…Training: what is best for you?…

With resources that you can find on dozens of fitness websites, it can be very hard to figure out what is the best workout method for you to use for your own fitness goals.  There are also various fitness trends that circulate other sites such as Pinterest that make it easy to get overwhelmed with the idea of starting a new fitness program.

The first thing that you have to do is ask:

What is your overall goal?

This is a question that I ask all of my new clients.  I have found that people like to focus on short term goals rather than the long term overall goal.  Those are great BUT you have to create a healthy lifestyle that will work with your current lifestyle.  This will allow you to properly integrate healthy habits that you will be able to sustain even after your short term goals are reached. In my experience I often see people work hard to achieve their short term goals. After that goal is reached, they stop training or practicing healthy habits and revert back to their old habits.  But, if you get people to focus on working towards long term life goals, this is when you find clients will be more successful and more satisfied with their overall healthy lifestyle.

Here is a document that I give my clients when we have our initial fitness consultation.

 

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You have to create an overall mind shift to get people to think of more than just short term goals.

There is a huge misconception that being healthy and fit requires you to give up a lot things that you regularly enjoy.  That is FALSE! You have to find a balance via making health and fitness fit into your current lifestyle. Integration of healthy habits makes it an easy transition and also allows for this habit to become a true habit that can be sustained for a long period of time.

If you feel that this is something that you can not do alone, there are infinite support groups that can be found online.  You can also seek the help of friends and family.  You can maybe convince them to join you so you can help to keep each other accountable.  You can also seek the help of a personal trainer or coach that can also assist you every step of the way.

Stop giving up on the idea that you can not be the healthy and fit person that you want to be! YOU have to make the decision to get up and make those needed lifestyles changes to help you reach your goals. YOU have to take those steps to set things in motion to get you closer to those goals.  YOU have the power and drive to do something about it.



…Tips for Correcting Skin Issues Using Various Skincare Methods, Including Lasers…

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A lot of people put a lot of focus on mental and physical health and fail to put enough health focus on other aspects of their body. Your Skin is apart of your body that is often neglected or overlooked.

If you have skin issues that you want to correct, you will quickly find out that you have a sea of choices. But that sea can easily be reduced to the size of a small pond as you rule out options that won’t work for you. Then you will be left with only the best choices to pick from. Here are some tips that can help you decide if lasers or other skincare methods will work for you.

Know Your Skin Type and How That Can Impact Treatments

Dry skin and oily skin react in completely different ways to certain skincare treatments. The same is true of thin and thick skin, light and dark skin, or clear complexions versus scarred skin. Any one of those factors can help you rule skin treatments in or out. You can use all of them together to narrow your options down significantly.

If You Have a Laser Procedure, Have the Right One

If you are thinking of having a laser procedure done, make sure you have the right procedure and are treated by the right device. Lasers fall into many different categories, including Fraxel, ablative, and non-ablative varieties. They also specialize in different things. For example, if you want to get rid of unwanted hair then you should be treated by a hair removal machine, but if you want to get rid of unwanted wrinkles then you should use a laser type that is recommended for wrinkle removal instead.

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You also need to understand that each laser model is slightly different. Some of them are better at treating people with lighter skin tones. Others are less specific and can be used on darker skin colors as well. It may take you some time to find the one that will treat your skin problems without creating more of them.

Make Sure You Understand Your Other Skincare Choices

While laser treatments can be excellent for treating some skin problems, far too many people seem to think that they are the only treatments available aside from surgery. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

One options is that you could potentially use lotions or creams to treat minor skin problems. You can even get prescription creams, if you need something a bit more potent. Another choice, if your skin issues are moderate, is to have light therapy or sound wave therapy. Both of those types of treatments can make your body produce more of its own naturally healing substances, such as collagen. There are also plenty of treatments for severe skin concerns, including microdermabrasion and chemical peels.

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Don’t Get Frustrated if You Don’t See Positive Skincare Results Right Away

Many of the skincare treatments above and other skincare methods don’t work right away. Some of them take repeated applications or clinical treatments before you will start to see your skin improve.

So, one big skincare tip is don’t move from one treatment type to another too quickly. Be sure to give whatever you try a good amount of time to work before you deem it unsuccessful.

Discuss Skincare Methods with an Expert Before Choosing One

The most important thing you can do when choosing a skincare treatment is talk to an expert. They can tell you all about each treatment choice you have, the skin types each treatment tends to work well on, and how long it will take to see results. Then you can make your final choice about which skincare method to use.



…Merchandise Evaluation: prAna Jeans & Sweater…

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prAna is a clothing company.  They thrive on creating versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing and accessories that you can wear during every activity, every adventure, every day.

prAna was started in a garage in Carlsbad, California back in 1992. At that time yoga and climbing gear left a lot to be desired, so Beaver and Pam Theodosakis decided to create their own stylish and sustainably made clothes. They sewed the first pieces themselves, labeled them with tags made from homemade recycled paper, and shipped their orders in fruit boxes from local grocery stores.

Today, prAna is still based in Carlsbad. We’re a lot bigger than we used to be, but we continue to follow our core belief that companies like ours should give much more than they take from the world. Our commitment to sustainability, community, and doing right still inspires and pushes us to find innovative ways to do good things in a good way.

I was lucky enough to get to try out a full outfit from prAna and this is what I got and my overall thoughts:

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Overall Comments:

I was VERY skeptical about getting these items and trying them on.  I am a woman, this has a very unique shape and build.  Because of that, it is very hard for me to find clothing (especially jeans) that fit correctly and COMFORTABLY.

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This is the sweater Stacia Sweater.  I deiced to get a size medium (I am 5’10 tall, I have long arms and a long torso. I typically get sweaters larger so they will be long enough for my torso and my arms).  This sweater is SOFT and comfortable. The color… is by far one of my favorite shades of blue/green.  And, this sweater is cozy yet helps to keep your body heat contained.  What that means is, I am a cold natured person. I am typically cold no matter where I go.  I was quite warm during the whole time that I had this sweater on. The length of this sweater was GREAT!

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The next item that I would like to talk about are the jeans:

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These are the Kara Jean and I got these in a size 10. I typically get jeans that are a size bigger because I have a round bottom and thick quads (in other words ladies… I have a bit butt and thick thighs! No shame in those gainz! LoL). I was very interested to see how these jeans would fit (especially since I did not get to try them on before I got them).

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I was SHOCKED at how well they fit me.  I slide the jeans on and was able to button them with ease (also meaning that my training has paid off and I have not grown to need a bigger pants size 😛 ).  There is a slight stretch in the jeans, so in the areas that the jeans were more fitting, they were not uncomfortably tight.  They actually fit just right. Like I said… I was SHOCKED at how well these fit.  And the quality of the material is great! It is not a thick jean material.  It is a thinner/stretchy material but has a great color and I love the folded pant legs at the bottom.

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Price & Quality: Over the years I have learned to embrace and accept the term “you get what you pay for”.  The Stacia Sweater is about $89.00 and the Kara Jeans are about $89.00.  Yes this seems like a steep price to pay for a sweater and jeans… BUT once you get these items you will realize exactly what you are paying for. You are paying for a quality product that will be able to keep up with you and your busy/active lifestyle.  You are paying for organic and recycled material that is used to create some of the pieces of clothing that prAna offers. You are paying for the bluesign® systems tat was created to ensure that the fabrics that are uses meet the highest environmental and human safety standards. You are also paying for Fair Trade which are standards that were created to ensure that garment workers have safe working conditions, a voice in the workplace, higher earnings, and that women are treated equally. Although these rights may seem basic, they are simply not guaranteed in many of the countries where clothing is produced. You are also paying for traceability  which is prAna might not know the exact plant that grew the organic cotton, but then can make a close guess.  They can trace their fabrics life from the farm where the bowl of fiber was grown, through processing and production, all the way to end product. prAna finds it very important to make sure that what they sell their customers is in fact what they claim it to be.

So, if you are looking for a cutting edge company to support, prAna offers various products that are organic and environmentally friendly.  They take pride in providing the best quality products for their clients, giving back to the community and their workers, and being able to use natural resources to create their products.

HERE IS A COUPON CODE for 15% off your own prAna purchase: PFS16LIFE

Code is valid until 10/31/2016



…Celebrity Workouts: Are They Worth It?…

The likelihood is we all have a celebrity fitness DVD hanging around behind the TV. And in many cases, probably a few more. These workout programs make up a huge percentage of the fitness program industry and sell at an astonishing rate. But are they worth your money, and do they ever – honestly – work? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest problem areas I have found with celebrity fitness programs.

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Celebrities have personal trainers

First of all, the rich and famous have money to burn – and they can afford to pay for a personal trainer. And not just the one session a week that the rest of us can afford. Their personal trainers will – in effect – live with them for months at a time to put them through their paces. You can’t expect to replicate that by doing a workout DVD once or twice a week.

You pay top dollar

Heard about the latest fitness craze? Kayla Itsines is a celebrity, albeit she became one through her fitness program. She has 5.3 million Instagram – that’s twice as many as Gwyneth Paltrow. And she’s big business. But take a look at any honest Kayla Itsines review, and you’ll find out a few things. One, it is expensive. There are PDF guides and a $20-per-month app to buy. And it’s hard, too – perhaps too much for the first time trying to take control of their fitness for the first time. Now, the program will give you results – but the information it gives you is nothing you can’t find by yourself online and on forums.

The before and after scam

We’ve all seen those before and after shots on websites. They are the prime selling point for most fitness DVDs, regardless of whether they are celebrity-hosted or not. The trouble is, what do these pictures tell you? Sure, they show dramatic results. But as plenty of people have proved, you can do amazing things with a camera.

They target the wrong areas

You can’t target areas where you want to lose weight. If you have big thighs, nothing is going to make them smaller unless you lose weight all over. It’s the same with your waist. Core exercises will help you develop your muscle, but you have to lose weight everywhere if you want your abs to show through. So, the next time you see a ‘Tiny Tummy’ celebrity DVD that focuses on waist training, forget it.  

It doesn’t result in lifestyle change

Take a look at most celebrity fitness programs and they will all tell you the same thing. Workout x times a week for y weeks. But what happens afterward? The vast majority of people just return to their old routines, put the weight back on, and buy another DVD the following Christmas. Good for the celebrity workout industry, sure. But not good for your permanent fitness and physique, or your bank balance. You are far better off learning about exercise and nutrition yourself and making the necessary changes slowly.

Have you have success from a celebrity DVD? If so, why not prove me wrong in the comments section below!



…Infinite Life Fitness Recipe: Bell Pepper Nacho Bites…

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Who does NOT love nachos?

OK… if you do not love nachos there is no way we can be friends. The savoy mixture of seasoned meat with cheese and fresh veggies…It is making my mouth water to just think about it!

I decided to create a simple, healthy, and cost effective alternative to one of my favorite dishes.

This would be a great dish to have as a finger food when you have people coming over OR it can be a great snack/meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package ground lean meat (turkey, chick, lean beef)
  • Assortment of Bell Peppers (red, orange or green and I made 4-6 “bites” per bell pepper)
  • 1 cup low fat Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Salsa
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
Directions:

1. Cook meat thoroughly, add desired seasoning if desired

2. Drain meat and mix salsa/tomato paste to coat meat for flavor

3. Scoop out seeds from peppers and cut into boats (each pepper = 4-6 pepper boats/bites)

4. Scoop meat into pepper boats and sprinkle cheese on top of the meat

5. Either heat up in microwave for 2-3 minutes or stick bell pepper boats onto a non stick baking sheet in the oven at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or until all of the cheese is melted)

6. Remove boats from oven (or microwave) and top with your choice of vegetable (such as minced onions, lettuce, etc.)

You can also top these bits with low fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

By substituting the chips for the bell peppers you are able to cut out a huge overload of carbs without sacrificing the quality or flavor of this dish.

By using lean meat, this will also allow you to cut the amount of fat that is traditionally in this dish.  You can get creative and add diced tomatoes, olives, and other things that you will traditionally find in nachos.  Please be mindful when you add more items.  That can compromise the healthy nutritional value of this meal.

Bon Appétit



…Are Lean Muscle Mass Workouts a Scam?…

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For many men, getting the perfect muscles is a life-long dream. Although the only way to get there is through hard work, there are shortcuts.

Magical pills and miraculous workouts have taken the world by storm. Claiming to lead to a lean body, these methods are often criticized by experts, but do they work?

Although it’s hard to tell which workouts actually work, there are ways you can ensure you’re getting the most out of them.

It’s important that you take into consideration your circumstances. Make sure you set reasonable goals before starting any routine, and ideally see a doctor.

As you may already know, building mass is only partly done through working out. Having a balanced diet is a huge part of the process. It’s important to remember that things take time, so be patient. Don’t expect results overnight. Also, remember that your health should always be your priority. Don’t push yourself too hard, and know your limits.

Balanced Diet

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Anyone who’s into working out knows that a balanced diet is very important. Working out can get you great results but without eating right, you might be sabotaging your progress.

Depending on what you are trying to achieve, come up with a meal plan. This is important as it will serve as a starting point. It’s important not to push yourself too hard at first. Give your body plenty of time to adjust. This way you don’t risk any health complications occurring.

What you eat depends entirely up to what you’re trying to achieve. Consulting with a professional is always recommended before making any drastic lifestyle changes.

Working out

A lean muscle mass workout might not be for everyone. Although it’s important to set goals, remember to be reasonable. Wanting to see results overnight is unrealistic. Everything takes effort and if you’re not prepared to put that in, you might never see results.

Start slow and build up your tolerance over a period of time. It’s recommended that you don’t start with anything too difficult, as it will take its toll on your body.

Take baby steps and let your body adjust. Only increase your workouts once you feel your body is ready. Don’t try overdoing it, as it won’t impress anyone. Take control of your own body, and know what’s best for you.

So, are lean muscle mass workouts a scam? No, but they require a lot of preparation and effort. Don’t enter the process until you’re ready, and remember that health always comes first. There are no shortcuts in life, so don’t attempt anything stupid. Be smart with your routine, and you will see results overtime. Putting your body under too much pressure will only result in health complications occurring down the line.

Working out can be a rewarding experience but only if done right. There are a lot of scams out there claiming they can get you results overnight. Don’t fall for them. Only use trusted sources for information. Be smart about your workouts, and you will see results in no time.



…Fitness: my lift, my love, my addiction…

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Hi…My name is Stephanie. And I have an addiction. 

I am addicted to the stale musk of sweat when you walk into a gym…

I am addicted to the sound of weight plates clanging together…

I am addicted to hearing the light humming sounds of treadmills and other fitness equipment…

I am addicted to feeling sore when I wake up in the morning…

I am addicted to the feeling you get when you physically push yourself so hard during a workout that you can’t quite figure out if you are going to pass out or puke (sometimes as the same time…LoL)…

I am addicted to crushing personal records that I know that I was unable to do previously…

I am addicted to pushing myself mentally and physically…

I am addicted to helping those around me see their potential both physically and mentally…

I am addicted for helping to educate, motivate, and inspire someone to get up and make changes in their life so they can help improve the overall quality of their life…

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I get that not everyone will truly understand my desire or need to push myself constantly.  Do I know I can do it…yes.  But, I have not found anything that I can not do and that is what drives me even further.

This fitness craze for me started in 2012.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always been an athlete and I have always been active.  Growing up, I played a lot of different sports and remained active even throughout college. It wasn’t until AFTER college that I had the time, resources, and money to dive into doing more athletic activities.  I started by first doing a Zombie Run with one of my best friends.  The trail run mixed in with mud bath instantly had me hooked. I was not a huge fan of being chased by blood dripping mummies, but I enjoyed the “capture the flag” concept that the race offered.  A few months later I signed up for my first Tough Mudder. WHILE I was training for my first Tough Mudder I was also training for my first NPC bikini competition. After that, I did a few more NPC competitions but really started to take a dive into endurance races. For the year of 2016 I wanted to put my focus on endurance races and GORUCK events instead of NPC competitions. And that was one of the best things I could have done.

I spend 2016 traveling, exploring, and living. Most importantly, I spent 2016 doing what I love most…growing my business and pushing myself physically.

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Why do I do these races? 

These races are not just about the medal or patch that you get when you complete the race.  The race is about the experience and the people. No two races will be alike.  You will get to battle some of your own internal demons.

You will question if the training you have been doing was enough.  You will question if your strength and overall abilities is enough.  You will question if what you are doing is something that you should actually be doing.  You will question if you are helping or being a burden to those that are around you. You will have a million other questions rummaging through your brain, but most importunately you will battle and defeat these questions of self doubt.You will conquer those very things that are trying to hold you back. To your surprise,  you will also help to push and motivate someone else around you to also push through those same questions and self limiting thoughts/feelings.

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I do these races BECAUSE I CAN. So many people take advantage of the fact that we have bodies that are capable of moving, climbing, pushing, pulling, running, etc. So many people 2nd guess themselves and do not show up to do events that they sign up for. So many people fail to even understand their worth and physical capabilities. If I am able to help just ONE person push past those barriers, that helps for me to validate my efforts.  It helps to prove to me that all of the work that I put into my training while people are sleeping, while people are out partying and having fun, while people are inside and I am outside getting tortured by the weather of mother nature is worth the milestone of conquering a feat that was once unconquerable.

Yes, there an be far worse things for me to be addicted to. But, to be addicted to fitness….is that even really an addiction? What could you classify it as? I would like to say that it is apart of me.  It is apart of my lifestyle. I am NOT sorry that I am not the type of person to sit at home EVERY weekend (don’t get me wrong a weekend at home is nice…but that is only blissful for a short period of time). If I have the time, resrouces, and money YES I will fill my scheudle with events. Why not explore and travel if I have the ability to do so? If I had the choice to go party at a premiere club or go roll around in the mud, with my ruck, next to 20-100 team mates, in the rain….guess what I would pick? #mudbath #justanotherdayatthespa

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From the outside looking in, I guess I can not expect or assume anyone to understand or be able to relate to my feeling of passion about what I do.

If I could just take your hand and walk you through my foot steps, then maybe…JUST MAYBE…you would be able to grasp why I do what I do.  I don’t want to put you in my shoes because my shoes are shoes that can not be filled. My ambition and drive is something that can not be replicated but only observed. My dedication to not just to myself, but to my clients and fellow fitness addicts.  This dedication is something that is strong and it will take dynamite to even weaken it.  It is a bond between conquerors and fellow competitors that can not be broken.  No matter how muddy a trail is, no matter how crappy the weather may be, no matter how much it hurts, we are one.

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Each day competitors of all facets and sports wake up and train as if there is no tomorrow. Olympic athletes get a pass for their dedication because ” they are training for the Olympics”.  But common people get questioned and bantered because they want to regularly attend athletic events? Because their dedication to health/fitness is not within the realms of what “some people” feel is normal? All because we are not training to go to an Olympic event? In your eyes there may not be a master event or title we are trying to win.  In our eyes…we are doing what makes us happy. We are doing what gives us a purpose and a meaning.  We are doing what gives us life.

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…When Cycling For Fitness, Looking Out For Your Safety Is Crucial…

Cycling is an excellent way of getting fit. It’s one of the most effective exercises in burning calories. It can also help you build real muscle in your arms, legs and your core. There’s no wonder that so many enjoy it as a hobby. But it’s also a lot more dangerous than you might initially imagine. Bicycle riders have the highest rate of accidents and injuries per rider, despite being the least common vehicle on the road. That’s not to say you shouldn’t go riding, however. You just need to be extra prepared to look out for your own safety.

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Never assume safety

Regardless of where you are, assuming that you have a totally open path and are at no risk is incredibly dangerous. For example, one of the most common misconceptions is that the intersection is the most dangerous place for a cyclist to be. However, that’s not true at all. The majority of road accidents involving cyclists don’t happen at intersections. Instead, they might very well happen with parked cars opening their doors. Do your best to learn proper safety protocols when cycling. Be able to recognise and adapt to dangers that you’ve studied on the road. Remember that the cyclist is always the one at most risk in an accident.

Look after your bike

You’ll be able to adapt a lot better to risks on the road if you’re looking after your bike properly. You don’t want your bike to suddenly give way under you, throw you off or lose control. That’s why close, regular maintenance is an important part of being a cyclist. If you’re not prepared to get personal and learn about how your bicycle works, perhaps it’s not the method of fitness for you. First, make sure that your tires are fully pumped before every ride. Keep the bicycle safe from water, such as rain or salty sea air. The best way of doing that is keeping it inside. Or lubricating it, which also stops the bike from seizing up under you.

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Share the road

There’s a certain sentiment being shared a lot in regards to bicycle safety. That is the idea of ‘sharing the road’. The sad fact is that the campaign puts as much responsibility on cyclists as it does on other vehicle drivers. Despite the fact that the cyclist is at a lot more risk and wields a lot less power in that situation. The most important point that this campaign brings up is the fact that drivers don’t often take cyclists as seriously as they should. Your space might not be respected, nor your right of way. The key for you is to be able to adapt to the other presences on the road. This includes being aware of your surroundings, which we’ll get into next.

Awareness of vulnerability

A higher degree of awareness is needed for cyclists at all times. For example, knowing the kind of space you have to take in regards to certain vehicles. Bicyclists have the unfortunate ability to appear invisible to big cars or lorries, so you need to steer as far from them as you can. It’s not just your eyes that you need to keep peeled, either. One of the biggest mistakes you can make while cycling anywhere is putting in earplugs. You won’t be able to hear oncoming cars or pedestrians telling you to stop. If you need to listen to music to help you exercise, get yourself a cycling speaker instead. Otherwise, you’re putting everyone at unnecessary risk.

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Being prepared for the risk of an accident

The fact is that you’re the one who’s going to be at a lot more risk if you get involved in an accident. That’s why you should always keep a small first aid kit on your person. If you are involved in a collision with a vehicle that’s not your fault, you shouldn’t have to suffer all the consequences either. Instead, think about services like personal injury compensations claims solicitors for cycling accidents. If you’re able to, record as much of what happened at the scene of the event as possible. Using a dash cam on your bicycle or helmet can do a good job of recording for you. Otherwise, take photos if you can and collect details of witnesses and those involved in the crash. Take all the evidence you need to make sure responsibility is properly distributed.

Safety gear is crucial

It’s obvious that safety gear is an important part of riding. There are some questions as to its effectiveness, but it’s important that you wear a helmet simply because it’s a legal necessity in a lot of places. Shin pads and elbows pads are also important for the chances of taking a lighter spill off your bike. By far the most important safety equipment, however, is that which provide visibility. Bike lights and reflective gear. High visibility gear is vital for staying seen by others on the road at night. Your visibility is just as important in the day, however. In those situations, visibility is about contrasting with the traffic and your surroundings. Bold colours can be a better choice than high-vis gear in the day.

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Use the right bike for the right place

Of course, keeping control of your bike is also influenced by what kind of bike exactly that you’re using. If you take the wrong bike or wrong wheels to the wrong terrain, you’re a lot more liable for a spill. Cycling is as much about exploring as it is about working out, so don’t be afraid to get out there. Just make sure that you’re prepared for the kind of terrain that you’re going to be coming up against. For example, use a mountain bike if you’re going mountain biking. Read up on adapting your suspension and wheels if you’re gravel cycling.  

We hope the tips above give you a safer experience out there on your bike. If you do get injured, don’t be afraid to act on it. So long as you share the road, others should as well.

 



…WHAT TO DO W/ WHAT IT DO: GORUCK Echo vs GORUCK Kids Ruck…

There are various bags that can be found on the GORUCK website. I know that the first question that is running through you mind is… “Why are these bags so darn expensive!??” and the next question may be…”If I decide to get a bag which bag should I get!?”.

Yes, I admit, these GORUCK bags are expensive.  BUT in reality let me break it down for you…

quality-over-quantity

You can pay $20-$50 for a bag at a typical store. BUT how long will it last you? You will in return burn through SEVERAL of those $20 – $50 bags (because I know I have!) and have to spend more money in the end.  OR You can spend a little more money on a good quality bag and NOT HAVE TO WORRY about the bag failing you.  GORUCK offers a “SCARS Lifetime Guarantee“.

What is SCARS?

It is a way for you to get your bag (and this warranty also applies to various other items that they sell on the site) repaired or replaced if you were to damage it. YES you heard me right… You can get the bag fixed or replaced IF YOU DAMAGE it.  This also applies for regular wear and tear that may occur when you use the bag. GORUCK takes pride in building gear that is made to last through your torturous workouts and training.  How many $20 bag companies offer that kind of warranty!? So is the extra money for a GORUCK bag worth it… YES! Hence why I personally bought a GORUCK bag.

I have had a few questions in regards to the GORUCK ECHO and the GORUCK Kids Ruck.

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As you can visually see, there is some similarity between the two bags BUT there are also a lot of things that are also different.

GORUCK ECHO

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This bag is VERY similar to the GR0, GR1, GR2, and Rucker. It is just a smaller version of those bags.  It has all of the same features at the GR0, GR1 and Rucker. This is a great bag for someone who is small/petite. Or is can be a good day bag and can store all of the things that you need. Yes this bag is the more expensive option (when looking at the Echo or Kids Ruck). BUT you are getting a lot of extra things.  You are getting the padded compartment for your laptap, the padded straps, the molle on the front, and the two internal pockets.  This bag also opens and can be laid down flat.  It also is heavier and thicker than the Kids Ruck. CHECK OUT THIS POST if you are looking for other Ruck options.

GORUCK Kids Ruck

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This ruck comes in various colors.  This ruck is a great day bag and bag for children of ANY age.  There is not a padded internal pocket, there are NOT two internal pockets, BUT it does have the external pocket and the padded straps. The added extra is that the one internal pocket does have Velcro on it so you can attach patches or anything else you would like.

I hope this post helps to answer any questions that someone may have had about these two bags. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

 



…Jennifer’s Journey: The Process…

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The process to actually be able to get surgery is incredibly long. I have been working with the weight loss center for almost an entire year before I was able to meet the surgeon and start to fill out the paperwork for the surgery. At the beginning I had meeting with the nurse practitioner as well as the nutritionist to go over the major changes that would be happening to me. I had to discuss why I wanted to get the surgery and what methods I have used in the past to help with weight loss.

My nutritionist guided me through creating a food repertoire that contained high protein low fat options. I was introduced to protein shakes, kale, and a host of other foods. While meeting with the nutritionist we really went over the fact that this is a lifestyle change. Not just a one time, diet or fad that you may try. I had to make sure that I would be committed to this for the REST OF MY LIFE. Not only did I have to change the way that I eat, but also the frequency as well as adding supplementary vitamins to my diet.

I went from doctor to doctor to get my vitals and insides checked out. They wanted to make sure that my liver was okay and that I would not have an issue with the anesthesia. I had a sleep study done to make sure that my sleep issues would not be a further complication to the surgery. My psych evaluation was done in order to make sure I was doing the surgery for the right reasons. They wanted to make sure that I knew the gravity of the surgery and that once again it was a lifelong change. The surgery was not something that I took lightly and it was not something that I just rushed into. I know that it would have a great impact on the rest of my life.

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The Surgery

My surgery was originally scheduled for the beginning of August, but they had an opening in their schedule and I was able to get in at the end of June. The day of the surgery I was nervous but excited. I had read everything that I could get my hands on about the surgery and hoped that I had prepared adequately. Some patients talk about a pre operation diet that they have to follow before they go into surgery. Because my surgery was with such short notice (literally 3 days) I did not go through the same “detox” process that a lot of other sleeve patients do.

I would not be able to drive after the surgery so my fiancé and I took an uber to the hospital. I was scheduled to be at the hospital at 8am. For those who know me personally, you know that I am never on time to anything. The uber driver decided to take his sweet, sweet time and the morning traffic did not help us at all. I did not make it to the hospital at my 8am check in, but lucky for me, doctors are always running behind so it did not matter much.

I was in the waiting room with my fiancé for a solid hour before I was called back in the pre operation holding area. Here, I had to change into the lovely hospital gown with compression socks and hairnet. I was supposed to take out every (all 13!) earring that I had as well as any jewelry or other valuable items. Luckily my fiancé, Jessica, was able to sit in the pre operation area with me up until the time of surgery. I had to get a lot of shots and an IV put in (it was the first time that the medical student who put my IV in had done an IV on a real person—Jess was not impressed) so they could more easily administer pain medicine and other fluids. I was introduced to the nurse who would be in surgery with me as well as the anesthesiologist. My main surgeon stopped by as well to say hi before I was wheeled out.

There was quite a back up in the operating room so my surgery was pushed back about an hour and a half. When it was finally time to go back into the OR it was like a scene in a movie. Jess walked with the nurses as they wheeled my bed to the operating room. She held my hand until we reached the doors that said “Authorized Personnel Only.” She gave my hand a squeeze and a kiss before saying goodbye. I was wheeled into the restricted area while Jess stood behind waving at me. (I know, it was literally just like a movie. I wonder if it was someone’s job one day to just sit and watch people go into the OR to get a sense of how loved ones reacted to the situation). Jess then went back to the waiting room to wait for my surgery to conclude. She is definitely a trooper and having a strong and dedicated support structure is CRUCIAL to being successful post surgery.

Once I was in the operation room I once again spoke with the friendly nurse that I had met in the pre operations area that talked me through what was going to happen. It was also her job to make sure that I was fully prepped for the surgery. They gave me some medicine for anxiety and that is the last thing that I remember. Next thing you know, I am opening my eyes and I am lying in the bed in waiting to be moved to a room. I was in the post operation area for hours (literally like three hours) before I was finally assigned to a room. I was wheeled over and got to see Jessica for the first time since surgery. I was still pretty groggy and I could begin to feel the pain in my lower abdomen. At that time all I wanted to do was sleep.

Behind the Scenes

During the gastric sleeve, 80% of your stomach is removed in order to restrict the amount of food and drink that your body can accommodate. The stomach goes from being the size of a fist (which can expand up to 40 times in size) to a small banana. When your stomach is removed, the hormone ghrelin is removed as well. Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone.” It is what tells your body that you are hungry and that it is time to eat. With the removal of this hormone you diminish the cravings for food and your body does not get hungry like it used to.

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The surgeon makes six incisions across your abdomen in order to access the stomach. After your stomach is cut to size, it is stapled back together. The doctors double and triple check to make sure that there are no leaks in the stomach, as that would cause many further complications down the line. The stomach is pumped full of CO2 to make sure that it is airtight and it is filled with liquid to make sure there is no drainage. Once that is complete, the surgeons sew you back together and off to recovery you go.

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The typical stay in the hospital is one night after surgery to make sure that there are no leaks and that you are able to tolerate liquids. With your stomach (or pouch as many people so affectionately call it) being so small, it is easy to not intake the required ounces of water that is necessary for full recovery. The stomach is so small that you can only have about 1-2 ounces of food or drink at a time. It is highly discouraged to eat and drink at the same time because the liquids push the food through the pouch too quickly. Your body does not have enough time to absorb the nutrients from the food.

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Every surgery comes with risks, but the sleeve is liked by surgeons and patients because of the relatively low risks and the quick recovery period. I was surprised at how quickly the pain in general went away after the surgery and how independent I was able to be in the hospital as I was trying to recover enough to go home.

Check in next week to hear about my time in the hospital, the infamous Nurse Jackie, and things that I was totally unprepared for after the surgery.



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