#UltimateCoffeeDate | July Edition

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Hello blogger friends and readers!

It’s officially the second half of 2016 – month 7 – already!  Here’s another blog post for the #UltimateCoffeeDate link-up, hosted by fitness bloggers Lynda, Coco, and Deborah.

While we catch up over coffee, I’d like to share…

That I’ve been on healthylioness.wordpress.com for a whole year now!  This ‘anniversary’ is a reminder of why I started blogging – to keep myself accountable to my health goals and to stay connected to the Sweat Pink ambassador community. Now that’s something I can celebrate. 🙂

Next, I’d like to share… 

That my new favorite form of leisurely exercise in London is walking along the Thames River into the nearby town center.  It usually takes an hour round-trip, which is just enough light exercise for a couple days per week to keep the academic stress at bay. Plus, I get to take in the gorgeous scenery, say hi to the swans and ducks, and sometimes grab a coffee on my way back.

Do you have a favorite type of leisurely exercise?

Finally, I’d like to share…

That I’m desperately looking forward to (and praying for) warmer weather in London.  We had some great days in early June, but lately dark clouds have been hanging over the city. I always feel more energetic when the sun’s out, so here’s to hoping July holds some epic weeks of sunshine bliss!

What are you excited for in July?

Thanks for reading!

~ The Healthy Lioness

 

 

 

#UltimateCoffeeDate | February 2016

  

Hello Blogger friends!

Happy February, y’all. Sorry, I’ve been absent for the past few weeks, but I’m excited to be back with an upbeat post. Though, I’m technically posting late for the #ultimatecoffeedate linkup, but at least I am sharing, right? ~Better late than never.~

So if we were sitting down for coffee today — in a cute little cafe down the street, of course — I’d share that…

I’m really into teas right now

I used to be a black tea-only kind of gal (both English breakfast & Indian teas) but after I fell into an unfortunate string of back-to-back colds starting in December, I expanded my reservoir of tea leaves to fend off sickness. I even bought a nifty little tea-infuser! Now I constantly stock green (almost always raspberry), moringa, peppermint, chamomile and liquorice teas, in addition to classic black tea. And I just discovered ginger green tea, so that’s a powerhouse variety that I must purchase on my next grocery run.

The teas have helped keep me away from sugary sodas, which I don’t allow myself to buy at the grocery store. (Though I will indulge in one every once in a while if I’m out for a meal with friends.)  But don’t worry, I haven’t given up coffee! I simply prefer to pick up brewed lattes when I’m at Costa or Starbucks, because they taste better than the coffee powder currently sitting in my kitchen cabinet. ~ Everything in moderation.~

I finally bought a new yoga mat!

It feels sooo good to be back on the mat. And I enjoy being able to fit my practice around my weekly schedule of classes and work, in the comfort of my living space. The mental and physical boosts I feel, which I’m sure you other yogis can relate to, really help to destress in the evenings.

The #SweatPink #PoseoftheDay challenge has kept me on track

I love seeing everyone’s cool pose variations, many against very scenic backgrounds, on Instagram and Twitter. It’s been the motivation I’ve needed to stay moving , especially when the sky is grey and stormy and all I really want to do is crawl into bed and watch Netflix all day. (Because who wouldn’t want to do that? I mean, really?) But there’s a beauty and strength in all forms of exercise, whether they’re conducted outdoors or indoors. Because we’re taking care of our bodies, showing them love and investing in their future – our future.

Now, it’s over to you. What have you been up to in the past month? 

~ The Healthy Lioness

Balance Makes Me Feel #BosuStrong

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The #BosuStrong Challenge hosted by Fit Approach and Bosu has been incredibly inspiring and I’m so glad to be following all of the action on Twitter and Facebook!

As I find my new normal here in the UK, it’s becoming easier to organize my personal fitness and eating habits.  Trips to the grocery store are less frazzling (because I’m not lugging back massive bags to stock up on basics anymore). And as I get back into cooking real food, I get excited over certain products like edamame, blueberries, and ginger snaps! Yes, I know, those are common items available in the UK, but hey, they remind me of shopping for produce and snacks at the local shops back in California. It’s amazing how finding a few simple items like those can calm anxieties and make you feel more at home. [Shout-out to all of my #SweatPink sisters who have been a phenomenal support system, expressing their interest in my adventures and empathizing with my experience of homesickness — I’m deeply appreciative of all of the love!]

So as this post’s title points out, today is #totalbodythursday. To give my body a much-needed workout that targets all of the core areas, I plan to perform the following moves by the end of the day:

– Mountain Climbers
– Planks (Because who doesn’t love a good plank?!)
– Squats
– Tricep Dips
– Jumping Jacks
– Burpees

And hopefully I can squeeze in ten minutes of zen-inspiring yoga. Ensuring that I prioritize time for both my body, including workouts and healthy eating, and my mind makes me feel #BosuStrong. I’m trying to focus less on how stressed I feel and transform that negative energy into positive energy.

On that note, let’s spread a little extra positivity today.
~ The Healthy Lioness

Moving Forward & Achieving Goals with the #7daystretch Challenge

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Even though the #1MillionMinutes challenge and movement is over, the #SweatPink community isn’t letting any of our steam run out because we’re starting a brand new challenge with a #liveinprAna #7daystretch , partnering up with prAna once again!

It all starts today (Monday, August 24th) and ends at the end of the week (Sunday, August 30th). Join in on the fun – answering daily prompts (see below) – or if you’d prefer to lurk, you can follow along on FitApproach or through the hashtags: #liveinprana #7daystretch #sweatpink!

We’ll be talking about how we (the community) embrace a prAna lifestyle (#liveinprana) and are challenging ourselves to stretch a little deeper, farther and more mindfully for 7 whole days (the #7daystretch). And we’re not just stretching our bodies so you don’t have to be pretzel to join in, we’re also stretching our minds and souls!

I’d love for you Amanda [person] and Ivanna [person] and Sarah [person] to join me for this fun challenge. Complete the fun mad-lib below and let’s get this PARTY started!

We’re nearing the end of August and even though the summer is coming to an end, I’m super excited about the Fall because I can wear boots & scarves. In fact, my very favorite thing about Fall is the changing season aka colorful trees and warm things. I can imagine myself wearing the Quinn Top [item from prAna website / include a hyperlink if you can!] while I practice yoga [activity/verb] because it’s nice fitted tank.

If I had one goal for the Fall, it would be to increase my flexibility because the cold often makes me inactive – uh oh! 😉 To achieve it, I know I will need to practice yoga/workout at least every other day. And of course I want to look great doing it so have the Vignette Sweater [item from prAna website / include a hyperlink if you can!] on my wish-list…..

What are you most excited about for Fall?

Join us for the #liveinprana #7daystretch. Here are the daily prompts to get you started!

Monday, August 24: It’s Monday, make sure you get up and stretch ‘dem legs! Show us your favorite quad and / or hamstring stretch(es)! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna
– Bonus: We want to see you JUMP it out. Give us your BEST #jumpjoymonday! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Tuesday, August 25: Backbends. Any backbends. All backbends. #benditlikebackbend Show us how you get bendy! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna
– Bonus: It’s #transformationtuesday y’all, whether you’re bendier than you used to be, more adventurous, or even faster, we want to see! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Wednesday, August 26: It’s our mid-week stretch it out, show us what’s getting you through your hump day? #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna
-Bonus: It’s #workoutitwednesday. Show us how you worked it today! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Thursday, August 27: Show us a #tbt to a time when you stretched outside of your comfort zone. #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna
– Bonus: Show us your favorite stretchy pants (shorts work too) #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Friday, August 28: Happy #freefriday y’all! We want to see what makes you feel the most FREE? 7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna
-Bonus: Show us how you are celebrating #forearmfriday! Forearm planks, dolphin pose, forearm stands or maybe just forearms on the table? 😉 #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Saturday, August 29: Saturday side stretch! Show us your fave side stretch(es!) #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna
– Bonus: #sunsalutesaturday. Show us how you are saluting the sun today! #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

Sunday, August 30: What are your favorite ways to restore your mind, body, & soul? #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna
– Bonus: Show us your favorite zen space. Where do you find peace & tranquility? #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna #sundayzenday

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by prAna. All opinions are our own. We so appreciate you supporting the brands that support Fit Approach and the Sweat Pink community!

Weekend Fueling

It’s the weekend everyone!! Who’s as excited as I am for this break? 😉

I took a break from working out yesterday because I was a bit too sore from Thursday’s elliptical session and abs workout. So I’m back at it today and fueling up with a protein shake!

Never did I ever think that I’d be someone who would use protein powders, but I received some free from Puritan’s Pride about a month ago, and finally had time to experiment in the kitchen with it to whip up something tasty.

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I tried this on Thursday too and loved it! Basically I blended in a spoonful of the Chocolate Whey Protein Isolate with one banana, about half a cup of milk and lots of ICE (not pictured haha).

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It turned out quite nicely – and I even splashed in a bit of coffee at the end to give it a hint of a cafe mocha taste. Needless to say, I enjoyed it and it is great for refueling after my workout.

I’m also snacking on protein-filled Wild Friends Nut Butter — tried the peanut butter one recently and it’s obviously scrumptious! And the vanilla espresso almond butter gives a nice crunch.

Disclosure: I received free products from Puritan’s Pride and Wild Friends, but all opinions expressed are my own. 

Why I Love the SweatPink Community

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I’m so happy with today’s #1MillionMinutes prompt to end the challenge. It’s simply the perfect way to capture what the entire movement has been about this whole time — support and community.

[Prompt: We want to know what community means to you – show us how #1millionminutes has helped keep you on track and accountable this summer! #liveinprAna #sweatpink @prAna @FitApproach]

I’ve been a SweatPink ambassador and team member for over 2 years now and have loved my time since the very beginning. I joined because I was immediately struck by the incredibly open and non-judgmental atmosphere that founders Jamie & Alyse have taken such great care to foster. The positive and happy vibes permeated from the whole organization, which made me feel very welcome despite my lack of knowledge in fitness and healthy living. Because everyone has been so supportive and helpful, I’ve really been able to learn from them all and grow my own understanding of fitness and healthy living, adapting it to my own lifestyle.

The #1MillionMinutes movement reminded me of how great everyone is with motivation and inspiring each other. Even though the primary way SweatPink ambassadors connect is over the internet, the supportive atmosphere is clearly evident on the web as much as it is when you meet in person!  Thanks to the awesome #SweatPink network, I was able to keep going this summer and reach my goal of 1000 active minutes! 😀

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Whether it’s a movement like #1MillionMinutes or a big, life-changing event like college or a job, I feel as though it’s always at the end of things that you fully understand the immense impact something has had on you. Today, I’m deeply grateful to be an active part of this amazing group of women and men who strive to lead healthy lives while sharing their progress and wisdom in hopes of helping others succeed too.

Of course, there will be more inspiring movements hosted through the SweatPink community and I wholeheartedly look forward to participating in them!

Just want to end by giving a HUGE shout-out to Jamie, Alyse & Liz for being such awesome teammates. You’re all crazy-inspiring. Thank you for everything. 🙂

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by prAna. All opinions are our own. We so appreciate you supporting the brands that support Fit Approach and the Sweat Pink community!

Re-igniting Fitness Inspiration

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Feeling extra-inspired to achieve my fitness goals this week – must be the #sweatpink love and #liveinprAna motivation!

Today’s challenge prompt: How do you reinvigorate your fitness goals? Show us! #1millionminutes #liveinprana #sweatpink @prana

When my motivation and goals are feeling lackluster, I usually try and search for more inspiration. And that usually includes seeing all of the amazing things my sweatpink sisters are up to on Instagram!  Jamie, Liz & Alyse always have incredible Insta pictures of their adventures and cool yoga poses – these ladies are insanely talented!

Pinterest is super useful for motivation as well. I search through the recently pinned fitness & healthy living categories for new workout exercises, routines and cooking recipes. Trying something new breaks up the monotony and can help reinvigorate fitness goals. 🙂

And other times, I take a mini break – nothing too long so I don’t stray away and then stay away 😉 – but maybe a day off to do, well, whatever I feel like doing. On that one day, I don’t pester myself to workout or even cook, I just go with the flow and either A) get things done on my to-do list or B) take a break, watch some tv or go shopping. Then the next day, I feel rested and almost a little anxious to get back to my fitness plan. I’ve given myself a break so there’s no excuse not to workout the next day.

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by prAna. All opinions are our own. We so appreciate you supporting the brands that support Fit Approach and the Sweat Pink community!

#liveinprAna Mad Libbin’

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It’s the last week of #1millionminutes and SweatPink is partnering with prAna to help us reach our goal of achieving one million minutes of activity. prAna just launched their new Fall line (super cute and chic clothes to choose from y’all!) and will be awarding cute items as prizes this week! So if you want to join in on the fun and participate for a chance to win cool apparel, participate with this mad lib and share!

When the 1 million minutes challenge started, I set out to achieve 1000 minutes [goal minutes of activity]. And I dominated [verb] that goal by working out to online videos [verb] and yoga-ing [verb] my way to 1100 [# of minutes].

The best part of this challenge for me was spontaneous hiking and running adventures. I probably spent the most time tracking my minutes while I was exploring with friends [person]

I was ecstatic [verb] to see so many Sweat Pink’ers joining in on the challenge and breaking a sweat yoga-ing & running [type of activity]. Liz [person] was one of my favorite people to stalk follow during the challenge because he/she killed [verb] it!

I’m sad that it’s the last week but also excited that prAna is our sponsor because I’m coveting the Cosmo Top [item from prAna] and going to tweet [verb] my little heart out in hopes to win!

Plus, I’ll need the Vera Top [item from prAna website] to help me get through my Fall goals which are to practice yoga regularly and start running. And now I tag Autumn [person] and Sarah [person] to join in on the fun!

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by prAna. All opinions are our own. We so appreciate you supporting the brands that support Fit Approach and the Sweat Pink community!

Joining in on Blogger Pros with #SweatPink!

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Fit Approach has been curating a blogging initiative called Blogger Pros to inspire SweatPink ambassadors to gather round specific topics and blog about their perspectives. It’s been very cool to read everyone’s posts and learn from their stories.

The latest prompt is all about goals and motivation, so I thought I’d share too in hopes that by writing about it, I’ll become more motivated. 😉

My current goals simply include making small but steady changes in my lifestyle to incorporate more healthy eating (i.e. more whole fruits, veggies & grains), drink more water [hydration is key, hydration is key, hydration…is what I keep telling myself ;)], and do a little bit of exercise each day to build up my endurance.

Motivation is often a hard thing to maintain. Sometimes it hits hard and I want to do it all right then. But then it slips away…

So since I like to write things down, I jot down my goals and the steps I must take to achieve them just about everywhere. It’s in my calendar, on my to-do list, on sticky notes on my desk. These constant reminders have proven to be pretty helpful in the long-run.

And when I do hit a mental wall – which has happened before, but don’t worry, if you’re in one right now, know that it likely won’t last very long – I take a break. It’s the same when I have writer’s block. Stepping away from the computer or yoga mat and doing something completely different, like cooking, cleaning or even watching a bit of t.v. really allows my mind to focus on something else and clear away the uncertainties and doubt. I come back feeling refreshed and with a bit more umph to try and finish the task at hand.

How to do you maintain your motivation for workouts and healthy living goals?

Learning to Master Prepping for Busy Weeks

Today’s prompt for SweatPink’s #1MillionMinutes movement asks about our favorite ways to get ready for the week ahead:

  • Gym bag packed? Meals prepped? What are your favorite ways to make your weeks a little easier? #1millionminutes #liveinprana #sweatpink @prana

Sunday’s always a very fun, relaxing day, but I like to also think of it as a head-start on the week’s workload.

Lists
I love lists. Couldn’t live without them. Wouldn’t function without them. They’re a saving grace. Seriously.

First I write down everything that needs to be done for the week, breaking it down day by day. Then I see if there’s anything that can be accomplished beforehand, and if so, I try and get it done on Sunday.

Meals
I’m pretty simple when it comes to breakfast. While I don’t go out on an empty stomach, I usually just have a small portion of something. I always have a cup of tea, and usually half a bagel with cream cheese, or toast & peanut butter, or on a really rushed day, a granola bar. (I just heard the deep gasps from all of the breakfast lovers!). No, I don’t hate breakfast, my stomach just can’t handle lots of food first thing in the morning. I usually do much better by lunchtime and scarf down all the food. 😉

I’ve been meaning to get into meal prep, and as soon as the craziness of summer and life transitions are sorted, I’ll definitely start. Weekends are usually the best time to go grocery shopping anyways, so my refrigerator is usually stocked with fresh fruits, veggies and tofu, and cabinets with whole grains and beans. While I don’t always pre-plan what I’ll be cooking for lunch or dinner each day, I usually know that I can whip up something quick and nutritious because the ingredients are all there.

Exercise
I find that penciling (or typing) in time for workouts really helps me to remember and stick to them. Having an allotted time already determined also means that I usually can’t say, ‘I have no time.’ 😉

Laundry
Washing clothes on the weekend means that I should have enough of everything to get me through the week. And that also means that I can plan out what I’m wearing to workout sessions, like my fave black prAna cropped yoga pants!

How do you prepare for busy weeks to make them less hectic?