tips

Fun & Useful Health Tips from Magazines

Earlier today I shared that sometimes I take pictures of stuff I see in magazines for reference later... well, correction: I do that ALL the time! I found this bunch of photos in my phone this weekend and it's clear I have a problem!

I thought it'd be fun to go through and actually share the information I store, since that's the reason I take these photos in the first place!

Let's start with this fun fact about jumping rope curbing appetite! Does that mean if I don't have a jump rope handy and I'm fighting a craving I should just jump up and down? :) 

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I've been meaning to blog about Strivectin for awhile - it's a skin-firming cream that's also been shown to reduce fine lines and stretch marks! It's a little pricey but powerful! 

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This fact about baking soda working as a hair detox didn't surprise me! Have you heard of the campaign against poo? (Shampoo, that is!) Some people just use baking soda to wash their hair! Baking soda seems to have a multitude of awesome uses- I've heard it's great for teeth whitening, too. 

2014-04-13_0011I really liked this 7 Days of Slimming Workout Routine to incorporate strength training, cardio and flexibility:

2014-04-13_0015 I also love that it included these FAQs about popular workouts and how they should be fit into the routine! Of course I was thrilled to see CrossFit mentioned! 

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I can't say I agree 100 perfect with the notion that a lighter workout day should follow a CrossFit day. I actually feel my best when I string CrossFit workouts together- going 3 days in a row and then having an active rest day. But that's just me!

Speaking of CrossFit, there was another advice article with some things to expect at your first CrossFit workout. I thought these insights were spot-on! 

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I also like this piece of advice to "Let yourself suck." A year into CrossFit and this is still my mantra! 

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Alright, so, am I the only one who knows apple cider vinegar is really good for me, but still hasn't started taking daily shots of it? OK, good. Thought that was just me! I know Karlye (our resident fit-mom) adds a shot to her morning tea! I think that's an excellent way to sneak it in! 

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Again, am I the only one intrigued by DIY beauty treatments, like this fruity face peel? Don't be surprised if you see a post on this soon! 

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I always take photos of recipes I want to try and since I've been a major mint kick lately, this mint + ginger tea really jumped out at me! 

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I also had to snap a picture of this bit of science that backs something I've encouraged on the blog! Read "Write on" and you'll see that our challenge to log food is for a good cause! Although, this suggests journaling - not just logging - has a big impact on weight loss! I've always thought journaling was helpful, hence, this blog! :) 

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And, probably the most important bit of information I have to share with you: eat more chocolate.

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Joy to the world, indeed!

So there you have it: eat chocolate, drink apple cider vinegar, do CrossFit (well, suck at CrossFit), wash your face with berries and your hair with baking soda! :)

Haha! Good thing I gathered all this important information for you guys. Lol!

Tell me, have you ever tried a DIY face mask? 

What's your workout regimen like? Do you follow the heavy-light pattern or do you go for several days and then rest for several days? 

Did have your 1.5 ounces of chocolate yet today?

How to Make Working Out Part of Your Routine

"To workout or not to workout. That is a dumb question!"

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If you know me, you know I workout fairly regularly. I've gotten into the habit of going to gym at least 3-4 times a week and I'm proud of that - especially not having any sort of fitness background, and being a generally lazy person (just being honest here - I love the vegging out on the couch as much as the next girl!).

Of course, going to the gym isn't always easy, and in fact, often times I don't feel like going. But, it always holds true that when I do go, I'm always so glad that I did.

I put together a small list of ideas to help those of you trying to get (back) into a routine. These things have helped me TREMENDOUSLY and I know they'll help you.

1. Get a buddy.

Funny story - when I first started getting into the gym, I got on Craigslist (yes - Craigslist - it's actually kind of creepy) to find a workout buddy, and guess what? I did! My first workout partner was a girl named Claire and let me tell ya, we were dedicated! Sometimes we met TWICE a day at the gym (morning and after work). Claire got me running - for the first time ever, and let me work out with her and her trainer. Claire and I eventually parted ways (weddings, jobs, babies, you know how it goes) but it wasn't long after that I started working out with coworkers. I started off going running with one guy, and then, two girls joined the same gym and three of us eventually all chipped in to get a personal trainer!

2. Get a Personal Trainer.

That same personal trainer was the one who got me in tip-top shape for my wedding day! (Personal trainers are a great resource if you DON'T have a gym buddy.) Below is a picture of the personal trainer I have at my work gym. His name is Larry but we call him Scary Larry because of his crazy workouts!

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I think the convenience of a work gym makes a huge difference, but to be honest, I wouldn't go as often as I do if it wasn't for this girl, Karlye! She keeps me dedicated! We try to go at least twice a week to workout with Scary Larry.

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There's also my hubby who keeps me going to crossfit. There are so many nights after work, when I just want to go home, but I know he's pumped and ready for Crossfit, so I go! (Again, it's the buddy system. Refer to #1)

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I swear gym buddies make the biggest difference!

3. Do workouts that make you happy!

I've gotten to a point where I don't particularily enjoy traditional weight lifting or using weight machines in the gym. I've never really enjoyed weight lifting (until I started CrossFit and began doing Olympic lifts), so if I'm going to the gym after work, it's more than likely going to be to go to a class, do some running, or come up with a routine using my workout sticks. I'm not going to force myself to do something I don't enjoy. If I did force myself, chances are I'd half-ass it or quit really early on. Hate running? (Or, like most people, cardio in general?) Then try weight lifting at the gym - everyone's different. I really like this beginner's guide for weight lifting.

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how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine

4. Change at work for an after-work sweat fest, or sleep in your clothes to workout first thing.

It sounds silly but it's so true! Once you're dressed, you're practically out the door. Of course this isn't a sure thing (what is?), but you're one step closer. This has really worked for me lately. I used to workout at lunch and going after work has been HARD. Around 4 or 4:30, I'm thinking of ways to bail out. But then, I get dressed and voila, suddenly, I feel like going. Suddenly, I AM GOING.

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how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine

5. Challenge yourself.

I love a good challenge, especially one that helps me get into a habit bootcamp style. If you're trying to get into the habit of getting to the gym, challenge yourself to go 4 days a week next week. But like REALLY challenge yourself, don't just say it and then not do it. Declare it and then actually follow through.

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This is me challenging myself to do a pull-up. Even with a band they're hard!

6. Track your progress.

I love Streaks for tracking my progress sticking to an everyday goal. I've been using it to hold myself accoubtable for practicing handstands and eating paleo. If you've set a challenge to go to the gym 3 times a week throughout January (read above), find someway to track your progress. I'm a huge fan of visual motivators - try making a calendar out of sticky notes like I did, or any of these tactics to stay inspired.

What tactics do you use to get to the gym?

Is going to the gym part of your routine?

5 Tips for First-Time Mudders

Greetings all! I've been holding this post for awhile, but I think it's time to run it! Mud races are so popular this time of year and Aaron (my husband) keeps urging me to sign up for a Spartan Obstacle race with him... I have to admit, I'm a bit apprehensive! I had no idea what to expect at my first mud run (last year) and I remember going into shock within the first few minutes. From the the dirt roads to the dangerously slippery obstacles, I was like, Holy Crap! This is HARD!

Almost immediately, I also realized I needed to be careful. The hills were steep and the trenches were MUDDY, which makes sense, cause it is a mud run, but there’s no doubt courses like this breed injuries. Now that I’ve done it, I think I would do it again, but with these tips in mind!

The Mudfactor Run in Maryland, 2012

1. Mentally prepare: a mud run is more than just running- I thought the obstacles would be before or after the running part. Wrong. The obstacles are throughout. At an event like this, you're going to do a lot more than just run! You’ll be jumping, climbing, and crawling!

2. It’s unpaved. It’s hilly- If you’ve never run on an unpaved road, you might want to test the waters before you run a race like this. All of the running is either in the woods, on dirt and through trees (and stumps coming out of the ground) or through muddy hills.

3. One for All, All for One- One of the best parts of the race was helping people over the rope climb and slanted walls. Lending a hand for your fellow runner!

4. Dirty doesn’t describe it- Wear sneakers you’re prepared to throw out afterward.

5. Easy does it- This is actually not a race at all. Take the approach, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The point is to finish. TAKE YOUR TIME. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll get injured. This is especially true for obstacles. When you get to the peak of the walls and ropes, be careful climbing to the other side.

Have you ever done a mud run or been interested in doing one?

6 Tips to Prepare for a Crossfit Elements Class

I wasn't going to blog about Crossfit Elements until next week (my first class was last night), but I have to share a few words because it wasn't at all what I expected! Firstly, I'm in a bit of shock. A bit of shock about how pitiful I felt during the measly 10 minute "Mini Cindy" workout we did. The Mini Cindy consisted of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats. I thought it sounded incredibly easy -- the crossfit workouts I see online usually consist of something crazy like 100 push-ups! -- but I'm hear to tell you: it wasn't easy.

Here's the thing, I don't know about you, but I look at all these crossfit pictures online (like the one below), and think 'Hell Yea! I wanna do that!'

I don't think about how HARD THAT SHIT IS.

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With that said, here are a few tips I think anyone getting started with crossfit should keep in mind... myself included.

Keep an open mind - I've been working out for a few years now and I like to think I know what a burpee is, but during Crossfit Elements you're going to have to listen to what they say a burpee is, and be open to the fact that it might be slightly different than the burpees you're used to doing. Same with push-ups and sqauts, and a bunch of other stuff. Just be prepared to let go of any preconcieved ideas you had about exercise prior to crossfit.  

Hydrate -  I definitely didn't drink enough water yesterday and, I even forgot to bring a water bottle to the workout. That sucked! They talked about the importance of hydration and I certainly won't be showing up empty-handed again.

Don't Judge- There were all walks of life at my first class from former body builders to guys who looked like they hadn't exercised in years... With that said, I didn't make any judgements about any of them. Who am I to guess what their background is? The most important thing to remember is that we're all there to learn and improve ourselves, no matter our starting point.

Be friendly - My philosophy is always to be as nice as possible to everyone I meet and so it was pretty easy to strike up a conversation with the girl next to me. In the end, I was glad I practiced my best manners because she sorta saved me during the workout, suggesting some different combinations of bands and pointing out which line of chalk was mine (for keeping track of each round).

She also helped me put up my box, and I helped her with hers. She kicked my ass in the AMRAP (*not like I was keeping score or anything!*) but I felt good leaving out, feeling as if I made a friend!

Oh, sorry... AMRAP is As Many Rounds as Possible... I promise not to start talking in crossfit code all the time!

Be prompt - They cover a lot of material in these classes, explaining and demonstrating several exercises, as well as giving you a chance to try out each movement. I can't imagine walking in late. That's just rude and certainly doesn't make a good first impression.

Don't Expect to be a Badass Overnight - So we're all a little bad-ass in our own minds, right? There's something we're good at whether it's running or deadlifts, or push-ups. There's something. In my experience thus far, though, crossfit is going to force you to do the shit you're not good at it, and at least for me, that was pretty frustrating.

I like cardio-intense circuits with lots of burpees and sprints; I don't like pull-ups. In fact, I might hate pull-ups. Now, granted, I want to be able to do them (I really, really want to be able to do them) but the truth is that it's going to take me awhile to get there. Awhile of doing a lot of shit I'm not good at. Hence, don't expect to be a badass overnight. All that stuff you rock at- put it to the side and do the stuff you suck at; then, eventually, yes, you can be a badass crossfitter. That's what I'm hoping anyway!

BONUS: Take a friend - OK, this isn't required and obviously going to crossfit on your own is cool, too, but can I just say how awesome it was to have my husband by my side? I mentioned this on Instagram, but he continuously asked "You ok?" which to be honest, was kind of getting on my nervous at the time... I kept thinking, I'M FINE DAMMIT. I GOT THIS!  But, he seriously saved my life on the pull-ups. We had to use the high-bar for pull-ups because the low bars (normal bars? I have no idea what these things are called) were all taken. I couldn't lift my foot in and out of the band because it was hanging so high, and he totally stopped what he was doing to add a strap onto my band (in opposite direction) and give me more leverage. It was a lifesaver.

Also, his mood - my husband is a class clown and at one point, I couldn't stop laughing because he was making the funniest jokes and sounds... I'm usually pretty serious and that's not always a good thing. I certainly needed to lighten up during this class... I was SO frustrated going from pull-ups to push-ups and with the fact that my arms were literally giving out on the push-ups. In fact, I had to drop down to knee push-ups because of it and that didn't help matters (read: blown!) 

My hubby gave me a high-five in the end and told me I did a great job. Having a close friend with you is definitely a win, especially because I have a feeling this won't be the last time I get frustrated with myself during a crossfit workout.

Have you ever taken a crossfit elements or crossfit foundations class?

What did you think? How was your first experience? 

What advice would you give others just getting started?  

Photo credit: Thrustr Tumblr via Pinterest