My Ultimate Comfort Food

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It is definitely that time of year where we start wanting more of those foods that warm your tummy, your kitchens, and your hearts… Exceeeept …Those foods tend to come with the addition of a little something around the waist as well. Somehow comfort food became an equivalent to heavy food. WHAT?! Comfort food is just meant to be exactly that… something that brings us comfort. It should be something we can eat with a huge smile on our faces. It shouldn’t be something we feel guilty about eating, break our typical diet to have, or makes our stomach uncomfortable.

With that said, one of my absolute favorite comfort foods from the time I was a small child until now is chicken noodle soup 🙂 MMMMM it warms my soul just thinking about it. Now as a kid there was nothing that quite compared to Campbell’s chicken and stars or traditional chicken noodle… As an adult however, I now have actually very little desire to consumer Campbell’s soup. Like at all.

What I DO have the desire for is MY OWN homemade chicken noodle soup 😀

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Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • shredded chicken
  • 32 oz organic chicken broth
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 cup petite peas
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 3 green onions
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • one bay leaf
  • black pepper and crushed red pepper (for dashes)

Directions:

  1. Chop carrots, celery, spinach, and green onions.
  2. Add all chicken broth, veggies, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, water, and bay leaf to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, low to a simmer and begin to add shredded chicken.
  4. After adding all shredded chicken, allow to simmer 5 minutes; stirring frequently.
  5. Sprinkle a dash of black ground pepper and crushed red pepper.
  6. Simmer for another 5 minutes or until quinoa is cooked and veggies are soft.
  7. Devour

To be honest, this was my first try at making homemade chicken soup on my own and HOLY MACKEREL I was so shocked and impressed with how perfect and amazing it came out. I can definitely say that this will be come a staple in my house. It was quick, easy, delicious, and nutritious! Win win … win win win

And what would a fall comfort food night be without some homemade pumpkin bread to go along with the soup, right? 😉  I tried my hand at the gluten-free, nut-free recipe from Danielle Walker and lemme tell you… A+ 

Plus it brought to my attention some real lacking kitchen supplies… Like a loaf pan haha. Hence the cake shaped pumpkin “brea” 😉 

http://againstallgrain.com/2013/10/01/gluten-free-pumpkin-bread/

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Sometimes, you just need an already tried and tested recipe to go off of because you just want it to come out perfect and because experimenting with one recipe was enough for the night haha.

Comfort food does not have to ruin your lifestyle or diet in order to be comforting. Comfort food simply has to be the type of thing that you want to share with everyone you love… So here I am, sharing with all you wonderful people 🙂

ENJOY!

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Recipe Recap: A Fall Festive Weekend

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It has been a FULL ON pumpkin-y, halloween-y weekend in this house! We are in full swing of celebrating the flavors of this season and I am beyond in love. 🙂

If you haven’t already seen, fall is my favorite season. I am absolutely that stereotypical fall girl who consumes pumpkin everything … AND I LOVE IT haha ;P  One of the best parts of that is making my own pumpkin themed delights. So, as per our newly established traditions, this weekend was our “fall festivity” weekend. It is our 2nd annual fall weekend and both have including, pumpkin carving, pumpkin cider sipping, and the experimentation with fun new recipes. Luckily for you, this year also includes me re-capping those recipes here for you 😉

BUT FIRST…. Can we just talk about my pumpkin. I know I know. But I am in love with Nightmare Before Christmas and I always see pictures of my pumpkins. Except, I am not really artistically gifted. This year I decided … what the heck! … I’m gonna go for it. Didn’t turn out half bad if I do sayso myself 🙂

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Okay now onto the food….

Last fall, I messed around with a recipe for butternut squash sauce. My family had gotten pumpkin ravioli from someone probably almost a year early and had no idea what to do with them. My mom complained that this would be a squash on squash meal and wasn’t too thrilled with the sauce idea…. Then I made… Yeaaahhh she loved it. I was myself truly impressed with how delicious the sauce had come out and I knew this was one for the archives. This year, I found pumpkin ravioli at Trader Joe’s and decided to re-create this masterpiece for the boyfriend and I.

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Needless to say, he also LOVED it. The recipe made enough for us to have on our ravioli and some to save for another time. Warning: it is on the thicker side; which we both like. If you want a thinner sauce, add water (or broth) as you reheat.

Also last fall, was the first Halloween my boyfriend and I spent together. Since we were living long distance, the weekend I was able to come visit was the weekend we deemed our “fall weekend” (and so began the tradition). Part of that weekend was carving pumpkins with a bottle of red wine. We decided that would be the cornerstone and the staple in our fall weekend tradition. However, this year I decided to one up the red wine and utilize that sparking pumpkin cider he found last year. I don’t typically post the promotion of alcohol consumption but this was a special weekend and this is a pretty fun occasion fitting drink. I’m gonna call it…

Pumpkin Cider Sangria

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I cut up a full large peach into small cubes and cut a lemon into thing slices.

Fill two wine glasses with two slices of lemon and a handful of peach cubes. (Adding ice if desired)

Using a lighter red wine, I used a pinot noir, fill glasses almost halfway with wine.

Top off with sparking pumpkin apple cider.

Enjoy 🙂

To close out the night, we bought cookie cutters in the shape of a coffin and a frankenstein head. Last year we made a halloween themed gingerbread house. However, it was made with a pre-done kit we bought at Trader Joes. This year, when my boyfriend came home with the cookie cutters a couple weeks ago, I knew they’d be a perfect replacement for the gingerbread house. So I experimented a bit with a fantastic new gingerbread cookie recipe.

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(Not the most artistically sound representation of Frankenstein, I know… But the cookie itself was delicious at least haha)

Up next, I will also be messing around with a paleo pumpkin bread recipe that I will post for all you lovely fit foodies as soon as it is perfected 🙂

Fall is a time to be enjoyed. Get out and take in the sunshine before it gets bitter cold. Embrace all the flavors and fun food finds. It is truly a remarkably fun time to be had by all!

Humpday Giveaway! … Go Nuttzo

HAAAPPPY HUMPDAY 😀

Over the past month, if you follow my IG account, you have seen posts of this awesome new nut butter I am head over heels for. I serendipitously (that’s my favorite word by the way heehee) discovered my new favorite nut butter at the Tri Rock Expo before my race on Labor Day. I was standing in line waiting to pick up my race packet when my nut-allergic boyfriend pointed out the table giving away nut butter samples and said I should go try… I get to eat ALLLL THE NUT BUTTERS since he can’t. No complaints there 😉 … I had never heard of Nuttzo before but the name made me smile and I figured; its nut butter. I can’t taste bad right?

I was blown away at first bite! I will tell you I do not like bananas… like at all… like I tolerate them on rare occasion but they are not on my list of desired fruit… Can you guess how the samples were set up that they were giving out? Yup. Nut butter on a slice of banana. When I tell you how AMAZING this tasted… I didn’t even give thought to the fact that it was on a banana.

Now of course they were giving away samples and OF COURSE I took some. I was curious how all these other flavors would taste and truly what the difference would be between that and other traditional nut butters I have had. At the table, I tried their original peanut. Again, it was AMAZE. The samples I took back were their chocolate peanut flavor and their “power fuel”… Holy Nuts.

2Go_PF_3 2Go_CH_3 2Go_OG_3

I tried both on my morning toast and I grew deeper in love with every bite. The texture of it wasn’t dry or rough like many natural nut butters can be. It wasn’t overly powerful. Yet, it had the distinct nut butter taste; creamy, smooth, and perfectly nutty.

But even beyond the taste, I grew more intrigued by the actual substance and nutrition of Nuttzo. It goes so far beyond nut butter. It takes nut butter to a whole new world. Offering even more health benefits than that of a traditional almond or peanut butter.

Nuttzo uses 10 different organic nuts and seeds and combines them in these complex panels in order to offer us even more out of our nut butters. They are USDA certified organic, certified gluten-free, non-gmo, and vegan. With their “power fuel” option (crunchy, smooth, and chocolate flavor) also being paleo approved. Their “seven nut and seed” butters are all natural and contain no added sugar or oil; with their chocolate flavors clocking in with only ONE gram more sugar than their original flavors. Talk about a win there!

The 10 all organic ingredients they pull from to create these butters include: peanut, almond, cashew, hazelnut, brazil nut, flax seed, sunflower seed, chia seed, pumpkin seed, and 70% dark Peruvian chocolate. The various mixes of which pack a killer superfood punch and difference you can taste and feel.

From putting these nut butters on my toast to in my protein smoothies and shakes to just eating them straight out of the jar *shame face*, I have tried these all the usual ways I would consumer my almond butter and Nuttzo comes out on top each time. Because I love you all so much and because the wonderful people over at Nuttzo are just so super kind to supply me with a great amount of product, I am going to be spreading the nutty love!

I mean what better way to help get through the week than by brightening your Wednesday with a little nut butter giveaway. Am I right?! 😉

From now until Halloween (because for me nut butters are my candy) you can

enter to win a jar of Nuttzo Original Peanut! 😀

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ENTER HERE

Also, for your nutritional interest and pleasure I have also include the nutrition facts for the 3 different options and samples that I myself have tried… Currently the chocolate power fuel is my everything haha 🙂

Power Fuel                                                              Original

nutrition-facts-powerfuel nutrition-facts-original

Chocolate

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Workout Wednesday: Saving “Grace”

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If you are familiar with the Crossfit world or some of the common benchmark workouts done in Crossfit, you have probably heard of “Grace” … If you haven’t I will explain the workout.

30 clean & jerks. Done for time.

Yupp. That’s it. Sounds pretty manageable right? Well the goal of it being to work up to using the Rx weights if you are not there yet and being able to do it in the fastest time possible. So, yes. It is definitely manageable. BUT if you are really pushing yourself if can also make a fun challenge.

Now, you might be wondering why I am writing about such a basic workout. Well, on a typical day that is really all it is, a basic workout of 30 clean and jerks. However, for one day each year, it becomes SO MUCH MORE than just a workout.

One of the things that I am beyond proud to say I have been a part of since the beginning of my Crossfit time is participating in Barbells For Boobs each October.

We all know that October is breast cancer awareness month. Each year at this time we begin to see a sea of pink flood EVERRRYYTTHIIINNGGG. That also includes the Crossfit community. All over the country, crossfitters come together at events both big and small to complete this simple yet powerful workout of 30 clean and jerks and together raise money for an amazing organization that works to promote and service men and women with early detection tests.

This year will make it my 3rd year in a row fundraising for Barbells For Boobs and completing “Grace”. My goal each year has been to reach a PR both in the workout and in my fundraising. My first year I completed the workout with just 75# and raised $165. Last year, I was able to complete the workout with the RX weight of 95# and I was able to increase the amount raised to $246.

For this third year, my goal in the workout is to again use the RX weight and to beat my time of 6:40. My goal for fundraising is to double that number from last year and hit $500! 😀

Also, this year, I am insanely excited to say that I will be having my boyfriend join me in his very first year participating in Barbells For Boobs. We will also be lucky enough to be participating in the Central Texas stop of the Pink Bra Tour. I feel so blessed to be part of such an uplifting and inspiring community and be able to advocate for everyone’s RIGHT TO KNOW.

PLEASE help me in reaching my fundraising goal this year and help to save the lives of men and women by providing them with the opportunity for early detection.

VISIT MY PAGE HERE 

Stepping Out of the Gym: Your Fitness Level May Be Affecting More Than You Think

A general misconception about fitness is its relation, or believed lack thereof, to other parts of our lives. Many people talk about their “fitness life” or “gym life” as if it is something that is completely separate from their … what “actual life”? … HUH? So the things you do in the gym don’t count as things you do in life? Or it’s that belief that maybe one’s convenient shoulder turned towards their unhealthy habits are only affecting their six pack development and not having any affect on the rest of their life?

Either way, these assumptions in both cases are SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH. I am here to expose something that I think many of us avoid thinking about. Our health and fitness level affect … EVERY. SINGLE. LAYER. of our lives. ALL OF IT.

To use an analogy that I really child-heartedly get a kick out of every time I hear because I think of the movie Shrek (*insert emoji crying face here*) … Our lives are very much like onions. We have so many layers. We have work. We have careers – yes sometimes unfortunately those are two different things – We have family (some having their own growing families as well as their parent/sibling family AS WELL AS their extended family – oh man) We have friends. We have hobbies/interests. We have ourselves. Now right here is where many people would list having their “gym time”. And yes, if it isn’t something that is work for you, it isn’t something you do with your family or significant other, it isn’t quite a hobby or interest, you can list it as another thing that you have as a layer. My argument against this is that your time to exercise or your time to cook and make sure you are eating well and properly to fuel your body shouldn’t be a layer in the sense that it shouldn’t be something that is optional.

You see an onion’s layers can be peeled off. They can be stripped. What happens when we quit that job? If we choose NOT to have a family of our own – or we just aren’t there yet. We lose our parents. We cut back on our hobbies to make time for other things… We are taking away layers, not always permanently but they are still not existing for that moment. Our health and fitness shouldn’t be something that we can be stripped of or something that can be placed on hold to tend to another layer. Our health and fitness bleed through all layers. It is what keeps those layers fresh and in tact. It is what keeps us in tact.

So how do you get to the place where your fitness regime and schedule isn’t just “another thing on the list” but is something that becomes an innate part of you?

Well folks, I think this comes for some as an awakening experience – like it do for me – and for others as someone telling them to wake up and think. So I ask you right now… if you had to tell me ONE reason you are engaging in fitness or health at all what would it be? What is your one thing that you think your fitness/health level, or lack thereof, is affecting?

Got it?

Okay great…

Now I ask you, what if I told you that there is SO MUCH MORE than that one thing? That your health and fitness level is greatly impacting things in your life you probably don’t think it is? For those of you who aren’t fitness professionals (personal trainers, body builders, professional athletes, etc), what if I said that your health and fitness have a huge impact on your job and career? Yupp…

Why do we think that the thing we spend so many hours of our lives doing isn’t affecting by our state of health? Maybe it’s because it is generally assumed that it isn’t necessary for someone to be in superior physical fitness shape to sit a desk 40 hours a week. What if I told you that is entirely untrue… What if I told you that being in good physical condition, being strong, having good posture, flexibility, mobility, being seen by a chiropractor often as affect how our body responds to sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week? What if I said that your emotional state and ability to focus and concentrate well are severely comprised when you are eating sugar all day long, not drinking water, and not exercising?

These are things that I think go unacknowledged far too often. We talk about our performance IN the gym or in tests of physical fitness. We talk about being healthy for our families; teaching our kids how to be healthy and eat well. We talk about weight and other pressing medical conditions affected by our eating and our exercise. But rarely is it talked about that all these things build up and ultimately affect the one thing we spend most of our lives doing… work.

Over the next few weeks, I will posting articles talking about specific professions. Thanks to some great people, I was able to get into the minds of people in varying careers and jobs. They told me the things that work and don’t work for them, when they realized that health and fitness was a real priority for them, how it affects the job they do on a daily basis, and even their advice for others in their shoes. So join me for what will be an awesome series. Every Friday through the month of October, “Stepping Out of the Gym” will explore how our fitness leaks into this important part of our lives.

If you have an example of how your health and fitness affect your career or want to share your moment of realization please do so! I love hearing from all of you and your stories! 😀

Stop Fighting Food!

I have something that is really exciting to share with you today. It is near and dear to my heart because it speaks directly to the person I used to be…

Have you ever experienced any of the following?

“Feeling crazy around food” (i.e. obsessive thinking about food, dieting, “health,” etc. on a regular basis)

Emotional Eating (i.e. compulsive feelings around food, feeling out of control around food, using food as a coping mechanism, etc.). Most women I work with relate to the feeling that “every emotional whim might send them straight into a jar of Nutella for comfort.”

Binge-eating (i.e. periods of eating large quantities of food, generally after a period of “being good”with food, or restricting food in some capacity.

Poor body image or low self-esteem related to body size and/or food behaviors.

Well then, today I want to talk to you about this very sensitive and super challenging issue. I see too many women in my life and work constantly struggling with food and their weight, and today, if you fall into this category, I want to talk to you…

300x500-1I want to talk to those of you who are constantly searching for the perfect diet, and constantly falling off the perfect diet;

Constantly swinging between “this time I’ve got it,” and “what the hell is wrong with me that I can’t stop eating peanut butter out of the jar?”

Always judging yourself based on what you ate that day or whether or not your skinny jeans fit;

And generally letting food and weight concerns rule your world — the ups and downs of the diet-binge cycle dictating your “good” or “bad” days.

If you have followed this blog for some time, you have seen more than one post focusing on or referencing my past struggles with disordered eating and body image issues. Until recently, I had been weight obsessed for as long as I can remember. I used HATE myself for the way I looked in certain things… And I would comfort myself with food… Then workout incessantly to burn off the calories I just shamefully ate… And I would hate myself a little bit more for it. It was a whirl wind. I also tried every single ABSURD diet in the book just to get to weight where “people would like me”.

Because I have dealt with emotional eating before and I have seen, and still see, SO many women.. TOO many women.. in my life deal with this, I want to offer everyone an “answer”, a light at the end of the tunnel if you will. You do not have to deal with fighting yourself and fighting food. You do not have to have a negative relationship with food. Food is AMAZING. And you are AMAZING. You two should be AMAZING together!

Isabel Foxen Duke, my friend and founder of Stop Fighting Food calls this phenomenon “feeling crazy around food.” 

Isabel is one of the most well-respected pros in the emotional eating world, contributing some very new ideas about how we can change our thought-patterns around food and weight, and finally break out of the exhausting diet-binge cycling behaviors that too many women find themselves trapped in — behaviors like, sneak-eating ice cream in the middle of the night; yo-yo dieting; emotional eating, and emotional eating’s painful cousin: binge-eating.

Isabel is offering all my readers (all you awesome women) a free video training series this month  covering some of her most important concepts in changing women’s relationship with food on an emotional and psychological level.  If this is a topic that speaks to you, I highly recommend you sign up to get her free vids.

You don’t have to live your life clinging desperately to diets, only to end up with your fingers in a jar of Nutella at the end of the day. You don’t have to live the rest of your life feeling bat-shit crazy around food.

Trust me, this is a chance you DO NOT want to miss. Too many women go through so much of their life trying to just live up to the standards we “think” we should. We treat ourselves terribly and shame ourselves with weight and food. Changing my way of thinking about food has given me freedom. Freedom to enjoy my life and live it to the fullest. To love myself. To love everything I put in my body and not hide in the closet eating a cookie at night just to regret it in the morning.

Free yourself ladies and STOP FIGHTING FOOD!

So one last time, here is the link for you to sign up for this free training and get on the road to a healthy, happy lifestyle…

http://ifd.ontraport.com/t?orid=18647&opid=1

 

Green Dranks: Super charge your mornings 

We have all heard the saying you are what you eat.

How about you are what you drink?    

 How many of us have rushed days? How many times have you maybe finished a day and realized you should’ve had more greens than you did? How many of you struggle to make sure you are incorporating a more whole diet? Or really how many of us just want a better breakfast option?

If you can relate on any level to any of these questions than you are right in the same boat as me. I like relaxed mornings. But sometimes those relaxed mornings turn into too much time in the shower listening to Hunter Hayes and zero time for breakfast… And if you know me, you know that NO ONE should speak to me if I don’t eat breakfast. 😭🙈 I also love salads and my boyfriend and I eat one every night at dinner along with other green veggies. But a lot of times with my job I am rushing around and end up just picking on some nuts and fruit and cold cuts, struggling to fit in greens during the day. Of course there are also times where maybe I have some indulgent days and don’t get all the things my body needs to function well.

How do I solve this? 

I’ve found one of the best tasting, nutritious, green food and superfood mixes on the planet! I will preface this with saying that I am a big proponent of getting your nutrients with real food and not supplements. But considering this isn’t a chemical filled load of crap you don’t need for no reason kind of shake, I have embraced it with open arms and my body ADORES IT!

The days I start my morning with a full, complete, well rounded combo of greens, superfood, protein, and carbs … Oh my those are my best days! I am a huge eggs person and trust me I love those mornings just as much, but there is something about kicking off the day with superfood AND protein from greens that really energizes me and keeps me feeling well all day.

  
Why does your body want greens and protein in the morning? 

For one thing, studies have shown that those who start their day with greens may experience high energy levels, improved mental clarity, and reduced cravings throughout the day! Yippee! In addition, it’s been shown that high protein breakfasts can optimize your brains ability to help wake you up. See ya over consumption of coffee! ✌️ If you also combine this with carbs, your body will more gradually digest your breakfast and keep you satiated longer. Aka no unnecessary pre-lunch snacking! 😄

In addition, since for many people a high protein diet sometimes means a diet high in fat and cholesterol, replacing your source of protein with a pea protein helps reduce the amount of fat intake. 

There are many ways to get your fill of greens, superfood, protein, and carbs in the morning – or any time of the day. Having my Nature’s Sunshine shake or making protein pancakes/waffles with these powders is just one of the many easy ways I like to fit mine in! ☺️💚

AND lucky for all you lovely people, you can try your own powders with a 33% off discount… Because I love you so much! 

  

When you place a $40 order from Nature’s Sunshine, you will qualify for a free membership – aka 33% discounted member prices – if you have a required Sponsor Code. 

Enter Fitness For Real People’s sponsor code “3178209” at checkout and you can reap all the benefits! 😊☀️

So head on over to naturessunshine.com and check it out. Comment below or contact me with any questions! 

Get your green dranks on! 

Are You #LJInspired?

Over the last 5 days Fit Approach and Lorna Jane have hosted an AMAZING Instagram challenge in celebration of the new Lorna Jane book “Inspired” – get the hashtag? 😉

I have thoroughly enjoyed this challenge because it is so fundamentally different from most fitness IG challenges. In fact, it took a community of fit chicks and took a step back from what is thought of as “typical fitness theme posts” and asked us all to dig just a little bit deeper. It asked us each to post about how we dream big, who inspires us, what makes us happy, and lastly (today) what makes us a #LJInspired girl

These are big questions and, for many, often things we don’t think about as much as we probably should. On a day to day basis, we focus more on the physical challenges and aspects of our health and fitness. For example, posts I see on the day to day revolve more around what people ate for dinner or how far they ran today or how jacked they look today. Granted all these things are important and play a key part in our fitness journey. But what is the one thing that makes all the difference? What is the one thing that can determine whether we succeed in our goals or fall short?

Attitude.

Mentality.

It is our mental state that factors the most into whether we give in to the temptation of the late night snack or if we push ourselves just a little further for just a little longer in the gym when our mind tells us to quit. Attitude is everything. I mean think about it, the way we see things determines how we react to them which then determines what happens to us in the given situation. With the right attitude and a positive outlook (or perception) on life and our fitness journey, we can conquer anything we set our minds to! But it is all about the way we choose to see the feats in front of us.

I read something the other day that has really stuck with me. It said…

If

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Equals

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Then

Knowledge (11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96) is 96% and

Hardwork (8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98) is 98%

… So both are important, but both fall short of 100%

BUT

Attitude (1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100) is 100%

Attitude is 100%. 100% of what?

100% of success. 100% of how we react to the happenings of our day. 100% of how or where life takes us. We can decided to have nothing by having a shitty attitude all the time and having a negative outlook and perception on everything in our daily lives. Or we can decide, beyond our knowledge and beyond our hardwork, to have EVERYTHING based solely on our attitude. For you see, even the person with less knowledge can grow and learn with the right attitude. And even the person who begins with the less than great work ethic can get motivated with the right attitude.

Take the time on a regular basis to reflect on the things around you; the things that inspire you, the dreams you have, the things that make you happy. Make an effort to notice even the little things that put a smile on your face or make you feel accomplished through any given day. All these things will help you keep a positive attitude and an enthusiastic outlook. Everyone can succeed with the right mentality.

Get started by completing the following Mad Lib prompt from Fit Approach for yourself… I mean who doesn’t love Mad Libs right?

I believe that the key to a happy life is _________ [noun]. _______ [same noun] inspires me to be the _______[adj] person that I am today. I am lucky to have _______ [person] and ______ [person] in my life because they inspire me to live life to my fullest and to chase my dreams.

My dream is to one day _____________ [verb] and even if it takes _______ [noun], I know I’ll get there because I’m not afraid to dream big!

While I dream big, I hope to inspire others by ________________.

After you have completed this, feel free to screenshot or print it out and keep it somewhere that you will see it regularly. Use it as a reminder to keep dreaming big. Use to encourage and motivate you to keep a positive attitude.

Take care of your mental health. It will affect all other parts of your health and wellness. It can be your greatest aspect or your biggest enemy along your fitness journey.

Stay healthy. Stay fit. And stay #LJInspired ❤

Restoration and Fitness

Everything we see and everything we hear on television, social media, the wonderful world wide web or from our trainers and coaches and training partners or fitness idols… Everything revolves around pushing ourselves to our absolute limits. Pain is progress. Right? I mean at the very core of it the muscle burning and day after soreness is in fact the muscle rebuilding and growing stronger. And rebuilding well that’s basically the definition of restoration isn’t it? So even down to a simple formula, it would appear that restoration is an every day part of fitness because our body is constantly restoring itself and in turn becoming more fit.

But what happens when there is too much burn? Too much pushing? Too much tear and not enough restore? What happens when we just go too far and our body never gets that time it needs for proper restoration…

I feel like this is a subject that gets skipped over during typical fitness talk. Most likely because as we are promoting fitness we are trying to get the general public to move more and focus on doing physical things with our bodies rather than talking to them about resting…. and for good reason.

However, part of fitness and part of getting faster, stronger, better is embracing a restorative process. To live a fully healthy – mind, body, and soul – and happy life, we need to give ourselves an adequate amount of self-love. We need to give our bodies love. We need to allow them some time to not have the crap beat out of them. I don’t mean sitting our butts on the couch and doing nothing… (though sometimes a glass of wine, a movie, and a loved one is what me may need emotionally or mentally)… I am talking about some good old active rest time.

Being a crossfitter, I spend most of my gym time stressing my body to its absIMG_0936olute limits… and then past them. The barbell is a good friend of mine. I get inverted a lot. Or do some crazy monkey strength things on the rig. And I love every single second of it. I love the burn. I love feeling sore. I love knowing that my body is the strongest it has ever been. And my body loves it. My body embraces it. My body is growing and changing and getting better… But even though my body feeds off heavy lifting and aggressive tests of endurance or speed and then both of those combined haha, my body still has firm limits. It has the “I used to not be able to do this” strength limits and then it has the “If I don’t get a break I am going to burn out and I will get injured and I will feel like shit” limits. That second set of limits; those are the ones you want to recognize and make sure you are giving some attention to.

Rest is different for every athlete and every BODY. It can range from a beginner who may need 2 of these days a week to a professional who takes maybe 2 of these a month, if that. Rest can also range from the days were we only do a little stretching to maybe some light running and cardio work and some mobility on the side. Regardless, ACTIVE rest should be a planned part of every person’s fitness.

I am guilty of not giving myself the space, time, or treatment needed to heal and have paid the consequences. Healing isn’t complete rest and inactivity. Rather, healing is doing something active for your body to assist in its restoration. If you constantly heavy lift, perhaps active rest is some light cardio. If you are a runner, maybe your active rest is some yoga. Whatever it may be, switching up your routine to add in some less aggressive days every so often is beneficial to the growth and continued health of your body.

With my life being all ovFullSizeRenderer the damn place these days, I am insanely excited about forcing myself to get into better habits of adding stretching and mobility as a regular part of my every day, even outside the gym. I am also excited to focus on some restorative fitness for both the sake of my body and mind. I am starting by going in on a 14 Day Yoga Challenge which started today.

The #LoveYourHips Challenge ran by Brittany Suell and Lora Hogan is 14 days of hip opening yoga poses. Yoga is a fantastic supplement to all workout routines. For someone like myself with heavy lifting, it allows me to develop a better range of motion, better flexibility, and focus on gaining lean functional muscle rather than tight bulky muscle.

So whatever your poison, just make sure you are having a healthy mix of aggressive pushing the limit workouts and restorative active rest for your body. Stay healthy while you get fit.

Au Naturale

To be in a natural state.

That is how I usually am. If you know me, you know that you can probably count on one hand the number of times you’ve seen me really decked out in makeup. Like REAL done up.

Yeah. That usually happens only on holidays or special occasions. My poor boyfriend rarely even gets deemed special enough to get the gorge-ed up me to bask at on the reg haha … Sorry love.

A usual day at the office or outing into public only consists of just my BB cream and some mascara… Because like who doesn’t love mascara ladies… Aaaaand because most men have better eyelashes than me and that’s just like come on now haha… Which makes getting ready in the morning soooo much faster and easier and more relaxing. However, it makes times I do try to wear makeup so much more tedious and trying. (And embarrassing lol)

So why such the aversion to makeup?

Well on the positive side, every since my “No Makeup” challenge – as in no coverup, BB cream, or mascara – I have gained confidence in myself and my no qualms natural appearance.

However, on the not so positive and reason it even started side, it’s because of my less than great skin. Ever since high school I have not had the best skin. My acne and blemishes mostly destroy my shoulders and back 😦 However, my face is not prone to it and I have found over the years that basically all makeup simply just makes it worse. So why would I want to cover up my breakouts with heavy cosmetics that are in turn just going to make me break out more?

Exacatically. As the caterpillar would say…. Enough. You’ve seen Alice in Wonderland so stop judging me. Thanks.

On to the more important information…

Why am I even writing about my awful skin and makeup habits? Well, it’s because I am here to tell you that I have found a solution! I was lucky enough to come across an AMAZING company with some of the purest products I am ever had grace my face. Like seriously.

Au Naturale Cosmetics is a company of organic, vegan, paraben free, gluten free, cruelty free, crap free cosmetics that will rock your world. Being of such pure ingredients make them super sensitive skin friendly. 

When I first got the products, I won’t lie, I was a bit skeptical. I don’t have a good history with cosmetics and my skin. I also was a little weary on the fact that the bronzer and the blush came in a stick form. I have never in my life used something like that before. I thought there was no way this would work with my skin. It had to be too heavy right? Rolling a stick on your face?

Boy was I wrong!

I have never used a makeup that felt lighter and more airy on my face. I was impressed with the feeling it left on my skin, the way it did not affect my skin in any way shape or form after wearing it every day for an entire long weekend, and the way it looked FLAWLESS.

As you can imagine, for someone who does not wear a lot of makeup, wearing makeup for an entire long weekend was nerve-racking. But thanks to Au Naturale Cosmetics, it was much easier than I anticipated. I was fear free within a day and actually excited to test everything out! 😀

The products I received (and am now obsessed with) were:

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Bronzer stick, blush stick, powder foundation, and two shades of a cream eye shadow

Each of which went on easily, looked amazing, and stayed impressively well.

Now, from a health point of view, we talk all day about what we should eat, drink, and do for our bodies. How the things we put into our bodies affect us and why organic, chemical free products are so much better for us. But what about what we put ON our bodies?

Everything we put on our skin goes into our body. Our skin has pores which absorb. Hence why certain makeups and scrubs and soaps make people with sensitive skin breakout. Your body takes in a certain amount of any chemical you treat it with. So just as I make natural scrubs and soaps for myself, it is more ideal to have equally as organic and natural makeup.

Part of what I also loved about Au Naturale is that they made you aware of what is in their product on a label on the packaging of their product. And all of their ingredients are those which you could actually read and pronounce.

In parting, if you want to buy truly natural, organic, good for you products from a genuine cosmetic company, look no further than Au Naturale ladies.

They are such a good, down to earth, consumer friendly company that they even hand wrapped and sent a written note in my package…

Check out my instagram (@fitnessforrealpeople) for pictures of my makeup transformation 😉