March Goals

goals

Holy crap it’s March already.

Well, I mean, it’s almost March already.  It’s close enough that it’s time to take a minute and plan out my goals and decide exactly what I want to achieve for the month.

I’ve learned a lot of things along the way on this journey of mine, not just about weight loss but about overall success, and the most important thing is that I function better with goals and a plan.

Not having a traditional 9-5 job anymore means that I need to be especially motivated every day, and for me, the best way to do that is to have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish for the month.  From there I break it down into manageable chunks, and get it done!

March is going to be a big month for me from both a fitness and a professional standpoint.  I have my first official race of the season coming up on April 11th, so training will be particularly important, and I have a few professional ducks I want to get in a row to continue to advance my career as a health and wellness writer.

Here’s a break down of the big picture of what I’m going to accomplish next month.

March Wellness Goals:

  • Follow my half marathon training plan in preparation for the Iron Girl Clearwater 13.1 race on April 11th.  Generally speaking, this means 3 runs per week with my long run increasing in distance to 11 miles by the end of the month.
  • Maintain my strength training schedule.  Generally speaking this means 5x per week lifting weights.
  • Continue incorporating yoga a minimum of 1x per week with a stretch goal of 2x per week during the month.
  • On non-running days, ride my bike (2x per week).  The focus this month is continuing to build my base for the season, longest rides will be in the 40-50 mile range.  Continue to increase my strength, speed, and comfort riding with a group.
  • Continue to hone my nutritional efforts with a goal of a bit more fat/weight loss overall.  This means 5-6 meals per day to fuel my workouts, heavy on the veggies and protein, and no more than 1 “cheat meal” per week.  Booze no more than 1x per week.

March Professional Goals

  • Develop editorial calendar for my personal blog and post a minimum of 3x per week.  (Ya’ll may have noticed I’ve been slacking lately, and it’s because I have so much paid work coming in I get distracted).
  • Continue to work to develop my niche as a fitness/health/wellness/beauty blogger with a totally questionable sense of humor, and focus my personal writing in those areas.
  • Begin studying for and register for my personal trainer certification.  (As a fitness blogger, it would be awesome to have some creds to back it up, right?)
  • Explore other certification options that may be relevant to my professional development, and opportunities that might exist with these certifications (i.e., group exercise- are there opportunities to teach classes locally?  Yoga?  New OrangeTheory opening soon…)
  • Continue to grow my social followings with the goal of becoming a FitFluential Ambassador.  Goals- 50 more followers on Instagram for the month and 100 more on Twitter.  Do you follow me?  You totally should, I’m hilarious.  Check out the side bar to follow my pages!

While there’s a thousand more things I would love to accomplish, these are the goals I’ve set my sights on for March.

So now it’s your turn!  What are you going to accomplish this month?  Share your #1 goal with me, and upcoming race you have, or heck, anything else you want to chat about.

I want to know people!

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10 Weight Loss Tips You Totally Know but Probably Aren’t Doing

vigorous exercise

To date, I’ve lost nearly 50 pounds.  Yes, yes, feel free to applaud.  I’m darn proud of it.

It seems like every time I turn around, someone is asking me how I did it.  Once I tell them, they’re usually somewhat disappointed.

Why?

Because as it turns out, there’s no magic trick, shake, fitness program, or abracadabra to make the weight fall off.  It’s a combination of all of the stuff we’ve heard a million times, doing it consistently, and sticking with it even through temptations and challenges.

For a long time, I was one of those people.  I would ask, “how did you lose so much weight?” or “how do you stay in such great shape?” and when I was told I would think, “ok well, I’m not going to do THAT, so what else did you do?”

I’m glad I’m not doing that anymore, because I’ve finally seen results.

So without further ado kittens, here’s 10 things that I do every single day to lose weight and stay healthy.  Remember, it’s not any one thing that will bring success, it’s a combination of healthy habits that make all the difference.

1.  Drink lots and lots of water.

I average around a gallon per day.  It keeps me hydrated allowing me to push hard through my workout, and also helps to manage hunger and cravings.  Sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty.

2.  Eat veggies at every meal.

I mean it, every meal.  They’re nutritionally dense, full of fiber, fill you up, and are the key to getting all the vitamins your body needs.

3.  Eat protein at every meal.

Like your vegetables, protein has a whole host of health benefits.  Lean protein can keep you full and help you build muscle for starters, and is absolutely essential in your diet.

4.  Sleep at least 8 hours a night.

While this number is a little different for everyone (I NEED at least 8 hours, hubs is actually better on 6.5 to 7), the moral here is to get enough rest.  Your body needs sleep to recharge, as well as manage hormones and other essential functions.  Getting enough rest is also crucial to avoiding over training, so make sure to make time for sleep every day.

5.  Move as much as possible.

I would say to exercise every day, but I feel like that sets an unrealistic expectation.  I workout vigorously *most* every day of the week, but on days when I have deadlines or other commitments, I still make sure to move.  I never sit in one position for more than an hour at a time, and will take frequent stretch breaks or do jumping jacks or squats or just move around to get my blood flowing.  Even a little movement is better than none at all.  Avoid being chained to your desk for hours at a time.

6.  Lift weights.  Often.

I’ll be honest, I prefer doing cardio.  (I know, *gasp* the horror!)  But to build your metabolism, especially women, NEED to lift weights.  If you only have 30 minutes to do a workout on a given day, skip the cardio and lift weights.  I know, it sounds like blasphemy to some of us who grew up in the Jane Fonda era of the 80’s where cardio is golden, but for the best weight loss results you need to build muscle.  No, you won’t get bulky.  And if you do it right, you will elevate your heart rate enough to get fat burning benefits while you’re pumping iron.

7.  Cut out alcohol, refined carbs, sweets and treats.

I feel like this is the point where I lose most people.  Up until here everyone thinks, “ok, yeah, I can do that,” but as soon as I mention that you need to stop drinking folks seem to say, “well we don’t need to go THAT far, do we?”  And trust me, I get it.  I was that person for a very long time.  To that, I’ll simply say this.  Is there a physique you admire?  Is there a goal aesthetic you’re looking to have?  Does that person drink regularly?  (or eat cupcakes, or cookies, or grilled cheese sammiches or whatever your vice might be?)  Yeah, didn’t think so. It’s simple, what do you want more?

8.  Keep track of what you’re doing.

Admittedly, I get a little neurotic if I use a calorie tracker (like MyFitnessPal) to track every morsel of food I shove in my piehole, and for me that’s actually counter productive.  I do, however, keep track of my meals and number of servings of protein, veggies, fats, starches and fruits I have in a day.  This helps me to make sure I’m eating enough, the right things, and to stay accountable.  Find what works for you, but be sure you’re tracking your nutrition and workouts to not only follow your progress, but ensure you’re following your program appropriately.

9.  Eat breakfast.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I’m just going to agree.  Eat it.  I know everyone is rushed in the morning, and sometimes it’s hard to plan a meal that includes protein and a vegetable and you can stuff in your face and still make it work on time, but it’s important.  Find a way, not an excuse.

10.  Take pictures.  In your undies.  Every week.

Early on this was the most mortifying part for me, but as the weeks progressed it became the most motivating piece of monitoring my success.  Strip down to your skivvies every week and take a pic of your front, side, and back.  There is nothing better than watching the inches melt away and watching your body transform.  I take mine every Monday, which helps me track my progress and keeps me honest over the weekend.


Like I said, nothing life changing, but hopefully something that was helpful to you.  So what say you readers?  Did I miss anything?  What is the one thing you feel like contributes most to your success in a quest for a fit, healthy life?

Spring Fitness Fashion

Spring is right around the corner for most of you (in Florida today it’s going to hit 80 so I think it’s safe to say Spring is here for us), and with it comes a reason to break out the shorts and bright colors and start taking our workouts outside.

Personally, I find nothing quite as motivational as a new outfit to workout in.  Cheesy?  Sure, but it’s what works for me.

With spring fitness comes spring fashion, and I’ve got my eye on a few trends that I’m dying to try.  Here’s 5 of the top fitness fashion trends for spring, and my favorite picks that I’ll be adding to my wardrobe to keep my sweaty butt dressed in pretty colors while I’m saying Om and crossing the finish line.

Interesting Details

It seems like every fitness clothing line is doing some fun things with details in their up and coming styles.  I’m totally loving the interesting draped back in the Taylor Tank by Fabletics.  It’s sort of the mullet of yoga tank tops, all business and comfort in the front and a pure party in the back.

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Fun Prints

2014 was totally the year of the printed exercise pant and capri, and I’m a junky for the trend.  I actually had to try to find a pair of plain black leggings for a costume recently and only own one pair.  Everything else is plaid, flowery or bedazzled, and I love it.

For spring I’m totally going to pick up the Wailea Chaturanga Capri by Athleta to channel my inner amazon vibe.

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I’m also in love with the Existence 7/8 Tight by Lorna Jane for a little quieter of a statement.  Lorna Jane is a new to me brand that has some seriously amazing stuff in terms of both fashion and quality.  Because I totally need one more brand to lust over constantly.

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Mesh

Mesh came on the scene in a big way over the winter, and it seems like the ways it’s being used just keep getting better and better.  I am in love with the concept of mesh cut outs in leggings and capris, and while I already own a pair from Lululemon, I NEED their Mesh With Me Crop.  I can totally see myself running more than once race in these sexy babies.

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Bras with Sexy Backs

With all the backless shirts out there, I am thrilled to see so many super hot options of bras to wear under them.  I need them.  All of them.  First on my list is the Vimmia Spirit Bra from Carbon38 to wear with my new Fabletics top!

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High Visibility

Sure, part of fashion is about being seen, but when I’m running or riding in the evening I actually want to be seen to avoid being, oh I don’t know, killed for example.  For that reason, I tend to wear a lot of bright colors, and for spring bright and bold is all over the place.  I’ll be adding this Mesh Racerback Tank  from Victoria’s Secret to my closet for my late night or early morning runs.  Can’t miss me in this, huh?

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Ok readers, what look are you going to invest in for spring?  Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Gym Bag Beauty Essentials

boob sweat

I was really fortunate to “retire” over a year ago now, and spent a solid 6 months doing as little as possible.  But boy I had a clean house.

Mid-year last year I got bored, and during yoga class one day I had a total epiphany.  I realized, “I could get paid to write.”

I started picking up side jobs here and there, and before I knew it, I now have a full time job as a paid writer.  Which is awesome, but has totally put me back in a position of having to actually plan my days and be ready for anything to get in my workouts.

I feel like keeping up with my fitness can be as much about great planning as it is about motivation.  Having everything I need to fit in a workout handy and with me in my gym bag is how I get it done.

These are my five must have gym bag beauty essentials, and a few of my favorite products for every price range.

Make Up Removing Towelettes

I don’t usually wear a ton of make up, but if I do I don’t want it running down my face while I burpee.  These handy pre-moistened wipes get it off quick, and without irritating my sensitive skin.  That way I don’t end up looking like I have two black eyes, or with pimples all over my face.

Aveeno Ultra Calm Make Up Removing Towelettes– $8- Great for all skin types, and guaranteed not to irritate sensitive skin.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes -$15-  Infused with Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, you will remove make up and protect skin at the same time.

Hair ties/Headband

I can’t stand having my hair in my face.  It’s long, I use a lot of product in it, and I’m a sweater.  Like, a big time sweater.  I need it back, and I need all the little pieces to stay away too.  I usually use a hair tie and a headband to keep it out of the way.

Dye Ties -$5- I love these becasue they’re fun and colorful, and don’t cause my hair any damage.

Riviera No Slip Wide Active Headwrap– $12-  If I’m not sporting a nice thick Lululemon headband, this is my go to choice.

Deodorant

Like I said, I’m a sweater.  So if I’m hitting a yoga class on my way to a meeting with a client, I absolutely have to have deodorant in my bag to make sure I’m so fresh and so clean clean (and I don’t smell like a foot when I’m done.)

Secret Clinical Strength Clear Gel Antiperspirant and Deodorant– $8- This is my favorite drugstore brand with super smell  and sweat stopping power.

Dr. Hauschka Natural Deodorant– $23-  As an alternative, this one is little pricy, but totally natural without any controversial chemicals and smells great!

Dry Shampoo

Again sweater here.  My expert tip?  Blow-dry the sweat out of your hair (yeah, it sounds gross but this is reality folks) and then use dry shampoo to perk up your locks.  It smells great, will give you shine and volume, and cuts down on the number of times you need to wash your hair every week.

Batiste– $8 full size- Variety of scents for every hair type.

Macadamia Natural Oil Volumizing  Dry Shampoo– $25- Oil absorbing, adds volume and texture to every hair type.

Body Spray

I’m not a huge fragrance person, but I love something that smells fresh, clean, and a maybe a little fruity or citrusy.  These are two of my favorites that I use on the regular.

The Body Shop Coconut Body Mist– $12

Philosophy Pure Grace All Over Body Spritz-$26


Do you have any gym bag beauty must haves?  What one product do you swear by?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

February Birchbox Review

Birchbox Feb

One of my favorite days out of every month is the day my Birchbox comes in the mail.  For those not in the know, Birchbox is a monthly beauty box subscription service that delivers at least 5 product samples to your door monthly for only $10 per month.

I’ll be honest in that I don’t usually love everything that comes in my box, but for only $10 if I find at least one item that tickles my fancy, I’m a happy camper.

This month had some keepers, one that I pretty much immediately threw away, and one that I immediately ordered.  Always a good thing when you love a product so much you need to have it in your arsenal RIGHT NOW!

Check out my unboxing below.

Juice Beauty® Blemish Clearing Cleanser

Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser

Back in October, Birchbox sent me a sample of Vasanti’s Brighten Up cleanser and I completely fell in love.  I’ve been using it since, so it would take a pretty darn impressive product to get me to switch.

This cleanser by Juice Beauty was a nice alternative to the exfoliation of the Vasanti product I use daily.  It’s a gel-based formula, so for lack of a better way to describe it, it’s slimy and thick.  It coated my skin well, but didn’t produce any lather, which was as expected.

It was gentle enough for every day use, and left my skin feeling clean, but not dry.

All in all, I liked the product, but not well enough to change from what I’m currently using.

theBalm® cosmetics Read My Lips™ Lip Gloss in BAM! Rose Pink

the balm lipgloss

It’s no secret that I LOVE lipgloss, so I’m always excited to see one in my box.  This formula by the Balm is awesome!  It’s thick and creamy, and in their BAM! Pink color it had the perfect amount of pink without being overpowering.  It also has a kind of delicate floral note to it, making it smell yummy and feel fresh on my lips without being totally overpowering.

Seeeeeee?

lipgloss

Juicy Couture Hollywood Royal

juicy hollywood

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, I’m a total fragrance snob.  Truth be told, for every 20 fragrances I sample, I probably only like 1 of them.  And if a product doesn’t smell good, I don’t care how awesome it is, I won’t use it.

That’s one of the things I love about Birchbox.  When I set my preferences I indicated that I want to receive a lot of fragrance samples.  Because I don’t mind getting things I won’t use, and throwing them away, it’s a great way for me to try samples without having to invest a bunch of money into finding one that works for me.

This sample, from Juicy, was actually a pleasant surprise.  It has a few of my favorites, gardenia and jasmine, combined with pear, apple and vanilla and is kind of lovely and fresh.  I would actually wear this regularly, probably in the summer during the evenings as it has that kind of vibe.

Dr. Scheller Calendula Hand Balm

dr scheller hand balm

On the opposite end of the spectrum, this product, for me, was an epic fail.  It smells like scented tampons.  Yeah, I know that’s gross, but it does.  It has that totally engineered “lady” fragrance that I feel like is in every feminine product, and it literally makes me gag.

I was really sad too, as the sample was huge and it would have made for a great gym bag product, but because of the scent I couldn’t even bring myself to try it.  Sorry gang, no actual product review here.

The Big Winner: amika Nourishing Mask

amika Nourishing Mask

The big winner from my box this month was… drumroll please… amika!

In truth it isn’t all that surprising as I’ve sampled a few of their products so far, and to date, have purchased every single one of them in a full size.  This Nourishing Mask is no exception.

It is thick and creamy, smells like heaven, coated my hair and stayed in place for the 2-3 minute recommended treatment time.

To give it a true test, once I was done with my shower I went ahead and blew out my curly hair without using any additional product and was shocked to realize I didn’t even need my flat iron.

My hair was super shiny, laid nicely, and even the Florida humidity didn’t get frizzy.

This treatment is a total keeper, and I ordered the full sized right away.  I’ll be adding this in as a one-per-week spa day for my long hair.


Readers, do you subscribe to any monthly boxes?  Which ones?  If you love them be sure to leave a referral link below so I can check it out!