6 Health Blogs I Read Daily

I discovered the world of health bloggers during my sophomore year of college. I’ve been addicted to catching up with them daily ever since. I truly believe in the power of blogs. Blogs offer what most sites try to form with readers–a strong and authentic connection. The daily exposure allows the blogger to establish credibility with others and then the trust follows.

I trust what the bloggers I follow say. I’m loyal to their brands because I have developed a strong connection with their ideas and advice through their writing. With that being said, I wanted to list the bloggers that I have always followed. Other blogs have drifted in and out of my list, but these are the core ones that I have stuck with throughout the years.

1. Carrots ‘N’ Cake. Tina’s blog was the first one I ever read. I love her approach to health and how she balances her life to include nutritious eats, exercise, and fun. I can tell that Tina truly enjoys her life and I think that’s why I love reading her posts so much. I was also inspired to try CrossFit because of her!

2. Peanut Butter Fingers. I’m inspired by Julie’s lighthearted spirit that is reflected in her blog. Along with Tina, Julie has a great balance between living a full life and staying healthy at the same time. I think she sets a great example for readers in the health world. She doesn’t let her health goals take over the fun. She just balances it out in such an effortless way and I admire that.

3. Fannetastic Food. Anne’s blog is another one of the first ones that I started reading in college. Anne is a go-getter and makes fitness and eating healthy fun and engaging. Her recipes never disappoint and she always seems to be trying something new and interesting. I sent her an email with a career question in college and her response was super nice and genuine. The fact that she took the time to respond with a thoughtful answer says a lot about her awesome character. She’s a great person and sets the blogging bar high!

4. Fitting It All In. Clare freaking rocks. I love her raw honesty. She writes about what a lot of girls feel, but are afraid to say. Clare is only a few years older than me, so it’s been cool to read a blog about someone who is going through similar stages of life. She has a strong voice and I can’t wait to continue following her amazing health journey!

5. Nutrition Nut on the Run. I go to Hillary’s blog when I want some positivity in my life. Whether it’s her recipes or the happy things going on in her life, it always brightens my day. Hillary’s blog is another one that got me interested in the health blogging world. She is always whipping up some beautiful and gourmet meal in the kitchen. I wish she could be my personal chef!

6. Peanut Butter Runner. I got into reading Jen’s blog about a year ago and I have loved following her fitness and health journey. Jen is a trainer and the workouts that she posts are awesome. Seriously, they will kick your butt in the best way possible. I have always thought that Jen’s honesty is refreshing and I truly admire her approach to health and fitness. She keeps a great balance with all aspects of her life, but especially with fitness and diet. I don’t know many people that work in a balance between weights, running, walking, BodyPump, and yoga, but the girl does it.

I think there is a common theme here. These ladies know not only how to eat well and exercise, but they know how to do it while living a fun and full life. It’s not an easy task, so I am inspired by their perspectives on life more than anything else. I hope that you check out these blogs because they will enrich your life without a doubt!

3 Meal Ideas

I always get in a recipe rut about this time of the week. That being said, I decided to go back through and post some old recipes. It’s kind of a random combo, but any idea helps. Happy cooking!

IMG_2701

 

Chickendinner

Cocoa Almond Oats

Bonus: My mom sent me this link and I think it’s a really good read. —> Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid. Have a good evening!

5 Things We Should Stop Stressing About Now

Today I had an epiphany on the way home from work. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw angry blue eyes staring back at me and lips strained into a hard line. I felt myself gripping the steering wheel tightly, as if I had the world depending on my driving abilities. Guess what I realized? I needed to CHILL OUT about some things in life. Maybe it’s not just me. Maybe we all need to take a chill pill so we can enjoy our lives a little more.

Yes, the traffic was crazy. Yes, it was a long day. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I was eager to get home and eat some kale chips. (The nacho flavor is the bomb.) Yes, I was ready to take off my tights. (They are so uncomfortable to me.) Was it worth it to get so tense for all of the above? I don’t think so. I just hadn’t thought about it before. I was just annoyed with the traffic and didn’t realize how that truly manifested itself in my daily life until I glanced in the mirror. The reflection made me aware and I’m thankful for that.

After that, I started thinking about all of the things that I’m guilty of getting uptight about, but that don’t really matter in the long run. I’m going to try to catch myself in the act and stop this negative chain once and for all. I know it’s going to take a while because it’s natural to get annoyed, but all I can do is try, right?

  1. Traffic. Traffic after work totally stinks, but I decided that I’m just going to recognize that there isn’t anything I can do about it and let it go. My strategy is also to get awesome songs on my iPod that I can jam out to when I get frustrated. I also listen to a bunch of podcasts that entertain me, so I’ll use those too. Game plan ready to go!
  2. Technology. We’ve all been there. A program won’t load at work or maybe our phones aren’t turning on. Whatever the case may be, I’m just going to relax more about it. I can’t speed up the loading process, so it’s best to just wait and let it do its thing without me clicking buttons and getting stressed. Let it be! Also, call IT.🙂 Wow, that even rhymed.
  3.  Future goals. OK, this is a bigger one. I have lots of goals for myself and I often catch myself worrying about whether they will work out or not. This is stuff that is sometimes years away! Instead of wasting energy worrying (it really does nothing to help), I’m just going to focus on what I can do today. I’ve actually been doing this for a few weeks and it has done wonders for my perspective on life. Plus, it allows you to live more in the present.
  4. Waiting on someone else. This can be for anything. Maybe you are going to lunch together or maybe you are meeting for a run. If someone is late, then they are late. End of story. A lot of our life is spent waiting for things or people, so it makes sense to just let it go and flow with the situation. Instead of freaking out, just take action, and then let the chips fall. There is only so much you can control.
  5. Planning time for workouts. If I can’t squeeze in my workouts, it bothers me. Sometimes life gets in the way and that’s OK. (Gosh, I rhymed again.) I need to learn to chill if I miss a workout. Getting stressed about it definitely doesn’t serve me, especially in a situation that I can’t control.

I’m sure you see a theme here. Let go of what you can’t control and just live your life. I think that a certain amount of stress lights a fire that keeps you chasing after your goals, but there is definitely a fine line as to where it is needed. These examples are pretty applicable to most people’s lives, especially this time of the year, so I hope it’s relatable to you.

aee363bbe7d720da5fe9b92422471dab

Five Things Friday {4}

Five things I ate:

1. Ingredient salads filled with grilled chicken, avocado, onions, spinach, nuts, hard-boiled eggs. Pretty standard, but definitely satisfying.

IMG_3556

2. Egg frittata. Made with just eggs and assorted veggies. It’s the perfect go-to breakfast if you like to sleep in wayyyy too late like me.🙂 I cut things way too close sometimes!

3. Egg and chicken apple sausage panini sammy from Corner Bakery. I’ve tried the bacon and avocado varieties as well, but I have to say that the chicken apple sausage one won my heart.

4. Chocolate cookies with peppermint kisses in the middle. Yeah, it’s amazing. I didn’t get a picture, but I found one that shows off the beauty of this delicacy.

christmas-cookies-550-2

{Source}

5. Pumpkin breakfast thing. I mixed 1 mashed banana, 1/2 cup pumpkin, 2 eggs, and a couple teaspoons of cinnamon together and microwaved 3-5 minutes thing morning. It wasn’t too shabby! It kept me full throughout my busy morning, so it does the trick! It’s going to remain unpictured because it wasn’t very pretty.🙂

Five workouts:

1. Arm workouts from the strength training program I detailed in my previous post.

2. 30-40 minute walks on my lunch break. I love being able to get fresh air and move around midday. I am so much more focused when I get back to work!

3. One 40ish minute slow-pace run to listen to podcasts. The HIIT workouts really make me appreciate the chill runs.

4. Legs and abs workout from the strength training program.

5. The same HIIT workout I’ve talked about it previous posts. I’ve switched to working out after work. It’s hard to get really motivated after a long day of work, but I decided that I go to bed way too late to be able to do morning workouts. I like staying up late to get things done and wind down, so early bedtimes aren’t in the cards for me.  I was digging into my precious sleep to work out and it was making me tired and cranky. This is working much better! 

The workout: HIIT intervals with 30-minute steady pace. The first 15 minutes is a mix of 15 second sprint/45 second recovery (x15). Then I jog it out for the following 30 minutes.

Five things making me happy:

1. My Christmas cookie candle.

IMG_3557

2. One Direction’s new album. Yes, I like their music. Yes, I might be going to their concert next year with a friend. Ha! I’ve always loved boy bands. I remember being obsessed with Backstreet Boys back in the day. My music taste is eclectic in every sense of the word.

3. Paychecks.

4. My time during the weekend to read my favorite blogs/news websites. I’m loving StuffGradsLike right now!

5. My family. I couldn’t ask for a better support system and I appreciate them more than they will ever know.

Have a great start to your weekend!

Winter Workout Roundup

We are officially knee-deep in the holiday season. That means lots of joy and festivities, but it also mean less time for exercise. I pulled together some workouts I’ve created in the past so that you have a quick and easy resource to stay fit during the peak of the holiday season.

Roundup:

orange_grungy_paper_by_c9h13n-d30248chotpink

 

spring circuit

snowedinsweatsessionVdaymashup

 

Hope these come in handy during the busy season!

Eats Lately + Some Motivation (why not)

Oh, Monday, you kicked the week off with a bang. It’s been a busy day! I went to bed pretty late last night (thanks to my Vine addiction), so I didn’t wake up for my pre-work run. Instead, I ran and lifted weights after work. It’s always so hard for me to work out after work when I’m exhausted. My tip for post-work exercise: make a beeline for the gym. The less distractions, the better. If you fall into the trap of procrastinating, then the chances of you getting a good sweat session in drastically decline. Ask me how I know.😉

So, what you have all been waiting for, the food…

IMG_3543Pumpkin oats breakfast.

IMG_3544Blueberry oats breakfast with a dollop of almond butter. Fancy.

IMG_3548Work lunch. Salad with spinach, grilled chicken, carrots, tomatoes, guac, oil and vinegar.  Paired with (unpictured) almonds and kiwi!

IMG_3545My favorite meal of the moment. Egg and chicken apple sausage panini from Corner Bakery. Yum!

I picked up an issue of SELF mag this weekend and really enjoyed the last page, so I thought I would share.

IMG_3549

It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day grind, so I think this makes a good point. Life is a special occasion in and of itself. I needed the reminder, especially on this cold Monday. Hope it gives you a little motivation to start your week!

Five Things Friday {3}

TGIF!!! Hope you had a week! Let’s get right to it.

Five things I ate:

1. Vegan and Gluten Free Granola Bars via Fannetastic Food! I had one every day this week with my salad for lunch. Yum!

2. Brad’s Raw Onion Rings. Gosh, it makes for a great snack-y item in the evening. 

IMG_3492

3. Egg and bacon panini sammy from Corner Bakery. It was the perfect dinner to end the week!

4. Salads on salads on salads… My lunch usually consists of some type of leafy green, olive oil and vinegar, avocado, tomato, peppers, broccoli, onions, grilled chicken, nuts, and/or dried fruit.

IMG_3481

5. Blueberry oatmeal bake. I mix one banana, 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, dash of cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of almond milk. I topped it with a scoop of almond butter. It was pretty delicious and it made the kitchen smell like blueberry muffins. Can’t beat that! Sorry, no picture. It just didn’t look very pretty this morning, but it sure did taste good!

Five workouts:

1. Arm workouts from the strength training program I detailed in my previous post.

2. 30-40 minute walks on my lunch break. They have been getting shorter lately because of the FREEZING cold weather!

3. A 45-minute run at a 10-minute pace so that I could listen to some podcasts. Still debating what I think about different running distances and what is best for health. If you missed my running debate, check it out here.

4. Legs and abs workout from the strength training program.

5. HIIT workouts before work. Not the most enticing activity at 5:15 in the morning, especially compared to sleeping in a warm and toasty bed! 

The workout: HIIT intervals with 30-minute steady pace. The first 15 minutes is a mix of 15 second sprint/45 second recovery (x15). Then I jog it out for the following 30 minutes.

Five things making me happy:

1. This view on the way home from work. Silver lining to driving home in the dark=Christmas lights.

IMG_3535

2. The latest issue of Self. Can’t wait to chill out and read it this weekend.

IMG_3540

3. Modern Family. The writers for that show are so clever. It’s my ultimate veg-out time. I used to be a HIMYM fan, but I have switched to Mod Fam. Ted Mosby will always have my heart though.🙂

4. Cute little pink Christmas trees.

IMG_3541

5. The Christmas season. I have always loved this time of year and I truly savor all things related to the holidays. I’ve always been super into it. I would go outside and try to put more lights on our house when I was younger… and blew a fuse. Yeah, I was THAT into the spirit. Point being, Christmas is my jam.

Happy weekend!🙂

Back to Strength Training

I’m currently listening to Mariah Carey (Holiday) Pandora station. It’s the bomb and you should check it out! I discovered that I can’t listen to Christmas music on the way to work. It was making me sleepy at the wheel! So, blaring rap in the morning is my wake-up call for the day. I’m awake enough for the X-mas jams on the way home, though.🙂

Wow, so this post is definitely not about time-of-the-day music preferences. It’s about strength training! I recently (as in this Monday), started a new program. I was doing CrossFit a few months ago and after that I switched to light toning. I’m going for something in between those styles this time around. I don’t think I’ll ever plateau because I get bored with workouts so quickly. It’s a constant cycle for me! Some people are creatures of habit and stick with the same thing, which I totally get and I think anything is good as long as you’re moving around.

I decided to do this program: The Ultimate Female Training Guide. Note: I am not following the nutrition plans or supplement recommendations. I just stick to whole foods that are fresh and organic when possible. I’ve found that dietary restrictions like that are just a recipe for crashing and burning. I’ll post about my thoughts on that some other time! Gosh, I can’t stay on track here.

I like the structure of the program and I’m doing the HIIT workouts on the allotted days. It has a whopping three rest days worked into the schedule. My plan is to walk/yoga/bike/maybe light run on those days. Or maybe even just completely relax on one of them. I’ll just play it by ear and see how I’m feeling throughout the week.

Here’s the first four weeks (via Simply Shredded):

workout

The workouts switch every four weeks. Check out the guide linked above for more info! I really like it so far. My schedule is pretty busy right now, so it allows me to maximize my workout time, which I love!

Time to go watch some Modern Family!🙂 Can’t believe tomorrow is already Thursday. Have a good one!

Tuesday Bites

Happy Tuesday! I’m currently sipping on some chamomile tea while trying to keep my eyes open. It has been a long day! I went to the doctor after work to get my flu shot. Here’s to hoping it fends off the bug! The doc said that she has already seen a few cases. Yikes!

Anyway, I thought I would do an update on my eats.

I did some baking on Sunday and have been enjoying the treats so far this week.

IMG_1915

Not the best photo, but you get the point. Those are the pre-sliced almond butter banana breakfast bars.

I like pairing one of the snack-y options above with my salad at lunch. It rounds out the meal and makes it more satisfying!

Speaking of salads, my lunches have been pretty green lately. I have found that you can keep the combination fresh by switching out the toppings and types of protein. I thought that would get old quickly, but it hasn’t!

IMG_3530

Parmesan-crusted chicken with spinach and balsamic. Gets the job done!

It’s time to sign off for the night. Have a good Wednesday!

Monday Inspiration

It’s Monday, so why not mix it up with some inspiration?

I woke up this morning and did a quick 30-minute HIIT run before the workday. I’m exhausted! It’s always worth it when I can come home and relax, though. I know that some people prefer to exercise after work, which I totally understand, especially when my alarm clock is blaring at 5:15 in the morning…

Anyway, here are some inspirational pins I have saved on my desktop along with a few quotes. Hopefully this helps you get motivated for the rest of the week!

IMG_3393 IMG_3378 IMG_3376 IMG_3374 IMG_3373 IMG_3371 IMG_3370 IMG_3362

And for the raw quotes…

“Make the best use of what is in your power and take the rest as it happens.” -Epictetus

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Foster C. Mcclellan

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too can become great. -Mark Twain

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored. -Earl Nightingale

I could go on…and on and on…but I’m sure you are already inspired to make it a point to live more fully this week. I tend to focus on the future because I am very goal-oriented, so being more present is something I’m really working on. It’s tough. Putting this post together slowed me down to think about the big picture as I hope it does for you, too!