Four Ways to Stay Motivated in 2018

After years and years of being basically sedentary and unaware of healthy eating, I totally changed my ways because of a New Year’s resolution. While resolutions get a bad rap, I’m living proof that they can actually can work. Four years ago, I started the year with a simple idea. I wanted to move my body. I wanted to want to work out and eat healthy.

I was living in Memphis at the time (not exactly the epicenter of health + wellness, more like fried chicken + bbq), and working as a third grade teacher. After long days of teaching, I would come home utterly exhausted and not at all in the mood to cook or exercise. Over New Year’s Day brunch with a particularly motivated friend, she let me in on her little secret…that there really is NO secret…you just have to DO IT.

I know it sounds simple, and silly, maybe, but realizing that getting it done isn’t always as easy as it looks was life-changing for me. Instead of searching for motivation to go to the gym, I simply started just going to the gym. The rumor was true, after about three weeks I was hooked and literally haven’t looked back since.

I was thrilled when Kohl’s invited me to a day full of Tone It Up workouts in celebration of a healthy January + the launch of TIU’s new app–Studio Tone It Up. I previously attended one of the TIU retreats and LOVED the community, the workouts, and (of course) Karena and Katrina. Those girls have a way of encouraging everyone to try and do their best–and I love that.

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#KohlsxStudioToneItUp was full of the TIU fit fam + delicious Perfect Fit protein smoothies + manis + massages + booch + lots of sweat + gorgeous athleisure. It was the absolute perfect way to start the day and to keep the energy strong as we head into week three of 2018.

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About 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February but Kohl’s and I don’t want you to be one of them!! Here are my top four ways to stay motivated ALL YEAR!

Four Ways to Stay Motivated in 2018

  1. Work out with friends or join a community. Something that is so great about TIU is the sense of community and therefore accountability. They encourage you to post your meals, #tiubootycall, and daily workouts on social media. It’s fun to brag about getting stuff done, and these gals definitely see the benefits of getting fit and healthy together. Personally, since leaving ClassPass I’ve seen the benefit of having a gym that I LOVE going to. It’s super encouraging when the people at the front desk at Equinox greet me by name. I’ve become a regular in the Thursday barre class and weekend spin classes. We don’t have to do this alone when there are so many people cheering for us!
  2. Treat yourself to some cute athleisure. There’s nothing that makes me want to get to the gym more than having a cute new outfit to flaunt. I got so many compliments on my New Balance sneaks and adorable jacket–all reasonably priced from Kohl’s! You can take advantage of their functional + affordable activewear here. Pro tip: there are pretty much always additional discounts too! See below for Karena and Katrina’s fav picks.
  3. Make a plan. Instead of taking it one day at a time, spend an hour or so on Sundays planning out your weekly workouts. Sundays are also the perfect time to grocery shop and meal prep. If you’re like me and don’t love a Sunday full of cooking, stock your fridge with some meals in mind. That way, when you get home from work and the gym, you aren’t caught empty handed and starving reaching for all the snacks!
  4. Keep it FUN. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, there is NO REASON to dread your workouts. Find things that you love doing so you actually look forward to sweating. I love spin, barre, and pilates so I try to keep my weekly workouts heavy on those three. When I want to run on the treadmill, I try to find a good podcast (always taking recommendations) so I can feel productive and happy while I run. You’re way more likely to keep up the routine if you truly love it!

Karena and Katrina’s Top Picks at Kohl’s!

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Thank you to Kohl’s for helping us all stay motivated this January!

This post was sponsored by Kohl’s but all opinions are my own.

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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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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.

Paddle Board 60 Minute Session at Marina Paddle Fit

At a Glance:

Website: http://www.venicepaddleboards.com
Address: 4601 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Length: 60 minutes
Price: one hour rental/$30, two hour rental/$40, SUP Yoga class/$20, Paddle Fit class/$20
Sweat scale: low
Energy level: low

I have been dying to try paddle boarding ever since my husband and I were in Mexico and I watched him from the shore with a drink in my hand. Not wanting to get in the ocean, I decided to sit that activity out, but I knew I needed to give it a shot in the calm marina water.

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Beginner Class at Physique 57

At a Glance:

Website: http://physique57.com
Address: 320 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Length: 60 minutes
Price: one class/$31, 10 classes/$270, month unlimited/$275
Sweat scale: low
Energy level: low

This studio played hard to get for a while. The longer they stayed off of ClassPass, the more eager I became to try it. I thought about shelling out the money for a single class, but when push came to shove, I waited it out. Finally, my prayers were answered! As much as I wanted to check it out, it wasn’t until this weekend that I finally made the drive to Beverly Hills for a class.

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5 Ways to Make Your Workout Count

This post is written by guest blogger Lauren McAulay.

I’ve definitely had my fair share of working out. I grew up playing sports so being active was part of my life. I played soccer up until college and after my soccer days I was conditioned to work my butt off so I continued going to the gym. I started taking hot yoga sculpt classes that kicked my butt and then moved on to ClassPass and only chose classes that left me insanely sweaty and down right exhausted. If I wasn’t dying at the end of my workout, I didn’t consider it a workout at all. Not saying this is a bad thing but it really depends on the mindset you have around working out.

In the last year I heavily got into the body positive movement. I am a Body Love Coach and self-love advocate. Since I promote positive body image, I started having a different mindset around working out as well.

So here you have it. In my opinion, five ways to make your workout count!

1. Move your body with love

You may tell yourself why does this matter? I get my workout in, kick my butt, and get out of there. It doesn’t matter if I’m loving it or hating it. But no, IT ABSOLUTELY MATTERS! If you are sending signals to your body and telling it that you hate working out, you are suffering, the only reason you are doing it is to burn calories, or just so you can have dessert after dinner; your body knows!

When your body is in a state of hate believe it or not your body is resisting. It’s not shedding the calories, it’s not letting go of the negative energy, it honestly isn’t really doing anything for you. If you are hating yourself or hating your workout you are wasting your time putting yourself through all that suffering. You would benefit 1000x more if you just rested on a yoga mat breathing deeply for an hour. Sending love to your body is a must if you want to make a workout count.

2. Move your body with favoritism

This is when favoritism is actually a positive. The magic of working out is that you get to CHOOSE what you WANT to do. You don’t have to choose a class that makes you run if you hate running, you don’t ever have to step a foot inside a yoga studio if you just don’t enjoy yoga, you can stay away from circuit classes, or Pilates. The beauty is that you get to decide what is your favorite way to move your body!

It doesn’t matter if your favorite thing to do in the entire world is just take a nature walk or a long hike or a restorative yoga class because if you love how you are moving your body that’s all that matters. Your body will react to the love and enjoyment it’s receiving!

3. Move your body with encouragement

When I workout I love listening to audio books that help me grow. It could be a personal or business development book that gets my morning started in a positive direction. When there is encouragement in your mind, your workout is much more enjoyable. You can also make a playlist of songs that make you feel good, happy, motivated…if you love workout classes I would only choose classes that have positive teachers that make you feel inspired! Being encouraged during a workout is absolutely necessary to make it count!

4. Move your body without a time limit

You don’t need to set a time when working out. I used to think that anything less than an hour didn’t count as a workout. How silly right? It doesn’t matter if you can squeeze in a 15-minute at-home workout; it’s still moving your body! I would rather move with the time I had than skip it all together because I couldn’t fit in an hour or more that day. On the flip side over working out is unnecessary. Move your body with the amount of time that makes you feel good!

5. Move your body with self-care

Moving your body with self-care means listening to your body when it needs rest. It’s okay to take a couple of days off if that’s what you need. Don’t feel guilty that if you don’t workout every day you have failed. If you still want to move, it’s okay to take a restorative yoga class or a nice walk. Resting is just as important as moving. We need balance in our life and in our workouts. Self-care will make your workouts count!

The next time you sign up for a class, hit the gym, or go for a run, remember to make your workout count!

With (body) love,

Lauren

_DSC1173Lauren is the founder of The Body Love Tribe, a Body Love Coach, and self-love advocate. Her goal is to help women love themselves, love their body, and love their food. She is writing her first book, to be finished by December 2016. When Lauren isn’t spreading her passion, she is cuddling her two puppies, Chai and Livie. Visit her blog here.