Reviews

A Upcoming Visit to Memphis

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St Judes Hospital I have some exciting news to share. Yesterday evening I invited to be a special guest for a St. Jude Blogger Tour – an exciting and educational three-day experience in Memphis, Tennessee this coming August where I will visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, tour the facilities and witness first-hand the holistic care doctors, researchers and staff provide to their patients.

I am beyond honored and speechless to be offered an opportunity like this which includes learning more about how St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. They are also generously covering my expenses for the trip! I have confirmed my availability and am waiting for additional information about this three day event.

I have been blogging regularly for over 8 years now, focusing on health, wellness and family inspired by my husband’s experience with colon cancer. I started blogging to keep people in our lives up to date on Scotty’s progress and treatment and during that time I found a passion for living healthy and fit. Live Fit and Sore was born out of that original blog and I haven’t looked back. I share the info and experiences to help others find support and motivation to make changes in their own lives, but more importantly, to keep myself focused on health and wellness.  It’s a passion of mine and it has introduced me to the most amazing people and has brought me opportunities that I could not have even imagined.

I have no idea what to expect but I have always respected the St Jude’s Organization and am so beyond touched to be invited. I will share the details of my trip when they are confirmed.

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I'm on my Way

Focus and Doing the Work Equals Success

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Steph HoaglundI didn’t see any weight loss this past week, but I also didn’t see any weight gain – so it’s still a win. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t bother me though. I have been on point, eating well, no crap snacking and exercising as usual. You would think my body would step to it and show results. Although in fairness, I am about to hit that monthly time, so it could be the cause of the lack of results this past week. I’m going to go with that and see what next week’s weigh in produces. My clothes are looser and I have had more than one person mention that I am looking leaner -so I am going to try my best to focus on those positives. It’s not easy though. I want proof!!!

I’ve been doing a lot of exercises to open up my shoulders and chest during strength training. Not only is my posture less than stellar in general, I also tend to pull in during boxing as well. I’m becoming more excited each workout to see the changes happening to my arms. shoulders and back.

I’ve also been mixing things up too. Solidcore has opened in Ashburn, so I bought their opening rate special and will be adding that to my weekly schedule one day a week. With boxing and Body by Wayne training — it’s a pretty well rounded fitness routine that includes Core, Strength and Cardio Work. With two rest days each week –which I know I get asked about constantly. Working out is my stress releaser – it’s hard to take rest days but I schedule them just like other stuff.

Solidcore Ashburn

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Work Hard Quote

The Eat More Protein Diet Plan

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Tulips  - live fit and soreI’m down another 2 pounds this week. Which means I’m down 6 pounds in 3 weeks. Seems adding more protein, cutting out the majority of processed crap/extra snacking, and being focused –  in addition to appreciating how much better I am feeling..mentally and physically has made all the difference. Funny how the old fashioned/no gimmick way works if you commit (which is the hardest part).

Slow and steady — is the name of the game; 1-2 pounds a week.

The other thing I have noticed, besides feeling better and my pants aren’t cutting off my breathing is my face looks less puffy. It’s one of those subtle things that most people don’t even notice but I do. I had been eating gluten and dairy at least once a week regularly for months, and it was causing inflammation and puffiness. I am starting to see that go away now that I am 3+ weeks into re-energizing.

So-am I doing anything mind blowing or off the charts to see progress? Nope.

First, my mind is right. I am all aboard on this — committed and focused and present.

Second, seeing progress and hearing about my progress from my support system around me.  I try to surround myself with uplifting, awesome and like-minded people who give me props and understand the importance of lifting one another up- so we can all win.

Finally, I am making sure that when I go to eat – my first thought is what am I going to eat with protein. I am so used to eating more carbs – no matter the form – that I have to really make an effort to include a protein source each time I eat.  I have not been eating enough protein overall. And even though it’s only six pounds, I have had a lot of comments about how much leaner and cut I am looking. I haven’t changed up my fitness routine all that much, but I am considered very active – so I definitely need more protein.

I have been using an organic veggie protein powder that I mix in my Ninja blender with almond milk and ice to get more protein. I also have been adding in phliosophie -superfood a really great tasting and healthy super food/protein blend powder to give it an extra boost. The blends are made by a small company: Philosophie. I read about the founder Sophie and her products via an article a while back. Here’s the description from the website…

Each of the Philosophie Superfood + Protein Blends is vegan, raw, gluten-free, and has absolutely no filler ingredients. The detoxifying Green Dream blend, beautifying Berry Bliss blend, and energizing Cacao Magic blend contain nothing but the purest, most healing ingredients that have been deemed “superfoods” due to their exceptional nutrient density. Because these blends can be added to absolutely any food, it is easy to enrich every meal with the amazing health benefits of the world’s most potent superfoods. When the body receives optimal nourishment from these wholesome, plant-based sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, it more readily releases unneeded material and toxins, leaving you feeling renewed and vibrantly healthy.

I have tried all three blends and like them all – although the Cacao Magic is my favorite because CHOCOLATE.  I also read a pretty good review/comparison of another super food blend that shares my same views about Philosophie:  Smoothie Food Fight: D’Vida vs. Philosophie.

So, there you have it – I’m sure you can sense my energy and excitement as I get closer to my goal — and I gotta be honest, it feels so good to be excited about it again.

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Slay Dragons

Personalized Health: Helping us Live Better Lives

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This is a guest post by By Matt Riemann, ph360 founder and entrepreneur, who is introducing what I think will be a cool, virtual health assistant, called Shae™. The product will be available soon. Find out more here. Although I don’t accept many of the guest post requests I receive, the ones I do post are those that I personally find interesting and are relevant to my health and wellness philosophy.  Please note: I have not personally tried the ph360 product, but I do have a real interest in personalized health care and wellness and am excited to learn about the up and coming technology that we will use to live better, healthier lives. The product ph360 is currently working on is part of an exciting trend of developing cool technology to help us live better and be smarter about health and wellness in our own lives… 

You Can Stop Wasting Time On Trial and Error For Your Health, Your Diet and Your Fitness.  The Answer To The Question – How Do I Get It All? – Is Here.

Imagine Gina and Marie have just signed up for ph360 – the personalized health program based on Epigenetics. These two have known each other since their college years and have always done everything together.  Now they plan to go on a diet together to lose the 10 pounds they each feel they want to lose to get their bodies beach ready.  They’ve taken twenty minutes to do the online questionnaire that will determine the food, fitness and lifestyle recommendations that will help them achieve their goals.  They look at their diet plan and they are surprised to see so many differences! How can that be?

Well here’s how it works.

for ph360 - the personalized health program Although the two women may look the same to many untrained eyes, being roughly the same height and weight, without signs of obesity or large waist-to-height ratio, ph360 offers customized food, fitness and lifestyle recommendations to each based on their specific biotrend. This is part of what was determined by the online questionnaire they completed.  Gina is a Crusader, according to ph360’s general biotrend, whereas Maria is a Diplomat. Though we can’t reveal exactly how we assess specific biotrends, they’re based on phenotypes which is just a small piece of the puzzle and that there are many more layers to their complex algorithm.

For Gina, being a Crusader means she has mostly ectomorphic and mesomorphic tendencies. She has a body that can remain relatively lean without much effort, and can build good muscle tone with resistance exercises. Her bone structure is also related to her heightened sensitivity due to a more active nervous system. Her physical structure may also be an indicator of impaired calcium signaling, as well as a genetic predisposition to be naturally lean and remain so because she has a more favourable metabolic profile.

Maria’s higher level of endomorphy may increase her risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and breast cancer, but both are rather tall women, so their risk of cardiovascular disease isn’t too high for either of them. It would therefore be more prudent to focus on metabolic issues for Maria. Her physical structure indicates an active GRB14 gene on chromosome 2q24.3, which is a growth factor receptor that binds directly to the insulin receptor and increases her risk of type 2 diabetes.

So what does that mean for their diet?

Well for Gina, we’d recommend increased carbohydrates to ensure proper glycogen storage by the liver and muscle and give her plenty of legumes that will enhance mineral absorption, especially calcium for her bones.  However, a low carb, high protein and fat diet we’d recommend for Maria would be ideal for her to prevent the onset of diabetes or insulin levels. The USDA Food Guide may actually be over prescribing pasta, breads and cereals for Maria, who should follow a Mediterranean style diet, with a low-carb twist. The low carb diet we’d recommend for Maria wouldn’t suit Gina, who could end up having lower blood sugar, concentration and fatigue after exertion than her more suitable higher carbohydrate diet would offer.  Gina would also benefit from healthy fatty acids to protect her active yet sensitive nervous system.

marie1for ph360 - the personalized health program
 

The take home message here is to not overgeneralize what’s right and what’s wrong for healthy dieting.

Each person’s physical constitution, bodily needs and health conditions needs to be taken into consideration for an appropriate diet to keep the body healthy. Both Maria and Gina will reach their weight loss goals for their body, but they will need to do so differently.

In addition to general recommendations for the amount of proteins, vegetables, fats, etc. to consume in a given day, specific foods with their particular nutritional makeup may be recommended (ie: exactly what kinds of vegetables to eat and how often).

To learn more about exactly what kinds of foods are good for your body, which to avoid, and the amounts of each that would best help you reach your health, fitness and weight loss goals, please visit us at www.ph360.me. Right now, ph360 is introducing its next generation technology.  Shae™, our virtual health assistant, is in development and you can be a part of it through our Kickstarter campaign.

 

Introducing Shae from ph360 from ph360 on Vimeo.

Please note: As I mentioned above, I have not personally tried the ph360 product nor am I a part of their kickstarter campaign. The links above to their campaign do contain an affiliate link and I have been offered free membership once Shae is available.  I have not been asked to personally give my approval for this product nor have I been asked to provide any statements in exchange for their offer. My opinions, as always, are my own. 

Making Progress and Gains

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I just completed a full week of the Body by Wayne challenge and guess what? I lost 3#s and 2% body fat in 6 days.

13096237_10207416016253386_1114629256812570428_n Me Before/After

What am I doing, you ask? Here are the high level things that have been on point this week for me…

Focused strength training

Wayne has been guiding me each PT session on what strength training to focus on — and then supports, instructs me as I take on whatever challenge he has in store for me.  I’m still boxing 3-4x a week as well.

Tracking my food intake

I’m back to square one and need to track my food so I can get real about what I am eating. I started using Fatsecret.com, which like many other programs out there, has a large database of food/nutrition info and counts my calories and calorie breakdown.  It has been helping me be more mindful of what I am actually eating – which is key.

Added more protein

Most women don’t eat enough protein – it should be 30% of your total caloric intake for the day. It’s daunting most days, but I am aiming for around 140g of protein each day.  To get that much, I am drinking a protein shake as one of my snacks using almond milk. The shake powder has around 20g of protein, and then I’ve been adding Cacao Magic, which is a superfood and protein blend with 10x the antioxidants of green tea, more magnesium than 3 cups of broccoli, and more calcium than a glass of milk. It adds another 10g of protein to my shake and tastes pretty good.

Having support

I needed some attention plain and simple. It’s been helpful to have someone else on my team, holding me accountable for the commitment I’ve made and getting excited when I did lose the weight this week. I am usually everyone else’s cheerleader –which is a role I love – but it’s nice to have someone (whether I am paying them or not) to be as invested in my progress as I am.

The good/bad news is there is no one special, outside of the ordinary thing I’ve done this past week to make progress – I’ve been focused, present and excited to take on the challenge of getting back on track. Outside of nutrition, it’s a mental game! And just like with any skill, you have to continually use it to make progress.

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If it's important you will find a way

Fancy Facial Time: HydraFacial at NOVA Plastic Surgery

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Hydro FacialLast month, I was asked to visit NOVA Plastic Surgery to try out one of three treatments (I was given a choice) and share my visit and experience via social.  I firmly believe taking great care of your skin is an important part of living fit and sore. As we get older, we have to do more than just rely on good genes and youth. Getting regular facials and other treatments should be done regularly, not just as an occasional treat.

I also believe investing in good, high quality skincare products is important too. I currently use products by SkinMedica but have also used Skinceuticals (which is sold at NOVA Plastic Surgery) in the past and highly recommend either.

After researching and talking with the staff there, I opted for a hydrafacial.  I was considering doing the BBL facial which uses a laser, but after they looked at my skin and the lack of overall sun damage, they suggested going with the hydro facial. So, that’s what I chose…

What is a HydraFacial? 

Hydrofacial HydraFacial MD is a deep facial cleansing treatment that utilizes natural plant extracts, peptides, acids and earth minerals to deeply hydrate, nourish and energize the skin.

No part of the body is exposed to the elements as much as your face – UV rays, wind, smoke from cars, what we eat, make up, normal wear and tear – all fill your face and pores with toxins and debris. This can give you a dull tired look, making your skin sensitive to breakouts, blemishes and age spots.

The 20 minute HydraFacial MD treatment revitalizes your skin by cleansing, exfoliating, extracting impurities, and restoring essential nutrients.

My Thoughts

The treatment took about 30 mins and other than some slight stinging from some of the products, it was painless and fairly relaxing.  During the treatment, the esthetician was very good about explaining to me what each product was and its benefits and making sure I was not in any pain.

I took a before and after pic (shown below) and what you should notice is how refreshed and dewy my skin looks after the treatment. It’s been a few days now, and my skin is slightly peeling  (which is expected) and has kept the glowing and refreshed look. My skin feels softer and I have been complimented many times on how great my skin looks.  I asked how often people go get one of these facials and was told many clients get it on a monthly basis. I can definitely understand why — it really does refresh your skin and you leave feeling relaxed -which was an unexpected bonus.

I recommend giving it a try if you have been wanting a facial that cleans deeply and revitalizes your skin.  The staff at Nova Plastic Surgery could not have been friendlier and nicer as well. They took the time to talk with me about my skin and evaluate which treatment to go with and I was never made uncomfortable.

 

Hydrofacial

 

Thanks to NOVA Plastic Surgery for inviting me in to try the Hydrafacial treatment. Although I did not pay for the treatment, there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own and I would recommend the treatment and NOVA Plastic Surgery. 

Christmas Abbott: BadAss Body Diet

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This past month has been pretty stressful for me – and I’m not going to sugar coat it. My eating has gone to shit. The little excuses I have made have added up and now are full blown standard operating procedure and it’s not good.  It’s being triggered by stress and emotional stuff going on but sliding back into old habits is not the path I want to revisit so it’s time to refocus. I am heading out on vacation next week. My long road trip will give me time to think about what’s going on and some much needed time away from what is triggering all of these feelings.  Not to go into detail – it’s related to professional career issues and I know it’s only a matter of time before I need to make some hard choices.

But, let’s talk about refocusing on health and wellness…

the BADASS Body Diet - Christmas Abbott I have mentioned before that I am a big fan and a long-distance friend of Christmas Abbott.  She has always been kind to me and has embarked on an amazing path of helping others in a big way. She recently sent me a copy of her book: The BADASS Body Diet. I haven’t gotten all the way through it but when I am back from vacation, I plan to start the diet and workout plan recommended.

I already am appreciating that she doesn’t write for a one size fits all body type. She identifies three types of dieters -—Modifiers, Gainers, and Maintainers—and the suggested approaches can be tailored depending on which one you resemble.  From the reviews I have read, many mention the suggested approach is simple and you aren’t left feeling super hungry.  Although I have heard that many times from many other fitness and wellness advocates, I trust Christmas. She comes from the same world I am used to – women who lift and aren’t afraid to be strong.

Some of the book is fluff and entertainment but, that’s all part of selling the approach to those who still believe thin is better than strong. Those that live and die by the number on the scale.  Just like any diet or approach recommended, one size does not fit all. My advice is to read the book –  ‘meet’ Christmas, learn her story and understand how she approaches diet and fitness. From there, you can tailor it or not – to meet your own health and wellness goals.

I’ll share my experience from time to time as I start to incorporate her advice in my own fitness and wellness approach…

 

Christmas Abbott - Badass Body DietBuy the BadAss Body Diet by Christmas Abbott directly from Amazon and let me know what you think!

 Christmas Abbott: The Badass Body Book (Amazon Affiliate Link) 

 

Revisiting [solidcore]

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A friend sent this article to me today: What Happens When You Follow Your Passion and it got me thinking more about how to do that… I’ve been struggling with finding a path to explore what I am passionate about. It’s frustrating for sure but as quotes say – sometimes the hardest part of any journey is right before a breakthrough…

Jury Duty Fun

Yesterday, I had a busy day. First, I had my turn at serving jury duty. After a few hours of sitting there and the selection process, I was dismissed as a juror for a criminal trial. I’ve never been in a court room, let alone seen how it all goes down. Just like on TV, it was pretty slow, stuffy, rigid and old fashioned. I couldn’t help but notice that everything in the court room was wood and rigid. Sitting there for an hour or so was not what I would consider comfortable.

During the selection process, the judge, prosecutor and defense attorney each took their turn asking generally benign questions. It’s so interesting to see how it all goes down and how people filter questions differently. But man it goes slow and seems to be very low tech.  Anyway, I was dismissed for whatever reason and now I can say”been there, done that’ (until the next time…)

solidcore - FairfaxRevisiting [solidcore]

Later in the evening, I met up with my dear friend Mastaneh and we drove to [SolidCore]. You may remember me sharing my experience doing a class last March, when we hit up the one in Ballston.

What is [solidcore]? 

Someone online described it as “Pilates on Steroids”. Ive never done Pilates, but I can tell you it was the kind of workout where I literally hated it while doing it but when it was over – i felt great and wanted to do it again to challenge myself to get the hang of it. You use a megaformer machine for the 50 minute class. It’s all slow, controlled movements focusing on core muscles. The classes are kept small so the instructor can give everyone the attention needed.  Depending on the movement, you would do a 4-6 count to ensure you are really working the muscle.

This one just opened in the Mosaic District in Fairfax and we brought along some extra pals.  Let’s just say that it was as hard as I remember and I was not the only one of that opinion. Even my boxing instructor, Alex, who joined us agreed.

When we were done, it was like a sweat festival. Not only was I drenched with sweat, my muscles were twitching for some time afterwards. I am definitely feeling the results of all that slow, deliberate core stuff today.    Amd after the class, the instructor told us how great we were, especially because we were beginners and it was because of how strong we all were.

Thoughts about [solidcore]

Location: 

I wish that [Solidcore] was closer and/or in Loudoun County. Right now they are focused on the immediate DC area. I’m sure the demographic is good there but Loudoun County is the richest county in the country so that should count for something.

Price:

I’m not usually one to balk at certain things cost wise. I believe that for me – my health and fitness is worth paying for if it works. I could pay 20 bucks a month at a regular gym but I know it’s not going to work long term for me. I need to workout with others and have an instructor lead the way.  I’m willing to pay a bit more for it because it works.  A lot of folks pay that low monthly membership at their gym but rarely go or go and do the same thing all the time – seeing little to any results. That is a waste of money no matter how cheap.

[solidcore] is pretty expensive even to me- up to $34/class although they are running specials. The classes are limited because everyone works on a reformer machine, so I get why they charge more but it still seems a bit more than I would be willing to pay on a regular basis.

Overall: 

The instructor was great and it was a great workout. Very different than the other stuff I do but different in a great way. I would definitely add a class or two into my regular overall monthly training if it were closer. It’s easy to see how strong, limber and flexible you can become by doing it regularly.

[WRG id=11032]

Be Kind

Stories of kindness and bravery are the stories we should be sharing and talking about more…

RIP: Nicholas Winton, Who Saved Hundreds Of Jewish Children From The Holocaust, Dies At 106

Dubbed the “British Schindler,” Winton helped 669 Jewish children avoid a grim fate by smuggling them out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.

Review: GoMacro MacroBars

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GoMacro MacroBarsMonths ago as I was browsing the health food aisle at Wegmans, I came across GoMacro MacroBars and figured I would give it a try. I ended up really liking it, so I headed to Wegmans to buy some more and they were SOLD OUT! Needless to say, I was bummed… but then they restocked and all was right in the world again. (A bit dramatic, but I really liked them!)

So a few weeks ago, GoMacro reached out to me and asked if I wanted to try their bars. Well – what do you think I said? Absolutely! I already love them and now I get to try other flavors that Wegmans didn’t carry. Win for me!

What I liked most about these bars is that they are made with quality ingredients and taste good.  I also like that their company is family owned and cause driven. While these bars aren’t 100% Paleo, they are close.  When I want something to satisfy my sweet tooth, with some protein and doesn’t totally derail my nutrition plan – these are a great choice.  Also, they are great if you are on the go and want a healthy snack.

According to the company, GoMacro believes in feeling good about what we eat. How it tastes, how it’s made and how it sustains the environment. Family-owned and based in a small rural community, our wholesome food maintains goodness on all levels.

MacroBars boast a variety of fl­avors, with different textures and ingredient combinations including nut-free and high-protein options. Our food is carefully crafted using the highest quality ingredients to provide protein, nutrients and slow-burning carbs for sustained energy throughout the day. The result is a satisfying treat perfect for everyone.

Small in size but big on impact, we are a big picture company. GoMacro.”

GoMacro MacroBarsGoMacro MacroBars come in 11 flavors. My personal favorite is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter but I am sure you all understand that. Because PEANUT BUTTER!

MacroBars are:

  • USDA organic
  • gluten-free
  • certified non-GMO
  • project verified vegan
  • certified kosher
  • certified macrobiotic
  • soy-free

You can head to Amazon and order them using this affiliate link: GoMacro Organic Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, 2.5 oz Bars (Pack of 15) or get to your nearest Wegmans or other grocery store! Once you have tried them, leave me a comment to let me know what you think!

 

 

Disclosure: Although GoMacro provided me with samples, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the brand or company. 

National Running Day 2015: Love the Run

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Stephanie Hoaglund - Running the Scope for Life 5K Washington DCAppreciate and Celebrate the Sport of Running!

National Running Day held annually on the first Wednesday in June, is a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running.

Since 2009, the country’s foremost running organizations have worked together to celebrate the sport of running with thousands of runners.  It’s easy to join by planning a run, spreading the running bug to a friend, signing up for a race, or setting a new goal.

Like last year, Women’s Running, the world’s largest women-specific running magazine is offering a special offer to
National Running Day Women's Running Magazine Special celebrate National Running Day and foster your love of running: A 6 Month Subscription to Women’s Running for $5!

Since last year, I have received Women’s Running magazine and it has provided me with some good info and resources as I attempt to run more than I have in year’s past. Based on my experience, Women’s Running magazine focuses on info that motivates women with regards to training, travel and nutrition.

Running. Cheaper than TherapyHow to Start Running

Want to start running? Read this great resource on how to go from the couch to a half marathon: Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan! You can do it – Yes you can!

Need more reasons to start running? Here’s an infographic with the Top 10 Health Benefits of Running…

Benefits of Running

Disclosure: I am sharing this information in exchange for goods provided by Women’s Running. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the brand or company. 

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