Thankful for Family + Health

Happy Monday everyone!

i hope you had a wonderful weekend! We are finally into August, which means one thing for me…it’s closet to FALL!! 😀

I am planning some great fall posts, so get ready soon!

This weekend was full of workouts, good eats, and being thankful for family and health.

Last Tuesday night, as many of you may know, we had to call the ambulance for my Dad. He sat up on the side of the couch, said he wasn’t feeling well, and passed out. This was very unusual for him and the ambulance took him on to the hospital.

For 2 days they ran tests on him to rule out all they could. We found out he has a couple of blockages in his heart, one—I know— that was around 60%. What the doctors told us, though, was that they weren’t for sure exactly why he passed out.

After all the tests, they sent him home with an adjustment in his meds, and for him to come back the next week to get a heart monitor. He will go this week to get it and will wear it 30 days.

Mom said the other day she thinks God was giving us a warning about his heart. We had no idea he had that going on. It could have been a lot worse. I truly think it was God letting us know what was going on. Even though we had to take him to the ER and I had to see him in the bed a couple days (I don’t always do well in hospitals), it’s a blessing it wasn’t anything worse. God has a way of showing us things we need to know, even if it comes in more of a wake up call.

We were all glad to have him back home Thursday night. I know he was ready to come back home. He kept saying how bored he was! Haha

I am so thankful for my family, friends, and even more grateful my Dad didn’t go through anything worse.

You don’t always realize how grateful and blessed you are with friends, family, and health until something happens. I think we take it for granted too often.

There are people in my life I love and care for so much. Be sure you tell those important to you how much you love them! You never know when things are going to happen.

Everyday is a gift from the Lord!

Stars + Stripes Workout

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a workout with you guys!

Most people probably have plans tomorrow to be at the beach, the lake, swimming pool, or lots of family time. If you want to sneak in a quick little workout and you have 15 minutes, this workout is for you!

No equipment necessary and you can be done in no time having worked upper body, lower body, abs, and some cardio!

Stars + Stripes workout 

**Beginner: 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest

**Intermediate: 45 seconds work, 15 rest

**Advanced: 1 min work, 20 seconds rest

1. Freedom Jacks

The classic jumping jack we all probably first learned in P.E. But still a great lower impact cardio move to still get our heart rate up! Be sure your arms come all the way up. You want full range of motion to get the most out of this move!

2. Bottle Rocket Jump Squats

Jump squats are a fantastic way to work legs, sneak in some core, and get that heart rate up again! If you are a beginner or have knee troubles, eliminate the jumps and just do regular squats.

3. Patriotic Pushups

Youll be amazed at how much pushups work your body! Pushups work chest, triceps, shoulders, and even core. If you are a beginner on these, you can do them off a wall, chair, or get on your knees.

4.Star Crunches

I love ab moves that work upper and lower abs at the same time. Start with legs and arms extended out, then using core, bring yourself up to a V crunch, and return to starting position.

Modification: crunch or sit up.

As as mentioned above, you can modify moves, and change up your work time. 2-3 rounds and you are done!

I hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of July! 🙂

Healthier Peanut Butter Pie

Happy Friday, y’all!

Can you believe it is the first day of JUNE??

For me, this means my beach trip is only a number of days away and I cannot wait!!

Today I am sharing with you a peanut butter pie I made over Memorial Day weekend last week. I wanted something like this, but less in calories, sugar, little to no dairy, etc.

I think this pie turned out great and it seemed to be a hit with the parents too!

Healthier Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients:

-1 pie crust (pre-made graham cracker OR the kind you have to bake first…I used a gluten free crust.)

-1 8oz container of cool whip of choice (I used this kind)

-8 oz vanilla Greek yogurt (I used 5 oz vanilla Greek and the other I used a vanilla almond milk base yogurt)

-1/2 cup powdered peanut butter (can add a tablespoon or 2 of regular PB if you want)

-Chocolate chips to top the pie with (I used these)

Directions:

1. IF using pie crust that you need to bake, follow instructions and let cool COMPLETELY.

2.Next, mix together the cool whip, yogurt, powdered peanut butter (and/or regular PB) all together.

3.Spoon mixture into pie shell and sprinkle with chocolate chips of choice.

4. Place + store in freezer until ready to eat!

When ready for a slice, let the pie sit out of the freezer 5-10 minutes to soften just a little, and it should be ready to cut!

Question for you: What is YOUR favorite kind of pie??

Making Life Easier + Healthier With MealFit

If you look at our society today, it seems that everyone is always on the go, go, go.

Between school, work, working out, running errands, dropping kids off, picking kids up, all the after school activities and sports, its no wonder a lot of people turn to fast food or the quick and easy options like frozen pizzas to provide lunch or dinner.

Not saying that doing that everyone now and then is ok, because it totally is. I am all about finding a good balance…and I love my pizza too. But when we are constantly on the go, we want to be sure we are fueling out bodies with the proper nutrition it needs to thrive and function.

That’s where MealFit comes in.

Thomas Cox, the finder/owner of MealFit takes into consideration those people who are always busy. He says, “We are giving them time.” By providing these healthy meals/foods already prepared, this allows people to have more time to be at their kids games, to spend time with loved ones, and not to worry about what will be for dinner. It takes the extra time out that would normally be needed on a weekend in order to prepare foods for your week.

(Look at my friend Regina’s stash of prepped meals! She enjoys them while at work.)

MealFit started out as meal planning, and has grown into a successful business providing results oriented meal programs: healthy catering, meal planning, meal prep, family meals, personal meals, and even gym nutrition programming, support, + guidance.

MealFit originally started in 2013 in Cookeville, Tennessee, and since October 2017, it has been in Birmingham, the hometown of Thomas.

They provide meal plans, catering, and even gym nutrition programming, but something I love about them are the meal prepped meals.

Every Monday him and his staff come in and cook food for anyone who ordered meals/bowls on his website. Between 4-6pm people can pick up their food from one of several locations in the Birmingham area, most of them being gyms.

You can choose items such as the roasted chicken, ground turkey, and steak, to bowls such as the Baja Beef Bowl, Vegetarian Bowl, or Chicken + Rice bowl. You can even choose what starch you want in some of the meals: sweet potatoes, red potatoes, or jasmine rice (all of which are delicious!)

Every week there are special bowls or foods that are offered. He recently had a Baja Bowl, and this week a cauliflower crust pizza was featured.

You don’t have to order every week, so there is no commitment to ordering all the time. The only requirement is that you order at least 5 items, which is easy to do, and very worth your while!

The food provided is nothing but great quality, wholesome foods to provide nutrition for the bodies God gave us.

Thomas showed me how he cooks some of his meats. He starts off by searing it with some of their from scratch seasonings they make in their kitchen. Then it’s off to the smoker!

Cooking for large quantities of people for catering events and even these prepped meals, calls for a big smoker. This one can fit a lot of meat in there at one time, and it’s smoked with cherry wood, giving the meat it’s delicious flavor.

Full of energy and passion, Thomas gives back by providing not only great food, but time. His business is already thriving here in Birmingham: he is catering a myriad of events, providing meals and plans, and is growing with his pick up locations for these prepped meals. He told me he will soon be providing all the food for the Highlands College Students. God is doing great things and has given him a wonderful gift of outreach and helping/providing to others.

If you want in on what Thomas is providing, check out his website here. If you want to order and try any of the prepped meals, be sure to order by NOON any/every Sunday, and in check-out be sure to click on the location for your pickup.

Pick-up options are everywhere, so there will be one within your area. (Be sure to click on Birmingham and not Cookeville if you’re in the area!)

I can’t wait until my next order! If you try it out, let me know! I’d love to hear what you think and what your favorite is!

Quick + Easy Turkey Burgers

Hello everyone and I hope you all had a wonderful Easter spent with family, friends, and loved ones!

Today I want to share with you a quick, easy, and delicious recipe that you can make any night, or even make ahead for the week.

I have always loved turkey burgers, and every restaurant makes them differently. I’ve tried my hand at a recipe or two, and wasn’t as satisfied, but I wanted to be able to make some that were not only delicious, but simple to make.

I pulled out the ole trusty George foreman I had in college to make these, and with a few simple ingredients, some yummy turkey burgers were made!

Ingredients

-1 to 1.5 ground turkey

-1/4 cup diced red (or sweet) onion

-1 egg

-garlic salt to taste + season

-everything but the bagel seasoning (optional—found at Trader Joe’s)

-dash of pepper if not using above seasoning

-flour of choice (I used a gluten free flour)

Directions

1.Be letting your George Foreman, grill skillet, or actual grill heat up while preparing the patties. (Medium heat)

2.Mix together ground turkey, egg, and any seasonings.

3.Once mixed (it will be a bit mushier than ground beef), start sprinkling in your flour to thicken up the mixture. Add until desired consistency.

3. Patty out burgers and start to grill! On my George Forman, I let the burgers cook about 5 minutes until I checked them and flipped them over for a few extra minutes. Around 10 minutes (depending on size of burgers) they should be about done. I came out with 6 patties.

I am so happy with the way these turned out! I can eat them without anything on it. Feel free to change up the meat or seasonings. This is what I threw together and it turned out perfectly to my liking! 🙂

After I cooked these up, I made some sweet potato fries to go with it. Something about this combo is so good!

If you guys try this, let me know! Are there other combinations of ingredients that you like with any homemade burgers? If so, let me know!

4 Benefits of Collagen Peptides

Happy rainy Thursday everyone!

It’s almost the weekend and I thought I’d starte this Easter weekend by sharing some benefits something I’ve started taking over the last month or so: Collagen Peptides.

Collagen Peptides are an easy to digest and highly bioactive form of collagen.

But first, what is collagen?

Collagen Is an important building block and makes up about 30% of the proteins in our body. Collagen is key to making sure the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of the connective tissues we have, including skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones, are good.

Essentially, collagen is strong and flexible, and has been referred to as the ‘glue’ that holds everything together.

You can get collagen in pill form and powder form. I believe powder form is the best, because it’s more versatile. Plus, I’m not a fan of having to swallow pills, so I like the easiness of being able to take the collagen.

On to the benefits!

1.Supports Skin Health

Collagen helps with strengthening your skin, rejuvenation,and its elasticity. A lot of people make sure their intake of collagen is higher in the winter due to drier and colder weather conditions that can be harsh on our skin.

2. Healthy joints + ligaments

We don’t always think about the upkeep/health of our bones, joints, or ligaments until we have injured them. 90% of our bone mass is made up of collagen.

Collagen peptides aid in stimulating osteoblasts, which are the cells that help in bone formation.

3.Aids in Digestion

We all experience the uncomfortableness of our digestion after eating different foods: fried, greasy, certain vegetables, etc. It happens.

The amino acids found in collagen provide a reparative property that actually helpe to ease/soothe our digestive tract. It gives a boost to the stomach acid and helps not only with easy digestion, but the absorption of nutrients from our foods.

4. Very Versatile + Easy to Consume

One of my favorite points about collagen today is how versatile it is in powder form. I do NOT like taking big pills so this powder collagen is fabulous.

    

One scoop of collagen gives you 11 grams of collagen peptides, no carbs, no fats, 10 grams of protein, and of course, tons of benefits. I love to mix mine in with smoothies, protein shakes, and even my oatmeal.

You can also bake with collagen peptides, too. I made a batch of almond butter cookies and they were wonderful! I’ll have to make more soon and post the recipe.

However you want to take it, you’ll still reap the benefits, even if you just mix it in your water or coffee, which I’ve seen people do. It’s tasteless so the possibilities are endless.

I’m excited to be able to continue with this and see what it does for me health! 😀

NOTE: There are different brands of collagen peptides you can purchase. Sports Research and Vital Proteins are my top go-to’s. You can find them in the links below.

Sports Reseach (listed above in post): Find HERE.

Vital Proteins: Find HERE.

What Crossfit Has Taught Me So Far

Hello, friends!

I hope you had a nice and restful weekend! I know for some it has been busy getting ready for those spring break trips! While you are on vacay, I’ll be here…working. 😀

Today I thought I would share with you a post I am super excited about:

This week marks 2 months of me doing CrossFit at a local gym and I have fallen in LOVE with it.

Coming from a history of running and spin classes throughout college (and a little after), plus going into a phase of a serious fitness funk, crossfit came at the perfect time!

There’s been some changes in my life lately, and my fitness routine is one of them. When I started crossfit at the end of January, I had been coming out of a toxic situation, I was anxious so much, stressed out, frustrated, upset at myself, and honestly embarrassed about some things.

I can say now I have never been happier with the way life is going right now! Several things have contributed to this, but one of them is definitely crossfit.

Things Crossfit Has Taught Me So Far:

1.I am stronger than I think.

Going into Crossfit for the first time, I knew I had a history of strength training, HIIT, and other things, but I truly didn’t know what my strength was. I thought I didn’t have much at all and wouldn’t be able to do many of the moves or keep up with other people.

Within the first week, I was already surprising myself with what I could do. Even if I was the only one there using the lightest weight, I was still doing things I never thought I could do, and that excited me. It gave me something to work toward, but knowing I was stronger than I originally thought I was made me realize that I can get through anything…in the gym and in life.

I did a whole post on how you are stronger than you think…check it out HERE.

2.Friendships are special + people come into your life at the right moments

The friendships I have already made in my 2 months at the gym, and the community of amazing people that surround me are incredible. A few months ago I would have never thought I’d be able to make new friends that would become close…and basically family…but here I am loving any chance I get to be around them.

When you are surrounded by people who love, encourage, and uplift you daily, you want nothing more than to continue to be around those people. Ain’t nobody got time for toxic, negative people!

3.Do NOT compare your chapter 1 to someone’s chapter 20.

I can get into a bad habit of comparison,  and not just when it comes to fitness. (Read my comparison post. HERE )

I learned real quick that the gym, especially when it comes to crossfit, is NOT the place to compare myself to others. Everyone starts at different times, some only come a few days a week, some come everyday, some even twice a day, and others have been doing crossfit a lot longer than my 2 months!!

Sometimes I catch myself thinking “I should be able to do this”, or, “why can’t I get this move down, or lift this weight? So-and-so can do it!” But this is such a mind trap and it gets me down and diappointed when I fall for it.

This is when I have to turn my thinking around and look on what I CAN do, and on the things I have been able to accomplish, or even finish, despite if it’s modified or at a lower weight. Things like this take time, work, and effort…but boy I am motivated to get better everyday!

4.If you want it, work for it!

There are a LOT of things I have yet to master at the gym, and weight lifting movements I still have to work on with form and technique, but something else I have learned is that if there is something you want or a goal you want to reach, you must work for it. You must put the time, energy, and effort into it in order to achieve it.

There are SO many things I am wanting to work on and improve over this next year, and I am ready and willing to put in the work. I love fitness, I love seeing how strong I can become and what my body can do, and that’s my motivation. I want to be a better and stronger version of myself everyday, both in the gym and outside!

 

You Are Stronger Than You Think

Happy Wednesday Friends!

This week is starting to fly by, but it’s been a good one I hope!

 I want to talk some with you guys today about feeling discouraged when it comes to your workouts or activities.

We’ve all experienced that dicsouragement and weakness with our sport, workout, or other activities in life at some point. It’s a terrible feeling because you feel like you are not able (and may not ever) be able to get it done, get better, be stronger, faster, etc.

I want you to remember something as you start to experience this:

YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK! 

Just recently I started CrossFit at a local gym. After years of running through college, and really just bouncing back and forth between my own workouts, I really needed a change, something that would challenge me, and a place I could be surrounded by wonderful people. This is it for me. I love it!

 

After my college years of nothing but cardio (running + spinning) and me being all over the place with what I wanted to do the last couple of years, this Is exactly what I needed.

Every workout is different, challenging, and it pushes me to see my strengths (and what areas i need work on!). I love the push and the challenge. Not to mention, I love having a workout already put together for me! After putting clients workouts together, I enjoy not having to do that for me! 😀

Going into CrossFit, I had no idea what my strength was. I knew I wasn’t as strong as I would like to be, but when it came to any strength move, I had no idea what I could do. Our bodies will be like that. I was even telling myself I’d be keeping light weights for a long time.

On some things, yes, I need to keep the lighter weight right now, but on other moves, I am actually surprising myself on how much I can lift or do.

(Overhead squat w/ 45 pounds. Working on these for sure!)

This move I was doing is a deadlift. I had no idea what I could lift, and so far I’ve gotten up to 150 pounds. I still am surprised I can do it!

We can be SO tough and down on ourselves. That negativity creeps in and you begin to believe when you tell yourself “I’ll never be able to do it”, “I can’t do it”, “I’m not that strong”, etc. We believe these lies. We are capable of WAY more than you think.

For some, it could be them believing they’ll never make it up some stairs again. With work, dedication, and encouragement, I just bet you can get back up those stairs again. God made us into some powerful machines! 😀

I have a looong way to go and to improve in a lot of areas, and I won’t lie, just last night I was super discouraged that I am having to scale (make easier) so many things. I have to remember that I am already surprising myself with things, and I have to take it day at a time.

Be proud of your journey thus far and how far you’ve come since the beginning! Let’s stop being so hard on ourselves. I need to work on it more! But I know how far I’ve come!

Peanut Butter Oat Balls

Happy Monday everyone!

Yesterday I was in the mood to make a little snack that would be quick to grab and be a little on the sweet side. 😀

It’s been a while since I’ve made these little PB Oat balls, but they are always SO perfect when I want something quick and easy to grab for a snack, pre workout, or even as a dessert.

These are no bake and only takes 4 ingredients (3 if you don’t want chocolate chips)

Peanut Butter Oat Balls

Ingredients

-1 cup oats (I used quick oats)

-2/3 cup peanut butter of choice

-2 T of honey

-Chocolate chips (optional…but a great choice)

Directions:

1.Place oats in a mixing bowl and melt peanut butter.

2.Mix melted peanut butter and your honey in with the oats. Let sit a few minutes, and add in your chocolate chips.

3.Place bowl in fridge and let chill anywhere from 30 minutes, an hour, or overnight if you prepare at night.

4.When ready, roll oat mixture into bite size balls. Keep in fridge, and when ready, pop them out to enjoy! 🙂

3 Reasons Why Diets Don’t Work

We are not even one week into 2018 and I am already so sick + tired of seeing all of these diet + weight loss ads being advertised.

Yes, a lot of people have goals at the first of the year to lose weight, tone up, or just be healthier; but with all of these companies promising you quick weight loss if you eat this, count this, or buy their product, it’s no wonder people get confused and/or fall off the bandwagon shortly into the year.

(Strawberry smoothie from Neighborhood Brew, off Valleydale)

I’ve fallen into diet traps before in my lifetime, researching different approaches, eliminating certain foods, and of course, calorie counting. All of these got me in bad places and was NOT good for my health, both physically and mentally.

Our bodies are incredible machines. I mean, God made us, how could they not be?

Food is fuel to our bodies. We need it not only for energy, but for our bodies even to be able to function. We must feed our organs too! Food is also meant to be enjoyed.

(Buffalo Wild Wings: Wings + bacon cheese fries)

It is important we have a balance of exercise, feeding our bodies nutritious food, but also feeding our bodies food for pleasure. It can confuse our minds if we fall into all of these diet traps. I am practicing every day to follow more of this healthy balanced, intuitive eating lifestyle, and each day with each step forward, I am finding it more freeing

(night time cereal combo of Vanilla Chex + Fruit Loops)

So, why do diets NOT work?

I’m here to give you 3 reasons why.

1.Diets essentially slow down the process of losing weight. 

But, wait! Aren’t diets supposed to help us lose weight faster? NO. When we put our bodies through any kind of “diet”, it is actually a stressor to (and on) our bodies. Our bodies tend to fight against us when we are going through something like this. That should be our first clue! Extreme dieting, eliminating food groups, and being so restrictive is not what our bodies were made to do or be put through. Dieting just causes our stress hormones (adrenaline + cortisol) to increase.

So, all this time you were thinking going on a diet would relieve some stress? Think again.

(Salad I put together with leftover chicken tenders + orange pieces)

2.They usually don’t work long term/Aren’t always sustainable.

If someone goes on a diet to lose “X” amount of pounds, and they had to eliminate a food group, be restrictive, sacrifice going out with friends + family, and maybe even had a to take a certain company’s product, what happens when this person reaches their goals?

Are they going to continue to miss out on enjoying dinner out with family + friends? Are they willing to continue to pay for the product or eliminate a certain food group the rest of their life?

Realistically, it doesn’t always work.

In many cases, people end up gaining weight back after reaching their goal and getting off the diet, but their happiness may be through the roof if they are able to enjoy things they missed out on before.

Of course, I say everything in moderation, but we must also consider our happiness. Want to enjoy a date night with your significant other and enjoy a good meal + dessert? Go for it!

A lot of this falls under intuitive eating, which I will talk more abut in future posts. All in all, think about going through a particular “diet” for the rest of your life. I’m sorry, but I don’t want that for my life!

(Panera Bread: Side salad, Butternut squash soup, and baguette)

3.Diets usually are NO FUN!

Let’s be real…when has a “diet” ever been rainbows + unicorns? NEVER. There may be some excitement in the beginning, because, hey…I have goals and I want to reach them…but soon that dies off when you are craving a piece of bread, a glass of milk, or even a piece of chocolate. Nine times out of ten, when you eliminate something and tell yourself you aren’t allowed to have it, the cravings for that will only get stronger and stronger. So much strong, that you just might give in, ruin your “diet”, you get down + frustrated with yourself, and you feel you have to start over.

Who wants to live like that?

I used to think I ruined things if I gave in to eating something that I truly wanted. I no longer want to be like that. It DID stress me out, I got frustrated with myself, and it’s not worth it. If you want a food, it should be enjoyed!!

Having a balanced lifestyle of both healthy + nutritious foods, and those foods that give us pleasure, is what it’s about. I am 4 year out from 30 (oh lawd) and I am at the point where I want to give my body the nutritious food it needs to function, but also enjoy foods I love, try new things, and NOT be stressed about it.

(Ice cream of all kinds is good. I have always enjoyed Arctic Zero for a healthier option)

So before you sign up for this “diet” or buy this product, think twice about long term and your happiness and health.

If you need someone to guide you through it, or need someone to help reach your goals without going on a diet, please contact me! I am starting this year as a health coach and I want to help you get where you want to be without falling for these gimmicks and false hopes.

Whether it is for personal training or health coaching, you can always email me at toloveandliveblog@gmail.com.