Are You Getting Enough Exercise (For Your Mind)?

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Last week, there was a lot of exercise talk floating around the blogosphere and inter-webs. Am I getting enough exercise? How much should I be exercising based on how much I’m eating? Do I need more exercise in order to lose weight? If I miss a workout this week will I destroy my progress?

These are the types of questions and conversations that come up be it talking to friends or browsing through articles online. And while physical exercise does play a huge role in our overall wellness, I think we often forget about the other kind of exercise…the one that comes from within.

If not more important, just as important as physical exercise is taking time for yourself, better known as self-care. After all, if you’re running around like one big burnt-out hot mess, no amount of barre classes, running or dead-lifts is going to do you any good. While it’s great to stay busy, our bodies need that personal time to recharge, re-fuel and recover.

When we think of exercise we often think of the physical body, but what about your inside…your soul? That’s where the real transformation occurs.

Next time you find yourself stressing out about a missed workout or how many calories you burned during your treadmill circuit, pause a moment and aim to do something good for your soul. This anxiety is a signal that something on the inside is off, and your body is craving some much-needed “me” time.

Listen to it. Be. Let go of the guilt and just breathe.

Do you ever find yourself fretting about getting enough exercise? What are you doing to exercise your mind in order to practice self-care?

Xoxo,

Rachel

Back Into Running: New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Review + Giveaway

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It’s no secret that it’s been a really rough winter for us New Englanders; I honestly don’t remember a time with this much snow in years! That being said, I still love to stay active & keep my body moving through yoga, spinning, zumba and various indoor group fitness classes.

Unfortunately because of the temps, I’ve let one of my all-time favorite workouts fall by the wayside: running. And try as I might to fall in love with the treadmill, it’s just not really my thing.

I need the outdoors. The fresh air. The people. The nature. The sunshine. And I know outdoor winter running is possible with proper gear and all, but I just wasn’t doing it.

So when the lovely folks at New Balance sent me a pair of their brand new Fresh Foam 980 running shoes, I took it as a sign to go back to my running roots & get back into it. (This was also around the same time as Chestnut Hill True Runner’s “Ladies’ Night Out,” where I bought a new running headband, socks and some other apparel.) Running Rachel was about to make a comeback!

I was super excited when the sneakers arrived at my door in the “Blue Aster with Hot Pink & White” color. How fun!  And the feel of them…so soft and foamy. But as you know, it’s not all about looks, especially when it comes to running shoes. So I immediately looked into what these bad boys were all about.

Key features include:

  • specialized foam midsole making for a plush, natural ride
  • 4 mm drop to encourage natural movement & continuous ground contact for a smoother run
  • reduced drop heal for soft, bouncy ride
  • spray-paint finish with eye-catching design!
  • lightweight with breathable mesh for added comfort + great fit

Not to mention they come in a variety of fun colors (for both men + women) including women’s “Dark Heather Grey with Green Gecko & Blue Bell” and “White and Purple Cactus Flower & Neon Yellow.”

I was sold. But what better way to really see how they move than to take them out for a test ride? On my first run, the first thing I noticed was their super lightweight feel; I absolutely hate when running shoes feel heavy and bulky like they’re weighing you down. Not the Fresh Foam! The run felt smooth and comfy (especially for someone who had been slacking big-time).

Also, given that I have flat feet and sometimes need to buy specialized running shoes, my feet actually felt surprisingly supported by the Fresh Foam 980. I also noticed this when wearing them for the day just walking around the city…pure blissful comfort. That being said, I still have yet to take them for a long run, but so far so good!

Oh, and I’ve absolutely been rocking them out for spin classes, Zumba and long walks to add a pop of color + comfort. I was super pumped to see the banner ad for them in Boston Marathon Sports when I stopped by one chilly afternoon…those are my shoes!

One of my favorite runs was on The Charles River one chilly winter morning. It felt great to break ’em in at one of my favorite running spots of all time, while letting loose and clearing my mind. Running (closely followed by yoga) is by far my favorite exercise for stress relief and “zenning out.”

Not to mention I got to take a trip down memory lane, popping by my favorite willow tree where The Boy popped the question. Boy does it look different in the wintertime!

Naked willow tree!

After breaking in my new kicks, I realized winter running really isn’t that bad… when geared up properly that is. Nonetheless, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to spring running weather! I’ve already got my eye on on some upcoming 10Ks and possibly another half marathon. I’ll keep you posted!

OK, let’s get to the fun part now shall we? I’ve got some exciting news for you ladies: New Balance is going to be gifting one lucky Healthy Chicks reader a brand new pair of Fresh Foam 980s of their own!

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

1.  Simply leave a comment on this post with why you heart running (or why you want to get into it)!

2. Post on social media (twitter or Facebook):

Twitter: “Check it out, @NewBalance + @Healthy_Chicks are giving away a free pair of #FreshFoam 980 running shoes! http://healthy-chicks.com/?p=5876”

Facebook: “Check it out, New Balance + Healthy Chicks are giving away a free pair of #FreshFoam 980 running shoes! http://healthy-chicks.com/?p=5876” (Be sure to tag Healthy Chicks and New Balance)

Note: This review is open to US & Canada readers only. I will choose a random winner by 5 p.m. EST on Friday, 2/28.

Best of luck!

Happy running,

Rachel

Big thank you to New Balance for my new pair of sweet kicks! Note: I was given a pair of Fresh Foam 980 running shoes from New Balance for review, but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own, as always!

Sweat, Smile & Dance Your Butt Off: Try Zumba at The Z Spot Boston

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I try to live a pretty balanced life (as much as I can). I eat clean foods that make my body feel really good, but also indulge in the occasional burger and the more-than-occasional glass of red wine with dark chocolate. I love running & signing  up for local races, but I also enjoy going on long walks with The Boy or my girlfriends just to catch up. I’m known to ask a million questions and “talk too much,” but I’m also a really great friend and a darn god listener. I’m not a “vegetarian” nor am I a “meat-eater.” I adore the fast-paced, buzzing city-living in Boston, but my roots are back home on our family’s lake-house in CT. I’m a little bit of everything… the best of both worlds.

sweetgreen, the super-sweet company I work for here in Boston (if you don’t know of ’em yet you need to visit their site ASAP), believes in this concept of balance but also takes it one step further. They say that true greatness happens when passion and purpose intersect. Passion x Purpose. Passion meets purpose.  My list includes writing x inspiring others, connecting x making people feel better, eating clean x feeling energized, learning x growing and love x happiness.

And when it comes to working out for me it’s sweaty workouts x having a blast. After all, what’s the point in exercising if you aren’t having a little bit of fun along the way? I can’t think of a better workout that leaves you dripping in sweat and with a smile on your face than Zumba, the dance-inspired workout craze. So when some of the sweetgreen team was up visiting Boston from DC, I knew I just had to take them to The Z Spot Zumba.

The Z Spot, located at 121 E. Berkeley Street in the South End, offers a number of both weekday and weekend classes alike. I love its boutique feel, and generous sized, bright fitness room with plenty of natural lighting. I took my first class there a few weeks ago with the lovely Nicole D (I posted a pic here) and simply had a blast. Ladies, I think I am going to be hooked!

I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, as it’s been a few years since I’ve taken Zumba but it was just a fun as I remembered. For those who are “awkward”, clumsy or have no rhythm whatsoever, no worries as that’s totally me too. But fortunately Nicole did a great job of encouraging us to listen to our bodies and move to the music (even if that means making up your own moves!) Plus, Nicole made it super fun for the whole group with her energetic voice and words (well, shouts) of encouragement. Every time you look up she’s up there radiating her permanent grin right back at you!

During class, I noticed a chalkboard in the studio, where students can write down positive notes regarding what they took away from class. Totally up my alley! It was so neat to read different comments from those who are just getting back into working out to a woman who used Zumba to heal from a rough breakup. No matter where you are coming from, one thing is certain: you leave the class feeling better about yourself. And what’s not to love about that?

So what did the sweetgreen crew think of this wild, sweaty dance fest?

They absolutely loved it, of course! The team was super inspired by Nicole’s contagious energy and had a blast moving to the music & getting their Zumba on. Even the dudes couldn’t stop talking about it! I’m telling you – Zumba really is for anyone and everyone!

Schedule your first class at The Z Spot Zumba today! P.S. Boston ladies – sweetgreen will be opening their doors next week on Boylston St in the Back Bay. If you love to eat good, local organic food that actually tastes good, you’re sure to fall in love as I have!

Why I Run & City Sports Run Club Recap (Featuring CS By City Sports Wear)

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I heart running. I love how it enables me to let go and simply be. I love how it challenges me yet comforts me at the same time. I love how it makes me sweat unlike no other form of exercise. I love how it empowers me to feel strong, beautiful and sexy (on the inside). And most of all, I love the way it makes me feel (inside and out).

From half marathons to casual strolls on the river, running and I have a very special relationship and have been together through thick and thin. As you can see, I’m pretty darn obsessed with running and all of its hidden benefits (ahem, it’s more than just burning off that piece of cake).

Since the weather finally hit 50-degress in Boston (and the snow started to melt) I figured it was finally time to join in for City Sports Back Bay’s Run Club. Plus, I was even more ecstatic to join as City Sports hooked me up with their sweet CS by City Sports gear, a new women’s line specially designed for both comfort and attraction.

I loved all the options, and find it nice to know you  can wear comfortable, breathable clothes that are good-looking at the same time. Even better, they now offer Extended Sizes so all shapes and sizes can find that perfect fit that makes you  look and feel good.

If you know me, I love pink so I naturally went for this All Sport Tank in Fuchsia. How cute are the little ruffles on the bottom?

[Source: City Sports]

I paired it with the Accelerate Run Full Zip (that I had my eye on at the City Sports Chestnut Hill Grand Opening Party). I loved the pink-on-black pairing, and super-cool thumb holes on the zippy.

I completed my outfit with the Sports Core Run Tights in black. I’m generally really picky about pants, but fell in love with these form-fitting (yet comfortable) “run tights.” They even have a zipper right above the butt for key/cash storage. Huge perk!

Now that I was decked out in my fashionable CS by City Sports gear, I was ready to run! The City Sports Back Bay Run Club starts at 6 p.m. sharp, meeting every Tuesday at City Sports Back Bay. There was such a great crowd, and I was impressed by the number of pumped up runners who attended! Each week, City Sports hosts a sponsor and this week was Merrell so they had shoe demos going on before and after the run.

City Sports brothers and fitness-addicts Ben & Alex Eld were super accommodating, and made everyone feel comfortable! While Alex explained the details of the run (giving us options for 3.5, 4, and 5 mile routes), Ben snapped pics of the group and made us feel at home. (Hopefully you can join in next time Ben!)

In addition, fellow blogger Jess was there, and I even got my friend Jess to join, who is *fingers crossed that we get picked* on my team for the Harpoon Brewery 5-Miler coming up in May.

[Jess’s 2 friends, Jess, me & Jess #2!]

[some of the ladies with Alex!]

We couldn’t have picked a more perfect night for running, and once we hit the river I was in my glory! Running on the Charles as the sun goes down is one of my favorite parts about living in the city, and if you haven’t done so yourself I highly suggest you do. It was so nice outside, that I actually tied my zip-up around my waist early on, and simply ran in just a tank!

[off we go!]

I loved running through Beacon Hill, and the Boston Commons, and even heard some city folks pointing us out, saying “It looks like a night for running!” or “They must be part of a run club!” Hearing their praises motivated me to keep moving and finish out strong.

Somehow toward the end I split up from the group and did my own loop, with my friend Jess shortly behind. When I got back to City Sports to find no one there, I was quite confused and one of the staff-members told me to pretend I hit a run club record. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I must have cut the route short. (We’re thinking it was about 3.1 though I didn’t have my Garmin to confirm).

Nonetheless, I got my sweat on and had a great workout! Plus, my new outfit totally kept me just warm enough, by giving me the room to move, super important for runners. I HATE when I’m confined into something too-tight (ick!) or too loose (which can lead to chafing and constant pulling up your pants) CS by City Sports solved both of those problems!

[post run chatter]

After the run, we all met inside for water, snacks (one of the runners brought homemade Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats) and a raffle hosted by Merrell. I won a water bottle (Yippee)!

No matter what city you live in, I definitely recommend you join for a City Sports Run Club, and if you live in Boston please let me know as I’d love to join you for a run! To learn more about City Sports Run Club Back Bay or CS by City Sports clothing, visit their website. As always, feel free to shoot me an email as I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Note: I was given a complimentary outfit from City Sports to review, but as always all opinions are my own.

Try Something New: Pure Barre with Blog & Tweet Boston (Plus a Powerful Message of the Day)

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I’m a huge fan of trying new workouts, challenging yourself and most importantly finding that exercise that makes you shine (you know, makes you feel beautiful, strong and confident in your body!) After all, that’s what FitFluential means to me.

So when I was invited by Jen and Kerrie from Blog & Tweet Boston to attend a complimentary class a Pure Barre Boston yesterday afternoon, I jumped on the opportunity! While I have taken barre-style classes before through Core Fusion at Exhale Spa, I have  never tried Pure Barre so I was excited to see what was in store!

Pure Barre recently opened their new Boston studio at 350 Newbury Street, which is a prime location for anything & everything fitness and health if I do say so myself. (Side note: sweetgreen will be located just a walk away right by Copley Station, scheduled to launch in June. Boston foodie & fitness peeps, I know you are going to fall in love. You can read all about my new job at sweetgreen here!)

The first thing I noticed upon walking in was the beautiful space: clean, fresh with lots of natural light. Plus, they have lockers and keys available to students, so you don’t have to lug around a clunky lock or worry about stollen goods (huge plus)!

Before class, I chatted it up with some fellow bloggers (new & old). Most of us were new to Pure Barre so we knew we’d be in for a serious sweat sesh! As we were waiting for class to begin, the lovely instructor Fiona went around to shake everyone’s hand and introduce herself. I loved her energy and personal approach, making everyone feel comfortable and pumped for class to start. The studio owner Lauren was also there to take class with us, and help with corrections, which was a nice treat!

The Pure Barre Scoop

Class was an hour long, with loud fast-paced music blasting throughout. Let’s just say, Fiona gave us a killer workout, with pretty much nonstop movement for the entire 60 minutes. I totally felt the burn especially in my abs and thighs, and still do (in a good way)!

We worked everything from arms and butt to thighs and abs, moving from the floor to the mat to the bar. I loved the fast-paced, energetic approach, as I didn’t get bored once!

I also really liked Fiona and Lauren’s genuine care for their students, encouraging us to hold a little longer (or sink a little lower) and correcting our posture. This was especially helpful during the glutes work on the bar, as I totally needed a hip adjustment. We were also constantly reminded to tuck, a super important part of the workout to really get as much as you can out of it. The instructors definitely know their stuff, which is important to me as a first-timer!

I’d definitely recommend Pure Barre for anyone who wants a real challenge, and likes a group fitness atmosphere in a non-intimidating setting. It’s also great for those looking for results, as the barre method has been known to tone and sculpt the body and really work your core.

[me with superstar instructor Fiona! Photo credit: Jess, Little Miss Runshine]

Many thanks to Pure Barre Boston and Blog & Tweet Boston for putting this fabulous event together. Feel free to email me or comment if you have any questions regarding the workout, as I’m always here for honest feedback and advice!

P.S. Here’s my message of the day that I’d like you all to reflect upon, which also happens to be a tweet I posted earlier today!

Have you ever tried Pure Barre? What was your experience like? How can you celebrate and encourage other women?



10 Positive Mantras To Break Free of Diet-Obsessed Living

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or ever took a sneak peak at my About Me page, you know that healthy living didn’t come naturally to me. In fact, my entire college years were consumed of yo-yo dieting, hours and hours at the gym, “fake food” and obsession with my weight. I can’t even tell you how many tears were shed over the darn scale alone! I was unhappy, and in effect definitely unhealthy. I felt frustrated, F-A-T, alone and “not good enough.”

It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I decided to throw all of my “food rules” and restrictions out the window and actually start LIVING. At this time I also discovered yoga, running, clean eating and my secret talent for cooking. When I switched from dieting to living (and felt OK with it), everything and I mean everything began to change.

If this sounds like you, or you know someone struggling with similar issues, here are 10 mantras to repeat over and over again to start make that positive shift toward a healthier lifestyle. Because, after all, you won’t see a change in your body or your health if you aren’t OK up there first (in that beautiful little mind of yours, that is).

1. This is the body I was given. It is strong and beautiful. Embrace it.

2. No one can love me until I love myself first. Self love is the most powerful kind of love.

3. My body needs good food for energy and support. I will fuel it with wholesome, healthy goodness.

4. Just because something is sugar-free, low-cal or fat-free doesn’t mean it is healthy. Read the ingredients! Know what’s in your food!

5. Counting blessings is much more therapeutic (and fun) than counting calories.

6. I will never be truly happy if I am depriving myself. Stop doing this. For real.

7. Food is meant to be celebrated, not feared. I will celebrate and honor my  food.

8. There is no such thing as a perfect body. I choose to love up my assets and forgive my flaws. They make me ME.

9. If I am beautiful on the inside, I am beautiful on the outside. I will take care of my inside.

10. An hour of solid, blissful yoga is more powerful than running 10 hours on an elliptical machine could ever be. It’s not about the number of calories burned. It’s about how I feel.

For more information on living a vibrant, diet-free lifestyle, check out my invigorating health coaching programs or schedule a FREE 15-minute healthy lifestyle consultation with me. Life is meant to be LOVED and CELEBRATED and I want everyone who went through what I went through to know that it doesn’t need to be this way forever. YOU are in charge of your destiny and health. Sometimes, we just need a little helping hand or change in mindset. Happy weekend friends!



What FitFluential Means to Me: The Inside Scoop from a FitFluential Ambassador

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As I’ve mentioned before here on Healthy Chicks (and as I’m sure you can tell by the badge on the right), I am a proud FitFluential Ambassador. If you haven’t checked out the FitFluential community before, which was founded by Fitness Rockstar Kelly Olexa, I strongly suggest you do so over here.

While FitFluential is packed with an amazing group of like-minded enthusiasts sharing their passion for wellness every hour on the hour, today I wanted to share with you what “FitFluential” means to me. More specifically, my very own definition of living a “healthy lifestyle.”

Discovering an Exercise Routine that Makes you Shine

[Move100 Campaign; Photo Cred: Move100.org]

Just like there is no Perfect Man for every woman, there is no perfect exercise that works for everyone. In fact, I don’t believe in rules or perfection at all.

Some live for CrossFit and Pilates, while others feel their best by doing yoga and running. Some spin 6 days a week, while others enjoy being one with nature and going for long hikes with loved ones.

The point is, it’s not going to work for you unless you enjoy it. Find the exercises that make you shine, and run with it. What gives you a natural high? What makes you feel strong and confident about your body? What moves you?

Remember this can change, as we go through phases throughout our lives. Currently, I’m into yoga (for inner peace and serenity), running (for clarity & sweat) and circuit training (for strength). However, I wouldn’t reccomend this routine for everyone as THE. BEST. EVER. There is no best. Do you. This right here is one of the many reasons I love the FitFluential community so much: everyone brings something different to the table.

Also, be sure to take risks by trying new classes and different types of exercise, as you may surprise yourself. This morning I took a hot yoga class with a friend at Prana Power Yoga in Central Square and haven’t felt such a sense of bliss in a long time. In the past year, I’ve completed my THIRD half marathon (I can’t believe I’m saying that), PR’d my 5K by over a minute, and took part in the Move100 Initiative.

Setting intentions for yourself is really helpful in reaching your fitness goals as you are doing it for YOU and no one else. Attempt to let go of competition and comparison and challenge yourself. It’s much more fun that way!

Fueling Your Body With Food That Makes You Feel Your Best

Just like my viewpoint on exercise, I feel the same way about how we eat. One diet doesn’t work for everyone! Remember that. While your best friend may do well on a strictly vegan diet, you may thrive on good-quality, organic grass-fed meats. While some may be able to devour the bread bowl like it’s no tomorrow, others (like myself) may have difficulty digesting gluten in large amounts.

While we’re on this topic, I don’t even like the word diet in the first place. To me, healthy living is a lifestyle and something that’s a part of your life 365 days of the year. So you over-indulged in pizza last night or your weight went up two pounds on the scale. When you’re living a healthy lifestyle, those little “slips” start to not matter as much.

In fact, I am so passionate about helping other women overcome a diet-obsessed lifestyle, that I’ve created a unique wellness program for exactly that. I’ve been in there, that place where the scale rules your life, where you stay in from social outings with friends out of fear of the menu, where food is scary and overwhelming. And let me tell you, there is not fun.

In the past few years, I’ve never been in a happier place with myself and my body. And it all started when I stopped dieting and starting living, when I stopped buying fat-free, cardboard tasting, diet-everthing and started eating real food, when I stopped fearing food and began to fall in love with it.

For me, eating well means filling my plates with clean food, local and organic as much as possible but not ALL THE TIME. It means eating a plant-heavy diet (lotsa greens!) with loads of colorful fruits, good quality grains, fish and occasional organic chicken. It means having fun, and not being afraid to make mistakes, in the kitchen! It means recognizing the foods that make me feel crappy (too much gluten, fried food, etc) and loading up on the foods that make me feel fantastic (sauteed greens, quinoa bowls, green smoothies in the Vitamix, homemade soups, sushi + fish).

And of course, there are nights where I drink one too many glasses of red wine or indulge in a little too many cheese & crackers, but that’s OK. Be realistic about it and ask yourself “How Do I feel?”

Communicating + Collaborating

[random run-in with Cait at Daybreak; photo cred: Cait Plus Ate]

This one’s a biggie! I think making relationships with other people (both similar and different to you) is key. I love how everyone in the FitFluential community is so willing to share, connect and spread the love!

It’s so fun discovering different bloggers, attending unique events and taking part in incredible wellness initiatives.

I find such a joy in creating new friendships (both in person & virtually) with amazing women all over the web including some of my old-time Boston faves like Jess from Eat Drink Breathe Sweat (who actually introduced me to FitFluential) to some of my new faves like Heather from For the Love of Kale and Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate. Honestly, these women are amazing and ever-so-inspiring. This whole community is!

Oh, and communicating &  collaborating goes outside the “blogosphere” too. It’s about connecting and networking with people every day to  ignite that inner passion, and potentially create amazing relationships along the way.

Having a Positive Attitude (Most of the Time)

[enjoying some giggles & QT with the boy]

For me, above anything else, healthy living is about your attitude and mindset. Be confident in who you are, walk your talk, fill your life with positivity, take risks, embrace your body, lend a helping hand when you can, and SMILE. I think it’s important not to take life too seriously and to have a little fun with it.

Be sure to make time for the people you love and surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you. Drop the envy & jealousy and replace it with admiration & determination. Be the best you that you can possibly be!

SHARING TIME! What does FitFluential mean to you? For fellow FitFluential Ambassadors, share your thoughts here! For others, how is living a “healthy lifestyle” defined according to you? What do you agree or disagree with? Remember there is no right or wrong answer. That’s the beauty of it all.

Healthy ChickLit: How Do I FEEL?

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Do you ever obsess over numbers and hours, in turn forgetting about YOU? I used to weigh myself every day and not feel “worthy” unless I sweat it out for 2 hours at the gym. Now instead, I ask myself “What makes me FEEL my ultimate best?” “What makes me shine?”

Healthy ChickLit: Just Move

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Today’s ChickLit: Take time every day to MOVE, even if it’s just taking your dog for a brisk winter walk or dancing in your PJs.

We all know exercise is good for our health, and can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and other serious health concerns. However, to me, exercise is much more than that.

It’s about movement, clarity, motivation and feel-good energy (you know, that thing called endorphins). While usually I like to sleep in on Saturdays, today I woke up (sorta) early for an a.m. Hatha yoga class at my local gym.

Not only did it feel good to stretch, strengthen and challenge my body, but it gave me an incredible rush of energy and “happy hormones.”

So even if you don’t have time to run 7 miles or take part in a kickboxing class, make time for something, anything that’s going to get you moving.

As we like to say over at FitFluential: #MOVE #GETAFTERIT

How can you make more time to move? If you need a little boost to get started, check out my “From Oy Vey to OK in 30 Days” Health Coaching Program, individually catered to Y-O-U. I work with women in their 20s to help them reach their full potential in fitness, healthy eating, lifestyle and happiness!

Tuesday Talk: Motivation

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Good morning ladies! I hope you are all safe and dry from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately, the worst of it for me is losing power for a few days so I can’t really complain, but I’m praying for those whose homes have been flooded or destroyed.

I’m running out of power on my laptop, currently writing at Daybreak Coffee House (where I was pleased to run into the lovely Cait from Cait Plus Ate who is just the most bubbly, friendly girl!) This will have to do as my “office” for now, which I don’t mind AT ALL because this Pecan Roast & Vegetarian Egg Sandwich on sourdough is totally hitting the spot.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about a rather popular topic today on Healthy Chicks: motivation. That is, how to stay motivated even during those realllllllyyyy tough times.

Here are some tips to get you inspired, whether you need motivation to run that race or simply get out of bed an hour earlier!

1. First and foremost, you need to have a purpose. If you’re struggling to stay on a healthy diet and exercise regimen, ask yourself “Why do I want to eat well and exercise?” Is it to lower your cholesterol? Is it so you can stay healthy for your kids? Is it so you can get in shape to run that first half marathon? Are you doing it to squeeze into those skinny jeans you’ve been keeping in the back of your closet for years? What is your “Why?” Make it specific. Instead of “So I can lose 10 pounds,” make it “So I can lose 10 pounds in order to reach my pre-baby weight and feel good about shopping for clothes again. ” You see? Find your purpose.

2. Don’t Let Slip-Ups Bring You Down. OK, so you had a brownie even though you “gave up” desserts. Woop-dee-doo. Instead of eating five more brownies, a piece of pizza and your weight in guilt, take control of your slip-up and move on. Because in reality, it’s just one tiny mistake which you can totally work your way out of damage-free. Chug some water, go for a walk and move on with it. We’re only human after all, so don’t try to be perfect. Instead, try to do the best you can do. Remember that if you’re living a healthy lifestyle most of the time, a treat here and there isn’t going to destroy your progress. Rather, guilt and pity parties is what destroys your success. Don’t let this get the best of you!

3. On that note, Don’t Diet! That’s right, I said it: You do not need to diet to lose weight. In fact, I am 100% against dieting because most diets call for some sort of restriction which makes you miserable which then makes you want to eat everything in your cabinet which then makes you guilty. And as you know, guilt is the worst feeling of all. Rather than going on the Cabbage Soup Diet or the South Beach Diet or the Flat-Abs diet, just make a promise to yourself that you’re going to eat well. What does eating well mean? To me, that means whole, clean, REAL foods. Lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, organic meats, local food, and things that don’t come from packages. Also, replace one can of soda a day with a large glass of water. Next week, try two. You get the picture.

4. While this may sound counterintuitive, try to focus on the Little Picture. Instead of trying to be the BEST, run the farthest and eat PERFECTLY, shoot for little goals. Remember, Small changes = Big results.

5. Remember to Have Fun: No matter what goal you’re trying to achieve, if you aren’t having fun with it, you aren’t going to get anywhere. Make it enjoyable! Start a walking group with your girlfriends, take turns making healthy meals with your roommate, get your husband on board, experiment with new recipes, or buy a really bright-colored workout outfit that you feel amazing in. Do whatever it takes to keep things fun and new!

What do you do to stay motivated? Share your tips in the comment section!

 
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