Podcast: Episode 3, How to Achieve Work/Health Balance

We continue our conversation revealing our tips, tricks, and hacks to get the most out of your time each day.  Time management isn’t a sexy topic, but managing your time effectively can make the difference between living an amazing life and running yourself ragged. In Episode 3 of the podcast, we talk about how we each achieve work/health balance.

She's On Her Toes Podcast Work:Health Balance

Emily, Christina and I talk about how to achieve work/health balance including our favorite ways to eat healthy and save time preparing food.  We’ll also discuss some more controversial time-savers including not getting coffee from Starbucks and not watching TV.  The horror!  But the overall message of this podcast is … spend your time away from work with intent.

One of the unique things about working in the business of fitness, is that you are literally working yourself to exhaustion every day.  So, it’s really important to refuel and refresh in our time away from the studio … and these things can be really time consuming.

But …

We put a lot of time and effort towards our careers and advancement in our jobs.  What if we put the same amount of effort into our health and personal time with friends and family?!   #breakthroughmoment

And to help you use the information shared immediately, we’ve got a great freebie download for you—don’t worry about trying to remember all these hacks and writing them down.  We’ve compiled the complete list that you can download for free by clicking here.

Click here for the free show notes to Episode 3! 

Where can you listen?  You can find She’s On Her Toes on iTunes and Apple Podcasts … we should be up on Google Play and Spotify soon.

Click here to listen to She’s On Her Toes Podcast on iTunes and Apple Podcasts.

Stay Comfortable or Reach Your Potential: The Story of My First Pure Barre Intensive Class

Everyone in the Pure Barre world has their “first class” story.  It usually includes the following:

You walked into the studio.

Didn’t know anyone.

Thought class couldn’t be “that” hard.

Was in shell-shock during what the teacher claimed was the “warmup.”

Felt like a complete idiot with arms and legs flailing while everyone else seemed to anticipate the next move.

Finished class, red-faced, wrecked, and hardly able to hobble out to your car.

Meanwhile, everyone else smiled, glistened, and looked fabulous as they effortlessly moved onto the next part of their day.

But … you still came back to your second class because deep down you couldn’t let Pure Barre defeat you.  You knew you’d be better at it the next class … and the next class … and the class after that.

Eventually class became comfortable.  You knew what to expect.  Maybe you even knew some of the exercises.  But that comfort and feeling of security was crushing your potential.  If you stay in your comfort zone, you’ll never know how good you were meant to be.

It’s so interesting.  First class stories are a dime a dozen.  But what about Intensive Class stories?

At Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons, we offer several Intensive Classes throughout the year including March and April during our Pure Health Challenge.  An Intensive Class is longer, more challenging, and offers an “intensive” focus on a particular muscle group, like upper body, lower body, inner thigh, outer thigh, or abs.  Each Intensive Class run 75-90 minutes while our everyday Empower and Classic classes are completed in 45-50 minutes, respectively.  An Intensive Class is meant to take you out of your comfort zone and show you what your body is truly capable of.  After taking an Intensive Class, you’ll have glimpsed your potential.  And it’s awesome.  Let me explain …

I signed up for my first Intensive Class, Bye Bye Inner Thigh, on a Saturday morning when I lived in Atlanta.  I was excited because my favorite teacher was teaching.  She actually convinced me to pay the extra $35 for the class promising a great experience.  I was told to bring a $1 bill—I only had a $20, so I hoped that was ok.

When I arrived at the studio, the class would have normally been over-full with maybe 25 women ready to shake and lightly perspire.  Not today.  5 of us showed up for the Intensive.  Fuuuuuu$$$$ck.  Why weren’t more people signed up for this class?

I told the teacher I only had a $20 bill and asked if that was ok.  She looked at me funny and said, “Oh sure.  That doesn’t matter.”  Great—but what was it for?  A tip?  I was told to bring my $20 into the studio and grab my normal equipment including a double tube, weights, and a ball.

Soon, I found out why there were only 5 of us in the room.  The class was f$cking hard.

I was shaking and what could only be described as convulsing uncontrollably all while squeezing that $20 between my inner thighs.  “Never let it drop!”, the teacher happily chirped over the mic.

“Or what?!” I thought!

Oh man.  We still had 55 minutes to go.

I wasn’t about to wimp out and drop my $20.  Hell no!  Someone else can have the honor of giving up first.

I’m sure we did some seat exercises in there somewhere, but I think I blacked out.  Next, all I remember was lying on the floor with my legs up in the air squeezing the ball so hard that even my teeth were shaking.  By this point, I had completely sweated through my luon clothes and my hair was sticking to my head like I had just gone swimming.

Oh man.  We still had 30 minutes to go.  How was that f$cking possible?

I was starting to wonder how I was going to get home.  Uber didn’t exist back then.  Would I be able to use my legs to push the pedals of my car?  No time to think.  We were on our sides and somehow I was lifting my legs in a scissor, but by now my lower body was completely numb.  My $20 didn’t look so good.

Eventually we made it to abs.  Yes!  Almost done … not quite … are you kidding?  Knee dancing now?!  This has to be wrong.  I can’t keep my seat hovered over my heels.  Oh wait, somehow I’m hovering.  Last 10!

I don’t really remember stretching.  Honestly, I’m not sure how I got home.  That class wrecked me.  I didn’t want to put that $20 back into my wallet.  Do you think the teacher would notice if I used some disinfectant wipes on my money?

But the funny thing was, I loved it.  That Intensive Class was like taking my first class all over again.  I started pushing myself harder in my regular weekly classes.  Sh$t, if I could last 75 minutes of thigh-shaking terror, I could certainly step it up in a shorter class.  And that’s why getting out of your comfort zone is so important in fitness.  When you show yourself that you can do something incredibly difficult once, what’s to stop you from working just a teeny bit harder every day?  Nothing!

So, if you’ve been hesitant to sign up for an Intensive Class because you like being comfortable, remember, that you’ll never know how great your potential could be by staying in your comfort zone.  Don’t let fear or complacency determine where you are on your fitness journey.  Keep getting stronger.  Reach out for your potential.

I can’t wait to see everyone on Saturday for the Lower Body Intensive!

I Own 2 Fitness Studios and I Don’t Have Time to Workout Either: The Pure Health Challenge Explained

It’s the dirty little secret of the fitness industry.

Before you actually open your fitness studio, you have big dreams of a balanced life, working out every day, and eating clean.  When you actually open, life is nothing like the dream!  Oftentimes you find yourself giving up your spot in class so a client can take.  Maybe a critical last-minute task prevents you from taking class.  Or you’re simply too stressed out from dealing with your employees, finances, and high-maintenance clients to workout.  Did I mention that this is all happening while shoving handfuls of crackers, protein bars, or whatever is easy and portable into your mouth for sustenance.  Fitness studio owners, like most other small business owners, need help prioritizing fitness too!

The struggle is real.  Don’t envy me because I own 2 fitness studios.  I don’t have time to workout either!

She's On Her Toes Pure Health Challenge

2 classes in 2 Days!  That might be a record!  Just kidding–it’s not.

Like the rest of the world, I too have to prioritize working out and eating healthy.  It doesn’t just magically happen.  Damn, if only it did!  This is why I’m such a big proponent of our Pure Health Challenge happening at my studios, Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons, during March and April.  I need this Challenge just as much as you do.  The Pure Health Challenge is a way to practice consistently taking class each week.  It’s also a chance to think about healthy eating (which so many of us don’t do).  And it’s a way to do both of these things in a group setting so we’re all accountable—and hopefully successful!

I always get a lot of questions about what the Pure Health Challenge is and is not.  Here goes … your most burning Challenge questions answered …

What is the Pure Health Challenge?

The Pure Health Challenge starts on March 5th and ends April 29th.  During the Challenge, participants take 4 classes each week and focus on healthy eating and self-care.  Since we’re all taking the Challenge together, the Pure Barre community provides everyone inspiration and strength to keep going and make fitness and health a greater priority during these two months.

What do you get when you pay for the Pure Health Challenge?

The Pure Health Challenge costs $40 and includes the following:

  • 2 Pure Barre Intensive classes—take 1 in March and 1 in April. Intensive classes are 75 minutes long and focus on specific parts of the body for more targeted, intense work
  • 5 recipes for easy, simple, healthy foods each week—as an example, the first week is “5 Smoothies You’ll Want to Wake Up Early For”
  • Self-care tips from your Pure Barre Team
  • Pure Barre community events including a dog walk and Spring Fashion Show

So, why do I have to pay for the Pure Health Challenge?

It does cost the studio money to put on the Pure Health Challenge.  We have to spend extra time organizing the events, learning the Intensive classes, and compiling recipes and self-care tips so you can get the most out of the experience.  I have to pay my employees who get involved for their hard work.  Yes, we could do challenges like other fitness studios and gyms and put minimal effort into how the challenge is organized and have the challenge be free.  But, that wouldn’t benefit our clients in the way that a more involved, Pure Health Challenge actually helps our clients get healthier and more fit.

I will also say this … if you pay for something you tend to take it more seriously and actually do it.  Ahem!

Why is the Pure Health Challenge 2 months, that seems like an eternity?

Did you know that it takes 66 days to create a lasting habit?  This is why the Pure Health Challenge is 2 months—it’s done by design.  After 2 months of taking class 4 times each week, you should have created the habit and will hopefully keep up that habit of consistently working out even after the Challenge is over.  Sneaky.

What if I don’t want to eat healthy?  I already workout, so I don’t see the point.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.  However, working out is only half the equation.  Eventually, you will stop seeing results from simply working out and not eating healthy foods.  You will have to change the way you eat to keep getting stronger and more fit.

It’s a lie.  Whoever told you that eating French fries after working out was ok and those calories wouldn’t count, was full of sh$t.  I know, bummer.

But that’s where the Pure Health Challenge comes in.  By making small changes in what you eat, you can eventually see big results.  Each week of the Challenge, you’ll receive 5 easy, simple, healthy recipes.  Try one or work to incorporate all 5 into your weekly meals—the choice is yours.  Curious about each week’s recipes …

5 Smoothies You’ll Want to Wake Up Early For

5 Salads You’ll Actually Want to Eat

5 Treats That Won’t Make You Hate Yourself

5 Sides That Make the Main Course Boring

5 Pestos to Use Beyond Pasta

5 Main Dishes Where Meat is Optional

5 Sauces with Endless Possibilities

5 Beverages for Maximum Sipping & Pic-ing

I love these because by the end of the Challenge, you could literally make one small change at every meal.  And … you’ll have a whole library of choices to keep going back to once the Challenge is over.  It’s all really manageable!

There you have it!  What the Pure Health Challenge is and isn’t.  If you still have questions, please let me know or talk to us at the front desk next time you’re in the studios.  It’s not too late to sign up!  Make sure you get your 4 classes in each week and try one recipe and tag us on Facebook or Instagram—we’ll be rewarding you for your efforts with a drawing for gift cards to local businesses.  Who said being healthy didn’t have its own rewards?!

Allergic to Banana and Avocado? You Can Eat Smoothies! Here Are My Faves …

Being allergic to banana and avocado doesn’t sound too restrictive until you check out some menus and realize that these elusive fruits can be and sometimes are in just about everything.  Ah!

Just last Fall, I had to save my own life after eating some deviled eggs that were made with avocado oil.  My face turned purple, my throat started to close up, and I was having difficulty breathing.  The whole experience was less than awesome.

But, I’m determined to enjoy many of the same foods my friends eat, including smoothies.  Last year, when I first wrote about these seemingly unbelievable food allergies, I revealed how I started substituting soaked cashews for bananas and avocados in smoothies.  (Click here to read that post.)  Cashews are a great smoothie hack, but could there possibly be any smoothie recipes that simply don’t depend on banana or avocado?  The answer is yes!  Here are my faves …

 

Mango-Mint Green Smoothie

This is my new go-to.  I like to keep my smoothie thick, so it’s almost like a slushy.  The mint and lime make the taste very refreshing.  You don’t even taste the spinach.  I add some ground flax meal because flax is a super-super food.  Read and learn more here.

1 C. mango (I typically use frozen)

1 C. spinach

1/2 C. fresh mint

1 lime, juiced

1 T. ground flax meal

Coconut water to blend

Put all the ingredients in a high-speed blender—I use Vitamix.  Blend on medium-high speed until all the ingredients are combined.  You can gradually add the coconut water to help the ingredients mix and get the desired thickness of your smoothie.  Enjoy the green goodness!

She's On Her Toes Green Smoothie

 

Cacao-Cherry Smoothie

This is a great recipe from my manager, Emily.  If anyone knows a good smoothie recipe, it’s Emily!  I love that this one is sweet and adding the cacao nibs is a great combination with the cherries.  Emily used apple juice in her original recipe.  I don’t really like apple juice, so I’ll stick with coconut water.  I also added a few dates because I had some left over from another recipe.

1 C. frozen cherries

1 C. kale

1 T. chia seeds

1 T. ground flax meal

1 T. cacao nibs

Coconut water or apple juice to blend

Put all the ingredients in a high-speed blender—I use Vitamix.  Blend on medium-high speed until all the ingredients are combined.  You can gradually add the coconut water or apple juice to help the ingredients mix and get the desired thickness of your smoothie. Choco-cherry!  Nom, nom, nom.

 

She's On Her Toes Cherry Smoothie

I hope you try out these great banana and avocado-free smoothies.  Let me know what you think!

Check out more smoothie recipes and … how to make avocado-less guacamole (faux guac).  I call it fuacamole!  Yes, it is amazing and will change your avocado and banana-free life.

Learn more about Avocado and Banana-Free Life here.

 

 

My New Beauty Source: Trader Joe’s

It all started one day when I was in a hurry.  I needed to do my grocery shopping and buy some lotion … and I didn’t have time to go to both the grocery store and Target (which is on the other side of town).  So, I wandered down the beauty and home aisle of Trader Joe’s hoping to find something that would soothe my dry skin for at least a few days before I could get my usual brand.  And I came across Trader Joe’s A Midsummer Night’s Cream and Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream.

A Midsummer Night’s Cream

Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream

And … I haven’t gone back to the brand I was using before.

It made me wonder what other great bath and beauty products I was missing out on at Trader Joe’s.  Next, I tried the brand-new Grapefruit Ginger Sugar Scrub, which is amazing!  It smells fresh and makes your skin feel great when you scrub.

She's On Her Toes Trader Joe's Shower Scrub

Grapefruit Ginger Sugar Scrub

Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap

I’ve used Dr. Bronner’s soaps before, and thought I’d try the peppermint one.  Invigorating!  And good suds at a great price—that huge bottle was about $12.00.

I was on a roll!  So, my next purchase was the Next to Godliness Micellar Cleanser & Makeup Remover Towelettes and Natural Facial Cleansing Pads with Tea Tree Oil.

She's On Her Toes Trader Joe's Face

Next to Godliness Micellar Cleanser & Makeup Remover Towelettes

Natural Facial Cleansing Pads with Tea Tree Oil

I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this!  The makeup remover towelettes are amazing—they are great for my drier winter skin, work better than the brand I was using before, smell amazing, and my skin feels clean after I use them, not slimy.  I was a little worried about trying out the cleansing pads with tea tree oil since my skin is also pretty sensitive.  But … my fears were completely unfounded.  In fact, I’ve noticed that the pores on my cheeks and nose are smaller and clearer.  #winning

Finally, try this fancy trick … hang some eucalyptus branches in your shower for a fresh scent in the steam.  Since one bunch is about $3.00 at Trader Joe’s, it’s an inexpensive way to make your average shower feel spa-quality.

She's On Her Toes Shower Scents

I no longer skip the home and beauty aisle at Trader Joe’s.  If you give any of these products a try, let me know how you like them.

I’m Gonna Do It! My New Business Idea: One Life Foods Market

It’s often said the best business ideas come from solving a problem.  And that you have to be passionate about a startup business for it to succeed.  As the owner of 2 Pure Barre studios, I’m extremely passionate about fitness and living a healthy life.  I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I can’t imagine not working out.

But there are two parts to that … what about the healthy life?  Yeah, there’s this whole healthy eating-thing that goes along with staying physically fit and you can’t really ignore it.

Unfortunately, the business that I already own doesn’t integrate healthy eating into its offerings … so, I’m gonna do it!  I’m going to start a new business to help solve a pretty big problem I’ve been facing: How to eat healthy meals when I’m too busy to cook.

Something tells me many of you struggle trying to solve this problem too!

What if there was a solution?  What if a business existed that eliminated most of the time required to eat healthy at home?

I will be launching One Life Foods Market (www.onelifefoodsmarket.com) to do just that.  Sorry, the website isn’t up yet—but it will be soon!

One Life Foods Market will be the place for busy people to buy healthy meals when they’re too busy to cook for themselves.  The business will have 3 tiers:

  1. One Life Foods Meal Plan—Want to cook, but find yourself totally uninspired when you get to the grocery store? Me too.  But it’s funny, when you have a meal plan along with a grocery list of all the things you’ll need for the week, shopping is a breeze and cooking is fun.  There are enough things in life to worry about, eating and making good food, shouldn’t be one of them.

This is how the business will start—the website will have monthly meal plans for sale.  I’ll be able to gage interest in the concept with minimal investment and spend time getting feedback on what meals customers like best or what could be improved upon.

  1. Pre-Made Meals Membership—You just don’t have time to cook, but want to eat healthy. Ordering your meals in advance for the week and picking them up would be your dream come true.  It’s mine too.  Luckily we know each other!

You may be wondering where the “market” part of One Life Foods Market comes in.  Assuming the feedback from the meal plans is positive, One Life Foods Market will open a store front for the pickup of pre-made meals.  The business plan will be to sell various types of weekly meal memberships—think meals for 2, 3, or 5 days made just for you.

  1. Hungry Now for a Healthy Meal—You got it! Simply walk-in and grab a meal or two.

Couldn’t plan ahead and order?  Work deadlines cutting into your cooking time?  Or just made a snap decision not to cook?  Walk-in and select a tasty meal.  Grab some healthy snacks, maybe even a bottle of wine.

So, what do you think?  Lots of work needed to build One Life Foods Market—branding, building and launching the website, marketing, finding the store front, opening, and hiring employees.  My first tasks will be to build and launch the website as well as do all the legal stuff that you have to do when starting a business.  I’ll keep you updated on the progress right here on www.shesonhertoes.com

I’ve made some big progress on outfitting my new home office, and on Thursday, I’ll reveal some pics!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Don’t Have Time to Cook, You Do Now — With Vitamix and Instant Pot

I always have a lot going on with my two businesses, writing this blog, pondering the start of another unrelated business, and taking care of my 3 dogs, but I try really hard not to compromise on cooking and eating healthy meals.  With some planning and a few tricks, I can pretty much make most of my meals at home, unless I choose to eat out.  And I don’t count popcorn and wine as a meal.  How do I do it?  I’ve got the help of my two favorite kitchen appliances.  If you don’t have time to cook, you do now …

Get a Vitamix and Change Your Life Forever

After living in blender hell for years, I finally got myself the Vitamix 5300 (certified refurbished), in black with the cookbook.  And life really did get better.

How?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  When you own a powerful blender like the Vitamix, you can easily eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Since getting my Vitamix, I’ve been able to blend … everything!

Shes On Her Toes Vitamix Smoothie

 

I’ve been able to consistently eat breakfast, which has always been a problem for me.  I can blend anything (including ice) with ease to make smoothies.  I’ve made soup on a weeknight.  And been able to put pesto and other healthy sauces on just about everything.  But the best thing about my Vitamix is that I can make my own almond milk.

Now, making your own almond milk might seem super time-intensive and only for “those crazy health nuts.”  But it takes about 45 seconds and saves me about $10 a week.  As a bonus, I know I’m not eating any hidden sugars or additives—check your nut milk labels!  Your seemingly “healthy” almond or cashew milk is likely loaded with sugar and other additives and preservatives.

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup almonds, soaked overnight (I use the raw, sliced almonds from Trader Joe’s)

3 cups water (I used filtered water)

And … that’s it!  All you do is put almonds and water in the Vitamix and power it up.  Crank that baby up to 10 for about 45 seconds and … you’ve got yourself some almond milk.  You can pour the almond milk into an air-tight, glass container to store in the fridge for up to 3 days.  You can strain the almond milk through a nut milk bag to make it more like what you’d buy in the store—if you don’t strain, you’ll get the full fiber from the nuts and the consistency will be more grainy.  I don’t usually strain my almond milk because I like the grainy texture—I find it filling.  And yes, you can put homemade almond milk in a Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother to make an amazing latte!

Click Here to see the Vitamix I purchased: Vitamix 5300 (Certified Refurbished), $359.99—Now $259.95! 

Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag, $8.99

Libbey Glass Milk Bottle with Lid, 33.5 oz., $9.92

 

Instant Pot Literally Cooks While You’re Working

I like to joke that my dogs would be perfect if they vacuumed up their own hair and had dinner ready when I got home from work.  Luckily for them, I got an Instant Pot, so they’re off the hook … for dinner.

Have you heard of the Instant Pot?  You need one.  Like now.

What exactly is an Instant Pot?  It’s a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Saute Pot, Steamer, Warmer and Sterilizer all in one!  Basically, it uses pressure and steam to speed up the cooking process, so what takes an hour or more on the stove will take about half the time in the Instant Pot.  There is also a “Delay Cook” feature that allows you to put all the ingredients in the pot and start cooking so it’s all ready when you get home.  While I was at our Team Meeting on Monday night, my Instant Pot made Fresh Fennel Shredded Chicken:

When I got home, it was ready for me to saute and reduce.  While that was happening, I made some crispy quinoa.  My time spent cooking was 10 minutes and I poured myself a glass of wine to enjoy while I was stirring.  Check out my Instagram stories for a video of the Instant Pot in action!

IMG_5330

IMG_4082

I made amazing Creamy Tomato Basil Soup in about 30 minutes:

IMG_2537

It would have taken more than an hour on the stove.

And this is so crazy … I even made my own yogurt with coconut milk.  I researched several recipes and combined a few to come up with this one, which was a really tasty Greek-style yogurt and made with only 5 ingredients:

Coconut Milk Yogurt

2 cans Coconut Cream

1 t. vanilla extract

3 T. maple syrup

1 package yogurt starter (Click here to see the one I used)

1 T. grass-fed beef gelatin (Click here to see the one I used)

Combine coconut cream, vanilla extract and maple syrup in the Instant Pot and push the “Saute” button to bring to a boil.  When the coconut milk is boiling, turn off the machine and remove the pot to cool down to 100 on the counter.  Use a thermometer to take the read and make sure the mixture is at 100—super important because the yogurt cultures won’t work if the milk is too hot.  Gradually whisk in the yogurt cultures and put the pot back in the machine.  Turn the Instant Pot back on, close the lid and push the “Yogurt” button.  Set the time for 8 hours.  While the yogurt is forming, you can sterilize some glass jars and lids to store it in.  After the yogurt is finished, remove the lid.  While the yogurt is still warm, gradually add the gelatin and whisk together.  Pour the yogurt in the glass jars and put in the fridge to firm up for about 4-6 hours.  Add any toppings and serve.

Since this is a pretty long process, you could cook the yogurt overnight.  Or I made mine first thing in the morning, mixed the gelatin in later that day and enjoyed eating it the next day.

Check out the Instant Pot I own: Instant Pot 6 Quart 9-in-1 Multi-Use Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Saute, Steamer, Warmer and Sterilizer, $119.95

Belle & Bella Non-Dairy Yogurt Starter, $7.99

Beef Gelatin Protein from Pasture Raised, Grass-Fed Cows, $24.95

Think you’re too busy to cook.  Think again.  You just need the right tools and a little planning.  Bon Appetit!

 

Are You Properly Hydrated? Are You Sure?

While Thanksgiving may be over, you’re probably still feeling the effects of that epic meal.  Am I right?  That sluggish, bloated feeling doesn’t just go away on its own.  Time to detox and refocus on health, especially if you’re a business owner—you can’t suffer from brain fog during the last few weeks of the year!

Did you know that staying hydrated is THE most important way that you can keep your brain clear, maintain your appropriate body weight, and stay healthy to fight disease?  That’s right, all you have to do is drink water and you’ll be back on track to feeling energized and break that cycle of over-eating.  It’s true, if you feel hungry, a lot of times, that’s a signal that you’re actually dehydrated.  If you’re thirsty, that’s a signal of dehydration too.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how much water we should drink each day and it seems the answer is: it depends.  Most health experts recommend drinking the water equivalent of half of your body weight in ounces.  But you might need more if you exercise.  And you also want to balance your water consumption with electrolytes from fruits, vegetables, and sodium and potassium from natural sea salt.  Check out this video about how to stay properly hydrated.  And check with your doctor if you have any questions about your individual health.

Drinking plenty of water is at the top of my Thanksgiving detox list as well as getting back into the studio for my 4 classes each week.  OMG—that first class after Thanksgiving was brutal!  While drinking filtered water is best, sometimes it can be a little bland.  Here are my favorite flavored waters to break up that plain water boredom …

La Croix Lime Flavored Sparkling Water:  This is my go-to if I need a little zip.  La Croix is Whole30 approved with all natural flavors, no sugar, and tastes great.  This brings up a great point—folks, check your labels!  If your flavored water contains added sugars or anything that you can’t pronounce or isn’t found in nature, it’s time to switch to a better choice.  Unhealthy foods and drinks are sold at health food stores, so it’s up to you to read the label and put the best, most natural ingredients into your body.

Back to the water … lime flavor pairs well with just about everything, if you’re drinking at mealtime.  There are several other flavors of La Croix, but I’ve found them to be a little weird tasting—like they don’t taste like the fruit they claim to be flavored with.  I’ll stick with lime.

Spindrift Cucumber Sparkling Water: This is my new fave!  This water is made with real, squeezed fruit, so it actually tastes good and not fake.  Cucumber is so refreshing!  I drink this anytime I’ve overeaten—like after Thanksgiving.  Because this water is made with real cucumber juice, it does have 2 calories … but I’m pretty sure I can burn those off at the studio.

She's On Her Toes Spindrift

Trader Joe’s Organic Lemongrass Spearmint Herbal Flavored Water: I love this zesty, minty flavor.  Another great choice to cleanse your palette after a big, heavy, salty meal.

She's On Her Toes TJ's flavored water

Trader Joe’s Organic Lemon Ginger Herbal Flavored Water: I love ginger and this drink doesn’t disappoint.  I like to drink this after dinner as a dessert substitute.  If I’m still craving something sweet, after I drink this, then I have to give in.  But it usually does the trick.

So, there you have it, 4 great alternatives to plain, filtered water.  Let me know which one is your fave!

 

The Fitness-Focused Guide to Avoiding Holiday Crush

Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t radiate cheer and festiveness during the holiday season.  And that’s ok.  With increased exposure to major stressors, like crazy family members, work deadlines, extra school demands, shopping marathons, drivers that desperately need to review their road skills (Since when did passing on the right become a thing?!  It’s called a blind spot for a reason, folks—I literally can’t see you.), you’re bound to lose focus on why this is the most magical time of the year.

Fortunately, the Fitness-Focused (that’s you and me!) already possess the skills needed to cope with what some call, the holiday crush, or that feeling of immense pressure that sets in during the months of November and December.  You know—pressure to have the most amazing decorations, the perfect meal, and the most thoughtful presents.  To attend all the parties with a smile and the cutest outfit.  Finish the year strong with your business.  Not to mention keep it all together so your family has a special holiday.  Whew!  That’s a lot for one person to handle!

But, as I said, the Fitness-Focused already have the necessary skills to make it through the holidays and actually enjoy themselves.  How?  Simple.  By incorporating the discipline and organization you use to plan your workouts to your holiday tasks, you can avoid the holiday crush and actually start the New Year with a smile on your face.  Here’s what I’m talking about …

Decide What’s Most Important

You set fitness goals and decide in advance what is most important to you before you start your workouts.  Take that practice and apply it to all the events and tasks ahead of you this holiday season.  Ask yourself, what is the most important thing that I want to accomplish before the end of the year?  Or, what is most important to me this holiday?  What do I want to get out of all my holiday experiences?  How do I want to feel as I head into the New Year (rested, fulfilled, energized, happy)?

When you prioritize your goals in the gym, you have something to work towards.  Same with your life—if there is something you want to achieve before year’s out, be it less stress, more time with family, saying “no” to unimportant things, or even cooking more, make it a priority and work towards it.

Whenever I decide that something’s important, it’s crazy—I always figure out a way to achieve it.  Always.  Once I make the declaration that it’s important, my mind immediately shifts into figuring out all the ways I can get to my goal.  But, you have to take the first step and decide your priorities.  Declare them out loud to your friends and family or write them down.  Whatever works for you—but take the first step and you’ll be that much closer to actually getting what you want.

 Make Your List and Check It Twice

Super practical.  Lists keep simple tasks organized so we don’t accidentally skip a step in our haste or hurriedness. (Go back to read a previous post about check lists here.)  When you have 800 things to do it can be overwhelming.  All the shopping, preparing and cleaning.  No worries!  Combine list-making with some of the lessons from The Compound Effect and all of a sudden life just got more manageable.

What is The Compound Effect?  This book, written by Darren Hardy, literally changed my life.  (Um, I am going to a conference where he’s speaking in February and I’m just a little bit excited about that!)  This book is all about making small changes that “compound” to effect bigger more amazing changes.  And it really works.  If you are in the fitness industry you can attest, like I can, that just making one change to workout on a regular basis leads to making other smarter choices about eating and drinking.  Then all of a sudden, you’ve lost weight or are stronger and people are commenting about how good you look.  Anyways, get this book immediately, if not sooner.  Read it.  Implement just one suggestion—after all it’s called The Compound Effect.  See what happens.

Exactly!  Make your list of 800 things to do and then pick one or two to accomplish each day.  Work back from your deadline to create a manageable schedule of accomplishments and you won’t feel so rushed.  And chances are you won’t forget things—or if you do have a last minute “oops” you have plenty of time to take care of it.

I’m putting this into practice right now.  Since I’m hosting our annual Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons holiday party at my new home this year, I have lots to do to prepare.  And last week, I freaked out a little by all the work I had to get done.  Now I’ve got my list and I’m working on just one or two things each day—starting with festive decorating.  Can’t wait to share the party pics with you!  Since I don’t have a lot of furniture, decorating is going to be strong this year.  Haha!

Reward Yourself with Rest

This is the most important part of working out and living life, yet it’s the most neglected and overlooked.  So sad.  When you stay on track with your goals and tasks, give yourself time to rest.  And reward yourself!  After a hard workout, you need time to rest and recover, so you can do it all again.  Same with a busy life—plan some downtime so you don’t get burned out and start to resent all of humanity.

The rewards don’t have to be big or expensive.  Grab coffee with friends, enjoy a nice walk with your dogs, watch a show on Netflix—all of these things count as rest.  Just make sure you use this time to do something you enjoy!  Doing laundry doesn’t count—make sure your rest and reward time makes you feel rested and rewarded.

It’s amazing how those who prioritize their health and fitness are just better at winning life!  Take those skills you’ve been using to motivate you through your workouts and apply them to your life this busy holiday season.  There’s no need to get so frazzled that the holiday crush comes crashing down on you.  No way!  Take the time to decide what’s most important to you, make a list and just do a few things at a time, and finally reward yourself with rest and you’ll set yourself up to avoid some of the stress most people face during the holidays.  Who knows, you might even enjoy yourself!

 

Invest in yourself!  Link to purchase The Compound Effect, written by Darren Hardy.  Click here.

If You’re Serious About Your Health … Get a Vitamix!

I’ve been living in blender hell for years.  My basic blender just didn’t blend … anything.  Forget about trying to crush ice, it couldn’t even blend fresh fruit.  So, I dreamed of someday getting a Vitamix.  Life would just be better.

And then the day arrived.  I realized I had an extra $350 and got myself the Vitamix 5300 (certified refurbished), in black with the cookbook.  And life really did get better.

How?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  When you own a powerful blender like the Vitamix, you can easily eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Since getting my Vitamix, I’ve been able to blend … everything!

Shes On Her Toes Vitamix Smoothie

I’ve been able to consistently eat breakfast, which has always been a problem for me.  I can blend anything (including ice) with ease to make smoothies.  I’ve made soup on a weeknight.  And been able to put pesto and other healthy sauces on just about everything.  But the best thing about my Vitamix is that I can make my own almond milk.

Now, making your own almond milk might seem super time-intensive and only for “those crazy health nuts.”  But it takes about 45 seconds and saves me about $10 a week.  As a bonus, I know I’m not eating any hidden sugars or additives—check your nut milk labels!  Your seemingly “healthy” almond or cashew milk is likely loaded with sugar and other additives and preservatives.

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup almonds, soaked overnight (I use the raw, sliced almonds from Trader Joe’s or Costco)

3 cups water (I used filtered water)

And … that’s it!  All you do is put almonds and water in the Vitamix and power it up.  Crank that baby up to 10 for about 45 seconds and … you’ve got yourself some almond milk.  You can pour the almond milk into an air-tight, glass container to store in the fridge for up to 3 days.  You can strain the almond milk through a nut milk bag to make it more like what you’d buy in the store—if you don’t strain, you’ll get the full fiber from the nuts and the consistency might be more grainy.  I don’t usually strain my almond milk–it’s all about your preference.  And yes, you can put homemade almond milk in a Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother to make an amazing latte!

If you haven’t already made the Vitamix part of your daily cooking and eating routine, I highly recommend it!  The ease of use and cleaning of the machine makes it possible to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.  And by adding more variety into your meals, let’s face it, cooking is just a lot more fun—who doesn’t want that?!

Did you know that you could actually win a Vitamix by participating in the Pure Health Challenge only at Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons?  Well, you can!  The Pure Health Challenge is all about consistent Pure Barre classes partnered with a healthy lifestyle for lasting results.  From October 30th to December 31st, we’ll challenge all clients to:

  • Take 4 Pure Barre classes each week
  • Use the Pure Health Meal Plan to make healthy choices (the recipes are amazing!)
  • Have fun and connect with our Pure Barre community

Each week, you’ll receive entries for taking class and attending the Challenge events (grab a calendar at the front desk when you’re at the studio).  The more entries you have the more chances you’ll have to win the grand prize of a Vitamix 5300, black (certified refurbished) blender!  I’m excited about the Pure Health Challenge and will be participating myself—this is a great way to keep on track with my health and fitness goals through the Holiday Season and into the New Year.  Hopefully many of you will join me!

Check out these links to learn more or purchase:

Vitamix 5300 (Certified Refurbished), $359.99

Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag, $8.99

Libbey Glass Milk Bottle with Lid, 33.5 oz., $9.92

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