Thrive in All You Do

Hello again!

I am going to start out by saying that I am going to be reviewing a product that I have been using for the past few weeks. I am not paid to review it, nor is the company involved in any way with this post or blog. This will be a more general overview of the product rather than an in- depth review.

So what is Thrive? The THRIVE Experience is an 8-week premium lifestyle plan to help individuals experience and reach peak physical & mental levels. (https://campbellsthrive.le-vel.com/experience)

Thrive by Le-Vel is a relatively new company. When people ask, I tell them that it is sort of like AdvoCare. In the 8- week program, you get a box of vitamin pills, protein shakes, and the DFT (Derma Fusion Technology) patch.

At first, I was very skeptical and did not give it much thought. Eventually I decided to try it, and I could tell a difference in my energy and focus levels in just one day. It was incredible. Thrive is not a “weight loss” or “diet” program per se. It does aid in weight management, however the product gets your body the nutrients it needs throughout the day. The DFT patch slowly releases more vitamins and caffeine throughout the day, which minimizes your need to remember to take supplement pills. That is where it has also really helped me.  I am terrible at taking pills and medicine. Because the patch is releasing lots of vitamins, you need to be sure to drink LOTS of water to flush everything out.

The only downside of the product so far is its price tag. I paid $173.00 (grand total after shipping and tax.) for a month’s worth of Thrive. I feel the product is worth giving a try if you want to make some changes to your life. You do not have to buy it every month. There is no recurring fee or anything like that. It is completely on your terms. If you do decide to try it, I hope you will experience the positive impact that I have!

 

-Brenna :)

 

Why You Should Look Twice at that Label!

I am going to put this out there right away. It is a challenge to eat healthy. It takes determination and a lot of self-control. While eating healthy there seems to be so many things to remember. How much sugar can I have in a day? What kinds of fats are the good fats?  How much sodium should I be consuming? All of those questions are indeed good things to know, but there is on aspect of our food that we seem to overlook. Carbohydrates.

Because of medical reasons, I have had to go on an extremely low carb diet. I am not even close to being a medical professional, but I was inspired to write about my findings because of how my life has changed. For years I have been trying to be conscious of the way I ate and what kinds of foods I put into my body. Recently, I have become more aware about the effects Carbohydrates have on the body and why consuming a large amount of processed and refined carbs are bad.

(Note: not ALL carbohydrates are bad!!!)

Processed Carbs

Let’s start with the worst kind, refined and processed carbs. Processed carbohydrates strip away beneficial fibers and nutrients that keep us full longer; such as white bread and white rice. A lot of the food we consume today has turned into something completely unnatural with a lot of added ingredients. Some of those ingredients include: High refined sugars, sodium, sometimes high saturated fat, and cholesterol. A lot of what we eat in the United States is processed carbs. Why? Because it is less time consuming, cost efficient, and convenient and they taste amazing. We are a fast moving culture and it is so easy to make pastas, order a pizza, or even a sub sandwich. Those kind of carbs will sneak up on you when it is least expected. Numerous studies show that refined carbohydrate consumption can lead to health problems like type two diabetes and obesity. The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010″ suggests that adults, both male and female, get 45 to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates. However, this can vary depending on individual’s age, weight, health status, and amount of physical activity. It is recommended that you follow the guidelines that work best with your unique body. All this bad carb talk seems a little depressing with the “what you can’t/ shouldn’t eat” thing. There is good news though! There is such thing as good carbohydrates!

Natural Carbs

Not all carbs are bad carbs. In fact, we need carbohydrates to live. The best place to get those good nutrients is from natural sources. So what is a real carb or good carb? A good carb, is fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains (such as oats), nuts, and meats. The way I think about it is “did my ancestors eat this/ would my ancestor eat this”. I very simple guideline I use in determining if something might be high in the bad kind of carbohydrates. Low- carb lifestyles (the word diet may sound negative) might work very well for some people. This way of eating restricts the refined carbohydrate intake, while boosting protein and fat intake. While a low-carb lifestyle may be the answer for some people with certain metabolic problems and weight loss goals, it might not be the best fit for someone else’s lifestyle. Looking twice at food labels will help control your carbohydrate intake and in turn, make your body feel better by getting the good carbs it craves. I know it has made a difference for me.

So why does this pertain to you and your health? Believe it or not, this all connects to the liver. Liver is responsible for many different functions, one of which is breaking down carbs and processing nutrients. Our liver also deals with breaking down alcohol, something Wisconsinites love. Not everyone in Wisconsin is a heavy drinker, but it is good to be aware of what we are putting into our body that our liver has to deal with. My problem, at 20 years old, was my mass consumption of carbohydrates that forced my liver to work overtime and in turn, is at risk of being damaged. If someone else is having the same problem or not watching the carbs they consume, and add alcohol on top of that, it could make for an unhappy liver. I will leave you with this, check your labels, and be aware of what you are drinking. You may feel fine on the outside, but your body is working over-time to keep you healthy and happy. Do the same for your body by watching what you put into it!

“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.”

In the last few weeks I have been attending weekly cycling classes on campus. Classes are everyday of the week, but I usually go on Monday nights. I knew it would be difficult when I first started because it was a full hour of intense cycling. I was nervous because I didn’t know if I would be able to do it. However, cycling classes are great because you are able to take it at your own pace. It is a very individualized activity. At the beginning of the class, the instructor will go through the different cycling positions and the different “zones”. The zones are 10-20 percent, 30-70 percent, and 80-100 percent. This refers to the percentage/ maximum effort that you should be working at during the different types of workouts throughout class.

cycling

A typical cycling class at UW-Whitewater is lead by a student instructor. During the hour, they will take you through a series of different kinds of “workouts”: sprints, hills, resistance, etc. The will call out a zone percentage/ resistance that you will want to be during the sprint or hill climb. You will repeat this over the course of the hour. Of course, there is music playing in the background, otherwise this would be impossible!

Over all, I really like cycling and being able to work at my own pace. I have a tendency to work myself too hard sometimes, but I never over extend myself. Cycling can help you know your limits and at the same time, push you to work harder. After my hour workout, I burn about 700+ calories! I turn on my Fitbit to record my workout when I first get on my bike, and turn it off when my heart rate has fallen under 100 bpm. So usually when I am doing my stretching.

Cycling is great for anyone and everyone! It is a high calorie burning exercise, you can take it at the pace you feel is comfortable for you, and it is easy on your joints! If you want to change up your workouts and try something new, I would highly recommend cycling! Go out and find a cycling class near you and try it!

 

-Brenna :)

Swim Fast, Swim Far – The benefits of Swimming

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am doing the Indoor Ironman at the gym at UW-Whitewater.  The swimming is always the most difficult part of the Ironman (in my opinion). Most people are not swimmers. It is hard! I would have to say that swimming is more difficult than running. Again, in my opinion. It engages muscles across your entire body.  Swimming burns a lot of calories, is easy on your joints, builds, muscular and strength endurance, and improves cardiovascular endurance. There are plenty of reasons to swim! Here are some more benefits of this activity.

Low- Impact

There is not ground impact when you are swimming. With running, the way your foot strikes the ground has an impact on your joints as well as the rest of your body. Swimming eliminates that.

Swimming can be done at any age

Any one of any age can swim as a workout. As our bodies age and change, some workouts can become really difficult. With swimming, it is easy enough on our body so we can do it regardless of our age.

Swimming builds muscle mass

All the swimmers I know are pure muscle. Their legs, arms, stomachs, pretty much everything. In a study of men who completed an eight-week swimming program, there was a 23.8% increase in the triceps muscle (the back of the arm). Read more here: http://www.medicinenet.com/swimming/page4.htm

And it is an alternative when injured

Whether you are a seasoned athlete, dedicated runner, or a beginner who is injured, swimming is an option to maintain your fitness level.  Swimming helps you stay in shape, and it’s even part of the rehabilitation. That’s because the resistance of the water makes the muscles work hard without the strain or impact that is experienced on land.

So there you have it! A little information on a great, difficult activity and sport. So go give it a try! Who knows, you could be the next Michael Phelps and not even know it yet!

-Brenna

2.4-112-26.22

Ever heard of the Ironman Triathlon? It comprises of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.22 mile run, raced in that order without a break! That is pretty intense if you ask me. Ironman Participants need to be in peak physical condition to complete the race. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race. The Ironman is held in Kailua-Kona and the world championship has been held annually in Hawaii since 1978 (with an additional race in 1982) and is preceded by a series of qualifying Ironman events.

 

At UW-Whitewater, the Williams center has its own version of the Ironman, with one catch. All miles have to be done indoors! Participants have over a month to complete all the miles that would be done in a typical Ironman. I have done the Indoor Ironman every year of college. My freshman year, I did not complete it because I did not want to swim the 2.4 miles. I started the challenge to keep me motivated and at the gym. Then my sophomore and junior year, I was able to complete the challenge because I did it with friends and they were able to keep me motivated and got me into the pool. Since I completed it the last two years, I am very motivated to complete it for a third time. So far I have completed the 2.4 mile swim, biked 19 miles and have run 5. I have a long way to go, but I am determined to complete it again in my final year.

If your local gym does something similar, or you can do a challenge with friends, I strongly recommend it! By working out with friends, you are more likely to go and stick with it and if you add in a challenge, it becomes more fun!

Goal Setting

Fitness is all about goal setting. Set a number of miles you want to run in a workout, the amount of weight you want to lift in a set, or setting a calorie goal for yourself. If you take on too much at one time, you will most likely not follow through on it. Personally, I have tried running before in the past and pushed myself too hard. To the point where I would stop and get discouraged and stop all together. Taking small steps has been a huge help in my fitness and clean eating journey.

First, I started with trying to eat better. I did the 24-day challenge from AdvoCare. It jump started my clean eating. I also had to change my eating habits because I was having liver problems due to my diet. I had to cut carbs almost completely out of my diet. So I stopped drinking soda, cut out a lot of sugar, pasta, tacos (sad, I know) and started exercising more.

Here are some small changes you can make to help you with your diet/exercise regime:

  • Go to the gym two to three times per week, or do whatever you are comfortable with
  • Go for a walk form 30 minutes two to three times per week.
  • Instead of going out to eat, find recipes that you enjoy and cook at home.
  • Drink coffee with less cream or substitue sugar for stevia.
  • Drinking more water and less soda! I cannot stress how important this is!
  • Cut your carbs in half. This is tough to do because you don’t realize how many carbs you actually do eat in a day. And they are in everything.

If you are just starting to make small changes, you will see big results! Do not get discouraged. Any change you make for yourself is a good change.  This is something I need to continue to tell myself. Results take time, but feeling good because of the good nutrients you put in your body happens almost instantly. So I challenge you to make at least one or two changes to benefit your health and the results will come!

 

-Brenna :)

Crunched for Time?

We have all heard the excuse before, “I don’t have enough time to workout”. However, sometimes you literally don’t have the time, but doing something is better than doing nothing. A 20 minute, 100 calorie workout is better than 0 minute, 0 calorie workout. A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that 15 minutes of resistance training was just as effective at boosting participants’ metabolism as 35 minutes. Plus there are some major benefits to working out at home! 1. It’s affordable. 2. No excuses! You can do your workout in front of the TV if you choose to! 3. Minimal equipment. You can get creative and use household items to add weight to your squats or lunges. Here are a few workouts that take 20 minutes or less out of your day that even the busiest person could find time for.

squat jump

15 squat jumps

5 push ups

25 high knees

7 burpees

10 lunges

7 squats

5 push ups

7 squats

15 squat jumps

1 minute wall sit

5 push ups

25 high knees

Repeat 3 times

Once finished with whatever workout you choose to do, it is extremely important to stretch your muscles! The workout above focuses a lot on legs, with some upper body. Here are some general stretches to do after your workout! Do each move 4 times for 20 to 30 seconds.

Forward bend

Good for: Hamstrings

Sit on floor with legs extended. Maintain straight back while reaching toward toes (even if you can’t touch them); hold.

Runner’s lunge

Good for: Hamstrings and calves

Stand 10 inches away from a wall; place palms on it. Step back with right foot. Bend left knee, keeping right heel down; hold. Repeat on opposite side.

Shoulder stretch

Good for: Back and shoulders

Raise right arm and bend elbow over head at a 90-degree angle. Use left hand to grab right elbow and pull it gently to the left; hold. Repeat on opposite side.

Heel drop

Good for: Ankle and foot joints

Stand on bottom step of a flight of stairs with balls of feet on edge of step. Gently allow heels to drop; hold.

 

Walk This Way

Happy Saturday!

I’ll start off this post by saying, I live in Wisconsin. It is the middle of February and it is currently 60 degrees outside. If you are from the Midwest, you know this is not usual for Wisconsin in the beginning of the year. I am just getting over having the flu, which was the worst week of my life so far, and I needed to get outside and do something on this gorgeous day.

I wanted to go for a run, but I am not sure when I should re-introduce it into my routine. After all I am still sick, and I definitely do NOT want to prolong it. So I did the next best thing…went on a walk.

Walking is low intensity, but a great fat burning exercise. It is easy on your joints and gets your endorphin pumping the same way running, or other exercises would. If you get outside and do at least 30 minutes of walking every day, great health benefits come with it.

Walking for 30 minutes each day will: Improve circulation by strengthening your heart, help you lose weight (by improving your heart circulation and increase you metabolism), loosen stiff joints, and will make you happy.

You will only regret the workouts you do NOT do! No matter what kinds of exercises you do, or what level you are at, you are lapping everyone on the couch. As cliche as that is, it still holds true. Trust me, your body (and probably your dog) will thank you. So what are you waiting for? Wherever you are located on this planet, get outside and go on a walk!

Resource: http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2016/10/health-wellness/benefits-walking-30-minutes-every-day_66812#oYWYTqXvcMWjXqfR.97

 

Advo-What?

Ever heard of it? AdvoCare, that is. AdvoCare is a company that sells nutritional supplements, weight management, energy, and sports nutrition dietary supplements. I first heard of AdvoCare when my mom was looking at a diet program. We decided to try the 24-day challenge together (In January of 2015) to jumpstart our healthy eating. The 24-day challenge is a supplement and nutrition program that is designed to jumpstart your body to help you reach your goals. One thing to remember when considering a “diet” is that it is not a simple “quick fix” for weight loss. I believe that dieting does not have long lasting results, however, if you are committed to making a lifestyle change with your eating habits, then you will see results and in turn, feel better.

advocare 24

After the 24-day challenge I feel it really helped kick-start my desire to eat healthy. I did the challenge about two years ago now and have not done it since because it helped me get on track with creating a better diet for myself. When I use the word “diet” I am referring to my eating habits, and not a typical “diet”. However, I do still order a couple products that I used during the challenge. One of those products I use almost every day… Spark.

Spark® is a unique blend of 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients that work synergistically to provide a healthy and balanced source of energy.

Spark

For me, I use this product in the mornings to give me a boost of energy when I am feeling sluggish. I feel it helps me get my day going. My favorites are the Strawberry Mango and Cherry. Lots of flavor! The AdvoCare website claims this about the product “Spark contains an effective amount of caffeine to give you a quick boost, B vitamins to enhance your body’s natural ability to produce and sustain its own energy, and neuroactive amino acids that help increase your mental focus and alertness.”

I had a great experience with AdvoCare and its products. While I think AdvoCare is a great company and I have had success using their products, it is not meant to be a replacement for nutrients our bodies require from the different food groups. With all supplements, do your research and find what works best for you, but do not neglect eating healthy in place of dietary supplements.

DISCLAIMER: I do not sell AdvoCare, but I do use and buy their products. I am not a nutritionist nor do I have any expertise on dietary supplements. This is solely my opinion on products and experiences I have had. The company is not affiliated with this blog/ post.

“Can’t” Run? No Problem!

Hi Everyone!

Have you ever uttered the words “Not doing that, I can’t run”? Well I have. I would always make jokes about it and my fitness level, but secretly always wanted to be a runner. I was my own worst enemy when it came to exercising. Running is for everyone, but it takes a certain kind of crazy to truly enjoy it. Running is something I do to relieve stress and as training to someday run races. I ran my first 5k last September. At that time I had just started getting into running. I ran it in 40 minutes, which I was really proud of because I had only been running/ training for a month before that.

So, long story short, I would use self deprecating humor as excuses to not run or exercise. Eventually it turned into something I really liked.

I first started running using the Couch to 5k app. It can be downloaded in your phone’s app store. Couch to 5k app is a running plan that is designed to have you running a 5k in 9 weeks. Each week you progressively do more running. I used this for a while, however, I am still not the greatest at keeping up with it. So I have had to go back to week one a few times. This app is great for someone who does not know much about running, or their limits. I will almost always push myself too hard when it comes to exercising, so this was a great way for me to slowly ease into the process.

I am a new runner, so by no means am I an expert. However, I feel so much better when I do run. It has become something I look forward to everyday. Don’t believe me? Here are some benefits of running.

run

1.) Running makes you happier.

In a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers found that even a single bout of exercise—30 minutes of walking on a treadmill—could instantly lift the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order. Let’s get those endorphins going!

2.) It helps you get fit.

This is an obvious one, I know. But in general, working out in any shape or form will help you get fit. Even after your workout, you continue to burn calories. This happens when you’re exercising at an intensity that’s about 70 percent of VO2 max. (That’s a little faster than your easy pace, and a little slower than marathon pace.)

3.) Running strengthens your knees (and your other joints and bones, too).

Running increases bone mass, and even helps stem age-related bone loss. Studies show that running can also improve knee health.

4.) Running will keep you sharper, even as you age.

A study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review concluded that regular exercise helps defeat age-related mental decline, particularly functions like task switching, selective attention, and working memory.

5.) Running can reduce your risk of cancer.

While running is not a cure for cancer, it can help prevent it.  A vast review of 170 epidemiological studies in the Journal of Nutrition showed that regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers

6.) Running adds years to your life.

A giant study in the journal PLOS Medicine shows that when different types of people started exercising, they lived longer. Smokers added 4.1 years to their lives; nonsmokers gained three years.

Reference: http://www.runnersworld.com/start-running/6-ways-running-improves-your-health/slide/6