Guest Blogger: Erica!

It’s my last day. I am probably throwing a tantrum in the airport right now about not wanting to leave and Luke is embarrassed sitting in the corner pretending like he doesn’t know me. You think I’m kidding, but I am not. I haven’t even gone on my trip yet and I know I don’t want to leave. However, I’m sure I’m very excited to recap you all on it tomorrow!

This chick is my bestest friend. And I know her in real-life, too! Yes, a friend; I know. Crazy concept. She does a really good intro of our relationship, so I’m not messing with one. Just listen to her Smile

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Hi everyone!!

So first can I say that aren’t we ALL jealous that Ally is in CALI right now!? I have always wanted to go there and sure many of you do as well! So I thought I would be a little “guest” blogger. Let me give you a little introduction here!

My name is Erica and I have been best friends with Ally ever since we were um… could poop our diapers ..basically. TMI? Sorry. We also live exactly 3 minutes away from each other and enjoy bike riding in our trails in the summertime and being obsessed with way too many TV shows. I am currently in my last semester at Grand Valley State in MI finishing my degree of Exercise Science with a Health/Fitness emphasis. I am Zumba certified and have taught this semester for my first time and LOVE it as well as teach circuit classes, train clients, etc. As you can already tell, Ally and I have lots in common since we both are in the health field!

So without further ado, here are some lovely little tips I came up with to help us along with our goals. I hope this helps you all as it does to me!

Trainer Tips #1

What have you always wanted to do? Write it down, goal set, and get to it!

“I want to be in better health”; “I want to feel better”; “I want to lose weight”; “I want to be stronger”; “I want to look better”.

Do you ever find yourself thinking or telling others any of the sayings above? Or possibly something similar to it? Why is that? Why do we constantly tell ourselves for months, even years, that we want to accomplish a specific achievement but are not able to follow through?

Goal-setting !!

1. First, think of a feasible goal that you are highly confident that you can achieve.

This should not be something that it easy for you, but also not something that entirely difficult to manage. For example, you should not pick a goal of exercising 5x/week if you never have exercised before. Likewise, you should not pick a goal of running 2 miles if you run half-marathons.

2. Make a plan.

We can say over and over again of how much we want something, but it’s not actually until we take one baby step forward that we are actually on our path of achieving it. For example, you can say over and over that you want to buy a house, but it’s not until you actually look at houses for sale that you are getting one step closer to completing your goal.

So how are you going to do this?? I challenge you to right now to think of where you would like to be with your goal. If it’s a health-related goal, start making reminders for yourself every day. Look at the calendar in a month-view and write down your goal each day so that you can actually see you are progressing and taking those baby steps. Cross those days off when you have completed your task.

3. Make yourself accountable!!

“There’s an app for everything” – Although humorous, yet basically true. Just one tech-savvy way of keeping yourself accountable, regardless of your goal.

Whether it’s drinking more water, getting to the gym more often, or increasing your energy, goal setting will get you to where you want to be. Don’t think of the big picture. Take and treasure each day as improving your health; one by one. It will become easier, but you can’t begin to achieve if you haven’t even begun!

Trainer Tips #2

Try group Exercise!

Many individuals get stuck in a rut by repeating their same workout routine over and over again. This can lead to boredom and possibly even fewer results. So why try group exercise?

1. Accountability

It’s so easy nowadays with our hectic schedules to skip the gym. It’s even easier to skip the gym when no one knows that you were even planning on going and you talk yourself out of it. Group exercise is a way to help you overcome that goal by setting a time for you that fits your schedule and sticking to it! You know the class is going to start without you, so it’s even more motivation to go!

2. Social reinforcement! AKA make some friends!

What better way is it than to surround yourself around others that have similar goals and successes that you want to achieve?? It’s extremely easy to start making “small talk” with a few participants in the classes. After going for a few classes, you expect them to be there and to catch up on the latest TV show gossip with them. If you don’t show up, you may feel as if you are letting the other person down…which helps with accountability!

3. Motivation!

Do you push yourself hard enough at the gym? Do you wish you had a personal trainer? Group exercise can act as if you do! By seeing others around you push themselves to the limit; it makes you want to be right up there with them. This helps increase your heart rate and possibly help you do things you might not have thought possible!

4. Still thinking Group Exercise isn’t for me?

Are you thinking, “Sure, that’d be great if I was coordinated- I can’t keep up with all those fast Zumba moves!” Think again. Don’t restrict yourself to just aerobics! There are offerings from yoga to pilates, aqua to cycling, and even small group training.

I challenge you today to whip out that big chunky planner of yours and to find one class a week for a month that you are able to attend (even look on weekends) and try different formats you never have had. You may find some you hate, but you may also find some you love. As the famous saying goes, “You will never know unless you give it a try!”

“The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the “atmosphere of growth” in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.”

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I currently am finishing up an internship now and will graduate in 3 weeks! Crazzay. THEN, I have the INCREDIBLE opportunity to partake in the Disney College Program from mid-June to January in Orlando, FL. PUMPED! I actually already did the program once and am going back down again because I want to be there for the holidays and such. I also just got interviewed for a fitness internship position there which I would be STOKED if I get, but it is super competitive. Since we are in the blog world.. here is mine! I only am going to write it in regards to Disney, so if you like Disney, feel free to subscribe! (I’ll try to be as funny as Ally, but I’m not sure if I can be). This first post I wrote was super long, but you can see all the previous posts and “secrets” from last program I did. Enjoy!

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She’s much funnier than I am, so don’t let her try to convince you she’s not. I know I will be reading every post she writes from Disney and being insanely jealous every day. I love her. Don’t you?? See ya tomorrow with hopefully some good news! Smile

Guest Blogger: Thien!

It’s Friiiiday, Friiiiday, gotta get down on Friday. I had to. I just had to. I’m in LA and I’m sure I’m having a blast even though I’m writing this in Michigan on Monday. Hopefully today we’re going to the beach, but if it’s not nice enough we’re going to Disneyland because we’re cool and never want to grow up. Or maybe shopping again if I’m not broke yet. Or maybe trying to climb up the Hollywood sign like Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake do it Friends With Benefits. So many options.

My next guest blogger is my new internet friend, Thien! She is super sweet and super smart and has taught me so much in just the short while I’ve know her! Enjoy her better writing and grammar than mine Smile 

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Hi! I’m glad to be able to reach out to all of you guys on Allison’s blog so I thank her for the opportunity! Here’s the rundown for this post: an introduction to me and what I really hope you read – tips for what to eat/drink after a workout.

My name is Thien. It’s pronounced pretty much like the number “10” if you’re wondering. Here’s an introduction to who I am and all that fun stuff…

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  • Lived in OKC since I was a wee one and I’m a ride or die Midwestern girl – even though I just moved away recently.
  • Moved to MA for graduate school last fall.
  • I live with my better half and we’re trying to get used to life in the Northeast. The absence of fried chicken, sweet tea, and cheap meat is starting to get to us. We might riot soon.
  • Now that I’m out on my own and actually have to cook for the both of us, I’m a lot more conscious about what we’re putting into our bodies. I really enjoy learning more about nutrition and what a balanced diet really is about. Learning to cook and to prepare wholesome meals has been very challenging but extremely rewarding.
  • Also on the notion of having moved away for school, I left all my friends and my old life behind. I left behind all of my old hobbies. Can’t ballroom dance now because Mr. Man has to work all the time. Can’t sail now because I don’t know the community. Can’t just go hang out with a friend because I still don’t know my classmates. Stuff like that. So my life outside of schoolwork became more about keeping myself busy indoors and being pretty sedentary. This was when I decided that I needed to engage myself in a lifestyle that didn’t require other people. I needed to work on being active because it depressed me to read about sedentary lifestyle studies for school and know that I was one of the statistics. This woke me up and I knew I had to make a change. Enter: P90X. I’ve picked up C25K recently and I love having something to work towards.
  • With all of this stuff going on – exploring my new life away from home, nutrition commitments, and fitness goals – I had to have a way to document it for my own purposes and to share it all with everyone back home. This is where my blog comes in. Smile
  • Thien’s New Adventures. Yes. Check that stuff out. I heard the chick that runs it is pretty cool. (Sidenote from Allison: she is.)

In my blog creeping researching, I found Allison’s blog and was like, “Yes! She does Beachbody stuff too!” All of the other Beachbody blogs I had found were macho dudes writing about their weights and stuff for P90X and I did not give a crap. You can imagine my excitement when I saw that she had become a Beachbody coach. Anyways, I say all of this because you’ve probably seen Beachbody related stuff on her blog and I have to admit that I preach Beachody too! There’s something for everyone. I don’t do TurboFire like she does, but I’m a fan of the community and the products.

So to finally get to what I really wanted to talk to you guys about here it is:

Tips on What to Eat/Drink After Exercising

  • Get some protein in your system! WebMD says that our muscles need protein for recovery and growth and the best time to deliver protein is right after working out. It really doesn’t matter where we get our protein from. Our bodies really don’t know if it’s from an egg, a piece of cheese, a protein drink, or a glass of chocolate milk as long as we’re getting it. The thing to note is that there is a limit! Duh! Not too much of a good thing, remember? Stick to 10 to 20 grams.
  • Carbs?! Yes, carbs. Strength-training workouts and aerobic workouts are taxing on the body and the best way to help it recover is to deliver some fast-acting carbs. Good carbs (complex carbs) help to re-energize the body and examples include whole grain bread, pita bread, oatmeal, and brown rice. I’m sure you could Google it and find more examples.
  • You’ve probably heard of the carb to protein ratio. Confusing, much? Christopher Mohr, a licensed and registered dietitian, suggests there’s no gold standard recommendation when it comes to protein and carbohydrate consumption following a workout. He says effective ratios vary from a 2:1 carb-to-protein ratio up to a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio. Your doctor or dietitian can help pinpoint the optimal ratio for you. I’ve heard that chocolate milk is a good way to get this ratio and it’s what I’m currently drinking after workouts. There is criticism on whether that’s actually good for you or not. I guess I should do more research. Beachbody has a recovery drink too that’s wildly popular and has a cult following. It meets the suggested carb to protein ratio too with a ton of other goodies. You can check it out from Allison’s own Beachbody Coach page here.
  • In regards to the tips above. Do eat after a workout. Please! Your body needs the replenishment. I’ve heard all sorts of numbers about when the opportune window is after a workout for taking in food for recovery. I’ve heard 45 minutes and I’ve heard 2 hours. How about we just give our bodies what we need right after the workout? Sounds good I hope.
  • Water should be common sense, right? With all of the sports drink hype nowadays, there’s still nothing better than water. The verdict isn’t clear on whether or not we even need sports drinks considering all of the sugar and excess stuff added to them so I say we stick to water. The Mayo Clinic says to drink 2 to 3 cups of water after a workout for each pound lost. Fluid intake should happen right after working out. You should be parched when you’re done. Chug that water!

There’s a lot more out there about this topic so please do your own digging if you’d like! I wanted to talk about something that I haven’t talked about on my blog before and Allison mentioned that she hadn’t talked about it on her blog either. Hopefully it was interesting and you guys got something out of it! Since I’m not a registered dietitian, a personal trainer, or a physician, I’m always trying to learn new things every day and I wanted to share it with all of you for your own research. Consult a professional if you decide to change or introduce anything to your diet and exercise routine.

Thanks for checking out Allison’s page and for reading or even skimming through my post! Smile

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I’ll be real: I need to follow those tips myself. Goodness, I’m a health professional and I can’t follow advice! Someone come over and force me to please. See ya later gators!

Guest Blogger: Hannah!

Hello, hello! As you read this I’m most likely shopping on Rodeo Drive and blowing all my money and am going to come back broke, or maybe not come back at all. Don’t be mad if I have to check a suitcase on the way home (we only brought carry-on’s). I wish I could tell you how Ellen went, but I can’t. I’m writing this on Monday night. Guess you’ll just have to watch it today to find out Smile with tongue out 

MEET MY FRIEND HANNAH! She’s a cool gal. I’m not going to give you an introduction to her, because she made a bomb one herself and I don’t want to ruin that with my bad grammar. Enjoy <3

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Hello Everyone! I’m Hannah, a 20 year old writer and lover of all things beautiful. Just so that you can get to know me a bit before you read my post, I thought I’d come up with the top 10 fun facts about myself.

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1. I’m getting married this coming August.

2. I’m a writing major at Oakland University.

3. I am more of a diet enthusiast than an exercise.

4. I have a black lab named Mollie.

5. I love yoga pants more than any other article of clothing.

6. I do Jillian Michaels routines at home.

7. I played volleyball for 10 years (including college).

8. I dream of living on the water.

9. I’m most insecure about my butt.

10. And lastly, my weakness is ice cream!

But enough about me, let’s get to what I’m really here for today (to write to you fine people).

I’ve always been into exercising and eating right (especially because I was forced to by all my coaches), but it wasn’t until after I had quit sports that I really got into my health and body. I quit volleyball and gained weight. I had never gained weight before so it was a huge shock to me. I finally decided to do something about it around a year ago. Dieting was tough at first, but now, I love it… and a lot more than exercising. I learned to control myself and stop eating junk. But it didn’t seem to be working as well as I had hoped. I hadn’t really lost all that much weight or at least not enough to physically notice on my body.

One day, my now fiancé came home from his college nutrition class and gave me the rundown of the lecture:

“We learned that this whole 3 meals a day thing is not really how we are supposed to eat. Our bodies can only burn between 200 – 600 calories every three hours [within the exception of after working out]. Most people eat around 800 – 2000 calories per meal and don’t even notice. My professor said that what we should be doing is eat 6 meals a day or eat every 3 hours, and only eat within the 200 – 600 calorie range.”

So, why not? I thought. I decided to try it out and guess what? IT WORKED! And it didn’t just work, IT WORKED FAST! I felt like I was constantly eating, but after awhile I realized that I was getting full faster. Because I had only consumed 200 – 600 calories/per hour my stomach had shrank. I also found that because I was constantly putting food (and might I add healthy food) in my body, I had a lot more energy than before this new diet. Total, I lost 15 lbs!

Now before you go jumping around thinking you’ve found your ticket to weight-loss, I must warn you. It’s really hard to find the time to eat every three hours and because you’re on a very strict calorie count, it’s hard to know how much to eat. But never fear, here’s what I did that helped me out.

You can do this either on your computer, tablet, or smart phone… look up MyFitnessPal (it’s a website and an app, I use both).

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MyFitnessPal searches and records calories and exercise for you. It can also be a guide for losing weight. It asks you for your weight, height, age, etc. so that it can tell you the exact amount of calories your body needs each day. If you want to lose weight, it’ll subtract those calories from your day accordingly. If you exercise, it’ll add more calories on to your day, because you’ll need more since you burned them off. I really enjoyed using this app because it helped me with my 6 meals a day. It even lets you break up your day into times (like the picture). It even breaks down your total calories within each of your divided sections so you know where you ate the most. It gives you your goal calorie amount for the day, the amount you’ve already eaten, any exercise you’ve completed, and your remaining amount of calories. It’s a pretty awesome tool for dieting-freaks like me!

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I was thrilled when I started feeling and seeing results. I was getting full and feeling content with less amounts of food. Eating junk food just made me feel gross so I wasn’t craving anything greasy, super sugary, or tons of carbs. I could see my abdominal work-outs actually affecting my core and my waist was getting smaller. Another tool MyFitnessPal gives you is a “check-in.” You can keep track of your weight and measurements as you diet and exercise so that you can see the results on a chart. Below is a picture of my chart as my waist started shrinking. It was great to look at as a reminder of my progress.

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And that’s MyFitnessPal and my fitness story! I really enjoyed writing this post. I really hope it helped educate some of you about your eating habits and gave you knowledge about a fun and easy app to help you in your weight-loss progress. Thank you for reading.

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Thanks Hannah! Smile You can go find her over at http://orrdailyjourney.blogspot.com/. Go show her some love <3

Natural Vitality Review & Giveaway! (Closed)

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a company called Natural Vitality. Natural Vitality is working to increase the nutrient content of the American diet. Their supplements are aimed to create lasting health and work in conjunction with a sustainable environment and food system. You can learn a ton more and see a full-product list on their website!

Here’s a list of the products I was sent:

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  • Natural Kids Calm Multi: In my 10 year-old sister’s words, “It smells like macaroni and tastes like a smoothie!” I loved it. So did she. And so did my 85 year-old grandma. My samples came in easy to use packets where all you have to do is shake, rip, and mix with water or juice. We mixed it with apple juice, which had a really unique, fruity flavor.

Natural Kids Calm Multi

  • Natural Calm – Anti Stress Drink: I got the raspberry-lemon flavor bottle and a sampler pack of original, raspberry lemon, sweet lemon, orange, and cherry flavors: all organic! These ones are SO yummy tasting. You do have to break the powder down with hot water first in order to get the benefits from the product, but it seemed to really work for me. The combination of magnesium and calcium is vital for good health, and this product really makes sure you get your daily magnesium needs!

Natural Calm

  • Energy28: These packets are awesome. I simply used it in my water bottle in the morning, but I can only imagine how good it is in a smoothie. It uses Golden Chlorella Omega and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals to create a green, organic superfood that provides you with sustained energy for a boost during the day. This is my favorite product! Who doesn’t want some additional energy?

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  • Organic Life Vitamins: Okay, seriously, this product uses organic plant-sourced energy to keep you really freaking healthy. That’s all I have to say. It’s basically an adult version of the first product I described. Looks and tastes the same, and provides you with a HUGE source of your daily vitamin/mineral needs. Just take a look at the nutrition label and see for yourself!

Organic Life Vitamins supplement facts

  • Plant-Sourced Minerals: Along with many of their other products, this is vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO, which I absolutely love. This tastes like tangy apple juice and is easily mixed into a small glass of water in the morning or enjoyed as-is in “shot-like” form. I may or may not have taken shots at 6 a.m. of this…I felt pretty awesome. I love that this product needs to be refrigerated after opening and actually expires. That means that it’s real food, unlike the processed crap a lot of companies try to pass off as whole foods.

Plant Sourced Minerals

  • Vitality B and C Complex: These supplements are “organically grown in soil.” Vitamin B helps increase mental and physical energy and helps stress responders. We all know I need a little (a lot) of that in my life. A portion of profits goes to the Bionutrient Food Association, along with profits from their other products. Amazing!

VITALITY B Complex and VITALITY C Complex

I am totally looking forward to trying out more recipes with my Natural Vitality products and will absolutely be posting them on my blog as I go along! I was able to come up with my own recipe using the Organic Life Vitamins though! Are you surprised that I made it a cocktail? No? Me either.

Natural Vitality Coco-Hawaiian Cocktail

  • 4 oz. pineapple coconut water
  • 1 packet (1 oz.) Natural Vitality organic life vitamins
  • 1.5 oz. Malibu rum (optional)
  • 1 splash blue Hawaiian mix

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In a tumbler, combine ice, water, vitamins, rum, and mix. If you’re under 21 or just simply don’t want it, just omit the rum. Still delicious. Shake vigorously and pour over ice in glass of your choice! Top with any tropical fruit if you wish Smile

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I made two version: one without the blue Hawaiian mix and one with it. I cannot decide which one I like better. The mix definitely makes it sweeter, so I would recommend that if you’re a sugar lover! I like more bitter drinks, so I think I would stick with the first option. But honestly, why not get your vitamins and minerals in at the bar? Seems like a win-win in my opinion.

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Want to know the coolest part? Natural Vitality wants to do a giveaway to one of you guys for a $50.00 e-gift card to their website! All you gotta do is “like” their Facebook page and leave a comment saying you did so. Then, leave another comment saying which product you want to try most and why! Remember, there are other options on their website, too Smile I will pick a winner on Thursday, April 4, so make sure you get your entries in by Wednesday night. Good luck!

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Last thing. As ya’ll know, I will be in Los Angeles next week. Anyone interested in guest blogging for me?? Shoot me an e-mail at [email protected] if so. I would really appreciate it <3