Thursday, May 31

Under Armour {Giveaway} + Competition Update


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This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Under Armour.

I mentioned last week that I joined the Under Armour What's Beautiful Challenge and I am super excited. I was a little weary with the time constraints whether or not I would make headway, but I tell you what... The competition was just what I needed to kick my butt into gear. I have such a competitive spirit so naturally I jumped at the opportunity to compete with thousands of other BEAUTIFUL women. It is so inspiring to see all the goals and accomplishments thus far from the other women in the competition and I am loving every minute of being involved. 

My goal is to bust down the 5-mile run barrier that has been taunting me, so I am hoping by next week I will be at 5 and the following week 6. Then by the 26th when the competition is over, I would love to be at 6.5 or 7. I think I can push 7, but again, I'm not a runner (yet) so it's really going to take work. Thanks for all of the motivation throughout this journey. Keep it up please! View all of my completed challenges on my UA profile. I still have a lot of work ahead of me. :)

In researching the competitors in the challenge I came across a giveaway for a chance to win a $500 Under Armour gift card. This blog post enters me into the challenge, but I also wanted to let you know about it so you can enter too! Who doesn't want free swag from Under Armour! Since some of my favorite running gear is UA, of course I want a chance to win more.

Here's some of my fave UA gear: 


UA braided racer back tank


My favorite hat to run in... It's so breathable!
And my favorite heat gear compression capri. I would probably wear these every day if it weren't for having to wash them. :)


There's still time to join the competition if your get your booty movin!

Follow the rules below to join the sweepstakes. 


How do you empower your workout??

Me? I remind myself to smile. Call me crazy, but this has really been working for me lately. It makes me feel happy even when I want to quit. Try it out! Let me know if it works.  

Leave a comment for your chance to win a $500 Under Armour gift card!

SWEEPSTAKES/GIVEAWAY RULES: No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion, including exactly the following unique terms in your tweet message: “#whatsbeautiful” “#sweepstakes”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post. To comply with FTC Guidelines (see http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm), entrants’ blog posts must disclose that they are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post.
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/23-6/11.

Be sure to visit Under Armour’s page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced. 

-Lauren


Saturday, May 26

Easy Yummy Cottage Cheese Breakfast

Happy weekend everyone! I'm so excited for this long weekend. I woke up this morning feeling great after suffering from a 24-hour headache yesterday. I never get headaches so I'm pretty certain it was a dehydration headache. Bad Lauren! It's getting up to the mid 90s during the day here in the panhandle of FL, so hydration is SO important. I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon chugging water and self-massaging my head before I finally gave in a took a Motrin when I got home from work. The day before I had taken an Advil since we were out of ibuprofen, but it did absolutely nothing for me. Does this ever happen to you? Do you have certain medicines that don't work for you?

Anyways... My point about all of this is drink water, drink water, drink water! And then drink some more!

I started off my morning with a cup of coffee and a little cottage cheese concoction that I crave every now and then. I'm not a huge fan of cottage cheese, but every now and then if I mix it with the right stuff it's really delicious, nutritious and filling. This morning's recipe goes as follows...



Easy Cottage Cheese Breakfast

1 cup small curd cottage cheese (I use 1%)
1 peach cut into chunks
1 t. honey
1 tbsp. ground flax
1 t. unflavored fiber (I use free and clear Metamucil)
1 scoop vanilla protein (optional)

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl and ENJOY! 



See how easy that is! This is my kind of breakfast. I'm usually hungry as soon as I wake up, so making this while I make my coffee works really well for my growling tummy. I like to add the protein powder because I actually like the taste it adds. If you'd like instead, you can always add a 1/4 teaspoon of almond or vanilla extract to give it a strong vanilla or almond flavor. The Metamucil is a new addition that I recently started adding. If you look at the back of the cottage cheese container, it has zero fiber in it. Maybe some brands do have a little fiber, but the one I like doesn't have any. I add 1 teaspoon of the free and clear Metamucil, which provides 5g of fiber. So what do you think? Does this sound easy enough for you to make for your morning breakfast? The great part about this recipe is you can really make it your own. Add whatever fruit you prefer and omit or add any other ingredients you wish. Just keep it healthy! :) 

Monday and Tuesday Recap

I took Monday and Tuesday off to spend with my hunny while he was on leave. We spent some much needed quality time with our pups at the beach on Monday and it was so FUN! We love taking the dogs swimming because they love it so much. Slater, our big white dog, could hardly wait for us to get his leash off before he plopped in the water. Molly is a little more cautious, but the hot weather lately makes her really enjoying cooling off her doggie belly. :)


I went deep sea fishing on Tuesday and I promised I would get some pics up of the trip. It was super fun and the hunny and I will definitely be doing this more often. Between the four of us we caught 15-16 Mingo Snappers and both Cory and I got to reel in our own Bonita fish. They aren't keepers because apparently they taste like poo, but it was super fun and a great little workout reeling that bad boy in. I felt like I was reeling in a MONSTER. Turns out it wasn't a monster, but it was the biggest fish I've ever reeled in. :)

The monster himself ;)
We also got to see some dolphins, one shark and a little brown birdie some 30 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico that kept circling the boat. It was a good day!

They were having some fun under the bow of the boat
 So what does your weekend have in store for you? Hopefully you're taking this long weekend to make sure you get some fun, healthy activities in. We're heading to play some beach volleyball today and going on a pontoon boat on Monday. Yippee! Can't get enough of this FL sun.

Follow my Under Armour What's Beautiful Competition page too! I'll be posting more complete challenges this weekend.

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

- Lauren






Wednesday, May 23

Under Armour 'What's Beautiful' Challenge

Yesterday I came across this awesome competition from Under Armour and I'm going for it! It's called "What's Beautiful" and it's "a competition to define the female athlete." I only have 4 weeks (Wish I would have found this sooner, eeek) until they choose the finalists, so I'm getting my booty in gear and getting my body and mind in shape! :) The contest consists of making a goal and completing 19 challenges. I'll be video taping most of them, If I can. I'm super excited.

My Under Armour What's Beautiful Goal goes like this...

I Will... Bust down the 5-mile run barrier and learn to feel good in my skin by pushing my limits and appreciating everything my body and mind can do. there are no limits.

Help me get to my goals by cheering me on! I'll be keeping you up to date, of course, along the way. And if I win......

The Prize
All 10 finalists will receive $1,000 in gear and will become part of the Women's Advisor Group to make appearances for Under Armour.

For one year, Under Armour will sponsor the lives of the three winners with greatness, glory and gear. This will include: training with UA celebrity trainers, a nutritionist consultation and gear for a year featuring the latest Under Armour products. These three women will become the new faces of the brand,­ participating in Under Armour Women's marketing efforts and gaining access to special events.

Here goes it people! I'll have my first challenge up soon!

 
P.S. Sunday I squated 125lbs 5 times on my 5th set. (I started at 95lbs on my first set) Felt like I could've done more so that's a good sign.

Plus, I did some tire flips (which I love so much). Something about tire flips is super motivating for me. Maybe it's because your lifting this huge object, even if it's not a super heavy tire. ;)


 And this is what your hands look like after them. :) Definitely learned not to touch my face after these bad boys... yeah dirty hands lead to black streaks mixed in sweat on your face. Yuk!

Here's just the beginning of getting stronger, faster, leaner and healthier. :)


Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

- Lauren


Sunday, May 20

{Sweat to Street} Sunday

It's Sweat to Street Sunday! Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. I've been playing Auntie this weekend babysitting my little niece. Fun times! :)


Yesterday my hunny and I went on a pontoon boat with his parents, too. It was SOO nice and relaxing.

After our long day on the water
And since May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, I'll have you know that I wore Banana Boat 50 SPF spray-on sunscreen all day! No burns here! In fact, the sunscreen stayed on so well, when I took a shower when we got home I spent a good deal of time scrubbing the residue off my body. I'm still not confident I got it all off. Ha! I also use the SPF 30 with aloe. I really love this sunscreen!

 
OK time for Sweat to Street!!

Sweat to Street Fashion

Sweat to Street Sunday1 Sweat to Street #3

HOSTS:
**Visit their blogs if you want to link up too!!!

***IF YOU WANT TO FOLLOW SWEAT TO STREET ON TWITTER OR PLAN ON TWEETING YOUR POST, PLEASE USE THE HASHTAG #SweatToStreet***
Sweat to Street has been created as a place to link up your favorite outfits of the week as a new Sunday blog feature. The idea is to have some fun and change it up! Each week we encourage you to post one workout outfit and one outfit you wore that isn’t fitness related.

Sweat:

Top: Victoria's Secret
Sports Bra: Seamless Danskin from WalMart (Love this bra and only $10)
Pants: Under Armour Heat Gear Compression Capri 
Shoes: Nike Frees

Street:

Top: American Eagle
Undershirt: White Sports Bra with Lace (WalMart)
Maxi: Target
Shoes: Brown strappy sandal from Target

This skirt is seriously one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing I own! And it was only $22.99! :) 
Happy Sunday everyone! I'm off work tomorrow and Tuesday so this Sunday is extra special! 
Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

-Lauren 





Tuesday, May 15

Get your SWEAT ON! {Driveway Workout}

We had some friends in town that we hadn't seen in a while, so we made plans to do dinner with them tonight at 7 p.m. Well by the time I got home from work (after my 1 hour commute) I knew I had very little time to get a workout in. I didn't feel like only going for a run, and I definitely didn't have time to go to the gym, so I opted to do a {Driveway Workout}. 

I switch it up every time I do these, but tonight's workout consisted of the following butt-kicking exercises.

  • Lunges with a hip extension (12/leg)
  • Squat Jumps (12)
  • Burpees (12)
Do AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) in 25 minutes.

If you have never done lunges with a hip extension, here's how you do it.

Lower into a regular lunge, ensuring your knee is aligned with your ankle. Push through all four corners of the lead foot (you should feel your glutes activate). Before placing the foot back on the ground extend your foot behind you with your leg straight and foot flexed.


Ta da! You just did a Lunge with a Hip Extension. You can perform these walking (I like to do them down my driveway and back) or stationary.

Three quick exercises using only your body weight. :) Who doesn't have time for this, right?

P.S. I apologize for the illustration. Note to Self: Next time my hubby is outside while I workout... have him snap a few photos. :)

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

- Lauren






Sunday, May 13

Ice Cream Craving-Crusher! Yessss! + My First {Sweat to Street} Blog Link Up


Another weekend done and gone! Sometimes I don't know where the time goes, but this weekend was a good one, so no complaints here. The hubby and I snuck away today for some beach time just him and me, which was much needed and much appreciated. We got home and went for a quick run, then took the dogs for a nice little walk down the block. AWESOME little Sunday! And on the menu for dinner tonight..... CHICKEN KABOBS and sweet corn on the grill! Yum-o! 



 


After dinner I was craving some ice cream, or mainly just something cold and sweet. :) I decided to make some Healthy Ice Cream to finish off the night. I've made various recipes before but tonight's was by far the best-tasting one I've made so far. I usually just estimate on how much of each to use. Tonight I was making enough for 3 people, so I used a bit more of each ingredient than I would normally use for just myself.

Ice Cream Craving-Crusher - {Healthy Ice Cream}
serves: 4

1 c. 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
1 c. Low-Fat Small Curd Cottage Cheese
8 pieces Frozen Pineapple
6 Whole Frozen Strawberries
8 Whole Frozen Cherries
2 T Honey
Shredded Coconut

I use my food processor (you can use a blender too) to chop up all the frozen fruit. I like it to be a little chunky. Combine the yogurt and the cottage cheese in a small bowl with the2 Tablespoons of honey. Once combined, add the fruit. Place in the freezer for up to 15 minutes, depending on how thick you'd like it. Serve into a small serving bowls and sprinkle with coconut (or any other toppings of your choice)






It definitely crushed the craving for ice cream and left me with ZERO guilt afterwards. Big Win! :) 

Sweat to Street Fashion

So, I've decided to join in on a blog link up on Sundays from some lovely fellow blogging ladies! The link up is about sharing some of your own personal fashion. If you want to see more blogs that join in on Sweat to Street Sundays, view the Host blogs.

Sweat to Street Sunday1 Sweat to Street #3

HOSTS:
**Visit their blogs if you want to link up too!!!

***IF YOU WANT TO FOLLOW SWEAT TO STREET ON TWITTER OR PLAN ON TWEETING YOUR POST, PLEASE USE THE HASHTAG #SweatToStreet***
Sweat to Street has been created as a place to link up your favorite outfits of the week as a new Sunday blog feature. The idea is to have some fun and change it up! Each week we encourage you to post one workout outfit and one outfit you wore that isn’t fitness related.
-----
Here's my first Sweat to Street post. I'm so excited!

Sweat:


Tank: Under Armour
Shorts: Nike 
Shoes: New Balance Minimus
Head Band: Halo
Sunglasses: Oakley Discolure  


Street:

 
Top: New York and Company
Scarf: Target (Hey, I still get cold in FL!)
Shorts: American Eagle Midi (My absolute favorite short ever)
Shoes: My beloved Hemp Rainbows

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Tomorrow starts a brand new week with brand new opportunities! :) Grab it by the reigns!

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced. 

- Lauren

 

Tuesday, May 1

May Challenge: Bikini-Ready Booty + Killer Arms

I'm jumping on the Monthly Challenge Bandwagon and I'm so excited to do it! :) I've been thinking long and hard about what my first monthly challenge will be. Although we try to live healthy lifestyles throughout the year, many of us are focusing on gearing up for bathing suit season (EEEK) right now. I wanted to provide you with a challenge that can be done in less than 20 minutes and can be done in addition to whatever your workout efforts may be for the month. Hope you like!

May Challenge: Bikini-Ready Booty + Killer Arms

Click on the calendar for a larger version.

So there it is folks! My first {Monthly Challenge!} Yippee! Here are some tips to remember when doing each exercise. 

TIPS

Incline Pushups 
You can do these on your couch, the hood of your car, against a wall or anywhere else that may give you an incline. Things to remember...

- Arms should be a little wider than shoulder width.
- Keep your belly button tucked in to ensure your core is tight throughout the whole movement.  
- Perform the movement slowly and with control.
- Breathe out as you push up. 



Air Squats
Air Squats, AKA Body-weight Squats, are by far one of my favorite go-to exercises. They are great for beginners and the elite athlete, as well. Things to remember...

- Stand with feet a tad bit wider than hip-width apart.
- Toes should be slightly pointed outward.
- Slowly lower to 90 degrees and push through all four corners of the feet to raise back up into the starting position.
- Arms can raise to perpendicular to the ground on the way down and lower to the sides on the way up, or your hands can be behind your head during the movement. Choose which one feels most comfortable.
- As you get better at these, up the intensity by increasing your speed. (Ensuring to remember all aspects of good form) 
- Breathe out on the way up.


Decline Pushups
Decline Pushups are great upper body toners! Elevate your feet on your couch, a weight bench or an exercise ball (more challenging). If the movement is too challenging to perform a pushup, simply hold in the plank position with your feet elevated for 15-30 seconds. This will help you gain the strength to eventually perform decline pushups with no problem. Also, supporting more of your weight on the bench or your couch will help make the pushup easier for beginners. Things to remember...

- Arms should be a little wider than shoulder width.
- Keep your belly button tucked in to ensure your core is tight throughout the whole movement.  
- Perform the movement slowly and with control.
- Breathe out as you push up.
 
I love working out outside, so I typically do my incline pushups with my hands on the hood of one of our cars, and my decline pushups with my feet elevated on the back bumper. I have an Xterra so the back bumper has a rubber step pad. :)

This challenge should take very little time out of your day and will pay off dividends. As the repetitions for each exercise increase, don't be afraid to break them up if necessary. Complete them in one sitting, but maybe do 10 or 12 at a time. Let me know what you think of my first challenge!

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

- Lauren



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