We are all social distancing and staying at home, but that doesn’t mean our fitness and wellness goals need to take a back seat. In fact, I’ve found myself with a reinvigorated, more creative outlook on my fitness journey. Here are 4 things I’m doing to stay fit and well right at home.
1. AM WORKOUTS
Of course, we are all trying to workout consistently, but I’ve intentionally switched my workouts to take place in the morning. My workouts have always been my greatest source of positivity and a huge stress relief. If you think of exercise as a happy pill, it only makes sense to take it as soon as you can each day.
HOME WORKOUT MOTIVATION TIP:
One of my greatest obstacles with home workouts is the mental motivation. When I go to the gym, I can easily flip the switch from life to fitness. At home, it’s a bit trickier for me. I just started taking a pre-workout supplement a little over 1 month ago (THIS is the one I take). Previously, I was using coffee to energize before a workout, but this pre-workout contains specific ingredients that enhance my workout. I notice focus energy, a greater muscle pump, and better recovery. Most of all, I go from not wanting to workout to BAMB- workout motivation 20 minutes after taking this.
If you want the nitty gritty details on the pre-workout I take + more specifics on the benefits, read THIS blog post
2. SMOOTHIES FOR ADDED HEALTH BENEFITS
There are so many pros to working at home but one of the cons is that I have the ability to eat everything in site (and some days I do, ha!). I am a regular smoothie drinker but lately, I’ve been making 1 per day as an afternoon treat to curb my cravings. One of my favorite desserts is a Dairy Queen Banana Split Blizzard and this is my healthier twist.
BANANA SPLIT SMOOTHIE:
1 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 scoops vital proteins collagen peptides (unflavored or vanilla)
1 tbsp dark chocolate or cacao nibs
*combine + blend
*for more ice cream consistency, add ice and use less milk
This is a great place to sneak in extra health benefits. I add collagen peptides (THESE) to mine. The powder is tasteless, or you can get flavored ones like vanilla or dark chocolate blackberry. It provides 18 grams of collagen and 20 grams of protein! For me, collagen is a staple for bone and joint support, and the hair/skin/nail health benefits are an added bonus too! I do a few smoothies where I sneak in spinach too!
You can read more about my experience + results after taking collagen consistently for 90 days HERE
3. EXTRA TIME ON DINNER PREP
There are no errands (except for the essentials) to be run or places to be out and about at, right?! The silver lining is that we have extra time at home and can put that time towards productive things.
I’ve been dedicating an extra 15 minutes or so to making dinner each night. Most nights our dinners are an absolute scramble to the finish line, so its been nice to put in a little extra time.
EXTRA TIME TO:
Try a new recipes
Enjoy a dinner that make require a bit of extra time
Double up on the recipe to have a meal for the following day
Make a sweet treat for after dinner
I’ve found that a little bit of extra time and effort put towards my dinner helps me enjoy it more and feel really satisfied.
A DINNER WE’VE BEEN LOVING LATELY:
(insert blog recipe)
4. VITAMIN D
Sun exposure is the most natural way to get Vitamin D. I aim for just 10-30 minutes a few times per week but really aim for every day. Our skin contains molecules that actually synthesizes vitamin d when they are activated by the sun’s UVB rays.
VITAMIN D ROLES:
helps calcium build strong bones
regulates the immune system
plays a major role in the life cycle of human cells
I am a big believe because a few minutes in the fresh air and sunshine and I feel refreshed.
*thank you to Vital Proteins for sponsoring this post
These are 39 of the best positive quotes to help you feel good and have a great day
Bonus – they also make for great phone wallpaper or Instagram stories so be sure to save your favs!
MY QUOTE MOOD LIFTER HACK
I’ve found that looking at quotes is an instant mood lifter. I will use Pinterest or Google to type in whatever I’m feeling. I scroll, read quotes, repeat out loud the ones I like, and typically share my favorites to Instagram stories. It only takes a few minutes and I always walk away feeling better. I wanted to provide you with what I consider to be some of the best positive quotes for inspiration to make the very best of today.
hover image & click the pin it button to pin to pinterest
click image & click save to phone (you can then make them your background or share to Instagram)
Disclaimer: these quotes, sayings and phrases are unknown unless otherwise stated and come from google, Pinterest, Instagram, and various searches. None of these quotes are my own. I’ve simply created these pretty designs around them.
Accept what it is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.
Life is tough but so are you.
Be the energy you want to attract
The greater the storm, the brighter your rainbow
The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience you look fear in the face
You will be exactly as happy as you decide to be
Stay patient and trust your journey
You’ll have good days, bad days, overwhelming days, too tired days, I’m awesome days, I can’t go on days…and everyday you’ll still show up
Mirror mirror on the wall, I’ll always get up after I fall. Whether I run, walk, or have to crawl, I’ll set my goals and achieve them all.
It’s okay to be a glowstick. Sometimes we need to break before we shine.
It doesn’t matter what’s been written in your story so far, it’s how you fill up the rest of the pages that counts
Always find time for things that make you feel happy to be alive
Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations
In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure
The best preparation for tomorrow, is doing your best today
Sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an undeniable breakthrough
Grow through what you go through
Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
The world is filled with nice people. If you can’t find one, be one.
Be good to people for no reason
Two things you are in total control of in life are your attitude and your effort
Every day may not be good but there is something good in each day
Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.[/caption]
You can rise up from anything. You can completely recreate yourself. Nothing is permanent. You have choices. You can think new thoughts and habits. You can learn something new. All that matters is that you decide today and never look back.
Do what makes your soul shine
Your only limit is your mind
Look for something positive each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.
Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life
Sometimes we’re tested not to show our weaknesses but to discover our strengths
You were made to do hard things, so believe in yourself
You carry so much love in your heart, give some to yourself
You can’t calm the storm…so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.
Little by little, day by day, what is meant for you will find its way
Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and think of what could go right
Be the reason someone smiles today
Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain
I had always considered getting botox, and starting early as a “preventative measure.” I heard that if you are proactive, you almost prevent the wrinkles from ever forming. Yet, I’m low maintenance and I don’t like to add things to my maintenance routine that require regular visits.
You also know that I was pregnant, had baby #1, nursed/pumped for an entire year, immediately got pregnant with baby #2, had baby #2 and then went right into nursing/pumping again. 2 kids in 2 years. I was mom-ing 24/7. I am so blessed and wouldn’t change it for the world. However, do you know that feeling when you are giving, giving, giving, and you just want to do something for yourself. That’s where I was when I decided to try botox.
MY BOTOX EXPERIENCE – ROUND 1
I did a ton of research, got recommendations from people, and decided on a cosmetic dermatologist near me. I went in, shared what I was looking for and clearly stated that I do not want to look over-done. I received the botox and went home. It can take a full week to set in, so I anxiously awaited the results.
About 2-3 days later, my right upper eyelid looked a little puffy when I woke up. I brushed it off, thinking I slept weird. That following day, my eye was so puffy and swollen that I worried I was having some sort of allergic reaction.
Fast forward several weeks… the dramatic puffy-ness did wear off. However, I was frozen AF to say the least. I had zero movement in my forehead. That right eyelid remained slightly puffy for at least 2 months until the botox began wearing off.
I was definitely not going back to that doctor and I sort of questioned going back at all.
MY BOTOX EXPERIENCE – ROUND 2
It was 6 months since my first botox injection… the botox completely wore off and I had full expression in my forehead. I decided to make an appointment at a plastic surgeon’s office. I explained to her my past experience and she asked a few more questions on how many units I received and where it was injected.
She concluded – it was simply too much for me. She very educatedly explained that botox relaxes the muscles and that if they relax too too much/combined with it being injected too close to the brow, the muscle actually relaxes down into the eye. This is why you can get a slightly droopy eyelid, or, in my case, the muscle relaxed and pushed normal fluid down into that eyelid.
She assured me she would go very conservative. She said I will be so conservative that we can schedule an appointment for next week and I can add more then if desired.
OBSESSED! Night and day difference. My forehead actually still had a bit of movement but the majority was motionless yet subtle. She injected in a way that actually lifted the right lid (an aesthetic technique that can make the eyebrows and face more symmetrical). I could not have loved the results more. I’ve been back here for a second appointment (3rd time total).
BOTOX QUESTIONS + ANSWERS
you shared your questions with me on Instagram, so I collected the most popular ones…
“WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR BOTOX INJECTED?”
I had botox injected in my forehead and a tiny bit between my eyebrows.
“HOW MUCH DID IT COST?”
Botox is priced per unit. The exact price per unit varies depending upon who you’re going to and your location. By me, I would say an average price is about $12-$15/unit. Then, obviously you multiply that number by how many units injected. I did a quick google search and found a common forehead treatment range of 30-50 units of botox.
“HOW MANY UNITS DO YOU GET?”
This is a question I do NOT want to answer because I think a professional should tell YOU how many would be ideal for YOU. I know that’s annoying but because of the bad experience I had, I don’t want anyone using my numbers as what they should do.
“HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?”
Once you are injected with botox, it takes about a full week to set in. When you leave, you’ll be able to use your face muscles as normal. Day by day, the muscle movement diminishes (it’s oddly interesting to track).
1ST EXPERIENCE: : when I received too much botox for my personal preference, I was “frozen” for a good 2.5 months. From 2.5 months – 3.5 months, it was wearing off (some movement). At about month 4, it was fully worn off.
2ND EXPERIENCE: I would say from 1 week after injection to about 6 weeks, I don’t have much muscle movement. What I love about the units I get and how she injects it is that I always have some movement in my forehead just not wrinkling. From about week 6 – week 10, it is wearing off where I have some movement/wrinkles but not like “normal”. After about 2.5-3 months, it’s fully worn off. Again, this is because I do “less” in general so I probably have to go more often.
“HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?”
10 minutes. The initial consultation takes a bit of time, especially if you’re like me and dot every i and cross every t… that appointment was about 30 minutes. However, the actual appointment is less than 15 minutes… 10 minutes if I need to be in and out.
“WHY BOTOX OVER FILLERS?”
They serve two different purposes. I was told that botox paralyzes the muscles to help prevent fine lines and wrinkles from developing. Fillers are substances that physically fill in spaces; lips, smile lines, cheeks and under the eyes seem to be common places for filler.
“HOW LONG DID IT HURT?
It is actually pretty painless. It feel like tiny pinches and a bit on stinging. When it’s done, the pain is done. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, and I would say botox is “uncomfortable” but not “painful.” By the time you feel any pain, it’s over.
“I AM AFRAID OF THE SIDE EFFECTS. DID YOU HAVE ANY?”
I don’t know if you’d consider it a side effect, but the first time I did botox, I just received too much, which contributed to the puffy eyelid. If I could go back, I would have really emphasized how conservative I wanted to go… I would have specified that I still want some movement in my forehead. Also, I do get slight headaches as the botox sets in but it’s nothing bad.
“WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR 1ST AND 2ND EXPERIENCE?”
1) NUMBER OF UNITS USED: the 2nd time, I had almost half of the units of botox used and achieved a better results (goes to show less really is more)
2) THE INJECTOR: I think you have to take the time (maybe go through a treatmeant you don’t love) to find someone you do like. The woman I see is *amazing* – she’s so conservative, knows exactly where to inject to maximize the results. I love her!
“DOES IT GIVE YOU HEADACHES?”
I’m sure you’ve seen the botox commercials that say botox can limit the number of migraine days. Interestingly enough, I have migraines and I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect but I do think I have less headache days.
However, I personally get slight headaches a few days after getting botox as it sets in, which I was told is a common side effect.
“DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT’S ADDICTING ONCE YOU START?”
This is a funny question… it’s probably as addicting as when I started getting a shellac manicure or the first time I got my hair highlighted. For me, it’s not addicting in the fact that I *could* stop and still love the way I look BUT it is addicting in the fact that I really like the results and want to keep it up.
“I DON’T HAVE A LOT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT GET BOTOX & AM WORRIED ABOUT JUDGEMENT… ADVICE?”
This is honestly something I thought about. I am a very confident person. I believe in wholistic health and wellness. I didn’t want getting botox to twist the fact that I’m still that person but also care about my looks enought to inject a toxin into my forehead. Also, I’ll be honest… when I grew up in Wisconsin, botox and plastic surgery was not nearly as common as it is now in 2020 and where I currently live in Houston.
“DO PEOPLE SAY THEY NOTICE OR JUST MORE LIKE A GENERAL ‘YOU’RE LOOKING GREAT’?”
I have not had a single person ask me, “do you have botox?” Maybe people are just polite?! Personally, I like the look. My husband was not crazy about me getting botox – he loves the natural look – and he has told me several times how great and subtle it looks.
Bottom line… do you research, but truly, you can do all the research in the world and you may not love the first place you try… or the second. For me, it took 2 tries but I am thrilled now. You always here people say “less is more” but truly, start on such a conservative side that you have to go back in for more sooner than expected (it’s the same price whether you have it all at once or in 2 sessions). I am so happy with my decision to get botox.
This Raspberry Green Tea Lemonade is equally sweet and zingy. It’s a refreshing, macro-friendly drink that has just 45 mg of caffeine. I love drinks that give just a bit of energy without too much caffeine. Refreshing is the perfect work for this drink!
HOW TO ORDER:
Order a VENTI *unsweetened* Green Tea
Request 1 pump of raspberry syrup
Request a splash of lemonade
Request a scoop of berries on top
As for 1 packet of stevia (or any 0 calorie sweetener), optional
Quick update on what my current food and workout routine looks like. Maybe it’s the warmer weather… maybe it’s that I’ve felt “off” of a good routine for too long… but, for whatever reason, my inner fire for workout and nutrition has never burned brighter. I know how contagious that energy can be, so I wanted to share what my current routine looks like.
I am currently following this plan for traditional weight training workouts with a tiny twist. 4 days per week, I do weighted workouts with a bit of cardio sprinkled in. And, 1 day each week, there’s an X-treme workout in the plan, which is a circuit of weights, cardio, abs and more. It’s an enjoyable yet challenging switch up.
Both the gym + home plans follow the same schedule, so I’m using the gym plan about 80% and home plan 20% of the time.
PELVIC FLOOR + CORE PLAN 2.0
I am adding this plan on 3 days/week and the workouts take me 10-12 minutes. This is the ultimate type of core training and workouts I will include in my routine forever.
WEEKLY CARDIO GOAL
One thing I’m doing differently is adding in more “traditional cardio” such as walking, jogging, spinning, stairs, etc. I set a weekly cardio goal, such as 1 or 1.5 or. Then, I break that big number up throughout the week. Some weeks, I may knock out 2, 30 minute sessions. Other weeks, I may do 15 minutes of walking, 4 days/week. This structure gives me flexibility.
I’ve followed intermittent fasting (IF) on and off for years. I see great results while following it. And, I see great results when I don’t follow it. The real benefit for me is that it curtails my cravings and snacking. I love to snack, especially late at night, so the shorter eating window helps cut down on the snacking (+extra calories).
Whether I am following IF or not, the most important nutrition component for me is overall consumption. How much I eat in a day dictates 1) how I look 2) my energy level and 3) how my body feels and preforms. I follow the 3 “guidelines” in my Meal Plan and am currently testing a bit more of a macro-based approach that I will share more on what I feel that I’ve nailed it.
AT HOME COOKING
I am trying to cook more *from scratch* at home. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of short-cut meals (ex: Annie’s brand microwave pasta dish + rotisserie chicken). That’s not bad but I know I can do better with cooking for myself and incorporation more nutritious food items.
Welcome back to the second post in one of the most popular blog post series I’ve ever done… healthy finances. I started this series for all of us who want to take control of our finances to experience greater freedom, healthier money relationships, less stress, and ultimately, a life that feels good (not just one that looks good ;))
In the first post titled “Where do I begin? Start here…” I talked about what my husband, Anthony and I first did when we wanted to start off our healthy financial journey. I’m sure you’ve experienced this by now… finances, smart money decisions and a healthy relationship with money doesn’t just happen. It takes some work, and good amount of research to figure out what moves are right for you. To be frank – it’s pretty damn overwhelming, right?! At least, it is/was for me. My goal with this blog post series is to share our journey, simplify what I’ve learned and what we are doing, so that you may find a nugget or two that you can apply to your own life.
In this post, I thought I would share 10 financial principles that we follow on a regular basis.
10 FINANCIAL PRINCIPLES WE FOLLOW
GOAL: FINANCIAL FREEDOM
First off, healthy finances and financial freedom has to be one of your goals. And, if I’m being honest… it has to be a top goal that you’re willing to make sacrifices for. I have good friends who joke that they “own the front door of their home and the hood of their car.” I know people who make 7 figures and live paycheck-to-paycheck. I have friends who swipe swipe swipe, live on credit and don’t worry once about it. That is OKAY, but that’s just not for me. My point is… this isn’t for everyone. If you don’t care, don’t. But, if you do, then care… a lot.
START EARLY… START NOW…
It’s really easy to delay paying off debt, saving, retirement, college funds, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been advised to do x, y and z, and my knee-jerk reaction is “I’ll worry about that when I’m ‘older.'” Well, I’m only 28 but I can already tell you that every year of my life has gotten increasingly expensive. You buy a house… welcome to huge upkeep expenses. You have children… hello bills for just about everything.
I’m not retiring tomorrow but I already have financial plans for that phase. My kids aren’t going to college anytime soon, but we’ve set up funds for that. Life isn’t getting cheaper or easier, so making smart money moves now pays off big in the long-term.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS + RECALCULATE MONTHLY!
Getting more into the nitty gritty of the financial principles we follow… you’ve got to know your numbers and where you are at financially. In this post I shared how to calculate your numbers. We calculate and assess those numbers on a monthly, yes monthly, basis. Normally, Anthony brings it up with the preface, “don’t get annoyed… I know you don’t want to do this right now…” and he’s right. It’s annoying. It’s boring. Even though I’m proud of our numbers, I don’t enjoy the task.
One of the main reasons I suggest knowing your numbers and assessing them regularly is because this is how we measure our financial goals and how we are doing. For example, paying off debt is probably one of the most popular financial goals. In this monthly assessment, we would look at all our numbers and see where our money went the past month: how much to savings, how much to investments, how much to expenses, how much to x, y and z. To stick with the paying off debt example, we would then make plans to expedite the debt pay off process in the upcoming month based on our current numbers.
Another good example I can think of is if you get a bonus: you look at your numbers to decide where that money will make the biggest impact. A tough example I can think of is if you get a large medical bill: you look at your numbers to make decisions on where to shift around money to pay for it. I’ve found that knowing your numbers monthly leads to smarter money decisions.
PAY YOURSELF FIRST
The greatest book suggestion that I can give to hit this point home and explain it in detail is The Latte Factor. The quickest summary is that no matter how much or how little you make… you’ve got to pay yourself first. After that, you pay your expenses and do your day-to-day spending. The book claims you are richer than you think and teaches you how to make your dreams come true with a few simple money management tweaks. I read this book in a day or two and truly enjoyed it.
This is how we structure our money management. In my opinion, it’s a mistake to: bring in money, spend and then save whatever is left over. The better flow for us is: make money, prioritize saving, spend on our necessary expenses and then decide what to do with whatever is left over. This can be done no matter what your income- and the book teaches how.
PAY OFF DEBT, FAST
This is probably the most important financial principle to Anthony and I. The typical American household carries an average debt of 137,063, which is obviously an overwhelming number and something Anthony and I personally took charge of. source
The next post in this Healthy Finances Series will be dedicated to paying off debt and our approach to how we did that, so I’ll save the details for that post.
I will warn you… Anthony and I have taken this to the extreme but I know this is a decision we will be proud of and benefit from for the rest of our lives. And even though I say “extreme,” it’s really what I strongly believe we should all be doing.
SPLURGE ON PRIORITIES
Anthony and I are under a strict financial plan right now, but I remind myself that I’ve got one life to live to the fullest, which includes spending money. One spending principle Anthony and I follow is that we splurge on priorities, or things that matter most to us.
For the past 3 years, we haven’t taken a lot of vacations because… 2 kids in 2 years… but when we do, we splurge: 5 star hotels, first class tickets for everyone who comes with, best restaurants the area has to offer, etc. For me, this means I try not to go through Target putting random items I want in the moment into my shopping cart and instead, I treat myself to a new handbag. Find the *things* and *experiences* that mean the most to you and spend your money.
“BEING APPROVED” IS NOT THE SAME THING AS YOU SHOULD SPEND
I clearly remember when Anthony and I walked into a jewelry store to look at engagement rings. Anthony was asked “how much can you afford” and he responded “well, I want to spend X.” That sums us up perfectly. I should elaborate… that sums Anthony up and I’ve grown to take on that perspective.
This past year when we were in the market for a car, I saw an adorable one driving on the road and said “that’s the one I want.” As I was waiting in the showroom, I was looking in the more expensive section and asked about another car that was something like 3-4x the price of mine. The salesman very nicely said, “well, I could see if you’re approved for it.” In my head I knew I was but when I test drove my much less expensive car, I had one of my more proud financial moments… I said I like it and I would like to get it today. I test drove that car to Chase, got a check, and left that evening with my car. I don’t share that to brag, but I share that so more of us can think it’s cool to spend well within your limits even if you can afford more.
A DOLLAR SAVED IS A DOLLAR EARNED
I come from generations of farmers who built their lives off of hard work. This was a phrase repeated to me often. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty… do work yourself.. save money when you can.
MULTIPLE INCOME STREAMS
I love this one! Right now, Anthony and I have 4 income streams. Traditionally, people have one income, right?! I was going to be a dentist and earn a salary =1 income stream. Most people I know think they have to stop there, but I have a friend who is a teacher (1 income stream). She tutors in the evenings (2nd income stream). On weekends and over the summers, she babysits for a family (3rd income stream). She also sells Rodan + Fields (4th income stream).
My income streams aren’t any of those but we both have money coming in from 4 different places. Not only does this open up the opportunity to bring in more money, but also it provides for more security if 1 income stream isn’t working out.
Here’s just a little relationship tip that helps ensure Anthony and I stay on the same page with spending… have a number that either one of you can spend below without consulting the other but any purchases above would require a conversation prior.
This is actually something we stole from our pre-marital classes. We had to come up with a number and did so then. That number has changed quite a bit but Anthony and I are on the same page regarding this spend limit and what would warrant having a conversation.
BLESS THE LIVES OF OTHERS
Finally, Anthony and I both believe in the phrase that “to whom much is given, much is expected.” We believe in using money to bless the lives of others. We see money as a blessing we have been given. I know that our God-given talents combined with our hard work are what allows us to make money and therefore, it is up to us to continue doing good with it.
I know you don’t expect me to list how much I give and where I give to, but I share this as the last principle because the topic of money can seem greedy. However, in my experience, it’s opened up doors to do more for others than I ever thought I could do.
I am so happy you ladies are loving this series and I cannot wait to share more in the next part. Here’s to smart money decisions!
The most highly anticipated program… the Pelvic Floor + Core Plan 2.0 is available now. This advanced 2.0 version is more than “a next step” and jumps to another level of intensity for even greater results you can see and feel.
If you have a very weak core or if you are newly postpartum, I would suggest completing 1.0 first to build your foundation. However, you can start the 2.0 version without the 1.0 if you have moderate to advanced core strength.
HOW IS THE 2.0 PLAN DIFFERENT?
The advanced 2.0 version is significantly more intense featuring all new workouts (the workouts continue to challenge me!) providing the potential for even greater results.
I’M NOT A MOM… SHOULD I DO THIS PLAN?
YES! Even more so now with 2.0. This plan is LEVELS different in intensity from the 1.0 program, and the ultimate add on plan for sculpting and strengthening the core, providing another level of benefits/results.
WHAT RESULTS DID YOU NOTICE?
These workouts helped me achieve my strongest, flattest and tightest stomach: even after 2 kids. My once weak pelvic floor (where I would pee jumping or sneezing) is stronger than ever. My core strength is unbelievable, which helps other areas of my life. The major definition is just an added benefit.
ARE THESE NORMAL AB WORKOUTS? WHAT’S THE PELVIC FLOOR?
You can use these workouts ab workouts but they are unique from a “traditional ab workout” because they train our deepest core muscles using highly effective activation techniques. They work the deepest muscles, which include the pelvic floor.
The Pelvic Floor + Core Plan 2.0 is available now. This plan features the deepest type of core training and jumps to another level of intensity for even greater results you can see and feel. Below, you will find a sample workout from the plan: a circuit. This is one of the hardest core circuits I’ve ever done *when I utilized the activation techniques and advanced starting position* which I detail in the plan. Sample the plan below…
In fact, let’s cut right to what I know you want to know: 1) yes, I love taking a pre-workout supplement and think the benefits are superior to that of caffeine alone and 2) I’m sharing exactly which pre-workout product I’m currently using and loving.
When taking a pre-workout of any type, I suggest looking at a few things. What are the ingredients? Will these ingredients actually benefit me during my workouts? What is the stimulant amount? Below, I will elaborate on those and share what benefits I am noticing, suggestions on exactly when to take your pre-workout, and the product that is checking all my boxes.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TAKING A PRE-WORKOUT?
ENERGY: the obvious reason is that I neeeeeed that little burst of energy to get me through a tough workout
VASODILATION/INCREASED BLOOD FLOW: the ingredients dilate blood vessels to allow blood to circulate easier, bringing oxygen and other crucial nutrients into the muscles that we are breaking down during a workout
MUSCLE PUMP: I also notice a greater muscle pump and ability to make that mind/muscle connection thanks to certain key ingredients
BCAA: brand chain amino acids help promote an anabolic/muscle-building state while assisting in recovery and soreness
COLLAGEN: you will find solid amount of collagen snuck into this particular pre-workout product, giving you a great bang for your bunk
PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS VS CAFFEINE (IE: COFFEE)
Just like the name implies, pre-workout supplements are those taken prior to a workout with the goal of allowing you to achieve a greater workout. How exactly? Well, that all depends on the specific pre-workout product. The one ingredient most often found in a pre-workout supplement is caffeine or stimulant ingredients used to boost energy levels.
Unlike drinking a cup of tea, coffee or any typical caffeinated beverage, pre-workout products also contain a cocktail of other ingredients. It’s important to look and these ingredients and understand why they’re added. Like I mentioned, many ingredients are used for the stimulant effect and others are used to help maximize the muscle pump. Working out increases our heart rate, dilating the veins and creating a greater flow of blood transported throughout the body. If you see these veins and arteries as a highway system, imagine that pump ingredients add an additional lane to a busy highway… the flow of oxygen-rich blood moves more efficiently and faster to the muscle cells. All of this enhances the overall workout as well as the muscle recover (=better results).
Between pregnancies and nursing for the past 3+ years, I’ve taken caffeinated drinks (ie: coffee) prior to workouts. I recently got back into the pre-workout game and I cannot tell you what a difference it’s made in my overall workout quality, energy, focus and endurance.
How much caffeine should I take?
The amount of caffeine you should look for in a pre-workout is a very personal thing. It also depends on many other factors. For example, how much caffeine are you consuming throughout the day via other drinks, such as coffee, soda, tea, etc. The other factor is personal preference; some individuals love a high stimulant pre-workout that mainly focus on providing energy throughout the workout while others look for pre-workouts with a “medium” amount of stimulants and other ingredients to enhance the workout (this is where I am at).
I find that my body responds very well to about 125-150mg of caffeine 15-30 minutes before a workout. This amount of caffeine provides me with just the right boost to get me going and ready for a workout without giving me jitters. The common used term “jitters/jiterry” is in reference to when one consumes too much caffeine and they feel literally jittery. This is also your bodies way of telling you to slow it down with the caffeine.
My personal preference is 200-250 mg per day (125-150 mg in my pre-workout and another 50-75 mg throughout the day if need be).
WHEN TO TAKE A PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENT
I’m used to consuming my coffee/caffeine first thing in the morning and then workout about 1.5 hours later. However, currently, I hold off on the AM caffeine and taking my pre-workout on the way to the gym.
I find that this gives me the perfect boost of energy for my workout, BUT ALSO… half way through my workout when my energy normally dips, I feel an extra jolt because of this timing.
THE PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENT I CURRENTLY USE
I am currently taking THIS pre-workout by Vital Proteins.
The Ingredients I love:
I like to recommend pre-workout products that enhance the muscle “pump” more than those that simply serve as a stimulant, which this product perfectly achieves. Personally, I prefer “pump” style pre-workouts to enhance my physical fitness, endurance and focus during a workout as well as recovery benefits.
Stimulants in a pre-workout supplement in lower amounts are my preference because stimulant style pre-workouts, by nature, almost defeat the purpose of the supplement. Stimulants are vaso-constrictors, which work to do the opposite of dilating the veins, inducing less of a pump (remember a pump is a good thing). This particular pre-workout product deliver 140 mg of caffeine per serving, which is the ideal amount for me: just enough energy without the jitters.
BOTTOM LINE ON PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS…
I notice a definite difference in my workouts when I take an actual pre-workout supplement prior. The ideal timing to consume is on the way to the gym of 15-30 minutes prior to beginning my actual weight training. The Vital Protein’s Pre-Wave product is the one I am currently using and loving. Not only does it provide the exact ingredients I desire, but it is a brand I trust (so key with supplement companies). Right now, my current flavor is lemon grape, but I’ll keep you posted as I try more.
Thank you to Vital Proteins, a brand I love, for sponsoring this post; as always, all opinions are honest and my own.
Here is a glimpse at what I eat in an entire day. Today’s meals were especially quick and easy… many of them were what I call “meal assembly” in which I just put together a few options for a faster meal. Also, check out my dinner and PM snack because the combination of a super satisfying dinner and macro-friendly snack keep me feeling satisfied while well on my way to my goals.
I follow intermittent fasting for fat loss and overall health benefits (more on IF HERE), so my breakfast usually goes down in the 10 AM hour.
WHAT I ATE FOR BREAKFAST:
protein shake: 1 scoop protein powder + 10 oz water
Dave’s Killer Bread 21 grain, thin slices x2
Jiff’s Natural Peanut Butter, 2 tbsp
Trader Joe’s Strawberry Fruit Preserves, 1/2 tsp
I don’t take a formal lunch break so I like for my lunch to be something that can be quickly assembled or a reheatable option from last night’s dinner.
WHAT I ATE FOR LUNCH:
4 oz breaded chicken breasts
2-3 cups salad; I get the Caesar salad kit from my local HEB grocery store
2 tbsp Bolthouse Farm’s Caesar yogurt dressing
a few Pringles I found in the pantry (if I’m keeping this an honest meal log)
I have an “afternoon snack” around 3 PM. It’s that time of the day where my energy dips and my cravings kick in. Depending on how hungry I am, this snack is lighter or heavier. Today was a lighter day. When I’m hungrier, I make this more of a “meal.”
WHAT I ATE FOR AN AFTERNOON SNACK:
Collagen – I love a collagen drink in the afternoon because 1) benefits of collagen and 2) a great serving of protein (fills me up!); THIS is the one I had today
Chomps Beef Stick – today, I had my afternoon snack on the go, picking up my son from school and running an errand so this was my option to snack on in the car
Cashews – because I was in the car, I grabbed a handful of nuts for healthy fats. This also slows down the overall digestion of everything I consumed to feel fuller longer
My dinner is the 1 meal of the day that I put a lot of effort and time into. It is also the biggest meal of my day. I find that the better my dinner is, the more satisfied I feel and the less likely I am to snack and overeat later in the evening.
WHATE I ATE FOR DINNER:
California Grilled Chicken, recipe in THIS cookbook
Roasted Balsamic Bacon Brussel Sprouts
Annie’s Organic Mac + Cheese – I made this for my sons to eat with some more basic grilled chicken and I ate a little less than a cup myself
I am a snacker at heart and even when I am serious about my healthy eating, I love incorporating a snack to mentally satisfy my snack desires. I don’t think snacking is necessarily “bad” – I simply just aim to have higher protein snacks that fit my overall macros/portions.
WHAT I ATE FOR A PM SNACK:
Cookie Dough – I have this almost every evening and I feel like I am enjoying an indulgent dessert; recipe found in this cookbook