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3 Reasons I Love To Work For My Beer

One of my favorite things about this city is the overwhelmingly popular beer fitness scene and all of the balanced living enthusiasts that come with it. That’s why when I heard about Work For Your Beer – Charlotte’s hub for all things beer fitness – I knew I had to get involved.  There are few (if any) things that I love more than a nice adult beverage after a workout! So what exactly is Work For Your Beer?

Work For Your Beer is the place to go if you’re looking for beer fitness classes. This site serves as a guide for pub run clubs, brewery yoga classes, bootcamps that end with beer, and more (there are even dance classes — Twerk For Your Beer, anyone?). Outside of the super-helpful calendar that provides details for more than 100 beer fitness events/week, they also post interesting content. The blog shares beer releases and reviews, Charlotte-specific events, and topics that balanced living enthusiasts would relate to (read one of my personal favorites here). PS – if this sounds like your thing, sign up for the weekly brewsletter–you won’t be disappointed!

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Like this shirt? Enter code: christine15 at checkout on the Work For Your Beer site for a discount!

So, why am I so obsessed with being a Work For Your Beer brand ambassador? Find my top 3 reasons below:

  1. The workout variety. So many workouts, so little time (and money!). I love that the beer fitness scene allows you to vary your workouts, commitment-free, for a small price tag. Many of the pub runs are free (you just buy your own beer afterward), and classes are around $5 (which sometimes includes a beer!). So, you get to experience lots of different trainers and exercise styles for much cheaper than a membership or drop-in fee at most boutique studios! The variety of options is great for someone who likes all different kinds of fitness.
  2. The craft beers. Beer fitness is a great excuse to try different craft beers! In Charlotte, there’s no shortage of brewery options. Within walking distance of my apartment, I can go to Legion Brewing, Resident Culture, Catawba, Pilot, and more. It would be easy to fall into a rut of going to the breweries closest to me – but the fitness events offered at other breweries get me out there, trying new things! I’ve since figured out that my fave Charlotte beers are Birdsong Jalapeno Pale Ale and Wooden Robot Good Morning Vietnam.
  3. The community of people. Beer fitness events provide a great way to get out and be social on weeknights. I love being able to connect with people who I already know share two of my biggest loves! And meeting new people is so important to me, being new in town. To all my fellow beer-and-fitness-loving Queen City residents: message me to meet up at a class together!

I’d love to hear your favorite beers, breweries, and beer fitness events (Charlotte or not) in the comments!

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“The Wobble” Ultimate Leg Burner Workout

To me, one of the best feelings a workout can leave you with is that “I can’t walk” feeling. The one where you finish your workout and start walking, only to have your legs wobble like jello. The one where your mind realizes “if it’s this bad right after my workout, the next couple of days will be a struggle”. The afterburn is a great reminder of how hard I worked and it feels like a badge of honor.

This workout is guaranteed to give you that feeling if you choose the right weights and move through each set without a lot of rest.

What you need: 1 dumbbell (I used 35 lb) + 1 bench/box/elevated surface

Format: 10 reps of each move using your right leg, then 10 reps of each move using your left leg. Rest 1 minute. Repeat 2 more times.

Move #1: Elevated, weighted, single leg hip thrust

Lay on the ground perpendicular to a bench with the dumbbell resting on your hips. Put your right heel on top of the bench and lift left leg straight up in the air. Drive down through your right heel and push hips toward ceiling, driving your left leg straight up into the air. Lower back down to the ground. That’s one rep – repeat for a total of 10 reps on the same leg then switch right into move #2.

Move #2: Weighted Bulgarian split squat

Stand a foot or two away from the bench with your back to it. Rest your left foot on the bench and step your right foot out in front of you. Hold the dumbbell in front of your chest or on top of your hips. Lower your hips toward the floor so that your back knee comes close to the floor – almost like a lunge. Drive through the heel of your right foot to get back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat for a total of 10 reps on the same leg then switch right into move #3.

Move #3: Single Leg Deadlift

Stand with feet hip distance apart, holding the dumbbell at your hips using both hands. Pick your left leg up off of the floor and lift it behind you as you lower the dumbbell to the floor in front of you. Return to standing, using only your right leg. That’s one rep. Repeat for a total of 10 reps then rest for 1 minute, before going back to move 1 on the opposite leg. *Be sure to keep your back flat during this movement – if you start to round out, lower your weight*

Give it a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Establishing a Morning Routine

I recently made the switch from listening to the radio to listening to a podcast whenever I’m in my car. I’ve been flying through The Model Health Show on iTunes, and I’m amazed at how much time I was spending mindlessly listening to music I didn’t love when I could’ve been learning and motivating myself. I feel like I just discovered a huge life hack and I’m HOOKED on this habit! I think I’ll dabble into audiobooks soon too..

Anyway, one of the episodes of The Model Health Show I just listened to was about establishing a morning routine (listen here). I’ve always considered myself a morning person since I have to start my day with a workout, but this got me thinking. I wake up at 6:15 every (week)day, but what am I really doing in that 45 minutes before my crossfit class starts?

I make my coffee, pack everything for work, go to the bathroom, drink some water.. but I’m not really accomplishing anything. Those 45 minutes are valuable time that I could spend setting myself up for true success, every day.

Why should you establish a morning routine?

You know the saying “you run the day or the day runs you”? Knowing how your morning will look and going about it with purpose sets you up to run the day. Starting the day by checking your phone and replying to texts, emails, social, etc sets you up to run on someone else’s time, needs and desires. How can you accomplish your goals and be your best self without identifying your purpose for the day and executing on it?

Something else that really spoke to me was the part of the podcast that outlined the stress of being “on time”. I’m regularly “on time” for crossfit – meaning I’m rushing out the door, speeding down the highway, and running into the gym in my socks because I haven’t been able to change into my sneakers yet and can do so as the warmup is announced. That’s a highly stressful way to start my morning. After hearing this and acknowledging how it affected my own life, I knew I wanted to make a change.

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What does my morning routine look like now?

Since I made this conscious shift, I started waking up a few minutes earlier and my morning now looks like this:

  • brew coffee
  • 5-minute meditation in the legs up the wall yoga pose
  • drink coffee while writing a gratitude journal (3 things I’m grateful for) and today’s purpose
  • drink at least 2 glasses of water
  • change into my gym clothes
  • gather my work bag, gym bag, and lunch bag (all packed the night before)
  • leave 5 minutes earlier than I used to so I am early instead of on-time
  • listen to a podcast on my drive to the gym

I find the gratitude journal and meditation to be so powerful when it comes to starting my day on the right foot. I feel more positive and in control with those simple additions.

One thing you may notice is missing from this list is breakfast. Since I workout at 7, I don’t have much time for digestion pre-workout. Coffee and water are necessary, but my high-protein breakfast has to wait until my workout is done.

This routine may shift as I figure out what I like and don’t like. I’d like to work in more goal setting, planning, and stretching down the road.

How do you go about establishing your own morning routine?

Ask yourself: What do your mornings look like now? What are you hoping to accomplish and get out of each day? There are so many different options for different people, but a simple place to start that is applicable to everyone is: drink more water. Even though you’re laying in bed for hours at night, your brain and body are doing so much and using water to do it. Start by replenishing your water stores for an immediate improvement in your day!

A quick Google search will also return plenty of articles where entrepreneurs and high-power CEO’s share their morning routines if you’re looking for additional inspiration!

Do you already have a morning routine that you love? Leave your feedback in the comments!

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What’s In My Emergency Snack Kit?

If you’re anything like me, the hanger is REAL come 3 p.m. (or really any time it’s been 3+ hours since I last ate). My energy dips, I can’t think, I’m grumpy.. and with that, I’m likely to reach for anything in sight as my next snack. To stop this cycle from affecting everyone around me, I make an effort to keep snacks on hand at all times. The following convenient options are my go-to’s:

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  1. Protein bars. Seems like a no-brainer, but I eat them so often they have to make the list. I’ve previously mentioned my love affair with Quest bars, but I’ve also been keeping GoMacro bars on hand recently. They only use vegan ingredients that are found in nature, and their high protein flavors are so good! Anything with nut butter and I’m sold.
  2. Fruit with greek yogurt/nut butter. I like to pack this snack for work so that I can refrigerate it. Mixing plain greek yogurt with a little nut butter and topping it with fruit is fresh and filling! If you don’t have refrigerator access, a banana with an almond butter packet does the trick too.
  3. Homemade protein treats. If I have time to snack prep along with my Sunday meal prep, I like to make a healthy, homemade treat to stick in my bag for when hunger strikes. Some of my favorites are these muffins and these protein balls.

What’s in your emergency snack kit?

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Banana Nice Cream: Summer Recipe Roundup

Is there anything better than ice cream on a hot day? I could eat it for every meal, every day in the summertime, so I sought out healthy alternatives. These recipes are quick and made with whole, simple ingredients.

Banana Nice Cream

  1. Cookies and Cream – if you make one recipe from this list, it should be this one. It’ll change your life (read: you’ll become addicted very quickly).
  2. Blueberry Muffin – great post-workout breakfast – make it even more filling by adding more almond milk and a scoop of vanilla protein powder.
  3. Cake Batter – admittedly, I haven’t tried this one yet, but I can’t get enough of Cold Stone’s Cake Batter ice cream and I have high hopes.
  4. Chocolate PB Cup – I love to add a sprinkle of cacao nibs and some melted pb drizzle.
  5. Rocky Road – again, haven’t tried this one, but it’s on my to-do list.

What flavors have you tried?

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7 Healthy Road Trip Snacks

This weekend I went to a bachelorette party in Deleware. We stayed in Lewes Beach, but also stopped (drank) in Dewey and Rehoboth. It was a blast!

I knew I’d be eating out a lot once I got there, so I made sure to at least pack my own snacks for the 6-hour drive. Below are my favorite options:

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Sweet Snacks:

  1. Quest Bars – These are a given since I can’t get enough of them. Rocky Road and Blueberry Muffin are my current favorites.
  2. Fresh Fruit – Whatever’s in season will work, but I usually pick bananas since they taste best at room temperature and aren’t as messy as other fruits.
  3. Dates – Also known as “Nature’s Candy”, these are a great alternative to processed sugar when you’re looking for a sweet treat.

Savory Snacks:

  1. Plantain Chips – A healthier take on potato chips, these are a great option if you’re craving salty, crunchy snacks.
  2. Nuts – Cashews, shelled pistachios, and almonds are my go-to’s.
  3. Roasted Chickpeas – I make my own depending on the kind of spice I want. Garlic and cajun are great, but sometimes just a little salt does the trick.

Fresh Snacks:

  1. Veggie Sticks – Baby carrots, celery, and speared cucumbers are convenient veggies to eat while driving.

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Buying food on the road can be expensive, time-consuming, and less-than-healthy. Being prepared with your own healthy road trip snacks can make all the difference.

What snacks do you pack for a road trip?

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April Goals Update + May Goals

In April, I set some pretty light/attainable goals:

  1. Go Streaking: run outside every day in April (1 mile minimum)
  2. Grow my @healthydoseoflife Instagram to 550 followers.
  3. Self Care Sundays: Reading, running for enjoyment, Epsom salt baths, foam rolling, yoga, relaxing with a cup of herbal tea are all examples

So, how did they turn out? Streaking and Self Care Sundays were easy. Were there days I didn’t feel like running? Sure, but one mile is a small enough distance that no matter how sore I was or how hard it was raining, I knew I could do it. I loved it, but I’ll be incorporating rest days again in May. I like to be able to listen to my legs and take breaks when necessary (which would’ve been nice the day before and after my half).

As for growing my Instagram: I didn’t put as much work into this as I should’ve. I grew my account, but not by as much as I wanted to. Ultimately, the purposes of my @healthydoseoflife Instagram are to inspire people on their health journey, get people to check out the blog, and connect with other health/fitness enthusiasts. I need to prioritize the “connecting with others” aspect moving forward to achieve my goals!

April Goals (1)

For May, I’ve set a few more goals and am hoping to challenge myself with a few of them:

  1. Do 3 hours of yoga per week. I feel so great when I do yoga, but I’m quick to cut it out when my schedule gets packed. 3 hours/week feels very attainable to reap the benefits without making it a “chore”. I’d love to do more classes, but to keep my wedding budget on track I’ll be youtubing from home. I love Sarah Beth Yoga and Yoga With Adrienne – let me know if there are others I should check out!
  2. Do ab/core work every day. I usually rely on crossfit and lifting to target my core, butI’m going to spend some time outside of class working on bodyweight movements.
  3. Read 1 book for purpose rather than pleasure. I loved how this goal turned out in March, so I’m excited to revisit it! I’ll probably read “Start Where You Are” but would love to see your recommendations in the comments.
  4. Follow 3 health/fitness publications. I don’t read a lot of news or articles, but I’d like to change that. Starting with a subject I’m passionate about should help this become a habit down the road.

What goals are you chasing this month?

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10 Instagram Accounts You Need To Follow

Instagram is my favorite social media platform. Beautiful visuals, short form content, (generally) a positive message. Opening my @healthydoseoflife account first thing in the morning and seeing people’s posts can be a great motivator and help me start my day off on the right foot. I also love to use Instagram when I’m looking for new healthy recipes. Here are my fave accounts you should follow if healthy recipes/motivation/wellness are your thang, too.

  1. @ambitiouskitchen 

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2. @fitfoodiefinds

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3. @carrotsncake

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4. @addictedtodates

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5. @fitmittenkitchen

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6. @fitfoodiemama

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7. @paleomg

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8. @thefitfork

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9. @leefromamerica

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10. @hungryhobbyrd

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What are your favorite accounts? Any others I should follow? Leave them in the comments!

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Race Recap: Eart Day Half Marathon

As the weather here in ‘cuse is getting more enjoyable, I’ve picked up my mileage and made running a priority again. I started running when I was 11, and since then it’s never something that’s fully out of my life (the longest I’ve gone without it was one month due to injury). I do fluctuate on how much I prioritize it though, and it’s been taking a backseat to crossfit since I did the marathon in October. Marathon training takes a lot out of my body (and tends to make me love running less) so I needed a little break from high mileage training runs. Six-ish months later, I’m back at it and lacing up more often!

For the month of April, I’m actually doing a run streak: getting outside for at least one mile a day (most days range from 2-4). On day 23 of the streak, I headed out to Baldwinsville for my first half marathon since September.

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Since I’ve never really “stopped” running, I’m not very concerned about training for races. Aggressive training is what can make running feel like a chore instead of my mental break. Because of this, I don’t enter many races with the goal of winning or breaking my PR (of course there are exceptions to this). But today, I went in with the goal of enjoying the ride. For me, this means getting outside for a longer distance than usual and pushing slightly faster than my comfortable pace.

I also chose to run this race because I love the Earth Day Half Marathon and 5k. This event is in its 3rd year, and I’ve been there for all 3. Year 1 as a 5k participant, Year 2 as an event promoter, and Year 3 as a half marathon participant. Every year they’ve upped the bar, and this was the best year yet. A nice challenging course (country roads with a few hills) followed by BBQ, brews, and the best chia pudding in town.

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And as far as the actual running, I ran with one of my fellow Urban Lifers, and it made for a really fun race! My music wasn’t working, but having a fellow athlete to chat with and push me was great. We conquered every hill and picked up our pace for the last 5k, finishing at 1:44:52 (8:01 pace). I took third place for my age group and he took first for his, so we each won a six-pack of Southern Tier beer! Now I know I JUST said I don’t enter with the goal of breaking a PR or winning, but both happened today and I have to say, it did make the experience even sweeter. They say things happen when you least expect it, and this was a perfect example! Guess we’ll see where my next race takes me.

What’s the best race experience you’ve had? What races are you running this year?

 

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Thoughts On Crossfit and Working Hard

About a month ago, I posted recaps of the Crossfit Open workouts I participated in. A few things happened during my first open journey – one of them being that I learned a lot about myself. Now that I’ve had some time to digest what I’ve learned, I’m ready to document it and use it moving forward.

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Here’s what happened when I did the Crossfit Open:

  1. I fell more in love with the sport. I don’t have games ambitions (or even regionals ambitions for that matter) – but I do have more goals I want to explore when it comes to Crossfit. I’ve stopped viewing it as just my morning sweat session – I’d like it to be more than that, and I think it is now. It’s not just a workout: it’s a sport; where I will be competing with myself every time I do it.
  2. I learned the difference between doing something just to get it over with, and doing something that I’m trying my best at and pushing myself through. I think this hit me truly in 17.4 – I knew I could do each move, but that the workout would require an ambitious mindset for me to perform well. I pushed through large sets of wall ball shots and didn’t give up on the rower (a large mental task in itself). I knew I had pushed my limits when the workout was over and I couldn’t get off the floor/almost threw up. This gave me some perspective – am I really pushing myself hard enough throughout the week? I know I shouldn’t always go 110% or be on the verge of throwing up every day (I need at least a little bit of recovery to be at my best) but was I ever pushing as hard as I should? Since then, I know I’ve improved my mental toughness and stamina. I push beyond what’s comfortable in a workout, even if the moves aren’t my strengths. I perform more reps per set and I move at a faster pace. I go all-out for at least 2 workouts per week. It’s that push that will make me better.
  3. I nailed a move I’d been struggling with previously: the bar muscle-up! Call it open magic (even though it didn’t happen during a workout) or call it focus. Either way, I’m pleased to have accomplished it, and it’s made me less scared of my weaknesses.

What does hard work mean to you in a workout?