Viewing posts categorised under: Fitness

Things I’m Loving Lately + Fun Holiday FIT Gift Guide

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness Nutrition Uncategorized

Things I'm Loving Lately 

~ December Holiday FITguide ~

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I don't know about you but I am ALWAYS in search of new fun gift ideas for friends that I haven't repeated a billion times already. I tend to be a little idea fatigued for new gifts to go under the tree come December so I LOVE reading what others are loving lately. As someone who LIVES in my workout gear I have found certain lifestyle related items that I can't do without! Not to mention tried out a lot more that I quickly ditched. Check out a few fun must haves for yourself or a FIT friend this season.

#1: Wireless Ear Buds - MPOW Bluetooth

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For years & years I hit the gym daily with the standard ear buds that drove me CRAZY! They'd get wrapped around a barbell or stuck on my clothes & I spent more time sticking the damn things back in my ears then wearing them. How am I suppose to keep people from talking to me without earbuds in??? Kidding (NOT!!)

 

Embarrassingly enough it took my dear husband's simple comment of "why don't you get wireless headphones?" for me to go DUH!! Oh the little things in life can bring me SO much happiness. I tested out multiple brands (many which broke) & ended up loving the mpow earbuds. They stay in while even when running, which was a must for me! They come with multiple size attachments which helped them fit me perfectly. Plus they are only $25 on amazon. Oh amazon how I love thee<3

#2: Beauty Counter - Nontoxic Skin Care (that doesn't suck!)

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Truth be told I was never big on "products". Lotions, face wash, make up & such was never something I gave much attention to. Much less made me excited enough to talk about. Until I started struggling with severely dry skin & some break outs. Not fun as an adult! As I did more research into products on the market I was honestly shocked & appealed by the harmful chemicals that are in ALL of the mainstream products. Even those deemed "natural", don't even get me started on that sneaky marketing...

As someone who cares about what I put in my body via food, I felt rather silly realizing how much crap I was putting on my skin. The biggest organ in the body! I tried out a few hippy dippy products that frankly SUCKED. Natural deodorant was a no go, yet I couldn't un-know what I learned about traditional skin care products so I kept searching. Finally I was introduced to Beauty Counter products & it changed the game. Yes higher quality products were more expensive so I transitioned little by little. As I ran out of shampoo I replaced it. No more lotion? I tried out BC products. Honestly I have loved almost everything to the point I signed up as a consultant to share with others. Plus get my own discount right? :) My favs so far:

  • Charcoal Bar & Mask: LOVE for my skin & has cleared up a lot of my uneven skin tone issues.
  • Tinted Moisturizer: This is super light weight & doesn't wreck my skin after using.
  • Lotion/Body Scrub: I prioritize the products I use daily on the biggest areas of my body so this was a must!

For anyone who is into the their skin care routine, overall health, environmentally conscious or just enjoys fun beauty products, these make GREAT gifts. Check out more here or message me for questions about beauty counter!

#3: QALO Silicone Wedding Rings

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For anyone that workouts in ANY way on a regular basis or works with their hands, these rings are SO FUN! I heard about them on a podcast & decided to order a pair for my husband & I. He was thrilled with man jewelry as a gift PS... ;) These bands are so practical for protecting your wedding rings (or regular rings) not to mention your hands from being scratched, pinched or get in the way of your activity. Even in yoga I get annoyed when my ring flips over on the mat BUT honestly I hate taking them off.

 

Maybe because I'm still (sorta) a newlywed but I enjoy wearing my wedding band, even when working out. Heck especially at the gym around certain men... Not to mention I hate to taking off my wedding rings while out & about for fear of losing. NIGHTMARE!! I also LOVE that you can have these engraved, they come in so many cute colors & are super affordable. Hence when you lose one like me, it's not big deal to replace. A fun hubby & wife gifts or a stocker stuffer for others. PS use the code GGW at checkout & get 15% off your order.

Other FUN Fitness Ideas to Checkout:

  • Healthy Human Water Bottles:  so CUTE & practical. I totally use mine everyday & love how eco-friendly they are.51ibxnw12el

  • Vital Protein Collagen: ok maybe a weird one for most BUT this is my favorite health supplement type product that in addition to beauty counter, has done awesome things for my tendons, joints, hair, skin & nails! It mixes right into my morning coffee with no funky taste & I take it every single day.vital-proteins-collagen-peptides

  • Cute Workout Totes: who doesn't love a stylish bag to take to the gym on the daily. I got mine from Fabletics but also love these from LuluLemon, Athleta & Nike.lulu

  • Cozy Leg Warmers: I love being warm & cozy come winter, even in my workout gear. These cute leg warmers go right over those shorter capris & look super cute. Time for me to snag a new pair in fact!cn12341521

  • Activity Trackers: i've been using my Jawbone up 24 for years & totally love it. It's fun to check in on my steps, sleep, heart rate & even water intake!! Plus compete with clients & friends on who can stay the most active each week. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone. ;)20151111_jawboneup3

  • Stocking Stuffer Fun: As a self proclaimed Quest Bar addict, i'd be stoked to have these slightly pricey protein bars fall into my stocking. PS fav flavors include cookies & cream, chocolate chip, s'mores, white chocolate raspberry, oatmeal chocolate chip, rocky road, coconut cashew & blueberry! Other favorite bars include RX Bars & Lara Bars.

    Other fun ideas include subscription box gift cards like my fav Sunbasket or Hello Fresh. Heck a Whole Food's or Trader Joe's gift card for those health conscious foodie friends would be a hit as well.

    (haha I had to throw this in)

    That's a wrap folks! Haha get it? Wrap..like wrapping paper for Christmas. Ok I make myself laugh at least.. Hope this helps spark some fun ideas for friends, family & yes even YOU! Self care right?

** ANY FAVORITE FINDS YOU ARE LOVING LATELY???

Weekly Recap: Fitness, Food & Realizations

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Nutrition Recap Uncategorized

I have had a few questions from folks regarding my post last week about training for another 1/2 marathon, my training plan, nutrition & body composition expectations along the way. In attempting to write up my thoughts I decided why not bring everyone along for the ride! Hence the birth of my weekly recap series where I will talk about my previous weeks training, recovery, nutrition & what I am learning along the way. This is all on the experimental side so some aspects will go great & I am sure to have falters throughout. That's how you learn right!312698_2552222655352_721545244_nSo first, without turning this into a short novel, let me chit chat about my running history & goals this time around. I started distance running about 5 years ago when I first moved to Savannah. I was NOT a runner & use to skip almost every running related soccer practice in high school. I couldn't run a mile without stopping for a walk break so it's never been something that has come easy to me. So WHY run? Honestly I was in need of finding a community to meet people my age in a new town. When a co-worker invited me to a run group I decided that was a great time to put myself out there & try something new.396757_679506038216_1320755491_nFast forward through the next few years, I did successfully train for a 1/2 marathon, ran a few more of those plus 5K & 10K races & ultimately decided to train for a full marathon. WHY? Yes great question... While I could say I wanted to challenge myself, I will be real. I met a man running & would have followed him anywhere. Well apparently for 26.2 miles to be exact. Guess it worked out since that guy happens to be my hubby BUT  I won't pretend I ran a marathon solely based on my own ambition. Regardless we survived! YAY! Minus my body being beaten to death & I spent the next 2 years out of distance running while dealing with stress fractures, tendonitis & an overall weak body from too much cardio. I took a big step back, got in the gym, lifted heavy shit & swore that my running days were long gone. The funny thing? All those body composition goals to get lean & be fit were achieved much more easily when I stepped AWAY from the chronic cardio. Crazy huh?strengthYet over time I missed the open road, getting out with friends & running side by side with my husband. It was quality time together & that mattered. It wasn't about proving anything or trying to lose weight. As I often do the opposite when training for a long race. This time was just for fun & with the focus on my fitness still being in the gym. With no training plan or goals in mind I hit the road for a few runs on the weekends with the CREW. I started with 3-4 miles & within a month or two I was back up to 8-10. I simply listened to my body each run & stopped when it said too much & pushed when I was feeling good.File_000(6)The cool part? Even after taking YEARS off from running I jumped back in with much more ease than I ever had in the past. WHY? I am strong, fit & a more balanced athlete. In fact I've been running faster with much less time spent in my running shoes. I completely contribute that to my strength training regiment without a doubt.Ok so that's the nitty gritty ghosts of my running past. I finally decided last week to bite the bullet & sign up to run the Rock 'N' Roll 1/2 Marathon in November. This is our local big race most people train for so why not jump on board. The group I run with has follows a 3 day a week plan that I have complied with each year. However this year I have a different plan in place. WHY? Not because they don't know what they are doing. BUT I am in my body & have found through repetition that I don't hold up well to tons of running. Not to mention I LOVE lifting & refuse to ditch the days that keep me strong in favor of more mileage. So with that in mind I plan to focus on a train smart, not harder approach to 1/2 marathon training.rundesignMy goal? Honestly I would love to just finish this race injury free. If that goes well I'd like to run a PR at the Charleston 1/2 Marathon in January. BUT one race at a time shall we. So my basic run less approach includes these primary workouts:

  • 2x a week run (one long run & one speed or tempo)
  • 3x a week total body lifting (sticking with a program my coach wrote)
  • 1-2x a week cross training on the bike or swimming (triathlon future?)
  • 1-2x a week yoga (restorative)
My REAL challenge? Not doing too much this go around. I am totally a full speed ahead person when it comes to training. The issue with that is you CAN'T DO IT ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!! I yell that to myself as a reminder. What does that mean?I cannot gain running endurance, speed & time spent WHILE gaining significant strength or muscle in the gymThat makes me a little sad but I could tell the truth behind that during today's workout. After a weekend spent running, swimming & biking, my lifts were weak today. I had to drop my weight significantly & that will continue while I am doing so much endurance & muscle wasting activity. Does that mean all is lost? Nope! I will continue to lift & switch up my plan a bit to include beneficial running specific movements. More on that in another post...Next..I cannot maintain my same exact body composition, eat the same & increase my performance output.I have worked HARD over the past few years to build the muscle that I have. It doesn't come easy for us ladies & certainly hasn't for me. The truth is when I run, I lose muscle mass. That "toned" look softens a bit as I lose muscle in lieu of long mileage. Am I happy about that? NO! However I AM realistic that I cannot have them both all the time, so I am making a choice to choose performance over body composition. Everything comes in seasons & once I get done with a race or two I will have a new focus to work on. That also means I have to increase my food intake to balance my training. More carbs often means a little bit more weight on the scale. Why? Muscles hold onto water more when you increase carb intake. Notice I said WATER, not BODY FAT. Regardless the scale will go up & that's ok. Not going to sweat it. I am also NOT going to eat in a calorie deficit. That will not maintain my muscle or help me run faster. EAT for performance NOT DIET.So with those two things in mind this is what last weeks training looked like:Monday: Strength Workout #1 + 45 Minute Bike Ride (not intense)Tuesday: 6 Mile Run + YogaWednesday: Strength Workout #2Thursday: YogaFriday: Strength Workout #3Saturday: 10 Mile RunSunday: 90 Minute Bike Ride + Swim (learning how to so not intense)Last week felt great BUT I can tell today my body is a bit more tired then i'd like. I will work towards recovering better through sleep, nutrition & foam rolling over the coming weeks. I will also take a rest day when I need to! I love being active in some way most days BUT I am totally ok skipping a workout when my body needs it. File_000(1)On the food side? Here was our meal plan for last week:Monday: Chicken Verde Enchiladas w/ Salad & Cauliflower RiceFile_000(9)Tuesday: Crockpot Shredded Chicken w/ Green Beans & Roasted Fingerling PotatoesWednesdayChile Verde Pork w/ Cauliflower Rice, Refried Beans & SaladThursday: Chicken Sausage w/ Purple Potatoes & Kale File_000(7)Friday: OUT - We eat at a BBQ joint most Friday's. Creature's of habit! I get a pork salad<3Saturday: Hubby cooked a Julia Child Beef Daube w/ Vegetable Risotto & VINO!Sunday: Ate at Jalepeno's Mexican Restaurant. I had chicken fajitas, black beans & guacamole.I made a few updates to my normal eating this week & honestly think my running has been better for it. I often eat meat + vegetables for dinner without a serving of carbohydrates. I just like the lighter dinner since we often eat on the later side. However this week I consciously added in beans, sweet potato, potatoes & rice to my dinners. I will continue to monitor my performance, energy & how my pants fit, then adjust accordingly.9a93beb59f07a02590ce9f4e11493ba9All in all I am excited to have a fun goal & people to enjoy it with. I am all about finding the fun in fitness these days while I push my body in challenging ways. One week down!Please let me know via comment or message if you have any questions about my training, nutrition, recovery or how it might apply to your goals! I want to hear from YOU!!! Have you ever trained for a race & struggled with not being able to HAVE IT ALL?

Demystifying Post-Workout Nutrition: Who, What & WHY?

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Nutrition Uncategorized

Post-Workout Nutrition Confusion? You are not alone! Flipping through every magazine, you can read a different "must do" from varies gurus about the perfect post-workout food! From the most popular "you must have a protein shake within 5 minutes" to newer "fasting is the way to go" for fat loss. There is ample reasons to be more than slightly confused.
So are you ready to dispel some myths & clarify what's best for YOU? Here goes:
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I work with a wide array of clients who are all striving towards different goals:
- Fat Loss
- Muscle Building
- Increased Athletic Performance
- Increased Cardiovascular Function
- Maintaining Bone Density
& Just for Freakin Fun!!
 
All awesome reasons to hit the gym!! One of the most common questions every gym goer asks upon starting a new routine is "what should I eat post workout?". A protein shake? Carbs? No Carbs? How About Healthy Fat? 
These answers all depend on my cliche phrase of who are you & what are your goals! The intensity of your workout, when you ate last, your goals in the workout/recovery & most importantly overall daily intake factor in to the post workout equation. So I thought I would quickly breakdown a few different scenarios of IF, HOW & WHY you need to be concerned with your post sweat-fest intake.
 
WHO:
 ~ The General Fat Loss Client:
Post yoga session, no immediate refuel needed.

Post yoga session, no immediate refuel needed.

IF: you are a beginner fitness enthusiast looking to lose fat, working out at a low-moderate intensity level (which may feel strenuous to you but is mostly bodyweight/cardio/lower intensity lifting) & are eating an adequate total daily caloric intake.
THEN: The answer is no, you don't need to slam a shake or even eat within that often touted 30-45min  post workout window. You already have enough glycogen in your system & haven't solicited a demanding enough physical output to need to replenish immediately. Eat your next meal as normal & make sure it's balanced with protein to maintain muscle.
~ Advance Fat Loss Client:
 IF: you are an intermediate to advanced lifter, runner or whatever your workout of choice is & are looking to lose a bit of fat while maintaining your workout intensity.
THEN: It probably would be safe to fit in some type of post workout fuel just as a "can't hurt" measure. Will you lose all your gains if you don't? Definitely not. Simply on the more intense training days, you should aim to maintain all of your lean muscle mass. Therefore a safety net of protein post-training can't hurt. Now this doesn't mean you need to keep your shaker bottle glued to you at the gym. It just means have a small snack or plan to eat your normal next meal within an hour after training.
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Post Interval Cardio, I skip & enjoy my next meal.

WHAT: This is somewhat dependent on your sport/performance goals. In general always include a solid source of protein! Carbs & fats are variable based on the activity. If you find yourself losing strength, muscle, have another intense workout the same day or are not recovering well, include carbohydrates. If you have no energy issues or any of the above symptoms, just consuming protein for fat loss might be the ticket.
What about Fat? It's not necessary & does slow down the replenishment of nutrients from protein & carbohydrates to your muscles. Which is why I actually recommend healthy fat consumption for most meals because we want slow absorption of food to sustain our hunger for a longer period of time. So if your post-workout nutrition is a meal that is suppose to sustain you for multiple hours? Go ahead & include that healthy fat from cooking oils, avocado, nuts etc. That way you are not ravenous an hour later. If the food you consume post workout is just a snack to get you through for an hour or so? Skip the fat.
~ Athlete or Musclie Building:IF: Top priority is muscle building or athletic performance such as training for a race, then yes I always recommend eating within the notorious post-workout window to be safe.
post heavy lifting, I always refuel

post heavy lifting, I always refuel

WHAT: Choose a snack or meal based on a close to equal ratio of protein to carbohydrates to quickly replenish glycogen stores to muscle. The best post-workout carbs comes from quick metabolizing sources of glucose, such as starchy sources like oats, sweet potato, quinoa, yam, or rice. That plus your standard protein shake or a real food meal like chicken breast + starchy carbs is a great way to make sure you are building muscle & fully recovering to perform optimally next workout. This is a time to skip the fat if you are concerned with refueling as quickly as possible. As mentioned, healthy fats are much needed but do slow absorption rates. So have a quick post workout shake & then include healthy fat in your next meal.
Ok that that was a bit science heavy so heres a simple recap:
~ Newbie Fat Loss Client: No need for immediate post workout meal. Eat next meal per normal.
~ Advanced Fat Loss Client: Aim for protein only post workout UNLESS performance/energy suffers OR if it's a full meal meant to sustain you. If that's the case, a balanced healthy meal of protein, some carbs & a little healthy fat is best to keep you from being ravenous a few hours later.
~ Performance Athletic or Muscle Building: Consume protein & carbs within 45 min to an hour post workout. Skip the fat on this snack.
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My Go-To Smoothie Formula:
  • 1 scoop high quality protein powder (or 6oz plain greek yogurt/cottage cheese)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2c frozen berries
  • 1c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
Optional Add Ins: for a meal I add healthy fats such as ground flax, avocado or 1tbsp nut butter.
QUESTIONS? Just ask!! Want more tips, tricks & exclusive FREE content? Don't miss out on a thing, click here to sign up for bi-weekly news. Never any junk!

Are you OUT EXERCISING your fat loss? Plus 5 ways to stop!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Nutrition Uncategorized Workouts

3Fat loss is simple right? Move more + eat less = scale down. Follow this simple template & all will be right with the world...You look at this equation & say ok move more. How can I burn ALL the calories, sweat it out hard & make the fat drip away the quickest? I got it! The more days I workout, hours I can fit in cardio sessions & calories I can cut will definately get me in my skinny jeans asap. Because after all, 1 pound is equally to 3500 calories. Therefore if I can only eat 1000 calories a day & spend an hour on the elliptical (which says I burned a 500...lies btw), mathematically that means I will lose 3lbs a week. Perfect, I can handle that for a month or two no problem!Maybe that works for the first week. You drag yourself into the gym every single day & sweat it out on the treadmill. You eat your egg whites for breakfast, tiny salad for lunch & a bit of chicken with broccoli for dinner. You step onto that scale & SCORE! Down 4lbs!!Yet come week 2 you find yourself struggling to get in quality workouts because you are fatigued. Duh! You aren't feeding your body enough so why should it give you energy to burn away? Next you are not just a little hungry in between meals, you are STARVING. From the second you get up to when your head hits the pillow. H-A-N-G-R-Y! Heck you may even wake up in the middle of the night in need of sustenance. Sure you fight it off for a day or two but let's be real? Eventually you succumb. And you not only eat a normal amount of food, you eat twice that. All that exercise you are doing is making your body scream for nutrient replacements. Insert the binge on crappy fast food, sweet treats or at minimum oversized portions. But wait? I'm exercising a TON. Cardio all day long. That burns a lot of calories so eating a bit more is fine. Wrong! Because you have now down regulated your metabolism by trying to starve it into submission PLUS burned all your muscle via that lovely treadmill. Muscle = faster metabolism, which you worked ridiculously hard to kill.Ok I say all this in a harsh sounding tone. I know! But after YEARS of doing this myself I am super passionate about helping people understand HOW to get the results they are working so hard for. Which rarely involves listening to the stupid magazine covers telling you the perfect 1200 calorie diet paired with how to get your bikini body in 2 weeks. *insert eye rolling*

Intro into running, because I desperately wanted to "tone up".

Intro into running, because I desperately wanted to "tone up".

Let me tell you my personal experience now that a rant is out of the way. Back when I was in the constant "must lose last 10lbs" cycle, I assumed that the more I exercised, the more weight I would lose. The best way to burn calories? Running of course! Or cardio of any kind would do. As I usually ran as much as I could until my knees hurt, then jumped on the elliptical on my "rest days".Heck I even decided the best way to lose that weight would be to run a marathon. All that running HAD to result in weight loss. So I did it. I ran 40 miles a week & watched my watch tell me how many calories I burned with every mile. On paper I should be losing at least 2lbs a week!To fast forward a bit let's just say instead of losing 10lbs marathon training, I GAINED 10lbs. And I can promise you it wasn't 10lbs of lean sexy muscle. In fact I had the most cellulite i've ever had, no muscle definition & felt quite "soft" all the way around. Skinny fat is what I would call it. So how did I gain 10lbs while marathon training?
Marathon Finished! Super proud BUT a good 10lbs heavier & no muscle.

Marathon Finished! Super proud BUT a good 10lbs heavier & no muscle.

A few simple facts:
  1. I was only doing cardio & lost a significant amount of muscle mass. Muscle mass is GOLD when it comes to a speedy metabolism & being able to eat enough to fuel my recovery.
  2. I was hungry ALL the time! Yes I burned 400-1000 calories on many a run. Guess what? One burger balanced out that equation quickly. You can easily out eat any amount of exercise. But I couldn't help it. I was hungry ALL THE TIME. So I ate. Not unhealthy foods but too much, too frequently. I earned it right?
  3. I was training for performance, yet attempting to eat for aethestics. My goal was to run a marathon. That was the focus, the training & I really needed to do was eat to support that. Yet instead I tried to starve it! You need to create a deficit when trying to lose body fat but NOT when you are trying to perform at a sport. Those are two SEPARATE goals!! Can they be balanced? Yes, sometimes you can work to find that small caloric deficit that meets both needs, but it's tough. And often not sustainable.
  4. I was causing havoc on my hormones! That much physical stress in the form of exercise plus dietary stress majorly impacted my hormones. I actually had blood work done & my cortisol was threw the roof! I was waking up in the middle of the night, exhausted midday, cold all the time, lost my period & my body was in no place to function efficiently. AKA fat loss stalled. PLEASE NOTE: these are all BIG warnings signs of overtraining!!!
Now I am not JUST bashing cardio. Overtraining happens in so many different ways including high intensity cross training, heavy duty weight lifting, crossfit, HIIT workouts & even intense yoga. Stress is stress & MORE is not always better. This is why I encourage clients to decide what their TOP goal is.~ Is it performance such as I want to train for a race & need to provide my body sufficient fuel to do so. ~ Is it fat loss? ~ Muscle gain? ~ Maintaining your current weight while enjoying your lifestyle?There are different optimal training programs to achieve different goals. Burning the candle at both ends all the time won't get you there.
Strength training a few days, very little cardio, balanced diet & feeling great.

Strength training a few days, very little cardio, balanced diet & feeling great.

So how did I recover from my marathon weight gain? This is the awesome part. I worked out MUCH LESS! I went from spending 10+ hours a week on the roads running to maybe 2-3 hrs at most in the gym. Most of my workouts did not include any huffing, puffing or sweating bullets. Instead I lifted weights a few days a week to build muscle & did a few shorter but intense cardio sessions that didn't overstimulate my appetite. Plus took a lot more walks & enjoyed time recovering.Due to that balance of building muscle & not creating havoc on my hormones, I was able to keep my hunger & cravings in check. Therefore able to live relatively comfortably in a small caloric deficit, aka I saw a steady
Muscle is that you?

Muscle is that you?

decrease on the scale while not feeling miserable. Which was much easier to maintain over the time needed to drop fat, actually see muscle definition & feel much more energized in & out of the gym.Magic? Nope not at all. Just counter to what seems to make sense, the tabloids have told us & fighting that all in mentality. Let's recap the take aways for how to AVOID overexercising yourself out of fat loss goals:
  1. PICK ONE GOAL: performance, fat loss, muscle building or maintenance. There is no right answer & it will change over time. BUT there are more efficient ways to achieve each. If you just need to de-stress & that's what working out is for then GREAT! Do what makes you happy & never feel bad about that. But understand your top priority so you have realistic expectations.
  2. KEEP HORMONES IN CHECK: if you are performing at a high level of intensity & not putting it back into your body. It will at some point rebel. You can't use & abuse it into submission.
  3. MUSCLE RULES: this is the best tool you have in the body composition game. The more you have or can at least maintain, the more calories your body burns at rest. Cardio builds endurance & heart health but NOT muscle. Aka lift something!
  4. THINK LONG GAME: if you are trying to lose fat, it didn't come on overnight & won't disappear that way. Bummer I know. But find the exercise balance & dietary intake you can maintain comfortably for the duration needed to hit your goal. Not to mention you can see yourself sticking somewhat close to after. AKA if you can't see yourself eating that way in a year, it's too restrictive. Find a better balance.
  5. MAINTANENCE IS OK: you don't always need to be in diet mode. Even if you still want to or need to lose body fat, it's ok to hang out in maintenance for a bit. In fact it's a must! If I sign up for a face & train for it, it's with the understanding I may lose a little muscle & not be as defined as I'd like. BUT my goal is to fuel performance. That is awesome!!! Fat loss is something I can come back to IF & when I want to. We shouldn't stay in a deficit all the time & it's important to exercise for fun! Not just to change our physical appearance.
Ultimately my #1 goal of fitness is HEALTH.
Balanced & simply maintaining :)

Balanced & simply maintaining :)

To keep me moving into my old age, my heart ticking, my brain stimulated & my inner competitor challenge. Whatever your method of moving, it shouldn't be solely focused on fat loss. What's the fun in that?There is nothing wrong with having aethestic goals but thinking that you can abuse your body into looking the way you want, well it won't ever happen. Nutrition rules the physique world, fitness keeps you strong & empowered. Take care of your body, it's the only one you have. If you have a specific goal & aren't sure the optimal path to get there, invest in yourself by finding a coach. We are all too harsh on ourselves so having an unbiased guide is well worth the investment.What's your WHY behind your fitness program?Healthy_Balance02

5 Ways to Keep Your Cravings & Hunger in Check!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

The times in my life I have found food to be the most stressful have been when I felt my hunger, cravings & energy RULED my life. I woke up & CRAVED coffee. I felt sorry for any fool who crossed my path (husband included) before I had my creamy caffeine fix to start my day. I could think of nothing else until that cup of joe was in my hands.  While some of that was behavioral in that it was a habit I associated with waking up. It was also a physical dependency. I absolutely had a headache by 10am when I attempted to ward off the beverage for a day or two.Mid-day chocolate yearning? Yes, been there done that. Every day like clock work my mouth literally watered for a sweet treat. AKA I kept my drawer stocked full of hershey kisses to sooth my afternoon energy slump.Even worse for me was battled constant hunger? I would get up & eat a "healthy" breakfast with 400-600 calories, more than adequate to satisfy me for a few hours. Yet within 2 hours I felt my belly grumble & couldn't stop staring at the clock until I reached an acceptable snack time or lunch break.I couldn't find a way to stay full, feel satisfied, not have a drop in my blood sugar & get away from eating by the clock! It was stressful & I felt like a slave to my bodies every whim. Sucks!!!This is a typical cycle I work through with clients who are going through the same frustrations I have had. It's a very personalized process to be honest & there is no "5 full proof steps" to conquer cravings, lose 5lbs & achieve your perfect bikini body. Sorry to burst the bubble but ANY information that states that....IS BS!! Run quickly in the other direction.

why-am-i-always-hungry-2

However there are practical steps to start working through if & when you find yourself becoming a slave to constant cravings, hunger & the inability to feel satisfied from your food:
  1. Are you hitting your protein needs? A quick review of most clients food journal automatically shows a lack of protein. The biggest building block to build/maintain muscle, balance blood sugar & create satiety between meals. This is the first hole to fill if it's missing in your diet.
  2. Are you a fat or carb eater? This is individualized & based on your activity level. Some people thrive off a higher fat diet while others feel fueled on more whole food carbohydrates. I even have clients that feel better off carbs in the form of starch rather than sugar. Such as sweet potatoes over fruit. It takes time & listening to your body to see where you fall on this spectrum. Yes patience.
  3. Are you eating ENOUGH of the RIGHT foods? 200 calories of lean protein & fiber filled vegetables is not the same as 200 calories of chips. Sorry! Yes calories in vs calories out matter. But QUALITY of calories matter as well. You can easily be over eating while being undernourished. Leading to hunger, cravings & troubles regulating your nutrition. Plus if you are super activity & under eating, the same results are likely.
  4. Sleep & Stress: These are JUST as important to the energy equation as food & fitness. If you are under slept your body will be searching for outside stimulus to get you through. Especially that extra sugar & caffeine boost that give us a bump in serotonin. AKA happiness. This is not just feeling tired, it's causing serious hormonal issues that will make any amount of willpower obsolete.\
  5. Are you out exercising your diet? I actually have a whole post about this coming next week BUT overexercising can cause hormonal dis-regulation. Especially if at the same time you are trying to "diet". Talk about an additional stressor the body can't handle. You don't need to go balls to the walls 6x a week to try & lose body or stay in shape. In fact you MAY be directly keeping you from achieving those goals.
20150505124338picmonkey-collageThis IS a process with trial & error, slips, struggles & self experimentation. There will be times of 1 step forward & 2 steps back. Moments you have it all figured out & moments you fall back into old habits. THAT IS OK! Patience, consistency & self compassion my friends.If you can take a step back & have an objective view, what you can discover can be life changing. You can start to identify trends, triggers & learn how to adjust based on your ever changing lifestyle. As we don't live stationary lives & our activity, desires & goals change throughout the years. Being able to roll with the punches is freedom!This is what I do in my 1-1 & group coaching programs with clients. We walk through each individual activity level, sleep, stress, food, fitness, health history & so on. TOGETHER we systematically experiment with what makes them feel, perform & sustains them from a whole person perspective. We are not OUR diet or exercise regiment! If you are ready to take the journey to learn how to balance your food, fitness & find what fulfills I guarantee YOU are worth the commitment.Looking for more ways to take charge of your hunger & cravings? Click here to sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter. Filled with recipes, workouts & all the in between to optimize your life!Healthy_Balance02

Ditching the “have to do” by saying NO!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset

As i was feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things " I have to do" today, I contemplated skipping my workout out of guilt. I started listing off all of the things, people & outside obligations I "should" put before myself & for a brief moment felt like I came at the bottom of that totem pole. I'd get around to my workout (my physical & mental "me" time) after I took care of everyone else. Only IF I had anything left for myself.saying-yes
Just typing that out sounds pretty crazy right? Laundry comes before my health, physical well being & mental focus?...
 
Hmmm. Yet we all do this every single day! A lot of the problem starts with how often we say YES to everything that comes our way:
~ Yes, I'll go to this social gathering I really would rather skip.
~ Yes, I'll take on this extra project or client at work.
~ Yes, I'll sign up & train for a race I really don't want to run.
 
Now don't get me wrong, doing things for others is important. We SHOULD give back & do things outside of ourselves. I think it gives more meaning to all that we do when life isn't consumed with our own needs. BUT in order to do so we have to take care of us FIRST. I know I'm a better wife, friend & coach when I say no to another hour of TV & get some sleep. Or when I say I can't make that post-work happy hour because I want to spend my time reading a business book & unwinding after a busy day.
time-management
I took the time a while back writing down exactly how I spend my week. I constantly find myself saying I don't have time & can't get anything done I need to in order to do what I WANT to. And I mean a scary detailed breakdown:
___ hrs watching tv
___ hrs on facebook
___ hrs working (broken down into different aspects
___ working out
___ sleeping
___ reading
___ relaxation
___ relationship
___ dog time
___ household chores
___ errands
___ social activities
 
& so on. What I found was a LOT of my hours were being wasted on things I didn't enjoy, didn't empower me, weren't my strengths & obligations I should have said NO to. I then wrote down aspects of my life I wanted to focus more on because I was awesome at them or they furthered my goals or fired up my passion.
 
A business example? I LOVE coaching, working with clients & even continuing my own education. Areas I DON'T love or excel at? Finance, web design & spreadsheets. So guess what? I'm not doing that mess. I spend my time & energy on the areas I contribute to & have delegated the rest. Yes, I am fortunate I can do so in this situation but it also means saying NO to other areas. I am skipping my 2x a day coffee habit so I can afford to pay someone to take over those areas. I can't have it all but saying no to one thing opened up a big yes to another.
 
This can absolutely be applied to people, which I think is the hardest NO. We all have or have had those people in our lives that suck out a lot of time & energy without giving us much in return. Harsh? Maybe but life is short. We only have so many hours in the day, energy & mental focus to give. Taking time to evaluate if you are giving it to people that are worthy of that valuable time & resource. Sometimes that means cutting negative people out of your life or minimizing the allotted energy given towards them. But what about all the other people, projects & gifts that energy could be given to. Including yourself! self-care-cup
The most valuable lesson I have learned in the past few years is that I want to be 100% in everything I do! When I am training a client I want to be present, energized & my best self. When I am with my husband, I want my phone off. Which may mean not responding immediately to a clients texts. Or saying NO to a weekend work event because our time together is equally as important.
In smaller situations it means stop saying I "don't have time" to read, workout or cook a meal when I watch 2 hours of house hunters a night. BE HONEST! It's not to be harsh & say we can't have downtime to truly relax. But are you spending that time truly relaxing or 1/2 on the computer, phone & tv blaring. Therefore not accomplishing anything.
Long Rant Take Aways:
~ Think before you say YES or MAYBE, decide if that is truly where you should spend your valuable time.
~ HAVE BOUNDARIES! It is not selfish to say NO I can't come in early 3 days a week because that's my workout time. Define those non-negotiable self care needs & let nothing stand in the way.
~ Evaluate how you honestly spend your time. You will get much more done if you focus on one task, do it & move on.
~ Over time delegate or find more efficient ways to do tasks you don't excel at or drive you. Re-organize your day where most of it is spent in ways that empower you.
~ BE PRESENT! :)
What's one way you can re-organize "not having time" to better spending your time?

Top 6 Fitness Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Results

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals

There is nothing that makes me happier than walking in the gym to see a floor full of motivated people of all ages working out. I absolutely believe that showing up & doing SOMETHING is better then sitting on the sofa. However I also tend to see the same hard working face, walking through the same workout routine 5 days a week year after year. And guess what? They look exactly the same year after usually. Often still talking about wanting lose that last 10lbs or look more "toned" or whatever their goal may be.Frustrating right? It breaks my heart every time I see people being consistent, working what they perceive to be hard & putting in the time to no results. Ready to change that? Me too! First up, my Top 6 Common Mistakes I see gym goers making that are stealing their results. Ask yourself, is this you?5-Common-Fitness-Mistakes_2

1. Not Following a Program: You walk into the gym & blankly look around at the equipment like a lost puppy dog. With no rhyme or reason you do a few curls here, maybe try out that ab machine there, 10 reps no 20? After 20 minutes of a miscellaneous mash up "workout" you hit the door. Kudos for showing up but I can promise you there are more effective ways to use that 20 minutes. Decide what your #1 goal is & find a program that fits.

2. Never Changing Up Your Plan: Wait didn't you just say stick to a program? Well yes..but it is also important to mix it up in an smart & progressive way. I see the most consistent faces in the gym hitting the same 5 machines in a row or getting on the elliptical at the same pace for 45 minutes Monday through Friday. Your body adapts to that & is not going to push to make the changes you are seeking.

3. Not Challenging Yourself with Heavier Weights: Not to hate on the pretty pink dumbbells but if you are lifting a weight you could repeat all day, it's not heavy enough. Yet again, you have to challenge your body! You don't need to go to failure every time but as a general rule the last few reps should be VERY difficult. Please don't be afraid to get bulky, that is all diet & you will not wake up tomorrow looking like the Hulk. And if you do, try to get a better hairstyle..

4. Focusing on Small Muscle Groups Over Compound Movements: I understand that everyone enjoys the burn of some ab work, tricep dips & manly bicep curls. BUT those are small muscle groups that can be worked within then more beneficial compound movements. It's fine if you want to throw a few of those exercises in at the end but the bulk of your workout should be big muscle group movements like squats, pulling, pressing & hip hinging. Unless you are a professional body builder, please ditch the abs & arms day.

5. Too Much Cardio: I'm going to leave this response a little short because this isn't the post for a cardio rant BUT doing tons of cardio every week is not going to make you "toned", feel sexy naked, have a fast metabolism, bone health & so on. In fact, doing too much will make it impossible to achieve any of that. Yes even if your goal is fat loss! Doing some is fine but balance it with strength training & gear cardio towards interval workouts for you best body yet.

6. Constantly Searching for the "Perfect Plan": You try a plan for a week & say "I don't see any difference" so you jump ship & find a new one. Results takes time, embrace the process! There is NO perfect program & many different formats can work amazingly. Especially if you are a newbie gym goer. Find one that fits your goals, lifestyle, time availability & that you can stick to. Give it a try for MONTHS, not days or weeks! I promise it will pay off.

54c93b494700bb21a970ecb09945825e

Ok time to fess up...raise your hand if you are guilty of one or more of these? Don't worry I have absolutely been there! Here are a few action steps you can take today to change you workouts, fitness levels & mindset towards getting results:
  • Write down you TOP goal. Yes I know we all want to lose 10lbs, build muscle, run a race & so on but having too many goals leaves us spinning our wheels. Decide what is most important for the next 12 weeks to start an action program to get you there.
  • Talk to a Professional: even if you can't workout with a trainer, run coach or yoga instructor 3 days a week, we are here to help! Set up a consult to discuss what you'd like to accomplish, your health history, current activity level, lifestyle & let them guide you to a realistic plan you can feel good about.
  • Analyze Your Lifestyle: I don't know how many times new clients start with me & say I have to workout to lose these last 10lbs. When I ask about their diet, sleep & stress? It's a hot mess. As the phrase goes, you can't out exercise a bad diet but the same goes for stressful lifestyle factors. Total picture!
Ready to do it? Let's go! What's your TOP goal with your fitness routine??Healthy Balance LLCHave a question? Email me now - emma@healthybalancewithemma.comReady for more exclusive workouts, nutrition tips, recipes & more? Click HERE to get receive my weekly newsletter, full of helpful guides to get you the results you are working for!

New Year, New Mantra.

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset Uncategorized

Happy-New-Year-Greetings-Best

NEW YEAR, NEW MANTRA:

2015 has come & gone, New Year's celebrations flew by & here I am 10 days into 2016. I can't say I have ever been a hardcore New Year's resolutioner. I have no problem setting goals, even lofty ones! It's fun to put pen to paper & kick off a new year feeling like I have a clean slate to make anything happen. The truth is, this year I had every intention of sitting down to reflect on the past year & make a lengthy list of all the kick ass action items I would accomplish this year.

Yet January 1st passed by & instead of overthinking the moment, I simply lived in it. Instead of worrying about whether I slipped up on my resolution week one, I focused on what I wanted to prioritize that day. What mattered most that day or week that would push me just a little closer to being the PERSON I want to be. While I want to work hard to check goals off my list, I also want to feel a certain way about the process. grow-upSAY WHAT?:Let's take my entire reason I took up running many years ago as an example. I didn't just want to run a marathon to cross the finish line, I wanted be the kind of person who dedicated themselves to consistently showing up to do the work. That was & still is my motivation & WHY behind the goal. Professionally I do want to grow my business to make money but it's what making a living off of training shows me that is my WHY behind the daily drive. I want to be the kind of person who is reaching people & making a difference in their quality of life. If I focus on doing the best job I can with every client who comes my way I am achieving the goal of growing my business while focusing on being the person I want to be in the process. Make sense?I connected much more with the idea of deciding what kind of person I want to be in 2016. If focus on that mantra in every action I take each day, on every to do list I make & with how I put myself out there then 2016 would be everything I wanted it to be. So I thought hard about choosing one word to be my mantra this year that was congruent with my personal, professional & lifestyle goals...23748-Be-FearlessEvery goal I had was about putting myself out there, reaching for what I wanted & not being scared to do so. It wasn't the goals in 2015 that held me back, it was the fear or failing at something I cared about. But guess what? We are all going to fail...so what! Even when I have failed at a task I've learned something valuable along the way. It wasn't a waste. So that's my mantra for 2016...FEARLESS is the way I will make my actions congruent with my goals. Instead of asking myself did I keep that resolution, I will ask if I acted fearlessly in the pursuit.Did I not write that blog, reach out to a client, take a new course, share new information, try out a new workout, avoid a new food or even skip a workout out of fear?

Fear of:

  • failure
  • missing out
  • being judged
  • being wrong
  • not following the crowd
  • having a freaking voice
  • or sharing a different outlook that people may disagree with!
Those are all honest fears I have in all areas of my life. It's not the outcome that even holds me back, it's that lingering fear of taking the leap. If I choose to act fearlessly, regardless of the outcome I can feel awesome about that.So what does that mean for Healthy Balance this year? MORE real life talk, tips, workouts, advice, struggles & putting myself out there to share all that I can to help everyone live up to their mantra. Building a community to help us all dream, act & enjoy living FEARLESSLY.

QUESTION:

I challenge you to share you one word theme! Ask the tough question & dig deep. Beyond the checklist, WHO do you want to be in 2016??

How to cope (& struggle) through injury.

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Injury Mindset Uncategorized

There is nothing like the feeling when you return to the gym after 6 weeks away! Almost 4 months ago I injured my back in the gym. What I hoped would be a few rest days turned into a several month long battle with my body. I tried to push through or work around the injury until reality hit. I wasn't getting any better, I hurt all day long & wasn't getting in effective workouts by pushing through pain. I had to get real with myself & commit to 6 weeks or longer out of the gym until I was 100% good to go. Sucks right!!!
Injuries are frustrating to deal with but I've learned to respect when my body needs a break. Even though I needed to take time away from lifting, I didn't just throw up my hands up & quit on my healthy habits. Instead I set new goals & learned a lot along the way.
image1
 Goals:
~ Keep a fitness routine that would help & not hurt my injury: I knew incorporating yoga would be beneficial to my back issue so I aimed for 3-4x a week. I went above & beyond most weeks, averaging 5-6 sessions! I saw my physical & mental practice improve greatly & absolutely plan to maintain a 2-3x a week practice moving forward. I also ran a bit more & built back up to 8 miles. I enjoyed a race with friends which I hadn't done in over 3 years which kept me challenged without the gym. I did see notice a bit of muscle loss probably due to the endurance training but I accepted that would be the result. Nothing that can't be rebuilt! image2
~ Keep my nutrition in check: when our activity levels change our nutrition may need to adjust as well. However I did NOT go into diet mode out of fear of gaining weight. Yes that was my natural instinct at first but I remembered that's not the best plan for my goals. I wanted to retain as much muscle as possible so I just sought to maintain my weight & support the recovery process. I simply cut out that pre or post workout snack & payed more attention to my hunger levels. They naturally went down because I wasn't exercising as strenuously so it was just a matter of honoring my instincts.
image1
~ Keep my happiness high: my number one reason for working out is because I enjoy it. It keeps my mood boosted, energy high & attitude positive. The first week off I noticed I was moody, grumpy & having a bit of a pity party. That wasn't going to magically heal my back or make the time fly by faster. So I started a gratitude journal, which I wrote in every morning & evening. I also made sure to talk to my husband when I was feeling down. Instead of bottling it up, it helped to talk through my feelings to better understand how to work on my mindset. My last mindset key was to keep it all in perspective. I was allowed to be upset but fitness is just one part of me. I am MORE than my workout routine, number on the scale, lbs I can lift, miles I can run & any other way we measure ourselves.
Ever had to deal with an injury & struggled through the process?

Life Lately in Food, Fitness & Seasonal Change.

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Nutrition Recap Recipes Uncategorized Workouts

fallThe fall season is finally creeping into the hot & humid weather. Well technically it is fall, but the 91 degree heat index today doesn't quite make it feel like a crisp fall day. Such a tease after a few days of cooler temperatures! Either way those cool days flipped a switch in my internal seasonal clock. My taste buds are leaning towards hearty warm foods over cold salads, my desired forms of exercise is beginning to shift & even my sleep clock feels a bit different. I love this change & fully embrace mixing up the normal routine depending on what feels natural given the time of year. We all need a bit of change from time to time! What does that mean for my food, fitness & general routine? Here is a snippet of life lately in food, fitness & seasonal change.foodfitnessFood:While I am still enjoying salads, they are now being filled with warmer toppings & heartier ingredients. Roasted starchy vegetables such as roasted winter squash varieties, sweet potato & beets have been thrown in the mix. I've swapped out the crisper romaine & spring mix for heartier arugula, kale & spinach as my salad bases. This time of year also means swapping out berries for delicious apples or pears. These also make a delicious addition to the daily salad.

Beets, apple, walnuts, goat cheese, caramelized onion & roasted turkey.

Beets, apple, walnuts, goat cheese, caramelized onion & roasted turkey.

The crockpot has also been a mainstay on the counter top. As nothing beats a slow roasted piece of meat, a delicious chunky stew or flavorful thick soup to come home to on a fall evening. These main meals have also been accompanied by warmer sides such as risotto, quinoa, roasted fall vegetables & sweet potatoes.
Herb roasted pork loin, mushroom & sage risotto, roasted parsnips & carrots, salad with pear & goat cheese.

Herb roasted pork loin, mushroom & sage risotto, roasted parsnips & carrots, salad with pear & goat cheese.

Breakfast has also been mixed up a bit. During summer months I tend to embrace cold foods such as hard boiled eggs, cold leftovers (weird I know), yogurt bowls & smoothies. Lately I cannot get enough eggs in every form. Oatmeal has made a comeback in addition to savory bacon & breakfast scrambles.
Eggs over sauteed breakfast chicken sausage & kale. Plus a side of plantains cooked in coconut oil.

Eggs over sauteed breakfast chicken sausage & kale. Plus a side of plantains cooked in coconut oil.

As I look at how my intake has changed, I absolutely notice trends. The top being my carbohydrate consumption has increased in the form of oatmeal, apples over berries, winter squash over summer varieties, rice instead of green beans & more. But wait...does that mean I'm going to add the dreaded winter weight many gain during hibernation? As long as I am mindful of my consumption, absolutely not! In fact I've found my body responds well to switching it up from season to season. My body is often much smarter than me when I bother to listen. Without consciously thinking about it, the temperatures decrease & my desire to get outdoors to run increased. At the same time my body started gearing me towards a slightly higher carbohydrate intake to balance the new addition of cardio to my routine. Smart right? Instead of worrying about keeping tight control over my fall food changes, I will simply make sure I still get in balanced meals full of protein, healthy fats, lots of vegetables & whole food carbohydrates.Fitness:As mentioned I have suddenly had the running bug pop out of nowhere & grab hold tightly. Now that it's not 1,000 degrees outdoors I am enjoying increasing my mileage while being smart about doing so gradually. I have battled my fair share of running injuries from stress fractures to severe tendinitis. Many a tear has been shed after having to bow out of races I signed up for or waving goodbye to my husband as he ran with our running group. This time around I am taking it slow, focusing on having fun & have no lofty goals to run a big race anytime soon. No easy task for me & something I keep having to remind myself of. My instinct is to jump from my first 5K distance in 3 years to "hey maybe i'll run a 1/2 marathon in a month". Seriously Emma... Anywho I am putting some limitations on the distance for now & just enjoying the fresh air & fun with friends.
Beautiful morning group run by the river.

Beautiful morning group run by the river.

Another reason I have no desire to overdo the mileage is because I love lifting heavy things. That has not & will not change. What has changed is my frequency, program & intensity. In the past I have made the mistake of picking up a new activity such as running & simply adding it to my already full workout schedule. Previously I was lifting 5-6 days a week, 2x HIIT workouts & a day of power yoga. If I tried to maintain that routine & added 3 days a week of running in I can guarantee over training or injury would occur. This time around I am sticking with 3 days of total body lifting, 3 days of running & 1 day gentle yoga. My runs also vary from a medium distance steady state run, a sprint day & a long run over the weekend. If I ever have a week I feel as though I'm under recovering, one of these will be the first to go!
Front squats for fun!

Front squats for fun!

Yoga is also become a mandatory addition & no longer an "if I feel like it" once a month activity. I have to stretch frequently & move my body in more restorative ways. I finally got real & admitted it doesn't happen as much as needed alone. Sunday is yoga day & I still take time each night to improve flexibility & mobility during the week. If you are going to ask your body to work hard, it's a must to take time for self care. Another lesson learned through multiple mistakes.
foamroll

Foam rolling those hard working legs.

So that's a little update about life in my world. I also love using this time of year to reevaluate goals you might have set at the beginning of the year. Many make those new years resolution only to never look at them after a few weeks. Take a few minutes & consider how you have or haven't progressed towards those goals. Any you can check off? Still want to nail before the end of the year? Or may have taken a backseat or a total change in direction? That's ok no matter where you stand! It's a great opportunity to change with the season & decide an intention for these last few months of the year.Happy Fall! Any fall activities or recipes you are excited to transition into?