Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shoulders & Cardio - 8/22

Workout Download: Want more information on this workout?! The downloadable workout version includes specified  sets, reps, weight suggestions, and my personal training tips + explanations on all the exercises listed.

For this week's plan download (meal plan & 5 workouts):

It's Flex Friday & I won't miss an opportunity to flex in the mirror for a selfie ;) I see a lot of fitness accounts who talk about the negative comments they get for their workout selfies, but I kind of love them. I find genuine motivation in seeing workout selfies from others because they're real! What is your opinion??
Gym Style Details:
Top: Lululemon

Tip of the Day: Make fresh flowers a must include with every grocery shopping trip! A Harvard medical school study revealed that that people feel more compassionate, have less worry and feel less depressed when fresh-cut flowers are present in the home! These alstroemerias are great to keep in the home because they last a good length of time & are reasonably priced. Trader Joes has great prices on flowers. (Plus, it makes it a one stop shop for Anthony to bring me home groceries & blooms hehe). 

My fresh flower preservation tip - change the water daily, cutting the stems at a 45 degree angle, and adding in the "flower food" provided with the flowers; when flowers are looking a little droopy, add a few drops of vodka to the water to perk them up a bit. The vodka inhibits ethylene gas production in the flowers, which is the cause of ripening and maturation.

Read this article for more on how simply having fresh-cut flowers in your home can 1) increase your kindness towards other 2) lower your anxiety and 3) promote positivity and happiness 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back & Glutes - 8/21

Workout Download: Want more information on this workout?! The downloadable workout version includes specified  sets, reps, weight suggestions, and my personal training tips + explanations on all the exercises listed.

For this week's plan download (meal plan & 5 workouts):

Pat yourself on the back for a taking a step in the direction of bettering your health and fitness by simply stopping by this blog today!
Gym Style Details:
Top & Crops: Lululemon
Shoes: Nike Frees

Tip of the Day: I love the Lao Tzu quote I included in the picture above, but doesn't it always seem like the first step is the most difficult?! In a simple form, the first step to get yourself up off your behind to put on your gym clothes can prove quite challenging. When it comes to making a serious change in our lives, the most difficult step is first one involving some sort of action. I'm sure you've said a million times, "I wish I could __fill in the blank___." It's easy for us to dream about or imagine where we want to be or what we want to have: a leaner body, a more fulfilling job, a loving relationship, a positive perspective. Yet, it's so difficult to take that first step of action.

Fear is 9 times out of 10 the reason why that action proves to be so difficult. We fear the outcome and/or the process of getting to the desired outcome. What I've found to be the single thing that can dissolve fear from our lives is...momentum. Momentum is a force of movement that once initiated is easy to continue; I like to compare it to the process of building a snowman (I'm letting the Midwest in me show here, aren't I) because as you roll a tennis-sized snowball through the snow, it becomes easier and easier for the snow to accumulate onto a base that ends up being 2 feet in diameter. Likewise, we can build momentum by starting small, such as with a good workout, which then inspires you to whip up a healthy breakfast, which then leads to a more productive morning, which then opens up the afternoon can continue the story. 

Bottom line...allow momentum to break down fear in your life by taking a small first step, such as by carrying out healthy habits!

Other fitness/nutrition programs you may be interested in:

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Body Weight Pyramid Cardio & Ab Circuit - 8/20

^^What do you think of the workout image? I'll be playing around with them, but love that they're an image so you can simply click and save it right to your phone for when you're at the gym! Hope it helps you out!

Download Version: Want more information on this workout?! The downloadable version includes further sets, reps, weight suggestions, and my personal training tips + explanations on all the exercises listed.

For this week's plan download (meal plan & 5 workouts):

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, "oh crap, she's up."
Gym Style Details:
Top & Shorts: Lululemon

Tip of the Day: The workout selfie actually has more benefits than you may think! I know...coming from the workout selfie queen (ME), you may be giggling, but hear me out! By now, we are all pretty much used to seeing workout selfies from friends, family members, and complete strangers posted all over social media; we all have different opinions of them, but it seem that they are here to stay. Let's dig deeper....although seemingly superficial, these workout selfies do, in fact, serve a purpose that may help you reach your health and fitness goals.

Benefits of The Workout Selfie:
(1) Tracking Progress - body composition is something that a scale cannot measure, but that a progress picture can depict. Simply taking workout selfies and comparing them side by side will indicate changes in terms of increased muscle mass, decreased fat, and an overall shapely figure that weight training can help provide.

(2) Accountability - workout selfies appear all over the Internet, and are more than a "look at me...I look so good...I have abs" type of statement - for some people anyway. When you get into the habit of regularly taking these photos and posting them to a public forum, you begin feeling an obligation to continue and to keep up your regimen. I've found Instagram to be the most supportive, encouraging place to do this; if you don't want your friends seeing these pictures, I suggest starting a separate fitness account (ie: LaurenLovesToLift - that's not really mine, just an example)

(3) IT'S FUN -  don't knock it until you try it because it is actually a lot of fun! Recruit your friends, your favorite workout partner, your significant other to jump in for a shot or enjoy all the cool apps that allow you to create photo collages or write text over the pictures. Overall, just enjoy the process!

Other fitness/nutrition programs you may be interested in (click below):

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


On Friday's post, I encouraged you to take my celebration challenge in honor of my blog's 2nd birthday. I made a point to celebrate the milestone (my celebration photos are below), and it got me thinking about the importance of celebrating in general. Are you someone who celebrates often or never at all? My assumption is that the majority of enjoy celebrating, but fail to regularly celebrate ourselves and our accomplishments.

Here are a few reasoning why I and maybe others don't celebrate often:
 -Thinking I don't have the time, energy, or money to celebrate
-Thinking I'm proud of my progress, but I'm not where I want to be, so I don't want to celebrate just yet (common with weight loss goals)
-Thinking I would like to celebrate, but others may think it's arrogant and weird that I'm always celebrating

Do you find yourself making one of those excuses as to why you shouldn't be celebrating?! I recently read an article on the every day celebrations that go on at Disneyland. When you enter the magical world that is Disney, it feels like you're there to celebrate your birthday, Christmas, Hanuka, and New Years all wrapped into one. The focus on celebration is so integral at Disney that even the parade rolling down Main Street is called, "Celebrate You."

The parades, the rides, the music, the characters, the shows, the fireworks all make up the celebration, but at Disneyland celebrating happens whether it indeed is a special day in your world or if it is just another Tuesday night. Disney celebrates for the sake of celebrating...there is no legitimate excuse needed to celebrate there. What if we did more of that in our lives? What if we made celebration a regular habit?

Listed are a few reasons as to why we all should begin celebrating more:
 -Gratitude: simply focusing on what in your life could be celebrated, shifts your perspective to one of gratitude; we all have so much to be thankful for and things that should be celebrated

-Momentum: the more we recognize accomplishments - big or small - in our lives, the more momentum we build to continue achieving

-Magnetic Attraction: Oprah says it best, "the more you praise and celebrate your life, the more in life there is to celebrate"

A few pictures from my blog's birthday...

What would a celebration be without some food?! While sushi was the intention, Cheesecake Factory to-go was the dinner of choice: loaves of bread, calamari, buffalo chicken strips, and orange chicken.

It's an unwritten rule that you cannot celebrate a birthday without some cake! Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake = major noms.

The most fitting birthday card :)

Outfit Details:
Necklace & Dress: Francescas
Shoes: Target
Hair: "sock" bun with insert purchased at H&M

Monday, August 18, 2014

Arms Circuit - 8/19

-Dumbbell bicep curls
-Dumbbell tricep kickbacks
-Jumping jacks & repeat 4x total

-Barbell close grip chest press
-Barbell shoulder press
-Jump rope or jump rope motions & repeat 4x total

-Cable single arm push downs with handle
-Cable single arm curls with handle
-Burpees & repeat 4x total

Download Version: Sets, reps, and weight suggestions are included on the downloadable workout version, as well as my personal training tips and explanations of exercise variations.

For this week's plan download (meal plan & 5 workouts):

 Health is happiness, and I'm feeling it every day :)
Gym Style Details:
Top: Lululemon
Shorts: Nike

Tip of the Day: What's the 411 on lean arms?! I first want to preface this tip with the statement that I firmly believe that everyone's bodies respond differently to certain techniques, but I've always shared what works for me, and I'm happy that it has worked for so many of you as well. 

What I believe to be the key to lean, yet fit arms are these 3 things:
(1) High Reps - from a training standpoint, I stick to high reps on arm movements with a minimum of 15 reps up to 20-25 reps. I also find high reps beneficial because with that rep range, you'll typically stick to a lighter weight, which makes it easier to stick to using proper form. Proper form works the target muscle most's like a chain reaction of benefits!

(2) Slow Negatives - negative resistant training refers to the portion of the movement where the muscle is lengthening; for instance, with a bicep curl, the negative portion of the exercise is when the arm goes from bent to straight. During this portion, I like to count 1-2-3 to exert control over the movement, which I've found really helps give me a fit look.

(3) Low Body Fat - proper nutrition and conditioning are just as important to achieving lean, fit arms as is any arm workout or technique. When we reduce overall body fat, we give our muscles a chance to peak through. It is important to eat right and integrate cardiovascular challenging workouts into our routines to stimulate the fat loss process.
Other fitness/nutrition programs you may be interested in (click below):

Barbell Legs & Booty - 8/18

-Barbell curtsey lunges
-Barbell back squats
-Barbell reverse lunges
-Barbell good mornings
-Barbell Bulgarian split squats

Download Version: Sets, reps, and weight suggestions are included on the downloadable workout version, as well as my personal training tips and explanations of exercise variations.

For this week's plan download (meal plan & 5 workouts):

"You're never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from the scratch once again" -Bikram Choudhury
Gym Style Details:
Top & Crops: Lululemon
Shoes: Nike Pegasus

Tip of the Day: MOTIVATION MONDAY! Each Monday, I share with you all a tip of motivation in hopes of helping you start the week off on the right foot. Two of my most important values for my blog are integrity and authenticity, so I strive to not just "preach" messages on here, but instead to lead by example. Still, I love reminding you all that I'm not perfect. On this Monday morning, I skipped my early workout time, failed to publish this blog post in the wee early hours, and instead of cooking my new breakfast from this week's meal plan, I took a protein shake and made a piece of toast out of laziness (side note - I even thought the toaster was taking too long and grew a bit impatient lol). It's not the Monday morning I hoped for and it's not something you'd think a health and fitness blogger would post about (oops).

 But the message is's okay to have your day go off plan and it doesn't constitute as a "fail" or "ruined day," rather it's simply an opportunity to restart. So, if you find yourself in this situation this week or any week for that matter, try three things that I am currently doing to reset my day.

How to Reset Your Monday:
(1) Make a To-Do/Done List: I love making a list of what needs to be tackled, so I know exactly what needs to be done; if lists like that are too intimidating for you, begin first with a "done" list, which simply collects all the tasks you've accomplished

(2) Log in Your Gratitude Journal: right now jot down 5 things you're thankful for; you will begin to become aware of many more things worth praise and thanks in your life today

(3) Set a small goal: set a goal that can be accomplished TODAY! I will share mine.. I've been putting off a big grocery shop and have been trying to make my small trips work in order to save time, but today, I WILL do a major grocery shop and even organize my refrigerator and pantry

Other fitness/nutrition programs you may be interested in (click below):

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Sweat Sparkle Smile is a motivational product line promoting a health and fit lifestyle that is balanced and enjoyable. As you all know, I'm addicted to cute gym gear, so I though I would branch out and create some of my own based on my beliefs in living a fit life.

SWEAT because it's good for you.
SPARKLE because it feels great.
SMILE because you love it!

I love the stretch and comfort of this cotton tank; it's gives me all the movement I need for the gym or when I'm on the go
The drawstring bag holds my gym essentials and I love that it's not too big, but still holds everything I need

This water bottle is literally the perfect size (20 oz) and I find myself carrying onto it all throughout the day. It's great for water (obviously) and all your gym supplements: pre-workouts, amino acids,  protein shakes, etc.

I hope you all love it just as much as I do. This is obviously the first product line of mine, so quantities are limited. As always, I welcome your feedback as it may lend way to another line :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 17-23 Meal Plan & Dollar a Day Training Workouts

A one time download - weekly meal plan & 5 days worth of the dollar a day training program workouts. These items are updated each week & posted on Saturday to allow for time to grocery shop, cook, and plan when workouts fit into your schedule!

About this week's meal plan: Meals are tasty and easy - no major food prep & very few ingredients. This meal plan is NOT a restrictive calorie/low carb diet; it's 5 healthy meals designed to promote a healthy metabolism to allow you to build a fit body and shed some fat!  My three favorite meals this week 1) No Gran Protein Pancakes 2) Steak & Spinach Quesadilla  3) Giant Turkey Meatball

About this week's workouts: 5 workouts consisting of weight training (legs, glutes, calves, back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, abs) & HIIT cardio designed to build a fit body while decreasing body fat. Workouts that are result driven and motivating!

This is my meal plan and week of workouts that I follow; I share in hopes of reaching our goals together! As always, the meal plan serves as one day full of meals and is repeated for 7 days, which is not too long to get sick of the food but allows for food to be pre-made in mass amounts. Typically, I do 5 meals - meals 1, 2, and 4 are more of a breakfast, lunch and dinner, while meals 3, and 5 are smaller portioned meals to keep my body fed properly throughout the day. Additionally, there is an optional post-workout shake/meal that can be added any time during the day. I did not want to provide specific times to eat these meals as everyone's schedule varies; I suggest meal 1 should be consumed within 1 hour of waking and then all other meals should be spaced 2.5-3.5 hours apart (give or take depending on your schedule). My meal plan style is SIMPLISTIC; I've found the more ingredients and the longer the prep, the more likely one is to fall off the plan.

After payment, you will see a link to return to sellfy to download or you can download from a confirmation email that will be sent to the email linked to your paypal acount. This downloadable pdf can be printed or saved to your mobile device for easy access in the grocery store or gym!

*If you download on a tablet or phone, be sure it's somewhere that is permanently saved or the file may be lost; I like to screen shot it so that it saves to my pictures*

For the combo pack (meal plan & 5 workouts):

For just the meal plan:
For just the 5 dollar a day training workouts:


Happy 2nd Birthday, Blog!
Wow...I cannot believe it's been TWO years since I started blogging. It's been an experience that has changed my life and who I am. When I first began this blog, I sat in my childhood bedroom surrounded by pink walls and googled, "how to start a blog." Fast forward two years, and this blog reaches people in hundreds of countries and has millions of views; I am honored and humbled to be a small part of so many of your health and fitness journeys. It bring me great joy to be able to share my message with a readership that is so receptive and willing to better themselves.

To my blog...
Thank you for the two most amazing years of my life! You've made me a better person, and have opened my eyes to the true meaning of a purposeful life. You bring infinite joy, happiness, and fulfillment into my life. I owe the excitement I feel each morning and the rush of energy I get when working all to you!

To my readers...
I truly appreciate you taking time out of your busy days to read my blog, sweat with me, enjoy a meal with me, or simply see what's up on here. You've helped make my dreams come true by supporting the message I have to share, and I am touched by you on a daily basis. I cherish every comment, message, and email I receive from you; the highlight of blogging, for me, has been being able to connect with individuals just like you, who are are supportive, inspiring, positive, and encouraging. YOU make me love life deeper, and for that I am forever grateful. I hope I can continue to help support you in your goals and journey.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Shoulders & Glutes + Cardio

-Dumbbell side lateral raises
     superset with mountain climbers
-Dumbbell shoulder press
     superset with burpees
-Cable rear delt flyes
    superset with forearm to hands plank

-Barbell stiff legged dead lifts
     superset with long jumps
-Cable kickbacks
     superset with squat jumps
-Dumbbell curtsey lunges
     superset with alternating jumping lunges

Download Version: Sets, reps, and weight suggestions are included on the downloadable workout version, as well as my personal training tips and explanations of exercise variations.
For this week's plan download (meal plan & 5 workouts):

Tip of the Day: Celebrations - big or small - make accomplishments feel even sweeter. So, maybe I'm feeling a little extra sentimental today as it's the 2nd birthday of my blog, or maybe it's taken me 23 years to realize the importance of acknowledging amazing moments. I used to be someone who thought my birthday, valentine's day, my anniversary, etc. was just another day; the reality is that every day is just another day unless you make it something special. Today, as I celebrate my blog's 2nd birthday, I want you to celebrate something in your life! Make a point of it! Maybe today you ran longer than you ever have without stopping or perhaps you had the best sales week in the office...whatever it is...celebrate! Let's get into the habit of celebrating small victories each and every day as it will set us up for achieving more regularly.

Other fitness/nutrition programs you may be interested in: