30-Minute Bodyweight Circuit Workout

Getting back on the workout train can be pretty difficult after any sort of hiatus. Thankfully, I have some motivation in the form of awesome friends who are always down to try something new and athletic together. Last week, Whitney, Rachel, and I got together for a little outdoor sweat session. With Whitney’s personal training background, and all of our fitness class addictions, we were able to piece together the perfect 30-minute bodyweight workout.

Since it was so gorgeous outside, we decided to get our sweat on in Whitney’s front yard. This workout is especially awesome because all you need is yourself (a cute Watermelon themed yoga mat doesn’t hurt either) and it includes cardio along with moves to tone your abs, arms, legs, and booty!

It’s a tough workout so don’t forget to hydrate, especially in the hot summer months when you sweat more than usual. Thankfully, our friends at Propel sent over some of their brand new watermelon flavor to test out. Since Propel is the only water with enough electrolytes to replace what is lost in sweat, it was the perfect addition to our circuit workout and the new flavor is equal parts refreshing and summery.

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The low down: The workout consists of three circuits, each with three moves done three times. You do each move for 45 seconds, with a 15 second break in between. Once you’ve completed a circuit, you take a one-minute break and move on to the next! Easy peasy lemon squeezy (ok, I totally stole that from Luke at Training Mate…).

Circuit 1:

1. Side-Step Squat

How to: Start in a squat position, feet parallel about shoulder distance apart. While maintaining a low squat, bring your feet together. Step to the other side, staying in a the entire time. Keep alternating sides, coming together in the middle each time, for 45 seconds.

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2. Squat Jump

How to: Start in a squat position with your hands in prayer or lightly touching. Power through your heels and explode upwards, shooting your arms straight down and back. Land gently in a squat and repeat.

3. Plank with Shoulder Taps

How to: Begin in a full plank. Carefully take your right hand and tap your left shoulder while maintaining balance and alignment as best you can (try not to shift your body to compensate). Repeat with left hand tapping right shoulder.

Finished with this circuit? Head to Just Dimple It for Rachel’s three moves and To Live and Diet in LA so Whitney can show you hers!

We’re also thrilled you invite you to join Whitney, Rachel, and me as we team up with Propel at the Co-Lab Los Angeles event this summer! Although the sign-ups haven’t gone live quite yet, here’s the link where you can scope out the classes!

Want a chance to join us for the Propel Fitness Festival in LA this August? As part of the “Let’s Get Ugly” campaign, Propel has partnered with the Under Armour Map My Fitness app to celebrate the hard work at the gym. From May 15 – July 15, fitness enthusiasts who track their progress with Under Armour Map My Fitness app can earn rewards leading up to the event. If you earn enough points, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a trip to Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival in Los Angeles, as well as a private workout with celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson (!!!!), and a $500 Under Armour gift card.

For more details on the contests and prizes, to sign up, and for contest rules, click here.

This post is sponsored by Propel but all opinions are my own.

Let’s Get Ugly with Propel in NYC

What an absolute whirlwind this month has been! From traveling to NYC, to having my mom in town, to apartment hunting, my mind has been going non-stop and I’m thrilled to have a weekend of reflection and relaxation.

I was so excited when Propel reached out to me again this year to be an ambassador for their new campaign, Let’s Get Ugly. The campaign is all about the grittiness of working out, the moment when you don’t care what you look like and are just down to get sweaty and give it your all. I can totally relate—especially in the middle of spin class or when my Barry’s instructor gives the order to start sprinting. For me, working out has never been about looking good while doing it; it’s about giving each work out everything I have and walking out a better, stronger person.

Last year, our ambassador responsibilities were here in LA, so I couldn’t believe that this year’s campaign included a trip to New York City! Since Propel Water has more electrolytes than any other water and replenishes what you lose in sweat, the trip was filled to the brim with workouts!

To start our 48 hours in NYC, we got all glammed up and ready for photoshoots. I opted for light make up (per usual) and a super cute side braid that went into a ponytail. I always have to have my hair up during sweat sessions so I knew this look was most authentic to me.

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We traveled in groups with two other bloggers around each set to get our pictures taken. The photographers were so fun to work with, offering advice on poses, and trying their best to get me to put on my serious face when all I could do was giggle.

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After the photoshoot, we had a full afternoon/evening of workouts. First, we took “The Class” by Taryn Toomey. I’ve taken over 600 classes and this has to be one of the more unique ones. During each song we would only do one or two movements, some small and slow, others cardio intensive. I knew I would be sore for days so the sound bath conclusion was much appreciated.

Once we rested a bit (oh, whoops, we decided to go for rose on the rooftop during our allotted rest time), we headed back to the space for two more workouts—boxing with Prevail LA and yoga with Yoga for Bad People. Boxing was such a blast and I love the Prevail team because they always make everyone feel welcome, no matter their level.

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The Propel team shared with us the incredible new commercial that features Jessie J!!! She was even at the event and spoke for a bit about how important fitness is to her as well. I loved that she was a little awkward and seemed really down to earth.

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I was so sad when the amazing trip was over, but thankful to get to meet and spend time with a group of strong, friendly, and fun women. I am thrilled to report that the Propel Co:Labs are coming to LA. I’ll be sharing more about how you can get in on the fun in the coming months so look out for an exclusive invite!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Propel Electrolyte Water, but all opinions are my own.

Cheers to Healthy Choices (even) at a Burger Joint

If there’s one thing that’s certain about going out to eat, it’s that it is super challenging to eat healthy when the menu is screaming burgers and fries. Since the new year started, I’ve made it my resolution to make healthy choices as often as possible. I know it sounds silly, and maybe simple, but after a December of complete gluttony, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

When Islands Restaurant reached out to try their healthy food menu, I grabbed three of my fav blogger babes (Whitney from To Live and Diet in LA, Maggie, and Alyssa) and we headed in to check it out.

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Naturally, we were excited to start our meal with a skinny margarita. Despite the fact that we were scheduled for a workout immediately after lunch, it’s hard to turn down an afternoon marg. I can attest that the bartenders are very generous with their pours!

On the bottom right of the menu, we found the “Paradise’s Bikini Beach” low-cal options. I was worried that the healthier menu items would lack flavor, but each one sounded yummy. It turns out, we all agreed, as 3/4 of us ordered the “No-Blame Grilled Veggie Tacos” (480 cals) and added grilled mahi-mahi for a kick of protein. The two tacos came with grilled vegetables, a sprinkle of cheddar, roasted corn, black beans, pico de gallo & avocado. The side was vinegar based slaw, but I swapped it for steamed veggies. Alyssa went for a salad and added a veggie patty! Our meals were delicious and I left satisfied but not weighed down. Thanks so much for having us, Islands!

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Five Takeaways from #BlogFest with Propel

I can’t begin to explain the craziness of my July. I’ve been overwhelmed with weddings, buying a new car, starting a new job, keeping up my blog and Instagram page, etc.

Unfortunately, BlogFest fell on the same weekend as the wedding of my brother-in-law and I was only able to attend the first day. Nonetheless, it turned out to be extremely impactful and full of great moments of learning, networking, and sweating! Here are my top five tips from two of my favorite sessions:

1  The best food pictures are taken with natural light from the side. The light should not be harsh. Brooke’s trick was to cover your window with a mesh curtain to get the look of a cloudy day even when it’s sunny outside. Find an example of lighting here.

2  Add props! Things like wooden spoons, ceramic bowls, and linen napkins make pictures really interesting. Find great bases like fancy marble slaps that can be purchased for a decent price at Home Depot. Don’t sweep away the crumbs either; these add great texture to the pictures. Messy can be very appealing! Check out a pic where Brooke uses this idea here.

3  Brooke actually uses Instagram for her editing. She suggests bumping up the contrast, clarity, vignette, and highlights, and putting the saturation at about 20%. Her favorite Insta filter is Ludwig. Find a perfectly edited picture here.

above tips are from Food Photography with Brooke Conroy Bass of Chocolate + Marrow

4  Triple. Filters. My mind is blown. Did you know that you could layer up to three filters on pictures?! I always stressed over picking one filter for my snaps. Was the time or temp more important than the one that makes my skin look flawless?! So thankful that Katie shared this tip with us.

5  Ghostcodes. If finding friends and new people to follow frustrates you, download the app Ghostcodes where you can search by name and category for accounts that interest you. Similar to Reddit, accounts get voted up and down so the most popular and exciting ones make it to the top. Make sure to add yourself to the app so people can find you!

above tips are from Building Your Brand on Snapchat with Katie Dunlap of Love, Sweat, and Fitness

I had such a great time at Blogfest with Propel and, since I wasn’t able to attend the Friday sessions, check out the blog posts by my fellow Propel Ambassadors for even more tips, tricks, and pics of the weekend!

Whitney from To Live and Diet in LA

Gwen from The LA Girl

Evann from Evann Clingan

Melanie from Headstands and Heels

This post is sponsored by Propel Electrolyte Water, but all opinions are my own.

Propel Workout with Gunnar Peterson Recap

You know those things that you look forward to for so long and are so excited about? There is nothing worse than when they pass by so quickly.

My second workout with celeb (read: Kardashian) trainer, Gunnar Peterson, has been something I’ve counted down for months. I was eager to meet the NYC Propel Ambassador gals and spend some more time with bloggers-turned-friends, Whitney and Gwen. With the anticipation bubbling, I didn’t even want it to start for fear that it would end too soon. Well, I was right. Although it’s over, I am so thankful for such a great experience and can’t want to share the deets with you!

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BootcampFit at Platefit

At a Glance:

Website: http://www.platefit.co
Address: 309 N Kings Rd, West Hollywood, CA 90048
Length: 30 minutes
Price: 1 class/$27, 10 classes/$220, month unlimited without contract/$220
Sweat scale: high
Energy level: high

Los Angeles truly does have the most unique workouts—something that I appreciate more every time I exercise in another city. From machines that simulate climbing to vibrating plates, they sure do know how to keep it interesting around here.

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Five Things I’m Loving Lately – July

Ah! I am so sorry I have been extremely MIA recently. But I promise it’s for a very legitimate reason and not just because I’m a slacker (eh, maybe a bit of both). I got a new job! I’ll spare you the details but I’m still working in nonprofit, however now on the marketing/outreach side of things instead of programs. I just finished my first week and so far so good—I love it! Hopefully with all the craziness settling down, I’ll be back to my normal Tues/Thurs posting schedule. And I do apologize for my absence.

To fill you in on some updates let’s get down to the five things I’m loving lately, July edition.

Weddings

The best (and sometimes maybe worst?) thing about summer in your late 20s is seeing many of your closest friends tie the knot. My husband and I were in Connecticut last weekend where we witnessed my Memphis roommate of three years tie the knot. It was so amazing being able to see her and celebrate such a special day—and let’s give it up for the mac and cheese bar and bacon wrapped scallops that made the trip even more worth it! We’re heading to another wedding in Miami next Friday where I will get a new sister-in-law (yay Jessica and Justin!).

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Fellow blogger babes

One thing that I absolutely love about having a blog is being able to connect with other bloggers via social media and IRL. I am SO excited because next week we ALL get to come together for BlogFest in downtown LA! I’ll be going with my fellow Propel ambassadors, Whitney from To Live and Diet and Gwen from The LA Girl. It’s always a good time when we get to hang out and rep one of our favorite workout accessories together. Drinking Propel during and right after an intense fitness class, run, or gym sesh is crucial because it replenishes the electrolytes you lose when you sweat.

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McDonald’s iced coffee

I’m obsessed with a good deal which is why I’m shocked and upset that I just learned about this promo going on right now. Buy one get one free iced coffee!!! Dreams do come true! I will say, the promo is only good Monday-Friday (when coffee is most necessary, duh) but I can’t find anything about it online so hopefully it’s at your local Micky D’s too. My tip is to be very specific with how you want it prepared or you’ll leave there with more cream and sugar than anyone can handle. (PS yes, I did get fries, I went to Carrie’s Pilates Plus that evening so I don’t feel guilty. Also I gave the “get one free” to a coworker…nothing like making new friends by giving them free coffee!)

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Squarebars

The lovely people at Squarebars sent over a sample pack and so far I love them. I had tried them in the past and didn’t enjoy the flavors I had chosen at Vitamin Shoppe but now that I have an array, the cherry chocolate is my fav.

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Training Mate

I always found the parking situation at Training Mate to be daunting and typically didn’t seek out the classes but that all changed when they opened the Stud(io) City location. I’m not absolutely addicted to Luke’s class. Whenever I go in there tired, upset, or just not in the mood, I come out on cloud nine still laughing from one of the awful jokes. If you haven’t been, go, first class is free.

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This post is sponsored by Propel Electrolyte Water, but all opinions are my own.

SWEAT at Prevail

At a Glance:

Website: http://www.prevaillosangeles.com
Address: 5957 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Length: 45 minutes
Price: first class/$20, 1 class/$25, 10 classes/$230, month unlimited/$249
Sweat scale: high
Energy level: high

I’m seriously embarrassed and kind of sad that it took me almost two years to get the courage to take a class at Prevail—one of everyone’s FAVORITE boxing studios in LA. I giggle a little too much to even take myself seriously while I’m wearing the gloves. I decided to finally take the plunge and signed up for class.

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Apple Pie Greek Yogurt

I’ve been on quite the apple kick lately. I went through a few years where my body was intolerant to apples but I decided to test the waters recently and learned that I don’t feel horribly sick anymore after eating one! Hence why they have become a staple to my diet again, mostly in the combo of apples and peanut or almond butter–is there anything better?!

This weekend I ran out of berries for my usual breakfast creation and was trying to think of a way to make my plain Greek yogurt less tart and more appetizing. Apples were the only fruit in the fridge and I knew we had some good apple pie spices so I went to work. I have eaten this every single morning since and don’t plan on looking back anytime soon!

Apple Pie Greek Yogurt

Ingredients:

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1 small container of Fage plain 2% Greek yogurt
1 Apple
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
Honey

  1. Cut up apple into bite size pieces and place in bowl.
  2. Empty the Greek yogurt container on top of the apples.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg onto the yogurt, to taste. I used a heavy dash of cinnamon and a light dash of nutmeg.
  4. Drizzle honey on top.
  5. Stir and enjoy!

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What’s in my Gym Bag?

Many people are shocked to hear that I don’t plan my workouts ahead of time. Remember when ClassPass started limiting class reservations to four at a time? Yeah, I had no clue it happened because I wait until the last minute to book every class. I never know what kind of mood I’ll be in or what time I’ll need to leave the office, so around 3:00 every day, I start perusing to decide what sweat-scapade will have that night.

There are a few downsides to this. First off, since so many people do schedule ahead of time, it can be kind of difficult to get into a class last minute. The longer I wait, the more they fill up. It’s the worst feeling when I finally make a decision only to find out the class is now full!

It can also be a pain because of what’s required for each class. Barre requires sticky socks and longer leggings and I enjoy wearing baggy shirts and need tennis shoes for bootcamp. The worst is forgetting a pair of socks and then signing up for spin class!

For this reason, every morning I pack my bag full of anything I might need for the night’s workout. I’m not very high-maintenance so this is what I typically include:

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  1. Sneakers
  2. Sticky socks for barre and Pilates
  3. Regular socks for spin or bootcamp
  4. Headphones in case I go on an outdoor run
  5. Sports bra
  6. Leggings
  7. Tank
  8. Propel to replenish electrolytes after class
  9. Dry shampoo

What do you keep in your gym bag?

This post is sponsored by Propel Electrolyte Water, but all opinions are my own.