This time of year always has me itching for a vacation. It is confirmed that we are taking a family vacay in May (YAY), but with half marathon training in my schedule I have to make sure I stay on task and keep working out. I know, I know, it’s vacation — shouldn’t it be about relaxing? Well yes, but honestly the vacations where I take the time to workout I actually end up feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated coming back to reality afterwards than the ones where I don’t. Maybe I’m just uptight enough that working out is one of the few things where I can relax…who knows?
I try to stay active even on the most relaxing of vacations which allows me to 1) eat whatever the hell I want and 2) feel good. Really the first one is the most important because eating local food is basically my favorite part of travel! Anyway, here are a few of my pointers for staying active and getting that workout in on vacation.
Enjoy the local scenery.
Traveling is a great excuse to change up your normal running route for something a different and perhaps more exotic. Motivate yourself to get out for a run, or even a walk, along the beach, through a nature trail, in the city, or wherever your travels may take you. Some of my favorite runs have actually been on vacation because I’m out discovering totally new scenery which is an excellent distraction!
Hit the hotel gym.
If running isn’t your thing, you can always utilize the hotel gym or pool. Most hotels have at least something (if only a lame-o 20-year-old workout bike) so wake up 20 minutes earlier and at least get a little workout in. You’re on vacation, so don’t stress yourself out too much if it’s not your full routine, but even 20 minutes of cardio or weights will get your heart pumping and metabolism going so you stay stronger the rest of the day. Plus, let’s face it, you are going to indulge in some amazing food later because that’s basically the best part of traveling.
Walk it off.
If a full workout isn’t in your schedule, walk, walk, walk it off! Make sure you’re exploring and moving throughout your day and opt for the long way around the boardwalk to explore so you get some steps in. On our recent trip to Disney World and Universal Studios I tracked about 7-9 miles+ a day just being on the go, so I didn’t feel too guilty about lacking a formal workout.
Try a new routine.
Don’t forget you can always do a little routine in your hotel room. Crunches, push-ups, jumping jacks, high knees, planking, leg raises, walk sits — there’s a lot you can do even without leaving your room!
Happy travels!Read More
I just signed up for my fifth half marathon — yay! When I am in training mode for a race or working out a lot, it’s all I can do sometimes to not constantly complain of being hungry. This is a good problem, right? But that being said, it can be a pain to constantly have this burden of needing to feed myself, so I look for high protein foods that are healthy, keep me full longer, and help strengthen the muscles I’m building. These banana protein muffins are an easy solution and I pop them all in a gallon sized bag in my freezer to make easy before or after workout snacks. YES!
2 1/2 cups oats
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons flaxseeds, chia seeds, or 1/2 cup chopped nuts/raisins/chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together banana, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract until well blended. Add protein powder, cinnamon, and baking powder. Slowly add oats about 1/2 cup at a time until you get a good consistency. Stir in flax seeds, chia seeds, nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips. Pour batter into lined baking cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.Read More
I have long, thick hair so it my scalp doesn’t always get enough air to “breathe.” Add in living in a desert and the fact that it’s winter and I pretty much always get a dry scalp, sometimes itchy, sometimes flaky this time of year. I have tried so many things – washing it more (which actually makes it worse), special shampoos, special conditioning treatments, drying it with a hairdryer, hair oil. Some of these things will help a little, but not make it go away, at least for me.
Then I looked into stash of essential oils and had a thought. I did a little research and tried a few drops every day or every other day for a few weeks. I cannot express to you how well it has worked! It is sooo much better just from the oils. Within about 2 days there was no itchiness and 3-5 days the flakiness went away. Not even dandruff shampoo does that!
I used Doterra melaleuca (also known as tea tree oil), peppermint, lavender and lemon. Im actually not a huge fan of the smell of melaleuca, but I think mixed with the others it actually smell divine! These 4 mixed actually smells like some high end hair products I’ve used, so afterward you can just sniff your hair all day. Ha! I’m no oil expert but here’s what I recommend based on what worked for me.
Essential Oil Mix for Hair and Scalp
4-5 drops peppermint oil
4-5 drops melaleuca oil
3 drops lavender oil
3 drops lemon oil
Test all the oils on your skin to ensure you don’t have any topical sensitivity. I know melaleuca in particular can cause some sensitivity if you don’t have a pure enough oil. Open all the bottles and then drop oil directly into the palm of your cupped hand. Mix between your palms and fingers, then flip your head over, put your fingers through your hair, and rub oil onto your scalp. Move your hands around so you get it all over. You can wipe excess oil off onto your hair and ends.
I compiled a little research, so here is a little more info on each of these essential oils for your scalp.
Peppermint Oil for Scalp: Peppermint oil is an anti-inflammatory, promotes blood flow and soothes the itchiness. It leaves a tingly sensation on your scalp which feels so good! It helps rid of dandruff and even absorbs excess oil on the scalp. It moisturizes your hair and scalp while also promoting hair growth.
Melaleuca Oil: Also known as tea tree oil, Melaleuca is used commonly in various hair products for scalp and hair health. It’s a common anti-viral and anti-fungal and has been used for centuries to heal wounds.
Lavender Oil: Lavender is known for soothing and calming, and can be used to do the same on skin. If your scalp is particularly irritated, you can add it additional drops of this to your mix.
Lemon Oil: Lemon helps detox your body and contains anti-oxidants and helps ward off bacteria that can build up on the scalp. It has a fresh scent and I think helps tame out the smell of the other three.Read More
I’m always on the lookout for healthy versions of recipes. I’m not one to skimp on delicious treats, but healthy food means often I can eat more, and let’s face it, I love eating. This healthy cookie recipe totally delivers in the taste department compared to a lot of others I have tried that always seem to be lacking enough that they don’t really fulfill my craving (I may or may not have just eaten my fourth cookie as I’m writing this…) Beyond not having added fat and sugar, they also have healthy ingredients added in there so they are not just “not bad” for you, they are actually good for you. BONUS! Now whenever I have bananas that are a bit sad, this is my go-to treat! AND I don’t feel one bit guilty sharing these with my toddler or my husband who is trying to eat healthy.
4 over-ripe bananas
2 cups oatmeal
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1-2 tablespoons flaxseed
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas and mix with egg. Add in oatmeal, coconut, seeds, and wheat germ and stir until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Scoop onto a cookie sheet with a spoon and bake for 15 minutes.Read More
It’s so crazy to me that this was just over a year ago. I’ve had a lot of people asking me recently how I magically lost my baby weight. It hasn’t been any one thing and it certainly wasn’t magic. Like most healthy lifestyles a combination of several factors together. When I got pregnant I was nervous my body would never be the same. And well, it’s not, but I never would have guessed it would help lead me to the lowest weight I’ve been since junior high and the strongest I’ve felt in my life. I certainly didn’t think I’d be modeling sports bras 13 months later! I was in shape before, but becoming a mother has pushed me even harder now that I know what I’m capable of. Motherhood is a transformation and all of it has been a lot of hard work, but I am amazed at how it’s helped me become a healthier version of myself. It’s something I truly never expected. Here’s how I did it and 10 tips I followed for other soon-to-be moms.
1. Have a healthy pregnancy. This may sound obvious, but many moms think pregnancy and “eating for two” means they literally get to eat whatever they want with no consequences. While you should follow your body’s natural hunger cues and cravings, you really only need about 300 more calories per day in the second and third trimester for a normal pregnancy. Eat healthy and stay as active as your body is willing. I always kept it in the back of my mind that my baby only ate what I ate and exercised when I did. If not for yourself, do it because your baby can’t if you don’t.
2. Take it easy and enjoy your baby. Once your babe arrives so many people get obsessed with getting their body back. Just chill! Enjoy these precious new moments without guilt. For most women that eat healthy while caring for a new little one (especially if you’re breastfeeding) a lot of the weight will begin to come off naturally.
3. NURSING! This is different for every woman, but nursing helped me lose fast. It helped shrink my uterus back down and start to tone my stomach muscles back up at the beginning. Then as he had growth spurts, I had shrinking spurts. This happened around 8 weeks, again around 5-7 months, and yet again around 11-13 months. I jokingly called my baby my human lipo because I could almost feel the fat being sucked out and almost every nursing session I still get so hungry!
4. Walking. All through my maternity leave I walked almost every day with my dog and baby. It was a great way for us to get out of the house and enjoy a little fresh air and exercise. I started around 2 weeks and timed it around his nap time so he would sleep and my dog and I got a walk in the sunshine. Bliss!
5. Pilates and core strength. Around 5-6 weeks I ordered this Pilates DVD from Amazon. LOVE IT! I am pretty picky when it comes to my workout DVDs, but this one is awesome. It’s broken up into two sections so you can do one or both from your living room, which is totally practical for a new mom. It was hard to start up and feel that my core strength was so much less than it used to be, but this really helped me get my core back.
6. Healthy eating. Okay this is obvious too, but really important. I say healthy — not dieting. Since I am nursing, I couldn’t really diet even if I wanted to. I just remember that same thing that my baby would eat what I eat. So that meant even if I let myself give into Arby’s curly fries (my weakness!) I had some veggies too. And I didn’t go overboard with fast or fatty food. I mostly attempt to follow the food pyramid with a good, well-rounded diet and eat plenty of calories
7. Squeeze exercise into your routine. Okay this one really is hard, especially at the beginning. Don’t force yourself to do anything drastic or super time consuming or you will never do it. I think this is true even if you’re NOT a mom. Ease in. Maybe that’s 2-3 days a week for 20-30 minutes or maybe it’s 4-5. You can get someone to watch the baby, bring him along in a jogging stroller, or workout in your living room. Just set a schedule and do it!
8. Challenge yourself! Last fall my friends peer pressured me into running a half marathon 8 months postpartum. I have always detested running…like I’d rather do any other exercise! More on that later. I had already lost my baby weight, just not all the inches so I was only half motivated and nervous about committing to something I wouldn’t enjoy. Half way through my 8 weeks of training I sort of fell in love with running and after that the inches really started coming off. I leaned out more than I ever have been able to at this point.
9. Green smoothies. I know I mentioned eating healthy, but green smoothies need their own section because I can totally tell a difference on days I have them versus when I don’t. For new moms (or anyone) they are such an easy way to make sure you’re getting healthy greens, veggies, fruits and protein. When I started having one everyday I noticed a significant difference in my energy and metabolism. I fit them in for breakfast, part of lunch, post-workout snack, or sometimes even my late night sweet craving fix.
10. Yoga. I really got into yoga a lot toward the end of my pregnancy because it was the only thing that helped the pain in my pelvis and back. It took me a while to get back into doing it regularly after I had my baby, but it helps my metabolism and stress level so much! As much as I’d love to have time to go to a real studio for class, it’s just not practical for me, so I fit in a 22 minute session of “Yoga with a View” available on Hulu. I’ve really noticed a difference in my metabolism when I do it regularly, but I instantly feel more refreshed and more patient with my now 14-month-old (very busy) toddler.
To sum it up, I just want to say to nervous moms out there, you CAN do it! I used to look at others and wonder how pregnancy would affect my body. As much as I’ve always been into fitness, my genes have a tendency to gain weight if I don’t always stay on top of it so I was scared I would blow up and never be able to get back. When I was first pregnant I was so incredibly happy, and I don’t want to sound egotistical, but I cried on multiple occasions to my husband because I was worried I wouldn’t be sexy after having a baby. He was sweet and said he would think I was gorgeous no matter what, but what it really came down to was I wanted to feel secure that I’d feel good about my body.
I was never obsessive, I just stayed on top of it like usual and focused on my health and enjoying pregnancy and being a new mom. I gained 25 pounds, which was healthy for me, and lost that within 8 weeks from walking, breastfeeding and starting Pilates. The rest all came gradually, but I just tried to work hard and let it happen naturally at my body’s pace. I still am amazed that I could be smaller and in better shape now than I think I ever have been, no matter how hard I worked before. Hopefully this can help give other moms hope and motivation that you absolutely can do it too!Read More
Spring is in the air. I can feel it! And with the warmer weather comes fresh smoothies. I love the cool, fresh flavor the cucumber adds. You’d think it’s so lacking in flavor, but somehow added to a smoothie, it adds so much. And if the color green of most green smoothies bothers you, this one turns out lovely lavender, so a good
starter. Love this smoothie!
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1 cup spinach
1/4 cucumber, peeled
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water