Hiking and Filming: How to Turn Your Hiking Trail Snapshots into a Polished Movi

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If you’re going on a hiking trip, one of the most important pieces of equipment you should consider packing is a high-quality camera. If this is a trail you normally don’t hike, or you’re on a vacation, then getting as much footage as possible will help make it a memorable moment. Here’s what you need to know and do.

Take a Camera That You’re Willing To Carry With You

It should be obvious, but make sure you’re bringing a camera that you will actually use. It does you no good to bring along something that sits in your camera bag the whole time. Sometimes, that means bringing a smaller or less capable camera if only to ensure that it’s around your neck when the perfect shot comes along.

Know Your Shooting Goals

Don’t go into a hiking trip without some goals. If there’s a particular shot you absolutely want to have, like the sunrise over the mountains, or a good rain shot during a downpour, then try to plan it out as best you can. Sunrise shots are pretty predictable, since we know exactly when the sun will rise in the morning. Some shots, like a rain shot, aren’t as predictable. Be flexible but also have firm goals of your ideal shots.

Check The Gear Before Leaving

Check your gear before leaving the house. This is a good idea for two reasons. First, you don’t want to leave without something important. Secondly, you don’t want to leave with damaged equipment.

Dress For The Weather

If you know you’ll be shooting in the arctic, the dress should be obvious. But, what if you’re going to northern California for a week? It might rain. It might be sunny. Plan on a variety of temperatures and conditions by packing different sets of clothing – layers that you can wear to accommodate a multitude of situations.

Decide On Equipment and Gear

Decide on what you will take, and what you will leave. For example, do you need a tripod? Will you need a wide-angle lens? Remember that anything you pack with you is something you’ll need to carry around with you unless you are carrying gear for a specific shot.

Shoot In The Now

Shoot everything that seems mildly interesting. You can sort out the bad shots later. What might not seem interesting right now might turn out to be an amazing shot later after editing.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Keep your eyes out for opportunities. Sometimes a shot that isn’t all that great from the front is amazing from the back.

Keep Your Camera At The Ready

Your camera needs to be on you at all times so that you’re ready to take a photo. This can be somewhat challenging, but one way to accomplish this is to use a lanyard. Another way is to use a neck strap that’s comfortable so that you hardly notice the camera is there until you need it.

Edit and Sharing Tips

Editing is best done with professional video and photo editors. But, at the same time, you may not have all the pro apps you need. If you’re shooting video with your smartphone, apps like Filmic Pro can get you most of the way there for video. Typic +, Rhonna, and Photogene all work well for photos.

If you’re using a good digital camera, you might be able to get by with Movie Maker or iMovie. Otherwise, dig out your copy of Final Cut X or Adobe Premier. For photos, GIMP and Paint.net are outstanding.

A note on file sharing: If you’re going to do the file sharing thing with your hiking pictures, you’ve got a couple of options. The king of P2P clients is  www.Vuze.com. Its software is easy to use and fully featured.

If you want to share on social sites, YouTube is OK, but Vimeo is probably going to give you a more professional look (and no ads).

Finally, you can always upload everything to your own personal blog and just hand out the link to everyone you know.

Robert McDermott loves traveling with a camera at his side. After years of recording his adventures, he enjoys blogging about creating and sharing unique memories away from home.






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…Being True To You!…

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Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.

 

As with many things, most people like to get in the habit of doing things for a small period of time and then reverting back to their natural ways. This can be associated with health trends or any other goals that people may set as their resolution(s).

What are some typical goals?

  • get fit
  • save money
  • drink less
  • eat healthier
  • learn something new
  • and the list goes on…

Why not set some of these goals as lifelong goals that you can adapt as apart of your everyday lifestyle?

A goal that you set should be something that can be obtainable.  For example,  say that you want to lose 5 lbs.  Yes, losing 5 lbs is a great goal BUT why not also try to get in the habit of eating healthy and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Losing 5 lbs should be a short term goals.  The long term goal is to lose 5 lbs and KEEP those 5lbs from coming back.  That will require you to create a lifestyle that will allow you to lose the weight as well as keep it off.  In the mean time you may be able to lose more than the 5lbs that you wanted to lose!

I teach my clients to look at the big picture.  Yes, small goals are great BUT what are those small goals leading to? Create big goals that you can slowly work towards.  Those big goals should allow you to create the building blocks to reach your small goals and also accomplish your main goal.

Best advice: be realistic! I feel that a lot of people want to achieve their goals in a small amount of time.  Or, they have a lot going on which allows them to easily get distracted from wanting to obtain their goals.  Yes, you can indeed lose all the weight you would like BUT the time frame is what can be a hard thing to solidify.  It may take you longer and you may lose it sooner than you anticipate.  Regardless do not get discouraged and keep your eyes set on the big picture and your main goal.  TO BECOME HEALTHY, FIT, AND HAPPY!






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…Summer Champagne Cocktails…

Ok… Lets be realistic. The sun is coming out which means the summer cocktails are going to come out. I feel that with my clients their biggest battle is figuring out how to balance living a healthy lifestyle with a FUN lifestyle.  I am not saying that you have to give up ALL things to reach your health and fitness goals.  BUT MODERATION IS KEY!

So yes…if you have been working your butt off for weeks and you have your gals coming over for a girls night, enjoy one or two drinks.  The best suggestions is to always stick with low sugar options.  Red wine carries a great nutritional profile and some are even low in sugar and carbs. Do your research and see what nutritional values are in the drinks you want to consume.  In the mean time… here is a guest post providing some delicious options for you and your friends to try!

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Impress your guests with champagne cocktails

In a circle of adults no important celebration is complete without champagne. In our minds it is associated with memorable moments of life. But don’t feel afraid to mix up your next soiree with some elegant champagne cocktails.

Champagne cocktails were served traditionally as an aperitif before a festive dinner, though you can serve them any time. So to get you started, we have prepared for you some of the most accessible recipes that we believe are the best.

General tips:

  • champagne in cocktails should not be shaken (it foams strongly), if necessary, it should only be slowly stirred with a spoon;
  • before preparation all the ingredients and the glass should be cooled down;
  • use only big glasses capacity of which is 20-30% higher than the total volume of all added components;
  • It might sound obvious, but the higher the quality of the champagne, the tastier the cocktail will be

Lemon Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 100 ml of dry or semi-dry champagne
  • 20ml of lemon juice
  • 1 piece of sugar
  • a slice of lemon
  • ice

Preparation:

In the glass on a thin stem put a piece of sugar, pour the lemon juice, pour champagne on top, put an ice-cube and decorate with lemon.

 

Champagne ice

Ingredients:

  • champagne (brut or dry, e.g. Lanson Champagne) – 50 ml;
  • ice cream (white) – 100 grams;
  • strawberry – 50 grams;
  • mint – 2-3 leaves.

Preparation:

Slice strawberries in big pieces and finely chop mint. Mix strawberry, ice cream and mint in a glass. Pour in the champagne.

Drink cocktail through a straw. Remains of strawberries can be eaten with a spoon.

Champagne with ice cream and strawberries is usually served for dessert.

 

AMERICAN GLORY I

Ingredients:

  • 20 ml of pomegranate syrup Grenadine;
  • 40 ml of orange juice;
  • 10 ml of lemon juice;
  • Any champagne on offer;
  • For decoration: 1 slice of orange.

Preparation:

Mix grenadine syrup, orange and lemon juices in a glass for champagne by one-third filled with crushed ice. Top up with champagne. Decorate the edge of the glass with a slice of orange.

 

Martini Royale

Ingredients:

  • 75ml of white vermouth;
  • 75 ml of dry sparkling wine;
  • Lime – 30grams;
  • Sprig of mint;
  • Ice cubes – 160 g

Preparation:

Fill a wine glass with ice cubes till top. Pour in white vermouth and dry sparkling wine. Squeeze a quarter of lime there and gently stir with a cocktail spoon. Decorate the glass with a slice of lime and sprig of mint.

 

Sparkling Strawberry Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 4-10 strawberries;
  • 1 apple;
  • 1/2 of lemon;
  • 1 lime;
  • 1 cinnamon stick;
  • 2-6 leaves of mint;
  • 50 grams of sugar (preferably yellow cane);
  • 1 bottle of champagne (Brut or Asti) very chilled.

Preparation:

Slice strawberries into 4 pieces and the rest of the fruit cut into cubes. Add mint, cinnamon, sugar and put the mix in refrigerator for several hours until the sugar dissolves and forms a “syrup” on the bottom of the bowl. Add the champagne 30 minutes before serving. Everything should be very well mixed and put back in the fridge. The drink should be served very chilled!!! (Depending on the season, strawberries can be replaced with peaches (peeled beforehand) or you can add some wild berries (blackberries) which with give the drink very beautiful shade.

Bon Appetit!

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… Cooking on a Budget:Meal Prep for the Month…

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When it comes to eating healthy you do NOT have to break your budget. I have managed to budget my grocery bill to make sure that I have enough food to keep me on track with my health and fitness goals.

Each month I will try to vary my menu so I am not eating the same things over and over again.  You have to find affordable ways to stay creative BUT also keep you from going outside of the foods that will keep me on track with my health goals.

For my meal prep, I typically pick one day and set aside a few hours to cook as much food as I can in the time that I have.  I live a busy lifestyle.  Any chance I have to cook food I will! The plus side to this is that you can freeze anything that you cook and it will last you for weeks!

One thing that I like to do is do a quick browse of the local grocery stores weekly ads.  I do not classify myself as an extreme couponer.  But, I do consider myself an opportunist to take advantage of any deal that I am able find.  Wal-Mart AND Target have a policy to match the price of any competitors within 90 miles (click on HERE or HERE to read their policy).  This is good because this allows you to price match fruit, meats, veggies, and other foods.  THERE IS ALWAYS A SALE ON THESE ITEMS! You just have to look! Seriously, I do not spend hours doing this.  It really takes me about 15-30 minutes. I will make a grocery list and skim through the local ads to see which items on my list are on sale.  I will always book mark the ad on my phone or print it off to take with me to the store.  Like I said, It takes some planning and very little time.

I will always look at local grocery stores or markets to see what deals that they are having. In Norther Missouri there are stores such as Prenger, Shop-Ko, Country Mart, Safeway, Dahl’s, Fareway Supermarket, Schnucks, Shop-N-Save, Hy-Vee, and many others.  These are the main stores that I look at (in Columbia, Missouri there is also Patricia’s, Moser’s, Gerbes, and a few others).

Here is quick example of that my daily menu will look like: (***NOTE this menu varies! This is just an in general example of what I would eat.  I do not usually eat all of the same things each day. This was something I created to help give you an idea of how I make my grocery list)

Breakfast:

  • protein pancakes (Recipe can be found HERE) or some other source of protein (eggs, meat, etc)
  • Oatmeal
  • Berries (such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.)

Snack

  • Protein bar or protein shake (or another source of protein)
  • Rice cake
  • Peanut butter

Lunch

  • Chicken (or turkey)
  • steamed veggies (or salad)
  • rice or sweet potato (or whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortilla/pita, or small serving or whole wheat pasta)

Snack

  • Protein bar or protein shake (or another source of protein)
  • berries/small fruit (another small source of carbs)

Dinner

  • Chicken (or turkey) (or another source of protein)
  • steamed veggies (or salad)
  • rice or sweet potato (or whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortilla/pita, or small serving or whole wheat pasta)

After I create my menu I will then create my shopping list. So here is an example of my shopping list for the month of March:

  • Three packs of raw chicken breast
  • Two packs of lean turkey patties
  • Two packs of lean turkey tenderloin
  • Old fashion oats
  • Green spinach leaves (salad)
  • Uncle Ben’s brown rice
  • Quaker Rice Cakes
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Blueberries and/or Strawberries
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Green Giant frozen vegetables
  • Egg whites
  • Sweet potatoes

Total Cost of the above grocery list = ABOUT $100.00… Here is how I did that…

Here is a breakdown of the prices associated with my shopping list:

  • Price matched chicken breast: $0.99/lb = Total price = $15.00 (15 lbs of chicken)
  • chicken
  • Berries = $0.99 a canister = Total Price = $2.00
  • Turkey Patties and tenderloin = $3.00 a package = Total Price = $12.00
    • *** NOTE: When I find a GOOD sale on items like turkey I will purchase more than I need and freeze them! These kind of things are not on sale often.  I did purchase a deep freezer and stock up on things like turkey when I get them on sale!! You can also find them on sale at Sam’s club and Costco.  I have found some great deals there on meat.
  • Old Fashion Oats = $2.48 = Total Cost = $2.48
    • ***Note I do not find these on sale often.  But, a whole tub will last me LONGER than a month.  I eat 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of oats with breakfast so I do not use a lot of it.

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oatmeal

 

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  • Vegetables = These prices will vary depending on the season. I also try to use the local farmers market which also cuts back TREMENDOUSLY on my fresh produce bill.  I can get a huge bag of lettuce for a few dollars.  But typically I can get a back for $1.50-$2.00.  Total Cost = $1.50
    • Some items I will get once a week or when I run out. Fresh items do not last the full month so those are things I will still budget for but will not get them all at once.

Salad

  • Uncle Ben’s Rice = $1.98 = Total Cost = $1.98
    • This box will last me a LONG time.  I will make a nice size pot of rice and it will last me for a week or so.  It just depends on how much I decide to have with my meals. These you can also find on sale but it is not very often.  So, if you do find it on sale grab a few boxes!

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  • Frozen Vegetables vs Fresh Vegetables = Total Cost = $16.00 (enough for a few weeks worth of meals)
    • I typically will get frozen veggies.  They last longer, can be cheaper (depending on the time of year), and take less time when doing meal prep. I will just open up a pack of frozen veggies and separate 1 cup to 1 1/2 cup of veggies into my Tupperware with my meal.
    • Some sales I will take advantage of. Like with meat, sometimes there is a GOOD deal on veggies and I will get enough for the month.  Typically you can can the small box of steamers for about $1.00 a box/bag.  That is when I usually stock up.  If not, I will get the bigger bags (which can also be a good deal) and those will separate out to be about two-three meals per bag.

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veggies

 

Extra Information:

If I see other items that I like and are on sale I will get them.  This is usually more of an impulse if this is fruit and veggies.  I do not stock up and hoard products.  Like I said, I will get enough to last me the month or possibly the next month.

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The things that I will usually buy several units of (when I find them on sale) are things like rice cakes, rice, ingredients to make future recipes for meals (like chili or casserole), oatmeal, protein bars, and meat.

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Peanut Butter is another great item you can also sometimes find on sale.  I find it best when it is on sale for $2.50 each (or typically 2 for $5).  I will usually stock up on peanut butter (purchasing 4 jars) when I do find it on sale.

 

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Like I said, it is very do-able to keep your budget to a minimum when trying to do your monthly shopping.  Yes it may take you a second to sit down and actually plan things out BUT it will save you money in the end.  I will go to the store when I need more fresh produce.  Other than that, I will try not to go because of the temptation to impulse shop. If I find a recipe that I want to cook, I will again create my list and try to price match to help save me money.

Last year I sat down and calculated how much money I saved via price matching…I saved OVER $400 by just planning out my meals and matching prices.  Every cent that you save adds up! What would you do with an extra $400 in your pocket?

Here is another good thing to invest in…a good set of Tupperware!

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When I cook all of my food the next key step is separating out the correct portions.

I will use two different methods: Tupperware and zip lock baggies (those are easier to travel with. They take up less space in my cooker and I can just throw them away rather than having to hold on to them while traveling).

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Depending on your dietary needs you will need to determine how much you should portion out into your containers.  It is typically 4-6 oz of protein, one serving of carbs, and one-two servings of vegetables.  You have to determine how much you need to eat to help you reach your fitness goals.  The key is to make sure that you are eating enough to keep you feeling satisfied and refueled to get you through your day (and your workouts).

Accomplishing this can take sort of planning. Do not over think this, set some time and slowly work on it.   If you sit down and take a few minutes this will come more natural and will still save you some money and allow you to stay on track with your healthy eating and your fitness goals.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask! I would love to help guide you in any way. For those who need more guidance I also offer distance/online training. Feel free to email me for more details: infinitelifefitness@gmail.com






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…Wonderful Health Benefits of Red Wine…

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When you read the words alcoholic beverage, what usually pops in your head? For most people, these drinks already have a negative perception. They think that nothing good will come out from drinking these “vile things.” However, what they do not know is that some beverages can be healthy and beneficial, even if they have alcoholic content.

One of which is a bottle of red wine. Aside from being a great complementary drink to a lot of dishes, this liquor can strengthen your heart and prevent you from incurring fatal diseases. In addition, it can actually help you lose weight when properly added to your diet. If these reasons aren’t enough to change your mind, check out the short post below and discover the wonderful benefits of drinking red wine.

  1. Reduces your Cholesterol Levels

Liquors that are mad from Tempranillo red grapes can significantly reduce the cholesterol count in your body. That is because this special fruit is high in fiber.

  1. Beneficial for Your Heart

This alcoholic drink is packed with resveratrol – a very powerful antioxidant. This substance can defend your arteries from the bad side effects of saturated fat. By just drinking one or two glasses on a daily basis, you will be able to maintain a healthy heart and veer away from any cardiovascular problems.

In addition, red wine is also rich in flavonoids and sapponins that can add further protection to your cardiovascular system. It can increase the production of good cholesterol in the body, and it will prevent any blood clots from occurring. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t depend entirely on red wine. Of course, exercise and proper diet is still important if you want to be fit and strong.

  1. Regulates Blood Sugar

Wines that are made from the skin of red grapes are beneficial for people who are suffering from diabetes. These fruits have a rich amount of resveratrol that is effective at regulating blood sugar. Red wine can also promote insulin secretion.

  1. Brain Booster

Aside from keeping the heart healthy, the resveratrol found in red wine can also maintain the sharpness of your brain. It can reduce the production of beta-amyloid – a type of protein that can cause Alzheimer’s disease. In order to retain your good memory, it is highly recommended that you play puzzles or other brain games for at least one hour, and then sip a glass of red wine afterwards.

Can you share other fun facts about red wine? If so, visit the discussion in the comments section!






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…Guest Post: Women Who Workout: What You Need in Your Gym Bag…

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People who build muscle and shed pounds at the gym grow accustomed to being flexible with workouts and adjusting their routines.  When you workout you get stronger, feel better, and can get to enjoy a slimmer waist and smaller dress sizes. Bringing the right items along to the can make all the difference when it comes to developing and sticking to a good routine.

Folding Cup

Great for work, vacations, and whenever in need of a clean receptacle to hold water, folding cups fit conveniently in any gym bag and enable goers to avoid drinking straight from fountains.  Whether germ-a-phobic or just precautious, those who have a folding cup catch a fresh drink of water whenever without worrying about germs, lack of supplied cups, etc.

Hit List

Music is powerful enough to remind listeners of the past, motivate sports competitors to win, and drive gym goers to work harder at shedding pounds and improving muscle tone.  Generations of the past dealt with clunky Walk-Man cassette players.  Today, mini iPods and other sound devices hold thousands of songs and provide hours of listening enjoyment.  However, it’s annoying to choose tracks suitable for working out while at the gym.  A premeditated hit list ensures each workout is accompanied by a motivating rhythm and beat.

Cleaning Cloths

When you workout you look and feel sexier, but you may feel a bit stinky and sweaty immediately afterward.  Cleaning cloths are handy for ridding your skin of lingering sweat residue and any odors, so whether you need to collect the kids at school, return to work, or prepare for a business meeting, you won’t have to be nervous about offensive odors or perspiration.  If you are allergy prone, you may want to avoid cleaning products that contain alcohol or certain other chemicals.

Energy Snack

In time, working out invigorates the body and provides gym goers with added energy, but it’s common to feel tired after spending time burning calories and breaking down muscle.  A quick energy-filled snack, such as a shake, bar, or sandwich, replenishes the body, reenergizes and rebuilds muscle.  Speak with trainers, conduct online research, or find snacks offered at gym stores and front desk stations.  Check the calorie count despite ‘healthy’ ingredients.  For example, granola is a healthy snack but rich in calories.

Small Mirror

Most gym interiors have walls of mirrors so you view your form and the forms of other members.  However, these mirrors may not be the best for checking for food between teeth, hairs out of place or smudged makeup.  A small mirror fits nicely into a small bag and provides added assurance that you look their your best while working on a better body.  Get more information about body improvement and alteration at KRPlasticSurgery.com.

Those who find time for the gym aside from work, children, spouses, and a social life improve their lives.  However, those who take the time to bring along a few handy items have found a better routine.

Dr. Kevin Ruhge is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, he hopes to help people live better lives by sharing his insights and experiences online.






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… RUN FOREST…RUN!…

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In 2015 what is it that you want to accomplish?

C’mon…think realistically.

Yes, everyone wants to do the cliche “Lose weight”… “Eat healthy”…”Be more active”. Those are all great goals! But…I challenge you to be more specific.

I am not saying that you have to run a marathon.  Or complete a Tough Mudder.  But, what is it that you REALLY want to do?

I saw this question on a friends facebook status and it evoked a lot of thoughts and questions that I started to ask myself. In 2014 I accomplished every physical goal that I set for myself.  So now what do I strive for in 2015?

Losing weight

This is always a sensitive subject for me and for the clients that I work with. I try to challenge all of my clients to STOP weighing themselves.  YES STOP IT! So many people let the numbers on the scale define who they are or the type of progress they are making.  The number on the scale is NOT a true indication of your success.  There are so many other things that you can monitor and track that are more beneficial and more accurate.  Things like the inches you are losing around your waist…or your body fat percentage.  We have to recondition our minds to think of other variables as valuable tools to help us track our progress.

Setting realistic goals

I challenge all of my clients to find something to work towards.  Something that is not a number that can be traced by a scale.  Some people pick a local 5k, an obstacle race, or some other endurance event.  Some people pick things such as wanting to be able to lift a certain amount of weight, being able to jump a certain height, or being able to sustain a certain exercise for a length of time.  These are all great REALISTIC goals.  You have to find something that you want to do and something that you can continue to work towards.

Lifestyle change

Reaching your goals is about making a lifestyle change.  It is not about a 30….60….90 day challenge that you can accomplish and then go back to your old habits.  Working towards your goals should allow you to understand and adopt healthier habits that you can carry with you even after you create your goal.  These habits include things such as learning what types of meal options to pick from when you go out to eat, what types of food to purchase and keep around the house (especially when you have a sweet tooth), setting a routine that will allow you stay active.  You have to adopt a new lifestyle to reach your goals and to continue to move past them.  Nothing makes my heart cry unless I have a client that works so hard for a month or so and then they revert back to their old habits and lose all of the progress that they made.  Just because you reach your goals does not mean you stop.  KEEP GOING! Set new goals and keep crushing them! It is about consistency and moving forward.

Rewards

This is my FAVORITE part about setting goals.  Setting a reward to have when you reach those goals. Some people do not like the idea of rewarding your efforts to reach your goal. But, I do!  Why not allow yourself something you have wanted after you work 30…60…90 days towards a goal.  I actually use my fitness goals as a way to build towards my savings goal.  Each week I will also set aside a certain amount of money (you can read about it HERE).  Set aside money while you work towards your goals. When you reach your goals, you will have money to use towards your reward.  So it is a win-win situation!

Getting healthy and fit is not something that will happen over night.  You will have times where you will want to relax and not workout.  There will be days you will want to indulge in some food that is not apart of your healthy eating plan. The struggle will be to keep fighting on the days that you are wanting to give up.  The struggle will be sacrificing happy hour with your friends with time in the gym.  You do not have to give up everything but, you will have to find a balance.  Yes, YOU CAN DO IT!






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…Product Review: AvalancheProtien Bar…

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Over the past few months, I have been able to come across so many new and interesting protein bars. For those of us who have busy lifestyles, it is sometimes helpful to have quick and healthy snack and meal options to have handy to help keep us on track with our health and fitness goals.

Today I would like to talk about another protein bar that is on my favorite list.  I had the pleasure of getting to try these bars for a review to share with all of you. Avalanche protein bars is a delicious, natural and nutritious protein bar that can be enjoyed by you (or any member of your family).  Avalanche nut free protein bars contain healthy ingredients: rolled oats, toasted sunflower kernels, flax seed, dried fruit, whey protein, and honey.  These bars are classified as protein bars BUT they are without tree nuts or peanuts.  So this is a great bar for those who may have a nut allergy.

Overall Comments:

I was very surprised at the flavor of these bars.  I will not lie, when I first looked at these bars I did not have a lot of expectations.  They look like typical bars that “your friends make on a Saturday night when they were bored”.  But the flavor…is something I know that me nor my friends can imitate. Blueberry vanilla was by far my favorite bar from this company.  It was packed with amazing flavor.  Not too sweet and very filling. Cranberry Pineapple came in a close 2nd place, and Caramel Espresso was in 3rd place. All of the bars were delicious but the three that I listed were my top flavors.

The only negative thing I have to say about these bars is that they do not have as much protein as I would like.  The bars have about 10 g of protein and about 35+ g of carbs.  This is not terrible but I do with that there was more protein in these bars. There is about 10+ g of fat, which is not bad but still a little higher than I would like.  If you track your own macronutriens, you will have to make sure to account for these values when planning your meals for the day.

Quality for price:

You can purchase these bars for $2.50 a bar or $14 for a box  of 6 bars.  This price for the quality of protein bar is very comparable to other bars that are on the market.  Most bars that I regularly purchase range in price from $1.75 to $3.00.  This is a great price for the size (82g) protein bar.

Smell/Taste:

Like stated previously, the taste of these bars was pretty amazing.  It was full of flavor.  They did not leave a stale or undesirable after taste.  They were not overly sweet.  They provided enough flavor to leave you satisfied once you were done consuming the bar.

Ranking Scale: (on a scale from 1-5)

Price: 4.3

Overall Taste: 4.0

Quality for Price: 4.5

Overall Ranking: 4.3

If you are looking for a great bar to add to your health plan, this is a great option.  Great price, great taste, and well worth every penny you spend.  I would have to say I am a big fan of this bar and look forward to purchasing more!






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…Non-Fitness Challenge: 52 week Money saving challenge…

52weekSaveMoneyChallenge2014 for me was filled with trips to 9 different states, great memories with new friends, and a strict budget that allowed me to do all of those things.

When I decided I wanted to travel more extensively, I had to come up with a plan to ensure that I would be able to do all of the things that I wanted to do.  With a bulk of my trips being towards the end of the year it only made sense for me to start planning financially at the start of the years (this time of year to be exact).

I highly suggest something like this for those of you who always think or say “I just do not have enough money to go on a trip”. Or…”I would really love to go to…”.  I feel that saving up for a trip is always the hardest part.  We get so caught up in the things that we have to pay for (such as bills and living essentials) that we forget to plan fun things to do outside of our normal routine. We also get caught up in the things that we want to buy (like shoes…clothes…etc.).  Creating a budget and sticking with it can allow you to still enjoy the things that you need and want.  It also lets you plan for things such as vacations.  You can even create this type of savings jar to save up for something big that you want (like a down payment for a new car or new TV for your home).  You have to create a plan! That is the key.

What I did was I got a BIG jar.  I found this big mason jar at a 2nd hand store for $5.  I then printed this following image that I found on the internet:

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And once I had these two items, I just started saving.  I would actually try to follow the chart BUT I would also put MORE money in the jar if I had it.  I would find that each week I would clean out my purse with the extra change and loose dollars that I had collected. Each week I would add the suggested amount and then cross it off of the list. To ensure that I did not get tempted to use this money (and to keep it out of sight just in case I had guest over) I placed the jar in the BACK of my closet.  Each week I would just reach in, open the lid, and drop the money in.  I would not even look to see how much was collected.

I knew that the bulk of my trips were at the end of the year so I tried to add extra earlier in this process because as the year progresses you are supposed to add more money each week.  Some weeks I was not able to add the full $50 or $40.  But, since I knew I had added an extra $10…$15 earlier in the year it offset the weeks that I was not able to put the full amount in.

Here is the end result of my savings jar…

48weektotal

After only being able to save for 48 weeks, when I went to the bank to cash my jar in I was happily surprised to find $1,091 saved up.

I was able use this saved money to help pay for things while I was on my trips.  I was able to enjoy being in the new cities, eating good meals, visiting amazing monuments and just doing what I wanted without the worry of not being able to afford it.  I even had money left over after my trips that I was able to use some of the saved money for traveling home for Christmas and to use for Christmas gift.

Saving a little each week can yield a nice sum of money for you to use when you need it. It is never too late to start something like this! I have already started adding a new collection of coins and cash in my jar for big trips that I hope to have at the end of this year.

If you want to do something bad enough you will do what it takes to make it happen.  Even if it takes a little time, you can always accomplish and do ANYTHING that you want.  It just takes time, persistence, and patience!






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…5 Minute Squat Challenge…

I saw this challenge by one of my favorite fitness gurus CT Fletcher.

He challenged people to put some weight on…and just squat….for 5 minutes…. NON STOP!

TALK.ABAOUT.A.BURN!!!!

I of course wanted to do my squat challenge with a twist.  I added some weight to my ruck sack and started squatting. Let me tell you…when I was done, I had to sit down and relax for a few minutes before I could stand up again.  I felt a deep and throbbing burn minutes event after I was done with the squats.

Let me break it down for you…

SQUATS:

There are various ways to perform a squat.  You can do a front squat, regular back squat, sumo squat, pistol squat, siff squat, dumbbell squat, plate squat, goblet squats, squat jumps, any many more.

The benefits to squatting and produce chiseled and nicely sculpted legs and glutes (also known as your BUTT!).  When you squat (or lift weights in general) your body will release hormones that will aid in muscle growth. The hormones are then circulated through your body which can then lead to the building and development of other parts of your body.  So in an essence, squatting promotes a full body workout if done correctly.  Squatting can help to also promote core strength via strengthening your core and back. It can also help to improve your balance, along with various other benefits.

Squatting is a great exercise for you to incorporate into your weight lifting routine.  BUT BE CAUTIOUS! You would want to seek the guidance of a health care professional when attempting to do this.  You do not want to improperly do these exercises as it can result in injuries.

So this is what I challenge YOU to do.

Ruck up…and SQUAT! Squat steady, slow, and deep for 5 straight minutes.  See how well you are able to maintain your composure throughout this 5 minute exercise.  I would suggest doing this at the end of your scheduled leg day lifting routine.  Trust me…






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