Workout Gear 2.0

Continuing with the workout gear theme….

Remember how I said I am obsessed with workout gear? Well, I have found more clothing options through my Instagram feed! One is called Marika and the other is POP Fit.

I have been looking into ordering from one of these two companies for a while now. I went with what I believed was the best deal to try out the product.

POP  Fit

For their Instagram followers, POP Fit clothing gives new customers a pair of free leggings. You just have to pay for shipping and handling. So I checked out the leggings they offered. They have some pretty wild patterns which are fun if you want to spice things up a bit.  You can sign up to be a V.I.P member, like Fabletics. They bill you $24.99 per month (whether you make a purchase) and you get 20 percent off of all their items. Every month, they will send you a POP Fit legging or top. The longer you stay a members the better the perks. You’ll get an additional free accessory, head wear, and up to 75 percent off jackets and outerwear.

Marika

I also found this company on Instagram. I follow both accounts. They have a link in their bio that takes you to their homepage. Marika is another company like Fabletics that offers a subscription based V.I.P account. For $19.95 per month, you get your choice of any item (for free), 60 percent off everything all the time, and free shipping on your orders. I checked out Marika’s leggings as well. I was a big fan of their selections. They had less wild prints that POP Fit, and more solid colors and prints. So I decided to order a pair during their 60 percent off spring sale. I did not have to be a V.I.P member to get the 60 percent off and free shipping. I am using this as a trial run to see if I want to become a V.I.P member and if I like the products.

I will most likely still stay a Fabletics V.I.P member in the meantime, however, if I really like the Marika line, I will switch to that instead. It may be a better deal of two!

Workout Gear

Hi everyone!

If you are like me, you are obsessed with workout gear. I am always looking to try new things. My newest obsession is Fabletics by Kate Hudson. I saw commercials for it and have always wanted to try it out. Once I had a stable enough income I decided to try it. My first outfit was $10 plus shipping, which is $4.95. Usually if I have to pay for shipping I will not order, but I figured I would since it was under $5. I like that there is not commitment to order every month with Fabletics, however, the only drawback is that you need to “skip” the month before 5th of every month. If you remember to do that, then your card will not be charged. I have a reminder set in my phone for the 1st of the month and the 3rd as a reminder to skip if I want to.

Image result for fabletics logo

I got my first order less than a week later. I was very impressed with the leggings. The were soft, slimming, yet firm. I got just plain black. I did not want to go too crazy with the pattern for my first purchase. The top, I felt was just okay. The material was not as good of quality as the leggings were.

Since then I have ordered almost every month. (Since January) But I have yet to purchase anything at full price. They send a lot of promotional emails with discounts to use on your purchase. They also just had a semi-annual sale that I definitely took advantage of. Just remember to shop the deals and to skip the month and you will be looking stylish in your Fabletics gear!

Dealing with Injury- Achilles Tendinitis

Hello everyone!

Keeping up with the theme of this week, dealing with injury, I am going to take a look into another common injury; Achilles Tendinitis.

I have never experienced this injury, however, it is possible if I do not use proper running technique, or take care of my body. So lets dive into what exactly Achilles Tendinitis is, how it happens, and how to prevent it.

Image result for achilles tendinitis

 

 

What is Achilles Tendinitis?

Achilles Tendinitis is the large tendon connecting the two major calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. If it is under too much stress, the tendon will tighten and cause it to work too hard. In turn, this causes the tendon to get inflamed. The injury is chacharacterized by a dull or sharp pain anywhere along the back of the tendon, but usually close to the heel.

Causes of Achilles Tendinitis

  • Tight, or fatigued calf muscles
  • Can be brought on by not stretching the calves properly
  • Increasing mileage too quickly or simply overtraining
  • Excessive hill running or speedwork
  • Inflexible running shoes
  • Overpronation

Prevention and Treatment

If you start experiencing Achilles pain, stop running. Take an aspirin or ibuprofen and ice the area several times per day to reduce inflammation. Massaging the area may help as well. Don’t start running again until you can do toe raises without pain. The best way to prevent this from happening is to properly stretch you calves and shins.

This injury is very similar to shin splints. If you do not take the proper measures to recovery from injuries it will hinder your exercise and could possibly damage the muscles in that area long term. Long story short, take care of your body, and your body will take care of you.

Dealing with Injury

Hi friends!

Over the last week I have been dealing with shin splints during and after my runs. Shin splints is the catch-all term for lower leg pain that occurs below the knee either on the front outside part of the leg (anterior shin splints) or the inside of the leg (medial shin splints). http://www.runnersworld.com/shin-splints

Image result for shin splints

This is the most common injury runners experience. I have been trying to figure out the reason why I am getting shin splints. As I did more research on the topic, I concluded that it is a mix of different reasons.

A lot of the time, shin splints happen to new runners who increase their mileage too fast, or seasoned runners who switch up their routine dramatically. In short, shin splints = too much, too soon.

More reasons for shin splints are, overpronation (a frequent cause of medial shin splints), inadequate stretching, worn shoes, or excessive stress placed on one leg or one hip from running on cambered roads or always running in the same direction on a track. I am guilty of all of these.

I am still a fairly new runner and I always push myself to do too much, too soon. So I decided to start over and do a mile and gradually increase my mileage, which I was not doing in the first place. I know, rookie mistake.

I am also going to take a second look at the shoes I wear. They need to be supportive enough for my feet. The are also different shoes for different types of terrain, so make sure you are wearing the right shoe for the way you run and where you run.

If you are experiencing this injury, here are a few tips to aiding your recovery.

Tips for recovery:

  • Ice your shins to reduce inflamation
  • Take Ibuprofen
  • In a sitting position, trace the alphabet on the floor with your toes. Do this with each leg.
  • Consider cross-training for a while to let your shin heal. Swim, run in the pool or ride a bike.
  • When you return to running, increase your mileage slowly, no more than 10 percent weekly.

For more information and useful tips about running check out http://www.runnersworld.com

 

 

Sugar Substitutes to Curve Your Cravings

Do you ever have those days where you have crazy sugar cravings? It seems like you have it under control, but the next thing you know, you could really go for that Twix bar or a taste of that soda? That was me a few days ago. I have done a pretty good job of kicking my cravings for sweets, however, it sometimes comes back to bit me. Sugar is not necessarily bad for you, it is the extremely processed sugars and high fructose corn syrup that are put in drinks and candies. Here are a few ways to curve you sweet tooth cravings with natural alternatives.

1. Raw Honey

This is honey from flowers that still contains healthful vitamins A, C, D, E and K, various B vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium and live enzymes that are removed when honey is heated, filtered and processed.

2. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup contains antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients not found in refined sugar.

3. Dark Chocolate

The percentages you see on a chocolate bar wrapper are indicative of how much cacao is in each bar out of 100% by weight. So, if you read 45% on the bar, it means the bar is 55% milk and sugar and only 45% cacao. But a 75% bar contains only 25% milk and sugar, making it a lower-sugar choice. A bar that reads 100% would be made entirely of cacao nibs and cacao butter without added refined sugar or milk solids.

4. Coconut Palm Sugar

Coconut palm sugar is lower on the glycemic index than both honey and maple syrup and is a great substitute for granulated sugar in baking recipes.

5. Dried Fruit

Dried fruits are made by evaporating the juices out of fresh fruit, leaving concentrated flavors and natural, unprocessed fruit sugars behind. However, with the natural sugars and burst of flavor, dried fruit is high in calories. A little goes a long way!

6. Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit has the added bonus of a higher water content so it’ll fill you up faster and the natural fiber will keep you full for longer than dried fruit. Eating ripe, fresh fruit is a wonderful, healthful way to sate your sugar cravings

For more information visit: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/6-sugar-alternatives-satisfy-sweet-tooth/

What is you drink of choice?

I hope you all read that and “water” was the first thing that came to your mind. No? Me neither. My drink of choice is coffee. All day everyday. However, water should be your first choice everyday. By the time you are craving water, you are already dehydrated. Our bodies are made up of 60% water. If we do not properly hydrate, that throws off the balance of our system. Here are 8 reasons why you should constantly drink water during the day.

Image result for water bottle

  1. Be less cranky. Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you grumpy and confused. Think clearer and be happier by drinking more water.
  2. Perform better. Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Water composes 75% of our muscle tissue! Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.
  3. Lose weight. Sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty. Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. For those of you trying to drop some pounds, staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.
  4. Have less joint pain. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.
  5. Flush out waste and bacteria. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don’t drink water, we don’t flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems. Also combined with fiber, water can cure constipation.
  6. Prevent headaches. Sometimes headaches can be caused by dehydration, so drinking water can prevent or alleviate that nasty head pain. Next time your head hurts, try drinking water.
  7. Make your skin glow. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do it’s job of regulating the body’s temperature through sweating.2
  8. Feed your body. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Water serves at the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well.

Image result for water drinking chart

For the full article and more information visit: https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/10-life-changing-reasons-to-drink-more-water

 

 

When You Feel Like Quitting…

Hi everyone!

The other day (actually, the last two weeks) were rainy and dreary. It really affected my mood and motivation. I had been working hard at eating clean and working out regularly, but  I was feeling really down on myself because I was not seeing results from it. I didn’t want to do anything all day, and most of all not work out. All day I was trying to get myself in a different frame of mind. I kept telling myself that the main reason I started running was to be more healthy than I was before. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable in my body and when I finally got to that place, that is when I was able to get in the right frame of mind to commit to workouts and eating healthy. Because I wanted to be healthy. I figured the results would follow, and fast. However, I still do not feel that is the case.

I have had many health issues over the years, nothing too serious though. I do have hypo-hypothyroidism though. My thyroid is sluggish, I struggle with energy levels constantly, I gain weight easier than others my age, and it is much harder to lose weight than it is for others my age. I am on medication for the rest of my life to help my thyroid. In addition to having that, I also had to remind myself that everyone’s body is different. People gain and lose weight in different places. Where I may gain weight may not be where someone else gains most of their weight. There are a lot of different factors that go into weight loss.

Related imageImage result for healthy food

To keep myself from getting upset, I decided to not weigh myself as much anymore. I would weigh myself daily and I would get down on myself. I know you should only weigh yourself maybe once a week, but it was addicting because the scale is right there in front of me. So instead of weighing myself, I decided to take my measurements every other week. I also try and pay more attention to how my clothes fit and I say to myself “Remember why you got started,” “Remember how you feel after a workout,” and “Remember how you feel when you eat healthy.”

Image result for exerciseWherever you are on your fitness journey, do not give up. It gets hard, especially when you do not see much of a change in your weight, but it is worth it. Since I changed my eating habits and added exercise into my life, it has become 10xs better. That is what you need to remember.

Keep going!

Brenna :)

Find Your Fitbit Community!

I recently discovered the new updates that were made to the Fitbit app, and I absolutely love it. There were a few changes that Fitbit made to their app, however, I plan to highlight my favorite part, the Community page. It sits along the bottom of your tool bar on the app next to the new “notifications” page. By clicking on the Community page, it gives you three tabs. Feed, Friends, and Group. By going to your friends tab you are able to see your friend’s weekly step count and everything else you could see before the update. The feed and groups tab is the new addition. Under “feed” you will find posts from people who joined the same groups you did. I joined a cardio, running, snacking tips. and cycling groups. These are all health related categories I am interested in. People from all fitness levels post in the feeds and share their fitness journeys with you.

This is a screen shot from my feed on my Fitbit app

I really love this update because I check the fee to give me motivation, ideas for new snacks to take on the go, people to look up to, people to use as a resource who are doing the same actives as I am, and to ask questions. I have made a post or two on the different group feeds and the responses I get and the responses I see from other people are overwhelmingly positive. I have yet to see something negative from someone and it truly makes my day better to see that complete strangers want to boost and support others, regardless of age and skill level, to be the best they can be.

I would highly recommend taking a look at the Community page if you have not already. I feel a lot more inspired and positive from just scrolling through it. The positivity is contagious!

Happy stepping!

Five Tips and Hacks for Runners

I have not been running for very long. I did not have anyone to tell me the proper running form, how to pace myself, the different types of running you can do to increase your stamina, etc. I had to rely on articles I found on the internet. I am not a professional and am still learning everything I can to be successful and run long distances. Recently, I found an article called “The 101 Best Running Tips and Hacks of All Time.” So I decided to compile five of my favorite tips from the article that I found to be most useful, and hopefully you will to! Here’s the link: http://www.runnersblueprint.com/best-running-tips-and-hacks-of-all-time/

  1. Get the Right Shoes

Shoes are the most important running equipment there is. A proper shoe will not only make running more comfortable but also help you improve performance and ward off all sorts of injury, including shin splints, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, and foot pain. I have gone on my fair share of runs with non-supportive shoes. They will be pricy, but worth it in the end.

  1. Tie your Shoes the Right Way

Tying shoes is something that most well-accomplished 5-year-olds can do with ease, but as a matter of fact, there are many ways to lace your trainers, and different techniques cannot only make them feel more comfortable but also accommodate feet size–vital for avoiding all sorts of discomfort and issues.

  1. Walk/Run

After a month (or even longer) of walking, you should fit enough to start adding jogging intervals into your sessions. This is what’s known as the walk/run method, and it’s ideal for helping new trainees get fit without getting hurt. The key here is to gradually stretch your comfort zone without overextending it.

  1. The Talk Test

As a beginner runner, make sure to run at a conversational pace. This means that you should be able to speak in full sentences on-the-go without gasping for air. In other words, you should be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance without much difficulty. By sticking to this rule, you’ll build your aerobic endurance base on the right foundation—this will definitely set you for success later on.

 

  1. Run With a Partner

Running is, by definition, not a team sport. It’s solo journey. But that doesn’t have to be that way. Research shows that peering up with a training buddy can lead to better consistency, help you become more accountable, and exercise a bit harder than you’d when you go alone—all of which can do wonders to your running routine.

Eat Healthy, Feel Better

Hey everyone!

It has been a while since I last posted! I hope you have all been working hard and enjoying your workouts. I know I have. Since I last wrote, I completed the Indoor Ironman at school, which was hard because I got sick the last week of the challenge. I was going to give up, but I had come too far to not finish the last 30 miles biking and 10 running. I had three days to finish before I left for spring break. I made myself suck it up and do it. I am glad I did it!

Anyway…. Today I want to write a post about eating healthy. We hear it all the time, “you are what you eat” blah blah blah. Well, yeah, it’s true and a total cliche. However, it still holds true, I have found that my body is very sensitive to what I put in it, and when I eat healthy, boy does it make a difference for me.

I have more energy, I am more focused and aware. It is an astonishing difference. I use MyFitnessPal to keep me on track with healthy eating. I mentioned before that I had a bad liver because of my eating habits and weight gain. By logging my meals to the best of my ability in MyFitnessPal, I am able to keep track of what I am putting in my body.

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I try my best to stick to a low carbohydrate diet because of my liver and eating good fats, and full fat foods because of the low cholesterol.  So I replace pasta,with zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash. I make sure I eat a lot of protein and keep protein shakes on hand if I need them. Eating healthy has made a world of a difference for me, although it has been difficult in college with my lack of time to prepare a good meal. But I keep at it and you should too! I promise it is worth it. You are worth the investment!