3 OF MY FAVORITE RESISTANCE BAND WORKOUTS FOR ELONGATED LEGS AND ARMS
I have loved adding weights to my daily workouts over the past few years, and decided to focus a little more on really elongating my legs and arms (specifically my upper thighs). I narrowed down some resistance band exercised to my three favorites that have given me the best results in giving me leaner, longer muscles in my arms and legs
A few months ago I grabbed these resistance bands at target. I have been doing lots of squats and pushups lately (view one of my favorite squat workouts here). I wanted to really focus on developing leaning longer muscles. So I incorporated a few resistance band exercises. I tried a few different variations of resistance band workouts. I wanted a few simple exercises that were easy to remember and gave me the fastest results (ie: I hate wasting my time during a workout). I try to only do exercises that push my the hardest so I know I will see improvements.
Over the course of four months, I narrowed down the workouts to my three favorite resistance band workouts. These three easy to do (and remember) workouts can be done at home, at the park while the kids play, or at the gym. Resistance bands are great because they are easy to transport and inexpensive!
Here are my three favorite resistance band exercises:
I try to look for bands that give me a good amount of resistance. I use these resistance bands. I use the band with the most resistance almost exclusively. I also cut one of the bands. I like the option to tie it to make it extra resistant.
WHAT MY BEAUTY SUPPLEMENTS HAVE DONE FOR MY BODY, AND MY FAVORITE WAYS TO TAKE THEM
Sponsored by Walmart and Shopstyle
I talked about how I was first introduced to the Evolution_18 beauty supplement line last month, and since then I’ve been using their beauty supplements consistently every single day. I wanted to write a follow-up post about them to let you know what they have done for me and my body, and how I have incorporated them into my lifestyle.
You can read all about the different supplements here, but I wanted to dive into the benefits I’ve seen personally. Most of the beauty supplements I’ve chosen to take from this line are all forms of collagen. I love that Evolution_18 provides me with multiple ways to take it every day. Over the past month of consistently taking collagen in the various ways I listed below, my skin has an increased fullness and has a subtle glow. Previously I went for quite a while without taking collagen consistently, so I loved seeing the benefits appear on my skin over the last few weeks.
My nails, lashes, and hair have both gotten stronger and less brittle. If you saw in my insta stories last week, the front section of my hair is finally starting to grow out, and I do think collagen has helped aid this!
Here are the collagen supplements I’ve been taking from Evolution_18 and when/why I take each one:
Evolution_18 Collagen Peptide & Protein Powder: This beauty supplement is one that I added more recently post-workouts. Especially on days where I use my weights, I try to get as much protein as I can. This has 14 grams of protein and collagen peptides. It dissolves easily in water, so I add it to my drinks, or morning smoothies. Love that they killed two birds with one stone with this supplement.
I ran out of EVOLUTION_18 Probiotic Beauty Blend Quick Melt, Lemon dissolving packets pretty quickly because I was super consistent about taking one every day. My personal test to see if I really love a product is if I want to get it again when I run out. I couldn’t wait to stock back up on these probiotics! They are so easy and pleasant to take, and they make me feel less bloated during the day.
I really feel like I’m living the best version of myself when I make time to exercise in the morning, and I love wearing my lululemon leggings during my runs. I’m so excited to be teaming up with lululemon to share a few of my favorite items they carry that would make fantastic gifts this season.
I’ve been a big lululemon fan for years and today on the blog I also wanted to break down all of my favorite leggings they carry and sizing info. luluemon has so many good leggings that work for various elements and types of workouts. Just in case you are interested in gifting a pair of their buttery smooth leggings to a friend (or yourself!) this season, I wanted to help make your selection easy.
Here are my top four favorite lululemon leggings and why I love them.
These are my running leggings of choice right now. They are the most slimming on and the ⅞ length (25”) hits right at my mid-ankle which is the most flattering legging length (I’m 5’6” for reference). I love that there are deep pockets on both legs and they are made from lululemon’s famous Nulux fabric that is quick-drying and super smooth. These are great for warm-cool temperatures, the fabric is very thin and soft. SHOP THEM HERE
The most buttery soft leggings I have ever worn! These leggings I use for lounging, travel, yoga, and sometimes sleeping. I don’t usually like to spend all day in tight leggings, but these have a comfortable four-way stretch and I feel like they would be comfortable enough to sleep in (and I don’t usually sleep in leggings). The 25” is full length on me and I wear a size 4. SHOP THEM HERE
These are my most versatile leggings and would work great for cold and warm weather. They hold you in but aren’t super thick (which also adds to the comfort level!). I love the thicker high waistband. These are super durable. The ⅞” are full length on me and I’m wearing them in this blog post. SHOP THEM HERE
I think anythinglululemon would make for a fantastic gift. The leggings are obviously my first choice for a gift, but lululemon also carries truly incredible activewear for women, girls, and men! They have an entire section on their site dedicated to great Gift Ideas that you can check out
I would have died for these running gloves on my runs when I lived in Utah! And they work with cell phones- genius!
Give a woman any lululemon items made out of their Nulu fabric and she will be thrilled! This Nulu Racerback Tank is buttery soft and stays in place on my runs!
This blush pouch would be such a great gift as a makeup bag for the girl on the go!
I’m so obsessed with this hat and run with it all the time. I got it in black and it’s made from the best material. For under $30 this would be a great quality gift.
If you want to be the bell of the ball on Christmas morning, give her these Align II leggings. They are made from that butter soft Nulu fabric and I want to live in them! (the 25” length go right to my ankle, the perfect length).
Last year I made two big changes in my workout/health routine. I did my best to cut out refined sugar from my diet, and I got really into working out with weights. In years past, my main form of working out was doing pilates and running. After I had my first son, I trained for and ran two half marathons. I often say the months that I spent training for those marathons I was the happiest I had ever been. Up until that point I was not a runner. Running one mile was overwhelming to me! But after constantly running four days a week for training, I loved it!
I saw the fastest change in my body with added weights and cutting out sugar. So much so that I would only start my workouts with running 1-2 miles on a treadmill, with most of my focus being on the weights. Since moving to our new house, I have a lot more running friendly streets, and I’ve been running longer distances outside more often, and I remember how much I love it! So here is what I have decided to do for my workouts this year that I hope will be the best of both worlds…
I am keeping my weight exercises, and adding longer runs to my workouts. The weights have helped me tone and build muscle, but adding in 2-3 longer runs each week will give my body a break and elongate the muscle.
Invest in better running gear. I have some really great workout shoes for lifting weights, but I still have my super old running shoes for long runs. They are pretty worn out, so I just bought these Adidas sneakers from Nordstrom, and I love them! I showed a closer view of them on my stories the other day. They give me really great support without being too squishy or soft. Keep in mind they run at least 1/2 size big! I ordered my normal size and ended up exchanging them for the next size down. I also just got these leggings and I am so obsessed! Zella, only carried by Nordstrom, makes amazing quality leggings. The high waist is so flattering, the fabric is not see-through, and they come in the best colors and styles! I have been so impressed by all of Zella’s line; it makes Nordstrom the first place I shop when I am on the hunt for good athletic wear.
I will still try and cut out more refined sugar. I swear a cleaner diet helped me cut so much faster. It also made me less sluggish and more disciplined in my workouts. I jumped off the no sugar train over the holidays and I felt so gross. So I’ve recommitted myself to clean eating again.
Now that I’ve posted about it…that means I have to stick with it, right?! I always try to post what I do for my workout on my stories. It helps keep me accountable!
I saved one of my very favorite categories on the Nsale for last…activewear! Nordstrom carries so many great quality activewear brands, it was hard to narrow them down. But I own, have felt, and have tried on so many of these pieces, and I’ve narrowed them down to my very favorite picks below. If you haven’t had a chance to scope out the great selection of activewear Nordstrom has during their sale, here is an easy shopping guide, because I picked only the best pieces.
I don’t know what it is about this jacket, but I’m so drawn to it. It has an old-school vibe and I love it. The navy color is my favorite, and under $50.
These sports bras are such a great sale price at two for $50.
I was obsessed with this brand of leggings when I was pregnant, I don’t know why I didn’t realize they made non-maternity pants too! This is the softest fabric I have ever felt (and I know my fabrics!). The dark garnet color is beautiful.
Such a great basic hoodie. This one runs oversized, in a good way.
Zella just kills it every time. They took their ultimate leggings and added chic mesh cutouts, and in olive! Love! Under $50.
This is the softest tank! I wear this more for lounging in than I do working out.
I went far too many years working out without these leggings. The best activewear buy of the sale. It you buy one activewear item, make is these leggings. Reversible, not see through, high quality material for $35. This sale price is unreal for the quality you get. (people say they size down, but I wear a small and like the fit!)
The chicest workout pants I’ve ever seen in my life. I’d take these to date night for sure!
Same great quality Zella fabric in a tank. Under $25. All three colors please!
These sneakers are so unique; at first glance they are the classic Adidas, but they are made with such cool textured knit stretchy fabric. Love them.
The brand with the softest leggings makes cardigans too?!
I have a new workout video for you today! I have gotten a lot or requests and questions about my exercise routine, so I wanted to show you another leg move I love to do. Most of the workouts I’ve posted are focused on legs/upper thigh because it’s my favorite area to really focus on. I also think you can improve a lot of other areas of the body while doing these workouts as well. I still do my squat/pushup routine at the gym regularly. I love doing my leg lifts at home, and this is another great leg exercise I love to do at home.
There are so many days when I have the best intentions to get out the door to the gym…eventually. Putting on workout clothes first thing in the morning is one way I mentally make myself workout that day, but many days it just ends up being at home at the end of a long day! Life gets going, and I’m all over the place with kids, work, and errands; but when I already have on a comfy tank, leggings, and running shoes, I force myself to fit in some exercise at some point in the day!
I recently picked up this amazing pair of Nike running shoes from Finish Line in the prettiest lilac color. Aren’t they amazing? I saw them online, and I just couldn’t get them out of my head. The top of the shoe is really soft and pliable, so they are even comfy to wear without socks if you are just doing yoga or pilates! I ended up wearing them all day without socks the other day because I just threw them on first thing in the morning, and they were so cushiony all day long. I love adding a colorful shoe to an all black workout look. Finish Line also has some great women’s workout clothing in addition to shoes. These black leggings are so cute! I don’t love capris on me, so I like that these are long with the logo at the very bottom. One of these days I’ll get brave and go for some bright colored leggings, but I loved these ones. You can check out more of the great options that Finish Line carries here. I saw some athletic shoes there in colors and styles I haven’t seen before, like these and these.
SHOP MY LOOK HERE:
These side leg lifts are great because they are quick and efficient. They really target the outside of the upper thigh (which is always the area I try to concentrate on most). These ones get right to the point fast, and my upper thigh always burns like crazy as I do them! These are great for days when you can’t make it to the gym, but have a little time and want to just concentrate on your outer thighs.
Here is the workout. Try doing it along with me!
note: make sure you have most of your weight on your knee. Your hand on the mat is there to help with your balance, but you should hardly be putting any weight on it. You should be able to lift your hand off of the mat while doing this exercise.
16 leg lifts (foot flexed)
16 leg pulses (foot flexed)
8 clockwise circles (toe pointed)
8 counterclockwise circles (toe pointed)
8 leg lifts (foot flexed)
STRETCH before changing sides!
16 leg lifts (foot flexed)
16 leg pulses (foot flexed)
8 clockwise circles (toe pointed)
8 counterclockwise circles (toe pointed)
8 leg lifts (foot flexed)
Disclaimer: Like I state in all my workout videos, I’m not a professional! These are workouts I’ve picked up from various classes over the years, and ones that I do all the time. I’m simply sharing a few ideas for workouts you can do at home, but I don’t claim to be any sort of workout expert! 😉
When I make the time to work out I am a much happier person. I feel energized, fulfilled, and it’s so much better for me mentally and physically. Today, I’m going to answer two questions that I get asked a lot.
What is your go-to gym workout routine?
What do you do to keep your scalp from getting itchy in between washing when you work out regularly?
Since these two questions kind of go hand-in-hand, I decided to group them together and answer both in today’s post…
If you watch my Insta Stories, you know I do lots of push-ups and squats during my workouts. These two exercises have given me more visible results than most other exercises I have done. Some days the count is a little less, just depending on how much time/energy I have, but on most days at the gym, this is my workout:
I start off my workout with a 2 mile run on the treadmill. Followed by:
30 squats (toes and knees pointed out, with 15 lb weight)
1-2 min plank
30 squats (with 20 lb weight bar)
1-2 min plank
30 squats (15 with 20 lb bar pushing it straight up, 15 with no weight)
1-2 min plank
(Repeat this twice)
End with 20 squats of choice and 10 push-ups
My goal with each workout is to get to 200 squats. Adding a light weight to my squat routine has made a world of difference! I posted a full video of this workout at the bottom of this post. Feel free to play it at the gym and work out along with me!
HAIR ROUTINE IN BETWEEN WORK OUTS
Since I usually only have 40-50 minutes to fit in my workout, I workout hard. I usually leave the gym a sweaty mess. I talked about my struggle with a dry, itchy scalp a few weeks ago in this post. When working out regularly, my scalp usually needs even more attention. I try to wash my hair a little more frequently than normal (every 4 days instead of every 5 or 6), but when I sweat, my scalp gets itchy fast. It is hard to squeeze in time to exercise, let alone shower. I have been on the hunt for a product that will help my itchy scalp in between washing it. After a sweaty workout, I dry my hair with a cool blow dryer, and spray in some dry shampoo. This helps keep it from getting too greasy. However, an itchy scalp is usually the reason why I end up washing my hair more frequently. I recently discovered Head & Shoulders Clinical Solutions, and this duo has been the answer to my problem!
I start by washing my hair with the Clinical Solutions Itch Relief Dandruff Shampoo– which works on my scalp right away and smells so good. I was shocked that such a powerful shampoo would smell clean and fresh, not like medicine. It doesn’t dry out my hair either, like I expected medicated shampoo might do.
Every day in between washing my hair, I spray Head & Shoulders Clinical Solutions Leave-On Dandruff Treatment all along the front, top section of my scalp (where I get the most dandruff/itchiness). This product has been a game changer!! It’s like being able to shampoo my scalp without having to go through the entire shampoo process.
The Leave-On Dandruff Treatment is a clear gel that I spray on and rub into my scalp. It dries quickly and doesn’t leave any extra buildup in my hair. I use it twice a day on the days that I work out, and just in the mornings before I do my hair on the other days. The zinc pyrithione in this formula is what really combats the itching and irritation. I haven’t had any flakes or itchiness since using this treatment regularly, and I love that it allows me to workout as much as I want without having to wash my hair all the time. It also smells like the shampoo- clean and fresh. It’s become a necessity in my daily beauty routine, and I love that I can order it quickly online when I am close to running out.
If you have a problem with an itchy scalp, or if you are looking for a way to be able to workout without the pain of washing your hair constantly, I would highly recommend these products.
Below is the full workout video. I loaded it in real time so you can do it along with me (I’ll loaded a condensed sped up version on my instagram if you would prefer viewing it that way).
Also make sure to check out my Leg Kick Workout Routine video at the bottom of this post.
Today I’m sharing a few cute workout looks that will make you want to get out there and exercise! Most of the time if I go through a period where I am not in the groove of working out multiple times a week, I have the hardest time getting motivated to start up again. One solution that works every time is a cute new top, shoes, or leggings. I just picked up some adorable new workout looks from Tjmaxx.com, and now I have the motivation I need! Have you ever shopped online with T.J.Maxx? I’ve always shopped in store, so this was my first experience shopping online, and it was so easy with lots of items to choose from. I was able to grab so many great activewear pieces, and almost all of them are under $20! They also have a great selection of workout gear, and it was all delivered right to my door!
At the bottom of this post, I also share a leg workout that I have been doing for years that always gives me results. Make sure you check it out, and let me know if you try it!
For my first look, I picked this cute designer top with a built in sports bra. I am obsessed with burgundy leggings, and these ones are super comfy. I love the look of them paired with these floral sneakers. You can check out more cute sneaker options here.
For this look I wanted something that I could move around in easily for a light morning stretch or exercise, and then keep on the rest of the day as I run from school drop offs, to the grocery store, etc. Can you even handle these navy metallic sneakers? I about died when I found them. That’s one thing I love about T.J.Maxx. Shopping there is like a treasure hunt; I’ve never seen these sneakers on anyone before, so I felt like I hit the jackpot when I came across them online! Tjmaxx.com is like my secret weapon for finding designer items that are hard to find elsewhere, at incredible prices. These faux leather leggings are such incredible quality, and they are the most reasonably priced leather leggings I have found!
My third look screams, “Did I work out? Did I even change out of my jammies? YOU’LL NEVER KNOW!” I love it! I am usually freezing in my house, so I love throwing on this ultra soft sweatshirt. This look is definitely comfy enough to just lounge around the house in.
Here is a real time video of one of my favorite leg exercises. I’ve been doing it for the past 7 years and I learned it in a pilates class I took when I was pregnant with Bradley. No matter how strong I am or how many times I do this routine, it is always hard and it works out my inner and outer thighs like crazy! It’s the best because you can just lay down on the floor and do it in your house! No equipment needed.
I shot this exercise from 2 different angles so you can see the placement of my leg kicks, and I loaded it in real time so you can do it along with me!
If you follow along with me on Instagram Stories, you know that I try to get to the gym a few times a week. If I can’t fit the gym into my day, I usually do a workout at home. Carving out 40 minutes to and hour in my day to dedicate to an intense workout is something that benefits me physically and mentally. Aside from the gym, I am constantly lifting kids, strollers, bags of groceries, hiking up the hill for school pickup, pushing around 1800 lb Costco shopping carts, contorting my body in unnatural ways to reach the prized toy that fell into a deep dark hole under the Cash’s car seat. I am ALWAYS on the move. Since my day is so packed, I usually end up staying in whatever outfit I throw on first thing in the morning. I have found that if I throw on an athleisure look that I can move around easily in- 9 times out of 10 I am more physically active that day. Here are a few tips I’ve learn when it comes to making the athleisure trend work…
1. Find a middle balance in your clothing:
Athleisure means you ware wearing clothing that is appropriate for low to med exercise where you aren’t dripping sweat (yoga, pilates, short jogs, light weight lifting). This is clothing that you should also feel comfortable grocery shopping in, or chatting with your kid’s teacher. Tight running shorts and sports bras only are very much “gym only” clothes in my opinion. So don’t walk around town in something that is too short or revealing. I have a few tighter workout shirts that are great at the gym, but I wear longer, loser fitting tops that cover my bum when I know I’m also going to be out and about.
2. Accessorize appropriately:
A red lip and cat eye glasses do not go with yoga pants and running shoes. But a tiny delicate necklace and understated aviators, and gold studs are a good balance. I also usually opt for my diaper bag when I am heading out in athleisure. I save my nicer totes and purses for a look that is more appropriate.
3. Wear shoes that can crossover:
I have a few pairs of sneakers that are hard core running shoes, but for an athleisure look I go for something really comfortable, one solid color, and a little more understated. I love these new Puma Rebel Sneakers I just got from Rack Room Shoes, because they don’t have laces, so I can slip them on super easily. Socks are optional with these shoes because the bottom of the shoes so comfortable. It kind of feels like I’m walking on clouds. They are also breathable, so I can get away with a light workout without socks too. I love the solid black design because it looks sleek and understated, but still stylish (they also come in pink and grey)
4. A little hair and makeup go a long way:
Since you are spending less time digging through blouses and colors of jeans- take a few extra minutes and throw on a little foundation, blush, mascara, and lipgloss. You can definitely get away without a full face of makeup, but I fell a lot more confident running around town in an athleisure look when I have a little makeup on and my hair isn’t a disaster.
5. Remember to wear jeans sometimes too:
While I think the athleisure look is so great for someone busy like me- I still try and get dressed in a normal jeans + top a few times a week. These are usually days when I have meetings and know I won’t have time to fit in a workout.
If I had to pick the two fastest, most effective, ways that have helped me trim down and get into shape, it would be running and cutting sugar from my diet. Both things are hard, but I have seen more progress in a shorter amount of time doing these two things than any other kind of workout or diet.
I ran a few half marathons a while back and grew to really love running when I was training for them. I have to wear comfortable clothes when I run, and I am super picky about how my shorts fit (if the ride up, if fabric is itchy, whether my sports bra is supportive or not, etc.) I’m not sure I have felt a top softer than this Zella pullover. I love that it is a wider cut around the neck so I don’t feel suffocated or claustrophobic when I run on cold mornings. These shorts have built in tighter shorts in them, which allow them to stay in place and not ride up! This cute tank is a thin sweat-wicking material that is cool and not too tight. I always score the best workout gear at Nordstrom.
I get asked a lot about how I cut sugar from my diet, so I wanted to focus more on that aspect in this post (you can read more about my favorite workout right now in this post). Just like my last workout post, I need to emphasize that I am not an expert on diet, nutrition, exercise, etc. I have just found certain things that work for me (as long as I am dedicated) and I thought I would share it with you.
When I was pregnant with Eli I stayed pretty active (you can read more about my favorite pregnancy workouts here). I worked out and ran regularly, but at around 6 months it was really painful to run and I couldn’t be as active as I wanted. So I decided to clean up my diet to make up for the lack of time at the gym. With Bradley and Cash I wanted Taco Bell 5 layer burritos and Mac & Cheese all the live long day. But with Eli, those junk food cravings weren’t quite so strong. One thing I experienced, was that I would get nauseous any time I ate sweets. Because of this, it made things a little easier for me to avoid sugar because I knew how sick it would make me. I don’t know why the pregnancy craving gods had mercy on me this pregnancy, but I attribute a lot of my ability to cut sugar from my diet to how sick I got from it when I was pregnant. I was so sad when I couldn’t exercise as much as I wanted to, and I thought for sure I would pack on extra pounds. I was shocked to find that this pregnancy was the most healthy and fit pregnancy I have had and attribute that 100% to my healthier diet. Once I had Eli, I was already used to avoiding sweets, so I just kept it up.
In my current diet I still avoid sugar like the plague. I’ve also cut out a lot of dairy and only try to eat whole grains (and when I do, I don’t eat a ton of grains in the evenings). When I cook, I usually make dinner for the boys, and then a salad, grilled fish, my steamed veggie rice bowl, or a veggie burger for Garrett and I. Sometimes Garrett needs a little more than a veggie burger to fill him up (I don’t blame him! haha!), and he eats what the boys are eating, but for the most part he eats healthy right along with me.
Cutting sugar from your diet is a lifestyle change that takes commitment. So much of it for me is mental! It also takes planning ahead. These things have really come into play since the holidays have started! Between all the holiday parties coming up and so many sweet sugary temptations. Here are a few tips I found that help me avoid sugar:
Always have healthy snacks on hand.
I have to make sure my kitchen is stocked with my go to snacks: nuts and dried cherries, protein bars, string cheese, apples/bananas and peanut butter, protein drinks, and turkey + avocados. If I don’t have those snacks when I am hungry, I eat chips, a bowl of cereal, or something less healthy that I immediately regret. The healthier I eat, the worse I feel after eating something unhealthy. Also, don’t let yourself get so hungry that you end up shoving whatever is closest/easiest in your face! Eat smaller portions often to keep up your metabolism and to keep from getting so hungry that you don’t have the self control to make a healthy choice.
Know your own personal temptations/limits.
When I make dessert for my family, I very rarely eat it myself. It’s not always easy, but I know myself. I know the second I let myself have a chocolate chip cookie, it’s so much easier for me to have a second, then a third after the boys go to bed, and by then I might as well just eat the rest of them so they stop staring at me the whole night. I’ve learned to buy the types of treats for the kids that I know I won’t be tempted by (ie: Oreos don’t do anything for me, so I’ll get those for the boys, but can’t trust myself with a bag of Nacho Doritos!) If I allow myself to have even just a little, I know I will end up eating way more sweets than I want to. So it’s easier for me to not even have a taste. Garrett is really good at just stopping after one cookie, but I just can’t!
Don’t give into peer pressure.
When I am at my house, I pretty much have total control over the food/snacks that are available. I have cookies and chips for the boys’ lunches, and I have set foods that I eat every single day. I usually stick to eating the same things everyday:
Lunch: Two mozzarella cheese sticks with turkey wrapped around them. I stick this in the microwave for 1 minute to melt it, and I top it with avocado and tomatoes, a veggie burger, or my favorite veggie wrap (I posted the recipe for this here).
Dinner: Grilled fish and veggies, steamed chicken sausage veggie bowl (I posted the recipe for this here), chicken/turkey breast with veggies and brown rice, or an omelette.
The biggest obstacle for me is avoiding sugar when I am at events, parties, dinners, out to lunch, etc. There are always sweets and you will always be offered one. I have to make up my mind before I even leave my house that I’m not going to have one. But the peer pressure can be hard! I find myself eating deserts that I didn’t even want to eat because everyone else is eating them, or because I am worried about offending someone. So I decided that if I was offered something with sugar I wanted to avoid I just say “I’m good, thank you!” right away, with no hesitation. Many times I will eat a protein bar right before an event with sweets so that my sweet tooth is craved, and I don’t get so hungry that I have a hard time saying no.
Write it down.
I’m such a list junkie that I wasn’t surprised at how much writing down everything I ate in a day helped keep me motivated to avoid sugar. There is satisfaction in checking off a goal, so each day without sugar is like a goal that I get to check off! Find out what works for you! Many times I will take a quick snap at the gym and post it over on my insta story along with what I did for my workout. Just something simple like that can leave you feeling accomplished and make you want to keep it up!
We just got back from a huge family reunion where there was a ton of tempting snacks and sweets. I had to get creative on my meals to try and stay healthy. Instead of eating the chicken enchiladas for dinner, I put the chicken filling over lettuce for a salad. And I opted for snacks that were filling, like an apple with peanut butter, to keep from eating chips and soda.
Keep up the workouts.
When I feel good from a workout, I have a harder time putting crap food in my body because I don’t want to counteract that hard work. I’ve found that when I go more than a week without a good workout, I also start slipping in my diet. The two check and balance each other, and I see the most progress when I am doing both consistently.
Of course I splurge every once in a while. I had the most amazing lemon custard dessert for Garrett’s birthday, and I enjoyed every last bite! But I know myself, and if I give in too often, I lose momentum of eating healthy and I go downhill fast. Like I said earlier, so much of it is mental for me! I have to pep talk myself into what I will/won’t eat. It sounds crazy, but it helps! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below! I’d be happy to answer them!
One of my most requested posts is for my workout routines and what I eat on a daily basis. I’ve gone back and forth over whether or not I should start sharing because I’m by no means a workout pro! But I decided to start writing a little more about some of the workouts I do at the gym, and a few health tips I have found that work for me to help any of you busy mommas out there! Most of what I do is pretty basic, and I just try to cram as much as I can in the short amount of time I have to exercise.
One thing I have done differently since I started really working out this time, is using weights. In the past I mostly stuck to running and pilates (which I love), but I have really really seen faster results with basic weight training exercises. Squats are my go-to exercise because they tone my legs faster than any other workout, and they work my abs and arms at the same time. My favorite workout to do to tone my inner thighs is this squat below. I started doing them with a 15 lb weight, and now I do them with a 20-25 lb weight. I do a few different kinds of squats, but I always do 2-3 sets of 30 of this particular squat…
This squat is great for toning the inner thigh. Make sure you push your butt out as far as you can when you go down, keep your toes pointed out, and don’t let your knees go further out than your toes.
I’ve always loved to workout. After I had Bradley I trained for and ran two half marathons, and I joke that I felt the very happiest during the time I was training. Happy endorphins are a real thing you guys! Since then I have been kind of in and out of hard core exercising. I definitely go through periods where I feel too stressed, busy, and tired to get out and exercise, but I’ve learned the hard way that those times are when I need to workout the most! I started changing up what I ate when I was pregnant with Eli and cut out a ton of sugar from my diet, and I worked out here and there after he was born. But about six months ago I found myself feeling stressed and overwhelmed with work and just everyday life. I went for weeks without exercise, and I was so down and so negative about myself and all that I had to do. I hated feeling that way, and I knew that physical exercise would help change that. So I started working out wherever I could (backyard, gym, park, etc), and pushed myself to do as much activity as I could in 40-60 minutes. It made such a difference in my attitude and drive! It is so therapeutic for me to take time to focus on working my body and really taking time to tune in to my thoughts. I get some of my best ideas and inspiration during workouts, and I feel so much more accomplished that day. Knowing how good I will feel after a workout is one of the main things that motivates me to get out there and start.
Another huge motivation for me is cute workout gear. I’ve had the same 4-5 tops that I just rotate through for the past year. When I decided to really commit myself, I grabbed some new workout clothes from Nordstrom and they really make me want to workout! I found this Nike sports bra that offers great support and is really comfortable to wear. So many sports bras are too thin and not supportive, so I would highly recommend this one. I am completely obsessed with these Under Armor leggings. I love them so much that I bought them in black too. They are a little thicker, so they hold everything in place, and they’re super flattering. They aren’t see through, so I feel really confident in them! I have a few other leggings that are comfy, but these ones are my favorite right now. This top is lightweight and great quality. I’m wearing a small and I love that it is a little oversized.
Again, I want to emphasize that I am no expert! I’m just showing you what I love to do and what helped strengthen my body. I will be posting more regular health/fitness posts since so many of you have requested it! I love to share products and things that I love, but I also want to make sure I really practice what I preach. I have been posting a bit of these workouts on my Instastory, and I’m excited to start bringing them to life here on Elle Apparel. If there are any specific diet/workout questions you would like me to focus on in these next couple months just let me know in the comments!
For the past few months I have been feeling completely overwhelmed. I have goals I am constantly setting for my business (on top of the workload I already have), and the responsibility of raising three kids is no joke. I am basically working two full-time jobs, and I have lived for months hustling and stressing and being so sleep deprived.
I haven’t improved in the sleep area, but I have really worked on trying to de-stress my life. Most of the stress I felt was self inflicted and I just couldn’t let it weigh me down any longer. Over time, I made a handful of small changes that all worked together to finally help me better manage my stress levels. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am in control. I don’t spend as much time feeling stretched, guilty, or stressed, and I have come up with 7 tips that have helped me to de-stress my life, which I want to share with you. Hopefully they will help some of you!
1. Keep a positive outlook on situations:
When I get stressed, I tend to get a “woe is me” attitude. I have too much to do, the world is caving in, and I feel like I’m drowning. But when I mentally force myself to say, “things will all work out; this isn’t the end of the world,” the truth is…they really do work out! If I spend less time lamenting the aspects of my life that I can’t control and put my focus toward the few that I can, it helps me feel like I have a much better grasp on things. “I can’t get back home in time to make that 10:30 call, but I can give advanced notice that I won’t be able to make it, and reschedule it for tomorrow.” Focus on the positives because filling your head with negative thoughts will only slow you down and stress you out more.
2. Take time each day to get yourself ready:
After having my third baby, I made an important realization in my morning routine: when I leave my bedroom in the morning to go downstairs, chances are I won’t make it back up to my bedroom for a long time. I turn on my “mom mode” and get caught up packing lunches, helping kids, doing laundry, picking up toys, etc. So I try to get myself as ready as possible before I head downstairs to the kids. It is amazing what a fresh shower, great smelling deodorant, and a little bit of makeup can do for my productivity level each day.
I’ve partnered with Dove and have been using Dove’s Advanced Care Antiperspirant in the ‘Revive’ scent for the past few weeks. I love the fresh fruity sent it has, and I haven’t even felt the need to wear perfume because my deodorant smells so good! It offers 48 hours of protection, and keeps me fresh and dry throughout a long stressful day. Even amid running from school, to karate, to soccer, and trying to respond to emails and meet deadlines in between my errands, I haven’t had the need to reapply later in the day (which if you know me…I’m constantly reapplying deodorant! I have travel size backups in my purse and car!). In addition, the NutriumMoisture formula moisturizes my skin and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. When I am clean and somewhat presentable I’m better prepared to take on the demands of the day.
3. Plan to be early:
As a kid, my family was late to everything and I hated it. I’ve tried really hard to break that mold with my own family. But the mornings that I stress and rush my boys from getting dressed, to eating breakfast, to brushing their teeth and out the door, I realized that I was stressing them out. That is the last thing I want my kids to feel as I kiss them goodbye for the next 6 hours. So I started mentally preparing myself to be ready to leave so that we would be 10 minutes early to school, church, play dates, etc. And for the days that we just can’t get there on time, I make a conscious effort to take deep breaths and hide my frustration from the kids. I just tell myself I will try harder tomorrow.
4. Cut the fat:
This was pretty much my mantra for 2016. If it stresses me out just thinking about doing it, then I need to politely decline. If there is a part of me that wants to do it, I usually agree. I say yes to the things I can, but I try to put my kids and my work priorities first. I have gotten a lot better about predicting what I can/can’t handle. Do I want to make homemade cupcakes for my son’s class on his birthday? Of course I do! I know making food for 25 kids will take time, and transportation could be messy, so I buy 2 packs of Oreos instead and deliver those. My son is happy, and I am not stressed. Win win!
5. Put your phone away for 30 minutes a day:
I am not exaggerating when I tell you I currently have 25 unread text messages. I won’t even tell you what my inbox looks like. Just by looking at my phone my mind goes crazy with people I need to respond to, pictures I need to edit, snaps I want to watch, emails I need to read, etc. I can get sucked so deep into my phone that it causes me to snap at my kids if they “interrupt” me by asking me a question. Then I go to bed feeling stressed that I still have unanswered messages and feeling guilty for snapping. I’ve been trying to leave my phone upstairs or turn it off for a chunk of time after school. I send Garrett a quick text letting him know I won’t have my phone for a bit, and then I focus 100% on my kids. That devoted time reading a book, talking about their day, practicing spelling words, and spending time invested in them gives me real tangible connections with my kids that lower my stress levels and give me an immediate sense of accomplishment.
6. Write it down:
When my mind is overflowing with “to do’s,” I have to write them down to get them out of my head and onto paper. I have a notepad I carry around the house with me, and I start a new note page each day. If I don’t get something done that day, it goes back on the list the next day. There is something calming about physically crossing off an accomplishment and starting with a clean slate each morning.
I’m finally getting back into a good exercise routine. I set hours that I work in the mornings (while the older kids are at school, or when my sitter comes in the morning for a few hours twice a week). By getting my work done during a time period I have set, it frees up my evenings or early mornings to go to the gym. A good workout makes my body feel good and my brain more clear and focused. I don’t always have time to shower afterward though, so my Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant sometimes has to act as my perfume and my shower. 😉