Category Archives: Products I’ve Tried

Holiday Survival: Essential Oils Edition

Essential Oils 2I think it’s pretty safe to say that we have all heard of essential oils or know someone who uses them or is a distributor of them. Being the skeptic that I normally am, I didn’t buy into this hype at first, but I finally caved after ending up in the hospital with terrible headaches last year.

A friend of mine sent me some Young Living essential oils samples, I gave them a try and they worked!

(Note: If you receive samples, be very careful when opening the tiny packets. I was not and spilled Lavender oil EVERYWHERE. It resulted in the entire family having the best night of sleep they’ve every had, so I guess it wasn’t the worst experience ever.)

As we head into the holiday season and the winter, I thought this would be a good topic to cover, so I spoke with some friends who swear by their love of oils and put together a short list of how essential oils can help you to relax, destress and just flat out survive the holidays!

Plus they apparently make good stocking stuffers too!

essential oils stocking stuffers

Lavender: Can be diffused for a calming and comforting scent. You can add a few drops to Epsom salts for a relaxing nighttime bath. They can also be added to lotions or use with a carrier oil to apply to skin to soothe and help promote relaxation before sleep. You can add a few drops to distilled water in a spray bottle and spray on pillows and sheets as a linen spray to promote sleep.

Frankincense: Can be diffused or inhaled directly to increase spirituality and inner strength, lift mood and help balance emotions. I have also heard that when inhaled, it has been shown to reduce heart rate and high blood pressure. It has anti-anxiety and depression reducing abilities, but unlike prescription medications it does not have negative side effects and does not cause unwanted drowsiness. (This is not proven…just personal accounts from people I have spoken to.)

Peppermint: Peppermint has many uses that can come in handy for the holidays. It can be added to herbal tea to help soothe upset stomach. Some people also use with a carrier oil to rub topically on the stomach for stomach issues or use it topically to help with muscle stiffness and pain caused by shopping marathons again.

While I am not tied to Young Living Essential oils, I know that they can be used in recipes requiring peppermint extract. Substitute 1/8 tsp of Young Living peppermint oil per teaspoon of extract. After that a drop at a time can be added until desired taste. (Note: Check the labels before using other brands of oil for ingestion. Many oils are compromised with synthetic materials and I would not recommend ingesting that.)

Thieves oil:  A proprietary blend developed by Young Living but it has been duplicated and I have seen it elsewhere. Thieves essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the victims of the plague. Amazingly they did not fall ill. Therefore Thieves oil supports healthy immune function.

There are so many oils that I couldn’t possibly cover them all, so I found a neat little chart for you instead!

How to use oils: Apply directly on the desired area according to dilution instructions. Always use a carrier oil, which is a non-essential oil used to dilute the essential oils. This also makes your oils last longer. Some examples of a carrier oil are: coconut oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil and olive oil.

-Research has shown that Essential oils quickly penetrate the skin. because of this ability, essential oils can affect the cells of the human body within minutes. Suggested areas for application: feet, behind the ears, wrists on the front of neck, and base of the skull.

Aromatic use: Diffuse oils with an ultrasonic diffuser. Putting a drop in your cupped hand and inhale slowly for 1 minute. Smell it directly from the bottle. Put a couple drops on cotton balls near air vents at home or in the car. Essential Oils containing sesquiterpines have the ability to pass the blood brain barrier making them an effective alternative in enhancing mental clarity and memory, while also promoting calmness and peace of mind.

 So, as you can see, essential oils can allow you to take control of your own health and wellness while keeping your environment free of toxic chemicals. They can help to reduce some stress and take the edge off of the holidays season without turning to nighttime cocktails while wrapping presents or driving from store to store.
 
For more information, contact your local Young Living or other independent essential oils rep and see how they can help you!
 
Already using oils in your daily life? Share your favorite oil and how you use it in the comments below!
 
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**Disclamer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products ideas and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any compensation to write this. They are just my thoughts and opinions.

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Crazy Cups: How I Conquer My Sweet Tooth

Crazy Cups PostDisclaimer: As a Crazy Cups Ambassador, I was sent a package of coffee to review. and no compensation was exchanged. All opinions stated are my own.

I have sweet tooth bigger than my head. Cookies, cinnamon rolls, ice-cream…you name it! I have a hard time saying no to them. I also have a hard time saying no to coffee, so this is where Crazy Cups becomes my saving grace!

Now, if you follow me on Instagram or if we are friends on Facebook, you know that I LOVE me some coffee! I am always picking up new flavors of K-cups to try and my morning posts typically have something to do with coffee, especially dessert flavored coffees. Knowing this about me, it will come as no surprise that when Crazy Cups reached out to me and asked me to become an ambassador for them, I said YES!

In case you have not heard of Crazy Cups before, here is a little info about them:

  • They have recyclable K-cups.
  • They are known for their flavored K-cups. (you’ll see why as you read on)
  • Their products are organic and fair trade.
  • Their cups have 13g coffee grounds, which is 30% more than the competition.
  • Get notifications about new flavors and become part of their Flavor Nation with their app: (Click Here)

I am not a stranger to the Crazy Cups line of coffee  and I have tried many of their flavors, including their Hot Cocoa line. (FYI: the Maple French Toast is hands down my favorite!)  They have a list of flavors that will make your mouth drool:

Crazy Cups

  • Chocolate Coconut Dream
  • Frosted Oatmeal Cookie
  • Italian Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Pumpkin Vanilla Creme
  • Cinnamon Churro
  • Caramel Truffle Sundae
  • Bananas Foster Flambe
  • Salted Caramel

…and more! Don’t those sound good?!

Coffee flavors like these have been the key to keeping my sweet tooth in check while doing my workouts and sticking to clean eating. They feel like a cheat to me and help me to curb my cravings without shoving a calorie-filled treat into my face and regretting it later. I also get the energy I need to feel human through caffeine instead of processed sugar. (Remember, always say no to processed sugar and enjoy your caffeine in moderation, while drinking lots of water because it can dehydrate you!)

Plus their dedication to flavored coffee brings a tear to my eye…

ode to flavor

Speaking of Death By Chocolate…it’s my new obsession!

This flavor can cure just about any chocolate craving with the smell alone. My entire kitchen smelled like a chocolate cake as this little pod brewed, it was absolutely heavenly!

Now, I drink my coffee iced and black (which is why this is a basically a calorie free treat for me) and the flavor of this was perfectly balanced. It was chocolaty but not so sweet that you forgot you were drinking a cup of coffee. 

Want to try some Death by Chocolate for yourself? Enter my GIVEAWAY below for a chance to win a box of your very own!

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Beachbody On-Demand: It’s Here!

Beachbody On-Demand MeHow many times have you heard someone talking about a new workout program or seen an infomercial for one? Heck, if you’ve been following my blog for awhile, I’ve mentioned enough programs to make your head spin.

When deciding to commit to at-home fitness, there is definitely pressure. How do you know which program to choose? Will you like it? What happens if you hate it?

One of the reasons why I recommend Beachbody products and I ended up becoming a coach is because I BELIEVE in their products. I’m a walking testimony that they work. I lost over 100 pounds using their products and there is no doubt in my mind, you WILL get results if you commit to whatever program you choose.

(Note the last 8 words of that sentence. As a matter of fact, go back and reread it. They’re very important.)

The other thing I love about them? They offer a money back guarantee on all of their products …even Shakeology! You can use the entire bag and decide you don’t like and they will refund your money as long as it’s within 30 days.

Who does that?!

Since I have completed so many programs I understand why people have a hard time deciding which one to choose. There are A LOT of them. In all honesty it also doesn’t help that there are so many coaches out there and they’re all hyping up the newest program to hit the market. I get it, it’s new, there’s excitement about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Ya know? From P90X to PiYo, there truly is something for everyone and of every fitness level… but which one is right for YOU?

Well, if you decide to purchase a program, I recommend you find a coach that knows the programs and can guide in choosing the one that’s right for you. They should ask you questions about your goals, fitness level and then give you some options to check out. If they only talk about how much they love the program, how awesome everyone says it is, that’s it’s the newest thing and they don’t ask you questions, chances are your best interest in not what they’re focused on and you might want to find someone else to help you. 

Now, if you get bored easily, still aren’t convince that a specific program is for you or if you just enjoy variety, I’d like to introduce you to the brand new Beachbody On-Demand!

On Demand 2

 It’s a new feature that Beachbody is offering within The Team Beachbody Club membership and it’s truly the most valuable tool I could share with you at the moment.

I had the opportunity to be apart of the test group for this new feature and I absolutely LOVED it!

With this Premium Team Beachbody Club membership, you’ll automatically have access to unlimited streaming of hundreds of workouts from Beachbody’s collection of fitness programs as well as the Nutrition Guides,  personalized meal plans, support videos from REAL celebrity trainers, a 10% discount on ALL Team Beachbody products (including Shakeology) and most important, a FREE coach, like myself!

So what programs do you have access to with this Team Beachbody Club Membership? Allow me to tell you…

On Demand

Beachbody On-Demand: Programs Available At Launch

  • P90X & P90X Deluxe
  • P90X2 & P90X2 Deluxe
  • P90X3 & P90X3 Deluxe
  • P90X ONE on ONE Volume 1
  • 10 Minute Trainer
  • INSANITY & INSANITY Deluxe
  • INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Volume 1
  • TurboFire
  • Brazil Butt Lift & Brazil Butt Lift Deluxe
  • ChaLEAN Extreme
  • Hip Hop Abs

Beachbody On-Demand: Your Purchased Programs

Later this March, there will be another big perk added to Beachbody On-Demand. If you’re a paid Team Beachbody Club member and you purchase select DVD programs that are not in the Member Library, you’ll be able to exclusively stream those programs as well. Just look for “Purchased Programs” in Beachbody On-Demand.

That means if you travel a lot, you no longer have to worry about packing your DVD’s with you! You’ll have them at your finger tips from any device that supports internet access. You’ll be able to access these workouts from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, PS3, XBox 360, PS4, XBox One, Smart TV, Chromecast or Apple TV! How awesome is that?!

(Update 3/12/15: After receiving a message from someone having issues getting it to work on their PS3, I found that despite having Flash, the site works but the video does not load on the PS3 & XBox 360 game systems. It did work on my PS4 and I spoke with someone who uses it on their Xbox One and helped a customer use it on their Smart TV. I am looking into this more to see why this is happening and I will update again when I have more info.)

The first set of programs that will be available for streaming later in March as part of the Purchased Program section are FOCUS T25 (which is on sale this month), 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME. This library of available Purchased Programs to be streamed will be growing over the next few months, too.

Beachbody On-Demand: Try Before You Buy

Another huge benefit of becoming a Premium Team Beachbody Club member? Exclusive access to try workouts from many of the newest programs along with some other noteworthy programs. Just look for “New and Noteworthy” in Beachbody On Demand.

This section will allow you to preview select single workouts of some of Beachbody’s newest and best-selling programs. In other words, now for the first time, you will be able to get a sneak preview of the program and try before you buy with one full length workout from the program.

Here are the programs you will have exclusive access to starting in March 2015:

  • 21 Day Fix – Total Body Cardio Fix
  • 21 Day Fix EXTREME – PiYo Fix Extreme
  • PiYo – Sweat
  • FOCUS T25 – Alpha Cardio
  • INSANITY MAX:30 – Sweat Intervals
  • P90 – Sculpt A
  • Body Beast – Build: Chest/Tris

As you can see, Beachbody On Demand can help many people in different ways. From those who need variety or can’t decide which program or trainer they will like best, to those who travel often, there are benefits for everyone.

How Much Does Beachbody On-Demand Cost?

The Beachbody On-Demand digital program will only cost you the price of a Team Beachbody Club membership, which is a risk-free cost of $2.99 a week, billed $38.87 quarterly (that’s less than $40 for 3 months). And you can cancel any time in the first 30 days for a full refund.

As I mentioned above, with Team Beachbody Club Membership you also gain access to nutrition information and guidance, personalized meal plans, support videos from REAL celebrity trainers, a 10% discount on ALL Team Beachbody products (including Shakeology) and most important, a FREE coach, like myself!

March Promo:

If you purchase a bag of Shakeology, you can get 3 months of Beachbody On-Demand for only $10! If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, simply click here or contact me so we can discuss you goals and figure out which program you should try first!

If you are unsure about Club Membership and do not already have a FREE Team Beachbody account, click here to make one and I’ll be assigned as your coach and you can contact me with any questions you may have!

So what do you think of this new feature? Is it something you think you could benefit from?

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10 Stocking Stuffers for Fitness Lovers

10 Stocking Stuffers for the Fitness LoverCan you believe we are only 9 days away from Christmas?! I feel like we were just carving the Turkey and discussing Black Friday sales. Time needs to slow down just a little so I can catch up.

If you are anything like me, the majority of your shopping is done and you started to wrap, but the one thing you forgot about were the stockings! Dammit!  Well, I put together a list of 10 stocking stuffers for fitness lovers, that just might help you out!

Bonus: Each item is at or under $20 and many can be found locally without shipping! Score!

1. Skullcandy Ink’d 2.0 Mic’d Headphones:

skullcandy ink'd 2.0These feature multi-sized silicone gel tips to deliver the perfect fit. You can also manage device and tunes with the single-button mic and remote. (Find them at Target or Walmart $20)

2. Stylish Beanies:

beanies

Perfect for outdoor winter runs as well as trips to the gym or the store. Beanies are stylish, functional and completely affordable. Give the gift of warm this year! (Starting at $6 at Target, Forever 21 and Kohl’s)

Apt. 9 ® lurex leopard ribbed beanie • Apt. 9 • $11.99
Merona® Jeweled Solid Beanie Hat – Black • Merona • $14.99
Merona Women’s Microfleece Beanie Hat • Merona • $6.00
Xhilaration® Reversible Star Beanie Hat – Black/Green • Xhilaration • $12.99
Xhilaration® Beanie Hat – Blue • Xhilaration • $6.98
FOREVER 21+ Multi-Tone Knit Beanie • Forever 21 • $6.23

3. Smart Gloves

Smart gloves

In today’s tech world, your gloves MUST be able to work with the touch screen on your phone. Whether you’re running outside and activating your favorite run tracking app, or driving to the gym, these are a must-have for the social-media-driven fitness folks in your life. (Starting at $5 at retailers like Five Below, Target, TJ Maxx & Marshall’s)

4. Degree’s by 180’s Headphones:

Degrees by 180's

Not a fan of beanies but want to keep your ears warm during your outdoor winter workout? Keep your ears warm and your tunes jamming with these ear warmer headphones! They are listed in the men’s section but I don’t see why us ladies can’t use them too! (Find them at Target.com and Kohls $19.99 or click here to purchase them via Target.com)

BONUS: Use the code JOY30 for 30% off these!

5. Quest Bars:

Quest Bars

Give the gift of the #CleanCheat this holiday season with some Quest Bars. They comes in a large variety of flavors and are heavenly when popped into the microwave for a few seconds to soften up. They are also gluten-free, have no added sugar and come in around 160 calories + 20 grams of protein per bar (depending on the flavor) My personal favorites are Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. There is also a brand new Smore’s flavor, but it’s not in stores yet. (Find these at your local GNC or Vitamin Shop around $3 per bar)

6. Gymboss Interval Timer:

Gymboss timer

The Gymboss Interval Timer and Stopwatch is a small, easy-to-use, dual interval timer. This multi-use timer has many versatile functions that make it beneficial to virtually any type of exercise program and helps keep your workout on track. You can program your work/rest times and not worry about starting and stopping a stopwatch. This little gizmo does it all for you. (Find it on Amazon $19.99)

7. Sparkly Soul Headband

sparkly soul

“I don’t sweat, I sparkle.” Kick your sparkle game up a notch with these non-slip, no-headache headbands that REALLY work. They come tons of different colors with two widths to choose from. Perfect for kids too (think cheerleaders, track stars and tumblers). (Find these on SparklySoul.com or Amazon. Starting at $15.00)

8. iTunes Gift Cards

itunes

Do I really need to explain why this is a great gift? From music to apps, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love to find one of these in their stocking on Christmas morning! (Find at grocery stores, Apple, Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS…etc. Starting at $10)

9. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm:

Burts Bees Lip Balm

Winter leaves our lips chapped and raw, especially if you workout outdoors. Give the gift of relief. Beeswax conditions skin, while antioxidant Vitamin E moisturizes. A final hint of Peppermint Oil provides that one-of-a-kind refreshing tingle. The result? Smooth, supple lips everyone will be buzzing about. (Find it many local retailers like Target, Walmart, Walgreens & CVS for around $3-$4)

10. Pampered Feet:

Pampered Feet

If you have a runner in your life, their feet take a beating! Give them a treat with a pair of Shea Infused Slipper Socks ($8.50) and some True Blue Foot Cream ($15.00) from Bath & Body Works.

I hope this list sparks some ideas for you as you wrap up your holiday shopping. If I missed a favorite of yours, please share it with me below!

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#HelloKeurig

*I received a Keurig K550 brewing system as part of the #HelloKeurig review opportunity via the Influenster program. All thoughts and opinions on the system are my own and I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.*

Hello Keurig

I LOVE COFFEE! If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, this is not a newsflash. As a matter of fact, if I’m not posting about a workout, sharing a photo of a new recipe I’ve tried or a few motivational words, I’m posting about coffee. It makes me happy. It’s a hug for my soul. It’s the pat on the ass that says “Go get ’em, tiger!”

Obviously when I received word from Influenster that I was selected to take part in the #HelloKeurig campaign, I was super stoked! 

We were already proud owners of a Keurig brewing system and we loved it. I know some people don’t like Keurig’s and if you’re not using a french press or fancy schmancy, professional machine you aren’t a true coffee lover but I completely disagree with that and tend to just laugh to myself about it. With my hectic daily schedule, three coffee drinkers in my house and two kids, I love the fact that we don’ t all have to agree on a coffee. We can each wake up, pick a K-cup flavor to fit our mood, brew, sip and move along with our day. I also adore that my kids can grab a mug, pop in a hot cocoa cup and enjoy a warm treat for themselves. To me it’s the best of all worlds for everyone and Keurig improved upon it with the new Keurig 2.0.

The Keurig 2.0 now features a carafe option which is perfect for when you have company over and want to brew a few cups of coffee in one shot. If also perfect for those of us who want a cup of coffee now and want to have some left over to cool off so it can be added to a post workout protein shake. (Did I mention that I LOVE coffee?) The K550 model, which I received, also boasts a larger water reservoir which I absolutely love. I tend to be the last one to make their coffee in the morning, so I am no longer greeted with the “Please Add Water” message…which was almost like my old Keurig’s sarcastic way of saying Good Morning, to me.

This new system is full of bells and whistles. It has a new sleek design, lots of customization options like a nightlight, clock options, auto turn-on/turn-off, brew strength (which might be my favorite new feature) and a night light! Yes…I said a nightlight! You can also customize the wallpaper on the display and there is a new smart brewing technology (which I will get into in a minute). We were very impressed with the machine as we unpacked it and couldn’t wait to try our favorite coffee’s with the new brew strength option…but that’s were things went a little wrong and my temper started to flare.

Unfortunately, the new Keurig 2.0’s smart brewing technology will ONLY brew the newer K-cups and there is a little false information in the pamphlet that comes with the machine. It says that you can only use K-cups with the Keurig logo on them, but that is not true. We had tons of cups with the Keurig logo on them (like the K-cup pictured on the left in the image below), but the box did not say that they work in ALL KEURIG BREWERS (this is key when purchasing cups for the 2.0) and they did NOT have the silver/white rim around them (which is where the new technology is stored for perfect brew settings). As a result of this technology, you can also no longer use the refillable K-cup to brew special local coffees, which may not offer K-Cups. Bummer…right?! On the bright side, Keurig is aware of this issue and if you contact them, they will provide you with a coupon code for 3 FREE replacement boxes along with FREE shipping from their website! This definitely took my temper back to happy coffee lover as I scrolled through the options I had to choose from on their site. (If you haven’t tried Chocolate Donut, I suggest you go order some after you finish readying this post.)

Overall, we are very happy with the new Keurig 2.0 K550 system. Here is a list of Pro’s and Con’s that we came up with:

Pro’s

  • Ability to brew a variety of sized, from 4 to 10 oz cups
  • Ability to brew 2 t0 4 cups at a time (by using the new carafe)
  • Very easy to swap between single cup and carafe brewing
  • Comes standard with water filter
  • Larger water reservoir (on the K550 model only)
  • Easy to read digital display
  • Auto brew timer option for the carafe
  • Optional night light
  • Ability to choose how strong you want your coffee
  • Ability to choose if you are brewing something besides coffee (tea/hot cocoa) so the brew comes out better
  • Economy setting that allows for you to set the machine to turn off after so many minutes of being inactive
  • Option to brew just hot water

Con’s

  • Can not use older K-cups with the 2.0 system *Must have silver/white outer ring on K-cup or black Keurig seal along with words in ALL KEURIG BREWERS on the box*
  • Can not use refillable K-cup with your own grinds
  • The carafe that comes standard is plastic and does’t hold heat well. There is a stainless steel version (sold separately) which I feel should come standard with the deluxe K550 model. I have not used the stainless steel version, but I would hope it hold heat in better than the plastic one, since there is no warmer option.

Keurig 20 cup issue

We’ve been using our new Keurig 2.0 system for over a month now and the list of pro’s definitely outweigh the con’s to us, especially since Keurig has address the old K-cup issue with the generous coupon. I am also happy to see that the Archer Farms cups available at Target have switched the new technology! If you have purchased these in the past, be warned that only the cups in the new packaging have the new technology. So if you find cups on clearance, skip them since the machine will not be able to read the. (There is a hack around this new technology, but I won’t go into that. If you have a bunch of old cups on hand that you want to use, all I will say is Google is your friend in figuring out how to make them work.)

What are your thoughts on the new Keurig 2.0 system? Do you think you’ll be saying #HelloKeurig anytime soon?

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{ 21 Day Fix } Week 1 Review

Last week I began the 21 Day Fix and I’m loving it! What makes this experience even better are the people who decided to join me in a Challenge /Accountability Group. Over the years I learned that accountability partners are essential to success, so organizing one and watching people succeed is just full of awesomesauce!

The aspect of the 21 Day Fix that intrigued me the most was the color-coded,  portion-control container system that it uses. I have really cleaned up my diet over the past 5 years but portion-control can still be an issue for me and believe it or not, you can overeat healthy foods. Crazy, right?!

Here is some basic information on the program for those of you who have never heard of it or are not sure about the details:

21 Day Fix

What is 21 Day Fix?
• A 21-day program of simple portion control and 30-minute workouts that anyone can do (there is an exercise modifier for every workout)
• Simple, fast weight loss—no weighing food or counting calories, carbs, or points
• You can potentially lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days

What makes 21 Day Fix unique?
• Portion-control containers take all the guesswork out of losing weight
• It’s the simplest way to control how much you eat
• 30-minute workouts that anyone can do and fit into everyone’s busy life

Who is the target audience?
Men and women who:
• Want to lose weight
• Don’t want to make long time commitments
• Have tried and failed at complicated diet plans
• Don’t want an extreme fitness program
• Are new to fitness, dieting, and weight loss
• Don’t like “off-limits” diet plans or deprivation

How does it work?
• The Eating Plan shows you how to use the portion-control containers
• Simply put your choice of food in the color-coded container—if it fits, you can eat it!
• Do one 30-minute workout per day according to the Fitness Guide
• Follow the simple plan, and you can lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days

One of the unique features of this program is that it involves no counting of any kind. Outside of a quick math equation to figure out your calorie level, you don’t have to worry about numbers…well…just how many of each colored container you are allowed to have daily. That means you will not need to worry about weighing your food, fat content, carbohydrate counts or calorie amount in the foods you consume during the plan.

Each color-coded container is used to measure a specific type of food. You can eat as much of that food as you can fit into that container and the amount of containers you are allowed for each color depends on that one, simple math equation that you use to calculate your calorie level. The container colors and their specific use are as follows:

  • Green—Vegetables
  • Purple—Fruit
  • Red—Protein
  • Yellow—Carbohydrates
  • Blue—Healthy Fats and Cheese
  • Orange (2)—Seeds and Oils
  • Shakeology Shaker Cup—Drinks

In my opinion, the most important part of this nutrition program is being prepared. Meal Planning is key with the 21 Day Fix and I think Meal Prepping helps a lot, too. To keep my Challenge Group on track, I designed a meal planner, grocery list and color-coded cut out visual to help them plan their week with ease.

21 Day Fix Custom Tools

Another great tool are these colored sandwich bags that I found at Target. The come four colors to a box (Red, Yellow, Blue and Green) and are perfect for meal prepping. All you do is measure your food in the container and then put it into the colored bag to match. I do this with frozen veggies that I use in my omelets, rice and protein items so I have plenty of grab and go/grab and cook items on hand through out the week. I wish they had a Purple bag for my fruits, but I just use a clear sandwich bag for those. Another useful bag size to have are the snack size ones. These are perfect for storing nuts, seeds, flax and other items that go in the Orange container.

21 Day Fix Colored Bags

The Workouts:

Included with this program is a 30-minute workout for each day of the week and the only additional items you need are dumbells or resistance bands and a yoga mat. If you order the program through a Beachbody Coach you also receive a Bonus Workout called Plyo Fix. The workouts are all challenging but nothing crazy like Insanity. There is a moderator in every workout, so you can either follow her if you are new to fitness or you always have the option of following the group for as long as you can and then switching to the modified move if you begin to get tired. I love this because it offers lots of room for growth and lets face it, not every workout is our best. Sometimes you are tired and not really into it, so while you need to give it your all during every workout, sometimes all you can give is the modified version and that’s okay…cause you’re moving and not just sitting on the couch watching TV and shoving chips into your mouth.

Total Body Cardio Fix
The Total Body Cardio Fix is a fast paced cardio workout that can be done with your own body weight or can also be done with weights and/or resistance bands to up the intensity. The 30 minutes include two exercises done for four rounds. There is a short 20 second rest period in between each round for recovery. The purpose of the Total Body Cardio Fix is to give you a whole body cardio workout while toning every muscle from head to toe.

Upper Fix
The Upper Fix works the upper body, including arms, chest, shoulders and abs. You can use weights and resistance bands with this workout as well or you can simply use your own body weight. There are five exercises that will be done for two rounds with a 20 second rest period in between. You can expect to do push-ups, scissor twists, planks and presses, among others.

Lower Fix
This workout focuses on the lower body, with a special focus on most women’s problem areas, the legs and buttocks. Once again, you will be doing two rounds of exercises with a rest period in between that is 20 seconds long. Everything from your calves to your buttocks will be sore after completing this 30 minute workout.

Pilates Fix
The Pilates Fix focuses mostly on floor exercises that include basic Pilates moves to strengthen your core, elongate your muscles and firm up your lower body.

Cardio Fix
The Cardio Fix is a workout based on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) similar to Shaun T’s workouts in the Insanity and Focus T25 programs. It involves minute long bursts of very intense exercise with 20 second rest periods in between for recovery. Explosive, plyometrics moves such as skater jumps and box jumps are mixed with classics such as jumping jacks and push-ups to give you a sweat inducing, calorie torching workout for the entire 31 minute length of the DVD.

Yoga Fix
Although the Yoga Fix seems less intense than the others, it is by no means an easy workout. It involves plenty of stretching to help recover from the week of more grueling activity, and is to be done on the seventh day of the week in addition to one of the other videos.

Dirty 30
In addition to the six workouts already included with the 21 Day Fix Program, you will also receive the Dirty 30 Workout to add to your fitness routine as a bonus gift. The Dirty 30 is similar to a CrossFit workout, and includes a variety of exercises that will be repeated for four rounds in order to help you carve out a leaner, stronger, more defined physique.

Bonus Workout: Plyo Fix
The Plyo Fix workout is a bonus. It does not come with the program unless it is purchased through Team Beachbody and can be done in addition to any of the daily workout videos on the 21 Day Fix workout schedule. It is filled with plyometric exercises that help improve overall strength and stamina.

As you can see there is a lot of tools included with this program. The information given in this post is based on the Essential Pack. There is also the Challenge Pack which includes all of the above plus Shakeology at a discounted price and 30 Days of Club Membership for FREE (this gives you access to recipes and meal planning tools). The final option is the Ultimate Pack which comes with everything included in the Essential 21 Day Fix Pack, plus an insulated bag to store your food while on the go, two additional workouts, a large “on-the-go” container and a resistance band. The two additional workouts are Flat Abs Fix and Barre Legs. They can be done in addition to the other workout videos already included with the program in order to turn up the intensity throughout the week or as a change of pace.

So far I’m really enjoying this program and the results from week 1. When I weighed in I didn’t have any change in my weight, however I did lose 2 inches in my waist, 1.5 inches in my hips and .5 inches in each thigh! This is why it’s so  important to take your measurements when you begin a new program. The scale does not and will not ever tell you the full story. I would hate to see someone step on the scale, not lose any weight and begin to beat themselves up or worse, quit over that. If you are following the program as laid out, sometimes you just have to trust the process and allow your body time to adjust. Measurements help to give a good insight as to what’s going on and are very important. If you don’t have a change in either weight or measurements, you may want to speak to your coach and tweak a few things to better suite your needs.

If you have done the 21 Day Fix, I would love to hear about your results. If you are interested in the program and would like more information, please feel free to contact me.

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{Product Review + GIVEAWAY!} Bondi Bands

Thanks to Bondi Band and Fit Approach, I have been given the opportunity as a Sweet Pink Ambassador, to try Bondi Bands (and they even gave me an extra one to giveaway to one lucky reader, so keep reading)!

Right now you’re probably wondering….What’s a Bondi Band?

I Run so I can eat

Bondi Bands are headbands composed of a unique blend of nylon, lycra and spandex. The result is a stretchy yet form fitting band that holds up and won’t slip, plus they boast a moisture wicking effect that pulls sweat away from your head, so it can evaporate instead of running into your eyes. If you’ve ever had sweat drip into your eyes, you how much that burns!

I typically don’t wear headbands because I get headaches from them, but the Bondi Band headband was very stretchy and pretty darn comfy.  I love how the Bondi Band can cover my ears, depending on how I wear it, which will be super useful come the fall and winter! I’m really looking forward to trying them out then.

Bondi Band “sayings” headbands are unisex, 100% American Made (which is a big plus to me) and perfect to be worn on their own or under hats, helmets and visors. As I mentioned, they use a stretchy, breathable material, which allows them to fit virtually every head size and shape. Indoors and in warm weather outdoors, the moisture wicking headbands are great to wick away sweat and in colder weather they are also great to keep ears warm, along with keeping hair back. The “sayings” headbands are approximately four inches in width and can be worn wide or folded to the desired width.

Have kids? Bondi Band makes headbands for kids bands too!  They also have other cool products, like hats (with cut outs for pigtails or ponytails), sweat towels and compression gear. They have a wide variety of fashion patterns, to heavy-sweat wicking bands, with fun sayings and they won’t break the bank!

Want to win a Bondi Band?! Good….because starting today, I’m giving this one away!

Suck It Up Buttercup

All you need to do is a couple of quick things:

*Bonus Entry: Comment below with your favorite way to sweat!*

Entries must be received by June 6th. Winner will be contacted via Instagram on June 7th! (Winner will be chosen using Random.org)

Like what you see on the Bondi Band website and want to order now? Use the code SWEATPINK and save 10% on your order, now thru June 28th!
*Excludes Bargain Bin, Design Your Own and Custom Items.

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 *I received complimentary headbands to review and giveaway from Bondi Band through Fit Approach, as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts and opinions are my own, honest account of the product reviewed.*

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{Product Review} LYFT Energy Stick

Studying, errands, working out, cleaning the house and homework with the kids, typically have me begging for a power nap around 3 pm. Like typical adults, my day begins with a prayer in front of the Keurig machine as I look at the never ending list of tasks for my day. I try to avoid having coffee after noon but every now and then I give in and have some just so I can make it through my day.

I was recently given an opportunity from Fit Approach through their Sweat Pink Ambassador program to try a revolutionary new product called LYFT Clean Caffeine. LYFT Energy Stir Sticks are an innovative “clean caffeine” energy product infused with all natural caffeine from green coffee bean extract, along with vitamins A and B complex that provide a sophisticated energy experience. They contain zero calories, have a clean taste and can be used with a variety of different beverages from water to freshly pressed juices to coconut water and cocktails. The LYFT Energy Sticks contain no artificial flavors, sweeteners or preservatives and have the caffeine equivalent to one tall coffee.

Click here to compare LYFT Energy stick to other energy drinks on the market.

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Today was one of those days where I needed a “pick me up” so I decided to try one of the LYFT sticks. They are very easy to use! All you do is peel off the label, dunk it into an 8 oz drink of choice and then stir it around. I opted for water since I was running behind on my intake for the day and I wanted to see what kind of flavor it gave to beverages. I wasn’t a fan of it in the plain water, which was a little upsetting. It had a sweet, yet “off” taste to it, so I added a bit of juice to my glass and it was instantly better.  Within a few minutes I felt a nice little jolt of energy, without that jittery feeling I’ve had when trying energy drinks in the past.

If you are looking for a “clean caffeine” option to get you through the day or to replace soda and energy drinks, I would definitely give LYFT Energy Sticks a try. They are also the perfect on-the-go option and can easily be stashed in your gym bag, backpack or purse. PLUS…you can get FREE shipping by entering code WELCOME when ordering from their site.

What are your thoughts on energy or pre-workout drinks?

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*I received two LYFT Energy Sticks through Fit Approach, as a Sweat Pink Ambassador for review. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts and opinions are my own, honest account of the product reviewed.*

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The Clean in 14 Detox

Clean in 14 Detox

Recently I was given the opportunity to preview Melissa Costello’s new book, “The Clean in 14 Detox“, which was just released yesterday!

I was first introduced to Melissa Costello of Karma Chow, and her recipes in Tony Horton’s book, Bring It, back in 2011, when I followed the cleanse for that program. I was intrigued by the approach and the benefits to following a vegan diet. I managed to stay vegan for 40 days before switching over to vegetarian for 8 months. I learned a lot about nutrition during that time period and it changed the way I looked at food. Meat was eventually added back into my diet, because….well….BACON! (nitrate-free of course)

When I heard about Melissa’s new book, “Clean in 14 Detox” I knew I had to check it out! Cleansing is a good thing, when it’s done correctly. It rids the body of accumulated slow poisons, which can make your metabolism sluggish, lead to stomach inflammation and digestive issues, as well as many other chronic issues and of course…unwanted weight gain. The approach taken in Melissa’s book will  not only flush your body of toxins, but it will free your mind of negative patterns and allow you to find balance in your life.

While there are many detox programs available, “Clean in 14 Detox is the only simple, 2-week plan that’s not about deprivation, frustration or living on shakes or pills. This cleanse is about enjoying delicious plant-based, whole foods that not only taste amazing, but will melt fat, curb cravings and provide your body with the natural energy it needs!

Sounds to good to be true right? Well, if you follow the plan, it’s not. We live in a society hooked on convenient, over-processed food, that is full of chemicals and sugars that we don’t need. The key to eating healthier is changing your relationship with food and Melissa has included everything you need.

  • Detailed shopping lists and mouthwatering mix and match meal plans for 14 days.
  • How to completely eliminate CRAP (Coffee, refined sugar, alcohol, Processed Foods) out of your life
  • How to banish you SAP (Sabotaging Addictive Patterns) that keep you on the diet rollercoaster
  • How to follow through on healthy eating as a lifestyle, not just another fad diet
  • Daily Action Steps to help you stay focused and motivated

This cleanse isn’t just about food, it’s about your mind too. I love that there are daily actions which include journal writing, reflection and even meditation. This book is truly the total package needed to deal with food cravings and sugar addiction, without wanting to kill everyone you comes into contact with, during the 14 day process.

The best part of this cleanse is that it offers a wide variety of delicious, unprocessed foods, like Baja-fajitas, chopped salad with creamy pepita dressing, coconut yam soup, oven-baked sweet potatoes and this yummy protein shake, which is from the Breakfast and Shakes section of the book:

Photo from KarmaChow.com

Photo from KarmaChow.com

Ruby’s Raspberry Dazzle Protein Shake
1 serving

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tablespoon raw almond butter

Directions
1. Blend the ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth and creamy.

 

If you are looking to kick your sugar addiction, increase your immunity, have better digestion, a more efficient metabolism and glowing skin, I highly recommend that you pick up this book, cut the CRAP and truly take a look at your relationship with food. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Have you ever completed a cleanse? What kind of cleanse was it and how did you feel during and after?

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(I received one copy of Clean in 14 Detox from Dunn Pellier Media to review. All opinions in the post are my own, honest feeling on the item.)

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{Product Review} Vega Bars

Recently, I was selected to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador for Fit Approach and I couldn’t be happier. I have met so many fabulous, fit and strong women in this community and I love that we can all share our knowledge, motivate each other and support one another, as we conquer our workouts one squat at a time.

As an ambassador, I had the opportunity to participate in a campaign for Vega, which allowed me to sample some of their newest bars to hit the market…and man were they good!

If you’re not familiar with Vega, they offer plant-based, gluten-free, non-GMO, nothing artificial nutrition options. To view their guiding principles CLICK HERE.

 

Vega Bars

 

As you can see from the photo above, Vega truly has your day covered …and sometimes it’s even covered in chocolate!

The first bar I tried was the Vega Sport Protein bar in the Chocolate Mint flavor. It featured 15 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of BCAA’s and 2 grams of glutamine, which made it a great post workout option. Since your body needs fuel within a certain time period after a tough workout, these would be a perfect addition to your gym bag…because sometimes you need to run errands before going home, right?

vega sport protein

Post workout nutrition is important…don’t skip it!

 

Next up was the Vega Snack Bar! I love to snack and I know you do too. When I opened the box of treats Vega sent me, I couldn’t wait to tear into the Dark Chocolate Mixed Nuts and Sea Salt. I decided to show a little restraint and save it for when I was out running errands and feeling hangry. The snack bars are perfect for these scenarios! How many times have you been stuck in a long line at the grocery store and began drooling over the candy bars or chips they showcase up the registers? We work too hard to sabotage ourselves, so be prepared for when hunger strikes with a snack like this! Trust me.

Vega Snack

I always keep an emergency snack in my bag.

 

Then there are the days that are just hectic and start with time not being on your side. Thankfully Vega even offers Vega One bars, which are total meal replacements! This morning I had to grab a Chocolate Peanut Butter bar and it was goooooood. The Vega One bars are packed with 12g complete plant-based protein, 4g fiber, 1g Omega 3, 1 serving of greens, 1 billion dairy-free probiotics, 25 added vitamins and minerals and antioxidants. That’s pretty awesome considering all you have to do is unwrap and eat!

Vega One

Emergency carpet cleaning? Vega One can power you through!

 

The final bar I tried was the Vega Sport Energy Bar in Apple Cherry. There are days were I cram a run or a workout in wherever I can, because I have other things I need to tend to first. These days become tricky because I can’t time my nutrition properly. Having an energy bar like this on hand, gives your muscles the fast-acting, long-lasting whole food energy they need to endure. The energy bars contain 27g carbs from whole food ingredients, high and low glycemic carborhydrates for immediate and sustained energy, as well as 1g Omega 3.

Vega Sport Energy

Your body needs proper energy before you workout. Fuel it right.

As you can see, Vega offers a wide variety of bars to fit your daily nutrition needs. I really enjoyed the taste of all of these. Some were better than others, but that also comes down to personal taste. (I love anything with chocolate). For more info on these items, be sure to visit the Vega Blog.

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(I received a variety of VEGA bars from VEGA and Fit Approach to review. All opinions in the post are my own, honest feeling on the item.)

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