5 Ways You can “Shave” Time and Money – while getting fit

Hi There!
It’s workout Wednesday! I was inspired to share my ideas on “shaving” time and money in my fitness routine by the Dollar Shave Club.  In case you don’t know who they are, the Dollar Shave Club is a company that provides great quality razors for as low as $1 each month! Since my husband has beastly facial hair, I knew I could easily appreciate working with Dollar Shave Club on this post!

Today I’d like to share with you some ways that I can shave time and money in my fitness routine. There are a lot of ways I do this, but I thought I’d share with you my top 5.

1. I work out at home. My primary job is as a fitness contractor, meaning that I often times drive to work sites to teach fitness classes. Also meaning that by the end of the day, I don’t want to drive to a separate facility (and spend more gas money) to go work out for only 30-45 minutes and then drive home, losing more time that I need to plan other things, like this post. Hehehe… I write my own workouts.  (Oh the joys of being a fitness instructor!) Or, I do my Piyo home dvd’s, Mash-Up Conditioning, or 21 Day Fix, or Body Beast, which I’m getting ready to start next week. (I can’t wait!) Where we live, it’s just not practical for me to pay for a gym membership, and then drive 25 minutes each way…um, yeah. Micah and I workout together a lot, and that makes for great family time. Don’t get me wrong, I like the gym, it’s just not practical for me.

2. I prep my meals in advance on Sunday. This is fitness-related because it’s important for me to get proper nutrition in order to get results. I often-times roast a whole chicken in a crock pot and use it throughout the week to make soups and stews, and chicken salad. I  also make my own protein bars, which saves me money, by cutting the cost from $1.50 a bar to less than $.50 a bar.

3. I shop craiglist for fitness equipment. We don’t have many good sporting goods stores where I, only one actually, so I shop for steals on used weights…hey, a weight is a weight, right? Safety tip, I’ve never had a problem with Craigslist, but I always take Micah with me when picking up items. I love to shop at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx and Ross for resistance bands and exercise balls.

4. I do HIIT workouts. I take a couple of active rest days a week, but most days, my workouts are 30 minutes or less. I love to do tabatas when I have absolutely no time because they only take 4 minutes. Stressing less is worth working out for 4 minutes. I love my jump rope. I also use exercises that are compound movements, like kettlebell swings, and sneak in my cardio and strength training at the same time.

5. I don’t waste food. We only buy what we will eat. Portion control and a variety of foods is key here. You’d be suprised how much food goes to waste. Keep a close eye on those perishables. Make a big salad. You never know, you might just invent a fabulous new family favorite!

There, now you know my favorite 5 ways to “Shave” time and money in my fitness routine. Thank you to the Dollar Shave Club for inspiring me to write this post! To see their fabulous razor blades, check out this link: https://www.dollarshaveclub.com/our-blades Hey, they’d make excellent stocking stuffers!

Start “Shaving”
– Julie

4 Ways I Keep Fit While Traveling

Hey There!
Today, we’re going to be talking about how you can stay fit while traveling! Ok, holidays are coming up soon. And a lot of individuals allow their health and fitness routines to pretty much…well, crumble to pieces. Oh, and I was asked to write on this topic by Vegas.com . Look for more posts on Twitter under #TravelFit2014. They’re so reliant on using machines at the gym that they don’t know what to do if they in a place that doesn’t use equipment that they’re used to or their travel dates cause them to miss their gym dates that weeks. I used to run into the same issue, but I’ve since changed up my approach to fitness in such a way that I can pretty much get in a workout any time any where, and I’m not stressing over how to do it, without spending an arm and a leg!

1. Be flexible. Let your routine change a little, and don’t freak out. Know you may have to squeeze in a half hour of bodyweight moves instead of your usual 2 hour gym stint, but let’s face it, the change of pace will keep your body from plateauing, in fact, you may even get some results if you don’t go overboard with your diet.

2. Take advantage of your surroundings. Walk don’t drive. Take the stairs. Go for a hike. Use the hotel pool/gym area. Make sure you’re in a safe area though. If you’re somewhere like Vegas, try the Hotel Hike at the Area Las Vegas. See the sights and get a workout. The resort even loans you a bag with handweights, a water bottle, and a yoga mat!

3. Pack travel-friendly tools. I love to carry my resistance bands with me when I travel. I also take my PiYo or 21 Day Fix dvd’s with me because all I need is body weight and/or resistance bands. I also like to print off the workouts from Workout Labs and Ace Fitness if I don’t have access to a tv and dvd player.

4. Pack protein powder. I carry my Blender bottle and Shakeology (or protein powder) with me every where. This actually saves me money, and I don’t end up eating icky fast food. I also buy bags of mini peppers, bananas, and almonds and eat them as snacks.

These are some suggestions that I use to stay fit while traveling. I find that if I stay in some sort of routine, it’s not a struggle when I return home. Get creative and think outside of the box. The best fitness regimen is a maintainable fitness regimen.

Happy Travels!

-Julie Auler

PiYo DEFINE YOURSELF

Workout Wednesday: When Your Hard Work Pays Off and Dealing with Negativity from Others

Wow, so, it’s Wednesday! This week has flown by, and in some ways I’m relieved. Micah’s settling into his new job, and our schedule is beginning to stabilize (as if it’s ever been that way) once again. This week, I’ve been encouraged so much by my colleagues who’ve decided to take place in my accountability/challenge group this month. Let’s face it. No matter who you are, you can never become complacent and decide you’ve got it all together. I’m constantly learning myself. I just want to share what I’ve found with others and maybe, just maybe, make someone’s life better for it.

Today is actually more of a motivational post than a workout post. I would like to deal with a tough topic. Everyone tries to sell people of the highs of achieving your goals, but what really determines your long term success is how you handle failure…that’s right FAILURE. I found this out not too long ago, and it’s changed my perspective on how I do things in general. Don’t get me wrong. I still strive to do everything to the best of my ability, but I’ve learned to accept failure with grace, learn from it, and move on.

I recently got the honor of  having my pic featured in Oxygen Magazine’s “Sporty Girls” section doing what else but my favorite “glutes” move.

it’s me! 🙂

This definitely made me realize that I’m setting an example for others, and is pushing me to go further.  My goals may not be someone else’s goals…respect the health goals of others…. Cheer them on. We’re all in this together, right?….Ok, so that person may have not lost “x” amount pounds, but they started healthier habits and gained muscle. There are too many people out their with the mindset that they need to lose more poundage, so they cut back on foods, and that works for awhile, but the “bucket theory” doesn’t make you healthier, and give you more muscle tone or make you stronger. There are hundreds of ways (it seems) that people attempt to do this, so let me dispel some myths with a lesson it took me years to get through my head: lean muscle make your metabolism run efficiently long term, and one can’t expect to fuel up with junk after one trains, and build muscle…just doesn’t work. It’s 2/3 eating smarter, 1/3 eating less. This is me leveling with you the reader, because I don’t want you to fall for the ridiculousness of diet fads, like I did years ago. I believe in macros, but if you reach your macros by filling up on junk, then you’ll look like what you eat. That being said, there are no excuses, in this United States, for eating unhealthy. This is what I got from the grocery store today for $30.

That being said. There are lots of resources out there to teach you how to fuel your body the right way.
I love Tosca Reno’s book, Just the Rules, for learning about the types of foods and principles to eat by, so you don’t go crazy. and the program 21 Day Fix.
   I also love the Eat Clean Diet: Stripped, by Tosca Reno, and Skinny Ms.com for some amazing recipes! What’s your favorite clean eating recipe? I’d love for you to share! 🙂

Workout Wednesday: Plyo-what-rics? and last week’s giveaway winner!

Hi and Happy Wednesday!

Today’s post is going to be about a word that I first learned in my strength and conditioning programming class in college – plyometrics! Plyometrics often get a bad boy reputation, because so many people think that in order to do plyometrics, one must jump 30 feet off the ground…That is not the only way to do  plyo… the term “plyometrics” simply means, “an explosive movement, or a powerful movement” Technically, One could simply jump rope and receive an excellent plyometric workout. Jumping lunges and jump squats are popular plyometric exercises, but one needs to learn and practice proper form with regular lunges and jump squats before moving on to the plyometric versions of these exercises. You see, the body  has golgi tendon organs which have the job of gauging how far your muscles can stretch. In order to get more out of a high-impact plyometric workout, the nervous system must be wide awake first – think of a short low-impact warm-up as a cup of coffee for your nervous system. You’ll be taxing out your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which spikes your metabolism. So warm-up with some knee lifts or marching in place for a couple of minutes before starting any plyometric workout, the same goes for shoulders. If you’re doing plyometric push-ups, the you could start with some regular push-ups and arm circles as a warm up. Don’t forget to land with your knees slightly bent. The more spring-like your legs, the safer your landing.

Do plyo moves earlier in a strength workout, when your muscles feel strongest. This will save you from sacrificing form, and thus, injuring yourself. Short plyo workouts are best. I would not do a plyo workout longer than 30 minutes. If you need some fresh moves, and modifications, I like the following 2 dvd’s: “Plyo Fix” from 21 Day Fix.(You can win an autographed copy from Autumn Calabrese this week too!) I love how Autumn clearly explains how your muscles should be engaged, and Mash-Up Conditioning’s “Tempo” dvd has plyo and and modified exercises. If you want to practice the moves without the whole gym watching, this is a great way to go! Quality is better than quantity. Remember that when you’re tempted to show off.

If you want to see a funny video of some sports-based plyo drill s check this out!

These are actually similar to the soccer conditioning drills I used to do!

Last week we had a fun giveaway on the blog, and the winner is…. the lovely Diatta Harris of http://femmefitalefitclub.com/ Check out the awesome link-up she and several other amazing ladies host:

Strength 101: Frog Crunches

Hi There! So let’s talk abs again! With summer on the way, we’d all probably like to make sure that we’re making the most of our ab workouts right? So many times we hit the fibers of our upper abs, but neglect the fibers in our lower abs. This is where these frog crunches come in. This move came straight out of 21 Day Fix, and it’s simple, but whoa, is it ever effective! You’ll want to start out by lying on your back/supine, with your legs extended, toes turned out. Your lower back should not be arching off the floor. Maintain toes turned out, bring your knees toward your chest, and simultaneously crunch up off the floor, bringing head towards knees. Exhale, drawing belly button in as you crunch. Try doing anywhere from 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Your abs play an important role in protecting your back, ladies, especially after having children. I haven’t had children yet, but I’ve seen many women who don’t exercise between pregnancies, and develop major back problems because their core muscles haven’t been strengthened. So my point is core training is vital, not just for aesthetics, but for making everyday tasks easier.
How to: Lie on your back. Beginners bring legs straight up to a 90 degree angles, the more advanced may lower their legs closer to the floor. Turn toes out as far as possible, pressing heels together. Place hands behind head and look at your belly button. For those with gentle necks, place a towel behind your head, and hold onto each end. Crunch up, bringing your knees towards you and exhaling. your knees will separate, but your toes must remain turned out. Inhale, extending your legs and lowering your head. Repeat.

This is a great move that will have your abs burning on rep 2…trust me. What’s your favorite ab move? Tell me in the comments! Have a great day and come back on Friday as I dish on food! (Pun intended.) 🙂

Fitness 5 Friday: My Review of 21 Day Fix

Hi!
So it’s been over a week since I’ve posted, but I have soooo much to tell you! The past 21 days, I’ve been a bit preoccupied with the 21 Day Fix challenge, and whoa, the results are amazing, both inside and out! I’ve had so much fun working out with my hubby as we’ve completed this challenge together! We also cut back on our grocery bill! I’ve been reminded through this experience, that I need accountability as much as the next person, and love the community I’ve found through this! I plan to do a round 2 starting next week! The workouts are great, and you get to do a different half-hour workout daily, and the meal guide was amazing! There’s no guesswork in this, and I was eating a wide variety of foods and taking my Shakeology daily! I plan to buy the barre leg workout and the flat abs fix workouts to go with this series. There’s even a plyo dvd that can be dialed down a notch…or two or three for those who want to try plyo but aren’t sure if it’s for them. I love the modifications, and the warm up helped me to recruit the right muscles during strength exercises! There’s even 2 active rests days and a variety of workout types. I would recommend this program for almost anyone, whether a beginner or a pro. There’s something you can do. The only equipment needed is a resistance band.

This week, I’ve experienced several blessings that I’ve overlooked…for some crazy reasons, this week has been more stressful than normal…and oh, how I felt it. Here are 5 things that I am thankful for this week.
1. My wonderful husband giving me a foot massage yesterday.
2. My amazing sister-in-law and dear friend, Elizabeth helping me organize and spring clean my house this week!
3. Getting an offer to teach classes at a rec center near our house.
4. Getting mentioned on a National Coach Call by the CEO of Beachbody
5. Being anonymously gifted with money for a nice date night for my hubby and I.

It’s so easy to overlook the amazing things around us when we are bombarded daily by all that’s going on in the world, but when all is said and done, it’s nice to know that I can get away, pray, and relax for a moment. I’m so grateful for the loving husband I have, and thankful for so many simple things, such as having arms and legs that are strong and healthy. So many people take this for granted. Don’t make the same mistake. Count your blessings this week!

What’s in your cart? $30 of Healthy Groceries

Happy Monday! I’m finally recovering from the whirlwind week last week, and getting back on schedule! It was great to spend time with my family, and celebrate my mom’s birthday. We went shopping, seriously, and one of our favorite places to shop is this retail chain in NC and SC called “Hamrick’s”. It’s amazing. Their merchandise selection keeps getting better and better, and this weekend, I’m proud to say that this bargain hunter walked away with a badly needed new pair of ballet flats, a date-night top, a pair of Marika leggings…and a really adorable spring top for (drumroll) $32ish! And the best part: the leggings were only $5!!!!! Micah just got a job closer to home (only 2 miles!) and we’ve been doing 21 Day Fix which is Ah-mazing. I’ve had tummy troubles like IBS my entire life, and the symptoms were GONE by the 3rd day. This is a program we’ll be doing again and again! But you can check all that out on my blog’s 21 Day Fix page. 🙂
This post has been long in coming, but it was inspired by the plethora of people in my life who love to say: “I can’t afford to eat a healthy diet.” Well, good news, you can. I went to the grocery store today, just for you and picked out some amazing foods that are staples of a healthy diet. The best part, I only spent $30.09 for the food pictured below. Through the years, I’ve encountered a lot of people who have heard how important it is to follow a healthy diet, but don’t have any idea of what that means. Let me explain this to you. You need a variety.

What you’re looking at is: 12oz. fresh broccoli
                                            7 bananas
                                            2c. mozzarella cheese
                                            1lb. ground chicken
                                            2 cans no salt added corn
                                            4 cans reduced sodium black beans
                                            2 cans dark red kidney beans
                                            roasted, unsalted peanuts (Make sure there are no added ingredients.)
                                            roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds (I usually buy raw, but they were out.)
                                            1 bag of radishes
                                            2 giant heads of romaine lettuce
                                            1 lg. tub of greek yogurt
                                            1 ginger root
                                            2 bulbs of fresh garlic
I can hear some of you saying where’s the fudge rounds…? Let me explain this: treats are treats…I’ve seen buggies in the store that have about 70% junk food 30% real food. This is where their money is going. They complain about being addicted but have junk food all over their house. Don’t get me wrong, a treat is ok, but if you’re eating a treat everyday, then it’s no longer a treat, it’s part of your diet.

Now to debunk some common misconceptions about healthy eating:

Myth 1: It costs a fortune. You do not need to buy everything organic! I know people that use the cost of organic as an excuse…really? The only ones to be careful about are the dirty dozen, according to my husband, who has a biotechnology degree, and studied what pesticides actually do. Buy in season, and locally, if possible, there’s a reason that this is really popular right now…because it’s cheaper. Buy in bulk. Get another family to go in on the cost of a crate of a particular food. you’ll both benefit from making a healthier choice. Grow your own herbs, instead of paying $3 every time you need fresh rosemary.

Myth 2: I don’t have time. If you’ve never heard of a crockpot, then I suggest that you acquaint yourself with it. This is how I worked 5 jobs and still ate healthily. All is takes is 15 minutes. You actually will spend more time driving somewhere to a drive-thru to eat a much less healthy meal.

Myth 3: Healthy food tastes bad. Trust me, we make some delicious stuff at our house, chili, protein cookies, etc. I had PF Chang’s-inspired clean chicken lettuce wraps for lunch….nom, nom. We don’t eat cardboard. You don’t need all that added junk. I looked at the label for corn meal the other day and 9 out of 10 brands had added wheat flour. We’ve duped ourselves into thinking we need all those fillers, like MSG, bleached flour, modified food starch, but we’re wrong.

Myth 4: I’ll still be hungry all the time. If you’re eating the right portions, the right calories for your activity level and getting enough protein and fiber, that won’t be the case.

Do some research? How healthy is your daily food intake, really?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Julie

Workout Wednesday: Pilates Core Tightener

 Ok, so you’ve been hearing about this announcement that I’m making…Well, I’ve decided to become a beach body coach! This was a big decision for me, and it will allow me to maintain my clients from other facilities that I’ve worked for in the past. I’ve been really blessed with the opportunity to participate and lead a challenge group for 21 Day Fix, beachbody’s newest program, and I have to tell you that as a personal trainer, this is legit. It deals with portion control, and daily habits. I’m very excited and can’t wait to take part in this!!!! Beachbody also has an online meal planner that you can use with any program, not just their programs, with lots of healthy recipes. This will free me up to do more motivational things with clients and classes! But this blog is not going to turn into just a plug for Beachbody. It’s about my journey, and while I love following programs. I want to share my story. There will be a separate page on the blog for 21 Day Fix (Along with before and after pics of me!) But I will still post my own material and recipes and thoughts to share with you about fitness in general. The purpose of this blog is to educate and inspire you, whatever fitness path you choose! 

Oh, and there’s going to be a blog giveaway on Friday! It’s a fitness dvd by Mash-Up Conditioning. Girls Gone Sporty provided the opportunity for me to work with the owners of this brand! They’re super cool and sent me a dvd to review, and let me tell you, it’s good stuff! 15 minute workouts…I mean come on! who doesn’t have time for a 15 minute workout, with minimal equipment involved? The workouts are beastly to, but also shown with modifications for every fitness level! This will be happening on Friday so keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook page! 
Here’s a sneak peek! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2uuDyVKQxU

Today, I’d like to provide a relaxing, yet challenging pilates routine, that will improve your flexibility in your hips and core. The point of this workout is not to be sweaty…It is to reconnect your mind with your muscles and aquaint you with how your body works. Your mind is very important to your workouts, and a study from the University of South Carolina Upstate (in my hometown!) states that participants experienced up to 26 % more muscle growth when they thought about the muscle they were using in a given strength exercise. These are some of my favorite pilates exercises, and you will definitely feel this workout. Remember to exhale forcefully on the exhertion of each repetition!

Curl-Ups: Pull your navel to your spine as you lie faceup with feet flat on the floor. Slowly roll one vertebrae at a time until just your shoulders are lifted. Hands are behind head with tension between your hands and head to support your neck. Roll backward slowly. Repeat.

Bridges:Lie face up with feet on the floor, navel towards spine. Squeeze glutes and press into heels to lift hips off of the floor. Hold for 5 counts at the top then slowly lower. For Leg touch downs: Keep hips lifted extend leg and lift into the air with leg extended lower down towards floor and lift. Repeat. Do this exercise slowly, and avoid if you have a weak back. 

Tabletop: Sitting on the mat, place hands on the floor just behind you and feet on the floor just in front of you.
Press through hands and feet and lift hips toward the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds. 

Mod. Side Plank with leg lifts: Prop onto your elbow, or a Swiss ball for more challenge. Keep your knee below your bottom hip, like a camera tripod. Maintaining this position, lift and lower top leg slowly.

Swimming: Lie on your stomach, navel drawn in. Arms in front of you, legs behind you. Exhale, and lift arms and legs, then inhale as you slowly lower arms and legs. Look below, not in front.  To make it easier, only lift arms, and prop a pillow under your hips. DO not hyperextend.

I love workouts like this to give my muscles and my mind a break, so put on some relaxing music, and go for it! The graphic’s below! have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂