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Breanna Woods

matches showing burnout not doing enough working hard

Dear Cassey: I Feel Like I’m Never Doing Enough

By | Dear Cassey | No Comments

Dear Cassey,

First of all, I wanted to compliment and thank you for everything you do. You motivate so many people including myself and show me what I can do to live a better life – I really love your videos.

But this is actually already where my problems begin. I feel like I never do enough. When I only work out for 10 minutes because I don’t feel good, I ask myself why I didn’t do 30 minutes. When I worked out for 30 minutes, I ask myself why I didn’t do 45 minutes. I think you can already see where this is going. When I ate mostly healthy for a week, I ask myself why I didn’t eat completely healthy. When I did work for my university for four hours, I ask myself why I didn’t do five.

As you can probably see, it is a problem that I have in all aspects of my life. So here is my question: how can I be proud of myself and see that I don’t need to be the perfect Wonder Woman to be happy?

Thanks for your answer!

Never Enough

matches showing burnout not doing enough working hard

Dear Never Enough,

Oh my gosh. I know this feeling all too well. Having the drive to push yourself is amazing, but then comes that nagging feeling of “but could I be doing more?” I seriously deal with this all the time. But you know what I realized? Pushing myself to the limit RARELY makes me feel more successful. It only makes me exhausted and it’s honestly just a recipe for burnout.

Here are some things that help me pull back a bit when I’m being too hard on myself! Hopefully, they can help you too :)

Reflect on why you’re not feeling satisfied.

Try to put your finger on what is really bothering you about your goals. When you only do a short workout, are you really frustrated because you didn’t work out long enough, or is it because earlier in the day you spent too much time scrolling on your phone or watching TV? When you only eat “healthy” most days, are you really just wishing your diet was more consistent? Are there some other projects or stressful situations on your shoulders that you’ve been avoiding?

Then, zoom out and change your perspective.

For some reason, it feels awkward to pat ourselves on the back for little things. We’re told to aim higher, set big goals, to push harder. But with that mindset of always doing the biggest and the best, we’re NEVER going to feel satisfied, right?! “More” isn’t always better.

So here’s what I’m saying – it doesn’t have to be about how many minutes you work out. Did you work out at all? THAT’S GREAT. Who cares if you had pizza one night this week. Were you mindful about most of your meals, and did you enjoy that pizza? That’s actually ideal if you ask me. Sure you only worked 4 hours, but did you get everything done that day/week?

Just like everything in life, we have to CHOOSE to see the positive. And it takes practice!

If you truly don’t like something, change it.

As they say, you’re not a tree. You’re not stuck! If you really want to change something, do it! Back to your workouts – what if it’s not really about how much time you spent working out? Maybe it’s time to change the type of workout you’re doing. If you’re not enjoying your workout, or if it’s not challenging you enough, trying something fresh might help.

For example, when I was doing bikini competitions, I felt like I was never working hard enough. I felt like I could always do better. But then I realized that I just didn’t like how training for competitions made me feel. So I pivoted into something new and felt a lot better.

Rethink how you track your productivity.

I like to start each day with a to-do list. Even if I have an idea of what I’d like to accomplish in my head, there is just something about having it written down that motivates me. AND it’s sooo satisfying to check things off throughout the day as I get them done. I can physically SEE how productive I’ve been, and I’m less likely to have that anxious feeling of not doing enough. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a list you know will stress you out! Be realistic.

Seeing everything crossed off your list will feel AMAZING.

Avoid comparing yourself to others.

I’ve also realized that I feel more anxious about how hard I’m working when I compare myself to others. Having everyone’s lives so accessible online makes this even harder for me. Social media just creates so much noise and pressure to do more, aim higher, and show it off like everyone else. Constantly scrolling through everyone else’s “perfect” snapshots of their achievements urges me to keep up. And guess what?

IT’S NOT POSSIBLE.

Because life online is just that – a snapshot. It’s great to follow people for inspiration, but it’s also important to step back and realize that what you see doesn’t paint the whole picture. There’s more to the story for people who seem to be pushing at 100% all the time. None of us have it all figured out!

Don’t be hard on yourself, and remember that you’re your own worst critic!  

I promise that you’re doing more than you give yourself credit for. Be kind to yourself. I’m pretty sure all of us “could” do more in just about every aspect in life. But would that be healthy? Nope. It would probably drive us all crazy. So next time you find yourself obsessing over not doing enough, shift your focus to what you HAVE done.

You got this!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

remedies for bloating ginger tea in a white mug

My Top 8 Remedies For Bloating

By | Diet, Nutrition | One Comment

Hey guys!

Alright. ‘Tis the season for heavy, sodium-loaded, DELICIOUS comfort foods.

And that really means….’tis the season of feeling bloated alllllllll the time. Because of course we’re not going to avoid all of the holiday goodies, right?! Luckily, there are some things we can do to enjoy the season, enjoy the yummy foods we look forward to all year, AND avoid being so bloated the next day (or week).

Here are some of the BEST remedies for bloating.

1. Water

I know, I know. You’re stuffed and you feel like a balloon. The last thing you want to do is put MORE in your stomach. But drinking water is key for major bloating damage control. TRUST ME.

It will help restore your sodium balance so your body chills out a little when it comes to holding onto extra water. Staying hydrated will also prevent constipation. Very important.

Don’t go chugging a gallon of water though. That probably wouldn’t feel great. Take frequent, small sips!

remedies for bloating 90 day meal plan blogilates good morning yogurt in bowl

2. Probiotic Foods

These foods are especially helpful if you know you’re prone to bloating, or if you know you’ll be indulging in some foods you’re particularly sensitive to.

Foods with probiotics (AKA good gut bacteria) like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and tempeh help balance your gut bacteria. An imbalance with too much “bad” bacteria can cause bloating and a lot of other unpleasant digestive issues.

ripe banana on tea background

3. Bananas

Bananas are an amazing source of potassium, which can help balance the excess sodium in your body and relieve some of the water retention that causes bloating. Bananas are also great for preventing/relieving constipation!

4. Ginger

Ginger has been around as a natural remedy for tummy troubles for a looooong time. A lot of people swear by it for nausea, but it can help calm your digestive system when you’re bloated, too. Besides its calming effect, ginger is also anti-inflammatory.

The best way to use ginger as a remedy for bloating might be ginger tea. You’ll get the benefits of ginger, plus the added digestive benefits of a warm beverage. You can also add a little lemon juice – it’s known to stimulate digestive enzymes to get rid excess salt and yep – bloating.

remedies for bloating ginger tea in a white mug

5. Warm Tea

Tea is great for soothing your digestive system, and many types of tea also help reduce inflammation! I mentioned ginger tea as one of the best remedies for bloating, but some other amazing teas that help relieve bloating include:

  • Peppermint tea
  • Green tea
  • Fennel tea
  • Lemon balm
  • Chamomile

6. Gentle Movement

I never really feel like working out when I’m super bloated, but I know that gentle movement is seriously helpful.

Walking gets your blood flowing and helps the process of digestion.

Yoga is especially helpful, especially twisting poses. Twists specifically work really well for bloating because they stimulate circulation and the digestive system!

7. Stay Upright

I know you want to lay down. But don’t lay down. Staying upright will help gravity do it’s thing so you can feel better faster.

8. DON’T do these things! 

Don’t sabotage these remedies for bloating! Avoid things like:

  • Chewing gum (this makes you swallow more air, which can contribute to bloating)
  • Drinking a carbonated beverage
  • Eating another big meal, and/or eating fast
  • Eating “sugar-free” foods with sorbitol
  • Eating foods known to cause bloating like legume and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower etc.)

At least until you feel better! What are your fave things to do to avoid and remedy bloating?

What Happens When You Eat Too Much

By | Diet, Nutrition | 18 Comments

Hey guys!

We’re right in the middle of holiday season… which means FOOD SEASON. Every year, we’re hit with headlines and pressure to avoid overeating, to avoid holiday weight gain, blah blah blah.

But what if we shift the focus a little away from weight gain, and think more about how icky it feels when you eat too much? Especially this year, it’s important to enjoy any time you get to spend with loved ones, and food is a huge part of that experience! Stressing about avoiding the mac n’ cheese or dessert table just isn’t worth it.

It’s totally possible to have a little of allllll the good stuff while still avoiding that miserable stuffed feeling at the end of your holiday meal. But to do that, we have to understand what happens when we overeat!

Let’s get into it.

Your stomach stretches

Before you freak out over the image of your stomach stretching (I did too when I first learned this)…it’s SUPPOSED to stretch.

To an extent.

The stomach is actually covered in little folds called rugae. They allow the stomach to stretch and shrink, depending on how much food is inside. But if we overeat, it stretches beyond what it’s really supposed to after a meal. And it’s uncomfortable.

How much your stomach can comfortably stretch actually depends on how much you usually eat. On average, your stomach is about the size of a fist but can stretch to hold about a quart of food/liquids.

Woman nausea from overeating

You might feel a little queasy

“I ate soooo much I might puke.”

Haven’t we all said this at some point?! I think it’s an exaggeration most of the time, but that queasy, “too full” feeling is definitely a familiar one. So can you actually get sick from eating too much? Does your stomach just say “NOPE, that’s enough” ?!

Kinda. When the stomach stretches beyond it’s comfort level, the extra pressure makes you feel nauseated. ESPECIALLY if it stretches too quickly (like if you eat too much AND too fast).

It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to actually vomit, but you’ll feel queasy until some food digests and the pressure is relieved. You can help your stomach by taking a walk or if it’s really uncomfortable, you can lay on your left side, which encourages things to move along.

bloat reason abs aren't showing

Get ready to bloat 

Ugh. My worst enemy.

Your digestive system gets a little overwhelmed with all that food coming in, especially if it’s fatty, salty food that you might not eat on a regular basis. So it starts working in overdrive.

That brings in extra water and gas, making you super bloated and maybe even a little gassy. Eating too fast makes this even worse.

Nap tiiiiiiime

A big meal always makes me sooooo sleepy. I feel like I’m pretty much down for the count for the rest of the day after I eat too much. Apparently there’s a reason for that Thanksgiving nap, even if you avoid the turkey!

Obviously being uncomfortable is the big reason. You just want to get horizontal and let that food digest.

Otherwise, your body prioritizes digestion when it has a lot of food to handle. That triggers a neurological response that can make you feel a little drowsy. Some of the main hormones that regulate digestion can also make you a little sleepy.

 

Will you instantly gain weight from one big meal? 

Probably not.

Yes, your body is going to use the calories it needs and then may store some extra as fat, but one meal isn’t going to cause a noticeable difference. Weight gain and weight loss happen over time. It’s more of a reflection of your overall diet over the course of several weeks or months!

If you wake up 2 pounds heavier the day after Thanksgiving, it’s probably water weight from all of the hard work your body is doing to digest the food, combined with water retention from eating more salt than usual. Don’t stress (and maybe don’t even weigh yourself the day after a big meal), and just get back to your usual habits.

Remember, food is joy and a huge part of tradition and socialization! ENJOY IT. But if you want to avoid being uncomfortable, just slow down and eat smaller portions :) 

7 Reasons Why Your Abs Aren’t Showing – and Why That Shouldn’t Be The Goal, Anyway

By | Body Image, Working Out | 23 Comments

Hey guys!

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to get your abs to show? You work hard in the gym and you can FEEL how strong they are, and your diet is pretty healthy. But for some reason, they’re not poppin’ through like the way we want!

Abs are just some of the last muscles to really show definition for most of us. In fact, setting a goal to “get abs” is probably not the best goal to start with because it’s sooo difficult – especially for women (more on that later)! It’s doable yes, but important to remember that having ab definition isn’t a way to measure how in shape you are! You can have an EXTREMELY strong core and be in great shape without a 6-pack (or 8-pack if we’re being technical).

So now that those details are clear, let’s go over some of the reasons why your abs might be the most stubborn muscle to show definition.

Body fat percentage

The truth is, your body fat needs to be pretty low to actually see your abs. Even if you’re in amazing shape and your body fat is healthy or even at the “athletic” level, it might not be enough for your abs to peek through.

Getting body fat low enough for visible abs is definitely harder for women than men. In fact, women may not start seeing a lot of definition until their body fat is around 20 percent or less. Even then, you may only see the upper abs and obliques and that’s only IF your muscle structure (like, from genetics) is favorable. For fully visible 6-pack abs, women need to get their body fat down around 15 percent or less. And that’s REALLY hard to do. Most fitness pro’s don’t recommend that most women go any lower than this, to avoid risking amenorrhea and other negative effects of too little body fat.

bloat reason abs aren't showing

Bloating

Yep, yet another blog post talking about how bloating loves to show up and mask our hard work.

Haha! But seriously – if you’re bloated, those abs are NOT going to show themselves. If you’ve been eating a lot of high sodium foods, carbonated beverages, carbs or sugar substitutes like sorbitol, you might have a little bloat going on. Same thing if you’re on your period! Bloating makes your abdomen slightly distended, which will hide the muscles you’ve worked so hard for.

Posture

Sometimes, standing up straight can make a HUGE difference!

If you’re slouching, letting your shoulders round or not squaring your hips you will look shorter and your middle will kind of compress. Instead, pull your shoulders back and down, reach through the crown of your head, and square your pelvis. Try to stay mindful about this throughout the day! Strengthening your core will help with posture too.

If you sit a lot throughout the day, you might have tight muscles that pull your hips forward and therefore make your belly push out. Try to sit with good posture, stretch each day, and take plenty of breaks to get up and walk around.

Effective core training

There’s wayyyy more to abs than crunches. Getting the definition you want involves ALL of the abdominal muscles.

That includes the transversus abdominals, the deepest of them all, whose role is kind of like a corset and draws your belly button towards the spine. Next are the obliques – internal and external – and they’re in charge of rotating and crunching your torso from side to side. Then, lastly, you have the rectus abdominis, that coveted “6-pack” that lines the center of your midsection. Everyone likes to focus just on that rectus abdominis, but it’s super important to build strength for all of the abdominal muscles.

If your ab workouts focus on the same kind of work, it’s time to switch up your routine!

Spot training

Say it with me: Spot. Training. Isn’t. A. Thing.

You can’t just do abs every day and expect to have abs. You have to work the entire body to decrease body fat, increase lean body mass and eventually get those abs to peek through. Also keep in mind that a lot of workouts involve your abs, even if you don’t realize it! When you lift weights, run on a treadmill, or hold a yoga pose, your core is ACTIVE and working!

bowls of healthy food zoodles banana oatmeal berries carrots meal prep pad

Consistent diet

You’ve heard it before – abs are made in the kitchen.

But it’s really easy to feel impatient when you’re not seeing the results you want. But changing your diet too often isn’t the answer! Changing your body composition (decreasing body fat and increasing lean mass) takes TIME. Just because you don’t have the ab definition you want within one week doesn’t mean it’s not working. Constantly changing your diet and trying this and that will only make it take longer. Plus it will make it hard for you to know what IS working!

On the same note, being super strict throughout the week and then “cheating” on the weekend might be part of the problem too. Consistency is key, so it’s best to find a healthy, balanced diet that you can sustain!

The process is slow and definitely takes patience. But it’s worth it!

cassey ho popflex sports bra and leggings

Everyone’s abs look different! 

Guess what? Some people just don’t have the muscle structure for a 6-pack. For some people, only a few of the abdominal muscles will show definition. On the same note, we all store fat a little differently. If you’re someone who holds onto fat in the abdominal area or you notice weight gain there first, it will probably be more difficult to see ab definition than it is for someone who stores more fat in their hips and thighs.

Don’t Forget to Celebrate STRENGTH!!

Having a strong core is a HUGE deal for soooo many more reasons than looking good in a swimsuit. So before you get too discouraged that the abs you’re training for aren’t as visible as you’d like, pay attention to how a strong core is improving your body – better posture, less back pain, better overall workouts, better balance, and more efficient day-to-day function.

It is definitely not the end all and be all, so don’t let what you see dictate your progress. Remember, the deepest abdominal muscle – the transversus – can’t be seen yet it’s sooooo crucial in developing core strength. Building a strong core should be the goal!

What questions do you have for me about all this?! Leave it in the comments below!!

gift wrapped in pink paper with gold ribbon and glitter

My Complete Gift Guide For Fitness and Food Lovers

By | Life | 11 Comments

IT’S TIME FOR HOLIDAY SHOPPING!

I loooove this time of year! I mean, nothing makes me more excited than the holidays, cooking, and spending some quality time with the fam. But to be honest, I’m also equally excited to start shopping for gifts after the tough year 2020 has been. Watching my family and friends open their thoughtfully chosen presents brings me soooooo much joy – I just love seeing them so happy and surprised! That saying, it’s better to give than receive, it is so true.

Anyway, I feel like every year, I always run into an issue of how to choose the best gifts. We all have those people in our lives that seem to have everything, or don’t really ask for much. So, we gotta get little creative for them!

If you have a fitness lover in your life and you’re not sure what they want, then this gift guide is for you. These are all things that I actually use and love, so you know it’s coming from a credible place! Plus, you might get some ideas for yourself too ;)

1. Nike Air Zoom SuperReps

These are THE BEST for HIIT workouts and lifting. They give the best support! I seriously love them and might even own every color… My fave part is that I love the look of the heel! It kinda feels like high heels for fitness girls (in a good way) and elongates my leg. People are alwaaaays asking about these, so that’s why they’re #1 on my list this year!

2. Asics Running Shoes

I looooove my Nikes for HIIT, training, and lifestyle but for running, I do ASICS. They support my foot really well and it doesn’t make my Achilles tendon feel achy after a run. It’s also super durable!

3. 2021 Fit Planner

We juuuust released these hot cakes a few weeks ago and they are going FAST! If you don’t know about my Fit Planners, then you need to know. This planner integrates your personal life and your fitness life into one place and helps keep all of your visions on track. It helps you look at the year from all angles – monthly, weekly, and daily, complete with challenges, recipes, and sooooo much more.

4. Vegan Suede Yoga Mats

These are legit my favorite yoga mats in the WORLD. I’ve tried a looooot of mats and this is the only one I use. It gets grippier as your hands get sweatier.  I love designing these for POPFLEX and there’s a reason we keep on making more! They sell out so so so so fast. The colors and designs are vibrant, gorgeous, and they never fade. This is perfect for the yogi or home fitness addict in your life!

5. Nike Running Belt

I don’t know why, but I ran without a running belt for way too long. I got back into running this year and kept thinking I’d probably get bored of running… but here I am, still hitting the pavement every single morning (I’m just as surprised as you are). I was tired of holding my phone and my sister finally got me this running belt to match her! AND WOW. I know it probably sounds obvious, but this was a game-changer.

If you have a runner in your life, or someone who never knows what to do with their phone or keys when they run, this will legit make running a little less painful. It’s small and compact so it doesn’t look like a traditional fanny pack. I love the mesh material and that it’s both fashionable and functional.

6. Microsoft Surface Headphones

This is a pricier gift, but quality headphones are a MUST. And I’m not just talking sound quality. They have to be comfortable too! I like these ones specifically because the ear part is so soft like luxury pillow cushions. It stays on my head, unlike the earphones that go in your ear and the sound quality is amazing. I use them for running and for work! It’s good for the forgetful person in your life because the battery life is really long. My faves are the white ones!

7. InstantPot

If there’s one appliance every fitness junkie needs, it’s an Instant Pot. This thing does everything! It’s a slow cooker, pressure cooker, and can even turn into an Air Fryer with the lid attachment! This kitchen tool makes meal prep a piece of cake. Some of my favorite things to make in the InstantPot are soups and stews! It seriously is a one-pot wonder and if you haven’t gotten one yet, this year is THE YEAR!

8. Ello Food Containers

Meal prep requires a lot of organization. Some quality food containers makes everything soo much easier, eco-friendly, and pretty :) Gift this super cute set! Some other good options are these from Glasslock, or these divided containers from Prep Naturals.

9. 90 Day Journal

If you have someone in your life who keeps talking about change, but seems hesitant to fully commit to their dreams, the 90 Day Journal is the PERFECT gift for them. When I went on my 90 Day Journey last year, I kept a journal just like this and it changed my life.

Pair this with The 90 Day Meal Plans and this will be the gift that lasts forever! The 90 Day Meal Plan features over 70 recipes for meals that I actually ate on my own journey. The meals are simple but super yummy, and there’s a plan for omnivores, pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans.

10. Dry Shampoo and Dry Conditioner from Waterless

Ooooh okay, I’m gonna be honest. I didn’t use dry shampoo and conditioner until super recently, but now I am obsessed. It’s perfect when you’re on the go but need to still keep your hair looking fresh! This one from Waterless smells nice and when paired together, it’s just a winning combo.

12. DASH Air Fryer

Okay, I am obsessed with my air fryer. I make EVERYTHING in it. This one is soooooo cute and there’s nothing that makes cooking more inspirational than dreamy kitchenware. And I know everyone talks about it, but it’s true. This air fryer legitimately makes food crispy and tasty without all the frying!

13. Apple Watch

I loveeee my Apple watch! It’s great for tracking workouts, syncing to my phone, and keeping me on top of things as I go about my day. This blush color is also soooo super dreamy.

14. High Ponytail Caps

I have always dreamed of a cap where I could keep a high ponytail!!! When I didn’t see one on the market, I decided to make one. And you guys, this has CHANGED THE GAME. High ponytails, messy buns, you name it – you can wear it all with this cap!!

Okay, that was super hard to slim down my list, but those are my top faves!!! What are yours? What fitness things can you not live without? What do you secretly wish to get this year?! Let me know in the comments!

Feeling Tired? 7 Unexpected Causes of Fatigue

By | Life, Mind & Body | 20 Comments

Hey Guys!

Have you ever felt like all of a sudden you’re just tired ALL THE TIME? Like no matter what you do, all you can think about is laying down for a quick nap? Or you dream about going to bed early all day, even if you’re technically getting “enough” sleep?!

I get like this sometimes, which is really weird because I’m usually full of energy. So when I’m dragging, I’m like ok WHAT is going on?!! When I feel like this, I also want to just skip my workout and snack all day. And then I just feel worse.

Turns out a lot more than sleep goes into our energy level. There are some things that could be zapping your energy that you wouldn’t even think about!

Check these out – if you’ve been feeling drained lately, maybe they can help you figure out why!

You’re not getting QUALITY sleep

So you’re sleeping at least 7 hours per night, but are you doing that consistently? And are you sleeping WELL?!

Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re getting solid, quality sleep:

  • No screen time 30 min before bed
  • Make sure the room is dark
  • Set up a comfortable temperature
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon
  • Try relaxation techniques before bed (meditation, journaling, yoga, etc.)

Changing your diet might help if you’re feeling tired

Food = fuel, so it kinda makes sense that eating well is a big deal for your energy levels!

First of all, try not to skip meals! When you go too long between meals, your blood sugar can drop, and that’s gonna make you feel pretty sluggish. On the other hand, there are some foods that cause your blood sugar to rise more quickly. Eating these “high glycemic foods,” like sweets, could make your blood sugar crash later, bringing your energy down with it.

If you recently started a new diet or cut out certain foods, that could be the issue too. Make sure you’re eating ENOUGH. If you cut back too much, your body will compensate with less energy.

Vitamins and minerals are a big deal for your body’s energy production system. Set your cells up for success with plenty of nutrient-dense foods and a balanced diet with carbs, protein and healthy fats.

You’re on your period

Heyyyyy hormones!

If you’re about to start your period, you can blame a hormone shift for your fatigue. From ovulation to the start of your period, progesterone is high. That makes you feel tired. Serotonin crashes around this time too, which also contributes to the problem.

Don’t worry though, those hormones will bounce back to normal soon and you’ll feel more like yourself!

popflex starry night insulated water bottles

HYDRATE

How much water have you had today?

Not coffee, tea, diet soda, etc. ACTUAL WATER.

The easiest way to tell if you’re hydrated is by checking the color of your pee. Gross I know, but important! It should be almost clear, with a slight yellow tint. If it’s darker, you need more water. The best way to make sure I’m drinking enough is to keep a water bottle on me at all times. Then I try to just be mindful about how often I’ve filled it up throughout the day.

If you’re tired and you’re a coffee/tea/soda drinker, then more caffeine is going to sound VERY tempting. Try not to give in, at least until you’ve chugged some H2O! Too much caffeine can actually contribute to fatigue too.

blogilates cassey ho workout stretch yoga abs core

You need to get moving

A lazy day might actually make you feel MORE tired. And exercise can actually BOOST your energy. Sounds backwards, but it’s true!

If you find yourself craving a nap, think about how much you’ve moved that day. Have you been sitting at a desk or bingeing Netflix? If yes, then get up and go for a quick walk around the block or a lap around your office. Walk your dog. Do 30 jumping jacks. Vacuum your living room. Anything to get up and move for a minute! This is usually what helps me when I’m feeling tired :)

Check your mental health

Your mental health affects your energy levels. If you’ve been stressed, you might feel physically tired AND mentally tired.

Brain drain is real. I’ve been there.

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break and step away from whatever is stressing you out. Get outside and get some fresh air, try a meditation app, or even take a little vacay.

Chronic fatigue is a sign of more serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety too. If you notice you’re not feeling like yourself on top of being super tired, reach out to a professional!

You might need to ask your doctor

If all else fails, ask your doctor.

There are A TON of deeper issues going on if you’re feeling tired. Things like:

  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Thyroid issues
  • Sleep disorders
  • UTI
  • Certain medications

And other conditions need to be diagnosed and treated so you can feel better! So if you’ve tried everything with no relief, definitely check in with a professional!

Let me know how you’ve been feeling lately in the comments below!

weekly planner workout rest day

Dear Cassey: If I don’t work out, I feel panicked and stressed.

By | Dear Cassey | 29 Comments

Dear Cassey,

I started working out a couple of months ago and I absolutely love it and enjoy it however I’m starting to feel pressure to work out every day. There’s a constant voice in my head telling me that if I don’t work out, I’ll gain back all the weight I’ve lost and all my hard work would have been for nothing. As restrictions are loosening I’m getting busier and busier and finding it harder to find time to work out, but if I don’t work out I start feeling stressed and panicked. Please give me some advice on how to control my fear.

Thank you,

Feeling The Pressure

weekly planner workout rest day

Dear Feeling the Pressure,

There is such a fine line between committing to a healthy habit like working out and letting that habit rule your life. It’s easy to cross, and I’ve been there! I used to have days where I would literally sit in the gym parking lot just dreading my workout, but knowing I would feel so guilty if I didn’t go in. The workouts that brought me joy had turned into more of a punishment. Sound familiar?

The good news is, you can turn it back around!

I think when we get really serious about something like working out, it can be really easy to feel pressured to work out every day. Especially if you’re starting to see results, you can feel guilty for not adhering to a schedule.

At the same time, our world turned completely upside down this year. We’ve held on to any kind of routine and outlet that we can. For you, that might have turned into working out. And like you said, as things are loosening up, we’re having to let go of our “new” routines that have been keeping us afloat all year.

So, just like adjusting earlier this year was probably a little uncomfortable, we have to adjust again.

That means giving yourself permission to REST.

Not only are you getting busier with other things, but your body needs time to recoup from workouts. Instead of feeling pressured to workout every day, build some rest days into your plan. Because they should be part of the plan anyway! Your body can’t fully recover and your muscles can’t repair and grow without rest. You won’t see progress without rest.

I know it’s easier said than done. If I have days when I’m not moving in some way, I kind of go crazy. It makes me feel pressured to work out sometimes too, but I’ve learned to use my energy for other things! Rest days can also be productive if you feel up to it! Try something like walking, yoga, cleaning your house, etc. that will still get your blood pumping a little without the intensity of a workout. But if your body is asking for total rest, give it some rest. I promise it will not reverse your hard work or slow any momentum you have going.

I guess I’m just saying it’s all in your mindset. Work on changing your self-talk and move away from the guilty thoughts about missing a workout. Instead, recognize that you’re doing good things for your body by resting. Or, you’re doing good things for your mental health by being productive in other ways that you haven’t been able to tackle most of this year!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

fruit in glasses of water with yellow paper straws

This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Drink Enough Water

By | Diet, Nutrition | 17 Comments

Hey guys!

If you know me, you know I am OBSESSED with water. I literally carry around my 64oz POPFLEX bottle with me everywhere I go and I am constantly drinking water! My trick to staying extra hydrated is adding a little hint of flavor with some fruits.

Anyway, the only struggle for me is on the days where I’m super busy with filming or other work stuff, I sometimes don’t get enough water. During my 90 Day Journey, I discovered that I feel A LOT better on the days I’m well-hydrated. But I never really knew why! So I did a little research to see if water was really making such a big difference in how I feel and I learned SO MUCH.

You guys, the science behind this is soooo fascinating.

Shall we discuss?!

fruit in glasses of water with yellow paper straws

How much water do you need? 

Okay… so how much water do we actually need?

The easiest rule of thumb is to drink 8, 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Obviously, some people will need more and some will need less. Exercising, living at high altitudes or a hot environment where you’re more likely to sweat, being pregnant or breastfeeding, or being sick can all cause higher fluid needs. So while it’s good to have the “8×8” rule in mind, a lot of experts recommend sipping on water all day, and to keep drinking as long as you’re thirsty.

Getting enough water is important for:

  • Regulating your body temperature
  • Getting rid of waste
  • Lubricating your joints
  • Overall taking care of your tissues

If you’re not sure you’re drinking enough, your body can give you a couple of pretty good clues. Thirst is the obvious one. And the second is the color of your pee! Sounds gross but it’s an easy way to check! You want it to be a very pale, almost clear yellow. If it’s darker yellow… go drink!

What happens when you’re dehydrated? 

Your body is always losing water… through sweat, pee, etc. If you don’t drink enough to keep your fluid levels up, it’s pretty easy to become dehydrated. And that can cause some problems.

Fatigue – One of the first signs that makes me realize I haven’t had enough water is feeling sleepy!

Headache – If you don’t rehydrate on a hot day or after a hard workout, you’re asking for a headache. When I get a dehydration headache, I know it’s bad!

Moodiness – Tired and cranky? It might be time to hydrate.

Difficulty concentrating – I think the fatigue, moodiness and lack of focus all go hand-in-hand. Basically, if you’re feeling these things, grab some water!

Hunger and cravings – If you’re feeling snacky, your body might actually be asking for some water. Being dehydrated can cause cravings too – especially sweets!

Bloating – I IMMEDIATELY reach for water if I notice I’m bloated. It will help to get things “moving,” if you know what I mean ;)

Constipation – Water gets things moving in your intestines. Without enough, everything will slow down!

Dry skin – “Dehydrated” skin looks dull and can be flakey. Drink up if you want dewy, youthful skin.

popflex starry night insulated water bottles

Tricks to stay hydrated

If you don’t love drinking water, or you literally just forget to drink throughout the day (sounds weird but so easy to do when you’re busy!), you can try some things to set yourself up for hydration success! Here are some of my favorite ways to make sure I’m drinking enough water.

  • Get yourself a big water bottle – And keep it on you at all times.
  • Use fruit for flavor – If water is bleh, add some flavor! Sliced lemon, lime, berries, or cucumber for light, add a really refreshing taste.
  • Set “checkpoints” throughout your day – Break up your day with water breaks. Every time you eat, take a bathroom break, etc., drink a glass! You could even set alarms during the day to get yourself into the habit.
  • Make sure you have water with your meals – And “drinks” don’t count!
  • Use technology – Download an app or invest in a smart water bottle to track your water intake

Eating foods with high water content helps you stay hydrated too!

Yes! Food can help you hydrate! Some foods with high water content include cucumber, celery, zucchini, watermelon and grapefruit.

Things that contribute to dehydration

There are some things you could be eating and drinking that are actually sabotaging your efforts to stay hydrated! Things like…

Caffeine – Coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks won’t exactly quench your thirst. Try to drink some water before you go for the caffeine.

Salty Foods – Eating too much sodium can pull water from your cells, making you dehydrated.

Sugary Foods and Drinks – Excess sugar actually pulls more water from your tissues, leading to dehydration.

Alcohol – Alcohol is suuuuper dehydrating, which is one reason you get a hangover if you drink too much. If you want to have a few drinks, just try to drink water in between.

Final Thoughts

Water is a big part of your overall health. If you don’t drink enough, chances are you’re going to feel the effects. If you’re feeling tired, moody, have dry skin, or other signs of dehydration, make it a priority to drink more water throughout the day!

Do you have any good tips or tricks that help with drinking more water?! Tell me in the comments! 

Dear Cassey: How can I stop feeling insecure?

By | Dear Cassey | 17 Comments

Dear Cassey,

How do you handle having bad insecurity days? I’ve been having some recently and I don’t know what to do to make myself feel better. I have friends who can eat whatever they want and stay really skinny but I have to work really hard for it. What helps you?

Sincerely, 

Sometimes Insecure 

Hey Sometimes Insecure,

I definitely have those days where I notice I’m feeling insecure… STILL. I think it’s safe to say that everyone does! So please know that you’re not alone. It’s way too easy to compare ourselves to others, whether that be our close friends, or people on the internet, or even people on TV. Comparison always leads to feelings of insecurity, even for people who seem to “have it all.”

So I guess that’s the best place to start! Comparison really is the thief of joy. We’re all different and we all have things we’re insecure about, just like we all have things we’re super confident and proud of! It’s all about perspective. You specifically mentioned your friends who can “eat what they want and stay skinny,” but I’d be willing to bet that they have insecurities about their own bodies too.

Start working to change your perspective to focus on the things you’re proud of. I get frustrated when people have the wrong perception of me or when people start to judge me for being “too skinny”, even though years ago they judged me for being “too fat”. So for years now, I’ve focused on NOT trying to be what everyone wants me to be (because it’s impossible), and instead being proud of being who I want to be. I’m mindful of my accomplishments, and I make goals for myself. Not others.

To start working on this, start focusing on what you love about yourself. Write it down if you have to. It’s awkward at first to “brag” about yourself, but it’s totally necessary to get away from picking yourself apart – which for some reason we have ALL been trained to do. Then, find a good way to document your goals (big and small), and track your progress often. You can journal, take pictures, whatever works.

You’ll still have days when you’re feeling insecure, but you can always go back to your journal to remind yourself of how amazing you are and how far you’ve come. It’s really liberating to get out of the mess of comparison and what we “should” be!

I hope this helps! If anyone else has tips for how Sometimes Insecure can lift herself up on tough days, leave them in the comments!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

10 Sneaky Foods That Are Packed With Hidden Sugar

By | Diet, Nutrition | 19 Comments

Hey guys!

When people make changes to improve their diet, the first change I hear people talk about cutting is SUGAR.

And most of the time, it doesn’t take long for people to realize that it’s much easier said than done. And before we get too far into this, I’m talking about added sugar. Not naturally occurring sugars in fruits and veggies! Gotta be clear about that.

So, why is it so hard to limit sugar? Well, it’s a lot deeper than just avoiding obvious goodies like ice cream and cookies. In fact, sugar hides in a lot of foods you don’t even think of as “sweet!”

Here are some common foods to look out for if you’re working on your sugar intake.

First, why is sugar added to so many foods? 

Brands add sugar to food for more than just flavor! They also add it for:

Texture – Yep, sugar helps with texture! Have you ever noticed that sugar-free ice cream just isn’t as creamy and smooth as “normal” ice cream? Sugar is a bulking agent that helps give ice cream the texture we all know and love. It’s also what gives baked goods the soft, tender mouthfeel that makes them melt in our mouths.

Foods with yeast also like sugar. If you’ve ever baked bread, you know that yeast needs “food” in order to come to life and release gas, which is what makes bread rise! Sugar is a preferred ingredient to help this process happen.

Color – It’s added to foods to help with color and browning.

To preserve foods – Sometimes it’s all about shelf life! That’s why things like jams and jellies are PACKED with sugar. It helps with the canning process and makes these foods shelf-stable. It binds water (usually more water = higher chance of spoilage) to limit bacterial growth.

To balance other flavors – Some flavors just taste too acidic or tangy on their own. Sugar is added to balance these flavors out, even if the food it’s added to isn’t meant to taste sweet.

1. Yogurt

The amount of sugar in yogurt varies A TON. Some have enough to literally be more like a dessert.

If the kind you buy is flavored, chances are it’s on the higher side. However, this is where actually looking at the label is important! Yogurt is dairy, so it’s going to have some naturally-occurring sugar. If it has fruit it in it, that will add some natural sugar too. What you want to look for is the amount of “added sugar.”

On the other hand, a lot of “sugar-free” yogurts exist too. Those just replace sugar with sugar substitutes – which is fine for most people, but could cause tummy troubles or might not taste as good for others.

If you’re trying to limit added sugar in your diet, your best bet is to buy unflavored, unsweetened yogurt and add your own fruit or sweeten with just a little honey.

strawberry granola bars hidden added sugar

2. Granola Bars

Products like granola bars can be realllllly tricky, because so many are marketed as healthy when they really have just as much sugar as a cookie. If you know what to look for, granola bars are an awesome and healthy convenient snack.

Look for bars with simple ingredients, and keep added sugar to a minimum. If you’re someone who likes to cook, homemade granola bars are AMAZING and you can control the amount of sugar that goes into them.

3. Dried Fruit

I had no idea for sooo long that a lot of brands add sugar to dried fruit! But it’s true!

Most of the time, they’ll have 2 ingredients: the fruit and sugar. Obviously there are plenty of brands that don’t add sugar too, but it’s good to be aware! Especially if you love to snack on dried fruit or add it to your salads.

tray with sauces in ramekins on wooden table

4. Sauces and Salad Dressings

Some sauces are obviously filled with sugar. I mostly think of condiments like barbecue sauce and ketchup. And I used to think even those things were harmless because we only use a little, right? But it gets realllly interesting if you actually pay attention or measure how much you use just once! The sugar can really add up.

One sauce with hidden sugar that might surprise you is jarred pasta sauce! It’s often added to these sauces to balance out the acidity from tomatoes. However, there are some brands out there that offer “no sugar added” options!

Same thing for salad dressing! And you know what else surprised me? The ones touting to be “light” or “fat-free” sometimes just pack MORE SUGAR. So be aware, check the label, or make your own if sugar is something you’re keeping an eye on.

5. Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another one that surprised me! Some of the “big brand” instant oatmeal packets have up to 12 grams of added sugar. And honestly, I don’t feel like one packet is a very big portion!

The packets are definitely convenient and still a great fiber-filled option if you need something easy, but I’m thinking making your own topped with fresh fruit (ahh and maybe nut butter!) would be more tasty, less sugary and more filling.

glasses of tea on a cutting board with sliced citrus fruits

6. Beverages

I think we all know that things like soda, sweet tea, lemonade, etc are LOADED with sugar.

But what about some drinks that are marketed as “healthier” options? Some sports drinks and energy drinks may surprise you with just how much hidden sugar they contain. And if you’re a coffee shop lover? Chances are the sugar in your latte is a lot more than you might guess!

While we’re here, let’s talk about kombucha. Kombucha is fermented, which is one reason we love it! But fermentation requires some sugar. Some companies add more sugar (some add a ton or add juice) during production. It’s a little tricky because some of the sugar is metabolized during fermentation. But some is leftover, and a recent study found major discrepancies in how much sugar was listed on the label vs. how much was ACTUALLY in the kombucha. Interesting!

7. Bread

This is another one a lot of people don’t think of as a “sugary” food! Including me!

Some brands of sliced bread add sugar for a softer texture and that pretty, caramel coloring. The amount might not be as high as some other foods on this list, but it’s worth being aware if you’re looking for ways to cut back.

smoothie in glass with berries and banana

8. Smoothies

Have you ever been to a smoothie shop and noticed that they’re not using fresh fruit? Some shops use a syrupy fruit “mixture” instead, which usually means you’ll be sipping on more sugar than actual fruit. Some things to look for when you’re ordering a smoothie:

  1. Are they using real fruit?
  2. Are they adding any juice, honey, etc?
  3. Are they adding anything like frozen yogurt to make it nice and thick? (YUM, but usually full of sugar).

Of course, if the nutrition info is available, you’re going to notice a lot of sugar either way. Most of this is natural sugar coming from the fruit! But if there’s a bunch of other added stuff, that smoothie probably isn’t any better than hitting up your local Dairy Queen.

I feel like I need to mention bottled smoothies that you find at the grocery store here. Those can be sooo misleading, promising X amount of fruits and veggies and sometimes extra protein. But if you check the label, you might find a lot more extra sugar is added.

9. Nut Butter

While you’re busy checking labels, go ahead and check your nut butter!

A lot of brands contain some added sugar, even though it might not be enough to be concerned about. That’s totally not the case for things like Nutella though!

spoons with spices and sesaoning

10. Seasonings

Yep, your favorite BBQ rub, taco seasoning, or chili seasoning might have some hidden sugar. Of course the amount is going to be pretty small, but it’s still worth mentioning for anyone who decides to go sugar-free.

How to spot hidden sugar on the label

If you’re on the lookout for hidden sugar, then you need to know what to look for on the label. First, food labels now specify “added sugar,” which is super helpful. But how much is too much? Well, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to 25 grams for women and 36 grams per day for men.

Next, be aware that the ingredients list may use other names for hidden sugar, such as: names that end in “ose,” molasses, corn syrup, cane juice, honey, syrup, fruit juice concentrates, and beet sugar.

So, did any of these foods surprise you?!! 

Obviously we don’t have to avoid all of them all the time. But if you feel like you could benefit from eating less sugar, it’s good to know where it may be hiding in your favorite foods!

blogilates 90 day journey pb j smoothie bowl in teal bowl with fresh fruit

Dear Cassey: What should I eat before and after I workout?

By | Dear Cassey | 25 Comments

Hi Cassey,

I am doing your workouts and seeing amazing results! However, I have a few questions about eating before and after workouts.

When do you eat before a workout and what do you eat? I used to workout as soon as I woke up on an empty stomach with just water, but I’ve read that you need to take in something light.

If I eat before a morning workout, does that count as breakfast? Or can I have proper breakfast after? For example, today I gobbled down a half boiled egg and a banana. Is that okay?

Thank you! 

Working on the Details

blogilates 90 day journey pb j smoothie bowl in teal bowl with fresh fruit

Hey Working on the Details!

I’m so happy to hear that you’re seeing results! And you’re putting in the work to keep learning and improving!! WOOHOO!!!

The diet part of a fitness journey is definitely the most confusing part (in my opinion at least!) I used to have so many of the same questions: should I eat before a workout? How long before a workout?! And what’s the best thing to eat?!

It can get really stressful trying to plan and figure it all out. But reaching out for support like you are right now and doing lots of research is how I finally figured it out.

Here’s the best thing I learned though: for the most part, it’s all about what works best for YOU. Some people prefer to workout in a “fasted” state (in other words, early in the morning with no food before). Some people NEED to eat something before a workout. Honestly, it’s totally fine to workout before you eat as long as you feel good! If you’re feeling like you don’t have much energy during your workout, then having something beforehand might be helpful.

If I’m working out later in the day, I usually keep my pre-workout snacks small and simple so it’s light on my stomach but will still give me energy. Something like a smoothie or a banana with a little peanut butter if I’ll be working out within an hour. You could also grab something like nuts, a hard-boiled egg, slice of deli meat, or Greek yogurt.

And yep, you should definitely eat after your workout! Even if you had a snack before your workout. I always try to replenish 3 things after a workout (especially a hard one):

  1. WATER
  2. Carbs
  3. Protein

Some examples are things like…

  • Eggs with a starchy veggie like sweet potato or fruit
  • Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts
  • Veggie omelet with fruit
  • Toast with peanut butter and banana
  • A high-protein smoothie

As for the snack you mentioned above, a boiled egg and banana is also great! I’d just go for more than half of an egg so you can make sure you’re getting plenty of protein :)

I try to eat as soon as I can, but I know sometimes that’s tough. If you’re not going to be able to eat a meal within the hour, at least try to have a snack! And hydrate hydrate hydrate!

I hope this is helpful! Planning your pre and post-workout food can make a really big difference in how you feel during your workout, and your results later on! Experimenting to find what is easiest for you and makes you feel the best is all part of the journey.

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

Easy Air Fryer Zucchini Fries

By | Recipe Index, Side Dishes | 9 Comments

Hey guys!

I’ve got another healthy recipe for ya. And it’s seriously soooo good!

We’re making zucchini fries!

Zucchini is so versatile. You can cook and flavor it in so many ways, which makes it super easy to get your veggies in. These “fries” are flavorful and have just the perfect amount of crisp. And they’re so healthy!

Ready to make some?!

Here’s how to make zucchini fries in your air fryer

You only need a few ingredients:

  • 1 Zucchini
  • Spray oil – olive, avocado, coconut, or whatever you like!
  • Seasoning – salt and pepper is delish, but I looooove Trader Joe’s Elote Seasoning on these

Annnd make your zucchini fries!

  1. Slice your zucchini into long slices so they look like fries.
  2. Give them a good spray with oil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, Elote Seasoning, etc. Your choice!
  4. Throw those babies in the air fryer and set it for 400 degrees F for 20 -15 minutes.

A couple of tips for ya:

  • The thinner you slice your zucchini, the crispier your fries will be.
  • If you don’t have an air fryer, you can bake these in the oven! It may take a little longer to get them nice and crispy, and I’d flip them about halfway through.
  • You’ll want to eat these right away. They’ll lose their crisp if they sit for too long.

Okay, I’m not even going to try to say these can replace real French fries because NOTHING CAN.

But these are SO good and fun to eat! If you’re trying to get more veggies in your life, try this recipe for zucchini fries ASAP.

If you make this recipe, pleeeeease tag me on Instagram or let me know in the comments! I wanna know what you think! And if this inspires you to try more healthy recipes, I’ve gotcha covered with some of my faves :)