A few tips to get you up for an early a.m. workout

Now that daylight savings is in full effect, and it’s cold/dark in the morning, it’s almost too easy to hit snooze and skip that morning workout. These days if I don’t work out in the morning, it just won’t happen–so I have to prioritize and make sure I’m getting up at 4:45…at least most of the time 😉

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Tip #1:
Set your alarm for 5 minutes before you have to actually get your feet on the ground, but DON’T press snooze. The snooze button is a death trap, but giving yourself 5 minutes before getting out of bed to scroll social media, meditate, or just give yourself a pep talk is extremely beneficial.

Tip #2:
Make sure you prepare as much as possible the night before- pack your lunch, pick out your gym outfit/ work clothes, make sure your shaker bottle is clean…whatever you need to feel on top of your game, so you aren’t running around like a psycho at 5 am while your husband waits on you (just me?? okay…)

Tip #3:
Reward yourself!! Think about the delish protein shake that’s coming your way, the cute new lulu outfit you have to wear..whatever get’s you going.

Tip #4:
Accountability. If you have someone who is waiting on you, you are much more likely to get up! For me, my husband get’s up with me, so if I know he’s ready to workout, I don’t want to hold him back. If there isn’t a workout bud that can go at 5 am, find an accountability partner you can check in with.

Tip #5:
Schedule Schedule Schedule. If it’s not realistic for you to get up early every day, then pick 3-4 days (or whatever your goal is) and stick to those days!! If at the beginning of the week, you just say “oh I’ll workout when I get the chance”…it is NOT going to happen. Make it a priority by putting it in your schedule, and sticking to those specific days.

Any tips you have to getting up at the crack of dawn??

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Motivation Monday: simple changes for a healthier life

When most people decide it’s time to make a change to their lifestyle, they feel extremely intimidated/overwhelmed by all of the “must-do” things that are suggested over and over by health gurus/media/women’s magazines, etc. etc. [juicing, #cleaneating, hitting the gym hard everyday, and on and on foreverrrr]. So overwhelmed they just stop.

It’s too bad!! Even little changes can make a big impact, and especially for those who currently aren’t doing much in the health/fitness aspect of life.

SO…if you are trying to get a little more fit, or just want to be even more bad ass then you already are, or just start from scratch, here are a few ideas.
Don’t forget!! If you are trying to adopt a new habit – only do one thing at a time!!

simple-changes

  • one 8oz glass of water before your morning cup of coffee (or diet coke)
  • a 15 minute walk after dinner
  • try 1 new class at the gym
  • 5 minutes of meditation (even in your car!!)
  • youtube yoga sesh
  • walk while you watch your kids play sports
  • always drink water with dinner
  • try meal prepping 1 item this week
  • get up from your desk and walk 2x per day
  • invite your co-worker (or child/friend/whoever) for an after lunch walk
  • or take a walk with your thoughts
  • try a new-to-you walking or hiking path
  • pack your lunch 1 extra time this week
  • give meal planning a try (or just plan dinners or lunches or snacks)
  • swap 1 soda for 1 extra cup of water today
  • put in your headphones and go for a walk, jog, run, bike ride! (i LOVE listening to podcasts while walking)
  • take your dog for a walk instead of making your kids do it
  • if you already walk, take a jog!
  • do a 10 minute HIIT/circuit workout

Again…just pick ONE and stick with it for a week or 2. Think about how you felt after, if it’s something you like, brought you happiness, or made you feel better in any way, keep it up! Remember that exercise is for so much more than just losing weight. These days sitting is considered the new smoking so just moving a little more during the day can prevent muscle loss, chronic diseases, and of course- help with weight. Exercise is also great for improving mood, focus, and depression/anxiety. I 110% believe this with my whole heart….give it a try 😉

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What small changes have you seen make a great impact in your life?? Tell me about it here, or tweet at me @afitgirlsguide.

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Motivation Monday: Productivity Essentials

Last Monday I went back to work full time after going part time when I started grad school last fall. I was working as a nanny, but have been in my current position since April, and was able to transition to full time before fall semester starts in 2 short weeks!
Now that my time is more limited, I’ve been trying to spend it wisely….not only is school starting in 2 weeks, but I’m also moving at the end of the month and I just had family in town for a week. Productivity and smart time management is more important than ever! Especially if I want to spend any time with my husband or pup….and I do.
Last week was a trial to see how a.m. workouts would go, and it seems like that’s going to be my best option for sticking to my workouts. I didn’t want to let myself get lazy, so I was at the gym at 6am last Monday…hopefully tomorrow will be the same!!

productivity

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for time management tips and trying to practice what I learn…here are a couple things that have been saving me!

  • Utilize the “Fringe Hours“- I heard about this book on this podcast last week and it really resonated with me. Utilizing the time that usually goes wasted (early morning, right after work)  is a great way to get more done and feel fulfilled.
  • Use the weekend wisely. I’m all about a relaxing weekend, but in order to feel a fresh start on Monday morning, I need to make sure a few things actually get done! My weekend must-do’s are cleaning, laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, and a little meal prep. A couple of well spent hours are crucial to starting the week on the right foot! But don’t forget to relax too!
  • Plan out my workouts for the week ahead of time so I don’t show up to the gym without a plan
  • Pack my gym bag and lunch the night before! Since I’m getting ready at the gym a few days per week (until we move and are super close to our gym), it’s essential I have absolutely everything I need for heading to work!
  • There’s no such thing as multi tasking!! I heard this from a business consultant who coaches people who make $$$$ and he said that basically our minds can do 1 thing a time. If we do 2 things at once, we are like an internet browser- toggling back and forth-then every time we go back to the first thing, it takes a minute to re-focus and we actually lose time. It’s better to focus on one thing a time! Who knew?
  • To follow up the above, I believe there is a way to maximize time and do 2 things at once- for example using the time that eggs are boiling to unload the dishwasher. When you simply have to start a task and then let it go on it’s own (landry, dishes, cooking) you can spend the time you are waiting to do something productive. Win win!

I know I feel better when everything is planned out vs when I spend a lazy weekend doing nothing, so it is SO worth it to spend a couple hours trying to GSD !!

Have a productive week! Let me know if you have any tools, systems, or hacks you live by to get more out of your 24 hours!

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What’s the real cost of juicing at home vs buying juice??

As you can see from my last couple posts/my instagram [@afitgirlsguide], I am a little obsessed with whole juicing again. It’s such a great way to get fruits and veggies in the diet…and in the case of whole juicing- fiber! I love whole juicing in my Blendtec because it keeps all the great fiber in it, vs separating it out in a typical juicer. And of course it’s tasty! I’ve been trying out some really great combos that are SO refreshing on a hot day.

cost-of-juicing

In the past I used to buy a juice every now and then from Sprouts or Whole Foods, but they are so expensive and I never really made it a habit [luckily]. After buying produce specifically for juicing, I am totally shocked at how much juice can be made at home for the same price!!

Recently I’ve been doing 1/4 lemon, 1/2 cucumber, handful of kale, handful of watermelon, and about 1/4 of green apple with some water in the Blendtec.

Here’s what I purchased from Sprouts:

2 lemons @ .50 each
4 cucumbers @ .50 each
1 container of organic kale @ 3.49
1 seedless watermelon @ 3.99
2 green apples @ 1.49 /lb

total price: 12.09

This amount of produce will probably make about 8 drinks, with watermelon left over. That’s $1.51 per drink!! And it’s a lot more than the amount in a tiny juice bottle or cup too! Compare that with $7.99 bottle of Suja and you are saving a lot of $$$.

Of course this requires you have a high powered blender or juicer, but if it’s something you use often, it’s worth it! Save more money on juice, buy more lululemon…no brainer.

Have a great weekend!

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Juice Obsession: watermelon-lime-cucumber detox juice

I started whole juicing with my Bledtec again, and I guess I had forgot how simple it is! There is no reason to spend $$$ on  juices if you can make them at home! #duh

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For this recipe I used:
1 cup watermelon (chopped up), half of a cucumber, and a quarter of a lime (peeled).
Blend and serve over ice. Easy Peasy and SO refreshing.

Watermelon and cucumbers are both super hydrating, the combo is perfect if you need a little de-bloat after some weekend indulging. No judgement. I don’t really believe in “detoxing” per se, because that’s what we have organs for…. but I totally know the post-vacay/Monday Morning feeling of needing to lay off the sugar/carbs, and hop back on the fruit & veggie train. As long as you aren’t starving yourself, I think juicing is part of a healthy lifestyle, and is a great way to get more nutrients into your diet!

detox-juice

And if you’re interested, here are a few reasons I will NEVER do a juice cleanse.

Happy Hump Day!

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Motivation Monday: Power in the ritual

As I was preparing for the week ahead, I realized that there is really something to be said for a good ritual. I am definitely a creature of habit, but I think if you are trying to change any habits, then routine is necessary!! For example, I LOVE giving my apartment a good scrub down before the week starts. It helps me start fresh, and there is nothing better than going to sleep in a fresh bed! On Saturday I went to town scrubbing floors, bathrooms, washing the sheets and towels, and even my makeup brushes. It made my Sunday so much easier (and much more enjoyable), since I could just relax before starting a new week.

excellence

A few other rituals that can start your week on the right foot….

  • a little meal prepping
  • a long bath/shower
  • decompressing with a good book
  • meditation
  • a sweaty workout
  • a fresh mani/pedi
  • deep cleaning your home!
  • tidying your work space
  • hanging up your clothes (SO guilty of letting this get out of hand during the week…)
  • meal planning

If I had all the time in the world I’d do them all, but hey….just choosing one or two will help you start the week on a productive note!!

Enjoy your week!

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4 tips for adopting a more focused life #essentialism

What is essentialism?? According to Greg Mckeown, author of Essentialism:The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, it involves pursuing the things that are truly important to you and eliminating the rest. When I first heard of this concept I thought it was fascinating, but didn’t know if it was do-able. At this point, considering the evolution of technology, the amount of distractions in life are endless. I wondered if it was possible to tune this out. What I found out was that you aren’t necessarily “tuning out”, but really just “honing in” on the things that you actually find meaningful and important.

essentialvia 

I’ve found that this is just like adopting any other healthy habit. Instead of focusing on what you are NOT going to do…ex:”not eating fast food”, focus on what you ARE going to do ex: “cooking at home”…Put the emphasis on what you are in control of, versus what you are avoiding.

Upon looking at my own habits, I realized I had a few goals that were going unmet, and meanwhile I was wasting time every single day doing things that I really didn’t care about (looking at gossip websites/magazines/social media/ blah blah blah). I am still at the beginning stages of adopting this philosophy, but was able to recently listen to a talk at a work conference on a similar subject, and had a few lightbulb moments.

As a real “people-pleaser”, it sounds heavenly to be able to focus on what really matters, while letting go of the rest… aka JUST SAY NO. I’ve been trying to use the word “no” more this year, and it’s surprisingly satisfying.

focus

Between my own experience, and from the extra materials I’ve been listening to, here are 4 tips for adopting essentialism:

  1. Know what you want. This is ABSOLUTELY the most important. It’s impossible to decide what doesn’t matter, if you don’t know what does matter. This may take a little soul searching, but think about what you want in life. How you want your life to feel. Consider your work life, home life, relationships, and even your personality type. Keep in mind, what looks good/fun/exciting on the outside, doesn’t always feel that way from the inside. If you are lost, I highly recommend listening to this podcast.
  2. Create a mission statement. After deciding what absolutely matters most (again this can include any/all aspect(s) of life… home life, family life, personal, spiritual, etc), create an overarching mission statement that will help guide your decisions.
  3. Accept the fact that saying no to what doesn’t matter =  saying YES to what does matter. It gives you more time  and resources to focus on your mission!
  4. Post your mission statement. In the conference I attended, we were encouraged to post the mission statement in a frame on a nightstand or on a bathroom counter, or even your desk. This ensures you are looking at it multiple times a day, and you can reflect on how your choices are measuring up.

Since I’ve had the topic of essentialism on my mind, I’ve been able to ask myself regularly “is this activity that I am doing right this second something that is leading me to my goals?”. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean going-going-going non-stop. Part of my mission statement includes nurturing my relationships, specifically with my husband. So if we are sitting on the couch together watching TV after a long day…well that’s time well spent! I’m mindful of the other activities we do together, but I don’t feel pressure to be chasing the grind 24/7.

One thing Greg said, that I thought was interesting is that people (esp in the beginning of a career/new job) want to be the “yes” person. While this may help you get ahead at the beginning, it’s no way to spend a career. You end up unable to focus on what you are good at or where your talents really lie. He mentioned that people actually end up getting farther ahead when doing what they are good at! Imagine that. #nobrainer

As I continue to adopt the practice of essentialism, I will continue to update with any changes I notice!

BTW here’s a great article from NPR, and there’s an interview with my girl-crush Chalene, on episode 3 of her podcast.

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