My Favorite Maternity/Nursing Bras Featuring Cake Maternity

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If any of you are like me during pregnancy, my ta ta’s grew… a size or two….just like the grinch’s heart.  I already have a bigger bust, so when growing I needed MAJOR support so they don’t float down by my ankles.

I found the.best.bras.

Cake Maternity has some serious bras.  Their work out bra holds me in for working out and maintaining fitness lifestyle as I grow and into post partum size. I am able to move, invert etc. in this beauty and it’s comfortable and extremely supportive.

This every day t shirt bra is so comfortable and isn’t bulky but still has major hold support.  The bras are so well made. They have about 6 clasps in the back so as you grow through breastfeeding and shrink again you can adjust.

Their lotus lounge/yoga/sleep bra is beautiful, so soft and again really comfortable. All the bras are major comfy- let’s just get that squared away. I live in them. The super cool thing about this one is, because it is a pumping bra, you get pretty much just sneak your nipple out and breastfeed while the bra is completely on.  No unclasping or anything. You could just put the baby on your chest and it looks like you are holding them there, no skin, no nothin’ showing. Super convenient, and it’s a really cool feature.

I can’t wait to show more as I journey into my breastfeeding life and incorporate them as I grow, shrink, change and adapt!

I am wearing the work out bra below!

Shop my look below! Plus all the bras I recommended! 

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Shop my look:

                             Work out                            Lotus                      Every Day T Shirt

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Your Lean, Mean, Cardio/Core/Strength Fitness Routine…At Home!

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You don’t need a gym to get a good workout. Pull out your yoga mat, find a space whether outside or in your living room and hit these moves in sets of 5 at different time intervals as fast and as strong as you can. By the end of the work out, you’ll be stronger and definitely get your sweat on.

Your lean, mean, cardio/core/strength fitness routine. 

Warm up:  2x 

Side to side leg stretches: 20 seconds

Jumping jacks: 20 seconds

High Knees: 20 seconds

Work Out: 

Round 1

Bicycles 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Squats 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Push ups or Full Burpees 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Alternating Lunges 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Plank: 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Punches: 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off (as fast as you can)

High Knees or Jumping Jacks 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off

30 second rest

Round 2

Bicycles 40 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Squats 40 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Push ups or Full Burpees 40 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Alternating Lunges 40 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Plank: 40 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Punches: 40 seconds on, 10 seconds off (as fast as you can)

High Knees or Jumping Jacks: 40 seconds on, 10 seconds off

30 second rest

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Round 3

Bicycles 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Squats 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Push ups or Full Burpees 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Alternating Lunges 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Plank: 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Punches: 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off (as fast as you can)

High Knees or Jumping Jacks: 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off

30 second rest

 

 

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Round 4

Bicycles 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Jump Squats 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Push ups or Full Burpees 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Alternating Lunges 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Plank: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

Punches: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off (as fast as you can)

High Knees or Jumping Jacks: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

No rest

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Round 5

Bicycles 10 seconds on, 5 seconds off

Jump Squats 10 seconds on, 5 seconds off

Push ups or Full Burpees 10 seconds on, 5 seconds off

Alternating Lunges 10 seconds on, 5 seconds off

Plank: 10 seconds on, 5 seconds off

Punches: 10 seconds on, 5 seconds off (as fast as you can)

High Knees or Jumping Jacks: 10 seconds on, 5 seconds off

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Cool Down:

Jump rope mimic: 1 minute

Alternating arm stretches: 15 seconds each side

Alternating leg stretches: 15 seconds each side

Down dog/ Up down x 3 times slow: 2 minutes

Sitting toe touch stretch: 1 minute

Child’s pose to rest and stretch: However long you want/need

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What I Wore

Work out top and leggings: Forever 21

Shoes: Nike

Yoga mat: coming soon!

Live Well!

J

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Fitness Outfit Inspo…Currently Crushing On…

DSC_0031Being super dedicated to exercise and fitness, I found I would get stuck wearing my mom’s old shirt and leggings that needed to be put to rest.  I am a huge advocate in investing in a few good pieces of work out clothes, but these days I’ve found expressing myself in fun pieces is so much fun and it actually motivates me to work out harder to look cute IN it.  Instead of boring, old, gross stuff, I’m way more into… Is it cute? Can it hold up my body (hello)? …And does it motivate me? I know this may sound silly, but finding cute work out clothes motivates me to look good IN them. I don’t want to hide under a 10 year old Walmart shirt. Long gone are the days of that ladies. There is now a TON of fun, inexpensive fitness clothes available to spruce up your hour of power. I want to look put together and cute because it makes me FEEL good.  Feeling good motivates me to work harder, to maintain my goals and therefore I can feel confident wearing and working out in my fun outfits. It’s a circle of motivation.

DSC_0040Hitting your fitness goals everyday takes motivation. Sometimes we have to motivate ourselves by inspiration. Whether it be a cute outfit or that dress you want all the right curves in.  For me, working out is a lifestyle. That means e v e r y d a y I make it happen. That means spicing it up and getting creative in my apparel is a must for me. I challenge myself to express myself and I get to wear fun things that can only work in a hot yoga class, barre class, pilates.

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It doesn’t have to be expensive either. This pair is from Forever 21 and it holds together after daily intense sweat parties! (They’ve gotten better quality fitness clothes as of a year or so). Hot Yoga isn’t exactly a light glisten. In a year when I’ve worn it to pieces, I can toss it and not mourn because it wasn’t expensive to begin with.  Perfect.

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Yoga, Why I Love It For Whole Body Fitness (Spirit, Soul, Body)

Yoga to me is about connecting the body with the mind and letting anything arise in the practice (frustration, stress, emotions) be observed and released to God.  As a Christian, I use my time to focus on Holy Spirit and bring my soul (mind, will and emotions) to the mat and allow Him to speak and change me. It is a time for me to release anything I need to release. It is not only a physical practice for me, although it very much is a work out as I focus it on such, but it is also a time where I bring my body and my mind, whatever it is going through that day, and take it on a healthy journey, physically, mentally and spiritually.Spiritually, I release and receive, I am strengthened and counseled in my emotions by processing mentally with God and physically I strengthen, stretch, nourish and build my body. It is a time of worship, counsel, physical fitness, mental strengthening and more. It is truly a completely holistic (interconnected) hour of work out. (Literally working things out physically, mentally, emotionally)

You partner that together and you are nourishing your body from the very core. You are also training your mind to be still, learning how to take every thought captive and creating the discipline it takes to tell your mind to settle down in physical stress and your body to breathe deep.

Yoga builds long, lean muscle, strengthens the core, ignites inner heat which speeds the metabolism and awakens blood flow. Every system in your body and cells is revitalized and the organs are nourished.  It also strengthens the back and improves your posture. I love to couple it with pilates and resistance training. I also love yoga sculpt classes. Cardio + core + weights + stretching and plyo posture holding. It makes for an incredible work out as you hit so many things at once.

Below are some of the physical health benefits of yoga.

If you are interested in a spiritual practice of Yoga near you, please check out: Holy Yoga

Also, in the Chicago area, you must take class from this amazing Holy Yoga teacher: Sarah Wheeler

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Improves your flexibility

Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.

Builds muscle strength

Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.

 

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Perfects your posture

Your head is like a bowling ball—big, round, and heavy. When it’s balanced directly over an erect spine, it takes much less work for your neck and back muscles to support it. Move it several inches forward, however, and you start to strain those muscles. Hold up that forward-leaning bowling ball for eight or 12 hours a day and it’s no wonder you’re tired. And fatigue might not be your only problem. Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.

Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown

Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.

Protects your spine

Spinal disks—the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves—crave movement. That’s the only way they get their nutrients. If you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice with plenty of backbends, forward bends, and twists, you’ll help keep your disks supple.

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Improves your balance

Regularly practicing yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance. People with bad posture or dysfunctional movement patterns usually have poor proprioception, which has been linked to knee problems and back pain. Better balance could mean fewer falls. For the elderly, this translates into more independence and delayed admission to a nursing home or never entering one at all. For the rest of us, postures like Tree Pose can make us feel less wobbly on and off the mat.

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Increases your blood flow

Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released. Inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand, encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated. This can help if you have swelling in your legs from heart or kidney problems. Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.

 Drains your lymphs and boosts immunity

When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.

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Regulates your adrenal glands

Yoga lowers cortisol levels. If that doesn’t sound like much, consider this. Normally, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to an acute crisis, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but chronically high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain. Additionally, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. In rats, high cortisol levels lead to what researchers call “food-seeking behavior” (the kind that drives you to eat when you’re upset, angry, or stressed). The body takes those extra calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.

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 Helps you focus

An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. People who practice Transcendental Meditation demonstrate the ability to solve problems and acquire and recall information better—probably because they’re less distracted by their thoughts, which can play over and over like an endless tape loop.

Relaxes your system

Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter is calming and restorative; it lowers breathing and heart rates, decreases blood pressure, and increases blood flow to the intestines and reproductive organs—comprising the relaxation response.

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Releases tension in your limbs

Do you ever notice yourself holding the telephone or a steering wheel with a death grip or scrunching your face when staring at a computer screen? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue, and soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, and face, which can increase stress and worsen your mood. As you practice yoga, you begin to notice where you hold tension: It might be in your tongue, your eyes, or the muscles of your face and neck. If you simply tune in, you may be able to release some tension in the tongue and eyes. With bigger muscles like the quadriceps, trapezius, and buttocks, it may take years of practice to learn how to relax them.

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As you read all the ways yoga improves your health, you probably noticed a lot of overlap. That’s because they’re intensely interwoven, we are intensely interwoven. Change your posture and you change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change your nervous system. This is one of the great lessons of understanding our body: Everything is connected—your hipbone to your anklebone, you to your community, your community to the world. This interconnection is vital to understanding wellness. This holistic system simultaneously taps into many mechanisms that have additive and even multiplicative effects. Understanding that our body is interwoven and our spirit, soul and body is one, then you will begin to understand wellness at deeper level. You will begin to recognize that how you operate in one area, can and will bleed into another positively or negatively.

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5 Simple Tips For What To Eat & Drink Before-During-After Your Workout!

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Whether you’re an athlete or pro bodybuilder or you get your adrenaline pumping before or after your nine to five, there’s a science to what you should eat before and after to maximize your workout and recovery from the wear and tear it puts on your body.

Here are 5 simple tips to keep in mind.

Before:  

Keep Your Tummy Happy

Choose pre-workout meals or snacks that are easy to digest and won’t cause bloating or irritate your stomach. In other words, a spicy bean burrito isn’t the best choice. If your food’s not digested before or during your workout, the fuel will be trapped in your stomach and won’t be available to your muscles, and providing fuel is the main goal of a pre-exercise meal. Also, undigested food can feel like a brick sitting in your stomach, leading to cramps and sluggishness

Keep It Simple

The best pre-activity foods are those relatively low in protein, fat and low/medium in fiber. These three substances delay the emptying of the stomach and keep you fuller longer. That’s great if you’ll be sitting at a desk for the next several hours, but not so great if you’ll be in high-activity mode. So, a good pre-workout snack might be something like a small bowl of organic oatmeal and a mini banana about an hour before. A great natural pre-workout drink is fresh carrot juice!  Have some fruit and granola. Chew well!

Before, During And After:

Hydrate

It’s important to drink fluids before, during and after your workout. If you’re sweating heavily or exercising for more than 60 minutes, reach for low sugar organic coconut water rather than a sports drink to keep you well-hydrated and fueled and replace the electrolytes lost in sweat. If you’re working out for an hour or less in a climate controlled gym plain H2O should be fine.

After:

Time It Right

After a really tough workout, you should try to eat a “recovery” meal within 30 minutes if possible. Training puts wear and tear on your joints, muscles and bones, and your body “uses up” nutrients during exercise, so this meal is all about putting back what you’ve lost and providing the raw materials needed for repair and healing.

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Balance Is Key

A post-workout meal isn’t just about protein. It should include a lean protein source like eggs, chicken, turkey (for muscle repair) along with a whole or ancient grain like organic oats, ezekiel bread, brown rice or quinoa (to replete glycogen, the carbohydrate stored in muscle tissue, which serves as a primary fuel source during exercise), plenty of produce -veggies primarily- (to replenish nutrients), a healthy fat source like nut butter(for healing and circulation) and of course more fluid (to rehydrate).

The Perfect Post Workout Smoothie:

The Perfect Post Workout Smoothie
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Post Work Out
Cuisine: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snack
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen banana / And Or 1 1½ cup frozen strawberries (lower GI index fruit)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of nut butter (choice of almond, organic peanut or cashew nut)
  • 1 ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or your choice of nut milk)
  • 1 scoop Organic whey protein concentrate powder
  • Stevia to taste
  • 2-4 cubes ice
  • And these optional (but highly recommended) additions I use: (organic whey protein concentrate powder, green powder, organic maca root powder, raw cacao, raw egg, 1 tpsn of cinnamon, flax & chia.) Now THAT'S a smoothe.
Instructions
  1. First milk
  2. Then Ice
  3. Then Fruit
  4. Then Whey
  5. The nut butter
  6. Then whatever else
  7. Blend!
  8. Blend until rich and creamy, and then you’ll have it – an all-natural, protein-rich post workout smoothie that will optimally nourish your body. The perfect smoothie for efficient replenishment of glycogen stores within our skeletal muscles.
  9. Slurp!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1
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Fitness For Beginners

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Fitness For Beginners

I get asked on the daily by woman who have never eaten healthy or worked out before, where to start.  I know how overwhelming it can be!

 Below are some basic tips for those who are just starting out on a health and fitness journey! 

 Set realistic goals & track your progress.

Keep a journal log of your food intake, work outs and your measurements of your body each week so you can track your progress easily.

NOTE: 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week is a realistic and healthy goal (depending on your current weight).

WARNING: The scale is not always a good indication of your progress though. I know multiple fit girls who are leaner and multiple sizes SMALLER but weigh the same if not more.  Example: Size 2: 120 lbs no muscle or definition, Size 2: 140 lbs lean muscle, super fit.  The scale is not the ruler, your clothes will do the telling.  Numerous factors can affect the number that are unrelated to fat gain/loss. The mirror, pictures, the way your clothes fit and your measurements are better ways of tracking progress.

Get rid of the junk food.

This includes (but not limited to): regular and diet soda, cookies, chips, crackers, candy, white breads and pastas, fruit juice, sugary cereal, condiments like ketchup, mayo, ranch and other fattening/sugary dressings and marinades, fast food, frozen dinners and most packaged goods. Start making your own meals at home from wholesome lean proteins, veggies, fruits, complex carbs like quinoa or brown rice and healthy fats. Basically, eat as close to natural as possible.

Start exercising.

The trick is to find something you enjoy so that you will actually dot it.  The cool thing is, there are so many options these day.  Some of which include: weight lifting, pilates, yoga, cross fit, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, powerlifting, olympic lifting, jogging, cycling, spin, zumba, interval training, jazzercise, jumping rope, dancing, running, hiking, mountain climbing, swimming… the list goes on!

Cut out the excess alcohol.

 Over doing it shuts down your metabolism, promotes fat storage and breaks down muscle tissue. Too much alcohol is basically treated by the body as a toxin.  If you’re serious about getting in shape, not over drinking won’t be a problem.  If you do have a drink, keep it to a glass of wine on occasion. Cut out any sugary, fluffy cocktails. Those are literally fat drinks. They go right to your trouble spots and get cozy.

Develop patience and a positive attitude if you don’t already have them.

You may have a few set-backs and losing weight/getting fit will take time. You may occasionally cheat on your diet, you may miss a workout, you may stumble, you could make mistakes… you’re learning and it’s new!  That’s okay! That does not mean your failed. Nothing worth having ever comes easily… if it were that easy, everyone would be in shape! Know that you fail if you quit. So don’t quit! Slow and steady wins the race.  You miss a couple days? Oh well, wake up and keep going. You feel drained? Take it easy, but don’t throw in the towel.  Go sit in the sauna, take a nap or a bath, make yourself a healthy version of ice-cream with fruit and coconut milk.  Don’t binge, don’t get mad at yourself, don’t give up on being active.  Just modify, rest and wake up refreshed to go again.  You will regret the binge and throwing it all away in the long run.

Surround yourself with people who support you. 

It’s terrible and down right frustratng having negative and/or jealous people around when you are trying to make a healthy, positive change to your life. Sadly, it happens.  Going through your journey, there may be people you thought were your friends trying to drag you back to your old, unhealthy ways. They might tease, taunt or grill you for your new habits. Some people can’t handle change and try to sabotage other people positive progress and success.  If you find that your healthy habits are being mocked or demeaned by those around you, ask yourself why your ‘friends’ would want you to go back to being unhealthy. Do they not understand that this is benefiting your life? If they simply don;t get it, explain to them why you’re doing it.  Or, are those friends just jealous and negative?  If so, cut them out of your close, personal life.  They aren’t healthy relationships in the first place. Love them from a distance and one day when they realize they need to make a change embrace them and help them.

Plan ahead.

Plan your schedule in advance to fit in a work out.  Pre-pack your meals if you are gone all day. Write it down, prioritize and make it happen.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Always keep workout clothes, a water bottle and protein powder with a shaker cup or some sort of post work out snack in your car so you never have an excuse not to hit the gym. Always carry an apple, a serving of almonds in a ziploc bag and a packet of tuna or hard boiled eggs with you.  That way you never have an excuse to hit the burger place or splurging.

Live Well!

J

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What To Do When You Don’t Want To Workout.

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Fatigue is a major buzz kill.  Today, I am tired.  Yesterday was long. Life is busy. I need a good rest.  I don’t want to workout.  I am wiped out.  What to do?

I could shut it down for the day and give my body a rest.  Sometimes that is needed and I absolutely do, but I don’t ever want to use that as an excuse.  Over training is a real problem for some.  Recovery is something that people don’t understand.  I know a collegiate athlete who does her sport every day and doesn’t rest. She gets sick more often, gains weight when she should be loosing and is drained all day long. There is something very real about rest and we will talk about that in a later blog.  It is impossible to gain ground when you don’t rest.  Your cells do not have time to rebuild, you place extra stress on the body and potentially throw your hormones and cortisol levels off. But this isn’t about rest. This is about the days where I know, deep down, if I get up and shake it off and get my body moving, it won’t tire me, it will energize me for the day! Most of the time, this is the case. This is the case for all of us. For most of us, our trouble isn’t working out too much, it’s getting up and getting our body moving and blood flowing enough.

This isn’t about pushing through, this is about understanding the body.  I know that after I workout I will feel better, especially if I approach it with the right attitude.  Attitude, cycles of thoughts, affect the outcome of your workouts.  So I don’t have time to do an hour today, maybe I’ll do a quick core workout and then end the day with a quick HIIT in the living room or outside.  My body, my brain, my work production and the people around me will be glad I did.  After the workout, you will want to eat a great, balanced and wholesome breakfast and you will feel like a fresh, energized, happier person.  Working out releases the happy hormones (endorphins) and lifts mood significantly. You may feel exhausted as you get started, but trust me, if you begin you’ll feel the energy rising and you will feel fantastic afterwards and be glad you did.

Steps to make it happen.

1. Be in routine during the week. Get to bed early, set your alarm, get up, splash water on your face and immediately put on your work out clothes. Avoid lounging in your robe or it will be harder to get going.OR if you exercise after work, pack your gym bag, water bottle, protein bar or shake. Head straight to the gym or your class, just like it’s your everyday routine and soon enough, it will be.

2. Drink a full glass of water and turn on some music you enjoy that pumps you up, focuses you and/or set’s your heart and intention for the day.

3. Begin to move.  Throw a Youtube exercise video on or do some yoga and stretching and then go for a run, or hit the gym. Get your blood and energy moving.

After you are finished, your energy will be up, you will feel refreshed and you will be ready to move on and start the day.

Live Well!

J

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Live Well. Live Whole. Tune Into The Living Well Podcast!

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Hi Friends! Thanks for checking out Live Well!

Wanna hear Jess dig into some health + nutrition + all things wellness?

Tune into The Living Well Podcast on Itunes

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