April Favorites

I'm often asked by my clients, friends and followers for recommendations on protein powders, supplements, fitness equipment and the like. I thought it would make sense to create a monthly compilation of some of the favorite products at the moment!

For 99.9% of the products I mention, I am in no way compensated by the company or making money off of the suggestions. Some products I do receive for review purposes; I will clearly state that on the corresponding products. But please know I would never list or recommend a product I haven't personally tried and that I don't whole-heartedly recommend.


April Favorites

1. Skinny Syrups Whipped Foam Topping

I found this zero calorie, zero sugar foam topping at Tuesday Morning (I never heard of this store before I moved to Ohio. It's basically a Home Goods/Marshalls combo). While they had a ton of different flavors, I opted for Marshmallow. For the past few months, I've been adding a couple of pumps of it to my coffee. I drink my coffee black, and sometimes I want a lil somethin' somethin' to spruce it up. This hits the spot PERFECTLY.
 

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2. 1st Phorm Products

First we have the Level 1 Protein. I'm currently obsessed with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup flavor. It took me a good 15 minutes of staring at the webpage before I decided on this flavor because there are SO MANY. Vanilla Ice cream came in a close second. Because yum! What I also love about this particular brand is that I don't need to mix it with ANYTHING if I don't want to. I typically add some Almond Milk, but it's not necessary. It's not chalky and mixes very well. It contains 5 grams of BCAAs, 25 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbs per serving.

Second, we have the M-Factor Goddess Multivitamin. I'm a firm believer in getting the necessary vitamins from whole foods, but sometimes you body needs a little extra help. This is where the Goddess vitamin comes in. I instantly fell in love with it once I realized the pills are fuchsia color (hello Strong Girl Fitness brand colors!) I do want to give you a heads up...after taking this multivitamin, your pee will look like neon yellow gatorade. This is completely normal, so don't freak out! The reason for the neon yellow color is simply your body ridding itself of excess riboflavin. Riboflavin, also known as Vitamin B2, is very common in multivitamins, and if you take one and your body already has enough B2 in it, you simply pee out what you don't need. 

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3. Drink CLICK Active Mocha

This is a protein-and-coffee-in-one powder mix. When I found out about this drink, I couldn't get my hands on it fast enough. It combines two of my favorite things: caffeine and protein powder! God knows, I drink enough of both of them; why not combine them?

This is another protein powder you do NOT need to worry about mixing with anything. I've made smoothies out of it, I've just mixed it with water and had it. There are endless possibilities with this mix, which is why I like it so much. The caffeine gives me a little boost for my workout, and the protein is great for quick muscle repair and fuel. It has no added sugar or artificial colors or flavors, which I'm paying more and more attention to lately. And if you're tracking macros (like moi), it has 25 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbs per serving. There's also 5.4 grams of BCAAs and 4.5 grams of glutamine per serving. I think this gives you a great combo of what your body needs to get through and recover from a good workout.

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for an honest review

4. KT Tape

If you've never heard of this stuff, I'm so, so sorry. When I started CrossFit about 4 years ago, my body could sometimes take a beating. I was pushing it and working it in ways that were new. Besides rest, taping was a life-saver. It's a fitness tape that supports muscle, tendon, and ligament relief pain and support. If you ever see pictures of CrossFit people, or any hard-core fitness person wearing what looks like bright tape on their shoulders, legs or feet, that's fitness tape.

When I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis (OW!), I constantly had KT Tape on hand. The second I'd feel a twinge, which honestly still can happen to this day, I slap some tape on there. I used to have bright pink, because duh. But now I'm rockin' a deep purple color. There are video instructions for any muscle or area that you'd like to tape. These are important to watch, because as you'll find, the tape is verryyyyyy stretchy, and depending on what you're taping, you may or may not need to extend the tape to stretch capacity.

If all you take from this is GO OUT AND BUY SOME, then I feel good about it. 


So those are some of my health & fitness favorites from April! If you like this idea, please let me know in the comments and I'll continue to create them monthly.

What is one of your favorite health/fitness products right now?!

Staying Hydrated With Essence pH10 water & Giveaway!

Disclosure: I was provided Essence pH10 bottled water for review purposes. I was not financially compensated and all opinions are my own.

Recently, I've begun embracing Flexible Dieting and tracking my macros. Alongside that, I've been aiming to get into the gym 5-6 times a week for weight training. As you can imagine, that's a lot of pressure on the body, so properly fueling it with nutrition is KEY. So is hydration.

For someone as active as me, I drink a gallon of water per day. That's A LOT of H2O. But thank God for Essence pH10 bottled water because it's almost mindless to hit my water goal every day. Just one bottle is over HALF (33.8 oz) of the recommended daily water intake. In the morning, I grab a bottle, know that I need to drink 4 of them by bedtime, and my hydration is never something to worry about. As someone who used to not hydrate properly, and would become physically ill after workouts or road races/obstacle courses. 

It's water though...

What's so special about Essence pH10 water?

Ok, if you live in Cincinnati, you'll know what I'm talking about. The tap water here is gross. I used to drink tap water all the time in Massachusetts, so i didn't care about bottled water. But HERE?! It's like comparing apples and oranges. When a 66lb box of bottled water showed up at my door, I may have shed a tear.

I can only imagine what rainbows taste like; drinking this water is the closest I'll get. Truthfully, I'm not even being dramatic here, the water was SO crisp and refreshing. It makes me wonder what I've actually been drinking when going for tap water...

The Deets

  • Essence ph10 will help restore your body to its natural pH balance- boosting your vitality.
  • Essence ph10 has antioxidant power with 66 mg of organic Hibiscus per liter.

Sipping a healthful beverage such as ESSENCE WATER throughout the day allows you to immerse your organs in antioxidants all day long, potentially adding nutritional value to your diet. And wait, what if you add HIBISCUS, yes that large showy flower

  • Essence ph10 more effectively flushes acidic toxins from your body.

Giveaway Time!

So, with that said, let's have a giveaway!! Want to win your own heavy box of toxifying, crispy Essence pH10 water?? Please enter with the options below. The giveaway will close on Sunday, March 12th at 11:59 p.m. ET

Open to U.S. residents only. One prize per person. If you win a prize from another blogger, please disclose that so we can choose another winner. 

Whole30 Boot Camp: Sign up now!

New Program! 

Whole30 Boot Camp

At the beginning of the year, a group of friends and I decided to tackle a month of Whole30. For those who are not familiar with the Whole30/paleo movement, for 30-days you eliminate certain food groups (particularly the ones known to cause chronic inflammation in the body, like gluten, diary and legumes. Plus sulfites, MSG, alcohol...ya know, the not-great-for-you stuff). The elimination helps as a 'reset,' allowing your gut and immune system to heal, and hormones to balance themselves out, so your body can begin to function ultimately again.

While weight loss IS built into this program - for more information, read It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig - the hope of the program is to help you change your emotional and physical relationship with food.

Some of us lost over 5 inches from our waists, chests and bootay! But what's more...we feel (physically & mentally) SO. MUCH. BETTER.


“I have seen such a difference in my body in the past 3 weeks; it is insane. I tried on a bunch of shorts this morning that I wasn’t able to fit into a few weeks ago, and I was effing giddy…I had room to spare in the waist!!! This has been amazing for me and I will continue it…I will not go back to what I was. My whole mindset has changed!”


So, why can't that be you, too?!

That's why I'm rolling out this brand new Whole30 Boot Camp, starting on Monday, February 27th!

For this very exclusive group, I am looking to work with 10 busy but motivated ladies who are ready buckle down on their nutrition, no excuses, and see AMAZING results! We'll be kicking ass with workouts 4-5 days per week, while following the Whole30 program. (No specific meal plan included)

I AM HERE TO SHOW YOU THAT "resets" do not need to be just drinking cayenne pepper and water!

This online program is 4 weeks, and includes my personal boot camp workout plans, a one-time health/fitness consult, video tutorials and accountability. Fees will apply because, let's face it, we're all a lot more successful with follow-through when we put our money where our mouth is. However, I am 100% confident that I can find a plan that fits your budget. So, ask me!

The Whole30 Boot Camp program will start on Monday, February 27th.


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"Overall, I didn't weigh myself (because the scale and I have bad history) - but I did lose something like 5 inches on my waist, 4 inches on my chest, 2 inches on my thighs and like an inch and 1/2 on my hips/ ass. 

...This was the first time I focused on actual physical results. (The last few times, I was in fabulous shape, so it wasn't as evident). Physically, I felt great on day 30. I didn't have heart burn anymore, I didn't wake up with headaches, my skin was clear and my usual crazy dreams had all but vanished. 

Should you attempt this? Yes! For sure, I think it's a great reset for anyone who might be looking to jumpstart a diet, or is having bloating or other physical maladies that you think could be fixed with a lifestyle change."


WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?

  • Specific Whole30 grocery list and recipes to take the guess work out of meal prep and cooking
  • Convenient, multi-week online program that fits any crazy schedule and adjusts based on which phase of Whole30 you're in
  • Accountability and support from me and fellow ladies who have completed Whole30 at least once before, to help you totally kick ass & take names
  • The focus, quality, dedication and commitment you'd expect from me, a trainer who has been working exclusively with women just like YOU for over three years

HERE'S THE LOW-DOWN

  • 4 week program starting on February 27
  • Ladies will be given a grocery list of Whole30 food ideas and recipes to focus on to help fuel them 
  • Participants will be asked to track Whole30 meals by sharing photos and recipes within the group daily
  • All participants will be added to a private Facebook group with supportive, like-minded Strong Girls
  • Boot campers will be expected to follow a 4-5 day per week workout plan that includes written workouts and hyperlinked videos
  • Exercises will be appropriate for ALL levels, with modified options for beginners and progression options for experienced boot campers. The workouts will include strength/weight training, function training techniques, HIIT workouts, yoga/active rest
  • Participants will be required to pay in advance (in full) and fill out all health forms, waivers and liability forms before the boot camp begins.

You may purchase my Whole30 Boot Camp program (results guaranteed or money back after good faith effort for 4 weeks) for only $75. Please register to join below. I am only accepting the first 10 ladies who register so I can ensure individualized attention for everyone participating.

After you register, I will send you an invoice via PayPal. I will also send you the health forms, waiver and liability forms. Payment (in full) and all forms are due prior to the start of the boot camp. Please let me know if you have any questions at all! 

We will plan on checking in before the weekend with a grocery list and a few recipe ideas to get us started on Monday, 2/27!

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The Truth Behind Fat-Burning Supplements

Do "fat burning supplements" really work?

The concept behind fat-burning supplements, and why they are so appealing to the masses, is that, as stimulants (aka they speed up your metabolism), they encourage your body to burn fat more rapidly for energy use. 

How does this work?

The fight or flight hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine) tell our bodies to release fatty acids, or fuel, into the bloodstream for quick energy. These hormones, which typically go up because of exercise and stress, also suppress appetite.

Having these hormones high to lose body fat is the basis for most fat-burning supplements. They contain stimulants (like caffeine) that amp up our epinephrine and/or norepinephrine, and temporarily decrease our appetites.

Problem is, without exercise, releasing our "fight-flight" hormones aren't as effective for losing fat since the signal is "artificial." With no increased muscle activity that requires this extra energy our bodies have released for us, the fat will recycle back into fat storage.

This poses a problem to many because they do not understand the science behind fat-burning supplements, and oftentimes believe they can simply take the pills and burn fat as a quick-fix. That is my main objection to these types of pills.

Any alternatives?

If we stay true to the idea of stimulants helping boost metabolism, we can combine mild stimulants (like a cup of coffee) with an exercise session where those fatty acids can be used. Thus, you can boost performance & reap some benefits (plus, you know, it's way cheaper than a $50 bottle of pills). 

Question for you...

Have you ever tried a fat-burning supplement before? Did you understand how it worked before purchasing or did the marketing suck you in? Did you have any success taking them?

Comment below and let's start a conversation around this with our community!


HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? WANT MORE JAM-PACKED INFO ON HOW TO TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH & WEIGHT? 

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Self-Care Secrets & Tips

Kristen of Kristen Elyse Coaching and I ran a free 5-day Self-Care Challenge in my FB group, Strong Girl Nation. We dove into the ins and outs of self-care, providing daily prompts to get the participants really thinking and help them discover their own innate self-care (or self-love) techniques.

The challenge was full of new ideas, pushed-out-of-your-comfort-zone questions and revelations that Kristen and I didn't want to just keep within the group! We both felt called to share this wisdom with as many other women as possible.

The below videos, text and worksheets outline our challenge, and provide you with the insights and tools necessary to take back control of your SELF.


Day 1

A welcome message and brief explanation of the importance of self-care

Here is my message all about what is self-care and identifying your "why" for self-care.

Kristen's take on self-care: 

"What is self-care and why you need a "why" to take care of yourself. Your why can be an internal reason, like for me my mental health. Or sometimes when you are new to establishing a self-care routine your why needs to be external (like another person, a passion project, or for me my cat). Watch the video and comment below to tell me your why.
YOU are worth taking care of YOU!"

Here is the corresponding worksheet you can fill out that Kristen uses with her clients to help them think ahead to stressful situations and create self-care ideas that are specific to the client. Her message is that stress and overwhelm do NOT need to control you. 

   kristen@kristenelysecoaching.com ©2016 Kristen Elyse Coaching, LLC www.kristenelysecoaching.com 

 

 kristen@kristenelysecoaching.com ©2016 Kristen Elyse Coaching, LLC www.kristenelysecoaching.com 


Day 2

Making time for self-care

Day 2's topic is all about making time for self-care. Kristen's video is all about how you can make time for it and how it does not take as much time out of your day as you may think!


Day 3

Self-Care Inspiration

Here are some of Kristen's favorite nourishing activities:

• Drink some tea in quiet.
• Read a book.
• Watch a tv show- without checking social media.
• Take a bath.
• Diffuse some essential oils and enjoy the environment you create.
• Meditate.
• Exercise (run, walk, bike, yoga, weights, etc.)
• Eat a nourishing meal.
• Meal prep for the week ahead.
• Spend some time with friends. 
• Watch a movie.

And here are some of my suggestions:

  • Take a long, hot shower, then immediately jump into comfy pajamas, and climb into a freshly made bed.
  • Write a gratitude list.
  • Take a long, slow walk.
  • Journaling (in the form of a brain-dump, free-writing etc.)
  • Hunker down and read a good book!
  • Color! Adult coloring books are ALL the rage right now.
  • Cry your heart out. Who doesn't feel better after a good cry?!
  • Hit the road, with no specific destination, with the windows down and music blaring.
  • Binge-watch your favorite TV series.
  • Enjoy your favorite food (WITHOUT GUILT!)
  • Yoga or meditation.
  • Take a weekend retreat somewhere (with or without friends). There are tons based around yoga/meditation etc.
  • Volunteer for a cause you're passionate about.
  • Cook healthy and yummy foods, and meal prep for the week ahead.
  • Hit the gym. Doesn't matter what you do, just get your heart pumpin'!
  • Clear the clutter! (From your mind, your computer, your closet, house, etc.) Even just a little bit can make a HUGE difference. It's the act of purging from your life that gives way to feelings of "release."

Day 4

Behind the Scenes

Kristen and I shared OUR favorite self-care techniques, why self-care is so important to us personally and why we're so passionate about educating you ladies about it's power.

Molly's Story

Since I was a young girl, I've suffered from moderate to severe anxiety. I didn't know that's what it was until I turned 17 and was finally put on some medicine that helps regulate whatever in my brain makes me all kinds of anxious! Put it this way, if I were not taking medicine as part of my treatment plan, you wouldn't recognize me. I think of memories from before I was 17 and the anxiety I felt was incredibly overwhelming.

Anxiety medicine is just one piece of the puzzle, though. And it took me another decade before I began to look into and understand the concept of self-care. Even while on medicine, anxiety can still rev up and throw you through a loop. I can still be nervous, depressed, irritable etc. But since implementing self-care practices, I am able to a) recognize when I could use a little self-love and b) WHAT techniques actually work for me.

I've tried EVERYTHING under the sun in terms of self-care, and I've found some that you don't typically hear about as incredibly soothing - i.e. cleaning the house & doing laundry. I don't know WHY but that always resets my mood and I feel "lighter" afterwards.

Here is a list of my tried-and-true self-care practices (the ones I frequently use now to help anytime I start to feel I'm needing a little extra TLC).

Kristen's Story


Day 5

Show us YOUR Self-Care Game

This is where Kristen and I held space for anyone in the group to share what they do (or hope to start doing) within their own self-care practice.

So it's your turn!!

Comment below and share with us what you like to do for self-care! Any questions? Let us know!