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Get Moving

Mondays are a tricky beast. Sometimes I greet them with open arms. Monday – I am so ready for you! I am going to dominate this week! However, there are those weekends where Monday comes along and I need to take a deep breathe. Alas, I am not ready to “ramp it up” and jump into the rat race. Regardless of how you welcome the fresh start of Mondays they arrive nonetheless. The positive and excited attitude is absolutely the better way to go. Sometimes it is just easier than others to embrace it. :-)

As I get older, the more I see that attitude is everything. It carries over a lot into fitness too. Some workouts I really looking forward to doing. Other times, the weather is not great or I feel tired and blah. I go through the motions, but the enthusiasm is waning. Outside of my regular workouts I like to do things where I do not necessarily have an agenda. For all of us, tt is so important to get moving and find things we simply enjoy doing.

Get Moving

Get Moving

For example, I have recently added running a few times a week to my schedule. I do not track miles or pace and I do it because I like it. If the weather is nice, there is really nothing better than feeling the wind in your hair. Just because you work out or have a routine does not meant you cannot branch a bit. Sometimes I feel I see two approaches to exercise. Some people think every workout should be totally different and want to try every new craze available. Others are slogging away at the same routine they have been doing for years. I have been both people, and I think the beauty rests in the middle ground.

Overhead Press

My weightlifting routines do not change that much on a regular basis. A lot of time it is working the same movement and getting stronger through an increase in weight or repetitions. That is the goal and I love the time dedicated towards that pursuit. However, I also really enjoy mixing in new things like running to keep things interesting and to move more. In a world where we sit for everything sometimes it is just nice to get out of the chair or off the couch.

Cyc Fitness

Recently, I tried a new spinning class with Sweat Pink. It was challenging and fast paced. Sometimes group fitness can be awesome because you get the benefit of everyone’s enthusiasm. It pushes you a little harder. The studio was great, but a little far from our apartment and the individual classes were a little pricey. Not everything is going to be the perfect fit. However, it is important to sometimes get out and try these things just for fun.

Sweat Pink

When is the last time you changed up your workout routine or went to try a new class or hiked just for fun? I think it is really important to not be closed off when it comes to fitness. You never know when you could discover a new passion. Do not worry too much about how it will fit into the overall scheme. Go for it and know that everything has its place. Yoga is a huge compliment to my workouts. I am thrilled I discovered it a few years ago because I decided to give it a go one night at my local gym. It turned out to be just what I needed. I am not an all-star yogini by any means. However, I do not really worry if I need to modify a pose or do not possess the flexibility I would like.

Run, walk, or dance. It is all important. It all counts. Get moving and embrace the excitement of trying something new. Sometimes that is the key in bringing that winning attitude to the start of the week.

You turn:

When is the last time you tried something new?

What is your favorite way to simply get moving?

Xo,

Lauren

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Easy Breakfast Plantains

Plantains have been my new thing lately. I have described my eating style in the past as Paleoish, but lately it has been leaning more towards the Paleo side. This was partially due to the fact that I decided to take a little dairy break. Losing some items that were a major part of my daily diet had me thinking I should branch out. What else is a girl supposed to do when she has to pass over Greek yogurt at the grocery store?

Easy Breakfast Plantains

Easy Breakfast Plantains

As a result, I have been enjoying some new foods that I do not usually make. My new go-to dish has been plantains for breakfast. They are not the only thing I eat, of course, but they really do steal the show. They smell so delicious that Scott wandered out into the kitchen the other morning and asked if I was eating pancakes. I love those too of course, but the comparison makes you realize just how delicious these little yellow circles can be.

Plantains are also rich in vitamins and minerals, inexpensive and easy to find. I found these at the regular grocery store – a Whole Foods stock up was not even necessry.

I almost hesitated to share this when I was contemplating a fun recipe to share on the blog this week. It is so simple that I wondered if it made the “recipe” grade. However, sometimes these are the things that often get overlooked. When a new food enters my midst I realize I often have no clue what to expect or how to make it. Simple dishes are what I gravitate towards most. The easy creations are the ones that I choose to replicate in my kitchen. If it is too complicated or needs too many ingredients it often falls off my radar. I say I will go back and make it, but it is a little rare that will happen.

So I present to you the easiest of dishes – Easy Breakfast Plantains. Minimal ingredients required!

Easy Breakfast Plantains_Ingredients

I thought plantains were just jumbo bananas, but they are a little different. They are larger, yes, but they are also less sweet and should be cooked rather than eaten raw. Peeling the skin is a tad strange too because it is very thick. I thought at first that they were not ripe enough. Not so! They are just that difficult to peel.

To whip up these bad boys, you only need a few simple ingredients and a few extra minutes in the kitchen. I eat them for breakfast typically, but they can really be eaten for any meal. Anyway, moving onto the recipe now.

Wishing you the best of weekends! Get out there and have fun.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Easy Breakfast Plantains
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sharing a quick and easy recipe for my new favorite - plantains!
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Paleo, Vegan
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Plantains
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of all spice
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a saucepan on the stovetop.
  2. Peel and cut up your plantains.
  3. Place the plantains in a bowl and add the cinnamon, all spice and salt so that the plantain slices get covered.
  4. Add the plantains to the heated saucepan and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve!

Easy Breakfast Plantains Your turn:

Do you like plantains?

What is a new food you have tried recently?

Xo,

Lauren

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Weightlifting Gear for Women

If you ever told me I would be working out dressed like this I would have thought you were crazy.

Workout

Weightlifting Gear for Women

What am I even wearing? Well, knee compression sleeves, weightlifting shoes and lifting straps. Yup, I had never heard of those either. Backing up a little bit here to give some context. I have been weightlifting for about four years now. When I first starting working with Scott as my personal trainer I was introduced to things like dead lifting, squats and this thing called the barbell. I never would have made a beeline for any of these items on my own at the gym. I feel like lifting can be a little bit of a restrictive club because someone almost always has to give you the key to entry. I had never perceived myself to be athletic so I never would have found weight lifting on my own. I think this lack of confidence can be totally common with women. We stick to the safe parts of the gym because it becomes a comfort zone. In my case, I needed a trainer to show me what I needed to be doing.

Playlist-Image_1_thumb.jpg

The rationale behind any training gear no matter what the sport is to have a little assistance to protect certain areas of your body. As I l have learned more I can recommend these things as items you should clearly have to help. So here is a little breakdown of what I am wearing and why…

Lifting Gloves

Gloves

Scott stuck a pair of these in my Easter basket years ago because I kept complaining that the barbell was chaffing my hands. Maybe I wined. Just because I lift weight does not mean I am now tough. You can take the Barbie weights away from the girl, but you simply cannot take Barbie out of the girl. Besides being an accessory, gloves simply protect your hands from excess wear and tear.

Weightlifting Shoes

I like to call these magic shoes, but the fairy dust is rather simple. Weight lifting shoes help you lift more weight. Most traditional sneakers or running shoes are designed to absorb force. Rather than absorb your goal when you are lifting is to create as much force as possible. More force helps you lift more weight. When we lift more we get stronger.

Weightlifting shoes have a raised heel. This puts us at a major advantage because it allows you to squat deeper and get into a better position.

Girls who Lift

Mine are purple. :-)

Knee Compression Sleeves

The sleeves help because it increases your stability and allows you to produce more force. You are allowing mobility to happen at the ankle and the hip to control the position of the knee. The elasticity of the knee sleeve takes some of the force off the patella tendon which means less pain in the knees. There is also a warming effect (blood flow) that helps to mitigate the stiffness that comes with weight training and elevates blood temperature which helps it contract more effectively.

Knee Sleeves

For women, they can be very helpful because women naturally have a wider pelvis and hips. To get the knee cap over the middle toes you have to get your knees out further. If you struggle with getting your knees out wide you can be a little more susceptible to injury.

It is a smart measure to prevent injury when learning to squat and you are not yet proficient in the movement.

Lifting StrapsWrist Wraps

It makes a lot of sense that my legs are stronger than my grip, right? Well if you are using your grip in an exercise you do not want to be limited in how much weight you can handle due to a weak grip.

I use them mainly for RDL’s (Romanian Deadlift) in my training.

Bikini Training

Your turn: Do you lift heavy weights?

Use any “gear” in your style of training or workouts?

Xo,

Lauren

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Keeping a Food Diary

Last week I revisited an old habit. I dusted off a notebook from my closet to keep a food log. I maintained a food diary fairly religiously with the details of my meals, beverage intake and weight for quite a while. It was back in the day where I had a very different relationship with both the number on the scale, and the foods I was eating. Namely I was a little too focused on the number of calories I was consuming, and avoiding carbs. After growing up on “low fat living” suddenly carbs were the new enemy. Sometimes I feel like the changes in what is deemed “good for us” can make our heads spin. At least it does for me. Back in those days, a bad reading on the scale could ruin my day. It was a totally unhealthy attachment to weighing myself. Plus, combined with all the daily diary entries it was beginning to feel totally neurotic. I am a bit of an all or nothing type person so I abandoned both altogether for quite a while.

Keeping a Food Diary

Keeping a Food Diary

Nowadays I weight myself about once a week just to see if I am on track. The food log comes out to play when I feel a need. A food diary is a wonderful tool to understanding a lot about what we eat. If you are trying to lose weight I thoroughly recommend it for some insight. If you see something that maybe is not helping you get towards your goals you may have consider cutting it out or limiting it in your life. This is certainly not the end of the world. A lot of times it could be something you do not even really like! Maybe you are just eating it because you think you should. Is it worth not feeling good? Probably not.

Keeping a Food Diary

My recent food diary was because I was not feeling totally awesome. My stomach was “off” and I decided to keep a food log for a few days just to determine if there was any kind of pattern. Food diaries allow you to see things that you might not normally. Unless I take a food picture for Instagram – I do not even necessarily remember what I ate a few days ago.

My pattern was two items I had been eating in small amounts (a few times a week) had become regular items. I have an abnormal affection for Greek Yogurt. I could eat it at least twice a day, and then have some cheese as a bonus too. You would think after years of eating Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese as a pre-workout snack and then suffering with stomach pains on the Elliptical may have taught me something. Ha…not the case. The other is wheat. I was having bread and Greek yogurt daily and my body was not at all pleased with me. I was also eating more processed foods like bars or Grass-fed beef jerky because they were easy snacks to eat on the go.Keeping a Food Diary

The lesson I want to share is that we often have to look a little more closely to see what is good or bad for us. There are common sources that can trigger symptoms in many of us that have nothing to do with healthy foods or even following a plan of what we should or should not be eating. They can range from wheat, grains, sugar, dairy, corn, soy or legumes. The bottom line is that a food diary keeps us honest. If we have to write everything down, and review it, then we have to consider if we want to eat it in the first place.

If you struggle with any health symptoms, weight loss or lack of energy I would definitely try a food diary and see if you can be your own detective. Cut out a food that might be the culprit for a little bit and bring it back into the mix after a little break. This is the method many experts use as part of their elimination diet plans.

There are also a lot of online tracking options out there like My Fitness Pal which you can use on your phone. Or you can be old fashioned like me and dust off a notebook. :-)

Your Turn:

Have you ever kept a food diary?

How often do you weigh yourself – if at all?

Xo,

Lauren

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NSCA CPT Exam Review

Hello, hello! I hope you had a great weekend. I had some time yesterday afternoon to gather my thoughts on my recent personal training certification through the NSCA. I know some of you out there are trainers or aspiring personal trainers so I wanted to share the tips that I helped me pass the exam.

NSCA CPT Exam Review

NSCA CPT

As I have mentioned before my professional background is in marketing and advertising. No science or math since my first year of college. Just about zero experience when it comes to anatomy so getting a personal training certification was a bit of a daunting feat for me.

So why did I pursue it? Well, in the world of training (as I see it) there are certain things that give you “street cred” when it comes to presenting yourself to gyms and/or clients. Looking the part is HUGE. People usually want to be trained by someone who is fit. That is a little bit of a no brainer because it shows you know enough to keep yourself in shape. An athletic background is a plus. If you played major sports or do any type of figure competitions there is a huge niche in that style of coaching. If you have a history of transforming clients that can be hugely beneficial. They have walls dedicated to before and after shots at some gyms. This takes a very long time to have as part of your portfolio. Another piece of your social proof is certifications.

NSCA CPT

Certifications are very important to show that you are serious about your craft. In a bit of a crazy field there are many options when it comes to choosing a certification. Some are simply more prestigious than others. I accepted a job as a personal trainer that allowed me a three month window to get my certification finalized. Would I do this again? Yes, no – maybe?

On the plus side, the time crunch really forced me to make my studying a priority and get the exam done. Did I really need so much pressure? Not really. Starting a new job, let alone one in a new environment/industry, is enough to worry about without a ticking clock added to the mix.

NSCA CPT

I felt like I had to study every day. This of course became very difficult if I had a crazy day or wanted to get some blog writing or a workout accomplished. Plus, I sometimes think that already having my CPT would have made me feel more confident around other trainers and potential clients from the beginning. It was never an issue, but I think it made me feel a little insecure when I first started.

Depending on your goals and/or life situation. I would say dedicate yourself to getting your certification first. After that is out of the way, spend the time and energy working to finding the right job opportunity.

Why the NSCA?

The NSCA is very highly respected though it is definitely not as popular as NASM. One gym I looked into working at actually told me that even though I had the NSCA certification I would be required to get a NASM as well. This seemed a little bit like overkill to me. However, I have not really seen this anywhere else.

I chose the NSCA because Scott has his CSCS through the organization and I thought it would be make sense for insurance purposes if we ever did anything together for training. An added benefit – the NSCA is far less expensive than NASM by roughly $500.

How long did I study?

I started to study after I passed my exam for Precision Nutrition. I quickly found that I was really burnt out on studying and was just going through the motions. I was spending time reading, but not really absorbing any information.

In late January/early February, my studying became much more intense. I passed the exam at the end of March so it was about 7-8 weeks of serious studying.

NSCA CPT

My Top Study Tips

Buy the Practice Exams

Sure, I initially did not want to spend more money on this exam since I felt the book and the test were huge costs. However, the practice exams were hugely helpful because it shifted my mindset and helped me learn what I needed to study. I was trying to memorize way too much information. It was overwhelming. The practice tests helped me see the style of questions that would be asked which completely changes how you approach studying in my opinion.

Learn Anatomy

I think this was the most crucial. This was one area I felt to be worth a little memorization because understanding the fundamentals of the human body are crucial to function. Anatomy was part of numerous questions and while some training styles may change anatomy certainly is going to stay the same.

NSCA CPT

We have a chart in our gym – a little distorted (look at those body building thighs) but you get the idea. Coloring books are another options I saw as a suggested supplement to studying.

Practice the Movement

When I was studying different movements I would often try to say them out loud to myself and even get up and perform it. It helped me to retain pieces of information when I felt like my brain was on overload.

Post-Its

I have a slight obsession with post-its and use them all the time. I would mark area to go back and revisit in the book with a quick note of why I put it there in the first place. Before I took the test, I relied on these “post-it” areas more than the study guide I had created.

NSCA CPT

Start with the Familiar

I started my studying with the 2nd half of the book which has a more practical focus. I feel this approach really helped me with studying for my Precision Nutrition Certification as well. By diving into training and program development first I was able to get comfortable with the process. The more science based sections were the last part of my studying.

NSCA CPT

All in all I think being consistent and focused are the most important qualities you can bring to the table. Establish a studying schedule you can maintain and that is realistic. You have a large window of time to take the actual exam so do not push yourself too hard, but do not allow studying to become too haphazard or you risk that expensive exam book gathering dust on your shelf.

There you have it!

Feel free to post a comment or shoot me an email if you have any specific questions.

Xo,

Lauren

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