Smoothie Move | Fitness Friday

joythebaker

Before I started working out, getting a smoothie was a great way to relieve myself of calorie guilt after a particularly shitty day/week of eating.

Green smoothie? I’ll take it. Jesus, I’m a health food nut!”

Now? Smoothies are a quick and easy way for me to get all my nutrients that help me reap the benefits of the lifting I’ve been doing in the gym, as well as the vitamins that keep me healthy. I’m about 90% convinced that the reason I haven’t gotten a cold this winter is because of how many greens I’ve been consuming (and there’s hardly been a salad in sight).

Smoothies that I drink after working out are high in protein and full of fruits, vegetables and fiber. I’m still learning about the textures and flavors I like and have yet to dive into smoothie-aficionado additions, like wheatgrass and aminos (or something), but I’m pretty excited about the discoveries I’ve made so far. Check it:

smoothie

Spinach + Kiwi + Chia seed smoothie (from Joy the Baker)

makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies

For the Smoothie:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk, cold
  • 1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks and frozen
  • 1 ripe kiwi, peeled, cut into chunks

Awesome Extras:

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons wheat grass powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon maca powder

In a blender, combine almond milk, spinach leaves, frozen banana chunks, and kiwi chunks.  Add some of the awesome extras if you’re so inclined.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy immediately.


Almond Butter + Banana Smoothie (+Protein)

makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut+almond milk, cold
  • 1 1/2 cups packed spinach and kale leaves
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey powder
  • 2 table spoons almond butter
  • Cinnamon to taste, I usually do about a teaspoon (+ great for metabolism)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal/seeds
  • 4 ice cubs (this is personal preference…room temp smoothies don’t cut it for me)

Combine all ingredients in blender and let ‘er rip! This smoothie is super high in protein and healthy fats so I find its a really hearty/healthy way to follow up intense workouts.


ABJ Smoothie (+Protein)

makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut+almond milk, cold
  • 1 1/2 cups packed spinach and kale leaves
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey powder
  • 2 table spoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal/seeds

Again, put everything in the blender and goooooooo. This smoothie is a spin on PBJ sandwiches (obvs). I was feeling really clever when I got this tart treat all worked out.

Death by Ab Day | Fitness Friday

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Today was a day defined by self-loathing, pain and hatred. It was a day when I thought “it really can’t get worse than this.” A day when I truly wondered if the hurt I was feeling was worth it or if I had made a grave mistake. Today…was ab day.

Ab day some of you may be thinking. What’s so terrible about a few rousing rounds of crunches? 

Let me set the scene:

Prior to a couple of months ago, the core workouts that I was frequently taking part in were the ones that I like to categorize into a group titled “everyday abdominals.” One ultra-popular move from this workout regimen was sit-ups–you know, where I’d be snacking on my couch and when I wanted another Dorito I’d use all my will power (and no hands) to sit up in order to get my arm into the depths of the not-so-distant chip bag. I’ve never felt accomplishment so sincere as I did in moments when I’d be retrieving the remnants of flavor dust from the corners of my newly oranged mouth.

Another move? The “I’m too lazy to get off the couch to reach the remote, so I’ll just stretch and contort my body until I can reach it” maneuver. You’ve heard of it? This yoga-like stretch really takes dedication, as the amount of effort it takes to test your limits in order to grab that clicker is most-likely more difficult than swinging your legs off of the couch and retrieving it the old fashioned way. Bonus fitness points if it’s under opposite side of the coffee table. Keep that core tight.

With all that being said, I’m sure you’ve gathered that my six pack was well underway.

Core days with Andrew are a little bit different than core days with me and my low tolerance for pain. This morning we did bicycle crunches, planks, downward dog hybrid crunches (i.e. Satan’s work), and this violent leg lift that essentially feels as if you’re air-skipping into your final moments. I left feeling 10% nauseous and 90% like I didn’t know if I could ever do it again…but I will.

So, maybe it does feel a little bit like you’re being branded with the hot stamp of a six-pack on your midsection; maybe the next day it feels like you’ve been repeatedly punched in the stomach and now laughing feels like a torture device; But maybe just maybe your results are closer than you think. Do those side planks and push through those godforsaken flutter kicks. If you keep at it, it’s gonna pay off in the end.*

*aaaaaaand If it doesn’t then I hear youtube has some pretty sick DIYs on faking abs with bronzer. You’re welcome.

I’m two weeks deep in personal training and there’s no looking back. Muscles I never knew I had are starting to gain tone and, dare I say, I feel stronger than I ever have (both physically and mentally).

So excited to keep you posted on how this is going.

Speak to you soon!

x

2015 | Fit Friday

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Monday morning–4:45A.M.  The twinkle-toned iPhone alarm I had chosen to “calmly wake myself up” seemed unbearably shrill, especially when I remembered why it was going off: my first 5:30A.M. appointment with my personal trainer. After trying to feign a hamstring injury brought on by an impending Charlie horse… I reluctantly rolled off of my half deflated air mattress and into my fleece lined running tights.

But, wow…am I glad I did.

Several weeks ago I decided that just going to the gym a few times a week really wasn’t getting me the results I was hoping for. (I wanted to see “Beyonce” but instead I was getting “Young mom who’s stopped drinking diet coke.”) After talking with several of my friends, who I consider to be professional gym rats, it was clear that a personal training program would be my best bet.

I was nervous. “Personal trainer?” I thought, “He’ll kill me. I’ll die. I’ll lay right out on the weight floor after leg day and take my last living breath.” Within the next few days I grew some balls and then nervously approached my soon-to-be torturer/trainer at the front desk. After about 20 minutes of discussion and signing papers it was official: for 3 times a week for the next three months I’d be seeing Andrew for lifting days and going an additional 2 more visits for cardio sessions. I walked out of the gym and promptly grabbed a snack to ease my stresses.

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Fast forward to now–8A.M. on Friday, January 2, 2015. Sitting at my kitchen table recovering from this morning’s shoulder + core + cardio session, sipping on an almond butter + berry protein shake concoction (that I call The PBJ) and feeling 100% sure that I have made one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

After 1 week of personal training I feel awesome; I’m sleeping better, I feel stronger (even if just a little), I’m driven to eat well, I’m drinking so much water, I’m happier, My brain is clearer and I have so many more opportunities to brag to my co-workers about how much I lifted at my early morning PT sesh. Andrew has really encouraged me to not just seek fitness, but also nutrition (full wellness). I’ve been dipping my fork into the key Paleo diet principles but with a few tweaks of my own.

With the arrival of a new year, I’ve also adapted a new mindset: investing in myself is just as important as investing in other things.

My fitness goals (not resolutions because those are for the weak) for 2015:

  • Know what it means to actually feel healthy and reap the benefits of that lifestyle.
  • Learn from my trainer how/why/what I need to do to work my muscles correctly and continue to do that even after training is over.
  • Feel strong, capable and empowered.
  • Become professional at feigning minor injuries so my break between ab sets can be longer.
  • Blog about fitness/lifestyle changes so other people can learn something/feel my pain.
  • Really try to contain biscuits to once a week (do the vegan ones count? Leaning towards no RN).
  • Oh right…and those Beyonce/Nicki/Azalea booty curves.*

*Andrew asked me what my fitness goals were and maybe that was my answer, but who really knows?

Speak to you guys soon! Happy new year!

x

Au Naturel // Little Seed Farms Giveaway

aunaturalpromoSummer is typically a time where I make every excuse not to wear makeup, with the exception of maybe a little tinted moisturizer (with SPF of course) and some mascara.

“It’s just SO Euro,” – what I tell myself so I can ride a chic little ego wave or something.

Skin care, then, becomes a number one factor in my no makeup confidence. I do my best to use products that are free of harmful ingredients and weird animal byproducts. I’ve found the most effective way to steer clear of those things is to explore natural options.

I present to you my 2014 natural-summer-skincare holy grail:

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Number one is Apple Cider vinegar. Hair health begins at the root, and the root begins at the scalp; After trying a million shampoos and offhandedly taking some questionable advice from Pinterest, I came across this remedy for dry scalps. Before my shower I mix 1 part ACV to 1 part water in an empty water bottle and shake it to mix. After washing my hair like normal, I distribute the mixture throughout my scalp and massage in (as you would with a deep conditioner). Usually at this point I clip up my hair and get out of the shower for about 10 minutes; this is a good time to put on a skin mask or send that email you forgot about until mid shampoo rinse. After letting it soak in get back in the shower, condition the ends of your hair, finish up your routine and then rinse out everything at once.

The bad news: ACV has a PUNGENT foot-like smell. However, once your hair is dry it does disappear. Do your best not to get it in your eyes or mouth; if you do, you won’t be incapacitated because you are poisoned, but you’ll probably hate yourself for not keeping things closed. (Speaking from unfortunate experience).

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Number two is (the one and only) COCONUT OIL. This multi-use product is a current obsession of bloggers and beauty gurus, and after hearing constant raving from my mom of what its done for her skin (bye, wrinkles) and hair I thought I’d give it a go.

You’re going to want to get organic + virgin coconut oil, which is widely available and pretty inexpensive (especially for how much you get/how long it lasts). When you open the container, it’s going to seem solid in consistency; scoop some out and warm it up by rubbing your hands together to melt it down. So far I’ve used it as a deep conditioning treatment, a moisturizer and a makeup remover; you better believe I’m being honest when I say that it has yet to disappoint (also it smells A LOT more delicious than ACV).

Pro tip: when using it as a deep conditioning treatment, don’t use TOO much or your hair will end up greasy after you wash it out; emphasize the product on the ends of your hair and it will naturally work it’s way up.

3aunatural.psdNumber 3, Activated Charcoal Soap. More specifically, Goats Milk + charcoal soap. I picked this up at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago and I am actually in love with it. The sweet woman from Little Seed Farm, here in TN, who sold it to me explained how the charcoal withdraws toxins out of your skin that have settled there throughout the day:

Activated charcoal is gifted with the ability to deep clean without drying, chemically attracting and locking in toxins (from indoor and outdoor pollution) that can cause breakouts and irritation. It washes them away without breaking down your skin’s naturally protective mantle, making our Activated Charcoal Bar a perfect companion for sensitive and irritated skin. “

I can see and feel a difference in my skin since I began using it two weeks ago.  Using warm water I work the soap into a lather, massage it into my skin, rinse and then pat dry with a cloth. There is no weird scent or residue left over, just a baby soft face; HIGHLY recommend.

To learn more about this product, or to purchase it, visit the Little Seed Etsy shop here.

G I V E A W A Y // D E TA I L S

I hope this was helpful! I decided to do a little giveaway with Little Seed farm products! They have so many amazing options to choose from and I wanted to share some with you guys.

TO ENTER:

Follow my blog+instagram (@lacunningham), comment below (or on my Instagram) and let me know if you tried any of the products/regiments I mentioned, the product you’d most like to try in the Little Farms shop or if you have any natural beauty secrets yourself! A winner will be randomly selected to receive a product of their choosing from the Little Seed Farm etsy shop! Here is the link again so you can check out their product line. Giveaway closes on May 23, 2014 and the winner will be contacted on the 28.

 

Speak to you all soon!

 

x

 

 

PS: Spain countdown, 3 days!

March Favorites // April Playlist

FAVE_03141. The Spring Madewell Catalogue. It’s basically describing the Madewell girl to be a pretty tomboy. HELLO, is it me you’re looking for? They should just rename their brand to “hammer” because they nailed it. I poured over all of the images and outfits and a particular pair of boyfriend shorts (pictured above) all month. Check out their new collection here.

2. My little green roommate whose been bringing me positive feelings and hope for spring. I got this succulent at Trader Joe’s (which may as well be a favorite item in itself) for literally  $2.50.

3. The amethyst I picked up at the Flea Market was obviously a no brainer. Look how faceted and purple it is. It’s also my birth stone, so the fact that it’s in my room must mean that I’m really building up my Aquarius points about now. Right?

4. ULTIMATE SPRING LIPSTICK: Vegas Volt from MAC. It’s a florescent coral color that will change your life no matter what your skin tone may be.

5. Grace. I hadn’t had a chance to read Grace Coddington’s perfect memoir until now. I spotted it on a friend’s coffee table and promptly interrupted our conversation to inform him that I would be checking it out of his personal library.

6. Josephine. I really should stop talking about it, but I’m not over it yet. The wine list was never ending, the cheese plate was impressive, and the atmosphere was really unique for a Nashville restaurant. If you get the chance you’ve got to go.

7. Trader Joe’s (85% Cacao) Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar. Because I’ve tried to adapt some better eating habits this year, dark chocolate is my savior when I am craving something sweet but am trying my damnedest to battle my sugar cravings. I eat a 1 inch square and I am sa-tis-fied.

8. Maroon Zara boots. I got these for Christmas and they have been on my feet almost every day since then. Comfortable, versatile, pointed toe…another testament to my Masculine/Feminine wardrobe aesthetic. I’m not sure they still have this exact pair, but I can promise that you’ll stumble across another pair you like here.

9. LUSH Cosmetics Rosie giftbox. I bought this for myself and I’ve never felt more like a pampered princess than when I was surrounded by rose scented bubbles and then slathered in a rich, fragrant rose+aragon body conditioner. (Pro tip: don’t use the bubble macaroon in a jacuzzi. Don’t ask…just don’t.)

& finally

It wouldn’t be the beginning of a new month without a new playlist. Thanks to a flurry of SXSW recaps and Spotify success stories, I’ve discovered a lot of addictive (and eclectic) tuneage this month; it just so happens that it’s perfect for putting a little *spring* in your step. Open up your windows and enjoy…

 

 

Speak to you all soon!

 

 

x

Twerkout

Lululemon Future Varsity Bra Nike Muscle Tank Nike Muscle Tank (back) Calvin Klein tapered sweatpants Nike Windrunner Zipup VS Knockout tights Lululemon Yoga BagNike Dual Fusion - Crosstrain

Excuses are for chumps–and I am one so here goes: I haven’t posted in a hot minute because things got crazy. And when I say crazy, I really just mean that I had a lot of hugs to give and food to eat upon my return home to Nashville. The remainder of the trip was exquisite (afternoons in Amsterdam and exploring New York), but I was beyond ready to board my plane home. Something about having my own room again, and friends sending me sappy, all caps text messages.

Upon my return and reuniting with friends and familiar bars, I’ve  also put my game face on and have made an astoundingly strong return to my gym routine. My muscles are starting to get their strength back and my motivation for a healthy lifestyle doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

As you’ve scrolled down this far, that means you’ve feasted your eyes upon my workout wishlist. It’s not an exaggeration when I say I have one pair of acceptable gym pants and a hand-me-down pair of tennis shoes that are about ready to run off of my feet. Fingers are crossed I’ll be able to invest in some new workout duds ASAP. Until then, my shopping carts on Nike and Lululemon are just going to continue expanding and then remain untouched until payday.

I hope I can be a little bit of a motivator for you guys to keep up with your fitness resolutions and newfound relationships with the gym (even if it’s just for the ripped dudes on the weight floor–I don’t hate it). Todays motivation doesn’t come in a quote or a picture of my (sort of not even a little) toned abs, but instead in a little playlist I like to call: TWERKOUT.

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Add these puppies to a Spotify playlist, or one you made in iTunes because you are my hero and already have all of these songs at your disposal, and crank the jams as you make your way around the weight floor.

You’re welcome.

x