Fitness, Health, Wellness & Beauty, Tone It Up

Tone It Up Summer Series Review

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.

THE FOOD

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!

TURKEY MEATBALLS with ZUCCHINI NOODLES is an awesome and easy dinner that can double as lunch the next day!!!

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

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.

MY EXPERIENCE

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.

Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: My go-to healthy breakfasts

Another week, another wellness wednesday post for ya! I don’t know about you but breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. I could honestly eat it 3 meals out of the day haha I never get tired of it! Today I want to share my top 5 easy and healthy breakfast ideas with y’all! I probably have at least 10 favorite breakfasts I rotate between…but today I’ll keep the list to 5, and maybe do a part two down the road! These are all healthy breakfast ideas you can make SUPER fast, and will keep you feeling fueled and filled up for the day!

Healthy breakfast idea #1: Hard boiled egg on avocado toast

I love to boil a whole dozen eggs at the beginning of the week, to either use at breakfast or for a snack! I love this breakfast because it doesn’t require any pots or pans and tastes so good. I just get a piece of bread (I love Dave’s Killer bread!), toast it…mash up an avocado [I usually use half of an avocado], add salt and pepper, and then add the hard boiled egg! Sometimes I’ll do two eggs on the toast, and I always have this with fruit!

Healthy breakfast idea #2: My go-to green smoothie

I love making this green smoothie for breakfast because it’s easy, it fills me up, and allows me to get in some greens first thing in the morning! Here is my go-to green smoothie recipe:

The ingredients:

  • 1/2 banana
  • a handful of blueberries or grapes (whatever I have in the fridge at the time, both work well!)
  • two cups of spinach
  • 1/4 cup of greek yogurt (I love the Fage 0% fat, but you can use whatever you want!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mace powder
  • 2 tbsp PB powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • splash of almond milk
  • 3-5 ice cubes (yes, that’s insanely specific lol trust me)

Healthy breakfast idea #3: Egg scramble

If you can’t tell, I’m obsessed with eggs haha. This is another breakfast idea that will help you get your veggies in early in the day! I love to saute spinach and bell pepper and sometimes onion depending on my level of laziness that morning lol…and then scramble two eggs and add it to the pan. Top this scramble off with avocado and add a side of fruit and you’ve got a colorful and healthy breakfast! If we happen to have bacon, I’ll have a side of bacon with this as well. Gimme all the protein!

Healthy breakfast idea #4: Oats!

I LOVE oatmeal y’all! Especially on a cold morning, but year round I think it’s such a comfort food. Not to mention SO good for you and really filling! Purely Elizabeth is my favorite brand of oats – I love the apple cinnamon flavor! I love Purely Elizabeth oatmeal because it has organic quinoa, amaranth and flax…so this superfood blend packs 8g of protein and 6g of fiber! I usually just make this with water, and add some RX bar nut butter for a healthy fat!

Healthy breakfast idea #5: Greek yogurt parfait

I love greek yogurt because it is PACKED with protein, so it keeps me feeling really full! One of my favorite healthy breakfast ideas is half a cup of plain (full fat!) greek yogurt, add in lots of fruit – raspberries and blueberries are my fave with this, and then I add in some Purely Elizabeth granola! I love this breakfast because it’s one you can throw together in 60 seconds, and not have to use any pans…so easy clean up! This is also an idea you could make ahead of time and bring to work with you!

If you try any of these healthy breakfast ideas, make sure to tag me on your instagram stories so I can share with others! If you have any easy healthy breakfast ideas, we would love to hear them in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: HIIT Workout

Happy wellness Wednesday! I’ve been getting way more into HIIT workouts recently and wanted to share one with y’all today, to give you something new to try in the gym! I’ve been loving HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) because they are extremely effective, efficient, and challenge my body in new ways.

The premise of a HIIT workout is basically to spike your heart rate for a short interval of time by pushing to your almost max effort, and then bring it back down by recovering, then do it again and again. There are a few benefits to working out this way. You will burn fat much quicker, and also continue to burn calories even AFTER the workout is over! (Note: i am not a personal trainer, but that’s what I’ve read and heard from trainers and coaches). And the HIIT workout I’m sharing with you guys today also involves strength training so you’re building muscle as well!

There are thousands of different variations you could do of a HIIT workout. The one I’m sharing with y’all today involves both cardio and strength training and will work your entire body! The great thing about it is you are strength training while your heart rate is already high from the cardio portion, meaning it will be more effective!

Megan’s HIIT Workout

  • Start by warming up on the treadmill. Fast walk or slow jog for 5-10 minutes
  • Hop off the treadmill and complete the following 3 moves (if you have questions about what any of these moves are, you can google or YouTube it! Set a timer for 8 minutes – get through as MANY sets as possible before the timer goes off! Meaning little to no rest in between sets!
  • Side plank on your left side – hold for 30 seconds. Engage your core by pulling your belly button to your spine. After 30 seconds, switch to your right side
    • Alternating lunges with dumbbells (I use 8lbs but use whatever feels challenging to you). Start with your feet together, then step your right foot back into a lunge, making a 90 degree angle with both left leg and right leg, bringing your right (back) knee to JUST above the ground. Then bring feet together. Repeat on opposite side (left leg back). Complete 10 reps PER leg (so, 20 total)
    • Shoulder press with dumbbells (I use 8lbs but use whatever feels challenging to you!). 12 reps
  • After you have completed all 3 moved for a total of 8 minutes, get back on the treadmill and RUN at your 80% max effort for 3 minutes, without stopping. (I typically put the treadmill around 7.0, but do whatever YOUR 80% max effort is). Run at this pace for 3 minutes. When the 3 minutes is up, walk for 1 minute to recover.
  • Repeat the entire workout above (minus the warmup) for a total of 3 or 4 sets total (depending on how dead you are at the end of 3!).

Unfortunately, I don’t have a treadmill so I can’t do the running part of this workout but when I did I would do this workout all the time. It’s a simple yet super effective HIIT workouts. If you try it, make sure you tag me on instagram or in your stories and let me know what you thought! Thanks for reading!

Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: My Battle with Anxiety

In honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month I decided to share my battle with Anxiety. In the past few years, I r been dealing with some tough personal stuff (divorce & cancer) that’s been a big journey for me and I really want to share it with you. Im still very much working through everything, but I’m excited to be stepping in a positive direction.

When I think about it, it’s hard for me to imagine a life without anxiety. It’s hard to explain that it doesn’t feel like anxiety all the time- sometimes it feels like a nagging sense that I’m behind, and if I just worked a little harder I could catch up. Sometimes it feels like opening night before the curtain rises and the butterflies are strong in my stomach. Sometimes it feels like not knowing where to put my hands when I’m talking like I’m self-conscious or am about to say the wrong thing. Sometimes it feels like I’m sea sick and the world is sliding out from under me, and sometimes it feels like barely anything at all- just like there’s the slightest weight on my chest. But it’s hard to imagine my life without it, as lovely and strange as it would be.

I just thought that everyone was like that, until a year ago.

In the year things have been fabulous on paper- friends and family are beautiful, my health is improving, I have great boyfriend, I’ve been traveling and reconnecting with friends, and digging into the wonderful messiness of life, but day to day it hasn’t felt like that. Slowly things have been getting hard- I haven’t been sleeping, I’ve gone from my normal (being slightly anxious most the time, but it was manageable) to being extremely anxious, having trouble concentrating and with my memory, and being easily tired out. Things that have always been mild quirks of mine started to amplify to the point of making life less comfortable, and then it started to get exponentially worse.

It was a level of stress I can only describe as similar to a moment when you realize someone is breaking into your home, only it was like that from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep. I was agitated and exhausted, stressed and confused. I had negative thoughts that I didn’t want but had a really hard time keeping quiet. I had no idea what was happening and fewer words to describe d. I kept it to myself and tried to manage it on my own, but in the end, there was nothing to say other than “Something is wrong, and I need help!”

I made an appointment to see my doctor. It was so profoundly confusing, I knew intellectually that nothing was really wrong, but I felt like my body was on the verge of deciding between flight or fight all the time, and I couldn’t calm down. When I met with my doctor I was so relieved to see her I could have hugged her. We went through a symptom checklist and after answering “yes” to every question she asked, she said a word that made everything snap into focus:

Anxiety

That word was exactly the one I’d been trying so hard to find myself. It was a perfect fit, and more than that it was a diagnosis.

Anxiety Disorder is a psychological disorder much like depression, where you experience some level of anxiety at almost all times. It’s not normal anxiety- like being worried about a test or a performance- but an underlying constant, like a hum in the background of every day that might feel different from time to time, but is always there. The flare up I had in a year ago was hard, but it was a huge opportunity to see that my level of anxiety has been high for many years, but I so was used to always feeling on edge that it didn’t seem strange to me, and there was always a logical explanation for my stress level. I felt like things were legitimately causing it, and often times they were real stresses in my life (I do live in the real world!) but when those stresses were removed, the feelings wouldn’t go away, they would calm down for a time or shift, and I would think that something else was causing them. Until they became too big for me to ignore.

I was diagnosed last April and I’m still very much at the beginning of my journey with this. Because I was in such an extreme state I’ve started on a medication to help calm my symptoms down, and the clarity and peace that I’ve gained from it has been exceptional- I feel like I’m myself about 70% of the time again, and while I have good days and bad days it’s lovely to be able to live more effortlessly than I have for a while. I’m also still in the process of looking back and seeing how this has affected me, and how long it’s been a burden to me that I didn’t have the ability to see.

Because the symptoms are such a mix of psychological and physical, people with anxiety often wait for over ten years to seek help, and I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d had this diagnosis when I was 15 before it was so severe rather than when I was 33. But knowing what I do now, more than anything I feel excited. I’m excited to explore my treatment options, and to find a way to live with this that is comfortable and manageable. I’m excited to know that I don’t feel like this because something in my life is causing it, because knowing that means I don’t have to solve anything, I just have to wait for the feelings to pass. I’m so excited to be having fun day to day, to find writing easy again, and to have the words to explain what’s been too confusing for me to talk about until now.

If I can ask one thing from you, at the end of a very long post, it would be that if you have anxiety that is interfering with your life please talk to someone you can trust about it. A friend, parent, teacher, guidance counselor, pastor, doctor – anyone, just reach out. They might not understand what you’re feeling, but they can help you work out what a good next step is for you. There are lots of treatment and therapy options, and you don’t have to deal with it alone.

And just as an aside, thank you so much for reading my corner of the internet – I can’t express how much it means to me. Thank you so much. <3

Lifestyle

Life Updates

Hi Friends! Boy did I have a rough couple of weeks with being sick, getting a sinus infection and then ending up in the hospital. It was a wild roller coaster but I’m finally feeling better!

I have been doing the Tone It Up studio workouts and going for a run 3x a week. I’m also starting Lauren Gliesberg ConfidenceKini challenge next week.

On a totally different not I’m debating whether I want to join a gym or not. The confidencekini challenge would be a lot easier at a gym but I have two dilemmas. The closer gym which is 10 minutes away is located on the beach which means lots of crowds and no parking.

The second gym is 20 minutes away and has plenty of parking but that’s just it, it’s 20 minutes away. What should I do? Decision, decisions.

I’m heading into the city for the night because I have a early doctors appointment tommorow. Have a great night!

Recipes, Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: My go-to green smoothie!

Hi Friends! I figured I would share my favorite go-to green smoothie recipe for wellness Wednesday! Cooking and getting creative in the kitchen is something I’ve really grown to love over the last few years. This green smoothie recipe isn’t one I’ve ever written down, but it really just came together after a lot of trial and error. Today I’m sharing my absolute favorite green smoothie recipe that I promise you’ll love!

I don’t know why, but I feel like perfecting a smoothie recipe takes a few tries. You want them to be smooth, but not watery. You want them to be tasty, but not full of sugar. You want them to be full of veggies, but not taste like lawn clippings. I could go on and on (clearly I’m kind of picky when it comes to food!). But I love today’s recipe because it is literally fool proof and tastes amazing every time! Since this job keeps me super busy, sometimes I don’t have time to put together a real lunch, so I’ll just whip up this smoothie. It’s pretty filling and loaded with lots of good stuff, and I’m telling you the flavor is perfect! The maca powder is a great superfood and it adds the yummiest slightly nutty flavor. It isn’t overwhelming at all and it blends really well. If you’re looking to have more protein, I suggest adding in some of your favorite protein powder (Orgain is amazing!). But between the greek yogurt and the PB powder, you end up having a good amount of protein in this smoothie.

The ingredients:

  • 1/2 banana
  • a handful of blueberries or grapes (whatever I have in the fridge at the time, both work well!)
  • two cups of spinach
  • 1/4 cup of greek yogurt (I love the Fage 0% fat, but you can use whatever you want!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mace powder
  • 2 tbsp PB powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • splash of almond milk
  • 3-5 ice cubes (yes, that’s insanely specific lol trust me)

I put everything into my mixer and start blending it at about a 3 speed, then gradually increasing to an 8 or 9. I only blend for about a minute total (I think), but the Vitamix is super intense! You can always taste it to see if it’s well blended or if you want to add any more berries or honey for additional sweetness.

Thanks so much for reading! Sorry I couldn’t get better photos for y’all. I was working on this post at night before getting ready for our trip to Dallas for the rewardStyle conference, so it was little difficult to get pictures. But anyway, I hope y’all enjoy this green smoothie as much as I do. I’d love to hear some of your favorite smoothie recipes in the comments! Or if you have any other ideas/requests for Wellness Wednesday, we always want to hear those too. Happy Wednesday!

Recipes

Turkey Meatball Recipe

Hi Friends! I’m sharing my famous turkey meatball recipe! Seriously, everyone who tries them loves them.

Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients

1 pound ground turney

1/4 C. Breadcrumbs

2-3 TBSP Hot Sauce

1/4 C. Chopped Spinach

1/4 C. Chopped Onion

1/4 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 Tsp. Italian Seasoning

1/4 Tsp. Garlic Salt

Mix ingredients together and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then turnover and bake another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: 5 Wellness Wednesday Ideas Your Team Will Love

  1. Provide Your Office With Healthy Snacks: We’re all guilty of snacking on unhealthy food to keep us going throughout the day. But snacks like chocolate, sweets and crisps can actually make you feel sluggish and could be the reason your employees aren’t working to their fullest capacity. Healthy snacks aid weight control, improve mood and boost energy. So dedicate your Wellness Wednesday’s to providing lots of healthy snacks and treats for your employees.
  2. Organize A Running Club: Keep your employees moving with a post-work running club. Sitting down in an office all day can make you feel a little un-energised at times, so what better way to stretch your legs, blow off steam, and get some fresh air, than a quick runabout after work? Set yourself and your employees a challenge and see how far you can run each week – this will also help encourage employee relationships and teamwork.Alternatively, walking meetings are a great excuse to get out of the office whilst still being productive.
  3. Healthy Cooking Contest: Have your employees cook their favorite healthy recipes and bring it into work the following day for a cooking competition, voted on by the rest of the office.
  4. Hire a Masseuse For A Day:Find a local masseuse who’s willing to come into your office for the day and create a sign-up sheet.
  5. Establish A Designated Coffee Time: Setup a time in the day – morning or afternoon – for employees to walk together to the local coffee shop or onsite cafe for a quick pick-me-up. It will give your employees the chance to catch up about both work and non-work related things, and offers a change of scenery so that employees feel refreshed going back into the office.

ShopBop

ShopBop Sale

ShopBop is having a sale with code “Event19”. Check Out my picks for the sale below.

Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: Four Easy Lifestyle Changes

Major changes to your lifestyle take effort, time and discipline.  I’ve been on my wellness journey for 13 years and I am still learning new things.  I have to constantly remind myself that undoing over thirty years of eating habits, cultural norms, and group think is a continuous process.  So if you’ve faltered on your 2019 health resolutions/goals don’t beat yourself up.

The basics of healthy living are just that basic.  Don’t get sucked into waist training, teas and fancy supplements.  I am sharing five easy lifestyle changes you can make right now.  Guess, what most of them won’t cost you a thing.

Drink Water

This is probably the easiest, cheapest and most effective changes you can make.  All the cool kids on IG and FB say you should be drinking a gallon a day.  I myself have done it in the past and it was no easy feat.  Do your research and figure out what is best for you.  Don’t worry about keeping up with the cool kids.  Check out of the benefits of drinking water on this post.

Get Some Sleep

I wake up at 8:00 am most days a week so I can workout.  Staying dedicated to my early morning workouts requires that I get my rest at night.  I use to be a night owl staying up way too late watching bad TV. Getting those extra Zs will have you energetic, thinking clearer and in a better mood.  I try to get at least five hours of sleep and I keep up with my sleep patterns using my Polar Loop.

Eat Whole Foods 

I’m not talking about food from Whole Food grocery store.  I mean food that has been minimally processed. This was and is the most difficult lifestyle change I made.  Packaged/fast food is plentiful and to be honest it tastes pretty good!  I gradually “weaned” myself away from McDonald’s cheeseburgers, Checkers seasoned fries and Taco Bell crunch wrap supreme’s.  Honestly, that stuff upset my stomach each time I ate it so I didn’t miss it too much when I gave it up.  However, transitioning from packaged foods to cooking fresh meals was a struggle.  I was a die-hard HotPocket, Eggo waffle, canned soup for lunch type of person. The convenience of throwing something in the oven or microwave was everything to me.  However, I was committed to eating better and that meant limiting package food for organic meat and vegetables.  Eating cleaner has been the best thing I have done for myself and the benefits have been and are continuous: my adult acne cleared up, no more crazy PMS, shorter and lighter menstrual cycles, no daily bloating and I “go” regularly.

Get Moving

Prior to getting sick I spent most of my day behind a desk staring at a computer and most evenings I’m on my laptop.  My life was pretty sedentary because of my job and my hobby.  However, that’s even more of a reason to make sure I get my workouts in.  Now-a-days I’m a bit more active in the day, however; I still make it a priority to get my daily workout video done. I wake up and the first thing I do is my Beachbody workout. Our bodies are amazing and can do amazing things as long our minds allow it.  Set aside that time to get moving.