Friday, February 27, 2015

Fitness Friday - Week 8

Ahhh, where did February go??? March is in two days! This means we're eight weeks into Fitness Friday! Woohoo!

Saturday I went on the elliptical for 20 minutes. Literally every elliptical machine at my gym is different. I can go on level 4 on two different machines and it will feel completely different. One will be normal and one will be extremely hard. The elliptical I went on was the difficult one. I did 5 minutes on level 4, 10 minutes on level 5, and 5 minutes on level 4. Afterwards I went on the spin bike for 40 minutes. I did 10 minutes on easy, 10 minutes on medium, 15 minutes on hard, and 5 minutes on medium. 

On Monday I went to Zumba for the first time in forever! I hadn't been in almost two weeks! Wednesday I went to Barre Buns. I also went on the elliptical for 15 minutes on level 3. Yesterday I worked out at home. I stretched for 20 minutes and I danced for 42 minutes. Today I went to Barre Buns class. It was really difficult! I also went on the spin bike for 30 minutes. I did 10 minutes on easy, 10 minutes on medium, and 10 minutes on hard. I then went on the elliptical for 15 minutes. I did 10 minutes on level 4 and 5 minutes on level 3.

~Challenge~ 

I'm going to start giving actual workouts as challenges. This week we are going to focus on arms. Your challenge is to do this workout 1-2 times. If you decide to do this workout twice, spread out the days. Give yourself at least one day of rest in-between.


For those of you who do not know what Inchworms and Snow Angels are, here is a short description of each: 

Inchworms- Stand up straight with your feet a little bit more than shoulder-width apart. Put your hands on the ground and slowly walk them out until you are in a plank. Do one push-up. Slowly walk your hands back to your feet. Repeat.

Snow Angels- Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms directly above your head, keeping them straight (hands inline with your elbows). Slowly bend your elbows until they touch your rib cage. Make sure to keep your elbows back, and pinch your shoulder blades down and together. Raise your arms back up to the starting position. Repeat.

What do you think about this Fabulous Arm Workout? Let me know in the comments below!

The Dress Debate - Pretty Little Liars Theory


After hearing about this Blue/Black White/Gold dress debate, I had to see for myself what the drama was about. Yesterday all I saw was blue and black. I woke up this morning to white and gold. Now it is back to being blue and black. This whole situation is extremely trippy! Anyways, it got me thinking about Pretty Little Liars. Are we really all holding our breathe to find out who A is? Probably not. I can definitely see the above scenario playing out and it would probably be funny. It would be an interesting twist. We are all left with our own belief of who A is. No one knows who is correct. No one will ever know. It has been five years not knowing. At this point, why not have this be how it all ends? So all of you PLL fans, ponder this situation. What do you think? Would you go for it? Or would you be enraged beyond belief?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fitness Friday - Week 7

Hi loves! This past week was a busy week for me, so I did not work out nearly as much as I usually do. I know, I know... No excuses. This week was the busiest week I have had in a while though!

I did not start working out until Tuesday (gasp). I went on the spin bike for 45 minutes. I started off with 10 minutes on easy. Then I did 10 minutes on medium, 10 minutes on hard, 10 minutes on medium, and 5 minutes on easy. Afterwards I went on the elliptical for 20 minutes. I started off on level 4 for 5 minutes. I went to level 5 for 10 minutes and then went back down to level 4 for the last 5 minutes. 

Wednesday, yesterday, and today I worked out at home. On Wednesday I stretched for 12 minutes and danced for 22 minutes. Yesterday I stretched for 13 minutes. I danced for 32 minutes and then did the GymRa 9 minute Beginner Ab Blasting Workout. I increased the number of reps to make it more advanced. Today I stretched for 18 minutes and danced for 23 minutes.

~Challenge~ 

There are a couple different types of fitness people. Three of these types are as follows: 

1. Lazy and doesn't really workout, but continues to say they are going to. 
2. Works out way too much and does not give themselves time to rest and recover. 
3. Works out an adequate amount, but does not give themselves time to rest and recover.

Don't be any of these three people! 

If you are the first...

Find ways to motivate yourself! If you need a little push, get a workout partner. When you are trying to get fit, having another person by your side with the same goals to push you is extremely helpful! If your friend already goes to the gym, ask if you can tag along. 

One of the key ways to motivate yourself is to find activities that you enjoy, as I talked about in Week 2. If you are not a gym person, don't worry! There are a lot of activities that you can do that don't require you to go to the gym: Go hiking with your friends (depending on the climate); Go for a run; Bike or walk to work; Go on a long walk (preferably in a hilly area). 

Another way to exercise is to go to the park. Remember when you used to go to the park and stay there for hours on end? Do you remember the monkey bars, the swings, and the slides? Go do it! It is such an amazing workout! The reason why the majority of kids are trim is because they are so active! If you don't want to go alone, take some friends with you.

One word: Dance. Just dance. Dance like no one is watching. There is no shame in having your own dance party. Crank the music up and dance around your house. This is a great cardio workout without it being classified as an actual workout.

There are many other activities you can do outside of the gym. A Women's Health has a great list of 101 ways to workout without going to the gym. You can check it out here.

If you are the second or the third... 

You need to rest. It's as simple as that. Your body needs to recover from all of the exercise you have been doing. I have a fun fact for you: It is during the recovery and rest phase that you will start to see results. When you are doing weights and resistance training, you are tearing your muscles down. When you rest and recover, your muscle fibers heal. During the healing process, your fibers multiply and grow making you leaner and stronger. So if you don't give yourself adequate time to rest, your fibers will continue to break down and your muscles will have a hard time recovering.

Whether you are one, two, three, or none of the above, I have a great fitness motivation board on Pinterest that you should check out here! Hopefully it will give you some inspiration to keep going and stay motivated! 

What do you think of this challenge? Will you do it? Are you the first, second, third, or none of the above? Let me know in the comments below! Make sure to follow me on Pinterest, Bloglovin, and Twitter!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fitness Friday - Week 6

Fitness Friday is here! I can't believe we are already one month and a half into Fitness Friday. It seems like I just started this! Tomorrow is Valentine's Day (YAY); so, that means a lot of chocolate will be involved (YAY). Do you have any plans for tomorrow? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday I went to Mat Pilates 2. We had a substitute instructor. I enjoyed it a lot. She focused on traditional Pilates instead of getting fancy with everything. Afterwards I went to Zumba. I had a substitute instructor for this class as well! The sub was awesome! She only taught the new Zumba dances to songs like Uptown Funk (one of the best songs ever). 

I did Zumba again on Monday. I got to teach a song again! My instructor gave me some Zumba DVD's to help me practice to be an instructor. I am going to look at those soon. I danced along with ClubFitz dances on Youtube for 55 minutes on Tuesday. I mentioned this channel in last weeks post (see it here). I also stretched for 28 minutes. Afterwards I did a 9 min. Beginner Ab Blasting Workout by GymRa on Youtube. I did more than the required reps to make it more advanced.

Wednesday I went to Zumba at a nearby studio. The sub from Saturday teaches Zumba somewhere else, so I decided to go to her class since it was so much fun! At the end we did a lot of ab, butt, leg, and arm exercises. 

Today I went to Barre Buns. I also went on the spin bike for 45 minutes. I gradually increased my level of difficulty. I started off doing 10 minutes on easy. Then I did 5 minutes on medium, 5 minutes on medium/hard, and 5 minutes on hard. I reversed and did 5 minutes on medium/hard, 5 minutes on medium, and 10 minutes on easy. When I was finished, I stretched and used the foam rollers.

~Challenge~ 

This week I have a few challenges for you. You might find them difficult, but I believe they are all equally important to complete! When I go to the gym, I like to look around and see what everyone is doing. There are a lot of different characters, but 90% of them all share one thing in common- they get distracted! 

I see people talking/mingling with everyone and cutting into their workout time. I see people who have no clue what they are doing. They get to the gym and decide what they are going to do at the last minute. They don't know which equipment they are going to use and they don't know how long they are going to use it for. I see people using equipment with bad form! They don't even know how to use the machines! Most of all, I see people listening to music and/or watching the TV when they are working out. All of these things frustrate me. So, here is your challenge: 

Don't get caught up in any distractions. Try not to talk with a lot of people when you go to the gym. You aren't going there to socialize. You are going there to workout. Know your workout when you get there. If someone is on the piece of equipment you are going to use, have a back-up plan OR switch the order of your workout. Know how long you are going to be on each piece of equipment and stick with it. 

Make sure you know how to use the equipment and have proper form. Don't be afraid ask an employee for help. You can also look up proper form online. If you aren't using proper form, you are risking your physical health. You will have a lot of wear and tear on your body in the future and no one wants that! Lastly, don't listen to music or watch the TV. Someone once told me there are few real athletes anymore. There is a very small amount of people who have the mental strength and ability to get through a workout without gadgets to distract them. Try to not only improve yourself physically, but also mentally. Focus on your workout. Focus on what you are doing. Don't focus on anything else. Side note: Did those last three sentences remind you of Bob from Runaway Bride or what? LOL

Do you think you can do it? Which one of this week's challenges do you think will be the most difficult for you?
Let me know in the comments below! Keep in mind that these challenges shouldn't only be for this week. You should continue with these things for as long as you continue to workout.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine's Day Heart Cookies!

These heart cookies are amazing and absolutely delectable! They are buttery, which is always a huge selling point for me. The bottom of each cookie is crunchy. The rest of the cookie is soft. So, you get some chewiness and crunch in every bite!


~Ingredients~  

2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 large egg 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
pink sprinkles (optional) 
Hershey's dark chocolate Valentine's Day m&m's (optional)

~Instructions~

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray (I actually didn't line or spray my baking sheets because they are nonstick. It still worked out perfectly).

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

Cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined. 

Shape the dough into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (You can refrigerate up to 2 days, or freeze it and take it out and put in the refrigerator about 12 hours before you plan to bake.)

Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Flour the counter and a rolling pin and roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Dip a cookie cutter in flour and cut out your cookies, placing them on your baking sheet. I added m&m's to half of my dough and then rolled out the dough and cut out my cookies. After, I rolled out the other half of my dough and cut out my cookies.

Make sure to really create a heart shape with a pronounced dip in the middle to ensure your cookies will look like hearts. They spread out an extra 1/8-1/4 of their original size when I baked them. 

Once you have cut out your cookies, you can add sprinkles as I did.

Refrigerate the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 8-9 minutes until edges are light brown, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

This recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker.

What do you think about this recipe? Will you try it out? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fitness Friday - Week 5

This week was an overall great fitness week for me. I tried out the spin bike, which I love! I started to dance at home again as well! I have been missing it a lot. Last week's challenge was to try out some of my tips the next time you are sore. Did you try them out? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday I went to Mat Pilates 2. After class I got fitted on the spin bike and tried it out for 15 minutes. I used the foam rollers at my gym for the first time to reduce some soreness I was feeling. They are awesome! If you have foam rollers at your gym, I definitely recommend you use them when you are feeling sore (along with my other tips).

Monday I went on the elliptical for 15 minutes. I did five minutes on Level 5, five minutes on Level 4, and five minutes on Level 5. The spin bike became free for me to use, so I spun for 45 minutes. I alternated between the easy and hard settings.

Tuesday I stretched for 24 minutes and then danced for 1 hour at home. On Wednesday I went to Barre Buns class. Today I stretched for 21 minutes and danced for 34 minutes at home.

~Challenge~

Do at-home workouts from YouTube! They really are great! The key is to find the channels that you like. It can take a lot of of scouting out. You may already be doing workouts from YouTube. If so, try a few new one's out! Here are some channels/videos that I highly recommend:

If you love to dance, I recommend Matt Steffanina on YouTube. He is absolutely amazing!! I have been learning and dancing to his hip-hop choreography since 2010. I suggest Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo if you are a beginner. Overall, my favorite dances are Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz and Na Na by Trey Songz. You can find his channels here, here, and here.

CLUB FITz has great dancing videos. It is extremely similar to Zumba. You can find this channel here.

Body Rock has advanced mat workouts. In their channel description, they state that their videos include HiitMax, HiitReps, HiitLean, HiitBody, HiitCore, Yoga, and many more. It is definitely intense!! You can find this channel here.

GymRa is great! They have a variety of body conditioning workouts. I really enjoy their set-up, which is in multiple beautiful outdoor settings. You can find this channel here.

I found a great workout called the Ultimate 20 Minute Barre Exercise Workout by Pilates Union. It is similar to a Barre Buns workout. You can find this channel here.

What do you think about this challenge? I hope some of my recommendations are new to you, so you can look forward to trying them out this week. Let me know which channels you are going to try out in the comments below! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Color of the Month - February

We are now officially one month into 2015!! It is crazy how fast the time has flown. February is all about Valentine's Day. Now remember, if someone asks you if you're single and you don't want to tell them you're single, always resort to the Beautician and the Beast response. 

Beautician and the Beast is a hilarious movie with Fran Drescher. In the movie she says, "In our country we can marry who we want. I decided on John Kennedy Jr., and while he's in denial, I'll travel." So all you really need to say is, "I decided on ___, and while he's in denial, I'll travel." It's perfect. No explanations. No apologies. Anyways, the color of the month is Sheer Lilac! Its meaning ties into the love theme of this month.  

This color invokes the qualities of humanity and kindness. It allows for a fresh perspective on emotional issues. It helps with detachment. It also helps us comprehend the spirit of humankind. Sheer Lilac can be used when your emotionally entangled or to feel a sense of belonging and global community.

Three characteristics that describe this color are... 

Uplifting
Progressive
Detached

You can wear or surround yourself with Sheer Lilac when sharing love on a global level.

How do I know about the color of the month? I found all of the information in the book Colorstrology by Michele Bernhardt. You can find it here.

What do you think about the color of the month? Let me know in the comments below! 

DESIGN BY COLOR CRUSH CREATIVE