5 reasons to drink coffee before your workout + National Coffee Day (tomorrow)

afitmess
September 28, 2016

National Coffee Day is tomorrow (September 29) and in honor of my favorite unofficial holiday, I thought it would be fun to dedicate a post to coffee. Prerequisite: you¬†should be¬†drinking coffee while you read this. ūüôā

 

First, let’s agree that every day is National Coffee Day. Coffee is a part of my daily routine and it’s what gets me out of bed every morning. It’s how I start my day and it gets me going. I appreciate coffee MUCH more now that I’m a parent. Just sayin’.

 

To help us celebrate this special “holiday,” several coffee chains are offering some fun promotions on Thursday.¬†Take a look at this list to see¬†where you can get a free cup¬†or¬†other deals on coffee. ¬†I imagine you could get a few cups of coffee on the house simply by visiting all of these stores throughout the day. Anyone planning on doing that?

 

Several big coffee chains are giving away something a little different this year. For example, Starbucks will donate one rust-resistant coffee tree to farmers in need for every cup of Mexico Chiapas coffee it sells at participating stores in the US. And Caribou Coffee will donate a cup of coffee to caregivers at hospitals across the country for every cup of Amy’s Blend coffee is sells that day. Pretty amazing, right?

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You don’t need to look very far to learn about¬†the advantages of drinking a daily cup of coffee. The benefits¬†of caffeine¬†range from promoting happiness and decreasing depression to helping your productivity and improving your skin.¬†Plus, it takes¬†pretty amazing.

From a health and fitness standpoint, consuming coffee before your workout can be extremely beneficial. Some of these benefits include:

1. ¬†Improved blood flow – Studies show that caffeine can increase circulation. This means your body’s small blood vessels become more efficient at transporting oxygen to your muscles. The increase in oxygen leads to a better workout.

2.  Greater endurance РHaving a cup of coffee before a demanding workout like cycling or running can improve your ability to preserve. Why? Caffeine naturally raises the number of fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream. This allows your muscles to absorb and burn fat for fuel, saving your limited stores of carbohydrates/glycogen for later in the workout. This is particularly helpful for long workouts. Caffeine also encourages your muscles to release calcium which can be used for more endurance.

3. ¬†Enhanced alertness and mood – There’s no doubt that coffee can give you a mental and physical boost. Reaction time, focus, and attention all increase after consuming caffeine. And coffee is¬†also a great motivator – it gives us the push we need to get going and enhances our mood. Better mood = better workout.

4. ¬†Metabolic effect – Research has show that caffeine heightens metabolism as well as your body’s ability to burn fat. It also helps regulate blood sugar and improves your insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.

5. ¬†Increase athletic performance – In addition to boosting endurance, coffee increases your energy and your body’s ability to perform. It has also been shown to decrease muscle fatigue and your perception of pain. This could mean you are able to push harder and longer through your workout.

But here’s why you shouldn’t grab a coffee right after your workout…

While drinking coffee before your workout can aid in muscle recovery, you shouldn’t consume it immediately after training. Caffeine post workout¬†can interfere with muscle recovery and can elevate your cortisol levels (which are typically elevated during and after your workout). Instead, try to wait a few hours after your workout before indulging in a second cup. Take a look at this article by Charles Poliquin to learn more.

 

Happy Wednesday my lovely friends! Have a great day!

Friday faves 3 + birthday recap

afitmess
June 3, 2016

Hey there, friends! I’m excited to be back with another Friday faves post for you. I have a few things to share, but first I want to take a moment to thank everyone for the kind birthday wishes. So far, 33 (or as the girls say, “free-free”) has been treating me well.

Birthday recap

My morning started out really peaceful. I drank coffee and wrote for an hour or so in a completely silent house. The girls didn’t wake up until 7:30 – that was my gift. Once they got up, I made them smoothies and prepped my carrot cake while eating a big bowl of protein overnight oats and fruit.

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I took the girls to Old Navy to try to do some shopping, but it wasn’t happening. There were crazy deals going on, but it was difficult to look around – my kids were darting all over the place. We’re in that running-away-from-mom-is-fun stage.

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Later on, I left the girls with Matt and got a great workout in at the Y and then spent some time at Market Street Coffee reading and writing. It wasn’t too exciting, but it was exactly what I needed.

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In the evening, Matt made homemade pizza and wings for dinner. The pizza was pretty epic. It had caramelized onions and shiitake mushrooms, garlic, bell peppers, and goat cheese and pesto. Honestly, I could have eaten the entire tray. The recipe is from Julie Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook and this pizza alone is worth buying the whole book.

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And the carrot cake! It was sooo easy to make and turned out really well. I think I’m going to have to make it for the girls’ party next week.

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So overall it was a pretty great day!

Okay, let’s get into the Friday faves.

Friday faves – what I’m loving lately

Starbucks ground mocha flavored coffee.¬†Matt picked this up last week and we have really been enjoying it. The secret is to mix half of the flavored coffee with a regular kind. It creates a delicious cup of coffee with a tiny hint of chocolate. Seriously, it’s SO good!

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So Delicious cashew milk “ice cream.”¬†I recently learned that So Delicious now has cashew non-dairy ice cream and I was excited to try this one. The dark chocolate truffle is dangerously good. It’s so rich you only need a small amount.

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Nordstrom’s Half Yearly Sale. You’ll love or hate me for this one. Yes, the sale that empties our bank accounts has just a couple of more days left. I’ve been pretty good, but I found some super cute things on the cheap. I got this high neck dress for $20 and this swing dress for $22! You’re welcome.

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12 high intensity running workouts. Tina from Carrots ‘N’ Cake shared a compilation of her favorite running workouts in honor of Global Running Day. The best part? They are all pin-able! I want to try the Dirty Diana!

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Coconut Oil Hair Mask from Majestic Pure. This deep conditioner is great for restoring damaged hair. It’s rich in vitamin E and fatty acids and will leave your hair soft and hydrated. It’s on Amazon Prime, too!

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LIKEtoKNOW.it. Have you heard of this? Basically it’s a service that lets you shop your favorite Instagram styles within minutes. All you need to do is sign up for LIKEtoKNOW.it, like a photo on Instagram, and you’ll receive links to purchase the items right to your inbox. I know…dangerous. It’s actually pretty neat!

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Okay, I’ve got to run and start my day. Have a fabulous weekend all!

What are you loving lately?

 

 

5 simple tips to stay on track with your health

afitmess
May 25, 2016
A Fit Mess

Hello! Happy Thursday, friends. We are one day closer to Friday and a loonng weekend! Today I wanted to share some simple tips I use to stay on track with my health. All of these may be things you already know, but it never hurts to have a little reminder of the basic ways we can promote our well-being and make better choices on a regular basis.

K, let’s get into it!

5 simple tips to stay on track with your health

1.  Pay attention to beverages and limit your drinks to water, coffee, or tea.
Juice, sports drinks, and soda are loaded with calories and provide almost no health benefits. They also spike your insulin levels which can add to your waistline. Water,coffee, and tea are hands down the best choices out there. And be sure to drink water throughout the day. I always carry a water bottle with me so I don’t forget to stay hydrated. Remember: bloating and headaches can often be a sign of dehydration.

2. ¬†Eat your vegetables and salad FIRST when you sit down for a meal. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons. Starting your meal with veggies may keep you from eating more than you planned simply because they fill you up. Plus, you’ll get a good dose of fiber and water from the vegetables which can keep you feeling satisfied.

3.  Cut out processed foods and items with preservatives.
Processed foods include anything that has been altered from its natural state. These items contain very few nutrients and include chemicals and artificial dyes. Processed foods are also much harder for your body to digest. Be sure to read your labels and if you can’t pronounce or identify ingredients on something, don’t eat it. Stick with real food and have the majority of your meals come from quality protein, vegetables, and fruit.

4. ¬†Prepare your own food. This is truly one of the most effective ways to stay on track with your health. Making your own meals (including packing a lunch for work) gives you complete control over your food intake. You know exactly what you putting into your body. Plus, having a prepared meal keeps the guesswork out of eating. You’ll be less likely to just order takeout (or buy lunch) and you’ll save money, too!

5. ¬†Take a probiotic or eat probiotic foods every day.¬†Good digestion is key to managing weight, increasing energy, and promoting overall health. Probiotics are known as “good bacteria” and can be found in fermented foods (like yogurt, pickled veggies, and kombucha). If your gut is healthy, your digestion is supported. That means your body will be able to break down, process, and absorb all the nutrients you are taking in. If you don’t eat a lot of fermented food, you may want to supplement. This is the kind we use.

What tip(s) would you add to this list?

 

Friday faves 1

afitmess
May 20, 2016
A Fit Mess

Hiii! Hooray for Friday! We made it to the weekend. What are your upcoming plans?

I feel like I need to follow the blogging trend and make Friday the day to share some fun things that I am enjoying or that I love. I see no better day to share my favorites than everyone’s favorite day. Who here doesn’t love Friday? No one.

So please welcome the first official installment of Friday Faves. Let me know your feedback on the series (love it, hate it?). I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

These two new (to me) flavors of GT’s kombucha: Lemonade and Strawberry Serenity.
Seriously – they are so good. I would definitely recommend trying them. I found both at Whole Foods!

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This mug from Parker and Otis which is without a doubt how I feel.

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Tiger Balm pain relieving patches.¬†These little guys are perfect for random aches and pains. My shins have been crying lately. These patches seal in the ointment and keep your clothing from getting stained. Plus, I no longer walk around with a menthol scent. Oh, and I’m loving my new Nikes.

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This awesome t-shirt that my sister sent me. It’s brushed cotton and super comfortable. Plus this statement is 100% true. She knows me so well.

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Short hair.¬†I’m actually liking my hair this length. It was a tad too short when I first got it cut, but I have decided I prefer my hair on the shorter side. It’s much easier to manage and takes way less time to do in the morning.

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I love that the off-the-shoulder look is back in style. Looooovvvve it! I’ll be pinning away on this trend.

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Savannah Bee Company Inc’s royal jelly body butter. I became hooked on this ever since I received it as a birthday present last year. It works really well for healing dry skin and the scent is heavenly.

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These beautiful portraits of the girls from Amelya Jane Photography that I recently framed. I’m still trying to figure out where to hang them. I’m sure they’ll be sitting on the floor for awhile.

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The idea of a positive perspective. Sometimes we just need to change the way we look at something. It’s easy to get sucked into the “why me?” mentality, especially when it seems like nothing is going the way we planned. But sometimes the things we perceive as negatives can provide new opportunities.

 

A glass of wine on a rainy Thursday afternoon because, well, why not? I picked this bottle of Echeverra up at Whole Foods for $8.99!

 

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Have a wonderful weekend!

What are you loving lately? Anyone come across any great finds?