Wednesday, July 19, 2017

60-Minute Spinning Workout

"Wanna go for a bike ride?" My kids ask me this all the time. So do the members at my gym—I haven't been teaching Spinning lately. My schedule changed, and it forced me to hand over my class. Sad, because Spinning class is always a good time (and a good workout) and I've been missing it. I did fill in a few weeks ago and, man...it felt good to be back in the saddle.

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I thought it would be fun to share that cycling workout with you.

First and foremost, if cycling workouts are new to you, I highly suggest you schedule some time with a certified cycling instructor. You'll want expert instruction on bike setup and safety. If and when you're clear on all of that, you'll be ready to pedal. Spinning workouts are highly adaptable to a variety of fitness levels, but:

Exercise at your own pace at all times. I am a certified cycling instructor, but I don't know your specific fitness challenges, so I can't say for sure whether or not this ride is for you. Proceed accordingly, honoring you body the entire way through to prevent serious injury.

Let's refresh on a few cycling terms.

Working flat: Find this by adding a gear or two to the bike when you're pedaling easily. You'll feel a slight tug on your pedal, however you won't feel like you're going up a hill. It will bring your heart rate up slightly. This is also where you might recover from heavier climbs.

Sprints: Give it everything you've got! However, you must stay in control of the bike.

Standing flat: Exactly what it sounds like. Stand up, keeping your hips over the pedals. Your glutes might tap the very end of your saddle.

Climb: Whether moderate or heavy, seated or standing, this is where you pile on the resistance accordingly. RPMs will slow down. Heart rate will increase.

RPMs: Some bikes have a computer system with this information built in. The following ride assumes that your bike does. If you do not have a computer, tune into the hill, flat or sprint and ride accordingly and consistently from one hill, flat or spring to another.

Let's talk about heart rate for a second.

I speak very generally about heart rate throughout this ride. I don't know if you have a heart rate monitor, or if you know your max heart rate. Truth is, you can still get a great ride without that information. You will need to stay in tune with your rate of perceived exertion. Or, how hard you are working. And, as always, you can pull back if the intensity gets to be too much.

Here's the ride:

spinning, cycling, bike riding, cardio, workout, kaiser, group fitness
Some other Spinning posts you might be interested in:

Indoor Cycling Playlist with Music from the 80's
Spinning Playlist with Rolling Hills
45-Minute Spinning Playlist
Should you buy Spinning shoes?
8 Tips for Taking Your First Spinning Class
How to Make the Most of Your Time In Spinning Class
How to Stretch After Spinning
Spinning During Pregnancy: How to Ride Safely When You Are Expecting

Question: Are you a fan of Spinning classes? Why or why not?

Monday, July 17, 2017

How to Stop Hating Mondays: Make them your healthy restart.

In case you haven't noticed, today is Monday. If it's your favorite day of the week, kudos to you. But for most of us, Mondays stink so bad. We love to hate them because fresh off the weekend, we loathe going back to work. Or going back into the weekly routine. So today, let's talk about Mondays. Because not all Mondays have to be bad. Instead of hating them, make Mondays your healthy restart days.

mental health, monday, planning, self help
1) Get everything ready for Monday morning. 
Take a little time on Sunday night to get ready for your Monday morning routine. Pick an outfit, pack your bags, have your shower towel ready to go. Basically, do everything you can to make sure your morning routine goes as smoothly as possible. Stress less at home, leave all that for the office (because you can't always control the stressful situations that come at you while you work).

2) Make sure you eat a great breakfast. 
Don't start your day on an empty tank. And don't set yourself up for #hangry. If breakfast isn't your thing, if "eating that early makes you nauseous," maybe ask yourself if you're eating the right thing. And the whole "but I'm not hungry that early" excuse...eating is not about fulfilling hunger. It's about giving your body what it needs to function. So start your Monday with a full tank so you don't reach empty from the get-go.

3) Accept your Monday for what it is. 
Monday comes every single week. You know you have to go back to work, or back to whatever routine your Monday brings. So give up the fight! Let it come. Let it happen. Accept it for what it is, and conquer it with all that you've got.

4) Schedule a Monday night workout.
Get those feel-good endorphins! Most importantly, get Monday out of your system so you can spend the rest of your evening feeling great. And, you know, workouts can be good for relieving stress. So take the day out on your weights, the treadmill or whatever it is you like to do for exercise.

5) Come up with a Monday treat. 
Maybe it's a pre-workout coffee...or maybe you add the whipped cream to that mocha. Maybe it's a certain on-the-go breakfast or a standing lunch date. Or maybe you spend five minutes looking for a new desktop image for your computer, something that will motivate you for the rest of the week. Whatever it is, do it every Monday...and only on Monday. It'll give you something positive to look forward to.

Bottom line, Mondays can suck so bad. But a quick attitude check and some changes to your routine can help you stop hating Mondays. Think of them as your healthy restart days. Here before you is a new week, so let Monday launch you into it. There will be crap to deal with. There will be snafus. But, use the day for what it is: A fresh start to a new week.

Question: How do you feel about Mondays? What do you do to make them work for (not against) you?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I'm going to IDEA World and BlogFest!

In exactly one week, I will be traveling to Las Vegas to attend the 2017 IDEA World Fitness Convention. I went in 2015 and had the time of my life, so I absolutely cannot wait to return. I will also be popping into BlogFest, which is a special portion of the conference dedicated to fitness bloggers. Guys, I'm bouncing out of my seat right now because I simply cannot wait. To hold me over, I decided to put together this list of things I am looking forward to:

1) Vegas, baby!
This girl has never been to Las Vegas. I'll be in a convention hall most of the time, but my evenings will be open for exploring Sin City. Two of my clients will be in town at the same time, and they promise to show me some must-see things: Zipline on Fremont Street? Sounds fun. Bellagio fountains? Gotta see it.

2) Dinner with the Momentum Jewelry Crew
I am sharing a hotel room with Amy, Tam and Jill. I adore all of these people from afar, and can't wait to see them in person again...we met at IDEA in 2015 (see above). We'll be joining a few other Momentum Jewelry ambassadors for dinner on Wednesday night, and that sounds like the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

3) Energetic and Educational Sessions
As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I have to fulfill a certain amount of continuing education credits to maintain my certifications. There is absolutely no better way to do just that then at a fitness convention—at THIS fitness convention, to be specific. There are hundreds of sessions available, which makes it very hard to pick your schedule. Here are a few that I've chosen, that I am really looking forward to:

• The G2S Workout (Ground-to-standing drills.)
• Barre Choreography Overload (Because I teach two classes a week.)
• Schwinn Cycling: To Breathless and Back (Spinning inspiration is a must.)
• Run, Injury Free! Understanding Impact Forces (Because I run, and run a running store.)
• Indo-Row: The Perfect Calorie Burn (Love me some row machine.)

4) Kick it With Kaisa
You guys. Are you following @KaisaFit on Instagram? She is amazing. And I get to attend her workout at IDEA. To say that I am pumped for this is an understatement. It literally might be what I am most excited for, and I will totally fangirl for a picture with her. 

5) Brands, brands and more brands!
The expo hall at IDEA is crazy. So much to see, do and sample that your head just spins. I've been looking at the list of attendees and have a few must-hits:

• ACE Fitness (Obviously.)
• Beachbody (Why can't I get hard copies of PiYo Live formats anymore?)
• doTerra (Lemme smell all the oils, please.)
• Hedstrom Fitness (Love their Surge and Kamagon ball.)
• Keiser (I teach on Keiser bikes.)
• La Colombe Coffee Roasters (Obsessed.)
• MINDBODY Online (We might use their software, so I need info.)
• NOW (Foods? Not sure if it's them or not...)
• Prana (Love their clothes.)
• Trigger Point (We carry their products. Wanna see the new vibrating roller...)

And now it's time to pack.

Question: Are you going to IDEA World and/or BlogFest? What's something I should do in Vegas?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Do Anywhere HIIT Workout

Going on vacation? Daily schedule keeping you out of the gym? Life happens. There's no stopping it. But don't let it stop your fitness routine. If you can't get to the gym, or if you're away from home, focus on the one piece of fitness equipment you'll always have access to—your body.

Bodyweight workouts can be extremely effective if you take them seriously. Push and you'll feel it, I promise. Additionally, HIIT workouts raise intensity levels to a point that could leave you dripping with sweat. Best part? Your bodyweight and the HIIT concept fuse together in a way that's highly adaptable.

Test my theory with the following do anywhere HIIT workout.

high intensity interval training, hiit, athleta, fitness, workout, exercise
If you are new to high intensity interval training, please check with your doctor before proceeding. Always respect your body! I am an ACE-certified fitness professional, but I don't know what your individual needs are. Promise me you'll honor and respect your body at all times.

INSTRUCTIONS: This do anywhere HIIT workout has three small circuits. Do each circuit three times, and do each exercise for (:30). Rest for (:15) in between each exercise, and take a minute or two between each circuit. Of course, you'll need to warm up before you begin. Light running or walking should be fine, or use the cardio machine of your choice. Have water ready, you'll need it! The entire workout should take you 45 minutes at the most. Less if you're really pushing it.

fitness, exercise, workout, bodyweight exercises, high intensity interval training
Let's break it down:

Circuit #1

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
1) Clap Squat
Squat, then come up and clap underneath your right knee. Repeat, left leg. Continue alternating, moving as quickly as you can.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
2) Kick Through Start in a high plank position, step up into a right-leg lunge, then kick your left leg through. Step back into the high plank and repeat to the other side.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
3) Pike Up Press your lower back into the grass, then lift your arms and legs up above your stomach. Repeat, bending the knees if it irritates your lower back.

Circuit #2

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
1) Burpees 
Skip the pushup and jump, focusing instead on speed and consistency.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
2) Down Ups
Start in high plank and make your way down to elbow plank and back again, alternating your starting arm each time. Try not to let the hips rotate!

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
3) Punch Squats
Put some force into this one! Squat, come up into a punch over your knee, squat again, then hop your feet together. Repeat on the other side.

Circuit #3

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
1) Push-up to Lunge 
As you come up out of your pushup, bring your left leg forward into a low lunge, then step up and together, reverse and repeat on the right side.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
2) Superman with Lat Pull 
Lift up, pull back, lower down and repeat! If this move is too intense for your lower back, remove the lat pull.

workout, exercise, high intensity interval training, bodyweight exercise
3) High Knees Keep those elbows bent to 90 degrees and lift those knees up to your hands! Make it fast! Keep it consistent!

Questions? Reach out: tara (at) adailydoseoffit (dot) com!

Question: What's your go-to workout when you can't get to the gym? Something at home? Got a bodyweight circuit? Tell me about it!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 Things Your Trainer Wants You To Stop Doing

I love all of my clients. So clients, if you are reading this, let me preface this post with a giant "this may or may not pertain to you." But I've been a personal trainer for over seven years now, and I've seen a variety of people come and go. So today, I thought I'd take you into the mind of a personal trainer. We keep it professional (always), but there are ten things we really want you to stop doing:

personal training, certified personal trainer, fitness, exercise
If you are currently working with a personal trainer or might one day pursue that relationship, the following points will help you get the most out of your sessions:

1) Don't exercise immediately before your session.
This needs an explanation because (obviously) warming up before your session is totally fine. Going through an entire workout, or even starting your workout, defeats the purpose of hiring a professional to help you meet your goals. We have a plan. We always have a plan! And we come to every session ready and willing to execute it. One set of biceps curls could throw an entire session off. So if you find yourself waiting for your trainer, err on the side of doing some light cardio to get (or keep) yourself moving.

2) Don't apologize for failing to complete an exercise.
Do a new move wrong? Don't apologize for that, either! The client/trainer relationship is very much based on teacher/student methods. We are here to instruct you, and we realize there will be learning curves with certain moves. That's why modifications exist. That's why we break things down. And that's also why we watch you like a hawk. If you try something new, even if you can't do it right or all the way, we'll be proud of you for making the attempt. And we'll guide you toward eventual success.

3) Don't expect immediate results. 
Personal trainers are not miracle workers. We are guidance counselors, ready and willing to help you find your fitness. We can't predict how long it'll take you to meet your goals, but we can certainly set you up for success. Our job is to push you in the right direction, session after session. Key: "session after session." One session will not get you there, we promise. So don't expect it. Instead, expect to work hard and progress forward. With those expectations, the need for immediate gratification will diminish (and so will your frustrations).

4) Don't compare yourself to others. 
Every single body is different, and so are the people that own them. Their fitness journeys are not yours. So if the person next to you is doing something you feel you'll never be able to accomplish, don't let it get to you. Instead, let it motivate you! Let it inspire you to work harder, and to get stronger. Because focusing on anything else sends you down to the dumps (and fitness should always make you happy).

5) Don't show up late. 
We get it, things happen. And we'll be as flexible for you as we can, but here's the thing: We have a schedule—and you do, too. Honor it! Respect the time you've set aside for this journey, because we trainers plan to use it wisely for your benefit.

6) Don't yo-yo diet.
Nutrition is a very important part of your fitness journey. It's also one component we trainers can't really control because YOU are in charge of what you eat. And we aren't necessarily certified to tell you WHAT to eat. That's why we keep registered dietitians and nutritionists in our back pockets. So do what you can to eat a well-balanced diet. Messing around with nutritional trends that aren't backed by science and research and what is right for you can, essentially, work against you in the long run.

7) Don't forget to have fun.
We personal trainers do our best to make every session a grand ol' time. Come ready to have fun! If you're in a funk, be up front about it. Let your trainer know so they can motivate you correctly. And if you can, leave the junk in the locker room. Use the time with your trainer to regroup. Focus on nothing but your workout, because only then can you make the most of it—and capture all those feel good endorphins!

8) Stop talking.
Clarification: It's perfectly fine to talk, but don't let it distract you from the workout. Trust us, we love chatting, but we also want to help you get the job done. You focus, we'll focus. Deal? (And on the flip, if we're talking too much, don't hesitate to have us put a sock in it! You're paying for our time!)

9) Don't tell us you can't do something.
All we ask is that you try it. If you have a legitimate reason why you can't do something, let's talk about it. Maybe there's a modification, or a way we can tweak things to help you out. Outright refusal without good reason, well..anyone can at least try something, right? Trust us.

10) Don't hide your injuries.
Our main goal, no matter what your main goals are, is to keep you safe. If something hurts, previous to or during our sessions together, please let us know! The last thing we want to do is increase your pain or discomfort. And if we don't address either of those, it will ultimately set you back.

Question: Certified trainers, what can you add to this list? Non-trainers, have you ever worked with a personal trainer? What did you take away from that experience?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What I've been up to...

Crickets. They've taken over my website! Can you hear them chirping? Guys...I've been busy.  I've got two jobs, two kids and a life. So naturally, blogging took a backseat to all of that (as it should have, I believe). But here I sit, on a random Tuesday night, feeling creative and ready to share. So, if you've missed me, here's what I've been up to:

I ran two races.
I haven't really been training, per se. But I did tack on miles in order to complete the Soldier Field 10-Mile race in Chicago on May 27th. I held an 8:00/mile pace, and that made me smile. Note: I was also smiling because this race was a bucket list thing. I've been meaning to run it for years, and I finally made it happen:

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I also did Alex's Duck Duck Run, which is a big local 5K where I live. It's typically a hot one, so I go into it with little to no expectations. I won my age group last year with a time of 22:36. I won my age group again this year with a time of 23:26.

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I organized a beer run.

Saucony, running shoes, cold beer, Watermark Brewing Co
I don't even drink beer, but I manage a running store. So give the people what they want, right? We (the other managing partner and I) threw out the information hoping we'd get a handful of people—we ended up getting over 60 people to show up, which was great because all of the money we collected went to a local charity. We've got another beer run this Thursday night, so we'll see if we can keep the momentum going.

I got really busy at work.
Two jobs, y'all. Together, they equal one full-time job. I wouldn't trade these jobs for the world because, for the first time ever, I feel like I'm truly doing what I love and it's great. But, man. They keep me busy in the best way possible! From shoe orders and shoe rep meetings at the store, to personal training sessions, classes and admin work at the gym—I'm all systems go all the time. Again, it helps that I love my jobs, but there's little wiggle room for play. And most of that wiggle room is reserved for time with the family.

I read a book.
Guys, despite the crazy, I've been doing really well with my "read one book a month" goal for 2017. My latest page-turner was Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Neiquist. And it was really good. I'm sure you can imagine (based on this post alone) how it would speak to me on multiple levels. I highly suggest it.

I received another Ellie box.
I literally move from one fitness outfit to the next, and my wardrobe is embarrassingly heavy on the fitness fashion. But, it technically is my professional wardrobe. So I justify every new outfit. Super  grateful to Ellie for sending me the June box:

fitness clothing, fitness fashion, subscription box review
If you live in fitness clothing, you need to check out this fitness subscription service. I have not been disappointed yet...all three outfits have been awesome. $50/month gets you a top, bottom, sports bra and two accessories. This month's accessories (not pictured) were a hat and running belt. $50 might seem like a lot, but you definitely get your money's worth. See the May box HERE.

I spent time at the beach.
Because #summer. I am so fortunate to live along the shores of Lake Michigan. We made a vow to visit the beach at least once a week this Summer because, well...because we can! Twist my arm, I'm down with beach time anytime.

I was featured on two different websites.
Our Favorite 25 Fitness Bloggers of 2017
Motivating Mom Tara

I feel like there's so much more to tell, but at the risk of boring you, I'll stop right here with a promise to keep sharing. So many post ideas in my head! So little time. Boo.

Question: What's one exciting thing you've done so far this month?

Monday, May 15, 2017

NOW Foods: Why this company will change the way you do supplements, oils and more. #nowgetfit


The following post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Now Foods. All opinions are, as per the usual my very own. 

A few weeks ago, I was asked to attend an immersion event at the NOW Foods headquarters with a group of my fellow bloggers. Now Foods is located outside of Chicago, and I was thrilled to receive this invitation. But, life happened. My grandmother passed away.

I stayed home with my family instead of making the trip to Bloomingdale, IL. I had to, it's where I wanted to be. And I'll forever be grateful to social media for giving me the opportunity to follow my fellow bloggers on the adventure. It was a nice break from the tears.

I will also be forever grateful to FitFluential and NOW Foods for understanding why I had to back out at the last minute—and especially grateful to Now Foods for sending me the box of goodies I would have received upon my arrival at the event.

Many bloggers out there talk about NOW Foods. And now I know why. As a certified personal trainer, people ask me all the time about supplements. What they should use and why, and from where they should buy them. My ability to respond is very limited because I am not a registered dietitian or nutritionist, and I don't live in a bustling metropolis with a lot of shopping options. But now (pardon the pun), I can tell them about NOW Foods.

supplements, natural products, now immersion event
This company is wonderful and I've only just begun to learn all there is to know about them. They manufacture natural products which, when you're talking about supplements and personal care, is very important. Plus, the products themselves are quite affordable.

Supplements can get expensive, yes?

And then there's this: NOW is one of the largest independent manufacturers of natural products in the U.S. health food store channel. Buy local, just on a bigger scale! Bonus, their quality control game is on point, something I would have loved to see firsthand at the blogger immersion.

Let's talk about some of the products they offer.
First up, dietary supplements.

probiotic, fiber, curcumin
I'll admit, I'm ultra hesitant about supplements. I'm a daily multi-vitamin kind of girl. But NOW makes it so easy to learn about supplements, that it makes them super approachable. Conversations with your doctor about supplements are enhanced by detailed product packaging and a library full of additional articles attached to each of the product pages online. So super helpful!

Admittedly, I have not yet tried any of the above, but am extremely interested in the respiratory care probiotic after a recent dance with some seasonal allergies. I think I'm going to switch out my normal probiotic for this one for a few days to see if I can finally get myself over this yuck.

Next up, natural foods.

organic living, healthy foods, eat healthy, clean eating, #nowgetfit
I love that, in addition to supplements, they offer healthy foods from which you can get essential nutrients. That organic triple omega seed mix is the perfect addition to any smoothie. Normally, I hesitate to throw nuts and seeds into a smoothie because I don't like that gritty, sand-in-mouth texture. But this stuff blended up wonderfully and added a great pop of nutrition.

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Of course, the quinoa penne pasta was quite good, too. My family had no idea that it wasn't your stereotypical noodle. Chunky sauce for the win:

natural foods, whole foods, pasta, pasta sauce, noodles, healthy carbs
Time to talk about sports nutrition:

NOW Foods, natural supplements, protein powder, BCAA, pre workout mix.
As I said before, this is a hot topic at the gym for obvious reasons. Everyone wants to get the most out of their workouts, and the supplement industry is winning the game. But, not all supplements are created equal, and not all supplements are essential. Here's what I like about NOW sports nutrition products: World-class research and development standards and high-quality ingredients go into every product. No artificial ingredients, colors or flavors. What you see is what you get, and what you get is a premium product.

I put the plant protein complex in the aforementioned smoothie and it was delicious. I've always been a little hesitant about pre-workouts, to be honest. So much caffeine (and it's not even coffee), but I'm learning more and more about BCAAs. Branched chain amino acids. Good for muscle retention and recovery. Long story short: When you exercise, your body breaks down carbs for energy. When it runs out of carbs, it starts eating away at your hard-earned muscles in search of amino acids. Enter the amino acid supplement, which can help prevent this particular type of muscle loss.

I'll play around with the BCAAs and let you know what I think...oh, and I'll also play around with that MCT oil. Word on the street: Bulletproof coffee. You know I'm game for anything coffee.

I also love essential oils and natural home remedies.

essential oils, diffuser, arnica, pain relief
The arnica warming relief oil? So great. I've been using it on my knee and it seems to be working.

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Speaking of oils, NOW essential oils are certified organic and 100% pure. There are a TON of essential oil companies out there. If you want to avoid the "order from me" scheme, you can NOW essential oils from a variety of different places. The store locater on the NOW website will tell you exactly where those places are.

To keep up with NOW Foods, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

If you want to hear what my fellow bloggers are saying about NOW, click through some of these links. You'll get event recaps, and see some of the products being put to use:

1) What a Healthy Obsession Looks Like
2) Natural, Pure Products for a Happier Healthier Life Now
3) Triple Omega Seed Chocolate Energy Bites
4) Now Foods #NowGetFit Influencer Immersion is SUPER!
5) Blueberry Protein Smoothie
6) Now Foods Immersion Recap

Keep in touch with me, too, as I'll be posting more about NOW moving forward.

Question: Do you use any products from NOW? How do you feel about supplements?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ellie Activewear Subscription Box Review, May 2017 #loveellie #ad

The following post is sponsored by Ellie. I received a free box of clothing in exchange for my opinions, They are, as always, my very own.

I have way too much activewear in my closet. When I have to wear real clothes, I feel like I never have anything to choose from. Remember this: I work at a gym (and a running store), so activewear is my professional uniform. But I live in a small town, so shopping is limited. If I find a cute pair of leggings, chances are good that I'll run into someone else wearing them because #tjmaxx and #target. That's all we have to choose from, basically. So when Ellie offered to partner with me, I said yes because #activewear.

activewear, fitness fashion, clothing, fitgear, Marika, Balanced Collection
Ellie is a company that curates a monthly subscription box for fitness folks like you and me. Price? $49.95/month for five items. And yes, they make it really easy to adjust your subscription. Cancelling is easy, and you can also skip a month. If you don't, you'll get a box with a bag that contains one complete outfit and two accessories.

I received the May box.

activewear, fitness fashion, clothing, fitgear, Marika, Balanced Collection
This is not a surprise box, so if you see someone opening their box on Instagram while you wait for yours, you'll be getting what they got. This month, however, they're getting crafty and making a few swaps here and there. This goes along with May's theme: #SquadGoals and #DifferentButSame. Every month has a theme, which is super fun.

So, if you order May's box, you might get an outfit that is "different but same" as the one I got:

activewear, fitness fashion, clothing, fitgear, Marika, Balanced Collection
I've had two Ellie boxes so far, and it looks like a majority of the pieces are coming from Marika right now, with the exception of the leggings above.

Quality: Great.
Fit: True to size.
Style: On trend.

Take a closer look at the back of this month's tank top:

tank top, fitness top, yoga top, fitness clothing, fashion, Marika
It kind of looks like a zipper, yes? I like it. And then, some strap action on the front of an otherwise plain black sports bra:

sports bra, fitness top, fitness gear, fashion, fitfashion
As you know, I am SUPER picky about my workout bottoms. Someone at Ellie knows what's up because both pairs I've received from them were far from see-thru. And incredibly comfortable from a movement standpoint. These leggings are from Balanced Collection, a brand I have never heard of:

activewear, fitness fashion, clothing, fitgear, Marika, Balanced Collection
That mesh, though! Anyone else obsessed with this trend? I think it's really fun in small doses.

Let's get to the accessories:

activewear, fitness clothing, fitgear, marika, balanced collection, monthly box
So, I don't really use an arm wallet when I run. I have a FlipBelt, but...who knows. This may come in handy some day. And speaking of hands, I'm really looking forward to using the hand therapy set. Probably after I type this post. I got a yoga mat towel in last month's box. And a water bottle. So the accessories are well-picked, too.

Verdict? I like the box! I've done other fitness clothing subscription boxes and haven't been as satisfied. I don't like having to send items back that I don't want, and I don't like paying over $50 bucks for something I can't pick out myself. But $50 for an entire outfit (and then some)? That's a pretty good deal, yeah? Especially when it's a deal on stuff that's actually pretty great.

Question: Have any experience with fitness clothing subscription services? Do you like the mesh trend on leggings?
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

5 Ways to Help a Sore Knee

Spring has sprung up here in Michigan! Temperatures are rising and so is my desire to run longer and faster. I've done two 5K races already this year, and I've got a wish-list of races that I want to sign up for. But first, I have to rehab my right knee. It's super sore right now. I'm not a doctor or physical therapist, but I have a basic understanding of the muscles—I can tell that my pain stems from a tight one.

Maybe it's my sartorius?

leg muscles, knee issues, ACE Fitness
As you can tell by the picture, the sartorius muscle inserts on the medial side of the knee—where my pain is. If the sartorius is tight, it will pull on the knee joint and cause pain and pressure. That said, I supposed I could also have a problematic gracilis muscle. It also inserts on the medial side of the knee. And then there's always the quads and hamstrings. So, who knows really. It's something.

How did I hurt myself?

It started after an indoor 3-mile run. I did my second mile on the treadmill at an incline, which I don't normally do. So I think the hill tightened everything up.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it (for right now, anyway).

What's the pain like? Dull, achey tightness. Nothing sharp, no swelling or bruising, which is also why I think the underlying cause is a tight muscle. At the time, I thought it would go away so I went about my business. Read: Classes, yoga, stretching as per the usual. I don't think it got worse, but it certainly didn't get better.

So here I am.
Focused on helping out my sore knee

Because: I signed up for the Soldier Field 10 Mile Run in Chicago on May 27th.

Stupid? Maybe. I don't know. I ran six miles this Sunday and it felt really good. It's the aftermath that killed me. Which, again, I'm taking as further proof that something is tight. Don't worry (mom), I'm being smart about this.

Got a sore knee? You should be smart about it, too.

dealing with pain, knee issues, leg muscles, foam roller
1) Rest and modify as needed.
I've been modifying my classes this week. Read: I haven't been doing any of the leg work. If something hurts, giving it time to rest is best.

2) Hop on a foam roller. 
When your muscles get tight, you have to find a way to release the tension within. Stretching is great, but can be problematic if taken too far on a particularly rigid muscle. I have four different rollers that I am currently rotating through:

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3) Check out your shoes.
Running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles, depending. If you suddenly develop problems out of nowhere, it could be that your shoes aren't cushioning or supporting your feet anymore. A potentially easy fix, right? I just purchased a pair of Saucony Freedom ISO shoes and my Kinvaras are still pretty decent, so in my case, I don't think this is the issue.

runchat, running, fitness gear
4) Medicate carefully.
Prescribing medication to any of my clients is not within my scope of practice. I would never tell you what to take...that's a conversation you need to have with your doctor. I can only tell you what works for me. If you choose to try these methods, that would need to be your call. So, speaking from experience, I can tell you that an anti-inflammatory is helping me. But I'm using them sparingly. This stuff, on the other hand, gets used regularly:

arnica gel, biofreeze, muscle pain, yuni beauty
I also bought some epsom salts. Verdict is still out on their ultimate effectiveness, although I did notice my legs feeling better in the hour or so after my bath. And, you know, it was a good excuse to sit in a hot bathtub for 20 minutes.

5) Call your doctor.
Bottom line, you need to respect what your body is telling you. If these easy methods of pain relief aren't working, you need to take it a step further and get an assessment from a qualified physician. Don't mess around with a nagging pain, friends.

Question: What do you do when you've got a sore spot? Ever have knee issues? How did you make them feel better? What's your take on Epsom salt baths?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

So you want to be a runner...

There's something so incredible about the concept of running. It harnesses two of our greatest human sensations: fear and pleasure. In a book appropriately titled Born to Run, author Christopher McDougall explores this concept. "We run when we're scared, we run when we're ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time," he writes. And he's right. We run. All of us.

Some of us do it for fitness reasons.
Maybe this is you?

If it isn't, that's perfectly fine. Running isn't the only worthwhile of exercise. But if you want to make it your exercise of choice, then I encourage you to begin. Take that first step, maybe two or three, and see how running make you feel.

Good? That's wonderful.
Bad? Totally normal.

As a beginner, you should know the following...

running, running advice, run chat, running shoes
1) Running is hard, and it always will be.
Consider it a beautiful challenge. Running will constantly push you above and beyond your limit, taking you in and out of your comfort zone every time you lace up.

2) Two steps count, so does a mile or a marathon.
Running can be a team sport, but it's very much an individual battle. It's you, your feet, the road ahead and your determination to rise above what you did the day before.Therefore, every step counts.

3) Forward is a pace.
Running is often associated with racing. To some runners, pace (how fast you run) is everything. To others, it doesn't really matter—and that's perfectly fine—because forward movement of any kind will always generate progress toward the end result.

4) Rest is important.
Once you embrace running and all the joys it can generate, it can very easily become that one thing you need to do every single day. BUT—you must rest. The physical aspects of running will challenge any body, and you need to honor yours at all times. So don't deny yourself a rest day when you need it.

running, run chat, running shoes
5) Good shoes make all the difference.
One doesn't need much to run. sure, you can find a wide variety of accessories that will enhance the experience. Realistically, there's only one thing you truly need—great running shoes. So invest in a pair that makes your feet happy, because when your feet are happy, the rest of your body will be, too.

And therein lies the beauty of running.
You can always find joy in the journey.

Question: Are you a runner? Why do you run?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

So I'm running a running store...

I worked a lot of retail in college. I started off at American Eagle Outfitters, after which I went to Bath and Body Works, then Abercrombie and Fitch. When I finished school, I moved on to my first job in advertising, but worked a few hours at Express to fund the professional wardrobe. Truth: I hated that job at Express, so I quit retail and focused on my advertising career, which lasted for seven years before I decided to start a fitness career.

While I made the switch to fitness, I worked at a local boutique. But only for one Summer. Fast forward to today: I've been in the fitness industry for almost seven years now, and I'm not leaving it anytime soon.

Guess what, though?
I'm going back to my roots in the retail industry.

I'm running a running store.

running, run chat, run store, Saucony, Kinvara
No, I didn't quit my job at the gym. I am still the fitness director, also a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. That was, and still is, my primary part-time job. I just added another 15 hours a week to my life with this new position at the running store—managing partner, officially.

I have been tasked with revamping a dying running store that has buckets and buckets of potential. Don't worry, I'm not in it alone. My partner is my running buddy, also a personal trainer on my team at the gym. Neither one of us could do it without the other. We wouldn't have the time. But together, we can be the type of manager the store needs. And we are so excited about that.

Also, we're like Willy Wonka in his chocolate factory.
We are literally surrounded by shoes (and desperately trying not to buy them all).

running shoes, running store, run chat
We are meeting left and right with shoe reps. We've checked Saucony and Mizuno off the list, and are anxiously awaiting our scheduled meetings with Brooks, New Balance and TOPO.

Guys, it's so much fun.
A lot of work, indeed.
But, it's so...so much fun.

This is a different type of retail job than I've ever had before. I'm not following corporate rules and punching a clock. I'm making something, a new environment for every local runner in my town. My partner and I are full of ideas. We have a vision, and we cannot wait to bring it to life.

But first, we have to learn this shoe industry thing. How to order, when to restock...all that good stuff. So some of those big ideas have to wait for a minute while we familiarize ourselves with the inventory, for example:

running store, run gear, run chat
We are fairly stocked with all the essentials, but we see room for more. I'm learning so much about running shoes. I'm even getting sneak peeks at shoes that aren't out yet. Really, though—I'm helping people find shoe love, and in doing so, I'm making connections in the community. And that's what we hope to do with the store.

We want to reconnect it to the community.

My partner and I are (hopefully) going to make this store a hub of running activity. This community we live in, it's full of runners. My town is an active town and hopefully this store will be a bigger part of that.

Again, it's hard work, but I'm loving it.
And I'm so grateful for this new opportunity.

#wishmeluck
#herewego
#letsdothis

Question: Do you have any retail experience? What stores have you worked at? If you frequent a local running store, what makes you go there versus websites on the Internet? 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Protein Truffles

The following post is sponsored by Naked Nutrition. Despite compensation and free product, all opinions are my own, as per the usual. 

I like chocolate. My body needs protein. So when chocolate and protein combine, it generally ends up being a very special treat. This is why, for instance, I usually buy chocolate protein powders. A few weeks ago, Naked Nutrition reached out with an opportunity to test a tub of their whey protein powder. I, of course, chose the Less Naked Chocolate Whey protein powder.

Naked Nutrition, whey protein, protein powder, nutrition, diet, food, supplements
Let's make one thing clear: I am super picky about protein powders. For starters, I am a huge fan of getting necessary nutrients from a well-balanced diet, and I recommend this first and foremost to anyone that asks me if they need a protein shake after they work out. But, I'm also completely realistic. I understand that life doesn't always allow a person to create a well-balanced meal or snack after they hit the gym. And this, I believe, is where a good protein shake can help. And it's how I fit protein shakes into my life.

For example, on Tuesday nights, I teach a Barre Fit class at 5:15PM, followed immediately thereafter by a Buddy Bootcamp at 6:30PM. I often bring a protein shake to the gym with me to hold me over until I get home.

But again, I am super picky about protein powders. So many of them have unnecessary and unclean ingredients in them. This is one of the reasons I agreed to test Less Naked Chocolate Whey Protein Powder. The stuff is pure, hence the name. Take a look:

protein, supplements, fitness, nutrition, protein powder
Now take a look again: There are three ingredients. Grass-fed whey, raw cacao and coconut sugar. That's it. "Nothing to hide." Totally winning, right? Admittedly, this doesn't make it the most potent in terms of flavor. The chocolate is very subtle, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. In addition to drinking it straight up with some water, I used it to create peanut butter and chocolate chip protein truffles.

snacks, protein, protein powder, fitness, nutrition, eat clean
These little bites of yum are about the size of a golf ball, and take minimal time and effort to make, but go a long way in the healthy snack department. Also, chocolate meets peanut butter. Totally winning.

We'll get to the recipe in a second, but you should know that protein powder isn't required. But it will up the protein content of each truffle if you use it. And for what it's worth, they can probably be made with just about any type of protein powder.

Seriously, though. Check out Naked Nutrition if you need to restock. The protein I got will cost you $90 per tub, which is very pricey. But the tub itself has 60 servings of protein, here's what one looks like:

protein powder, chocolate, Naked Nutrition, whey protein, supplements
So do the math. That's about $1.50 per protein shake. And if you use protein like I do, one tub will last you a very long time.

Now it's time for the recipe.

easy to make, snacks, chocolate, whey protein, protein powder, supplements
PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE CHIP PROTEIN TRUFFLES
Source: A Daily Dose of Fit 

Ingredients
• 3 Cups peanuts, processed into peanut butter
• 3 Scoops Less Naked Whey protein powder
• 1/2 Tsp. vanilla
• 1/2 Tsp. honey
• 1 Cup mini chocolate chips
• 2 Bars dark chocolate
• 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Directions
1) Put everything but the dark chocolate bars and coconut oil in a bowl and mix. Refrigerate until solidified enough to form into balls.

2) Create truffles the size of golf balls, then freeze them all for an hour at most.

3) Melt the chocolate bars slowly, adding the coconut oil halfway through.

4) Dip each truffle in the chocolate.

5) Store them all in the refrigerator.

Good luck not eating them all at once. The recipe will make a little more than a dozen truffles, and as you can see, I don't have that many left. Whoops. Eating them like a champ over here, don't mind me.

If you're wondering, this is my dark chocolate of choice:

fitness, nutrition, health, chocolate, chocolate bar, truffle recipe
Question: What's your take on protein powder? Do you incorporate it? Do you rely on it? Do you have a favorite?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Should you exercise when you are sick?

Doesn’t it feel like everyone is sick? Germs are floating around like snowflakes, landing on every surface and infecting us with illnesses that won’t go away. No one likes to get sick. It’s disruptive. And nowhere is this more evident than at the gym. It can be really hard to exercise effectively when you are sick.

But, is it safe to exercise when you are sick?

fitness, health, exercise


First and foremost, you need to honor your body. It speaks loudly! Rest is often the best medicine, but consulting with your physician will tell you otherwise—and you should always listen to your physician.

You should change your health goals, too. When you are sick, your first goal should always be to get better. Your weight loss or long distance training goals can wait. Setting them aside for a few days will not diminish the progress you’ve made. Instead, it will give your body the time in needs to heal. Exercise ignites a stress response in the body. This isn’t always a bad thing when you’re in good health. But when you’re down, it can be counterintuitive to progress and it can hinder your ability to get better.

Letting your body rest ultimately preps it to push hard when it’s back on top again.

Remember, too, that your immune system is working overtime when you are sick. This makes you susceptible to even more unwanted germs. And hitting the gym will undoubtedly expose you to them. Plus, it will expose others to the germs that you carry.

Do your part to stop the spread of unwanted germs!

That said, there’s a tiny bit of grey area. Some illnesses are worse than others, and some are quite manageable. When you’re lucky enough to catch a manageable illness that doesn’t knock you down for days, you might be well enough to keep up your fitness routine. But if you can answer “yes” to any of the following, then you might want to stick with the “stay home” plan:

• Do you have a fever?
• Is your chest congested?
• Are you having gastrointestinal issues?
• Does your body ache?
• Do you feel more fatigued than usual?
• Are you having strong headaches?

These are all signs that your body is fighting something strong. Give it time to fight. Give it time to heal. Remember, you need to honor your body.

Respect it, too. It’s the only one you’ve got.

Please remember that, although I am a certified fitness professional, I am not a physician. If you are sick and unsure of whether or not you should be exercising, you should absolutely reach out to your physician. If you have fitness questions, you can reach out to me at tara (at) adailydoseoffit (dot) com! I’d be happy to help.

Question: How do you tweak your fitness routine when you are sick? Do you take time off or do you modify your routine?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

10 Ways to Spring Clean Your Fitness (...plus, a prAna clothing review)

The following post is sponsored by prAna through my partnership with Fit Approach. 
I received an outfit in exchange for my honest review. 

The weather in Michigan is so unpredictable, but warmer(ish) temps and a few drops of rain have been giving us that Spring feeling. It's only the very beginning of March, though. Mother Nature has this funny way of playing snowy cold tricks on us through April. So we'll see. But still, it's beginning to look a lot like Spring—so it's time to start thinking about Spring cleaning.

prana, fitness clothing, yoga clothes, fitfluential, sweat pink
Every once in a while, you have to check in with your fitness routine. If it's going well, great! If not, then it's worth it to make some changes, do some things differently, or seek out new methods of motivation. Let's talk about that today. Let's talk about ten ways to Spring clean your fitness routine.

1) Purchase new workout clothes.
If you're like me, you can't walk into Target or TJ Maxx without buying something for the gym. But hear me out—new gear is so motivating! If you're in a rut, or if you've got a bit fitness event coming up, go buy yourself something new to wear. New clothes have this way of motivating you...they have this way of making YOU feel like new.

Consider this Mika Strappy Top from prAna:

yoga top, open back workout top, yoga, prana
It features an open back, but offers up plenty of coverage in the front.

prana, yoga clothes, fitfluential, sweat pink
The material is incredibly soft and movable. Perfect for all of your favorite twists and turns in yoga class:

yoga clothes, fitness clothes, gym clothes, fitfluential, sweat pink
It pairs perfectly with the Chetan Capri, which fits like butter:

yoga tights, yoga capris, yoga clothes, prana spring collection, fitfluential, sweat pink
You might call this a sustainable article of clothing. It is made with recycled, organic and Fair Trade materials. Really, though...they're just super comfortable capris that won't fall down while you move. And the higher waistband is nice for all of those inverted poses you love so much:

prana spring collection, yoga clothes, yoga poses, down dog, fitfluential, sweat pink
If you want to get your hands on some prAna gear—because you're Spring cleaning your fitness routine—use S4P17DDF at checkout to save 15%!

Speaking of "spring cleaning your fitness routine," let's look at the rest of the list:

2) Hire a personal trainer.
When you don't know what to do, seek help from someone that does! It's that simple. Personal trainers know what to do at the gym. Whether you work with them once a year, twice a month or three times weekly...they'll give you good advice and keep you moving toward your fitness goals. Next time you hit the gym, strike up a conversation with one of the trainers. See if they can help you move past your plateaus.

3) Asses the quality of your running shoes.
If you experience all four seasons, you might be slowly venturing outside again. Before you do, take a look at your running shoes. Check the tread, scope out any obvious wear and tear. And really tune in to how they make you feel while you are running. Need new shoes? Go buy some! (See #1, because new shoes are also motivating.)

4) Decide if what you're doing is actually working for you.
Now is the time to be honest with yourself. Especially if you've set some lofty goals for 2017. Are you still working toward those goals? Is your plan fostering success? If not, decide that you need to make a change. You must be honest with yourself.

5) Try one new thing.
When it comes to health and fitness, you can't let boredom win. Because when your body gets bored, it stops responding to change. And when you need a change, trying something new can be just what the fitness doctor ordered.

6) Read a book related to health or fitness.
If new clothes aren't your thing, maybe a book will reignite your interest in health and fitness. I am currently reading Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight. It reads like a novel and is so incredibly good. Plus, it's getting me psyched for some long-distance outdoor running in this warmer than usual March weather.

7) Buy an amazing water bottle (or at least make sure you always carry your favorite).
Yes, you know—it's important to drink a lot of water. But are you doing that? Are you drinking enough water? If not, get yourself a great water bottle. One that not only functions well, but looks cool, too. Heck, make it an expensive one, because then you'll really want to carry it everywhere!

8) Throw away the comparison trap.
You are you. There is only one of you. Stop looking at someone else and thinking it's how you should be. Be yourself, there is no other. And that's why this world is so amazing. Because we are all different. We all have different goals, and we'll all achieve them in our own special ways.

inspiration, fitspiration, prana spring collection, fitfluential, sweat pink
9) Clean out your refrigerator and pantry.
If you struggle with healthy eating, take a few minutes and rid your refrigerator and pantry of anything that goes against your healthy eating goals. Just do it. Make room for foods that make a difference in your overall health and well-being.

10) Clean your schedule.
If your workout schedule fell off the calendar weeks ago, put it back on. Right now, get your calendar out, and put it back on. Clear yourself some space on your schedule for, well...for YOU. We can clean our house and our cars, we can clean our 'fridge all we want, but if we don't clean our schedules, too, we'll never find time for fitness.

Whether you take time to complete all ten of the items on this list, whether you do just one or two, be sure to stop and breath for a second. We live in a go-go-go society and so much falls through the cracks because of it. Don't let your fitness fall, too. Take a minute to asses your situation so that you can continue going down a road that promotes the best version of you.

Don't forget to use S4P17DDF to take 15% off your prAna purchase!

Question: Out of these ten action items, which would be the most challenging for you to complete? How do you Spring clean your fitness routine?

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