#LookForLove Challenge | Weeks 1 & 2

In an effort to hold myself accountable, I’m going to chronicle my journey through the six-week #LookForLove Tone It Up Challenge! I’ve been on the #TIUTeam for almost three years now. I have done a number of different programs in the last three years — many of which I loved — but I always find myself turning back to Karena and Katrina for their positivity and confidence. And I also feel like we would be BFF if we knew each other in real life.

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Tone It Up Challenge

I have really enjoyed the first couple weeks of this challenge! As long as I’ve been following Tone It Up, I’ve never really followed the weekly schedule they write. I would use their workouts, but pick based on whatever I felt like I might want to do that week. So far, I’m enjoying the way they’re making the schedules. Every since they added the Daily Moves feature, the workouts are much more prescriptive.

Tone It Up Challenge

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The first couple of weeks have been so much fun! I’m loving all the new workouts and collaboration with Jillian Michaels fulfills so many of my fangirl dreams! Right before starting this challenge, I finished Jillian’s BodyShred program and a lot of the TIUxJM workouts are very similar to it. I love them!

Tone It Up Challenge

My nutrition the first week was completely lackluster. My Christmas vacation didn’t end until last Monday, and I took full advantage of vacation mode! I didn’t meal prep anything and I snacked a lot. Honestly, I kind of enjoyed it, but I’m paying for it now. This past week was much better on the clean eating track, though I did have a few slip ups. I need a chocolate detox, haha.

I can feel the changes and the effects of the workouts on my body, but I’m not seeing a lot of measurable changes yet. In fact, I’m actually up a couple of pounds since starting the challenge. That’s probably due to my wild Christmas vacation. 🙂 But I’m not going to stress over two or three pounds because those pounds represent fun, rest, and loving my body enough to loosen the reigns for a short time. I’m looking forward to getting back into my #mealprepsunday habits and staying on track for the remainder of the challenge. Four weeks to go!

Anyway… I’m off to get my hair cut and enjoy this last day of my three-day weekend! If you have the day off, what are you up to today? Are you participating in any January fitness challenges?

How To Wake Up Early to Work Out

Maybe you made a New Year’s Resolution to workout. Maybe you made a New Year’s Resolution to work out in the mornings. Sometimes, that’s certainly easier said than done, but dragging yourself out of the bed is half the battle. Here are a few of my tips for how to wake up early to workout!

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how to wake up early to work out

I have been working out around 5 a.m. for about five years now. I have always been a morning person for the most part, but I wasn’t always a 5 o’clock in the morning person. 🙂 I’ll never say that it’s easy, but 99 percent of the time, it’s worth it — for me!

ONE // Find an accountability group

This tip was the game changer for me. In the beginning of my health journey, I joined a morning boot camp. There were two time slots offered — 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. I would have never made it to work on time if I joined the 6 a.m. group, so 5 a.m. it was! Knowing that each morning, 30 other women were counting on me to wake up early and meet them was incredibly motivating. I knew if I didn’t come, I could expect a “Where were you??” Facebook post a few hours later.

TWO // Lay out your workout clothes the night before

This one may seem insignificant, but it makes a huge difference. When you’re trying to fit in a workout before starting your day, every minute counts. It saves me so much time knowing my clothes are ready to throw on as soon as I roll out of bed. My husband also appreciates that I’m not rifling through the drawers and making a lot of noise that early. 😉

THREE // Go to bed earlier

One key to waking up earlier is going to bed earlier! If waking up early begins to be a habit for you, then going to bed at an earlier time will likely become a natural consequence. I’m usually asleep by 9:30 at the latest. Gotta get those Zzz!

FOUR // Pre-Prep Your Pre-Workout

What is your pre-workout of choice? A lot of people stick to plain old coffee, but I usually drink Spark. I save my coffee for after my workout because I simply don’t have time to wait for it to brew. I can mix my Spark the night before and stick it in the fridge. After I’m dressed and meander my way into the kitchen, it’s just a few minutes before I’m ready to get to work!

FIVE // Stop Hitting Snooze — JUST DO IT

I could tell you to put your alarm on the other side of the room, but if we’re being realistic, you probably use your phone as your alarm. Your phone is probably plugged in next to you all night long! I know mine is. What finally got me out of my snooze habit was getting married. My husband is NOT snoozer and he would be so annoyed if my alarm kept going off every nine minutes. 😀 If I was going to wake up early, I finally just had to get over my excuses and do it.

What time do you choose to workout? Do you have trouble waking up early?

If you enjoyed this post, check out 5 Advantages of Morning Workouts!

Chocolate Almond Post Workout Smoothie

Hey, friends! Any of my teacher friends heading back to school today?! I started back last Friday, but my kiddos come back today. So on this first day back to school, here’s a post workout smoothie recipe you can make as you’re running out the door. This post workout smoothie is easy, fast, and tastes great!

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post workout smoothie

For most of us, mornings are crazy busy. When I’m trying to head out the door and get to school, a smoothie is sometimes the easiest thing to grab. Over Christmas break, I threw this together quickly after a workout and I know I’ll be going back to it again and again. Post workout or snack time smoothies are a great way to get in your macronutrients with some micronutrients thrown in too. 🙂

Ingredients:
8 oz. unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp. almond butter
Small handful of sliced almonds
~1/2 c. spinach
1/2 c. ice

Simply blend ingredients together until smooth and you’re ready to go!

For this PWO smoothie, I used our Nutri Ninja Auto-IQ. We received it as a wedding gift and I love it! It’s been one of our most used items.

Do you have some favorite go-to recipes after a workout?

5 Advantages of Morning Workouts

I am a total believer in early morning workouts. There’s something so calming to me about being able to have my workout completed before I start my day. My #TIUgirls refer to it as the #TIUBootycall. 😉 Here are some advantages I’ve found to working out before the world wakes up.

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ONE // I sleep better
I’m a very light sleeper and I’m prone to waking up a lot. Getting up earlier helps me fall asleep faster and deeper. It’s actually easier for me to get up at 4:30 and jump into the day feet first, than wait until 5:15 when my husband gets up and get a slow start. Those 45 minutes actually make a HUGE difference.

 

TWO // It sets my metabolism on fire
Think about it — the sooner you wake up, the sooner your body starts working. My metabolism is already working that early just because I’m awake, but I’m also working hard to burn calories which kicks it into overdrive. That keeps my metabolism working all day long in a way that it would not be if I was waiting until the evenings to do my workout.

 

THREE // It’s my ME time
Over the years, I’ve become very good at scheduling workouts for myself and sticking to them, but sometimes things come up. When I schedule time for myself first thing in the morning, nothing is able to get in the way later and that time to myself is invaluable. As a teacher, I have 60 kiddos coming at me all day long and it’s never quiet! I believe that I’m a much better teacher when I’ve been able to put in the time to better myself before seeing my students each day.

 

FOUR // TIME!
This is probably the biggest advantage for me and plays a part in every other advantage of morning workouts. As I mentioned above, sometimes things come up. Since we moved to a bigger town, we feel like we have less time than we did before. I can run to Target at 4:15 and suddenly I’m not home until 5:30…and Target is across the street from our house! Getting my workouts in early makes it OK for me to run errands in the evening and still have dinner ready by the time my husband comes home.

 

FIVE // I can go home and immediately put on sweatpants (and I frequently do)
I am a firm believer that exercise is the greatest form of stress relief, but sometimes so is going home and laying on the couch. There are so many days when I just want to go home after work and do nothing. If making a date with my couch and Vanderpump Rules is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

 

If you’re having trouble getting motivated for the new year, I challenge you to try morning workouts for one week. Once you start, you’ll never want to stop! If you enjoyed this post, check out Five Ways to Bounce Back After the Holidays.
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I’m linking up this post for 5 on Friday with Smidge of This. I looooved link-ups when I blogged in the past. Such a fun way to meet other bloggers and share your message in the process!

Five Ways to Bounce Back After the Holidays

Happy December 28, y’all! Can you believe that we’re just days away from the new year? Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with NYE following closely behind, it can become easy for the last few weeks of the year to turn into one big party. The mindset of “I’ll start fresh in the new year,” can set in making your health and fitness goals fall to the wayside. I used to fall into this trap, but now I try to steer clear as much as possible! Over the years, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks that help me bounce back after holidays, long weekends, or even lazy days and resume my normal routine.

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ONE // Pick up where you left off

I’m currently in the middle of the last week of an exercise program I’ve been doing for the last few months. I always struggle with completing programs and didn’t think this one would be any different. However, I started it in October and now I only have three days left! This program carried me through both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I didn’t work out on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, but instead of beating myself up over it or freaking out over the schedule changes, I just jumped back in! I’ll be wrapping it up on Friday just in time to start fresh for 2017.

TWO // Get off the scale

Seriously. Get off the scale! For most people, a little bit of holiday weight gain is inevitable, especially if you took a few rest days in addition to an extra piece of pie. Unless you just went completely crazy for the whole week, those pounds are nothing but water weight and will be gone within a few days of resuming your normal schedule. Missed workouts happen. Overeating happens.

THREE // Give yourself a boost

Sometimes ignoring the scale and jumping back in as if nothing happened is easier said than done. In those cases I like to give myself a little extra boost. Many times this comes in the form of new workout clothes that make me feel great. I recently had a couple of Fabletics credits to burn and I put them to good use. Within just a few clicks, Oxalis and Brady were all mine. 🙂

Another way I like to give myself a boost is by replenishing my supplement stash! Some of my favorites include Advocare Catalyst, ThermoPlus, and Spark. An Herbal Cleanse is a great option as well!

FOUR // Plan your workouts

I am T-totally a list maker and a planner. Something about having a plan just makes me feel so at ease. I love to sit down at the beginning of the week to plan the workouts I’ll be doing for the next few days. If you usually walk into the gym (or your home workout area) and just do something, try making a plan and see how you feel afterward!

FIVE // Meal Prep

This goes hand-in-hand with planning your workouts! If you are trying to jump back on the clean eating train, prepping is the best way to do that. You are about 100% more likely to stick to healthy choices when you have healthy choices ready to grab! Some of my favorite healthy snacks are apples and peanut butter, ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, and raisins), or larabars. The quick snacks are especially great when you’re still busy with holiday obligations toward the end of the year.

 

Disclosure: This post contains Fabletics referral links. I will receive a credit should you purchase through that link. It also contains links to my Advocare business site. I will receive a commission should you purchase through those links.