Saturday, December 29, 2012

Currently Under Construction

In order to bring you the best information possible, this blog is currently under construction until further notice. I promise great content soon!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Turbo Kick vs. Turbo Jam vs. Turbo Fire - What's the Difference, anyway?


I get asked this question ALL the time. There IS a significant difference and that difference falls in what you want to get out of your workout.  Chalene explains to us the real differences between the workouts, but below I have listed some common denominators that make each workout WORTH your time, effort, and money. Enjoy!


  • AMAZING soundtrack
  • Kicks, punches, booty shaking
  • Feel like a badass when you are done
  • SWEAT!!
  • Elevated mood as soon as you start (thank you amazing instructors!)
  • Something for everyone
  • HIIT (High intensity interval training...break your plateau!)
  • Lean, toned body
  • Weight loss..and FAST
  • TA TA LOVE HANDLES!
  • Learn while you burn
If you are interested in purchasing Turbo Jam or Turbo Fire to add to your in-home fitness library, then please visit my site www.beachbodycoach.com/nik4213 to do so. I am also available, as always, via e-mail to answer any questions that you may have about the programs: nik4213@gmail.com



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sharing a gift with YOU!

Woohoo! It is an exciting day!

I am officially opening my 2013 health & fitness challenge groups today! Many of you are probably asking, "What the heck is a challenge group?" Well, I am here to tell you!

A challenge group is a small group of individuals who are dedicated to a common cause. In my case, the cause is health and fitness. My start came from a challenge group, and not only did I get great results during that time that I was in the group, but the results carried me on to new and exciting aspects of health and fitness.

A little about myself: I loved fast food. Loved it. I hated the way that I looked, though. I wasn't fat, but I was....puffy? Like, not fat but not toned, either. I would dabble around with workouts here and there. I got the gym memberships and would go and be a gym rat (see no results bc I didn't really have much knowledge at that time..just figured elipitcal and some weights here and there), did a ton of home fitness programs including Denise Austin, TaeBo, Carmen Electra...you name it, I probably have the DVD...but nothing ever really STUCK. I would always find myself hopping to the new trend, the new pill, the new WHATEVER and here I still sat...puffy and miserable.

My friend had asked me to join this accountability group and I figured, what the hell. It's January 2012..yet again, I'll try something new. This was a change! I got to be held accountable from my home office (no driving to meetings or embarrassing weigh ins), the accountability portion took me MAYBE 5 minutes out of my day, and these women were all so motivating and encouraging! There was no one watching me run in the mirror at the gym trying to be inconspicuous. There was no guy checking me out when all I wanted to do was work out. There were no time limits on machines, or now $39.95 each month for a gym membership that I stopped using. There was no driving to the gym after work, or on a Saturday morning. And there was no snarkiness from the members of the group.

This.Was. Awesome!

I was able to workout from home through a program that my coach recommended to me after I talked to her about my likes and dislikes..and what was great about that was that I actually enjoyed doing what I was doing. I wanted to pop in that day's DVD each and every day. And that kept me going. That mixed with the positivity from the group kept me going for ONCE in my life!!

Then I decided to do the same. I became a coach, and have been running fitness challenges throughout 2012 and gotten my challengers AMAZING results, and I take the challenge right along with you so it's not just you doing that workout that day..I'm doing the same one in my home!

So if you are READY to stop dabbling around and getting nowhere, if you are puffy, if you are unhappy with your appearance, if you are just looking for something that WORKS and somewhere where you can find all of the missing pieces to your puzzle, if you are looking for something that takes your time constraints into consideration...then please e-mail me (nik4213@gmail.com). I know, I know...you don't know me, it's weird emailing someone you don't know..but I swear to you I'm the most easy-going person you will ever talk to, haha, and I truly want to give everyone the chance that I got this time last year. My life has changed DRAMATICALLY and it all started from just making a choice to try a challenge group. 

I hope to hear from you! And if not, have the happiest of holidays, whichever one you might celebrate, and nothing but the best for you in 2013!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

PUSH

Sometimes all you need is a little bit of planning in order to make things work.

This time last year I started reading Chalene Johnson's book, PUSH and was inspired to begin the journey of changing my life. I still have a long way to go until I "get to where I am goin", but I like to think that I have started by covering a great deal of ground in 2012.

I love this book because it teaches you how to lay out your goals, and define your priorities (which, are two different things). It helps you to break those goals down into smaller chunks, which I am all about, and helps you take an alternative view on your life. What I liked most about the book was it encouraged individual behavior, DEPSITE what your "closest friends" might think.

When I started on my journey there were a lot of people who took that as an invitation to speak poorly about me behind me back. "She's all positive now, ugh, it's like shut up, no one cares." or I heard, "You think that everything you do is right" (which...never posted anything like that, but okay..) and then there was the, "Well I'm sorry my life isn't perfect like your's!"

Bottom line is when people see others making a positive change in their life, and they are not yet ready to the same, they will try and bring you back down to their level. They will try and tear down your beliefs, your attitude and get into your head so that you display the kind of negative behavior and thought pattern that they feel comfortable with. To them, leaving their negative way of thinking is way too far out of their comfort zone, and you making the choice and choosing not to be with them in that negative area anymore with them signifies a loss of control in their eyes.

Let them go. Let them be. They will follow you when they are ready.

And if they keep talking, maybe it's time to find new friends.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TurboFire Review (thus far!)

It really didn't surprise me the moment I hit Play on my DVD player and started to grin ear-to-ear. Something about a new workout DVD gets me super excited (I know, so lame!)  Now, I was starting my third workout program in Chalene Johnsons's workout series, TurboFire.

I started my little workout journey with her first series, TurboJam and quickly fell in love. TurboJam was like a workout class that I always imagined in my head. If I could take all of my favorite things and mix them into one workout, at that time it would have been TurboJam. It had everything: Great music, up beat/motivating instructor (sometimes I feel like she is speaking right to me!), and a mix of kick boxing and dancing as if you were the only one home and your favorite jam came on the radio. I was hooked.

After TurboJam I dabbled in a few other workout series and found myself back with Chalene in July of this year for ChaLEAN Extreme (see the tab marked Chalene Extreme for more info on that one). Yet again, loved it! Everything I could hope for and more!

Now it's TurboFire. I feel like TurboFire is the big sister to TurboJam. TurboJam is great for beginners because it starts off at a reasonable pace, and offers many modifications to up the intensity. TurboFire starts of high intensity and keeps getting more challenging, but with the same kickboxing, motivation, instructor, and dance-like-your-favorite-jam-came-on kind of feel.  TurboFire fuels my need for increased intensity and challenge as now various aspects of plyometrics are added into the mix to give you one hell of a full body cardio workout. You will be left breathless for sure!!!!

I would recommend this workout to people looking to lose weight FAST. This is a 90 day program, but with Chalene's motivation and the included workout calendar showing you which workout to do on which days, you are SURE to drop the weight that you are looking for. See the tab marked "Transformations" for some awesome TurboFire transformations. This product has been used by many moms looking to lose the baby weight and has been a huge success!

Interested in learning more? Head on over to my site to see the various purchase options and get started today! Pair it with Shakeology for an added boost and even better results! www.beachbodycoach.com/nik4213

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRGTuvoEgdA  <---CHECK OUT A PREVIEW HERE!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Never Giving Up is Half the Battle

In life it is very easy to give up.  We give up on saving money, because we'd rather have what we "want". We give up on marriages, because they seem doomed and like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We give up on our goals and our dreams because the road that leads us to them seems about as difficult as trying to climb Mt. Everest without climbing gear.

It is so easy to give up.

I always take notice when people refuse to give up. On my way home from work there is a donation station for charitable items. This is a rinky dink place that just opened up and from what I can tell, business is slow. Yet this man sits outside on a bench every-damn-day holding a sign saying "Clothing Donations Being Accepted Now". People just pass him by, or stare at him out of their car windows as they sit at the stop light (myself included). Some people, I'm sure, don't even realize that he is there. But he is there, every day. Every day he sits and he smiles and waits patiently for that one car to pull into the parking lot and make a donation. I have decided that tomorrow I am going to be that person. My couple bags of clothes and old board games might not be much, but it might be that small sparkle of hope that man needs in order to continue to sit and work for something that he has a true passion for. He wants to help others and he won't give up. No matter how many days go by that he gets no one, that day when he gets someone to donate makes all of those days worth it.

My mother is very similar to this man in her journey to spread the word of the Lord through being very active and dedicated to our church. Our church is EXTREMELY small; like 10 pews on each side small and has lost the majority of its funding. Weekly contributions sometimes do not break $300 and attendance is down. Attendance is so bad that we do not young adults to lead the procession of 3 choir members down the aisle or to light the alter candles. Funding is so low that we do not have a Pastor; instead, the church comes together and each person takes a turn preaching each week. And those that attend regularly, continue to attend. The church refuses to allow itself to give up, and it presses on as a church family week after week. My mother was the one chosen to preach on Sunday. Ironically enough she told the story of Hannah, a woman who could not conceive a child but that never lost her faith in Jesus and never gave up. Eventually, Jesus awarded Hannah a child. The message behind the reading was that we should not give up on things that we are passionate about, and that in time our goals will become realities.  Now, this amount of time might be very, very long or it could come with a stroke of luck. Either way, dedication remains the key to success.

Now, imagine if you lived your life with that kind of mentality day in and day out. It sounds draining, yet rewarding. If we never gave up on ourselves, imagine the things that we could accomplish.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Take ACTION!

Was there ever something going on in your life that you just HATED? I mean you really HATED it to the point where it completely consumed your thoughts, time, emotion, etc.? Even when it wasn't present, it felt like it was there!!!  It's like a visit from "that" family member..the one that just won't freaking leave!

UGH!

You ever just want to scream?

I know I do.

Sure, this blog is about motivation, inspiration, being positive, etc. but let's face it-even the most positive of people have a day where they just throw up their hands and say, "THAT'S IT! DONE FOR THE DAY!"  We all have those days.

I'm currently going through one of these situations myself, and I have been complaining, whining, crying, bitching, moaning, and groaning about it for quite some time. I allow it to consume all emotion from me on some days, and carry it home with me on others. Yesterday, I decided to practice what I preach to others and do something about it.

In reading Anthony Robbins's book Awaken the Giant Within the other day on the treadmill, I came across a quote that ignited this little spark inside of me (which, sparks grow into flames, flames grow into fires, fires grow into infernos, etc.) The quote said, "It is not where you start out, but the decisions that you make about where you're determined to end up that matter." Isn't that the truth? Think of all of the decisions you have made in your life: where to go to college, whether to stay in school, who to date, who to marry, who to divorce, whether or not to have kids, which job to accept and how each of those have affected your life. It is crazy to think of the web that we weave for ourselves throughout our lifetime.

Now, in the same regard think of the other decisions that you make in regard to your emotions. Feeling angry, feeling depressed, sad, upset, etc. etc. and think of the web that those weave: You get mad so you yell at the dog, stomp around the house, your significant other is afraid to come near you, you take it to work, have a negative attitude surrounding your tasks, vent to your best friend, bring them down, they go yell at their dog and husband, etc. etc. Every decision we make spins its own web; some webs are positive, and others are negative. The funny thing is those negative webs seem to grow at a lot faster rate than the positive webs do!

I realized yesterday that I had this HUGE negative web branching out from me right now, and that is NOT something that I want anymore. The book also says that, "you have to set standards for what you consider to be acceptable behavior for yourself, and decide what you should expect from those you care about. If you don't set a baseline standard for what you'll accept in your life, you'll find it's easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that is far below what you deserve." I realized that this negative thing in my life was literally controlling my life at this point. Tony says that we must TAKE ACTION, and sometimes we must take a massive amount to get what we want out of life. So, rather than sitting around bitching, moaning, and complaining (which I did sound off one last time last night) I decided that I was going to start taking action toward breaking down this negative web. The longer I let it go,the bigger it was going to get, the more work it would be to get rid of it.

So I started baby steps. I started taking that action toward something new in my life. I started exploring options, weighing pros and cons, and the funny thing is that every "con" that used to fuel my self-doubt got washed away when I set my standards for what was acceptable. Every "con" that made me afraid to make this move quickly vanished, because in the end it's not the money that's going to matter it's your sanity and at this point I'm about ready to be checked into a nut house :) It's time to move on (yes, I'm talking about my job).

So think about it. What in your life needs a change? What in your life is the center of this negative web (because we all have one somewhere). Take one step today toward changing it. Use the energy you would typically use to complain about it, and put it into a positive action to begin changing it.



If you are having similar problems in your life, I highly recommend you pick up Anthony Robbins book Awaken the Giant Within. I read a little bit every day and it is helping me find a voice and find the courage that I need to make my life what I want it to be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

GIVING It More

Like the title of the blog states, sometimes you have to take what you're doing, and give it more. This can be in any aspect of your life. When you feel like you can't give any more....give it just a little bit more, then a little bit more after that.

A personal struggle that I suffer with is seasonal depression. I have dealt with this since I was a child and it seems to get more challenging as the years go on. It used to literally cripple me, keep me in the house all winter, sleeping over 15 hours a day. I would wake up, it'd be dark, and I'd figure, "Well no point in getting up now" and I'd just go back to sleep. There was no drive, there was no energy, there was no purpose as far as I could see. I was never suicidal with this...just COMPLETELY unmotivated to live any sort of fulfilling life. I know a lot of people can relate. It wasn't until I started opening up about this that I realized I am not alone in this boat of seasonal misery.

Every day is like an exhausting battle with myself. But that's a good thing! The battle means that I am giving it more, that I am not giving up, and that I am not giving in to this seasonal  pain in the ass. It means that I have refused to settle or accept what I am going through. It means that I am sick and tired of being sick and tired in the winter. It means that inside, I still want more. It means that I'm fighting.

Many people might say, "Maybe you should get on some medication." or "Maybe you should talk to someone about this." I disagree. If I am fighting, I'm fine (in my opinion). I have been on anti-depressants and I HATED the way that they made me feel. I also know that if I make myself (after much internal battle) get off my butt and do something that I feel better.

This is in no way a medical blog, just a blog of my personal experiences. Perhaps you feel the same way that I do as the winter months start to head in. Maybe you also do not want to go on meds because you feel that this is a manageable problem; if so, here are some of the things that I have been doing that seem to be helping elevate my mood on even the gloomiest of days:

1. Exercise. As Elle Woods proclaimed in Legally Blonde, "Exercise creates endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't just kill their husbands!"  It's true. Some days it will take more exercise than others to elevate the mood. I had a day like this yesterday, but I would rather exert some energy doing something that is benefiting my body than wallowing in self pity under the covers and giving up.

2. Eat Clean. Again, this is not a medical blog, I am not a dietitian or a nutritionist, but the amount of articles that I have read lately about the crap that is in our foods is scary. Hormones are found within our foods that can alter our own chemical make up. Not to mention, there are some additives within foods that actually bring our  moods down. If you have ever watch the documentary Supersize Me, you will remember how Morgan Spurlock's mood was greatly affected as he ate McDonalds day in and day out. Yes, his situation was a bit on the drastic side, but as someone who does eat clean about 85% of the time, I can tell you that if I am in a situation that calls for repetitive fast food bouts, my mood changes.  When I eat clean, I feel clean. I feel light, I feel like my mood is better, I just feel more nutrient rich. When I eat like crap, I feel like crap. Not saying that this is the same for everyone, but for me this is how it works. So try putting more whole foods in your diets and see if that helps to lift your mood.

3. Go tanning. I'm not saying go every day and fake bake to the extreme. I do not tan to be "tan" (if you saw me you would know I'm definitely not tan), but I will go and lay in the bed for 10 minutes. It makes me feel warm, and cheers me up.  As a side note, I will not go more than 10 minutes. I do fully believe the tanning bed/skin cancer links and am one of those people when outside that wears SPF30+ (just didn't want people saying, "YOU ARE PROMOTING CANCER!" because, I'm definitely not!!)

4. Get outside. Whether or not it's cold, if it is sunny get outside and just enjoy the sun. Sunshine stimulates the production of Vitamin D. The sunshine and the outdoors can also help to raise your endorphin levels, cheer you up, raise your energy levels, and boost your mood.

5. Find a hobby that you enjoy. As lame as it sounds, I scrapbook all winter long. Looking at the photos from the summer and holidays passed helps me to remember that there is a ton to look forward to and that warmer/sunnier days are ahead!

6. Embrace the climate that you are in. This is the hardest for me, but I do try. I hate the cold. I hate the snow. I'm more of a palm tree and sunshine kind of girl; however, I do try and embrace the climate that I live in. I go snowboarding, and while I'm not very good at it, it is something that makes me smile. I also love ice skating outside, and there is just something special about running through huge snowflakes; it's like you are in a snowglobe.

Those are just some tips from me to you. Again, I'm not saying any of it is "scientifically proven" or anything like that, but it's working for me and I know I'm not alone out there.

If you have any additional tips that you would like to share about how you battle the "winter blues", please feel free to leave a comment below!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Awesome Santa Fe Chicken

So, one of the hardest challenges when it comes to a healthy lifestyle for me is finding a healthy way to incorporate my love for Mexican food. I.love.tacos.burritos.queso.

I can take down a bowl of queso dip and chips like Takeru Kobayashi takes down Nathan's hot dogs at Coney Island. It's not pretty...but you get the picture.

They I found a recipe that combines two of my favorite things: a semi spicy dish and my slow cooker

**And the heavens above open and sing!**

Without further torture, here ya go!!

Ingredients:

24 oz (1 1/2 lbs) chicken breast
14.4 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can black beans
8 oz frozen corn
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
3 scallions, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in crock pot, placing the chicken on top (I covered mine a little bit). Cook on low for 10 hours, or on high for 6 hours. A half hour before it is done, take the chicken out and shred it with a fork, then return it to the pot and let cook for the next half hour. Serve over brown rice with a small dollop of fat free sour cream and a dash of reduced fat cheddar

Servings: 8  Size: 1 cup Calories: 190 Fat 1.5g Carbs 23.1g Protein: 21g

For more great recipes like this one, head over to www.skinnytaste.com

Friday, November 2, 2012

Just a Little Thought...

While reading my Grandma's journal the other night, I found this cute little poem. I'm not sure if she copied it from somewhere, or if she wrote it herself, but I thought it was great and def. wanted to share.

Just supposing we started this very day
T live our lives in a different way;
Just supposing we vowed and constantly tried
To help those in trouble-
On life’s wayside.
If we showed by our doings a hint of His love-
Wouldn’t Earth be a bit more like heaven above?
Monday: Look for a smile today and return it with one of your own
Tuesday: Gather a thought, a kind one that’s sincere and deep, but be sure to pass it along for such are too precious to keep.
Wednesday: Forget yesterday’s old sorrow, mistakes, sadness, and pain. Lift your heart with hope and a song, as flowers to the sun and rain
Thursday: Offer a word of comfort and prayer to help someone in need. A little thoughtful gift, some flowers or a smile makes us all rich indeed.
Friday: You shall not pass this way again, so do any good you can do. Don’t put it off till tomorrow or the chance may be lost for you
Saturday: Today will soon be a memory so don’t let it come to an end without a smile, without a song, or just a word with a friend
Sunday: Don’t let worry and care depress you, or brush the day’s joy away, but rise and give thanks to God above for His love and another blest day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Let's Pound Some Pavement!

Well, it's that time again. Time to start training for the Half coming up in May. Now, I know some reading this might think that sounds funny, or that a Half is a bunch of "weak sauce", but I have never been a runner. I enjoyed sprints but only at 100m, anything else I considered "distance" and just wasn't into it.

The beginning of my running journey started with the Couch to 5K (C25K) running program. It got me going gradually and switched up the workouts enough so that I never got too bored or too winded. Once I graduated that program I was able to finally tackle a 4 mile run, a goal of mine since about the 8th grade. I have tried this running thing, I swear, every year since I was about 14 years old and failed - until last year.

Last year I dedicated myself to the idea of running. Damn it, I WAS going to become a runner if it killed me (and some days I thought it had). I signed up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, paid my $85 and said, "Well..that's it! You're running 13.1 regardless, because you sure as hell didn't just blow $85 for nothing!" So I started my training in November utilizing this training workout: Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training Program

Sometimes it was hard to keep up with, but I told myself I had to keep going. Closer to the half I upped my "distance" and veered away from the training schedule. One week I did 6 miles...the next week my distance run was 8, then I had three 10 mile weeks, and then went right to 12 1/2. After the 12 1/2 mile run without ANY stopping, I realized this was happening.

The day of the race came and I was excited and confident that I would finish. People joked about getting "picked up" because they wouldn't make the maximum time frame, but I knew I was going to cross that finish line. Not only was I going to cross it, but I was going to do it with a smile.

I took in everything that day. All the sites, sounds, feelings, etc. Around mile 11 my knee started to REALLY bother me to the point where there were some tears shed, but at that point there's no stopping!! I trucked on and crossed the finish line, arms in the air, smiling, at 2:37:36.  When my medal was placed around my neck and I had my picture taken, I knew I had officially become a runner.


....about 10 minutes later when I collapsed near an ambulance I also knew that running COULD kill a person haha. But all I needed was some sugar, and then I was good to go :)

That day taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. That was a goal I had for over a decade and consistently gave up on, but that time I dedicated myself to achievement and just went for it, and I did it.

I have already signed up for the Half again this year which falls on May 5th, I believe. It's time to start training. This year I want to focus on some speed work, and more diversity into my workouts. If I did it once, I know I can do it again...and hopefully in less time!

Hello!...again...

Good Lord in heaven I have the worst time sometimes keeping up with this thing, but I'm not giving any excuses because there aren't any! I can only tell you that there are going to be many more blogs to come!
Check in every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for some inspiration, health and fitness tips, or stories about my personal journey.

<3

Monday, October 15, 2012

Time to Switch it Up

And a happy October to YOU!

So far, October has been a whirlwind of activity which is why I have not been on here very often. Work is killin' me, business is boomin', photography is going great, and there has been a ton to celebrate!

I love Fall...I think it's one of the best seasons around. Lately, however, it has been pretty darn cold around here. Last year we were spoiled with weather still well into the 70's in the Pittsburgh region around this time.  Fall means sweaters, scarves, hats, coats, and BOOTS! (wahoo!!) All sorts of baggy clothes to make you feel comfy and hide your, er, problem areas.

WRONG!

I think this is why so many people gain weight during the winter months is because of the clothing styles that are out there. When you are wearing shorty short shorts, tank tops, and swimsuits you are much more aware of your body than you are when you are wearing hoodies, sweats, and cow neck sweaters (are those still in style???). Many people turn to veggies and fruits in the summer because they are jam-packed of water, and they are a light snack. Who wants beef stew on a 95 degree day, right? Well, then the Fall chill sets in and we want comfort food. Mmmmm. Crockpot food...MMM! PUMPKIN PIE! OH YEAH!  All of these can lead to some serious weight gain if we are not cognisant of what we are putting in our bodies.

So what do we do? Do we just succumb to the Winter blues, gain that weight,and then totally freak out the first time its warm enough to wear last year's Capri pants and they don't zip? (GASP! NOT AGAIN!) Or do you take action now so next year your Capri pants STILL don't fit...but it's because they are falling off your body! I'll take Option #2, please.

One of the things I love about the fall, is the changing leaves. Now I understand not all of your are lucky enough to be able to experience this in your own town, but if you are GET OUT AND ENJOY THEM. How could you not love walking down this trail?

With Fall also comes rain, wind, and eventually snow and freeze as we get more toward the winter month. Often times, unless you are a die hard runner, you are moving your workouts inside...or maybe you just don't work out period. Well, it's time to start thinking about how this year is going to be different for you. Trust me, I love Lifetime movies as much as the other person. I love my Dexter, Real Housewives, and everything else that I watch when their new seasons come out in the Fall/Winter, but I use them as a reward for AFTER I do my workouts. How are you going to workout this Fall? How are you going to stay motivated? If the gym is not for you, or you have signed up before only to stop going, then I recommend you checking out some of the other tabs on this blog that house some great workout programs. You can also head right over to my website www.beachbodycoach.com/Nik4213  and checking out all that I have to offer.

Is lack of motivation your thing? I got your back! Anything you purchase from that link above comes with me :)  All wrapped up in a nice little package. Have you ever wanted a personal trainer but couldn't afford it, well tadaaaaaaaaaaaa! Here I am! I don't come to your house, I don't tell you to keep your knees above your ankles as I watch you do a squat, but I am here as your coach for motivation, support, tips, trick, recipes, you name it. I get you to where you are going. Period.

So if you are looking to change, if you are looking to try something new, I encourage you to take a look around on that site. If you have any questions, you can email me at nik4213@gmail.com.

Look, last year I was not who I am now. I was nowhere near it. I was unhappy, I felt defeated every day of my life. I wanted to give up. I wanted to just accept that I was the way I was, and then I found these programs and they CHANGED MY LIFE. The support I received from MY coach CHANGED MY LIFE. I would not be here week after week blogging about how to change your life or the lives around you, how to stay positive, and how to give everyday your all if I hadn't chosen one day to draw a line in the sand and start giving everyday of MY life MY all.  So if you are ready to do that, if you are ready to say enough is enough, and if you need a helping hand...please let me know.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Imagine the Possibilities

So, I had this random idea the other day that I started to employ in my own life just because it is something I am passionate about, but I felt like sharing it might help the idea to spread and thus benefit more people.

I love to help people. One of the most frustrating things for me is when I can't.  I love to motivate others towards their goals, and realize that their dreams can become a reality. I feel like one of the most wasted things in life is a person's own idea of their self worth. There are so many out there that do not have a support system.

The other day I went out onto some random Facebook group pages and poked around. I participated in the posts, because I wouldn't be on the pages if I didn't have an interest in what they were for, but then I went a step further. I read other people's posts. See, here's the funny thing: this keyboard and this monitor are a safety zone for so many people. Did you ever meet someone who could talk the biggest game over the computer but then didn't have the guts to say something to your face? The same can go for people sharing their goals and their dreams. Some people feel that an online community may be the only place they can go to let these things out.

So I looked for people going through milestones in their life, or struggles, or that were trying something new. I read through a LOT of posts, and chose three of them that I felt I could relate most to. I phyiscally messaged those people a very short "Congrats" "wishing you luck" "I have been there! You are going to do great!"...something along those lines.  I started by telling them that this message was probably random, but that I had been in a similar situation before, you will get through, you will accomplish this, etc etc...if you ever want to talk *insert topic here* feel free to message me back; if not I hope you have a great day and good luck!  The message was nothing detailed, it was nothing creepy. It was an honest well wish from my heart.

I actually got a message back. The girl had stated that my message made her day and that she didn't have much in the way of a support system for what she was doing (which was running her first 5K). Honestly, I wasn't expecting ANYONE to message me back, but it made me feel good that someone could RETURN the kind words. I don't think that happens enough.

So I got to thinking...if I did 3 people a day that would mean that I could positively influence 21 people a week; roughly 90 per month...1080 per year. Wow.

Imagine if other people had this mentality of just influencing 1 or 2 people per day...and you weren't looking for kind words back because all your end goal is, is to spread something positive rather than negative. Can you imagine the profound impact that could have?
I always say that you never know what another person is going through - even if they are always smiling. And you never know who is facing a struggle and just WISHING that someone would notice their hard work...imagine if you were that person. That little shining beacon of light that just randomly popped into their world and said, "Hey...you don't know me...but I believe in you...and you're going to do great."  It's like a random act of kindness but this is more: this could turn a person's day, outlook, even potentially life if it is an extreme enough case, around.

I know not everyone will agree with this post, and I don't expect you to. All I'm saying is to imagine the possibilities. How many times do we haphazardly flip somone the bird while driving, or mutter hurtful words under our breath when someone cuts us off, or how many times do we participate in hurtful gossip just to lift ourselves up? We can spit out those hurtful words and gestures without even thinking about them..and in doing so we are spreading negativity. Then that person is mad and they pass their bad attitude off onto a co-worker who takes it home to his wife, who takes it out on their children, etc. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration but many times something that evokes emotion in us turns into a chain reaction. All I'm saying is imagine if we focused on making that chain reaction a positive one.  Surround yourself with positive people and you will be come positive.  Once you do, reach out to others and "spread the wealth".

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Be A Positive Influence

Last week, one of my role models (LeeAnne Locken) posted something great on her Facebook/Twitter account:

"Who you spend time with is who YOU become! If you spend time with people who are always unhappy, YOU WILL be unhappy! If you spend time with people who don't like to work, you will be unsuccessful! But if you look for people who you WANT to be like and spend time with them THAT is who you will become! It is easier for US to either lower or raise our standards then to try and have others adjust theirs! Look around your life today and SEE where you are headed! EVERY DAY there is an opportunity for CHANGE! Make it a WONDERFUL WINSday!!"

I love LeeAnne. She just gets it.

We all have our own role models out there that we look up to, and it's a shame to think that more young people do not look up to more positive influences, like LeeAnne , or many of the other motivational forces out there today. Could you imagine the possibilities if children started looking up to these individuals instead of some of these other "stars" out there? Or here's a thought...what if YOU started looking up to these individuals, and then your children started looking up to YOU. Takes on a whole new meaning now, huh?

How many of us are busy parents? How many of you are so busy with your careers or life outside the home that you almost "forget" that your kids are CONSTANTLY watching you? Now, we have all had a situation (maybe not with our own kids) where we have been sitting around with friends or family and out of nowhere we hear this cute, innocent little voice say, "Aw damn it!" Yep. Your kid picked up one of your bad habits (and sometimes it is SO hard not to laugh!)  Children are like sponges: they soak up EVERYTHING.

I remember one bad habit of my mother's that I imitated when I was 4 years old was smoking. This was back in the 80's, and my mom like many females out there, smoked. Well one day my mom was talking to her mother on the phone and she looked at me walking out of the kitchen with a pretzel rod, you guessed it, in between my fingers like a cigarette..."puffing" away. I said, "Look Mommy! I'm just like you!"  It was at that moment that I think my mom wised up, and began her journey to quit smoking (which she succeeded in doing, by the way). 

Sponges. We know they watch our every move. They are listening when you are talking poorly about others. They are listening when you fight with one another. They are always listening...so imagine...IMAGINE..the possibilities if we all became more positive.

Getting to the point of this post, we are who we surround ourselves with. LeeAnne made that clear in her post the other day...who you surround yourself with is who you will be. When you become an adult, your mind doesn't just magically stop becoming a sponge..it is still there..soaking in your external stimuli.  If you surround yourself with people who do NOTHING but GOSSIP and talk poorly on others, you will find yourself doing the same. If you surround yourself with people who constantly criticize themselves negatively, you will start to do the same. If you surround yourself with positive, upbeat individuals then guess what? Yup! That's contagious too!!

Cutting off the dead weight is a hard thing to do, but we have to realize that changing ourselves is a lot easier than changing someone else. Some people are just miserable; it's all they know how to be! You can try and push them in the right direction, but they are not going to change until they want to...and if that day isn't today, and you feel like changing TODAY, then it's time to cut those ties. Now, I'm not saying not be friends with those people, but become more cognisant of how you are when you are around them. Are you yourself? Do you find yourself lowering your standards in order to be on their level? Becoming aware of those things makes the shift much more simple.  If you can look at yourself when you are around certain people and say, "Ugh..I hate that" then why bother being around them so much? Why put yourself through that? Because remember, who we surround ourselves with is who we become...and then you become the dead weight people are trying to cut out of their lives. That becomes you!! Instead, be that source of motivation or inspiration. Be that friend that is hard to find, but that everyone wishes they had. Be that positive influence in someone's life today..and above it all: make today something special for yourself that you could look at and be proud of someone imitating.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall Favorites Pt 1

Ahhhh...fall is here :)  The kids are back in school, the leaves are starting to change, and at least here in Pennsylvania we have the "fall crisp" in the air.  Perfect blue sky days mixed with crisp star-filled sky nights are some of the things that I love best about this season. But there are other things too!

Fall is my favorite season. I know many people think that it is summer (since I love the beach) and I will gladly sit on a beach any day, but if I have to choose my favorite season for the Northwest region, it would have to be fall. We still get our warm days, Pennsylvania is full of state parks and woods so I get to be constantly surrounded by the fall colors, and who doesn't love all the fall festivals!!

But one area that I particularly love...fall food. Mmmmm nothing smells more delicious than pumpkin or apple pies baking in the oven. In fact, if you are like me (and probably the majority of the citizens of the U.S.) you almost go into pumpkin overload this time of the year! You want pumpkin EEEVERYTHING. So to feed your obsession (because I think it's a great obsession to have) here are some of my favorite pumpkin recipes. Fear not! More are to come :)

PUMPKIN PANCAKES (oh dear LORD do I love these!)

2 c. pancake mix (or you can go with a healthier option and combine my protein pancake ingredients in with the following ingredients, eliminating the need for the pancake mix all together!)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 c. milk ( I used Almond milk..personal preference)
1/2 c. Libby's Pumpkin Pie filling
2 TBSP sugar ( I went w/Truvia)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (this is my own addition)

Mix everything together and make pancakes as usual. I topped mine with some sugar-free syrup and mmm! They were delicious!



PUMPKIN SHAKEOLOGY (pumpkin pie in a glass!)

1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1/2 c. Libby's Pumpkin
1 c. Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Handful of ice

Put all of the ingredients into a blender, blend, and tadaaa! All the deliciousness of a slice of pumpkin pie without the fear of eating the entire pie (if you're like me..this happens from time to time) and no guilt! You just got all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for your day and you're having a tastey treat! Want to know more about Shakeology? Click Here!






WHOLE GRAIN PUMPKIN BANANA MUFFINS (found this one on cooks.com)

2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Splenda
1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/2 cup pecans


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix bananas, pumpkin, and eggs in food processor (or blender)
Mix those wet ingredients with honey and oil.
Mix all dry ingredients separatelyStir dry ingredients slowly into the wet.Fold in raisins and pecans.Spray muffin pan with Pam or other baking spray. Fill each muffin tin 2/3 full.Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Put on a baking rack to cool.Makes up to 24 muffins.





STARBUCKS PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE (it wouldn't be fall without it!)

 There's really no recipe for this one, but if you are watching your calorie intake, then ask for the "skinny" version. If you get these once in a blue moon - then hell, go all out with the regular version...but if Starbucks is a daily or weekly trip for you these calories can add up quick! So make it skinny!

Friday, September 7, 2012

KEEP YOUR SANITY! during any life challenge

Life challenges us on a daily basis.  From where we have to go, to who we have to meet, and right on down to what we have to eat - every day is a challenge. But what happens when the cosmics don't align, your stars are all out of wack, and there is not heads nor tails being made of everything? We give up. We join the spiral and rather than just spinning out of control, we spiral downward. We go back to negative ways of thinking ("There's no way I'm EVER going to get this all completed today"), poor eating ("Just call for a pizza"), and just flat out neglecting and punishing ourselves for things that might be out of our control.

The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way! Now, I'm not saying that  following these five tips are going to just turn your day right on around, but they are going to help to take some of the weight that you are feeling off of your shoulders, and help you get through your most stressful periods one day at a time.

Tip #1: Time Management - I have done a couple various posts about time management, but I cannot stress its importance enough. Yes, I know that there are going to be times where it doesn't matter how much effort you put in to your time management, you are still going to feel out of wack, control, and like there aren't enough hours in the day; but, if you feel like that after utilizing time management skills, imagine how you would have felt had you of never utilized them at all! That thought alone should be enough to prove to you that time management works.

 Tip #2: Be Your Biggest Fan - Don't go looking for a pity party, suck it up! Yes, I know you are beat. Yes, I know you haven't gotten much sleep lately. Yes, I know you feel like you are giving it everything that you have left inside of you..but don't ever tell yourself that you can't. Keep telling yourself that you can. Even if your are tip-toeing to the finish line, it is better than just sitting there doing nothing.

Tip #3: Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You UP - Those people who constantly rag on you, tell you what you "should" be doing, tell you that you aren't doing enough, or just like to constantly look down on you - remove them from your life. Easier said than done, I know, but it is possible. Start gradually by just steering clear of them, and eventually they will become a complete non-factor in your life. Instead, hang around positive people who will keep your spirits and your mood up. We feed off of each other's moods, so naturally it is best if we are around those who have a more positive attitude

Tip #4: Commit to Something New- I know, right? Like you have time for that..but you do! Think of how many times you have found yourself in a stressful situation and you let it get the best of you; now this time get the best of it! Imagine how you will feel afterwards when it is all over and you are either still on track with your life, or even better than before.  Maybe throw in a new workout program (plenty listed on this site), go for a short walk each day, or commit to eating better (which has mood boosting capabilities on its own). You will thank yourself for it later.

Tip #5: BE YOURSELF - that person hiding under all of your stress is DYING to come out and play! Let them out! Be the person that you want to be. Be happy. Be fun. Be loud. Be crazy...do not let this situation take away your personality. Continuing to be yourself throughout a particularly stressful situation, is a great way to overcome the situation.


Always remember...take life one day at a time. And if that seemse like too much, take it one step at a time. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Finding the Time

I figured this week would be the most appropriate week to do an entry on time management. I'm sure this will not be the last of its kind; however, I felt that it was important to get out there.

This past week I started Grad School at Robert Morris University.  This has been one of the largest shocks to date, simply because I feel that I under-estimated what these classes would entail.  I find both of my current classes to be very enjoyable, but also very challenging with my current schedule.

Currently, I work anywhere from 45-55 hours per week at my full time job, I dedicate about 25 hours each week to my business, teach a fitness class on Wednesdays, and I would say juggle roughly 15-20 hours per week on my classes..this doesn't include household duties like cleaning, laundry, shopping, and finding time to work out. On top of all of that, football season is starting up and so are Friday night games meaning that each and every Friday I will find myself at a high school game taking pictures for Xfinity.

Now, most people would look at that schedule and freak out, and I won't lie I freak out a little bit too. I mean that is a LOT to take one for one person! But I am here to show you that it is not entirely impossible! Draining? Totally! Impossible? Not so!

So, personally, I feel that I have this mild obsession with the date. I have numerous planners...4 to be exact..to keep me on task constantly.

First I have my large weekly planner that I keep at work. This allows me to block out time for each work task that I have to do (did I mention it's the end of our fiscal year?) to ensure that I get the most accomplished in a single day. By blocking out time for tasks (and time to Facebook, Twitter, etc. so I don't go stir crazy) I can be assured that I am making the most of my day while in the office, staying efficient, and continuing to be a performing employee despite the fact that my life is spinning off into space.  Typically, I will look at my planner each day around 4, and if I didn't get to a task it's ok..I just highlight it.  I then put all of the tasks currently pending in my inbox into the next day's workday..and fit in the highlighted tasks where I can. This way, I leave with a clear sense that I know what's going on the next day..there is nothing left to think about..and nothing to lie awake in bed in plan. I know where my day is going

The next planner that I carry is my small weekly planner. I keep this planner strictly for personal events and school. In here I put all of my school assignments, but really utilize the personal calendar portion of the planner in order to schedule myself for photos, face-to-face meetings with clients for my business, meetings and calls with coaches, and when time permits a fun girl's night. This is just an easy way for me to flip to the calendar portion and be able to tell someone if I have a free night or not. I love it.

The third option that I use is the Google Calendar.What I love about the Google Calendar is it is very versatile.  iCloud makes it possible for me to enter my schedule into this calendar and have it sync up to my iPhone, our iPad, etc.  I can edit it on one of my huge monitors at work, or edit it from my iPhone.  It is a fabulous tool. One of the reasons I love it so much is that it allows you to color code your entries.  Currently, I also use this calendar to schedule more of my personal life simply for the fact that it does map over to my phone. Sometimes I don't have my weekly planner with me (because it's bulky and I don't feel like constantly lugging that thing around in my purse) so I rely on my iPhone to tell me when I have some free time available. Your phone also has a TON of apps that you can use to stay on task! Simply go to your App Store and type in "Time Management", "Day Planner", or "To Do List" and you will see that you have a ton of options to choose from.

Yes, I know that my large planner and my Google calendar could easily be combined into one...but honestly..if I get a call to attend a campus meeting I don't want to have to visually search through the spewage of work related tasks on my calendar. It's just too overwhelming to the eye...so I will continue to keep them separate.

As you can see there are multiple ways to keep yourself on task when you feel like you can't give your day one more ounce of energy. These methods will help you to pack your day in with everything that is needed in order for you to go to bed feeling like you accomplished something that day, but also allows you to schedule your own free time in. The problem is not that you do not have any time, it's in how you are managing your time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review for ALARM Pre-Workout Formula


So as many of you know I am a health & fitness coach for Team Beachbody. I fully back our products 110% and they are my first choice not just because I sell them, but because I have tried a lot of other products (being the gym nut that I was) and I just find Beachbody's products to work best for me, personally.  HOWEVER! My "followers" and customers are not me, and therefor I decided to take on the task of exploring other products, as well. I figured, it's fine to back my own product, but I want to be able to back it after trying other things that are on the market. I want to be able to speak with more knowledge about WHY our products don't even compare to the others out there.

A few weeks ago, the lady at GNC was kind enough to load my bag up with free samples of everything under the sun.  I was looking at this stuff and kind of laughed to myself, wondering who actually takes this crap...and then I realized that a lot of people do. So here I am, sampling it for you in order to give you my honest thoughts.

The first product is ALARM. What can I say about ALARM....

Let's start off with what it is. It is a small-dose powder that you mix with 6-8oz of water about 30 minutes before your workout. It is said to give you increased endurance, energy, and stamina to get through your hardest workout days. After reading the back of the package I learned it has the caffeine of 3 cups of coffee, and should not be taken for longer than 8 weeks (..odd.) It also contains creatine to further boost your energy and stamina, Beta-alanine to reduce the build up of lactic acid, arginine to allow nutrients to flow through the body faster, guarana to stimulate you even further than the caffeine, and finally Heliopsis longipes to use as a painkiller.**

So let's start with the flavor: I had fruit punch and it smells like Hi-C. The taste is like Kool Aid if you had way too much Kool Aid and too little water. It was a bit of an intense taste, but I like my things more watered down so to each their own. The consistency was non existent because the product mixed very well with water. It was like drinking juice.

Thirty minutes after drinking it I noticed nothing and I thought to myself, "This product is crappier than I thought!"  I got into my workout (ChaLEAN Extreme Burn It Off) which typically is able to raise my heart rate on its own by combining short high intensity cardio bursts with light weight endurance sets; however, when adding in the Alarm I did notice there were times where I felt like there was TOO much going on inside. I guess this stuff activates AS you are working out.  While I did not feel like I could workout forever while physically working out..I did notice a bit of tunnel vision while doing something of the exercises that typically gets my heart rate up anyway (that was the first thing I didn't like).
**Note: I was going to edit this portion after proofing it and seeing that it was just ALL over the place, but I think it is important that you all see just what I mean when I said I was rambling and my mind was going faster than my body could catch up....so this part is 100% organic...and at times probably makes NO sense..and that's the point I am trying to convey. Yes, I do know how to proof, spell, and put together a complete thought :) **

After my workout I felt tired, but wound up at the same time (if that makes sense).  I don't think this made me workout any harder, faster, or stronger than I would have without it...but there are effects AFTER the workout that I want to focus on.

I'm sitting here, typing this blog, with extreme finger fatigue.  Why? Because I feel like I'm on speed. NOW I feel like I could go run a half marathon, after sprinting a couple of hills with 10 lbs weights in each hand.  Honestly, I think my mind is going faster than my body can catch up.  If I'm going to be 100% completely honest I just want this stuff to run its course and get out of my system.  I must say, if I am this amped up while the product is running through me, I'm not looking forward to the crash that's going to come later (I'll make sure I comment and let you know how that goes).  This stuff is ...wow.

To sum it up, I'll give ALARM points for taste and consistency...and I guess if you like the feeling of being on speed then you would probably rate this stuff an easy 10.  Personally, I do not like the feeling of being on speed so this product just isn't for me; I'm looking for a more natural wake up.  While I ramble (thanks, ALARM!) I should also mention that I don't know what the hell kind of coffee they are comparing this to, but I have drank three cups of coffee before and it's nothing like this!!!!  I give it a 6 for it's claim to increase endurance and stamina only because I didn't notice those effects until about 15 minutes after stopping. I noticed nothing except the tunnel vision while actually working out.

I'm not saying to use this product or not to use it, but personally...I will not be purchasing it anytime soon and will stick to what I know. If you are looking for alternative options to what you typically find at GNC, please head over to my site www.beachbodycoach.com/Nik4213 and browse the area marked Supplements which includes our pre-workout formula: Energy and Endurance (E&E).

**Information pertaining to ingredient list and what the ingredients actually do was taken from musclebuildingsupplements.net**

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Say, "YES"



How many times have you wanted to do something and you just didn't because you were scared? How did you feel afterward? Did you dwell on the what ifs and try to convince yourself that staying out of the game was probably the best idea for you?  Did you make excuse after excuse, but secretly inside cried out that you wish you had done it?  Getting over fear itself is probably the biggest hurdle to success in any area of your life. Once you can look it in the face, and bulldoze it down, the places that you can go are limitless.

Choosing success over fear can also be a fun experience. Recently I had the chance to participate in a Ruckus Run where I had to run 4 miles, go through mud (like 4 foot deep mud), and do military style obstacles. I hadn't run in a while prior to running Ruckus, but I kept my commitment and went anyway. It was hard. My mind was winning over the physical aspects in many cases, but I continued to push on.

One of the most challenging parts, which I didn't even consider this to be a challenge initially, was the weight of the mud as it hung off of your clothes. It added so much weight to the run; or the feel of mud squishing around in your shoes after only the first mile, knowing that you had 3 more to go. Or your pants falling down because you were dumb and didn't wear pants with a drawstring...all of these could have made me go, "I quit..this is ridiculous", but it didn't.



This mud run was definitely out of my normal comfort zone, as you can see in my face in the above picture. It was something that I had never experienced, but that I always wanted to do (and never did due to my fear of hurting myself, or not finishing..dumb fears really).  Well on this day I ran, I JUMPED into the mud, went over every obstacle with more ease than expected and had a great time with two of my girlfriends.  It was truly a blast, and I'd do another one in a heart beat! Did I finish? Yes! Did I get the dirtiest I have EVER been? Hell Yeah! Did I get hurt? YES! But you know what...it was so worth it. Seriously. I would rather have done this and come out with a bit of pain than have not done it and wondered "what if".

The point is, I never would have experienced this if I would have continued to let my fear get in the way of trying something new. Sometimes you just need to make yourself say, "Yes" to things. I'm not saying if someone asks you to go jump of a bridge that you should be like, "Aw heck ya! I gotta try this!"...I'd use caution with that decision, especially if it's shallow water...but if someone asks you to try a new recipe, a new workout, visit a new place, or do something that you have never done and always wanted to then you should say, "Yes". 

 In the end, it's totally worth it.




**Sorry for the proofs..but you get the idea :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Banana Bread Protein Pancakes

As someone who is, basically, addicted to food, I am always looking for ways to spice up what I throw down in the kitchen. The most challenging part about my new lifestyle has certainly been the eating portion. I could do physical activity all day!..but the eating - it's a challenge.  See, I have this CRAZY sweet tooth.  It seems to hit me first thing in the morning the worst...or right after dinner.  I find myself waking up immediately wondering what my husband has to eat (Frosted Flakes? Coco Pebbles? COOKIE CRISP?!?) and before I know it the craving hits and I'm half a box into some chocolate monstrosity that claims to be "a great source of fiber".

My other breakfast problem is, simply put, I love breakfast food. I love diner food. Pancakes, waffles, french toast - you know? The things that are great in moderation? Well this girl here doesn't know what a short stack is...she wants the tall stack. Obviously this could greatly affect any chance of someone trying to lead a healthier life (especially if this is a weekly occurance)...until now.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that a friend of her's had this great recipe for banana bread protein pancakes. Intrigued, I made them on Saturday only to find my new favorite breakfast (sorry french toast eggs)!  These things are AMAZING. It cured my sweet tooth, just 2 regular sized cakes were FILLING and kept me full for hours, and the taste was absolutely fabulous.  I recommend trying these today! This recipe made 8 cakes for me, so I have 6 in the freezer to eat some morning when I'm on the run! Let me know what you think!!

What You Will Need

1 cup Quick Oats
1 cup Cottage Cheese (I didn't use cottage cheese..not my thing)
6 Egg Whites
1 Banana
1 TBS Ground Cinnamon
1 TBS Truvia/Stevia
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
Flax Seed (optional)


Combine oats, cottage cheese, egg whites, cinnamon, Truvia, Flax, and Almond Milk into a large bowl.



Mash your banana ( I do this with a fork)

                        
                               Feeling creative that AM...




Combine all ingredients into one large bowl, adding more milk or oats if needed for desired consistency. Pour into heated skillet and cook on either side. Top with sliced bananas and sugar-free maple syrup. Serve with a side of turkey bacon or your favorite fruit!





Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Defying Crappy Days

Let's talk crappy days.  We all have them, and maybe you are having one right now. Perhaps you hate your boss and you just had to see him, or your car broke down, your dog ran away, or your goldfish died - it's okay. Bring it in...you need a hug.

Now the great thing about bad days is this: they go away. And they don't just go away the next day, or the next week - you can find some relief from them the moment they get to be too much.

They say that our brain, and the memories that it holds, is a very powerful thing. I'm sure this is not the first time that you have heard that certain images, items, songs, etc. have been proven to evoke various emotions in us depending on how we associate them with our lives.  You can't tell me that there isn't some song that when it comes on you don't smile ear to ear and go "Oh WOW. This one takes me back!!" I have two CDs that I made ("Senior Week Ooo!" Ooo! and "Goin' to College") that every time they get scratched up, I re-create them.  These two CDs have some of the BEST music on them, and each one brings back clear and vivid memories from a week down at the beach with my best friends when I was 18, and those first few exciting days at college when you meet new friends, attend your first party, and realize that you have to figure out how to do your own laundry. If I'm having a bad day...these get turned on ASAP!

The same can be said for images. Each of us is different. What does this image do for you?

Anything? Maybe not..but what you do not see is off to the left there is a patch of grass covered by huge, shady oak trees..and it is in that patch of grass that almost a year ago I got married to my best friend. So for me, this image conjures up details of that day: the breakfast, the stress, the conversations with my sister, waiting anxiously for him and feeling like I was going to throw up (in a good way), and then the fact that no matter how hard I tried I could not stop smiling ear to ear the moment I started walking across that grass.  That's a happy memory to me, and often times it is pictures of Niagara that I go directly to if I am sitting at work temporarily hating things.

So there is relief (aside from a bottle of wine) that can be applied when things start to get a little down in the dumps. I recommend putting a couple of those songs that bring back good memories onto your iPod, iPhone, Droid...whatever..to have on hand for emergencies. It's amazing at how much just a small pick-me-up can help when the day gets tough.

Comment below: What is one song that brings back a positive memory for you?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Proof is in the Pudding

Coming back from vacation can be so depressing for so many reasons.  #1 You are no longer in your version of "paradise", #2 You are most likely back to work, and #3 You have to get back into the swing of things. I honestly think that #3 is by far the most difficult.

While at the beach, I decided to give myself a cheat week. I ate whatever, whenever...even bought cookies at the grocery store (terrible idea). I figured, what's one week? I've been extremely dedicated to health & fitness for a long time, this is my VACATION time to have some fun!  It wasn't until I came home that I realized WHY I have been altering my lifestyle and HOW MUCH BETTER I have felt since doing so.

To begin - the sugars. Sugar is awful, I'm putting it out there now. I was drinking Nestea, Seagrams, eating those damn cookies, etc. and when I went to stop...my mind was telling me that I needed more! The cravings were unreal; now I know how pregnant women feel with their cravings. Let me tell you, I NEVER utilize the vending machine at work.  The one day I felt like someone trying to quit smoking, snapped, and ran down and got Little Debbies (oh the shame I felt afterward..and the stomach ache).

See, what you don't realize prior to moving toward a more healthy lifestyle are the benefits that come with the lifestyle. When I am eating clean, I feel clean. I feel light, I feel amazing, my mood is constantly up rather than flip flopping all over the place - I just feel better.  I feel ready to take on the day.  Eating crap for a week made me feel like crap. My mood was all over the place, I never felt full - I always wanted more food (which also was detrimental when I returned)..I just felt like garbage because I was filling myself up with garbage.  Truly - you don't realize how food is a fuel until you switch it up on yourself.

Last week was a huge challenge for me. I was craving sugars, fatty foods, etc. I was in the habit of coming off the beach and grabbing a cookie, so I'd come home from work and grab something to eat. I was not in a routine, and to be honest...part of me felt like such crap that I didn't even want to get back into the routine. I didn't want to run, I didn't want to workout. And this went on for days. One week of "letting go" caused a lot of damage, in my opinion.

HOWEVER, much of the fitness aspect of your life is a mind game. It is always mind over matter whether you are lifting, running, or doing intense cardio training like Insanity. Your mind gives up far faster than your body does, and the trick to overcoming those things (and in my case getting back on "the wagon") is to overcome yourself.  So each day I took it little by little by adding in physical activity again, and cutting out crappy foods. Finally, on Sunday, I utilized my Beachbody Meal Planner and went grocery shopping. It was really weird how a full cart of fresh fruits and veggies made me smile (who knew!)  From there I made myself prepare in advance. I chopped veggies, created my little snack bags of healthy snacks so I could grab and go throughout the week, set aside the dinners for each night and mentally prepared for the week ahead. This week I've been getting out there and working out each day, and while some days I might do better than others, I know I'm back on the path to getting to where I was prior to vacation.

Sometimes we need to kick ourselves in the ass - if I'm going to be blunt about it. Too many times we look towards others as a crutch..we search for someone to tell us to do something, but what we really need to learn how to do is to put on our big girl panties and tell ourselves what we HAVE to do. Your journey is yours...it doesn't belong, nor should it be determined, by anyone else. If you want to allow yourself to slack, then have fun being a slacker; but if you want to see yourself succeed, then even on the worst of days you need to climb back up in that saddle and try again...and again.....and again, until you get it right.

Here are some great resources if you would like to start finding some clean recipes:

Beachbody Meal Planner  Simply sign up as a Club Member and you are on your way to a customized weekly meal plan that take out what you don't like, chooses the healthiest of options for your calorie consumption AND creates your shopping list AND organizes it into sections of the grocery store for easy location. Seriously - it doesn't get any easier than this!!

http://www.eatcleandiet.com/   There are a TON of yummy recipes on this site. My husband is very picky and would be happy eating steak every night, and even HE loves these recipes!

http://www.livestrong.com/  Always a great resource to find information on health/nutrition/exercise