I've been meaning to write this post for awhile, as most of my workouts are outdoors, at a local park, with my dog!
Jogging, walking, and hiking are great cardio activities and combine the beauty of the outdoors with improving your heart health. (Did you know even 10 minutes of continuous aerobic activity can improve your cardiovascular fitness? So get that lunchtime walk in!)
Colleagues often talk about how bad they feel about staying indoors, working, on a beautiful day. Not only does enjoying the fresh air and being in the moment make you feel centered, but pining away looking out the window can do the opposite.
Mix Up Your Workout
While a long jog can feel great, not everyone can (or wants to) go for a continuous run. It's a daunting task for a beginner, and it's better to work up to bigger fitness goals! Like many things on social media, often what we see (an upbeat post about a coworker's 3 mile run before work; a Instagram star's before-and-after weight loss transformation) doesn't tell the whole story. It likely took that coworker months to get to 3 miles - months full of walk-jog alternations, some days more walk than jog. And those side-by-side weight loss photos don't capture the self-discipline, the 'cheat' days, the self-doubt experienced by most.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's break up that boring ol' jog with some active movements.
Parks often have evenly spaced bleachers, benches, stairs, and other fixtures you can use for a variety of exercises and/or stretches. My calves, hamstrings, and hip flexors run pretty tight, so I like to use the extra torque stairs and bleachers give to actively stretch before, during, and after a workout.
Use hills to your advantage! They're a great active cool-down - so don't feel bad for walking them instead of running.
On the other hand, if you have knee issues, you may find a slow jog up hill is far less painful than walking down, so adjust accordingly!
Always listen to your body, and be flexible with your workouts. Give yourself permission to stop!
Be aware of your heart rate and breathing. These are the best indicators for what intensity level you're working at.
Use What's Around You
Just like gyms use aerobic steps, boxes for box jumps, tires for tire flips - you can use the structural environment you find at the park for a variety of exercises to work your whole body. They are particularly great for beginners, with modified intensity! Let's get to it!
Will you incorporate these exercises into your next workout? Let me know!
Note: Go check out Workout Labs' Exercise Guide for illustrations on a whole bunch of exercises. It can be hard to remember what you meant when you write down "single leg split squat" but including a picture can make a big difference! The images I've included here are all from Workout Labs (see watermark). Please link back to them if you decide to re-post them!
Disclaimer: This review was written in exchange for a free 1 week trial of GreenBlender, a service that provides home-delivery smoothie ingredients. The links in this post are "affiliate links", which means if you subscribe to GreenBlender via one of my links, or use one of my coupons, I will receive a small amount of compensation. If you have any questions, please let me know! Affiliate links in this post are "GreenBlender" and are bolded.
OK guys, juicing is sort of over, right? The new food trend is these home delivery meal systems, but if you're like me, you have found a couple of kombucha or juice drinks at your local grocery store that you stock in your fridge for days you want to increase your veggie intake. There's just something about drinking something green that makes you feel lighter, healthier, and like you can take on a week of healthy eating.
My parents really enjoyed juicing, and used their Vitamix and pounds and pounds of produce from Costco to support their habit (lol!)
I don't think exclusive juicing is a good idea - and used as a cleansing technique with yo-yo dieting can lead to consequences like inflamed gallbladders (and even needing them removed!) Let me know if you'd like to know more about that...perhaps a future post.
However, my parents inspired me to craft some yummy green smoothie recipes with my Nutribullet, which provided 2 advantages to juicing:
Advantages of Smoothies over Juicing
1) You maintain the fiber from the produce you grind, and can better absorb many of the nutrients as blending breaks down the cell walls
2) You use much less produce! (Your wallet thanks you)
Finding out if you're partial to kale, spinach, arugala, chard, or other greens is a first step. Arugula has a peppery taste that I actually like. Spinach blends in very easily with other flavors. Apples and pineapple add something sweet to balance it out. So, after diving into that little adventure, and you know, being a dietitian and all, I thought I was pretty knowledageble! But to my surprise, when I triedGreenBlender, I learned some new tricks!
What is GreenBlender?
GreenBlender delivers a week's worth of produce with smoothie recipes. The ingredients are packaged together so it's easy to put them in your fridge, and pull out the one you want. Everything is labeled - both with the recipe and the ingredient. Clip the recipe sheet to your fridge and you're ready to go. They note certain recipes that are lighter in calories, or higher in antioxidants, and include both the serving size (typically for 2! lucky for your beau or roomie) and the amount of water and ice to add to get that perfect consistency. Bonus - you get wide mouth smoothie straws! Yum.
As I mentioned, I thought I knew everything there was to know about healthy smoothies. I thought GreenBlender would just provide convenience by not having to pick up extra produce on my grocery run, or would supplement the other grocery deliveries I got.
But GreenBlender exposed me to new ingredients and innovative new recipes!
I had never tried rose hip powder, baobab powder, hemp seeds, or swiss chard, and I was pretty sure I didn't like pears. Guess what! I think they're awesome now.
So with a GreenBlender subscription, not only do you get the convenience of produce and smoothie recipes delivered to your door, which is a great way to change up any routines you have, and add produce to your home delivery. Easily add your go-to protein powder to punch these up to a post-workout drink, and take comfort in knowing that for each recipe, you get two servings!
Any questions? Hit me up in the comment section.
Disclaimer: This review was written in exchange for a free 1 month trial of PlateJoy, a service that provides customized recipes and grocery lists to help you meal planner smarter. The links in this post are "affiliate links", which means if you subscribe to PlateJoy via one of my links, or use one of my coupons, I will receive a small amount of compensation. If you have any questions, please let me know! Affiliate links are starred (*)
OK, guys, so hopefully you caught my last review on Diet-to-Go. My next review is on PlateJoy. In this Internet and health-conscious age, we have SO MANY options for making healthy eating better.
It's easy to spend Sunday on Pinterest, pinning healthy recipes and meal planning ideas, until you realize you have to go to the store and figure out the ingredients, and make everything. That means clicking each link, going through the recipes, figuring out what you have in your pantry, and what you still need.
Some services, like Blue Apron, deliver all the ingredients to you, and are great for people who love to cook. Diet-to-Go sends you pre-packaged meals (customized to your preferences and meal plan) that make healthy eating easy peasy.
Another option - PlateJoy*- cuts out the time it takes to find recipes, pair them together to make sure you don't end up with extra ingredients or food that goes bad (and wastes money!) AND make sure they go with an eating plan that matches your goals, leaving out ingredients you don't like.
PlateJoy* makes that whole process take 5 minutes not 5 hours every week. They create personalized meal plans & grocery lists to help make healthy eating easier (and take all your preferences into account too).
The recipes are delicious and they remember what you have in your fridge to help you reduce food waste, so you're also getting the most bang for your buck. They also show nutritional information for all meals (so you can easily track your progress). You even get a virtual nutrition coach to help make sure you're on the right path.
Each week you get a new menu, and it's easy to swap out recipes, mark ones you don't like, and reference your favorites. You can view the shopping list on your phone (super easy at the store!) and you can even send all your items to InstaCart if you get your groceries delivered.
What type of personalization do you get?
What meal planning service fits you best? Delivered ingredients, delivered meals, or shopping lists and recipes curated for your preferences and put together to minimize waste?
If you'd like to give PlateJoy* a try, you can get $10 off your first subscription using coupon code BAILEY10 at checkout.
All the best,
Hey there! I hope you had a very happy holiday season. With the New Year upon us, many will be making New Years Resolutions about their health - whether joining a gym, starting a new diet plan like Paleo, raw, or Whole30, or starting an at-home fitness regimen like P90x.
Some people poo-poo on New Years Resolutions, but some are the jumpstart you need to launch yourself into a healthier you. This post isn't about New Years Resolutions or goal setting - it's about my experience with Diet-to-Go.
If you're thinking up some goals come January 1st, I encourage you to read up on my previous post regarding setting SMART goals and the stages of change.
To Cook or Not To Cook?
Over the past year, there has been a HUGE increase in meal delivery. Past the days of Lean Cuisines and frozen meals, the trend seemed to crop up for busy adults who love to cook, but just don't have the time. Services like Blue Apron send you all the ingredients you need to cook a wonderful meal. Similar services include Plated, HelloFresh, and Purple Carrot.
There are also services aimed more at a healthier you. If you think about it, if you want to start eating healthier, your Pinterest search history may be filled with - quick healthy recipes, chicken and vegetables, healthy crockpot meals, tasty chicken meals, etc. You spend hours searching for recipes, gather up the grocery lists, head to the grocery store, and then embark upon meal planning. These "healthy you" services help you out by removing some of the steps. For example, PlateJoy sends you the recipes and the grocery list you need for a healthy diet. A big plus is that the recipes utilize similar ingredients to minimize on waste and having to prep something every single night (such as chicken parm and chicken tacos later that week).
Diet-to-Go goes one step further - choose your meal plan, see the delivery options in your area, and personalize your menu with number of meals and other details. For example, you can get a vegetarian option on the Balance or go all-veggie. (By the way, the menu options are Balance, Balance-Diabetes, CARB30, Vegetarian).
Their meal plans have been rated as tastier than Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, eDiets, and Biggest Loser and are not only dietitian-approved but chef-inspired. So you get a healthy meal that tastes wonderful.
Diet-to-Go: What Do You Get?
OK so you pick your plan, schedule your delivery, and wait. What will you do with the time you don't have to spend grocery shopping?
Your meals will arrive in a refrigerated box. Each meal is in a sealed container, labeled with its contents and nutrition information (and heating instructions). They stack nicely in your fridge, just like those "meal prep Sunday" pins you see on Pinterest. In case you missed it, the meals are in single-meal containers and meant to be refrigerated.
One of my favorite features was that for some of the lunch items, they include snack items like apple chips (I'm a sandwich and snack kinda girl - hot leftovers just don't cut it for me sometimes), all ready to go in your container. By the way, you can customize your individual meal choices within the overall meal plan selection.
If you want to kickstart a healthy lifestyle, and aren't a big fan of cooking, Diet-to-Go may be just what you need. Or even if you have a great meal plan strategy in place, Diet-to-Go can help cover your bases when you head into a busy week or two at work, and instead of falling off the wagon, you have Diet-to-Go.
If you have any questions about the process, Diet-to-Go provides you with a phone number to call, a Learn More webpage, and an online contact option. They're responsive and there to help you. Give it a try! You can walk through the ordering process all the way to check-out to see the options you can choose before you break out the credit card.
This review was written in exchange for a 7-day free trial of the Balance meal plan. However, all opinions expressed are mine alone. None of the information here substitutes for advice from your medical practitioner.
Learn more about Diet-to-Go process
What do you think? Give it a try?
This post isn't about a particular food tracker. I was using a mobile app and was actually a huge fan. This post is about my experience with food tracking overall.
Everyone is different in their eating habits, and not surprisingly, people respond differently to getting a grip on their eating habits.
Note that I said eating habits and not preferences. When I say eating habits I mean:
This long list is one of the many reasons there are so many "dieting" options out there, but also why so many one-size-fits-most don't always work. For example, I have more than a few friends who's stomach would really prefer they stay away from meat. But I exclaim, that's how I feel about carbohydrates! Others can't stomach the idea of eating first thing in the morning. For me, it's a must! And then I'm usually done with the whole eating thing around 4pm.
Alright, so I want to tell you guys about a kickstarter I've consulted with a bit in the past few months (gratis, no worries, not a shareholder).
Their idea is so simple it's genius, and as a dietitian I'm going to tell you, that estimating portion sizes just doesn't work (remember my blog post on simple changes to make in the kitchen?)
From a husband and wife dynamic duo, a marathon running nurse and a guy who dropped some serious pesos, I present to you: MugDiet.
Their rationale? Those lean cuisine type meals typically come in around 300 calories. That's barely enough for me, let alone a bigger dude trying to lose weight as well.
You plug in your stats and you get a different mug size then Joe Schmo next to you on the subway. What about when you lose weight? How do you keep on with MugDiet and your goals? No worries - you can trade in your MugDiet for your new size.
Check out their site for more info. I've worked with them to make the science easy to understand with easy flow. 2 pages on their site is all you need before you click over to their Kickstarter page. www.mugdiet.com
I'd love to answer any questions you have. Hit me up in the comments!
Did my title hook you in? Good! Now don't worry...this post is in fact about running for beginners, but more of a tell-all of my experience (second time around!) and my tips and tricks. I'll link you up to some great programs that I have used and highly recommend, as well as some products I've found to be super helpful.
I do not have affiliate status with any of these manufacturers or online sellers and receive no financial benefit from you clicking through or purchasing the items.
I'm not a big fan of the dreadmill, but no judgment if that's your gig. My go-to necessities are geared towards outdoor runners, and my program and app recommendations are geared towards beginners.
Keep your eyes out for my future post on Running with Your Dog!
The app that does all the work for you
I first did a walk-to-run beginner program in the summer of 2010. I had a print-off from Runners World tacked up in the garage, and would memorize that day's "splits" - 1 min walk, 1 min jog; 30 sec walk, 2 min jog; etc. and spent most of my run looking down at my sport watch. The plus side? It made the run go by faster. The downside? It was sort of stressful.
Don't Sweat It!...in your eyes
Pockets for your stuff
Stay hydrated, folks!
Some final remarks for you.
And last but not least:
Every method out there to help you eat healthy serves a certain purpose. However, your approach to eating and fitness dictates which purposes you need to employ in the first place.
Methods for an "eat to live" person will be very different than those for a "live to eat" person. Similarly, if you struggle with cravings, your best approach likely won't work well for someone who struggles with feeling hungry all of the time.
Today I'd like to share with you 3 simple changes I have made in the kitchen.
Did you open this post thinking it was going to be another bouncy six-pack twenty-something sharing her early morning 10-minute workout? So sorry if I disappointed you.
Perhaps I should have titled it "how to stay sane while trying to stay fit in grad school". The school gym isn't very far from me - but it's not very close either. I've heard there's showers in the basement of the school - maybe I could go for a run in between classes (in the southern heat) like the girl I see everyday at lunch. PS I'm pretty sure shes running to and from her Athleta (Lulu Lemon, Fabletics) photo shoot.
So what am I going to talk to you about then?
I'd like to share the conversations (arguments?) that go through my head at least weekly, if not daily as they pertain to academics, wellness, social life, and literally just maintaining function.
A few weeks ago I joined a new gym, had my metabolic rate tested, and had a cardio plan to follow. Over the years, I've followed various fitness regimens and can reflect back on how they meshed with my schedule, how I felt, and if they would fit in my life now.
Right now, back pain and the desire to lean out are having a tug-o-war with my body. I'm seeing my chiropractor twice a week, but also taking it easy. I would rather workout 1-2 times a week (instead of 5) until I rebuild some strength than overdo it and be stuck on the sidelines.
It's better to build up from where you are.