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Comforting Meal Prep for the Win!

This week has been a challenging one for myself and Draz. Heck, I would even say it’s been tough on our animals as well! Getting used to my new work schedule and all that goes with it is about what I expected….and at the same time not at all. In some ways, I’m adjusting pretty quickly! In other ways, not so much.

One thing I’m really glad I didn’t have to worry about this week? Our meals. More than just about any week that I can think of, meal prep kept us both on track and less stressed during this massive change. Since we are now on opposite work shifts, we are now on opposite eating schedules too. He is having dinner around the same time I have breakfast! So having everything ready to go in the fridge was one thing less to worry about.

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This week was all about budget-friendly healthier versions of comfort food! In all the chaos I forgot to take a full meal prep photo, but I did manage to get a couple pictures before it was all gone! Our main dishes were:

  • Creamy Mac and Cheese with Ham and Stir-fry Veggies
  • Crockpot Buffalo Chicken and Noodle Soup
  • Chinese Stir-fried Eggs with Tomatoes (served with steamed jasmine rice)

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All of these turned out wonderful, though I think the mac and cheese was my favorite for the week. Something about pasta and veggies is just so comforting!

I still have a lot of adjusting to do to deal with my new schedule, but I think I’m making good headway! I managed to get more time in the jewelry studio this week than I have in over a month. And I got in a pretty good amount of workouts in, including a kickboxing workout that kicked my butt! (Thanks Laura!) One thing I’ve found is helping – limiting my social media use in the first few hours of the day!

If switching your schedule like this is something you’ve ever dealt with, I would love to hear your tips for adjusting! Have a great week y’all! I have some exciting things coming up soon that I just CAN’T WAIT to share with you!

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Meal Prep – Week of Jan 13th

Y’all….I have no words to express how happy I am to be back to sharing my weekly meal preps with you! I’ve missed it!! Have you missed it too?

And this week has plenty of deliciousness to share with you! We’ve been pretty budget focused lately. This menu definitely reflects that! And that you can still eat healthy dishes while staying budget-conscious. I will say though…it would be easy to make this week’s prep even better by switching out the jasmine rice (steamed though it is) with either brown rice or cauliflower rice. But we are focusing on eating from our pantry right now, so jasmine rice it is!

This week’s prep was mostly 3 main dishes: Healthy Kung Pao Chicken, Cabbage and Chicken Saute, and Egg and Tomato Stiry-fry! All three were super tasty, but I think my favorite for the week has to be the Egg and Tomato Stir-fry. There is just something so satisfying about it!

Along with these dishes I made a batch of our protein balls. I’ve been thinking lately about needing more grab-and-go type-snacks, but I haven’t found any yet that really stand out.

What did you meal prep this week? Been trying any new recipes? Leave a comment and tell me all about them!

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Let’s THRIVE in 2019!

Now that we are a little over a week into 2019, how is everyone doing?! Still feelin’ that New Year energy? I know I am! 2018 was pretty amazing and I am so excited to see what 2019 has in store!

A few highlights of 2018:

  • I became a certified Pound Pro
  • I became a certified personal trainer
  • I went to BlogFest and IdeaWorld and had the BEST time!
  • I went from teaching 1 class a week at my YMCA to 4 (5 soon!)
  • I started doing Pound events and they’ve been growing

While I didn’t make as much progress (physically) as I would have hoped in 2018, I didn’t really lose any progress either. And I think I’ve made a lot of improvements in my stamina with all the Pound practice I’ve been doing! My eating hasn’t always been the best, but I consistently have managed to get back on track every time.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how I did in 2018!

On to 2019! My word for the year is “THRIVE” and I can’t wait to push myself to achieve just that!

Here’s a few things I’m working on right now:

  • Start personal training, both in person and possibly online
  • Videos! Maybe little workout tips, possibly more. I have a bunch of ideas!
  • Finish my book on getting started meal prepping
  • More live events! I’ve been meeting with a lot of people about expanding my Pound events and I’m excited to see them grow a bunch this year! Iowa needs more Pound! (my event calendar here)
  • Getting back to blogging regularly. I’ve missed y’all!

Do you pick a word of intention for the year? If you do, what is your word for 2019?! Let’s ROCK this year!

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My Newfound Love – The ActivMotion Bar!

Ok, y’all….when I got my 6 lb bar as part of a partnership between Fit Approach and ActivMotion Bar, I expected a few things…

I expected it to be challenging. After all, it was one of the workouts during the circuit at IdeaWorld that really stuck out with me as being really hard.

I expected it to be a change. I didn’t do much workout with any form of a bar and have been mostly sticking to Pound workouts since getting certified.

What I didn’t expect? Just how much I would love it! Not only is it challenging and different from many other workouts I’ve tried, but it’s FUN! There are just so many options for the type of workout you can do with it – slower, balance based movements all the way to powerful dynamic ones. And while my favorite workouts so far have been mostly dynamic, I’m pretty sure that is just because my balance sucks! Thankfully, that is something that will hopefully improve as I use it more.

Another thing I’m really enjoying about working out with the bar is that while I can do a long, intense workout, there are plenty of ways to get a really good quick workout in too! I’ve found myself pulling it out at home to do a 15-min workout on days where I can’t make it to the gym! I don’t honestly like doing at-home workouts much anymore, so the fact that I really enjoy it when I’m using my ActivMotion Bar says a lot! (I still prefer gym workouts though…then I just take my bar with me!)

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All in all, I can’t get over just how much I am in love with mine. I even ended up buying two more during their holiday sale! And if you want to try one for yourself, you can! Just go to ActivMotion Bar and use the code ‘fitapproach25’ at checkout to get 25% off your purchase, good through Jan 7!

I was given my bar from ActivMotion Bar through a partnership with FitApproach for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Y’all, I know I’ve been a bit absent this year. Some things didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, like blogging on here more regularly. But I’ve got some big changes coming soon! And to say “thank you” for sticking with me though my long absence, I’m doing a big giveaway!

I’m sharing a bunch of my favorite fitness and wellness brands with you so you can fall in love with them too! Now, because blogging has still been sporadic for me….this giveaway actually started yesterday (sorry!) But you can still enter for Day 1 until 11:59 pm tonight!!

Each day has a different awesome item (some with 2 winners!), culminating in the big finale – This bag full of goodies! So jump over to Instagram and join in the fun!

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Changes are coming!

Wow….It’s been a long time y’all! I didn’t really intend to drop the ball on here as much as I did this year. But things with the business got a bit crazy and well, something had to give.

But that’s about to come to an end! From the very beginning I’ve hoped to have more time to set to the blog – early next year that will be a reality. I will be cutting down my hours at my ‘pay-the-bills’ job!! That will let me go more full time with both my business and here. I’ve had so many things I’ve wanted to share with you, so I can’t wait!

Until then, I am going to be trying to write a little more on here – I’ve missed sharing things with y’all so much! Here are a few things I have in mind for the coming year.

  • Regular newsletter with workout tips, new recipes and more!
  • Weekly meal prep posts again!! (YAY!!)
  • Meal prep videos (a bit scary, but I’m excited!)
  • More workout tips and routines
  • Possibly Patreon? (still looking into things on that end)
  • For locals, more events!

One of the really exciting things that has happened since I last wrote on here – I am now certified as a personal trainer! I can’t wait to start being able to use that to start sharing even more helpful things with you!

What would you like to see in the coming year? What topics would you like to see me cover? Let me know!

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BlogFest 2018: The Experience (And a Giveaway!)

Now that I’ve shared my deeper mental shift from this year’s BlogFest, it’s time to share all the fun things I got to do and try!!

Outside of our amazing community and all the friends I’ve made over the last year, the thing I really love about BlogFest is how many new things I’m exposed to while I’m there. Being from Iowa, we can be a bit behind the times…at least when it comes to new companies, workouts and products.

Last year, my biggest discovery by far was PoundFit! It has impacted my life so much over the past 6 months…And before BlogFest last year I hadn’t even heard of it! Other than that, my Takeya water bottle from last year is never far from reach!

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Photo by Lex from www.flecksoflex.com

While I think this year the biggest impact is going to be my mental shift, I found some awesome products that I can’t wait to incorporate into my life!

From the Sponsors

Trigger Point

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Now, I had tried rolling before. Repeatedly. After all, it’s supposed to help, right?! But it seemed like it never really did much for me. That is, until Trigger Point. They offered a guided workout with Natalie Jill, using their Grid Roller to warm up and cool down. It was awkward and kinda painful….but when I got up, I was amazed at how much better I felt!

I loved it so much that I went down to the Expo and bought one of their bright pink grid rollers! I love it and have been using it as a part of my workout routine since I got home!

(Not sure how to foam roll? I’ve been using Gixo’s new classes to guide me through my rolling session! Use this link to give it a try for yourself!)

Great Lakes Gelatin

Great Lakes was a sponsor last year as well, but I’m super excited this year. I visited their booth and they were wonderful enough to give me a canister of their Collagen Endurance to try out! I’ve been using it for about a week now and I’m loving it! I can’t wait to see what sort of effect long term use has on my damaged nails, but I’m even just enjoying the boost in my energy.

Haiku Bags

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Haiku Bags gave us the cutest wallets as part of BlogFest and I love mine! It now lives in my gym bag haha. As an added bonus, I won a giveaway after BlogFest and got a backpack from them! The giveaway wasn’t related to BlogFest, but I never would have entered without them being a sponsor!

California Almonds

Last year, I was so disappointed when I got home and realized I had lost the cute serving-size tins that California Almonds gave us. So I was thrilled this year when we got another one! I actually went down to their booth and got a second one, just in case!

I love almonds as a snack and not needing to measure out a serving makes grabbing that snack on the go even easier! I just fill the tin, toss it in my bag, and go!

Being Better Matters

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My favorite find in terms of food, I LOVE Be Better bars! They are delicious and the perfect snack for my post-work, pre-workout hunger! And because they are awesome and I love them, they have partnered with me to give away a box of my favorite flavor of protein squares! (Check out the end of the post for the giveaway details)

From the Expo

Supercharged

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By far my favorite find from the expo was a new workout! Supercharged was so much fun to try out! I would actually love to get certified in it someday. I love the message and mindset that the creator, Kwanza Jones, is trying to foster. She is a pretty awesome lady and I got to chat with her for quite a while!

TechnoGym

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I’m not a huge fan of treadmills, but I got to try a pretty nifty one from TechnoGym! It was a lot of fun and super challenging. I wish there was one available at my gym!

Other Discoveries

My People

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Ok, so I knew that the #SweatPink community is amazing. But this year’s experience was so different from last year’s for me. Last year, I was nervous, didn’t know anyone and was more than a little insecure about being there. This year? Different story entirely!

While I’m still a bit nervous and insecure sometimes, I had spent the last year getting to know a lot of these awesome people through their blogs and social media. We may have only met once before that, but these were my friends! My people! So when I got to BlogFest this year, I told myself that I wasn’t going to let that insecurity stop me. I was going to get excited and hang out with my community in person! I let myself be myself and jumped in way more than I did last year.

As a result, I got to feel what having that community around you really feels like. To look around and know that these are “your people” and that they get you in a way few others do.

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And by my jumping in and being more outgoing, that experience hasn’t stopped since BlogFest. I’m reaching out more and connecting more with my community. (Though this is an area I still need to work on) I’m developing closer friendships and a wonderful support network. While it may not be in person right now, I still have my people around me!

I can’t wait to see what this year holds and what exciting discoveries next year’s BlogFest will bring! I’m already counting down the days!

The Giveaway!

protein-snack-blogfest-giveawayI’m partnering with Being Better Matters to give you a carton of Honey Oats Protein Squares! Head on over to Instagram to enter!

Want an extra entry? Comment on this post with what in your life inspires you to be better!

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Week in Review: July 23-29

Y’all I seriously feel like a weight has been lifted. After my post earlier this week I finally feel like I can get back to blogging regularly! It’s still probably not going to be as often as I would like until the market season is over, but I have so much I want to share with you!

But for now, my week in review!

Meal Prep

I’m doing a bit of freezer clean-out right now, so our meal prep was super basic. Hard boiled eggs and protein balls for snacks; Turkey and Bean Burritos (based on this recipe) for Draz!

Workouts

pound-pro-group-exercise-classI didn’t get in as many workouts as I would have liked this week due to some of my work schedule. But I taught 3 Pound classes and had a few days with a pretty high step count! I’m planning on upping this a bit in the coming week if I can!

What I’m Loving this Week

Our new cat and listening to the Sisterhood of Sweat podcast!

Struggles

While I did have some stress related food cravings this week, I managed to keep them mostly in check. I did indulge a bit of the craving…but I also controlled portion size! Since this is a serious difficulty for me when I’m really stressed, I’m pretty proud of myself for the self-control.

I also haven’t been getting as much sleep lately as I need. Some of it was work related and not an issue anymore, but the rest…not so much. I am trying a new planning routine that I hope will help with productivity, letting me feel like I can get to bed earlier.

For Locals: Upcoming Events

July 31 – Rock the Library Pound Class! Ericson Library, Boone, IA 6:30 – 7 pm

August 12 – Pound and Pour at Jasper Winery, Des Moines, IA 1-2 pm

 

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Be Unabashedly You and Other Lessons from BlogFest ’18

I’ve been struggling for the past couple of weeks on how to write this. BlogFest ended more than 3 weeks ago (how has it been that long?!?) and the lessons I learned there have taken a while to process.

 

The biggest one? To be unabashedly, unapologetically me! Yet even as I write that, I cringe a little.

Does that sound egotistical? Too focused on me, not enough on my readers? Is it rambling too much? Maybe I should make the post less serious….more serious? Are they going to get meaning out of reading this?

These are all things that go through my head, pretty much every time I write. And that is why the main message at BlogFest this year hit me so hard.

You see, I have a tendency to hide parts of myself, to smooth them over. To not dig too deep or show too much. And that isn’t what I want, not really.

I want for you to move forward on your journey with me to be there to support you.

Does that sound egotistical?

Possibly. But it’s also true. And I’ve struggled with the best way to do that. Because I was scared. I was scared to show you my faults, my struggles….Even my successes. When something wouldn’t go well I would try to gloss it over. When something went really well I would downplay it.

Blogfest-2018The first speaker at BlogFest was Petra Kolber. And while all of the speakers really helped me and gave me a lot of insights, Petra’s really hit me hard. Here are a few things that she shared and what they brought home to me.

Others connect with your faults, not your perfection. What they want to know is how you deal with those faults.

By glossing over my struggles, I help no one. I just make it harder to connect, harder for them to see how I traveled along my own journey.

Focus on passion, not perfection.

This is a constant struggle for me. Is this a good enough photo to share? What if I can’t write this post well enough? Maybe I just shouldn’t share it until I can do it better. But this means that it never gets shared. I am passionate about what I am sharing with you all. I need to allow that to be enough. To allow me to be enough.

Don’t wait for perfect.

That one really says it all. And while I still am hesitating with those same questions, I’m striving now to not wait for perfect.

Two other ladies that spoke and really impacted me – Sadie Nardini and Natalie Jill. While their entire presentations were pretty awesome, there was a key statement in each that really spoke to me.

“You can’t help the world if you don’t step forward.” – Sadie Nardini

“What is your driving core motivator? Things don’t just happen, you make them happen.” – Natalie Jill

Both of these made me admit something to myself. Something I don’t think I had ever said in a serious, non-self-depricating way.

What I want more than just about anything is to make a positive impact on others. To use my journey to help them along their own. To motivate, inspire, educate and cheer-lead my way into their lives so that they are better for having known me.

I want to make a difference to people. I want to make an impact on many people’s lives. On their health, their happiness…their entire well-being. 

This isn’t really something I ever said seriously. I mean, who am I to hope to have that type of impact?

Well, that is something I’m still working on answering. But this year’s BlogFest and all of my amazing #SweatPink community has really pushed me forward on figuring it out!

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(There will be a more lighthearted recap of all awesomeness that was BlogFest and IdeaWorld in a few days! But this year had a big emotional impact on me and I wanted to share that part first and foremost.)

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Week in Review: May 14-20

Hey y’all! If you read my post last week, you know I was having a bit of a rough time of it. Thankfully, I’ve been feeling much better this week, if a bit overwhelmed by stuff I meant to get done last week haha. But that is how things go, right?!

One thing that helped a lot – This week’s meal prep! It was pretty quick to put together and delicious. Both of which were super important, since I had a lot to get done before the fine arts festival the following weekend (where I’m at RIGHT NOW!!)

Anyways, onward to meal prep and this week’s workouts!!

Meal Prep

healthy-meal-prep3 main meals this week, plus some protein balls and cinnamon bread for the freezer! The next couple of weeks, I’m going to be really short on time, so the freezer being well stocked is essential.

  • Healthy Kung Pao Chicken – Easily one of Draz’s favorite dishes, this one is pretty quick to make too! The most time consuming part of it is trimming the green beans. Which is well worth it, because fresh green beans are delicious!
  • Seasoned Chicken, Potatoes and Green Beans – I love this recipe for a quick filling and delicious meal. I almost always pair it with the Kung Pao Chicken for my preps, since they both use fresh green beans.
    • note – The recipe calls for fresh lemon juice. Now, yes, it does taste a bit better with it fresh. That said, I always use bottled anymore….much quicker and Draz and I still think the dish turns out wonderful!
  • Chicken Vindaloo – This one is definitely more my dish than Draz’s. I usually eat mine with steamed cauliflower rice!
  • Cinnamon Bread – We weren’t out from the last time that I made this, but this recipe freezes great! I didn’t want to worry about running out over the next few weeks, so we now have 3 loaves in the freezer haha.
  • Protein Balls – As always, a great go-to snack for Draz and myself. These have been a staple in our house for over 2 years now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon!

Workouts

This week I had some pretty awesome workouts! And make sure to check out the announcements at the bottom of this post – I have some exciting things coming up for workouts, starting tomorrow!poundfit-ymca-group-exercise

  • Monday – nearly an hour and a half of POUND practice! I’m working on some new songs right now, so this was even more fun and challenging than normal!
  • Tuesday – more POUND, sticking mostly to new songs this time. Tuesdays are my 15-hr work days (between the two jobs), so I didn’t workout for as long – ended up practicing for about 45 minutes
  • Wednesday – More POUND – Are you surprised? Haha I practiced before class and then taught an awesome class!
  • Friday – 16 mile bike ride with Draz for our 4 year anniversary!
  • Saturday – Does set-up for my art festival this weekend count? The unload and set-up process was definitely a workout, so I think I’m counting it!

Struggles

I did okay for most of the week, but I haven’t quite gotten back into “market mindset” yet when it comes to planning my preps. I’ve been doing great at stocking the freezer for those weekends I won’t have as much time to cook, but I didn’t plan ANYTHING to take with me to eat during the weekend art festival. I will need to plan better for future markets. Expect to see more burrito bowls in the future!

Reminders

Locals – POUND events at Jasper start soon! Join my Facebook group to stay up to date on that and so much more!

 

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