Avoid

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If you’re truly vested and want to understand your makeup more, then it’s wise to remember a few top ingredients that are used in non-vegan products, just to stay on the safe side and always double-check the brand before you give them your trust. Of course, you cannot possibly remember all the nasties potentially found in these beauty bottles, but you can at least stay alert for a few top contestants.

Beeswax is one of the most common lipstick ingredients, but it can also be found in various lotions, creams, and lip balms. Then you’ll often find retinol in anti-ageing products, but it is often animal-derived, while collagen derived from animals is found in those lip-plumping balms. Carmine is another frequent name on the list, used to give that vibrant red tone to your lipstick, but it’s made by crushing beetles, and there are numerous plant-based pigments you can use instead.

Although it comes with a learning curve, your decision to switch to makeup that is cruelty-free and vegan will bring a slew of benefits for you, the animal kingdom, and the environment – so, what are you waiting for? Go and give those wonderful goodies a go and just watch them steal your heart away within a matter of moments!

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How to Transition Your Skincare Routine from Winter to Spring

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We’ve already enjoyed some April showers now that the veil of snow and chill has finally lifted, but that means we need to restructure our skincare regime in order to prep our complexion for the sunny days ahead. Much like you need to swap your sweaters for T-shirts and shorts, it’s time for your skin to shed the winter dull and greet the spring warmth.

But these weather changes are an incredible shock to your skin, hence the need to take it slow and start making changes even now, before the temperatures rise even further. As opposed to the heavy lotions and creams we’ve used during the winter months in order to minimize the effects of harsh winds and freezing temperatures, we now need to focus on lighter, yet equally impactful items.

Start with Spring Cleaning

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Have you already ditched the worn-out jeggings to get a fresh pair of wide-leg pants made of breezy materials? Do your bathroom cabinets a favor and clean them out to evaluate which products can stay, and which ones need replacing. Using expired moisturizers and keeping almost empty lotion bottles isn’t the best way to start your spring, so get rid of them as soon as possible.

This way, you’ll make room for the new items you’ll be able to use for months. Before you get into that beauty shopping mode, do some research to check if there are any products out there that could replace your existing ones. For example, the latest trends revolve around multi-purpose items, such as Babe Balm for your lips that also serves as a makeup remover, and keeps your face flawlessly hydrated.

Scrub the Dullness Away

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A key step in making this seasonal transition truly smooth is regular exfoliation. Some experts claim that using mild exfoliators every day is ideal, while those that contain physical exfoliants meant for scrubbing should be reserved for once or twice per week.

In addition to exfoliation, we can take a hint from wise Aussie girls who also take care of potential pigmentation and redness by choosing different skin treatments at their trusty skin care clinic in Perth and other major cities. That way, they can prep their complexion for summer, help their skin shed those dead skin cells and the dirt buildup that naturally occurs during winter. With free pores, you can help your skin produce more collagen and boost your microcirculation, so your creams will penetrate better and heal your complexion.

Hydrate and Nourish

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If you have used heavy, oily creams to keep your skin smooth and dryness at bay, spring doesn’t tolerate these winter-friendly choices in your beauty cabinet. They will only suffocate your skin and clog your pores, which may lead to various pimple and blackhead troubles.

Instead, go for lighter, water-based mists and moisturizers, some of which you can even carry in your bag at all times to refresh your face on a regular basis when you spend plenty of time in the sun. Some skin types will benefit from swapping creams for gels, as well, especially if they contain cooling ingredients such as aloe vera.

Stay Sun-Safe

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No matter where you live, and how mild the sun may be, the UV radiation can still wreak havoc on your complexion in the upcoming sunny months. That is why you should definitely invest in a sunscreen that will both be perfect for your skin type and preferably for the planet as well – and the Badger all-natural sunscreen makes for a great choice both for your face and your body.

Don’t forget to put on a pair of your favorite shades and perhaps even a lovely fedora, because for those who live in exceptionally warm regions, the sun can become a real issue even in the early days of spring. Keep it with you at all times, just in case you need to reapply, and keep those wrinkles, dark spots, and sunburn at bay!

Go Light With The Makeup

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Just like with your clothes and your basic skincare, your beauty routine should also be reinvented to make room for lighter varieties of your winter makeup essentials. No more heavy foundations and pore-clogging blush! The nude look is still in, so you can even try a completely makeup-free style, but for those among you who love their beauty kits, you can still use certain lighter products.

You can opt for Stila’s oil-free foundation for a nature-inspired look, while pastel shades and lipsticks with a moisturizing effect are a great choice to keep your face happy and beautiful at the same time. A bit of glow is also welcome, and brighter shades for your eye-shadow and lips are ideal for spring!

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How to Give Your Skin a Detox

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After winter, our skin is usually left a little rough and dull-looking for a while. That dreamy luster is gone, and we’re full of dry patches, ashiness, and even breakouts if we’re really unlucky. Spring’s no fun when you have to go through it with a face full of caked-on makeup, and we could all use some rejuvenating detoxification to get our lush radiance back.

Do you want to transform your skin and make it look delectable for the warm weather? We’ve got a few tips for you right here!

Steam Your Face

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Steam is actually very beneficial because it helps soften the skin and open up our pores so we can clean it more easily. It’s the perfect way to start off your detox, and all you need are a pot, some water, a few sprigs of dried lavender or peppermint, and two towels. Bring the water to a boil, remove it from the stove, then add your herbs and immediately lean over your pot and put a towel over your head. Close your eyes and steam for about ten minutes, but feel free to lean away and breathe deeply whenever you need to. Make sure not to lean in too closely because you might burn yourself, and don’t worry about the sweat. Once you’re done, wipe your face with a towel and move onto exfoliation.

Exfoliate

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You should exfoliate right after steaming your face, while your pores are still open. This will help the scrub get all the dirt and sebum out and rejuvenate your skin. Use something like the Ocean Salt Facial and Body Scrub from Lush, or the Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub and rub the product into your face with circular motions. Leave on for about two minutes, then wash away with a gentle cleanser and some lukewarm water.

DIY Face Mask

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A detox mask is the perfect thing to do after your exfoliating treatment! You can make it at home with ease: 1 tbsp of bentonite clay, 2 tbsp of Greek yogurt, and a few drops of essential oil. For acne-prone skin, we recommend tea tree, and for dry skin, we recommend olive oil.

Try Dry Brushing

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For the most part, we focus on the skin of our face and forget that our body also needs some TLC. To do a full-body scrub, use a dry brush to exfoliate. This will stimulate the blood flow and remove all the dead skin cells, but like the name implies, you have to do it while your skin is dry, right before your bath. Use a brush with natural bristles, and scrub gently.

Detox Bath

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Once you’re done with dry brushing, you can take a nice, warm, detox bath. Fill the tub with 1 cup of Epsom salt and 1/2 cup of coconut oil, and then fill it with water. Stir to make the salt dissolve. We recommend that you soak in the tub for about half an hour and enjoy the relaxing heat.

Nourish Thoroughly

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Don’t forget, whether it’s the skin of your face or your body that you just exfoliated, it will need to have its moisture replenished. When it comes to your face, using nourishing skincare is really important, and we recommend that you start off with a gentle toner, then a serum, and then a lightweight moisturizer. Here, it’s particularly important to find a high-quality serum because it will penetrate your skin and deliver active ingredients that can bring back its radiance. The moisturizer should be layered over it, as a way to lock in moisture and give your skin that velvety feel. For your body, simply use a thick, creamy lotion or a body oil.

Transform It From The Inside

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Bear in mind that beauty comes from the inside, and your diet plays a large part in what your skin looks like. You need to detox through clean eating as well, and to do that, it’s important to implement a ton more veggies into your diet, and to cut down on sugar and processed food significantly. It’s also important to hydrate more, especially now that the weather is warm because our body needs the extra moisture, and there’s no better cure for dry skin than drinking a ton of water every day.

Detoxing is a relaxing ritual that will help you get back in touch with your body and have clear, radiant skin. Spring is the perfect time for it, so try these tips and enjoy your youthful glow!

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How to Combine the Yoga Lifestyle with Gym Discipline

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People may think combining yoga and gym is unnecessary, because they often think only one type of exercise is enough. But that is not actually the case. Combining these two types of exercising can be very beneficial. For example, if you do yoga exercises for muscle flexibility and endurance, your muscles will be well-prepared for lifting weights at the gym, which will allow you to push yourself further.

Here are some benefits of combining yoga and weight training.

Training Your Body And Mind

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Yoga is not only an exercise for the body, it’s also a set of physical, mental, and spiritual practices, which enhance your body, mind and soul. The goal is to put these three aspects in balance in order to live a more fulfilling life. Every movement and posture has its physical and spiritual purpose. This is why spending some time meditating before you go the gym will help you direct your energy to exercise during the training.

There are many benefits of working out regularly. It improves your self-confidence, reduces a level of stress, eliminates anxiety, improves your memory, etc. These benefits can be enhanced by practicing yoga, because it encourages you to dig deep into your soul through the transcendental experience of exercise and meditation.

Flexibility And Strength

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In order to empower your body, you have to build its flexibility. Yoga supports the development of your body and provides you with better stability and support. It prepares muscles for weightlifting and prevents injuries that might take you out of any type of training for weeks.

Yoga stretching exercises make your muscle tissue more elastic, and they prepare your joints for the pressure they will be exposed to during the training at the gym. Practicing yoga will also help you gain better control of your moves. When it comes to any type of exercising, it’s extremely important to perform the exercises correctly. That’s the only way to activate the right muscles.

The Economic Benefits

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Everyone who intends to visit the gym regularly has to be well-equipped for the workouts. So, be sure to pick up the right gear. If you’re looking for comfortable and durable equipment, browsing a collection of Adidas shoes, shorts, shirts and other accessories is a good place to start.

On the other hand, the only additional equipment necessary for yoga is a good mat. You can use the same clothes for both types of training sessions, the only difference being that you will practice yoga barefoot. So, you can practice both types of exercises with a low budget, and still get great results.

Rest Is Important

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In order to improve your body and mind, you have to make sure you are building up every muscle in your body. To make that possible, you have to balance between appropriate exercises and rest. Create a schedule for your yoga and gym sessions, to make sure to activate a different muscle group during each training session.

Every muscle needs at least 48 hours to recover from the effort, so make sure your muscles get enough rest. If you don’t follow that schedule, your muscle tissue will not recover fully for the next session. Your muscle fibers will not be able to perform as well as they usually can, and you will increase the risk of injury.

Breathing

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It’s important to learn how to control your breathing if you want to get the most out of your workouts. For example, you have to breathe in when you lower, and breathe out when you lift the weight. This way, you will ensure your body has enough oxygen to take the effort.

Yoga is a great way to learn proper breathing techniques. Ujjayi breathing is a technique that enables you to get rid of negativities, both physical and emotional. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, or out of balance, close your eyes, focus and try this technique. After using this method for some time, you’ll see how it will improve your overall breathing efficiency in every type of physical activity you do.

Don’t hesitate to try out both types of exercises at the same time. You will learn a lot and improve yourself significantly. Sometimes, it is not about the destination you want to reach one day, but about the journey during which you are learning so much. This journey will take you to a place of physical and mental harmony you have never experienced before.

When We Prioritize Exercise, We’re Prioritizing “Me”. Is That Okay?

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I knew it was only a matter of time before I got an Apple watch. Running with an iPhone strapped to my arm is practically like wearing a television.

But I’m disappointed my watch isn’t able to transcribe my thoughts while I’m running because that’s when I do my best and most creative thinking. Within 5 minutes of finishing my run, I can’t remember half of my ideas.

If I’m on the trail for two hours, that’s a lot of prime stuff in my head down the drain.

What made me think about this was an article I came across a few years ago, just a year into my own meaningful exercise regimen, in Time magazine by Joshua Steimle, an entrepreneur who says he prioritizes exercise over anything else in his life, including his business. For him, if exercise stops, then everything else begins to fall apart.

I totally get that but I smirked a bit when I read the article and even now, 3 years later, when I think about it, and I think about it often. Call me bitchy but this strategy is much, much harder for women to pull off.

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I know there are plenty of women – especially younger women just starting their careers and families – who do it all, but when I look back at my own experience my priority was anything or anyone but me.

I worked full time as a professional so it’s not like I was a helicopter mom. Trust me they found plenty of opportunity to go stealth. But I structured my time so that they were well cared for. They had healthy food, a tidy home, a peaceful spot to sleep and do homework, lots of enrichment and access to theater and baseball.

There was a lot of driving around and spending time at activities that they enjoyed that I had no idea existed. All of it was totally fun and some of the people I treasure the most are the parents of my children’s friends and even some of my children’s friends themselves. But this took organization and time management. I was the CEO of my family, and sorry my own fitness needs just never popped up on page 1 of my Filofax.

You hear it all the time.

When the kids go to camp I’ll work out.

When the kids leave for college I can go to the gym.

In fact I didn’t even think about exercising until both kids were out of the house and my husband took a job in Philadelphia. It took my complete family to evacuate my house in order for me to make my health and well being a priority.

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Meaningful exercise takes so much effort to pull off on a regular basis because you have to be copious about your scheduling – your work, your workouts, your recovery, your eating, your sleeping, your social activities, your laundry.

But the payoff is completely worth it, so of course I agree with Steimle. My most creative and productive thinking does happen while I’m exercising, and exercise makes me better at everything else going on in my life.

It’s just harder for us.

Not so much now but definitely over the last three years, I would often get that knee-jerk pang of guilt as I prioritized, or even scheduled, my exercise because that meant I was prioritizing me.

Who does that?

Not a lot of women I know. I’m not going to speak for men but traditionally I think men are more comfortable putting their own needs over others. I’m not suggesting men need to change – I think in this way, men have it right. We could learn something from the guys here.

Sometimes I'll feel guilty about putting my exercise first because that also means I’m being hyper aware of my nutrition and nearly obsessive about my sleep. If I’ve got to be at the gym at 5 or 6 am in order to get in a good workout or training before turning up at my office, I’ve got to be in my bed with my head on my pillow and the lights out by 10 pm. And that means heading upstairs by 9 pm, because I still need to wash my face and brush my teeth, do my PT exercises, and get in a little bit of reading. Six hours of sleep is a minimum 7 days/week, and 7 to 8 hours is optimum.

You probably know this too but if you’re losing your focus and eating crap or drinking too much alcohol and not getting enough sleep it doesn’t matter how much you workout or run on the weekends. So why do I feel guilty about making my focus my priority? Because often paying close attention to your training schedule, what you eat, drink, and what time you turn out the lights, can seem antisocial to friends and family.

Or that you’re selfish, that you care more about yourself than others.

Steimle’s approach to exercise is a paradigm shift for me, and I get how much of a challenge it is for women to navigate his path. We’ve got it together in so many other ways – this one is tough for us.

One of favorite books is by strength coach Dan John. In Can You Go, one of the first points the author makes is how many of his clients, especially women, focus on what they want to do instead of what they need to do.

Women want to look better and feel better, and they want to have more energy. They want to look like they did a million years ago. What they need, he says, is to do their mobility work and eat their vegetables.

This is what we should be asking ourselves:

  1. What do we need to do?

  2. What do we do next?

The answers will be different for everyone, but in every case, we need to make these questions a priority over anything else.

Reuel Tizabi, my first trainer, once told me it’s hard for people to make improvements in their lives when they are unable to move comfortably.

As in me.

As in maybe you, too.

We got this, ladies.

Carolee Belkin Walker is a wellness blogger, podcaster, and freelance journalist whose work appears in the Washington Post, Women’s Running, the Chicago Tribune, the Toronto Sun, the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, the Baltimore Sun, the Tyler Morning Telegraph, and others. Her book, Getting My Bounce Back, includes chapters by Reuel Tizabi, a certified personal trainer and a doctor of physical therapy student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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Life With Great Lakes Gelatin

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New goals for a new season in life means new adventures. For the past 30 days I have incorporated Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate and Collagen Endurance into my daily nutritional route. Well on this journey I have discovered a lot about myself as it relates to fitness and nutrition. As some of you may know my daughter Peyton follows a very strict diet which has eliminated a lot of foods from our daily food repertoire. So, I was excited to see how adding collagen protein to my diet could assist me in meeting some of the nutrients that I need daily.

The Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Protein describes its product in the following manner “Hydrolyzed collagen can help regulate the body’s metabolism by providing protein of low molecular weight that is quickly absorbed in the digestive tract.” What in the world does this mean? Basically it means that collagen protein is designed to help my body burn energy (calories), and quickly absorbs the needed nutrients and releases the unneeded nutrients. I would have to say that it did just that, my metabolism was working overtime! How can I tell? Well because my energy level was off the charts, I also found that I was not as bloated from common healthy foods that I enjoy such as garlic, onions and dairy products, which was an added bonus because I love “CHEESE” and not just as a cute word to say when I’m taking pictures.

Another added benefit is the versatility of the product. Collagen protein is unflavored so it can be added to almost any recipe or smoothie. I utilized it mostly in smoothies because they are apart of my daily routine. But, I did use it in some recipes such as red sauce for pasta and my vegan chili. You can also added it to your morning coffee, or daily tea. The sky is the limit with this product, and that is a big thumbs up in my book. My busy lifestyle is hard to incorporate products that require extra effort to use and this one is effortless. To add to the convenience Great Lakes Gelatin has packaged the product in both a container and individual stick packs.

Let's, get back to the energy component. Not only did I use the regular collagen protein, I also added the collagen endurance product. I can’t really speak to increase stamina as it relates to fitness but I can say that I had more energy to compete with my energetic 3 year old Peyton (not all workouts are done in the gym when you have a toddler to keep up with). Peyton's’ new love is gardening and if you know anything about gardening this is nothing but your basic squats. With that being said this provided a little joint discomfort especially in the the knees. So, I’ve noticed due to the daily consumption of the collagen products I have experienced less knee discomfort.

With so much to offer in one canister I am not sure why you would not give it a try?! Until March 15. 2018 you can use code GLG20 and receive 20% off of your order!

Please Note: The product mentioned in this post was provided by Great Lakes Gelatin. This post is sponsored. All comments about this product are my own and I have and will always remain transparent about my opinions. I will not endorse any products that I would not use on my healthy living lifestyle journey

Saying Goodbye To Limits

Those were the first words I saw when I opened up my email from my favorite fitness boss babe Jamie of Sweat Pink. I barely read any of the details but I knew after seeing those three words that this was a campaign I wanted to be included in.

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For so long now, I can admit that I allowed my expectations for my life and how things “should be” to limit me from achieving my personal best and truly living in my purpose. But no more. It isn't about a new day on the calendar creating the opportunity for you to adjust your sails and create improvements in you world, it is about YOU. YOU have to remove those limits. YOU have to say goodbye to doubt. YOU have to say goodbye to excuses. YOU have to come up with a tangible plan to break through boundaries and find your awesome. So this month I challenge you to share your testimony, be transparent and tell me and my SWEAT PINK family why you are limitless haring the hashtag #IAMLIMITLESS on your post! Share people that inspire you, share your battle plan to conquering the new year because I want to know what’s motivating you!

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If your goals are fitness related I want to help with that too. I have a free meal plan template you can download to get organized. I am also accepting 3 new clients this quarter for my meal planning services and no matter what your situation you can utilize the GIXO workout app that gives you a variety of live guided fitness classes every 30 minutes! So, you are pretty much set up to Live YOUR Fit no matter what!

Don’t forget to use the hashtag all month and make sure you are following  FitApproach on Instagram and myself as we will be sharing discount codes for the GIXO app as well as stories and posts from you guys as you share what makes you limitless. 2017 we are READY!

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The Secret to a Guilt-Free Holiday

 Photo by  Brigitte Tohm  

Photo by Brigitte Tohm 

Huddle up close, because I’m about to tell you the secret to enjoying the holidays without guilt. I’ll tell you right up front, there’s no denial here. I’m not proposing a “just say no” diet. No strategies for navigating the holiday buffet or ways to lighten up the shortcake cookies. My approach to a guilt-free holiday is actually based on (gasp) pleasure. 

You see, we humans were actually designed for cycles of moderation and indulgence. Over the course of millennia, whether in the Middle East or Scandinavia or anywhere in between, you’ll find simple meals--made from freshly harvested vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and some sort of protein--most of the time. Then a few times a year where the whole community comes together to feast and celebrate. 

There are two distinct roles at play, and we’re nourished by each in different ways.
 

 Photo by  Brooke Lark

Photo by Brooke Lark

When we’re letting ourselves enjoy simple meals prepared from real foods our bodies hum with nourishment and comfort, like cozying up beside a warm fire. That steady, warm glow sustains us from day to day and keeps us connected to that deeper place within ourselves, to one another, and to where our food comes from.

I think of the holidays more like fireworks. They’re the time to gather with loved ones and delight in the over-the-top. This is the time for butter and sugar and cream and cheese and chocolate. This is when it feels good to spend the whole day in the kitchen with a slew of helpers, warmed by the laughter and scents coming from the stove. 

To recognize a celebration as something lovely and fleeting is to give ourselves permission to enjoy the pleasure of it unabashedly.

I first learned this when I lived for a time in Greece. It was the height of the low-fat era and I was terrified of the olive oil that was poured with abandon on all the vegetables day after day. And at the village feast, I shied away from the indulgent foods.

Looking back, though, I realize that there were two types of meals going on, and both served their distinct purpose well. Most of our everyday meals were simple affairs with steamed greens or grilled vegetables doused with olive oil along with a little bit of grilled meat or fish (super healthy for our bodies, and utterly delicious to boot). 

But during a celebration -- a wedding or a saint day -- there would be whole lambs roasting on spits in the square, and all the villagers would cook up a storm, bringing dips and potatoes and wine and dessert. Everyone feasted with abandon--serving that part of us that needs to twirl and spin and sing out loud every once in a while--because it was a given that when the feast was over, everyone would return to the simple joys of the everyday. 

I finally learned that when I try to live by a common denominator between every day and celebration, I end up robbing myself of the pleasure of both. But when I allow each to serve its own purpose, I’m wholly nourished in a deep, sustaining way.
 

 Photo by  Alex Munsell  

Photo by Alex Munsell 

So this December, I’m enjoying simple meals -- things like braised cabbage with avgolemno sauce and rice (a nod to my days in Greece); roasted carrots and sweet potatoes with a bit of roast chicken; and garlicky sauteed greens with lentils and chickpeas -- on the days leading up to the holidays. And I’m heartily looking forward to the beef tenderloin, potato gratin (which is in my book Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith and Enduring Love - with Recipes) and chocolate bread pudding we’ll be enjoying Christmas Eve.

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The Unexpected Benefit of Family Exercise: How to Get Your Family Active Today

 Image London Scout

Image London Scout

All families are busy. That’s a fact. As a mother of 4 active children, I know that during the Fall and Winter months it seems like you have even less time. The days become shorter. You spend time rushing around to finish homework, to get to soccer practice, get to theater rehearsal. Do you have your instrument? Your home-work? Don’t forget your lunch!

It becomes an ongoing struggle to make sure that everything is in place and as it should be, and our down time is spent reminiscing about the lazy summer days that now seem so far away. With the chaos that ensues this time of year, it’s no wonder that fitness seems to get placed on the back burner.

But the benefits to family exercise are tremendous.

 Image Brandon Morgan

Image Brandon Morgan

Working out together not only benefits physical health but can also improve relationships and relieve stress in a fun and healthy way. Studies show family fitness plays a major role in a child's education. According to Medical Daily, physically active children had bigger hippocampi as compared to their less active peers and did better in memory tests. Researchers also determined the different effects that cardiorespiratory capacity, muscular strength, and motor ability have on the brain and how they influence academic performance. (Source)

Unfortunately, many parents live a sedentary lifestyle which prevents kids from fine-tuning their motor skills and strengthening their heart, lungs, and muscles. My husband and I are both fitness coaches and even WE have difficulty incorporating physical activity into our family routine. This is a problem that all families struggle with. How do we find time to stay active?

Here are some tips that I have found work best for me and my family:


Stick to a Routine

 Photo by  Rodolfo Mari  

Photo by Rodolfo Mari 

Keeping a schedule is easier during the fall and winter months. There are specific times when everything must get done and this tends to stay generally consistent from one week to the next. It’s by knowing my family’s schedule that I can figure out the best times that everyone is free. I consider which activities are the best fit for that time of day and how long we have during that time to all do something together.

Take in the Fresh Air

 Photo by  London Scout

Photo by London Scout

Yes the weather may be chillier this time of year but I don’t let this stop me from encouraging the whole family to get outside and take walks together. Stepping outside and getting fresh air can be a great way to embrace family bonding as well as implement exercise in your children’s lives.  

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

 Photo by  Adam Sherez  

Photo by Adam Sherez 

I have found this to be a critical component of successfully carrying out family activities. Tell the kids that you’re putting this time aside for family fun time. This will help prevent conflicts from interfering with what little sacred free time the whole family shares. If you make a commitment to exercise with your kids, you’re more likely going to stick to it.

 

These tips allow for everyone to get involved in family activities. Following these simple steps will not only get your family to be more active and energized, but will also bring you closer to the ones you love the most.  

ABOUT DANNY AND DENISE LOCSIN:


Husband and wife team Danny and Denise Locsin are fitness experts that specialize in relationship and family exercise. They are the creators of the Yokebar, which has been described as the ultimate family exercise program. As a busy mother of four, Denise wanted something that was high intensity, but also safe and easy to set up. Finding a system that could adapt to a variety of fitness needs and ability levels was challenging. The requirements became even broader when Danny injured himself and was forced to give up his usual exercise routine.
After much scientific research and testing, Yokebar was born. Today, Danny and Denise train people in the Yoke Training System and also are the founders of Hi5 Produce, a leading corporate produce delivery service located in the Silicon Valley.

 For More Information Visit: http://yokebar.com

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Why Am I So Hungry: Ways To Stay Fuller Longer

 Image Brooke Lark

Image Brooke Lark

I recently had a conversation with one of my clients about different breakfast options to include in her custom meal plans. You see, we haven’t gotten to the point yet where she grasps the concept that food should be used to fuel your body more than it should be used to fuel your tastebuds. I know what you are thinking: no one wants to eat anything that doesn’t taste good. Duh! That wasn’t the problem, though. The issue was that she refuses to eat any eggs or any oatmeal related products. That is the bulk of what I eat in the morning. I mean, I can give you some overnight oats recipes that taste like peach cobbler that can aid in shrinking belly fat, a veggie quiche that can be done in 30 minutes or less and taste like it’s made with crust that your grandmother made but actually have no crust at all. When it comes to this meal prepping game, I was built for it. Then when I suggested smoothies, she insisted that it would not be enough to make her full. Think again.

When designed properly, smoothies can literally be one of the most convenient, filling, and best breakfast options out there. With the right smoothie you have the opportunity to pack a huge punch of nutrients into your first meal of the day! Check out some of our favorite smoothie options below:

So when you are trying to formulate your meals for the day or week and are worried that something “won’t be enough” use these three rules of thumb:

Reduce the Amount Of Refined Sugars

 Image Leon Ephraim

Image Leon Ephraim

Not only does consuming refined sugar impact your mood, decision-making, and memory but, it is also a waste in any meal and doesn’t include any properties that can enhance any part of your nutritional plan.

Pack In All Of The Healthy Fats

 Image Brooke Lark

Image Brooke Lark

Add a combination of these healthy fats and your body will definitely thank you.

  • Avocados. One medium avocado has approximately 23 grams of fat, but it is primarily monounsaturated fat.
  • Walnuts
  • Other nuts, like almonds and pistachios
  • Nut and seed butters
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Salmon

Drink More Water

 Image Toa Heftiba

Image Toa Heftiba

Do you know how many times that we confuse hunger with thirst? More often than we know. Consuming water or even a nice herbal tea can oftentimes be just what you need until your next scheduled meal or snack.

This is just a short list of ways to stay fuller longer. If you have any tricks up your sleeve share them with us in the comments below.

Which of these tips can you commit to incorporating in your daily life? 

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Myths About Weight Loss

 Photo by  Dominik Martin  

Photo by Dominik Martin 

There is such an overwhelming amount of information being exchanged in terms of weight loss and ways to be “healthy.” It is always important to remember that we are all designed differently and everyone’s body responds differently to different things - hence, our Live YOUR Fit mantra.

So why not tackle some of the myths that we have encountered when it comes to adjusting our lifestyles in an effort to become more healthy? If we are being honest, we’ve even fallen victim to one or two of them ourselves.

A Good Workout = A Cheat Meal

 Photo by  Joseph Gonzalez  

Photo by Joseph Gonzalez 

The treadmill told you that you burned off 1500 calories, but those estimated machine readouts are not always accurate. It’s near impossible to out-exercise a bad diet unless you plan to spend half your day in the gym. You must workout and eat smart to see results.


Organic Food is Healthier than the Alternative

 Photo by  William Felker  

Photo by William Felker 

The word organic is great, but it’s also misleading. Organic means a food is grown without pesticides or other chemicals and is not genetically modified. But has nothing to do with the nutrient value of the food itself, or whether it’s a good dietary choice. It can still have large amounts of fat, sugar, or starch. Organic sugar is still sugar. Organic white flour is still white flour. Organic butter is still butter. It is important to understand that the removal of pesticides does not equal a healthier option as it relates to weight lost. It does however equate to a healthier item in direct correlation to the amound of toxins you are allowing into your temple.

 

Cleanses and detoxes are a good way to aide in weight loss.

 Photo by  Toa Heftiba  

Photo by Toa Heftiba 

Nobody needs to detox.

Unless you've been poisoned, you have a built-in, super-efficient system for filtering out most of the harmful substances you eat. It's made up of two toxin-bashing organs: the liver and the kidneys. Our kidneys filter our blood and remove any waste from our diet, and our livers process medications and detoxify any chemicals we ingest. Paired together, these organs make our bodies natural cleansing powerhouses. So if you just feel like eliminating certain foods from your diet for a short period of time because it makes your body feel better, or maybe it is a mind thing..then by all means go ahead BUT if the main reasoning behind the short-term shift is weight loss then you are wasting your time.

You can’t eat after 7pm

 Photo by  Andre Benz  

Photo by Andre Benz 

It doesn't matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat. If you want a snack before bedtime, think first about how much and what exactly you've eaten that day. If you have been consuming whole foods, primarily fruits and vegetables then you are in a different scenario than those of us who have may have been devouring processed foods for the majority of the day. Those are the factors that need to be taken into consideration.


Wait Until You're Hungry to Eat.

mc-jefferson-agloro-186549.jpg

By waiting to eat until you're hungry, your hunger simply builds and builds until it's at its peak causing your appetite to spiral out of control. In fact, new research reveals that by skipping breakfast, you'll end up eating more calories in total and making less healthy food choices throughout the day than you would have otherwise. Research also shows that missing the first meal of the day (breakfast) activates your body's insulin response, triggering fat storage and weight gain.

Which of these myths have you fallen victim to?

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4 Easy Ways to Connect to Your Authentic Self

 Photo by  Kim Carpenter

Photo by Kim Carpenter

Several years ago, I hit rock bottom. Since then, I’ve made tremendous strides to reach happiness – leaving my corporate job after burnout, overcoming depression, and ditching troubling addictions. Through my experiences, I’ve come to realize that being and staying happy is no small feat. Happiness is something we all want, but with life’s pressure and the demands of being an adult, it can be overwhelming at times. That’s why I created the “play with the world” mentality. Play With the World is more than a website—it is a mindset and a refreshing approach to life intended to help each of us stay grounded and focused on living life fully and connected to our best self. In my pursuit of happiness, I found myself even more unhappy and dissatisfied with life. A few years ago I created my own self-love experiment, which was a challenge I gave myself to stop trying to be happy and instead choose love and joy. The pursuit of happy is actually what keeps us from reaching our goals. Instead of trying to be happy, focus on being true to yourself. When you are true to yourself your will naturally becomes more joyful and happy.

If you want to feel more positive in your own life, move past fear with these easy steps:

Clear Out Clutter

 Photo by  Jazmin Quaynor  

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor 

Stuff can pile up and add unnecessary stress to your life. Physical stuff, emotional stuff, and even mental clutter can prevent you from moving forward. In my own self-love experiment, the first thing I did was clear out clutter. I went to my closet and removed clothes that no longer fit or I had outgrown. When you clear out clutter it sends an energetic message to the universe that you only want wanted things in your life. Remember, one small change, one step at a time can make a profound difference for you, so as Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, suggests, ask yourself if your stuff brings you joy. If you don’t feel happy, it’s time to chuck it. This includes people, jobs, habits, and objects.

Compliment Yourself

 Photo by  Septian simon  on  Unsplash

Photo by Septian simon on Unsplash

Most of us don’t give ourselves any credit for doing good deeds. We need to remember that little victories are important. On our journey to self-love and inner peace, it is essential to wrap ourselves up with love. Do this by complimenting yourself for a job well done. Try looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you; you are beautiful.” The more compassionate you can be to yourself, the happier your heart will be.

See the Journey as the Reward

 Photo by  Matt McK  

Photo by Matt McK 

Whatever your goal is—to lose weight, to travel more, to increase the romance in your life, or even to find your purpose and passion—getting there can only happen when you accept where you are. Enjoying the journey is the sweet stuff of living a real, rich life. Yes, we all have goals and dreams, but the journey to manifesting them is just as rich and juicy as the end result. Enjoy the process and have fun. Life is a dance, so shake your groove thing.

Visit Your Future Self

 Photo by  Allef Vinicius  

Photo by Allef Vinicius 

Visualizing yourself happy and healthy is a key component to manifesting. When I first left my corporate job, I would fall asleep picturing myself as a published author and a travel writer working and writing from all over the world. Today this is my reality. You have to picture it and believe it is possible in your mind before you can achieve it.

#SWOLEMATE: Why it Pays to Sweat with your Sweetheart

 Photo by  Curtis MacNewton  

Photo by Curtis MacNewton 

Perhaps we have been focusing on the wrong thing when it comes to exercise. Sure, we all want to lose weight, get healthy, and tone a fit body...but according to research, these kinds of physical results are not the driving force that push you to run that extra mile or lift those extra weights.

What IS the driving force?

It is the same force that pushes us to do anything (Go to work, clean our homes, prepare meals, accomplish goals, etc.)

...It’s relationship!

 Photo by  Jakob Owens  

Photo by Jakob Owens 

Humans are social creatures. We thrive in healthy environments through shared experiences. Exercising with a partner is the ultimate healthy social experience so what better way to promote well-being than to work out with your sweetheart? When you and your honey become swolemates (exercise buddies) you enjoy a deeper emotional and physical connection. We live busy lives and coordinating time with a partner can be difficult, but it is well worth it.

We have all heard that exercise releases a flood of feel-good hormones, but did you know that your brain forms a pathway that connects those feel-good hormones with the environment or people that your are with? If you were grumpy with each other earlier in the day, doing something physical together can erase the memory of that offense. In addition, the feel-good hormones stay in the bloodstream for hours after the workout to lower your stress threshold so you can stay calm in future situations.

Exercising with your honey will automatically increase your effort and ability to do the activity thus helping you get a more productive workout. This phenomenon is because we are electrical beings and our frequency, heartbeat and energy subconsciously move to match your partners- you become isync with each other. It’s like your bodies are tuning into the same radio channel.

By working out together once or twice a week or taking a daily walk you create an emotional and physical bond that goes well beyond how you look or feel on the outside. For many, being your honey’s swolemate just may be the glue that grows into a long-lasting, healthy relationship.

ABOUT DANNY & DENISE LOCSIN:

 

Husband and wife team Danny and Denise Locsin are fitness experts that specialize in relationship and family exercise. They are the creators of the Yokebar, which has been described as the ultimate family exercise program. As a busy mother of four, Denise wanted something that was high intensity, but also safe and easy to set up. Finding a system that could adapt to a variety of fitness needs and ability levels was challenging. The requirements became even broader when Danny injured himself and was forced to give up his usual exercise routine.

 

After much scientific research and testing, Yokebar was born. Today, Danny and Denise train people in the Yoke Training System and also are the founders of Hi5 Produce, a leading corporate produce delivery service located in the Silicon Valley.

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The Prep Doesn’t Stop on Race Day

 Photo by  Austris Augusts  

Photo by Austris Augusts 

Race day has finally arrived and chances are you’ve already perfected your training mojo, but the prep work isn’t done just yet. You’ve been preparing for this day for months, maybe more, so don’t let race day distract you from the fact that you still have a little more to do. Here are a few things to do before you get positioned at the starting line.

Fuel Your Body

 Photo by  Aidan Meyer  

Photo by Aidan Meyer 

Whether this is your first race or your 10th, don’t let race day jitters keep you from fueling your body with the proper nutrition. The biggest piece of advice is to never try anything new on race day. While you may be tempted by a new product that a friend recommended to you, you can’t be sure how your body will react to it. Save the experimentation for training to determine the type, quantity, and timing of the nutrition you eat. Keep in mind that everyone is different. Some runners require three hours or more to digest food before a race while others can eat as close as an hour before and be just fine. Find the pre-race meal that works for you and stick to it, but try to limit it to simple carbs and protein such as oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, or eggs. If you’ve found that your body can’t handle solid food before a race, opt for fuel in smoothie form.

Don’t forget about hydration. While races have drink stations, you should be drinking water before the race too but in small increments. Aim for room temperature water consumed at a steady, even pace. A good goal is two to three cups before the race, two during, and at least one after.

Dress Appropriately

 Photo by  Hunter Johnson  

Photo by Hunter Johnson 

The same rule for nutrition applies to your running gear as well: don’t try anything new. If all your training has left your shoes worn down, try to purchase a new pair at least three weeks before the race so you can break them in. As you are getting dressed for race day, avoid the temptation to overdress. Most races start in the morning when it’s cool but once you get going, you’ll quickly feel at least 10 degrees warmer. Wearing too much clothing means you are carrying unnecessary weight, increasing your body temp and risk of dehydration.

The best clothing will allow for a little bit of heat loss, but not to the point that you become uncomfortably cold. Look for clothing that has moisture-wicking technology and zero raised seams that could cause chafing. Even if your race day attire has never caused chafing before, err on the side of caution and apply Vaseline in areas that are prone to rubbing, such as inner thighs and armpits.

Protect Yourself

 Photo by  Quino Al  

Photo by Quino Al 

When you are running in the cool of morning or in a colder climate, it’s easy to forget that you are still in the sun long enough to get sunburned. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., so it is imperative that you practice sun safety on your runs. Wear sunscreen of at least 30 SPF or higher and reapply more often than you would on a day by the pool since you will be perspiring. You can still get UV exposure on a cloudy day, so apply sunscreen in areas that aren’t covered by your clothing. If possible, wear a hat to protect your scalp and sunglasses for extra facial protection as well as to prevent squinting.

Sometimes keeping yourself safe is as simple as not overdoing it. During training you found the pace that worked for you, but during a race, seeing people passing you and knowing there are other runners right behind you could kick you into overdrive. While you can’t necessarily do a trial run of the entire race experience, you can prepare ahead of time. Set time goals based on your performance during training. If possible, walk through or at least study the course map. Pacing can become difficult if you encounter terrain that requires higher energy expenditure such as hills. Becoming familiar with the course will enable you to factor terrain changes into your pacing strategy.

It’s an exciting moment when race day finally arrives, but don’t forget the extra prep work to ensure you are able to safely complete the race. Fuel and prepare your body so you can enjoy the thrill of crossing the finish line. If you still need to do some more training, find an area that will help you maximize your efforts. This post has some great suggestions. If you’re all set, have a great race!

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Mindful Running Guide

 Photo by  Bruno Nascimento  

Photo by Bruno Nascimento 

I have recently discovered a desire to run. I have NEVER been a runner, mostly because my knees are bad and asthma is something that I have been dealing with from a very young age. But, when life gives you lemons sometimes you roll with it and find ways to focus that energy that may have been designed to hurt you to work out for your good. Why I had this epiphany in the dead of summer, I will never know insert eye roll but once a week I have been taking my talents to Prayer Mountain to get in a run, followed by some meditation and prayer.

Now, because this is a hiking trail in the midst of nature I find myself a bit nervous about injuring myself and no one being able to hear me or being attacked by an animal or something! Mindful Brittany says “just focus on the good in the moment and do not think about “what could” happen” but, teacher and mommy Brittany take over sometimes and say, “be prepared and aware!”

Important Safety Tips For Runners:

Make Sure You Can Hear Everything Around You: As much as we enjoy a good tune while working out, when you are running it is essential to still be able to hear everything that is going on around you. In large part because our brain naturally triggers to sound faster than the things that we see.

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings: Working out is oftentimes used as a method to “zone out” but when you are running, specifically alone, it is important to make sure that you are paying attention to everything that is going on around you to make sure that you remain safe.

Use Familiar Routes: When you are used to running in a certain area you are more likely to notice if there are any changes that should cue you to adjust your pace or train elsewhere. Because most people run alone, being proactive when it comes to safety is really important to avoid injury.

Invest In Safety Gear: Wearing reflective clothing, carrying mase, a walking stick, or even a whistle is a good rule of thumb in case you find yourself in a situation where you need assistance and maybe your cellular device is not working.

The key is safety and being able to get the best out of your run. Aftershokz Trekz Titanium is a necessity because of the design of these headphones. They allow you to listen to your favorite jams while still being present by not covering your entire ear area. They are lightweight, convenient and durable! I have two pair and have yet to have any problems.

My Fit Approach family is making sure that one of my readers has a chance to win a pair of their own! So make sure that you enter the giveaway and invest in a pair for yourself!

What are some hints you have for this newbie runner?

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Please Note: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sponsored. All comments about these product are my own and I have and will always remain transparent about my opinions. I will not endorse any products that I would not and do not use in my own fitness journey.

Give Your Joints A Break, Work Out In The Water

 Photo by  Todd Quackenbush  

Photo by Todd Quackenbush 

I was introduced to interval training in the water when I was a not-so-skilled track and cross country runner in college. Those days, my coach had me deal with my sprained ankle by water running. With my track clothes on, I would jump into the deep end of a pool and run - with absolutely no idea that there were things to consider such as form and intensity.

I know my coaches knew something back then that I didn’t: water training works. Now, water training isn’t new; it has been around centuries. Sadly though, if you ask anyone what they know about water training, they usually only think of rehabilitation and for medicinal purposes. Because of this stigma, the average athlete or fitness enthusiast might doubt a water workout as a viable way to train. Yet countless Olympic athletes use the method year after year with podium results.

Thus, we have an amazing fitness method which just hasn’t hit mainstream.

For me, I came a long way from those early years of practically drowning. I had the opportunity to be trained by some major players (Shirley Archer and Sharon Svensson) and then I honed those concepts and integrated more variety and intensity drills for training and my clients and classes. I also used water to train for ultra running and ironman events, and eventually, to rehabilitate after some major bicycle accidents.

Water training is truly a platform in which you can work at any level. For example, after my knee surgery, I couldn’t walk on land without crutches, but I could walk in the water due to the effects of buoyancy and minimized gravity. Once I was given the green light to get back to harder workouts, I slowly increased the intensity and the variation of exercises until I could run on land again (something my doctor told me would be unlikely). Since the surgery, thanks to water training, I have participated in other ironman and ultra running events.

 Photo by  chrissie kremer

You may be thinking, “Why should I use the water?” Maybe you are new to fitness or are not dealing with any injuries so you just don’t see the reason to include it. Well, all I can say is that with a society bent on increasing fitness at all costs, I keep thinking about joint health.

More and more people are getting involved with land-based fitness classes, marathon & triathlon training programs, high-intensity Cross-Fit or Spartan events, and there isn’t much thought to the pounding the body is taking, specifically the joints. Joint health today could be analogous to our past obsession with sunbathing. All of us children of the 60s and 70s paid no mind to sun damage as we rubbed oil on our bodies for a deeper tan. Well, this caught up to us, didn’t it? Joint health may have the same future.

Research has shown that a 150-pound runner could actually experience 600-900 pounds of impact force with each stride, and we’re looking at 2,000 strides per mile! Now, I’ve run some LONG events, so training in a non-impact generating environment has been a game-changer for me.

Consider changing your workout a day or two a week and hit the pool (or ocean) for a deep water focused workout. Your joints will thank you in another 5-30 years!

Here is a Total Body Workout for you to try: This workout is approximately 50 minutes in length. To start, perform a water-based warm-up of approximately 5-7 minutes of all the intended main set exercises. The workout can be performed in a HIIT or MISS type training (High intensity interval or medium intensity steady state); all depends on your needs for the day. To increase intensity, use gloves or resistance bells (just watch over gripping; first timers may experience major forearm fatigue). Recovery between each section as suggested or as needed!

 Photo by  Mike Wilson  

Photo by Mike Wilson 

  • Pyramid: perform the following (1,2,3,4,3,2,1) [approx. 10:30+ sec.]
  • Water Run: 4x’s 15 sec. on/ 10 sec. recovery jog
  • High Knees: 3x’s 15 sec. on/10 sec. rec. jog
  • Karate Kick: 2x’s 20 sec. on/ 15 sec rec. jog
  • Cross Country Uppercut: 1 min. on/30 sec. rec. jog
  • Repeater: Perform series 4 times through. 20 sec. on/15 sec. rec. with a 1 min. jog between series [approx. 10:00 min.] UpperCut Punch, Straight Shot Punch, & Hook Punch.
  • Eddies: [approx. 4+ min.] Perform 1 rep. each:
  • 1 min. Water Run Eddy at 85%+ effort, rec. 45 sec.
  • 45 sec. Water Run Eddy at 85% effort, rec. 40 sec.
  • 30 sec. Water Run Eddy at 85 % effort, rec. 30 sec.
  • Repeater: Perform series 3 times through. 30 sec. on/15 sec. rec. with a 1 min. jog between series [approx. 4+ min.]
  • Cross Country
  • Water Run
  • Backward Cross Country (legs only): 3x’s 20-30 sec. on/ 15 sec. rec. jog
  • BreastStroke
  • Cross Country Pop-Up
  • Run

Cool Down & Stretch

When you do a water workout, it will be hard work. Oddly enough though, it is also refreshing. So much so that right when you are done - you feel great. It almost will feel like you didn’t worked out. But, don’t be fooled; if you work as hard as I do, you shouldn’t be surprised if you feel a wee-bit tired a few hours later!

Workout adapted from Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Author, Melis Edwards has over 30 years of experience as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete, having participated in Ironman distance triathlons, and the Western States 100 mile endurance run. Ms. Edwards holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications. Check out www.hitmethodfitness.com for more info. Water Run: Fairly intuitive, but remember to use opposite arm and leg movements and keep your body vertical with a slight lean forward. Use a nice long stride since there’s nothing holding you back.

High Knees: Like playing hacky sack under water. Try keeping your arms above your head for an extra challenge.

Karate Kick: Unleash your inner action movie star and strike two foes at once! Keep your legs bent while they pass under you, but strike out front and back at the same time. Try adding opposing punches to level up this move.

Cross Country Uppercut: Move your legs like a cross country skier (long strides like running, but keep your legs straight without locking your knees), while using your opposite arm to deliver an uppercut punch a la Rosie the Riveter. The twist is especially good for your obliques. (For regular Cross Country, use opposing limbs for similarly long strokes.)

Eddies: This is an intense drill which is all about working against the water. Run forward for five seconds, then turn 180 degrees (a u-turn) into wall of swirling water created behind your body (i.e., the eddy) and continue with the Run. The key to making this drill extremely challenging is timing; turning just before the water starts to give way as to not lose the intended effect of trying to “run up stream”. Breaststroke: Use your legs to do a water run while mimicking a traditional breastroke with your arms. Start with your arms in front of you and push the water to either side in a sweeping motion. Cross Country Pop Up: Think about inverting the original cross country stroke. Rather than the active portion being your legs moving away from the body, think of spreading them to power your torso straight up out of the water like an octopus uses its limbs to propel itself forward. This one is fun once you get the hang of it, and it’s a serious workout for your core!

Workout adapted from Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Author,  Melis Edwards has over 30 years of experience as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete, having participated in Ironman distance triathlons, and the Western States 100 mile endurance run. Ms. Edwards holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications. Check out www.hitmethodfitness.com for more info.

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Go With Your Gut: The Importance Of Gut Health

It took me a while to realize just how important gut health is to each individual’s overall well being. The condition of one’s gut can lead to things like heightened eczema and low immunity levels which can cause your body to be unable to fight off certain diseases.

Did you know that the majority of your immune system is located in your intestinal track? That means there is definitely a whole lot of bacteria present. Note that there is “good” bacteria as well as “bad” bacteria. So, the question then becomes how do we differentiate between the two? Well, good bacteria can come in the form of maintaining a diet rich in raw and fermented foods. Yogurt, kefir, fermented fish = good. Starchy, processed foods and sugars = not so good.

One thing I am guilty of as a mom is covering Peyton with antibacterial soap and washing her hands every 5 minutes even though some research has shown that playing in the dirt and letting your kids get a little dirty actually can help to develop their digestive systems. Baby steps, y’all, I still have my travel antibacterial soap, baby wipes, and Lysol in tow.

Knowing that,it is important that I supplement my OCD tendencies and germaphobe personality with ensuring that my household is equipped with the tools needed to build up “good” bacteria in our digestive systems because my sick days are looking pretty low these days.

Here are my top 3 ways to fight off bad bacteria and protect your gut!

Stock Up On Fermented Foods and Drinks: This is my number one because this gives me an excuse to drink all of the kombucha! Anyone who has been rocking with FitXBrit for awhile knows how I feel about my booch. I am learning to open up and try different brands but my go-to is Health-Ade.Cultured drinks are jam packed with probiotics which is always a good thing. You can also try foods like kimchi, natural yogurts, and fermented veggies as well.

Try A Probiotic Supplement: If you may be at a place where you feel like you have done so much damage that even your dietary changes may need a boost, you may need to invest in a supplement. I was presented with the opportunity to try out hyperbiotics, which is already the 31 selling supplement on amazon and I can definitely see why. Since we know that our human cells are pretty much outnumbered by the number of bacteria living in our bodies a probiotic supplement definitely allows you to be proactive in the matter.

 Photo by  Dan Watson  

Photo by Dan Watson 

Use Natural Soap and WARM Water vs Antibacterial Soaps: Research is showing that when overused antibacterial soaps cause us to get rid of the “good” bacteria that we need and may be increasing certain resistant strains of bacteria.

Your energy levels, your weight, your digestive system, your mood and even things like hair and skin health can be traced to gut health. Brain function, teeth, joints and heart health can all be enhanced by making simple decisions to take care of our gut.

Is this new information for you? If not, what are some of the ways you ensure that you feel your best by maintaining a healthy gut?

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It Starts At Home

 Image Juan Carlos Puebla for FitXBrit

Image Juan Carlos Puebla for FitXBrit

I truly believe that health and wellness is something that involves all aspects of our life. If you are exercising all day and night but follow each sweat session with feeding your body crap, what did we really accomplish? Deciding to pray and meditate and ending each session with taking in negative thoughts and surrounding ourselves with people who tend to bring out the worst in us can be counterproductive as well, don’t you think? So, as we embark on a full wellness journey it is important to highlight the importance of the quality of your living space.

Yes, the air you breath and the conditions of your space play a huge role in the your overall health and that is a factor that most people do not even take into consideration. Indoor air quality can actually be worse than the outdoor air. When you think about it, most of us spend a majority of our day at home, school, or work, which basically enhances the notion that indoor air quality and being aware of the conditions of our space is essential. Indoor air quality that is lacking in quality can significantly impact the health of anyone that is subjected to the space. This is even more important when we look at those that suffer from asthma, allergies, and/or any respiratory condition.

What do we do with this information? How can we ensure that we are doing everything we can to create a positive environment for everyone that enters our controlled space?

Try These 3 Things To Boost Your Indoor Air Quality.


Invest In Some Greens

There are some plants that have been credited with improving air quality. The Boston Fern is the most common plant used in this matter because of it’s ease of maintenance indoors. They even rank number 9 on NASA’s list of 50 air-purifying plants, and they also were found to be most efficient at removing formaldehyde.

Reduce or Eliminate The Type Of Products You Are Using To That Contain Harmful Chemicals

 Image Juan Carlos Puebla for FitXBrit

Image Juan Carlos Puebla for FitXBrit

This is probably the hardest for me! I used to be addicted to the smell of lavender Pine Sol. I am a big smell person in general so products that contain harsh and harmful chemicals normally pack a strong smell with them, which I used to see as a benefit! Now, not so much. I am slowly eliminating my “go-to” cleaning products and am replacing them with products that will enhance my indoor air quality. I am not a 100% sold on any particular brand or method yet, and so far I have only been using Ms. Meyer’s brand and am open to any other suggestions.

Invest In An At Home Air Monitor

 Image Juan Carlos Puebla for FitXBrit

Image Juan Carlos Puebla for FitXBrit

Recently I was presented with the opportunity to try Netatmo’s Healthy Home Coach, which focuses primarily on the air quality of your space. Peyton and I both suffer from asthma and recently she has been experiencing some nosebleeds at night as well. Come to find out in her room specifically the air is drier than the rest of the house. It also detects the best noise level for sound sleeping and instead of just highlighting the potential problems, it also tells you how to fix them. All with the swipe of your smartphone.

Did you guys even know that indoor air quality was a “thing” to be concerned with? What things do you do in your space to ensure ideal situations?

Please Note: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sponsored. All comments about these product are my own and I have and will always remain transparent about my opinions. I will not endorse any products that I would not and do not use in my own household.