You’ve selected the perfect gift and painstakingly planned a unique and oh-so-memorable Valentine’s Day for you and your beloved one or bestie, but then realize you don’t have a single thing to wear. Don’t fret, that last part is so not true. Of course you have things to wear. I’ve rounded up three trendy outfits that are as easy to pull together as they are cute—perfect for any way you spend your Valentine’s Day.

trendy outfits: valentines day outfit

Romantic Date Night Out

I always love a good floral wrap front blouse for romantic Valentine’s Day plans. It’s feminine, sweet and adjustable (gotta leave some wiggle room for a big ol’ piece of chocolate cake). Red and pink are obvious choices for the holiday but don’t be afraid to venture out into other pastels if those aren’t your go-to colors. Accents like fringe or ruffles can add a little bit of modern edge and femininity (work it, girl).

 

trendy outfits: valentines day outfit

Movie Night With the Gals

First, can I just say I am all about having a night-in with girlfriends more often? Studies have shown time with friends can be good for your health and even increase life expectancy. It’s no easy feat maintaining friendships as a busy adult–moves, children and job changes can make keeping in touch more difficult. But staying close to those that truly make an impact on your happiness can impact your health, it’s a no brainer to work them into your schedule more often. I prefer an intimate night in with the besties to a wild night out and there’s no night like movie night for relaxed denim and a casual tee. Just add a utility jacket in a romantic hue and you’ll be cozy and chic.

 

trendy outfits: valentines day outfit

Just Another Thirsty Thursday

Even before I had kids, I appreciated a good all-black outfit and now that black fabric easily hides what little hugs from cute, but unwiped faces may leave behind, it’s basically my uniform. Make your wine sipping Valentine’s Day date night outfit be as stress-free and chic as possible with a black moto jacket–they go with everything so make sure you get one stat if you don’t have one already–and finish your ensemble with black denim and a black sweater. Want a little more detail? Add prints and patterns to break up your look.

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After you’ve mastered a few necessary basics such as lunges with a kettlebell overhead, you can begin to work on some impressive exercises that not only look pretty legit but feel empowering, too. My favorite? The Turkish get-up. Okay, so, what the heck is it? It’s a bit complicated before it’s broken down, and honestly, it took me a few weeks of practice before I really got the hang of it. Like riding a bike, once you grasp it – you won’t forget it. I’ve broken it down in a few steps with images for you to reference once you decide to give it a try!

1.

Get your kettlebell. Start with a lighter one until you know what you’re capable of and work your way up slowly. Grasp the kettlebell in both hands and lay on one side curled slightly in a fetal-like position. Bring the kettlebell to your chest.

 

kettlebell turkish get up steps

2.

Position your legs. First, legs form a 90-degree angle with your body. Then, bend one leg (the leg on the same side as the kettlebell) and place that foot flat on the floor slightly above the spot where your knee was before you bent your leg.

 

kettlebell turkish get up steps

3(a).

Position your arms. Place the free arm out to your side so that it forms a 45-degree angle with your body, palm down. Place the arm carrying the kettlebell above your shoulder keeping your wrist and elbow completely straight and eyes on the prize… or in this case, kettlebell.

3(b).

Use the free arm to push yourself up onto your forearm in one swift movement.

 

kettlebell turkish get up steps

4.

Move from your forearm to your hand. To avoid letting the kettlebell sway forward, try to imagine that you’re placing your shoulder blade in your back pocket.

 

kettlebell turkish get up steps

5.

Make your bridge by raising your butt off the floor

 

kettlebell turkish get up steps

6(a).

Sweep the straight leg back so the knee is where you were sitting.

6(b).

Slowly rise up so your torso is perpendicular to the ground and your free hand it at your side. Your back foot will be pointed at an angle so adjust it so that it’s aligned behind you like it would be for a normal lunge.

 

kettlebell turkish get up steps

7.

Keeping your elbow locked, stand up. It’s tricky, but you must try to avoid allowing your ribs to flare out or your lower back to overarch. At this point, you can stop looking at the kettlebell and look in front of you.

 

kettlebell turkish get up steps

8.

Once your standing, you may feel incredible, but you’re only halfway done with one repetition (sorry!). Now you’ll run it all back in reverse. Two helpful tips: 1.) when you get back to the kneeling position, don’t forget to pivot your back leg below the knee so that it forms a 45-degree angle with your front leg. 2.) As you sit back as you bring the fingertips of your free hand down your thigh until it reaches the floor, and place it a few inches from your knee. Continue to do everything in reverse your steps until you’re in the starting position.

9.

When you are ready for the next side, grasp the kettlebell in both hands and move out of fetal position on to your back. Bring the kettlebell around your head – over the top of it and always still on the floor until you reach your other side. Get into fetal position on the other side and start your 2nd rep.

 

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At the risk of sounding cliche, I can’t believe it is the New Year already! I kept and continue to keep the same basic New Year’s fitness resolutions each and every year since I was in my twenties: to be happier, healthier and stronger. Usually, it’s easy to find others with those same resolutions, which is perfect for holding me accountable. It’s my theory that having the same resolutions year after year means you are always improving! One thing is for sure; thanks to a few tricks I’ve picked up over the last 10+ years, I’ve gotten better and better at keeping them. I hope that these tips will be just as helpful to you as they are for me!

1. Playlist Goals.

Whenever I’m feeling like slowing down or even giving up altogether, a good playlist makes all the difference. The songs that always gets me going? Beethoven (I Love to Listen To) by the Eurythmics and naturally, any song with a high BPM by the great Britney Spears.

2. Take some Pre.

If you asked me 2 years ago what ‘pre’ was I would have no idea and probably think it was meant for Instagram fitness models, but none of that holds true today. I live for CLEAN+LEAN because it gives you loads of energy with zero jitters or anxiety and seriously allows me to go beyond my natural threshold for exertion and helps me to achieve my health goals.

3. Just Do It.

For the days you don’t feel like doing anything, but you aren’t sick, sore or injured, try to get going. Sure, it’s a little harsh, but unless your body or soul is pleading for a day off, get moving. On the days where it’s hard to get motivated, I always tell myself, “10 min is better than zero!”

 

new year's fitness resolutions: just do it

4. Eat for Success.

It goes without saying that eating well will help you get and maintain any New Year’s fitness resolution you have, but I honestly believe it’s one of the most important (if not the most important) aspects. A large proportion of your fitness-related results will come from a balanced diet.

5. Supplement.

It’s challenging (at least for me) to get all the nutrients and energy needed through diet alone. According to a DNA test I just did, I’m low on Omega 3s. Supplements to the rescue! Hoping to make this your healthiest year yet? Try uncovering things like whether or not you have the ‘fat gene,’ your caffeine metabolism, iron uptake, and vitamin B12 uptake. Find out where you’re lacking and supplement with personalized vitamins. Gone are the days of one-size fits all women’s multivitamins. These are based on DNA test results, a quick online questionnaire, and personal goals.

 

new year's fitness resolutions: supplement

6. Start Small.

Don’t feel like your goal has to be as grand as never touching processed carbs or sugar and working out for 2 hours each day. Habits take a long time to form and most of us (raises hand) give up soon after we start because it’s soooo hard! Treat big resolutions like a pizza and slice them up in to easy to digest pieces, then tackle them one at a time until you’ve accomplished what you wanted.

7. Sharing Is Caring.

Tell at least one other person about your resolution. If you’re up for it, put it on social media and ask for help to keep you accountable. The more, the merrier. This increases your likelihood of sticking to the habit because obviously, you don’t want to have to come clean to a bunch of people if you fall off track.

 

new year's fitness resolutions: think happy thoughts

8. Think Happy Thoughts.

As woo-woo as that may sound, positive thinking really does help! If you catch yourself heading down a negative thinking path, pull yourself out with some good ol’ confidence-building mantras for a gentle reminder of your intentions.

9. Treat Yo’self.

Little rewards along the way will help keep you motivated. My personal favorite is new workout clothes for victories at the gym,   and of course, there’s always Wantable to help you out there!

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When holiday festivities start to take over your schedule, making healthy choices becomes increasingly difficult. That’s why, when asked about my fitness regimen while traveling for work, my mind went straight to sharing tips on staying fit throughout the holidays. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here are a few go-to strategies I’ve practiced over the years that have helped me stay fit during the busiest season of the year.

 

staying fit during the holidays:

1. Make sacrifices.

Love wine or craft beer? Try indulging in just one less glass if you plan to reach for the sweets. A six-ounce glass of wine that has an ABV of 15% has about 144 calories, which is about as much as a small dessert. If you like spritzers, you can mix wine with club soda (which has zero calories) to make your drinks last throughout the night (and maybe have two helpings of dessert).

 

2. Make it a group effort.

Register for a Santa Run or another fitness event that happens to take place this time of year. Don’t forget to get your significant other, sibling, or best-friend to run with you. Going at it together will help you make sure you get your workout in and don’t miss any quality time with loved ones. Don’t like to run? Catch up with friends on a walk, hike, or by going to yoga together.

 

staying fit during the holidays

3. Try new things.

If going to the gym is a big part of your fitness routine, don’t let travel keep you away. Call gyms in the area you’re traveling and ask about trial memberships. If you’re into yoga, many studios offer guests one free pass; grab a 5 or 10 class pass to keep up your asanas after that. Since you probably know people where you are going, ask someone where they go and plan to go together!

 

staying fit during the holidays: be flexible

4. Be flexible.

Holidays can get really hectic and that can make your fitness routine or healthy eating plans fall underway. It’s important to remember that each day is brand-spankin’ new and you can always get back on track. You should never be too hard on yourself, but especially over the holidays. They are meant to be enjoyed!

 

5. Socialize your goals.

Letting friends and family know you plan to eat gluten-free or are training for a half marathon will only help you reach your goals. Talking to others about goals acts as a reminder that they are important to us and it also ensures you have a league of cheerleaders on your team!

 

originally published on bethanimalprint.com

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Chances are you’ve navigated freeways, airports and a lot of idle waiting by the time you finally sit down for Thanksgiving dinner each year. It’s all for a great cause (the expression of gratitude, togetherness, and mmm… turkey) but for many of us, traveling means you’ve been cooped up and are feeling a little less energetic than you’d like (thanks, tryptophan). Luckily, this time of year there are tons of fun and active things you and your family can do together so you can get your heart rate up with those you love the most.

thanksgiving workout : walk

1. Take a Stroll

Make a point to take a walk before or after dinner. If you’re traveling, you can use this time to explore somewhere new. Whether it’s a small town or a big city, there are plenty of new adventures waiting. If you’re staying local, why not let another family member decide where you go? Perhaps you’ll see something new!

 

thanksgiving workout : turkey trot

2. Turkey Trot

Turkey trots are one of our all-time favorite family traditions. My husband and I have done them almost every year since we got together. It’s always so much fun, plus it has the added bonus of making you extra hungry (hello, leftovers). No matter if you’re a first-timer or a veteran, it’s a great experience for all.

 

thanksgiving workout : competition

3. A Competitive Tradition

Whether it’s tossing the ol’ pigskin around or trying a new activity, get a group together for something competitive. My husband and father-in-law have this tradition of playing tennis together every year after dinner. As a novice, I joined them one year and my obliques hurt for days! Not a tennis fan? That’s fine, you can play whatever works for your crew!

 

thanksgiving workout : ice skate

4. Embrace the Chill

Practically every town and city has a frozen lake or man-made rink for ice skating. Our rink is definitely fake here in LA, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. Trust me, the smiles on all of our faces are practically glued on. I secretly love that skating gives me an excuse to hold hands with my kids because, like me, they’re still figuring this slippery ice stuff out.

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mindfulness for beginners

Having access to a super-computer at all time means we’re multi-tasking 24/7. While this is super convenient, it also means staying present is more difficult than ever. Many of us wear our multi-tasking stress like a badge of honor in an ‘I’m-busy-therefore-I-am-important’ sort of way.  The pace of our society really leaves us no choice, but juggling all of the things all of the time can leave you feeling depleted and stressed, which takes away from what’s most important; spending time with those you love. So how do we go about practicing mindfulness when it seems the world we live in isn’t made for that? I set out to find ways to stay present (at least most of the time) and here’s what worked!

 

mindfulness-for-beginners

1. Put down your phone!

Now that we can see our phone usage on iPhones (eeek! anyone else finding that slightly terrifying?) it’s time to do something about it. Luckily, there are a few ways to set screen time limits on your iPhone or iPad. I’ve tried subscribing to putting my phone down at 7 or 8pm and putting it in another room. On nights when I can make that happen, I’ve realized I am unquestionably less anxious and can fall asleep faster.

 

2. Designate a specific time to just be.

Unless you are the Dalai Lama, chances are it’s unreasonable to be present all the time, so pick a time (bonus points if you can pick a few times) of the day that you can be totally present. Maybe you use this time to meditate or maybe it’s as simple as having an uninterrupted tech-free meal with your loved ones. It doesn’t have to be long, it just has to be unplugged and as distraction-free as possible.

 

mindfulness for beginners

3. Get outside!

Being outdoors is great for the mind and body for numerous reasons like getting more vitamin D and improving blood pressure. Try to get into a natural environment at least once a day even if it’s just for a few minutes. If it’s too cold out, consider snowboarding, skiing, sledding, or even making a snowman with your loved ones this winter.

 

4. Make some moves.

It’s no secret that exercise increases endorphins – our brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters – so make a point to move your body every day. Even 10-minutes of brisk walking can be enough to give you that ‘runner’s high’ and a few minutes of yoga can be just enough time to reconnect with yourself if you’re fully present on your mat.

 

mindfulness for beginners

5. Think happy thoughts.

An article in Psychology Today states that one way to produce serotonin levels is just to remember happy times! That’s right, all you need to do is remember positive events that have happened in your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex, which is a region that controls attention. So next time you are feeling distracted just think about something that brought you joy!

 

The reality is that the world most of us live in doesn’t allow for mindfulnesses all the time. Anytime you feel disconnected from yourself and/or your family, try to do one (or a few!) of these five things and you’ll notice a huge difference, and so will the people around you!

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benefits of yoga

Yoga is one of the most holistic exercises around. So much so that many consider the exercise part of it to be a supplemental benefit rather than the main event. For me, that’s been completely true. I began my yoga practice in college after attending a liberal, hippie-dippy university in Northern Arizona. I’m dating myself here, but yoga wasn’t yet widely practiced in western culture and didn’t quite have the cult status it does today. That being said, practicing was unavoidable there especially for anyone who, like me, was involved in the fitness community. I’d finish teaching kickboxing and in would come a peaceful yogi to teach the next class and you couldn’t help but stay and see what made him or her so zen and so perfectly toned.

What I quickly found out is that it strengthens, tones, and heals. Working out my mind, body, and soul, I got leaner, saw improvements in my complexion (hey, dewy skin!) and it even helped me find myself again after bad breakups and the loss of my parents. Summing up how yoga has impacted my life, body, and mind is nearly impossible, but here are the 15 ways I feel it the most:

 

 benefits of yoga

1. Relationships

Of course yoga has helped me build a relationship with myself, but it has also given me so many wonderful friends and teachers that have touched my life in many ways. My husband and I went to yoga on our second date and it’s actually kind of an ingenious test on a potential partner to see how they handle being uncomfortable and challenged which I didn’t consider when I invited him, but he passed!

 

2. Confidence

Speaking of overcoming challenges, you totally build confidence when you finally nail a difficult pose.

 

3. Core strength

Want a 6-pack, but hate doing crunches? Me too. Enter Paripurna Navasana or ‘boat pose.’ Hello, abs!

 

4. Mediation in movement

Before all of these meditation apps, there was meditation on your mat. It’s nearly impossible to ruminate on your bosses last-minute request or [insert arduous problem du jour] when you’re in triangle pose, focused on reaching your arm to the sky.

 

5. Ability to find your calm

Once you have that zen-like feeling on the mat, you learn to revisit it when you’re off the mat too—and that’s where it really counts!

 

6. Skill doesn’t matter

You know how we all have that friend who is basically an Instagram yoga model, so we don’t want to go to class with her? Just go. I was once in a class in San Francisco feeling really confident about my flow that day, then the teacher said, “don’t worry about how good the person next to you might be, they may be suffering inside.” Wow, that hit me so hard. I was working at a start-up and was miserable at my job. It was probably my inflated ego, but I knew he was talking about me, so I never let my futile over-confidence interrupt my time for growth again. Lesson learned: you reap the benefits of yoga no matter where your physical practice is.

 

7. Age doesn’t matter

Yoga is one of the few things you can do just as well at 60 as you could at 18.

 

8. Health

Have you heard the saying “a sweat a day keeps the doctor away?” It’s not just for shopping totes—yoga flushes out toxins, helping you stay healthy.

 

benefits of yoga

9. Improved energy

Yoga gives you more vitality and energy, especially poses like ‘bridge pose’ or ‘full-wheel’ that are known to help reduce anxiety and fatigue.

 

10. Community building

In-studio yoga is a totally effortless way to meet new friends, strengthen existing bonds (see #1) and inspire impromptu post-practice wine gatherings.

 

11. Do it anywhere

Sure you can practice at your favorite studio, but work trips and long days don’t have to stop you from getting in some mat time. Use a towel at a hotel, a mat at home, or just go outside to get in some practice wherever life may take you.

 

12. Protection from injury

I’m a huge fan of mixing yoga into my running program when I’m prepping for half-marathons because the added flexibility and strength training totally helps prevent running injuries and increases agility.

 

13. Increased balance

You’ll find balance in your strength (because you work every muscle) but also get crazy good at balancing poses, aka the covetable “Instagram-worthy” poses like ‘scorpion’—and then handstand scorpion. (I’m still working on that one.)

 

14. Glowing skin

Yoga encourages proper blood circulation,—which means more oxygen and fewer free radicals—so you have a post-yoga glow that I’ve found lasts longer and longer the more you practice.

 

15. Faster running time

If you’re like me and have tightness in your hips from sitting most of the day then running long distances, do some yoga to open them up. Opening your hips can help with lower back pain and other mild pains/injuries. It can even help you lengthen your strides, so if you’re a runner, hip openers are a must!

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Keeping your health goals on track is no easy feat – especially when the holidays are upon us. Shorter days make it more difficult to get moving and colder temps have us dreading to bundle up just to get to the gym. Luckily, there are some fail-proof approaches and simple wellness tips to help you crush your goals no matter what season it is.

1. Keep Up With Your Progress.

This one might seem obvious, but it’s usually sort of a ‘back-burner’ thing for me: check in with your goals. Whether you make new health goals weekly, monthly, or yearly, assess them often and give yourself an honest report. It’s 100% okay if you did not reach all (or any!) of your goals, just being aware of that will help you stay on track or get back on track if needed.

 

Heath Goals: Eat a Healthy Breakfast

2. Eat a Healthy Breakfast.

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It kick-starts your metabolism and helps give you the energy you need to have a healthy and productive day. If you’re like me and you don’t have a lot of time in the mornings, opt for a protein-filled breakfast smoothie. I like this Rise + Shine smoothie from Barre3, but I made one adjustment because I am not a fan of bananas. I supplemented bananas with avocado for extra-delicious creaminess and no banana taste (sorry, banana lovers). Here’s my recipe:

1 cup frozen blueberries
½ avocado
1 cup spinach/kale
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp maple syrup (pure)
1 tbsp flax seed
½  tsp cinnamon
1 cup water

 

Health Goals: Put Your Phone Down

3. Don’t Skip Sleep.

There are a number of reasons we want to skip sleep. It’s busy season at work, the newest season of Stranger Things was just released (just one more episode, I swear), home life is hectic, etc. As tempting as it may be to stay up late into the night,  try your hardest to get 7-8 hours of sleep so that you have the energy you need and your body has ample time to repair itself from any workouts.

4. Put Your Phone Down.

Set some time each day or night where you can comfortably forget about your cell phone. I like to make sure I am not tethered to my phone at night and have a ‘No Cell Phones’ in the bedroom rule.  Forgoing the endless scrolling means you are allowing your brain to tell you when it’s time to hit the hay versus powering through to send one…more…email…

 

Health Goals: Add Supplements

5. Add Supplements.

Anything from probiotics for your gut health to a gummy vitamin for a glowy complexion can have a big impact keeping your health in check. A good supplement can help ensure you are not deficient in any one area especially during times when social activities and festivities might make healthy eating a bit more difficult. I really like HUM nutrition for their expansive line of easy-to-swallow supplements. This double pack is my current go-to.

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smart fitness goals

Social media is a beautiful thing. We can keep in touch with childhood friends and share snaps of us finishing half-marathons or deadlifting a friend, but like all things, it has it’s drawbacks too. One that’s gotten a lot of press lately is its negative effect on body image, particularly for women. Every time you scroll through your phone you open yourself up to the possibility that aspirational pictures of ‘perfect’ women might affect how you feel about or see yourself. Cultural pressures can push even the most body-positive of us to feel like we need to be thinner, tighter, or lose the baby weight faster. Of course, any amount of screen time filled with well-curated photos of aspirational women can be #fitspiration, but don’t we all deserve to feel great about ourselves throughout every part of our fitness journeys?

So how do you go about motivating yourself to work out if you typically find it to be a bit of a chore? Just shift your perspective. Seriously! If you’re working out because you feel you ‘have to lose those last 5 lbs’ or ‘have to fit into that LBD’ you’ll probably dread going to the gym. Nobody enjoys trying to lose weight, right? Instead, let’s exclude weight loss from our goals altogether and consider it a potential added benefit to working out. Any mission to get fit should add to your peace of mind, not stress you out more! Here to motivate you are five smart fitness goals for women completely unrelated to weight loss.

 

smart fitness goals

 

1. Boost your energy

In an increasingly distracting, multitasking world there’s no shortage of things that can drain our energy. Working out increases blood circulation, which transports oxygen to your brain and other organs (hello, healthy glowy skin!), building a healthy body and putting some pep in your step all day long.

 

2. Become a social butterfly.

You probably don’t think of chillin’ with friends when you think of your fitness routine, but recruiting a bestie for barre class or training for a half-marathon with your crew has #squadgoals written all over it. Plus, you’ll be less likely to skip that 8 a.m. class Saturday morning if you’ve planned to meet someone there.

 

smart fitness goals

 

3. Nail a new pose.

If you’re like me and tend to hang out in child’s pose when it’s time for handstands, make it your goal to nail handstands (or any other covetable pose) this year. Not only will you need lots of practice (i.e. active time), but you’ll feel so good about yourself and your body when you accomplish it. The determination needed to overcome whatever’s holding you back (Self-doubt? The fear of feeling ridiculous?) will benefit every other area of your life as well.

 

4. Take fewer sick days.

It might seem like a no-brainer, but this concept didn’t register for me until I became a mom of 2 kids who seem to carry cold-inducing germs at times. Logging some active time each day contributes to a more resilient immune system so you can tackle all that life throws at you and leave the Kleenex at home.

 

smart fitness goals

 

5. Clear your mind.

We know by now that working out releases endorphins that get the good vibes flowing. It’s worth pointing out that workouts can be meditative and restorative even if you’re not into yoga. (I’m looking at you, distance running.) Setting an intention before each workout can help you think more clearly, banish bad moods, and give you the time and mental space to problem solve… I’m feeling less stressed already!

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