fitness · Health & Fitness

Orange Ya Glad You Worked Out

Orangetheory Fitness

Right before Christmas a friend of mine finally convinced me to give Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) a whirl. I was super nervous because I’d never been to an actual class, at any gym. Plus I was still getting back into shape after having my second baby in June. Let me tell you though, I went and absolutely fell in love with it.

What is OTF? OTF is an interval training workout designed to blast calories and build muscles. OTF is a 1 hour scientific based, full-body workout. During the class you wear a heart monitor that is displayed on a screen, so you can keep track of your workout the entire time. The goal is to maximize your workout by getting into the orange zone to burn optimal calories during class and for up to 36 hours after class.

The gym is equipped with three stations: treadmills, rowing machines (that actually use water for resistance), and weight stations. All equipment is numbered so if you’re number 4 on the treadmill that will be your number on the rower and the weights. If you’re a germaphobe like me this is great news because you’re only sharing equipment with one other person and everyone is required to wipe equipment down after using it.

The Workout: There are three different stations that will be used during the interval training workout. However, it may look different each time depending on how the class is setup for the day. Upon entering the gym, everyone will start on either the rower or treadmill to get their heart pumping. At this time it is important to make sure your name is displayed on the workout screen. If not, let the trainer or front desk now because you have to be able to track what you’re doing.

Once everyone has warmed up the intervals begin. Those who chose the rowers will then go to the floor and begin the full body exercises on the floor. Depending on the day you may use weights, bands, a medicine ball, or other various equipment. The trainer will go over each exercise movement in the block. If you forget, it is displayed on a tv screen the entire block as well. Often times you’ll complete a round then head back to the rower to get the heart pumping again. You’ll spend about 20-25 minutes on the floor during each workout. Sometimes it’s all at once and other times you switch to the treadmills midway, then back to the floor.

Now, if you started on the treadmill and it’s a typical class you’ll likely be there for the next 20-25 minutes. However, the trainer is constantly telling you what to do. Depending on the workout (endurance, power, or strength) you will be guided to change your settings. On the treadmill you will have a base pace, push pace, all out pace and recovery walk. Located on the treadmill you will have a visual reminder to follow as well to help guide you on what speeds and incline you should be using. It is broken down by walker, jogger, and runner with recommended speeds for each level of the workout. Pay attention to what you choose and really try to push yourself to feel uncomfortable. Change itself is uncomfortable and to get the most out of this class, you will need to feel that. Each block is different on the treadmill so listen to the trainer. For example on Sunday I was in a four minute block on the treadmill: 1 minute base pace, 2 minute push pace, 1 minute all out. This was followed by a waking recovery with another four minute block that was different than the previous. While on the treadmill, time flies. You’re focused on your heart rate zones and listening to the trainer that it’s truly over before you know it. Then to the floor and rowers.

Every person in the class completes the same workout at their own pace. You will complete the floor moves and treadmills using the weights and speeds that you choose. The trainer is there to support and provide corrections, but you are in charge of you. No one notices what you’re doing or keeps track of you other than yourself. Don’t feel embarrassed or insecure, just push yourself while there.

Heart Monitor: This is mandatory when attending the class. You will have to purchase one of the OTF heart monitors. You can choose your preferred style (bracelet/chest monitor) but you can try them both before purchasing. The chest monitor is believed to be a little more accurate and I personally preferred this because I hate having things on my arms while working out. The coolest thing about the heart rate monitor is it connects to an app on your phone using Bluetooth. Therefore you can use this heart rate monitor at home as well to track your workouts.

Heart Rate Zone: While working out there are five different color zones. Each zone represents your heart rate during the workout. Gray represents your light heart rate, meaning you’re using 50-60% of your max heart rate. Blue is considered your warmup heart rate; using between 61-70% of your max heart rate. Green means you’re using 71-83% of your max heart rate and this is your base pace during the workout. Orange is the desired zone to achieve using 84-91% of your max heart rate. Finally red means you’re at your all-out pace and using 92-100% of your max heart rate.

Splat Points: Since your heart rate is being tracked, this is where the importance of the orange zone comes into play. At orange theory you are trying to achieve at least 12 splat points during each workout. This means you spent at least 12 minutes in the orange heart rate zone. It is believed that if you reach the 12 splat points you will be able to have an after workout burn for an additional 24 to 36 hours. During the workout your name changes colors to correspond with your max heart rate level, calories are displayed as well as splat points.

Free! If you’re interested in giving this interval training workout a whirl, the first class is actually free. Simply call and setup and appointment or schedule online. You will have to arrive to your first class 30 minutes. Once you’re there you sit and discuss your current fitness level with the receptionist. After a brief conversation with them, you will meet the instructor who will show you around the gym. I loved this because you had time to familiarize yourself with the equipment and ask questions about the class.

After Class: When class is finished you stretch and can ask questions. Your workout summary is displayed on the screen and it will be emailed to you. You can also signup for additional classes while there or just use the app.

Pricing: After your free class the pricing will be explained to you. Since you will fall in love with this class, your best bet is to signup for a membership because it’s more cost-effective than paying for each individual class. They have various packages available and can explain them to you. I chose the monthly package and can attend class once a week. However, I can purchase additional “add-on” classes at a cheaper rate since I’m a member.

Go! If you’re looking to give yourself that extra push while working out, give this gym a whirl. I only go once a week in addition to my at-home workouts. I’ve attended about 10 classes so far and I’ve seen a MAJOR change in my fitness level and body. This place is not messing around and helps you feel motivated and energized.

Let me know what you think after you check it out! Have you already been, what are your thoughts? Or if you have another workout favorite, drop a comment below because I am always looking for new workouts.

Recipes

Super Snack Sunday

99% of Americans refer to this day as Super Bowl Sunday. I, on the other hand, refer to it as Super Snack Sunday. To be honest, I love football but essentially tune in for the commercials and bottomless bowls of food. (This year, Mr. Timberlake will be the highlight đź’™). The Super Bowl is right up there with Thanksgiving when it comes to food. Even if we don’t go to a party, which by the way we aren’t, I will make enough food for at least 10 people. Why? Because it’s fun and, why not.

Everyone knows the perfect app keeps you coming back for more and more. A favorite in our household is anything that involves dip. Healthy? No. Delicious? Always.

Dish number one for snack day: Nachos. We recently purchased an air fryer oven, you know the “as seen on tv” contraption. Well, let me tell you it is absolutely amazing. Before this, I topped nachos with queso and called it good. Now, with the air fryer, we load our chips with real shredded cheese, meat, onions, beans, etc. Using the air fryer it only takes 8 minutes to make restaurant worthy nachos.

Red Lobster Style Fried Broccoli and Peppers: Confession, this is the only reason I go to Red Lobster.  I am obsessed with the calamari and veggies appetizer.  So, to be “healthy” I plan on making this LOL.  Lightly dip the veggies in an egg wash, then top with panko seasoning.  We flavor our seasoning with garlic, black pepper, salt, and a splash of cajun seasoning.  Throw it in the air fryer for 12 minutes and serve with ranch or marinara, YUM!

Buffalo Chicken Dip: A staple in our household. 2 packages of cream cheese, 1 large can of chicken (shredded), 1/2 cheddar jack cheese, Frank’s hot sauce, and 1/4 cup ranch.  Melt cream cheese and chicken together.  Mix in 1/4 cup ranch and hot sauce to your liking. Place in oven-safe dish, topped with cheddar jack.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  YUM.

Dessert(s): Mini Fruit Pizza Cups

To make these you need a roll of sugar cookies, 1 package cream cheese, 1 container cool whip, vanilla extract, and you favorite fruit.

Break sugar cookie roll into 1 inch sections. Roll sugar cookie into a ball. Place into greased mini muffin tin. Gently press thumb into center of each cookie ball. Place in oven at 350 for 8 minutes. Check, if they look finished take them out. They may need to cook a minute or two longer. They’re ready when the cookie form a muffin shape. The center of the cookie will drop to make a bowl shape as they cool.

Allow cookies to cool. Mix together 1/2 package of cream cheese (softened) with a small container of cool whip. Add in 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Spoon filling into cookies. Top with fruit as desired.

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What are you making for the food driven holiday?? Send pictures or comments. We’re totally “foodies” and would love to see.

fitness · Health & Fitness

Mint To Be Delicious

Who loves chocolate? ((don’t everyone jump at once)).  Who loves mint?? Who LOVES chocolate mint flavored goodies?  Well, if you answered yes to these questions you are in luck today because I have found the BEST mint chocolate chip protein bars.

Recently I began shopping at Aldi a bit more, because who doesn’t like to save money.  So, I have been trying more and more of their brands and foods.  While some things are a total bust, this my friends is an absolute home-run.

Aldi carries their own line of nutritional bars and products through the brand Millville called Elevation. They cover everything from protein powders to meal replacement bars.  After becoming hooked on CLIF Builder’s Protein Bars this past summer, I couldn’t live without them.  However, the price tag is a shock even when you purchase them on various websites like amazon.  12 CLIF bars can cost anywhere from $15-$20 depending on the day.  ((Amazon changes prices often, so its hard to say what it may cost on any given day of the week.)) Well, Aldi’s Mint Chocolate Elevation Bars taste amazing, if not better than CLIF, and are a bit less expensive.  12 bars from Aldi will cost around $11 because a box of 6 is only $5.99. Now it may not seem like a huge difference, you can almost purchase another box from Aldi for the same price as purchasing one from CLIF.  Meaning you can actually purchase 18 bars for $18.  Which is worth it when our two-year old devours half a bar sometimes as well.

When you compare the two side by side, they are virtually the same product. Both brands contain 20g of protein.  The protein used in both bars is soy protein isolate, and when comparing the ingredients side by side its almost a mirror image of one another.

Packaging: Both products use the mint green color scheme on the outside of the box and on the individual wrappers as well.

Appearance: If you set the two bars right next two each other, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart.

Caloric Information: CLIF bars come in with 270 calories/80 from fat.  Elevation bars have 260 calories/70 from fat.

Sugar Content: CLIF has 21g in each bar.  Elevation has 19g per bar.  (A bit high still, but probably part of the reason they both taste so delicious).

Sodium: CLIF bars contain 9% of your daily value.  Elevation contains 9% of your daily value.

Vitamins: CLIF bars have a much higher percentage of vitamins such as Vitamin A/C, Calcium, B, etc.  For example a CLIF bar has a daily value of 30% vitamin A, whereas Elevation bars only contain 15%.

Fiber: CLIF bars contain 2g of fiber and Elevation contains 3g of fiber.

Verdict: We initially were going to just “try” the Elevation bars.  However, it is now what we choose over the CLIF bars.  I actually think they have a little more flavor and aren’t as tough to chew.  Plus, saving a few extra dollars is something I can never be mad about.  Next time you’re at Aldi, pick up a box.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  If you decide to give them a whirl, let me know.  I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on them as well.

Beauty · Uncategorized

Monday Must-Haves

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a MAJOR shopping addiction. I just love how clothes look, fit, and can make me feel more confident on any given day. Here’s a few of my current favorites! Just ordered some of these for myself and cannot wait to strut my stuff.

Tiered Bell Sleeve Dress

From Nordstrom by B.P. I’m totally obsessed and it’s only $49!

Lush Tunic Top

I’ve literally been obsessed with the Lush tunics forever. I wore one on my bachelorette party weekend back in 2013 and they haven’t failed me yet. Loving this springtime colors available. Currently $28 from Nordstrom.

Embroidered Flower Detail Sweatshirt

How cute are the sleeves?!? Loving this feminine touch on the sweatshirt. Perfect for jeans and weekends in my opinion. $35!

Striped Peplum Bell Sleeve Top

Another great top that can be worn to work or with jeans. Love the details on the sleeves and the mixed fabrics. Another steal at only $59.

Lucky Brand Stella Skinny

Light-washed Lucky jeans, perfect for springtime. They have a frayed hemline and ripped detailing though the legs. Verrry cute. Plus, lucky jeans currently has a special where you buy a pair and purchase a pair for 50% off.

Let me know if you’ve found anything that you’re just in love with too. Like I said, I can NEVER get enough of clothes. Happy Shopping!

P.S. If you haven’t yet:

Uncategorized

Springtime Wreath

Even though winter is still making its presence known with these crazy temperatures, I for one have spring on the brain.  Everything about Spring is exciting in my opinion.  The warmer air, fresh flowers, actually being able to go outside for activities, etc.  So, this past week I decided to prep for Spring and take some “me time” by making a wreath for our front door.

If you haven’t noticed, grapevine wreaths are EVERYWHERE right now.  I looked online because I was initially going to just buy one, but people were asking well over $50 for one.  Now, I love to shop local and support others so I know that is a reasonable price point.  However, I thought to myself why not at least try to make your own and save a little money.  So that is exactly what I did. Naturally, I went to Pinterest for a few inspirations then created my shopping list.  When I got into it, I was shocked because it really did not require a lot of materials.

Materials: 

  • Grapevine Wreath (I used an 18″)
  • Artificial Flowers of your choice
  • Artificial leaves
  • MDF board letter
  • Burlap bow
  • Floral wire
  • Hot glue gun
  • White paint
  • Fishing line
  • Wire cutters
  • TIME (lol)

Once I had my materials, I was ready.  I don’t know if I have ever been more eager to put the kiddos down at nap time.  As usual, they had their own plans, and it did take longer than normal to go down for naps.  Isn’t it funny how they can sense when we’re trying to rush through things? Anyways, once they went down for their naps, I was ready.

*Disclaimer*  I painted the letter prior to this time, because I didn’t want to have to wait for it to dry. *

I started by simply trimming my flowers.  I chose hydrangea’s because I like the fuller look that they provide. I also added some baby’s breath to use as fillers and give the wreath a little more pizazz. Next, I went on and trimmed my leafs because I wanted to space them throughout the wreath.  After that, I just started strategically placing them until I was happy with the appearance.  Once everything was set in place, I glued everything down.  For some of the flowers, I actually used the floral wire to anchor them to the back with the glue.  I wanted to be sure they were not going anywhere.

After the flowers were placed, I placed my burlap bow where desired.  Looking back, I actually wish I would have placed the bow first then put the flowers on.  In the end, it worked but I may have actually placed the bow within the flowers differently.  You live and learn, right?  Finally, I used about 2 glue sticks to get that H to stay put.  It had to sit and dry with a book under it to hold it in place.

Before I knew it, nap time was over.  BUT I actually finished what I set out to do within this time window.  That in itself was an accomplishment, because I am NOT a crafter and often times will start something then never finished.  After the H was secure, I tied fishing line to the top, to hang from out front door.  Bam, grapevine wreath made for under $50.

What I love about grapevine wreaths is that they provide the rustic-chic look and make the front door appear more “homey”.  I also love that you can customize the wreath to make it what YOU want.  From the flowers to the ribbon, choose what works for you and will make you happy!

I may just become a professional wreath-maker because I truly enjoyed it ((hit me up)) haha.  If you have made one, show me your pictures I would LOVE to see what you created.

Beauty

Everybody get your roll on…..

Your facial roll on that is.

Jade, Rose Quartz, Microneedling (Dermaroller)….. Following me so far? If not, it’s okay just sit tight for a minute.

Facial rollers have been all the craze for a while now.  Facial rollers are believed to increase circulation which allows skincare products to absorb deeper in the skin. Currently there are many types of at-home rollers on the shelves that are said to rejuvenate the skin’s surface and enhance product absorption.  Do they really though?  I put these beauty items to the test and here is what I have learned.

Jade Rollers

Jade rollers are made from, you guessed it, jade.  Most rollers offer one or two jade stones on the device.  Typically a larger end and a smaller piece for tight spaces such as around the eyes.  According to Chinese Medicine, Jade is known to enhance the Qi. Qi is the body’s natural and vital energy. Jade is a stone that is believed to provide healing and balance when used.  Translation- jade is believed to pull negative properties out of the body. Now, you may not believe in Chinese medicine and that’s okay.  Jade alone is a stone that is naturally cold to the touch, which is why when it is used on your face you can see benefits.

Jade rollers can decrease puffiness on the face. Additionally, they are believed to increase circulation which opens up your skin so facial products can be absorbed deeper in the epidermis. These rollers are readily available in many price points from $10-$50. Here is one available from Amazon.

Rose Quartz Rollers

Rose Quartz rollers are similar to jade, but they’re made from rose quartz. Rose is known as an “emotional healer”. It’s believed that if you use a rose quartz aids in stimulating the heart, because it is known as a love stone. When used, it is reportedly known to reduce stress. Additionally, true rose quartz can be used to reduce signs of scarring.

Similar to jade rollers, the quartz roller aids in product absorption. Additionally, it awakens the skin and provides healing powers for areas targeted with the crystals beliefs. Quartz rollers can be a little more expensive than jade rollers ranging from $15, $30, all the way to $50. I did find from reviews that you get what you pay for and the more expensive rollers may be worth the investment. Here is one I liked online.

Derma Roller

This roller is a little different than the other two because it contains tiny NEEDLES that you roll across your face. At-home needles range from .25mm to 1.5m. You gently roll this roller and all it’s prickliness across your face. In doing this, you are opening up your skin. Derma rollers also open up the skins s surface which allows for better product absorption. It is reported that it can increase product absorption by 200-500%, depending on the needle sized selected. Additionally, it assists with boosting collagen production.

Each needle size selected is geared to aid your face in a different way. For example, smaller needle sizes are geared for production penetration. Larger needles, may make your skin slightly bleed, but are great for wrinkles and collagen production. Depending on the needle-size selected, your recovery time between usage will vary. Smaller needles may be okay to used every other day or even daily (depending how tough you are). Larger rollers may need longer rest days between, 4+ days in some cases. Pay close attention to the directions you receive with the roller you purchase, it will be very detailed in how often it may be used. This is the first one I purchased.

Verdict:

I personally own a jade and derma roller. I’ve used them each for a few months now and here’s what I’ve found.

Jade Roller:

  • Feels amazing first thing in the morning.
  • Naturally cold on skin
  • Used every morning
  • Helps with eye puffiness, but a spoon in the fridge works just as well.
  • The rolling is smoothing and therapeutic.
  • Skin turns a little pink when I use it, I have sensitive skin though.

Derma Roller

  • Prickly feeling across my face.
  • Used every other night.
  • Must use a serum or lotion within a minute of using it.
  • My skin turns red, so I only use this at night.
  • Must clean with alcohol after every use to keep it clean.

I personally love the derma roller. Perhaps it’s the prickly feeling and how red my skin turns, but I am convinces it’s making a difference. While I like the jade roller and use it daily, for me it is more of a wake-up tool than a deep skincare enhancer. However, like I stated it could be because I like actually feeling the needles. After using the jade roller, I decided not to keep the rose quartz roller. I found that it was going to be similar to the jade roller, which is available at a much lower price point. You may prefer the rose quartz, but for me the jade roller worked just fine. I didn’t find it necessary to own both.

I absolutely love both rollers and use them differently. I use the jade roller every morning, followed by my daily skincare and makeup routines. At night, I use the derma roller. If you’re on the fence, you can find both under $15 on Amazon. Then, if you want to invest more in another roller after using it for a while you can. I for one can’t wait to receive my derma roller with larger needles. As they say, beauty is pain.

Uncategorized

Meal Prep Mamma

By now you’ve probably heard 384 people say, “meal prep is a key component for success”. While I used to roll my eyes at them, I finally realized its true. Meal prep really is crucial when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Prior to having children, going out to dinner or stopping to pick up items for dinner was so easy. Fast forward 3 years and even the thought of dragging their cute little hiney’s into the store at night makes me cringe. Have you ever tried walking through the grocery store with an baby that is ready to rumble at any second and a toddler who doesn’t realize donuts are not part of the food pyramid? Well, those two elements combined are enough, throw in the toddler negotiations and I’d be better off trying to talk my way into Fort Knox. Therefore, meal prep became part of my Saturday and Sunday routine. Learn from my mistakes and just listen to everyone.

On Saturdays my husband and I talk about various lunches and dinners we’d like to have that week. To be fair, I choose a meal then he does. We aim for 6 dinners, knowing we will either enjoy one meal out a week. After coming up with the items, we make a list of everything we will need to make it all. Now sometimes we will swap meals out to make sure ingredients won’t go to waste. This takes a little time to perfect, but I can say we’re actually using everything we purchase each week.

On Saturday evenings or early Sunday mornings, I go grocery shopping. Alone. *Insert celebration music*. In an ideal world Saturday evenings would be my choice day, but life happens and grocery shopping doesn’t always happen. Then on Sunday’s I tackle the meal prep. During our littlest ones first nap I chop, package, mix, and cook anything I can for the week. If we plan on having fajitas, I will chop all the veggies and place them in a ziploc or I will prep the seasoning needed for our chicken and place that in a container. Anything I can do to make the weeknights easier. It sounds silly, but it helps and saves SO much time after a long day at work. To just open the fridge and start cooking instead of slicing and mixing, you actually save between 10-15 minutes right there. This manual food processor has saved me so much time, I’m obsessed.

Next up, during lunchtime on Sunday’s I cook our lunches for the week. We love chicken, so I typically cook chicken on the stovetop in various seasonings. Some weeks we use Chinese inspiration and other weeks Greek flavors. By changing how the chicken tastes each week, it keeps us from getting bored. Another trick is to change what you serve it with. We alternate between rice or quinoa with steamed veggies or fresh vegetables and fruit.

After prepping lunches, it’s time to actually portion them out. As silly as it sounds, I purchased meal prep containers on Amazon and it makes me happy to see these filled and stacked neatly in the fridge. Plus, it makes me feel like we’re legit in our mission to be healthy because they look so official.

By planning and prepping, our family has been able to save in so many ways. My husband was eating out or going to the gas station and spending at least $15 a day before we started this. Now, he doesn’t go at all which means we’re saving money. We are also saving calories because when eating out portions are generally larger and contain at least 200 more calories per meal.

So, if you’re trying to find motivation for meal prep here are some suggestions…

  • Choose meals ahead of time.
  • Organize a shopping list AND stick to the list.
  • Make time to prep meals when you have free time.
  • Try new recipes so you’re not getting bored.
  • Invest in some containers, it really does make a difference.

If you’re new to this idea, don’t give up. It takes 21 days for a routine to stick and this is worth it. So, get out there and become a meal preppin’ machine.