Hi Girls! Last week the Tone It Up Summer Series ended. During the previous six weeks I stuck the nutrition plan and did the studio Tone It Up workouts. Here’s a review of the series and my before and after.
Losing weight starts in the kitchen. Seriously. It’s all what you eat. I know that it sucks to hear that, because I love food, but I can honestly say that I lost over 15 pounds by just eating healthier. (I wasn’t great about following the workouts, but more on that later.) When you sign up for the summer series, you get an email with a few healthy recipes, but I found most of my recipes in the Tone It Up nutrition plan.
LEAN, CLEAN and GREEN
Foods that you should expect to eat during the Summer Series are all supposed to be lean, clean and green. No additives, no junk food and very little fat. Some of my favorite recipes are: COCONUT KALE BEAUTY SMOOTHIE for a quick and easy breakfast!
My favorite snacks are hard boiled eggs, protein bars, almonds with Craisins and even apples with natural peanut butter.
Tone It Up has a nutrition plan you can buy. The plan is filled with nutrition tips and healthy recipes. I followed the plan about 80% of the time.
The workouts were AMAZING. Everyday there is a 20 to 30 minute workout to do. It’s quick and targeted so that each day you workout one muscle group. I looked forward to the daily workouts and enjoyed several of them. Unfortunately, you need to purchase the Studio Tone It Up app in over to get the workouts. It’s like the Netflix of workouts, hundreds of workouts available at any time. The cost is $12.99 per month or you can save a little money and pay for the entire year upfront.
Overall, I enjoyed the Summeri Series. I love the online community on Instagram and felt both encouraged and inspired by the entire Tone It Up team. Checking in on Instagram helped hold me accountable, my Instagram username is Megan Motivates.
The food I ate was mostly part of the “Tone It Up Nutrition Plan,” and followed the same guidelines as the plan (lean, clean, green) and I never felt hungry or deprived. I drank alcohol, ate chocolate and pizza, and even had a piece of birthday cake. After eating clean for so long, I didn’t crave those bad foods and actually felt a little sick when I did indulge. I will definitely continue to eat this way, although I will probably start to eat larger portions when I reach my goal weight. (Still have 10 more pounds to go!)
I have been doing the the workouts daily and also have been doing Lauren Gleasberg’s 3.0 home workout plan 5 x per week.. I learned that I REALLY enjoy weight lifting and so I plan to continue weight liftings while working in some chosen Tone It Up daily.
BEFORE and AFTER
Overall I lost 6 pounds during the Summer Series. I notice it most in my stomach. Here are my before and after picture.
When someone mentions Beachbody, whether you’re familiar with the workouts or not, you probably think of P90X, Tony Horton, and maybe Insanity with Shaun T.
You also might think of using a DVD player to watch these workouts.
That is sooooo 2008.
In 2015 with a great, forward-thinking move for the company, Beachbody officially joined the video streaming world. Seeing the societal shift towards streaming technology like the Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast, Roku, and our smartphones, they decided to ditch the DVD’s and allow people access to their popular workouts via smart technology. They still produce and sell the DVD’s that made the company so popular in the home fitness market, but now offer streaming workouts in addition to the DVD’s and let me tell you it’s like the Netflix of fitness.
The streaming techonology allows customers access to over 700 workouts, including the entire library of Beachbody workouts while the company enjoys your payment on an annual basis rather than once every few years with a DVD workout. Win-win for everyone.
WHAT IT GIVES YOU
Like I stated before, Beachbody On Demand is a streaming workout video service. It gives you access to over 700 workouts produced by Beachbody. You get access to popular programs like these…
21 Day Fix
And many, many more. In addition to these and several other workouts, you’ll get access to Beachbody’s expert trainers. Including Tony Horton, ShaunT, Chalene Johnson, Autumn Calabrese, and many others.
You can access the workouts with any streaming device: the Fire Stick, Chromecast, Roku, or any streaming device, including your iPad, tablet, and computer. I currently use a Roku TV to stream my workouts.
There is a Beachbody On Demand app that makes access to the workouts really easy. They put a lot of thought into the app and have convenient navigation features that make it super easy and fun to use.
For example…when you open the app on your phone you immediately see two things. First is a personalized welcome message telling you to get back to the workout you most recently finished. And second, is a number that tells you how many other Beachbody On Demand subscribers are currently using the app to workout. A cool feature that tells me that I’m not the only one languishing through a workout at 5 AM.
As you scroll down through the app you’ll see “Recently Watched” workouts, then the complete library of workouts which I think is organized by their current, most popular programs.Finally you reach the workouts organized by trainer where you can choose your workout based on your favorite Beachbody fitness personality. Similar to the workout programs, I think this is organized by popularity.
One more nice feature of the app is that you can stream the workouts or download. If you download the workouts they are saved within the app and available with easy access at any time. This is a nice feature because my internet connection isn’t the greatest in my basement home gym, so the streaming tends to buffer. If I download a workout I don’t have this problem.
If you like to monitor your heart rate while exercising, the BBOD even has an option to sync each workout to your heart rate monitor or fitness tracker. You can sync the workouts to your Apple Watch or Wahoo Tickr X heart rate monitor. I personally don’t use heart rate monitors so I can’t tell you how well this works, but it is a nice additional feature.
For each of the workout programs you’ll get access to the workout calendars, fitness guides, nutrition plans, and progress trackers. Basically everything that comes with the DVD’s, you’ll be able to download immediately for quick and convenient access.
For access to this service you have a few options.
One time payment of $99 ($8.25/month), with a 30 day risk free trial
2 payments a year of $59 ($9.84/month), with a 30 day risk free trial
4 payments a year of $39 ($13/month), with the first 14 days free
Genetics are a funny thing, aren’t they? I got my dark, thick, hair and giant deep set eyes from my 100% Italian father’s side.I’ve got the same build as many of the women in my father’s family, as well as some of the characteristics of my 100% Italian maternal grandmother. One half of my DNA is Italian, and I think that’s pretty obvious when you look at me or notice my absolute inability to talk without my hands flying around.
But then there’s my skin color. That’s where my 50% Irish side comes in. I have light skin with freckles. I’m not the lightest of the foundation shades, but no one is calling my skintone “medium.” I can (and have) tanned to a solid Medium before, but my time fighting cancer over the last four years made me put an end to my beach days without sunscreen and a huge umbrella and hat. (I also know that sun damage is the number one way to speed visible signs of aging on the skin, so vanity plays a part in my decision.)
The problem is that I love the look of a tan on me. I feel like with my very dark brown hair, almost-black eyebrows and brown eyes, I should have darker skin. I think I was meant to have a darker skintone, but there was a glitch. With my hair, brow and eye coloring and the fact that people who look like me often have medium skintones, it only seems right that my skintone is bumped up a few levels.
And oh, how I have tried to get there. I’ve used self tanning lotions, sprays, gels, mousses, gradual tanners and towelettes. I’ve done spray tans, both the airbrush and machine kinds. I’ve been orange, I’ve been streaky, I’ve been patchy and I’ve smelled like I bathed in DHA. I’ve gotten good results from airbrush spray tans, but I hate the way they look when they start wearing off. Until recently, I’ve relied on St Tropez Tanning Mousse (one for the body, one for the face). Anyway, I recently realized that St. Tropez was starting to turn me an orange color. I am not sure if they changed the ingredients but I am not the same color I use to be when I use it.
I checked online at Sephora.com, and saw Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops were the top rating tanning lotion. You add these drops into your regular face and/or body moisturizers and they tan you up. They come in Light, Medium and Dark shades. I went with Medium, because that’s the skintone I was meant to have, remember? I immediately did a small patch test.
While I was patching, I read through Sephora reviews of these self tanning drops in Medium. Still, I waited 24 hours after patching to make sure I didn’t have a reaction. and I liked the color. I didn’t, so on Night 1, I added one drop of the product to my Tula Day and Night Moisturizer and applied it to my face, neck and ears. I noticed a slight smell, but it wasn’t horrible and didn’t linger. It did feel sticky on my skin, but not too bad. I didn’t notice any color of my pillowcase the next morning either.
When I woke up the next morning, I was tan. Not orange and not streaky, and a good shade for my skin. I didn’t put face makeup on that day, because I wanted to have plenty of opportunities to inspect it and see if the color developed more (and I think it did, a little).
On Night 2, I was ready to conquer my body. For my body, I first dispensed enough of my moisturizer to cover one arm. Then I add six drops of the product to my moisturizer, mix it together and apply. I match the amount for my other arm. Then do the same amount of moisturizer and five drops of the product to apply to my stomach and back. For my legs, I dispense the amount of moisturizer I would normally use for one leg and foot and add six drops of product. Then I repeat on the other leg.
The Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops instructions say to add between 1 – 12 drops to your moisturizer. That’s a huge range! My suggestion is to start with one drop, see how it develops, then add two the next time, three after, and so on until you find your perfect mix. I am currently using four drops to every pump and a half of face moisturizer (which is the normal amount of moisturizer I apply to my face, neck and ears.
As far as packaging goes, A+. I like the design, the top stays on securely and the dropper works. No complaints there.
A few suggestions I have for you after you patch test:
Exfoliate First. If exfoliation is not contraindicated with any skincare you are using, a good exfoliation before you apply the self tanner will help it look more even as it develops, as it won’t catch on any dry patches or dead skin.
Start Small. Again, start with the minimum amount of drops and add more each day until you achieve the color you want. It’s important to start with the minimum, as the few bad reviews I read seemed to be because the reviewers jumped right in with five or six drops and it sounds like they also didn’t use enough moisturizer.
Keep It Up. To maintain the color, I would alternate days of your moisturizer alone with the same amount of drops and moisturizer you used to get the tan. The moisturizer alone with help keep the skin hydrated so the tan doesn’t get patchy as you shed dead skin cells, and the every-other-day application of the self tanner and moisturizer will keep your shade of tan as is so it won’t fade.
Mix It Up. You need to realllyyyyy mix the self tanner drops into your moisturizer. If you don’t do that, you will get an uneven tan. After the moisturizer and drops are in the palm of your hand, stir them together with your other hand or rub your hands together for about 15 seconds to ensure they’ve melded into one product.
Don’t Be Stingy. Once you have your self tanner moisturizer cocktail ready, make sure you apply a generous amount everywhere. The best way to get streaky is to use only the little that’s left on your hands to apply to an area. When you can feel it dragging as you apply, you are making the streaks happen. I know better, and I still did that one night while using these drops. I dispensed a little less moisturizer then I meant to, so although I evenly covered my face, I didn’t get enough on my neck (and my neck is notoriously bad with self tanner to begin with). I woke up to some patchy areas on my neck where I hadn’t applied enough moisturizer. Did the same thing on one arm too. I think with any type of self tanning lotion, it’s best to use a little more than you think you need to ensure that it gets everywhere.
Take Your Time. Spend some time rubbing the cocktail in. I haven’t noticed any transfer on my sheets, even though I usually tan right before bed, and I think that’s because I spend a lot of time rubbing in the product so it really absorbs into my skin. I massage it in until I can’t feel anything on my skin, which usually takes several minutes. But I think it is a key factor in getting an even self tan.
The Easiest Part. Wash your hands after applying. This stuff will stain your palms if you don’t.
As far as color, the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops give me the same type of color I have when I used to get real tans. Not orange, not olive, not red. Just 33 Year Old Megan tan. I don’t know if the drops react with your body chemistry and give you the type of tan you normally get, or if the color they give happens to be the same color I tan, but they work perfectly on me. If you are concerned about the color, you could try a bigger swatch of color on your stomach or somewhere that isn’t visible when you have on your everyday clothes to see how the color develops on you. My point is, I can only give you my experience with this color, and that may be impacted by my undertone and the way my skin looks when it really tans. But judged off the many reviews I’ve read and pictures I’ve seen, the Medium shade in particular seems to work on a lot of people.
The Medium drops have a green tint, which they claim is color correcting, as green cancels out redness. I don’t typically have any redness in my skin and I’m not convinced you can get color correction from a self tanner, but I can’t say for sure since I didn’t have any redness to start with. So jury is out on the color correction.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about this product! As long as I apply it correctly, it gives me exactly the type of tan I want. I am loving the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops!
Celery Juice! It’s all the rage right now! I first heard about it when I was browsing the internet and came across Kelly and Victoria the bloggers behind Wilson Gabrielle. Kelly is a celery juice devotee. She swears by it and I had a juicer in the basement collecting dust. I figured why not try it.
By now ‘ve been drinking celery juice on an empty stomach 30 minutes before my morning smoothie for about a month now. Prior to drinking celery juice everyday I suffered from severe IBS. So severe that I often went to the bathroom twice a month. Now I go regularly, almost daily sometimes. Prior to drinking celery juice I had bad acid reflux. I was taking Prilosec daily to control it, I no longer have to take Prilosec. Prior to drinking celery juice I felt bloated and swollen, I no longer feel bloated and swollen. These are just a few of the benefits I have noticed from drinking my daily celery juice.
Medical Medium is the leader behind this craze. He shares a lot of incredible success and healing stories of people who have been drinking the juice daily. Amazing and mind-blowing healing stories. People who are truly suffering from awful diseases drink celery juice every single day and felt better. WHAT?
The research shows that there definitely are proven health benefits of drinking celery juice. Celery has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, as shown by this study, due to the phytosterol and unidentified polar substances.
These anti-inflammatory properties can help with acid reflux, bloating, IBS, constipation, acne, eczema, and other inflammation issues in the body. (I AM PROOF OF THIS!)
Because of celery’s diuretic properties (high water content) and the fact that it contains magnesium, phthalides, and potassium, celery may actually help those with high blood pressure.
Celery juice is very high in vitamin K which promotes general bone and heart health.
It is high in vitamin C, which is critical for your immune system.
Note that I am obviously not a doctor. Always do your own research. Sources are linked within the text above.
HOW TO MAKE CELERY JUICE
Below, I included instructions both for making celery juice in a juicer and in a blender. I prefer the juicing method simply because I don’t have to bother straining and I had a juicer.
I bought this Breville juicer years ago because it is cheaper than other juicers and had good reviews. It’s also pretty easy to clean – many of the parts of dishwasher safe.I have had it for at least 7 years so you know it won’t break after a few uses.
When using a juicer, you simply put the celery in the hole and the juice comes out the sprout. I use a plastic grocery bag in the “garbage” plastic so I have less to clean up. I throw out the plastic bag and wash the other parts. It only takes 1-2 minutes to clean up.
The second way to make celery juice is with a blender and strainers. I recommend using a more powerful blender like a Vitamix because you need to break the celery down. You will also need to strain it. A nutbag would be fine, but I personally prefer using a mesh strainer. It’s quicker and easier to clean.
As many of you know I broke my hip in July and had a complete hip replacement. From the moment I broke my hip I promised myself I would not let this stop me from doing what I love, working out. After my surgery the surgeon told me I can leave the hospital when I can climb stairs without a walker. Well the day after my surgery I was not only climbing stairs without my walker I was walking as well. But let me tell you my hips were tight. I mean really tight like can’t even bend over to pick up a piece of paper tight.
Fast forward to September I was back doing my studio Tone It Up workouts and looking for more. I began taking yoga class once a week and started to gain some flexibility back. Then in December I purchased my Pelaton bike, and just this week I took my first barre class in over two years. It felt so good to be back.
And guess what? I can pick up a piece of paper. In fact, when I bend over I can almost touch the ground. You see, I wasn’t going to let this injury stop me from doing what I love. Just like I am not going to let the cancer stop me from living my life. I will never stop fighting because life is too precious to give up hope. So next time you say I can’t, change that can’t into can and you will!
Yay! I’m finally returning my clothes that didn’t fit to Abercrombie and Express.
Besides that I’ll get a Pelaton workout in later and the daily moves, plus my 30 day to split challenge! I’m really liking the 30 day to split challenge because it’s like an automatic stretch everyday!
Last night was date night so I wore this cozy chenille sweater from Target that is on sale for $12.49. We went to this ax throwing place and it was really fun! I was awful!
Don’t forget you can shop my looks by clicking on the picture!
So the New Year is here again, what goals would you like to accomplish? You probably already have a fitness program that you’re currently following, but your goals for the New Year can be marred if you’re not ready and willing to support it with the right fitness program for you.
There are millions of fitness program choices available for you to pick from. A lot of people choose a fitness program based on a means-to-an-end quotient of the goals they want to achieve. It is important that you follow the right program for you and your goals to be able to accomplish them to your fullest potential.
So how do you know and choose the right program for your goals? First, you need to be realistic. Take an honest assessment of yourself – a fitness personality test, and weigh it against what you hope to accomplish in the New Year. Taking your own fitness personality test involves digging into your actual nature.
For instance, if you ran a great when you were a child, it could be that you’re more inclined toward endurance activities. If you grew up marveling at and interested in the arts, havingexpressiveness in your workout is likely to be important. If you grew up as a bookworm, you may be more inclined toward activities that require strategy and multifaceted nature.
Once you have taken your fitness personality test and have your goals clearly defined, it’ll be much easier to narrow down the type of fitness programs that should work for you. If your New Year goal is to feel sound and vibrant and have a body mass that is long and lean, then you shouldn’t be in a workout program that is intended for bodybuilders hoping to gain huge amounts of muscle.
There is just no chance that you are going to accomplish the results that you’re seeking by doing that sort of workout. Zero in on the fitness program that has a reputation of delivering the results that you are looking for and focus on it. Recognize that we are all different in so many ways, so there could be some preliminary blunders involved in getting the program to fit you as an individual.
Diet also plays a big part in helping you achieve your goals. If you are not eating according to your goals, it will be harder if not impossible to achieve them. Your specific lifestyle and circumstances will also affect the results, so be patient and allow yourself the time to get everything in alignment with your goals.
Finally, recognize that there is no wrong way to get from where you are right now to where you want to be in the New Year. You might get involved in a fitness program that will not give you the results you were looking for but it can help you decide more clearly what you really want. The experiences you gain will help you understand your body and preferences better and ultimately bring you closer to your goal.
For me Tone It Up works. I’ve had excellent results and it’s become a lifestyle for me not just a diet. The Love Your Body challenge starts January 14th and is completely free. If you’re looking to try Tone It Up, Love Your Body is the perfect time to try it for free.
A lot of you have been asking me about Tone It Up with the new year coming up. So I put together a TIU FAQ.
Is Tone It Up worth the money?
In my opinion absolutely. Tone It Up is expensive however you are buying a lifetime membership. When you pay the $150 you get all the past challenge pa me and all the future challenge packs plus the nutrition plan. I have been a member since 2013 and it’s the best $150 I’ve ever spent because it’s changed my life.
Is Tone It Up vegan?
When you buy the plan you can buy the regular, vegetarian, or gluten free version.
Does Tone It Up work?
It works for me. Of course everyone is different, however; this is the first lifestyle I have followed and had success with. I say lifestyle because I don’t consider Tone It Up a doer. Prior to this I tried plenty of diets but never stuck to or had success with anything.
What is Tone It Up?
Tone It Up was founded by Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn according to the Tone It Up website it is “a community of women, inspiring and supporting one another to live the life of your dreams; fit, healthy, and happy!”.
When is the Tone It Up bikini series?
The bikini series is a challenge that begins each January and is completely free. It’s a great way to learn more about Tone It Up without paying for the program.
Where is the Tone It Up headquarters?
They are headquarter in Manhattan Beach, California.
What is Tone It Up studio?
Studio Tone It Up is a monthly subscription app where you can do live or on demand workouts with the Tone It Up Trainers. There are varies categories such as kettlebells, abs, arms, legs, etc.. You can try it for free for 5 days!
Is Tone It Up free?
No, Tone It Up cost $150 for a lifetime membership.
What is Tone It Up protein?
Tone It Up Protein is a plant based protein that Tone It Up makes and is sold on Toneitup.com, Target or at Whole Foods. It’s so good, I love it, especially the chocolate!
How did Tone It Up start?
It’s actually a really cute story. I’ll direct you to a Forbes article that talks about how they started Tone It Up. Click here for the article.
Hopefully I answered all of your questions. Feel free to reach out to me if you have anymore!
During this time of year it’s easy to get really stressed and worked up over small things. I know I’m guilty of it and got a little to testy with the Amazon representative on the phone today when I know she was just doing her job.
One thing I like to do when I get stressed it meditate. When I first started to meditate I used the headspace app on my phone to guide my meditation.
According to Healthline 12 benefits of meditating are:
1. Reduces Stress: Normally, mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines.
These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking.
In an eight-week study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress (2).
2. Controls Anxiety: Less stress translates to less anxiety.
3. Promotes Emotional Health: Some forms of meditation can also lead to an improved self-image and more positive outlook on life.
Two studies of mindfulness meditation found decreased depression in over 4,600 adults (1,14).
4. Enhances Self Awareness: Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self.
5. Lengthens Attention Span: Focused-attention meditation is like weight lifting for your attention span. It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention.
6. May Reduce Age-related Memory Loss: Improvements in attention and clarity of thinking may help keep your mind young.
A review of 12 studies found that multiple meditation styles increased attention, memory and mental quickness in older volunteers (28).
7. Can Generate Kindness: Some types of meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others.
8. May Help Fight Addictions: The mental discipline you can develop through meditation may help you break dependencies by increasing your self-control and awareness of triggers for addictive behaviors (34).
Research has shown that meditation may help people learn to redirect their attention, increase their willpower, control their emotions and impulses and increase their understanding of the causes behind their addictive behaviors (35,36).
9. Improves Sleep: Nearly half the population will struggle with insomnia at some point.
One study compared two mindfulness-based meditation programs by randomly assigning participants to one of two groups. One group practiced meditation, while the other didn’t.
Participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer, compared to those who didn’t meditate (39).
10. Helps Control Pain: Your perception of pain is connected to your state of mind, and it can be elevated in stressful conditions.
11. Can Reduce Blood Pressure: Meditation can also improve physical health by reducing strain on the heart.
Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor heart function.
High blood pressure also contributes to atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
12. You Cab Meditate Anywhere: People practice many different forms of meditation, most of which don’t require specialized equipment or space. You can practice with just a few minutes daily.
If you want to start meditating, try choosing a form of meditation based on what you want to get out of it.