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 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 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 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

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 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**

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 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 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, 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?