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Breanna Woods

Dear Cassey: No matter what I do, I’m not lo...

By | Dear Cassey | No Comments

Dear Cassey, 

I’m 5’4”, age 39, Asian and 164lbs. I have one child and I never step on the scale because it stresses me out. I work out hard, even on days I don’t want to. I still find a way to push myself. I meal prep and I try to watch what I eat, but no matter what I’m not losing weight or inches. I’m thinking of all the things I have cut out and it makes me wonder why I’m still not losing weight? I would like to get back to my weight before I got pregnant which was 125 – 130. I try to tell myself I’m gaining muscle but I still haven’t convinced myself to believe it. I want to love my body but I can’t. The number on the scale literally stresses me out. When I do lose weight, I gain it all back. What am I doing wrong?? Why can’t I love myself?

Thanks!

Discouraged with Dieting

Dear Discouraged with Dieting,

I wish I could just give you a big hug! If there’s one thing I want you to know it’s this: we have ALL been there and you are NOT alone.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that self-love doesn’t always come naturally. It takes time, TONS of self-care and a serious change of mindset to get there. It’s definitely not easy! But hopefully I can help.

First, your body created and birthed a child! THAT is seriously something amazing and something that we as women don’t always give ourselves enough credit for. Yeah, a lot of changes come with pregnancy and having a baby, but they are all signs that you created life! So if you think of pregnancy as the point you started to lose confidence in your body, I want you to work on your mindset. That was your body’s greatest achievement! It’s totally okay for our bodies to change, and yours did some amazing things in the process!

Second, it’s natural for our bodies to change the way we burn calories and hold onto weight as we get older. I’ve even noticed changes in my own body lately! Embrace it, and be easy on yourself. You can’t control changes in your metabolism or other things that come with getting older, but you CAN spend time figuring out what your body needs.

As far as losing weight, I’ve got some thoughts that might help. First, kinda like I said before, all bodies are different. Sometimes it just takes trial and error to figure out how our bodies need to be fueled. Second, think about what you fuel your body with instead of what you restrict. Are you consistent with your diet? Are you mindful when you eat? Are you choosing mostly whole foods? Lastly, it doesn’t always come down to diet and exercise. SO MANY THINGS go into weight loss/weight gain, like stress, sleep and hormones. So here are some things you can ask yourself:

  • Am I getting enough quality sleep?
  • Am I stressed out? If I am, what can I do to manage my stress (better sleep, meditation, taking more time for myself, etc.)
  • Should I talk to my Dr. about any hormonal changes I might be experiencing?

I’m so PROUD of you for staying active and for working hard to eat healthy. Make sure you’re enjoying your workouts, and if you’re obsessing over calories, I’d recommend you stop tracking them. Focus on eating whole, nutritious foods and don’t fall into the temptation to crash diet or obsess over calories. Oh, and let’s forget the scale for awhile! That number doesn’t tell the whole truth about our bodies, plain and simple. If you’re exercising and eating healthy, you ARE getting healthier.

I hope this helps and gives you some things to think about! Remember that it’s all about lifestyle, and being kind to yourself is SO important!

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.

blogilates easy healthy recipe sweet potato pancake stack with greek yogurt and cinnamon

4 Easy, Healthy Recipes for People Who Don’t...

By | Breakfasts, Desserts, Diet, Recipe Index | 16 Comments

Hey guys!

Like everyone else, I’ve been eating most of my meals at home lately. I like to cook, but I have to admit that cooking ALL of our meals has been kind of exhausting. And allllll the dishes? UGH. I just can’t. To make my life easier, I’ve been making a few of my favorite, super simple and super healthy recipes pretty much every day. I’m talking recipes that take like 5-10 minutes, use very few ingredients, and dirty only one or two dishes.

And you know what? I might even like these better than most more complicated recipes! Seriously.

I know a ton of people are struggling to stick to their healthy eating while they’re at home, because they just don’t love to cook! If that’s you, guess what? You don’t have to love to cook (or even be remotely good at it) to eat healthy! Don’t believe me? WELL here are 4 recipes to prove it 😊 You ready?!

PS –  these recipes are total winners for people who love to cook too. SO GOOD.

 

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1. Banana Pancakes

Woooow would you look at that stack?! Yum.

You only need TWO ingredients for these babies: a banana and a couple eggs. That’s it! Then, all you have to do is mash ’em together and cook on a skillet on medium-high heat. Who knew a recipe existed that would totally satisfy any pancake craving without:

  • A ton of time (these seriously take like 5 min)
  • A ton of ingredients (like I said, only two!)
  • GUILT. No added sugar or other junk in these pancakes!

Oh, and these pancakes are FILLING. The eggs give you about 12 grams of protein and a little bit of fat to fill you up, while the banana provides some healthy carbs to boost your morning with a little energy. Here’s your new go-to breakfast…or snack….or lunch. If you’re like me, a pancake craving can hit any time of day.

 

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2. Minute Mug Cake

Being home so much has me craving allllll the snacks so this recipe is 100% NECESSARY. Not only will it save you from eating an entire batch of muffins, but you won’t destroy your kitchen making this either.

So here’s the rundown on this recipe. First of all – suuuuuper easy. Second, it’s grain-free, dairy-free and perfect for anyone following a keto or paleo diet. Lastly, you seriously won’t believe how moist and fluffy this little cake is! Every time I make it I’m like HOW is this SO GOOD?! Try it ASAP.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 T peanut butter
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or butter
  • 3 T almond milk
  • 3 T almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T monk fruit sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder

DIRECTIONS:

Mix it all together in a mug then microwave for 1:30! Warm, fresh, baked goodness in <2 minutes.

MACROS:

This recipe makes 2 servings (didn’t wanna split the egg)! Each serving is 215 cals, 18g fat, 7g carbs, 10g protein.

 

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3. Omelet in a Mug

Omelets are intimidating, even if you like to cook a little. If you avoid the kitchen most of the time, I’m gonna guess omelets are usually a hard pass. Well, don’t pass this recipe up! This is the easiest omelet recipe EVER. It’s gonna change your breakfast life forever. Does that sound dramatic? Wellll…I just really love this recipe!

Okay so here’s how you make this one:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 – 1/2 c chopped veggies – mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, or whatever you have on hand.
  • A little cooked meat (optional of course!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T almond milk (or whatever milk you love)

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly grease your mug with cooking spray. Add your veggies, meat, eggs and milk and stir! Microwave for 1 minute and stir, then microwave again for 1 minute. Top with some salsa or avocado if you’re extra like me, and ENJOY!

 

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4. Sweet Potato Pancakes

Okay…did I save the best for last? I mean look at these pancakes. AND THAT DOLLOP OF GREEK YOGURT?! I’m honestly obsessed with these. They’re sweet without any sugar, and they’re packed with protein, healthy fat and fiber that makes them soooo filling and satisfying. I’m thinking I could eat these every day. Wanna know how to make them? ZERO cooking skill required – promise!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 eggs

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Boil your sweet potato until soft. Scoop the insides into a bowl.
  2. Add the eggs and stir until it’s nice and combined.
  3. Next, heat up a pan and spray with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/3 of the batter into your pan and cook for a few minutes on each side, carefully flipping when bubbles start to form and pop on top. Repeat until you have a gorgeous stack of pancakes!
  4. Feel free to top these with some yogurt like I did, sprinkle with cinnamon or serve with some fruit!

These are literally SO good, SO easy and SO healthy. I can’t wait for you to try them!

Cooking healthy meals doesn’t have to be complicated!

We’re all forced to cook at home more right now, but don’t let that throw you off your healthy diet! There are literally TONS of easy, healthy recipes like these that actually taste really good. If it helps, I have videos for how to make all 4 of these recipes on my Instagram. You can see how I make them and join me with a little dance when you fall in love with all 4 just like I did! I mean, if these recipes didn’t taste good enough to make me dance, I wouldn’t be so excited to share them with you. DUH.

Also- I wanna know what your favorite recipe is! Lemme know in the comments!

Blogilates april 2020 workout calendar small

The Blogilates April 2020 Workout Calendar!

By | Calendar | 114 Comments

Hey guys!!

I am soooo ready for a fresh, new month! Even if we’re still kinda stuck in these uncertain times, a new month means that we’re moving forward. I hope you’re adjusting to the temporary new normal we’re all living, and I really hope you’re making the most of spending time at home!

To keep a good mindset going into a new month, I decided to set an intention for April (so helpful btw!).

Here it is:

No matter what is going on in the world, I’m going to be mindful about what I can actually control. For example… I miss my gym, but feeling frustrated about it won’t change what’s going on. Instead, I’m focusing my energy on finding fun, new ways to workout at home.

Here’s another one I’ve struggled with. I realllly miss my friends, my family and my coworkers! UGH. Instead of being sad though,  I’m going to focus on ways I can help and stay home, so everyone can get healthy and we can get back to normal life as soon as possible. It seems like a simple concept, but mindset is everything.

Thinking through this intention and how I can use it made me feel soo good! If you want to set an intention for this month, tell me what it is in the comments!

On another positive note, how FUN was the 14-Day Quarantine Workout Plan?! I loved working out right along with you for two weeks! If you didn’t have a chance to start it, it’s not too late!

And now to the best part! The April Workout Calendar is here!!! AHHH!! I’m so excited for you to see what I’ve got for you this month.

Blogilates april 2020 workout calendar small

When you download the PDF, you’ll find that each video is linked! Just click and it will take you to the YouTube video listed!

Here’s an overview of each week of the April Workout Calendar. We’re targeting a different area each day! We’re gonna get that whooooole body nice and strong. Yesssss.

SUNDAY: Obliques & Abs
MONDAY: Total Body
TUESDAY: Butt
WEDNESDAY: Cardio
THURSDAY: Arms
FRIDAY: Recovery
SATURDAY: Legs

Do each video once (unless otherwise stated) and check off as you go! Each day will be around 45 min of exercise! GUESS WHAT?! There will be a new video every Monday! Get excited, because you’re gonna loooove Mondays!

If you’re just getting started or want to ease into working out, my Beginner’s Calendar is a great place to start! It’s a free 4 week program to get you stronger, so that you can join in on the monthlies when you are ready.

I am so proud of how hard you’ve worked this year. Think about how far you’ve come! Have you surprised yourself? Most importantly, are you PROUD of yourself?! You better be. These workouts are no walk in the park, and you’ve been crushing them for 3 months. That’s huge!

I hope this month’s workouts continue to challenge you and remind you that you can take on anything life throws at you.

Don’t forget to tell me about your intention for April in the comments!

Having a hard time working out at home? This might...

By | Motivational, Working Out | 14 Comments

So. The gyms are closed and soo many of us have been thrown off of our fitness routines. That change has been hard to swallow for a lot of people – including me! I love going to the gym. It’s my escape and it’s where I feel strong. However, I’m choosing to keep my workout routine up at home. Yeah, it takes some planning and it’s harder to find motivation. But you know what? Staying active is seriously keeping me sane and positive. And that is really important for all of us right now. 

If you’ve been struggling to find the motivation to workout without escaping to the gym, here are some tips to help GREAT about working out at home. Before you get started, here’s a thought to help change your attitude: this small change in programming is just that – small. We’ll be back in our gyms before we know it and I’m thinking our bodies will actually benefit from this change of pace! So let’s get to it!

1. Schedule your home workout!

Pencil. It. In! I really like to physically write everything down, from to-do lists to workout schedules. But you can totally use your phone calendar or whatever schedule you want. No matter what you pick, include your workout on your schedule. MAKE it part of your day. And don’t skip it.

2. Follow a workout calendar

Planning your own workout is hard! And if you’ve ever worked out kind of aimlessly, you know it isn’t the best way to exercise. I struggle with this sometimes, which is why I loooove workout calendars. It’s just nice to have a plan, right?! A workout calendar takes the planning out of the equation so all you have to do is grab your weights and follow along.

3. Get sweaty with your friends

You probably know about virtual happy hours…what about virtual fit dates? I’d TOTALLY get on board with that! Just Facetime your friends and workout together! You’ll stick to your workout schedule and motivate your friends to stick to theirs too. Plus, you’re more likely to push a little harder when you have some company for your workout – even if they aren’t physically with you!

4. Make a Youtube playlist of your faves

Indecisiveness is the ultimate motivation killer. Trust me. I KNOW. Don’t sit there scrolling through Youtube looking for a good workout for 30 minutes. Chances are, you’re gonna decide to just forget it. Instead, make a playlist (or a set of playlists) of your favorite workouts. Then they’re ready to go and you can jump right in.

5. Lay out your workout clothes the night before

Get your pretty workout clothes and lay it out before you go to bed. When you wake up, you’ll instantly remind yourself about your workout. Maybe you can even go a step further and actually put your workout outfit on as soon as you wake up. Once you’re dressed, you’re committed, right?! Plus – that cute outfit is gonna make you feel strong and ready to crush it. 

6. Refresh your music

Music is an AMAZING motivator. Make a playlist of the songs that always make you feel good and energized! Then, listen to them before and during your workout.

7. Make it part of your routine

First, figure out what time of day you feel BEST working out. I’m totally a morning person and I need to start my day with some movement. If I workout too late in the day, I just feel sluggish the whole time. Make your workout part of your routine, when you know you’ll be the most up for it. 

8. Leave yourself reminders

Hold yourself accountable! Leave yourself notes of encouragement on your bathroom mirror, on your phone wallpaper, on the kitchen counter – anywhere! It will be harder to skip your workout when it’s in the front of your mind. Little encouraging notes to myself always put me in a good mood too. 

9. Commit to at least starting

Motivation is like a mind game sometimes. Most of the time if I don’t feel like working out, I know that I’ll feel better if I just start. I think getting started is the hardest part for a lot of us, right?! So commit to doing the warm up, or commit to doing 10 minutes. Once you start moving, you’ll feel energized and ready to crush the rest of your workout.

10. Create a dedicated space to workout at home

Do you have to have a fancy home gym? Nope. But you can dedicate a small area as your workout space. Having your yoga mat and light weights in sight will make it easier to feel motivated.

Hopefully this helps if you’ve been struggling to find your groove at home! Remember this is temporary and you need to keep moving to take care of yourself! Staying home may be stressful, but exercise will help. What are some other ways you stay motivated to workout at home? Let me know in the comments! 

family meal healthy unhealthy foods dear cassey

Dear Cassey: It’s so hard to eat healthy wit...

By | Dear Cassey | 26 Comments

Dear Cassey,

After seeing your food haul, I wanted to ask if you and Sam eat differently and how you guys do that? I live in a home that is not willing to change up their diet, which is making it hard on me, because I’m near foods I want to avoid and because it’s harder to eat together.

Sincerely, 

Frustrated by Family

family meal healthy unhealthy foods dear cassey

Dear Frustrated by Family,

Yep, Sam and I do eat a little differently! And that’s okay, but I totally understand your frustration. It’s not always easy for me to be around some of the foods I buy for Sam, because there’s no denying that they’re delicious! Also, I think this is a super common thing for families. Everyone has different taste, different goals and different values when it comes to food. For me, I feel better when I keep that in mind. Sam and I aren’t the same person, and that’s ok! We’re all in different places – even the ones we’re closest with.

That being said, it sounds like you want your family to eat healthier and I know how difficult that is too! When you’re passionate about eating healthy and doing the best for your body, it’s frustrating when you can’t convince your loved ones to look at it the same way. But I will say this – the more you do your thing and continue eating healthy without pressuring your family to eat everything you eat, the more likely they are to follow in your footsteps with time. They’re probably just not ready to change their diet.

This has been true for Sam too! Even though he still likes HIS foods, there are a TON of things he’s willing to eat now that there’s no way he would have eaten a few years ago. Just be a good role model, show them that healthy food is DELICIOUS too, and who knows, maybe your good habits will rub off on them – when they’re ready.

Here are some ways that I do it –

  • I compromise – I try to plan meals that we’ll be eating together with an entreé that we both like (chicken, salmon, turkey burger, etc.) and then a couple side options that might include something healthy that I want, but maybe he isn’t so crazy about. That way he has the option to try it, but there’s no stress for us.
  • I ask him to help me prep/cook. There’s just something about seeing how recipes come together that make them more appetizing! I’ve seen this as a picky eater tip for kids…but it works for adults too 😊
  • I communicate – Sam knows that eating healthy is important to me, and why. Even if your family isn’t ready to change, it’s important that they understand and respect your choices. Communication is everything with family! If nothing else, it might save you some tension at meal time.

In the meantime, you said it’s difficult for you to have other foods in the house that you would prefer to avoid. TOTALLY get that. It’s soo much easier to just keep those foods out of sight and out of mind. In your case, here are some ideas that might help:

  • Designate an area in your pantry or fridge for these foods that helps keep them more out of sight for you.
  • Just consider these foods “theirs.” If I tell myself a bag of pretzels is “Sam’s,” I’m just less likely to even consider eating it. It sounds kinda weird, but it works!
  • Most importantly – If you do give in and eat a few chips, or a bowl of ice cream, or WHATEVER it is that’s tempting you, accept it and move on. Don’t get down on yourself! Sometimes a small serving of whatever we’re craving is exactly what we need to move past the craving and avoid bingeing on it later. And you know what? It’s about the LONG TERM. If you’re eating healthy most of the time, an occasional treat is not going to ruin your goals. So if it happens, it happens. You’re human!

Oh, and one more thing that you’re already doing and should keep doing – lean on your POPsters for support! Your question is a problem that sooo many of us (maybe even most of us) have experienced. I love this community because we all value health and fitness and we can support each other! It’s seriously amazing.

I hope this helps you out. I’m so proud of you for sticking to your goals and especially for wanting the best for your family too! Just keep doing your thing – they’ll get there.

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.

How to Glow Up During Self-Isolation

By | Life, Mind & Body | 15 Comments

Hey guys!

I’ll be the first to admit – this self-isolation/social distancing thing is HARD. But you know what def doesn’t help? Sitting around watching the news or scrolling through social media all day long. There’s just so much uncertainty and negativity right now. Honestly, seeing too much of it can really get me down.  

SO, let’s use all this new free time we have to do alllll the things we’ve been putting off because we “don’t have time” for like…our entire adult lives. Self-isolation doesn’t have to be sad and lonely. It’s our chance to focus on self-care and rejuvenation! We’re all stressed out and burnt out to some degree, so let’s reset and get that glow up. Here’s how! 

1.  Get moving! 

“I don’t have time” is THE most common excuse I hear for not working out, hands down. For all you busy bees…NOW IS THE TIME! Start your day with a workout – it doesn’t have to be long – just enough to get your blood flowing and to feel good. By the time this is all over, you’ll have a solid routine in place. Trust me – starting your day with some movement will help you feel less stressed while you self-isolate. I go craaaazy on the days I don’t workout! 

2. HYDRATE while you self-isolate

Soooo many people struggle to drink enough water! It might be worse when you’re stuck at home. Wanna help your skin, digestion and your mood? WATER is the answer! Get yourself a big ol’ water bottle and set goals for how much you want to drink each day. Don’t be surprised when you feel amazingggg.

3. Self-isolate in the kitchen…and learn some cooking skills!

Learning to cook takes time, and now you have a little to work with! You’ll never regret perfecting some skills in the kitchen. And no, you don’t have to go all Top Chef. Work on simple things like roasting veggies and using those small appliances that have been sitting on the top shelf of your pantry for months and months (heyyyy Instant Pot and Air Fryer). Even simple stuff can help you get out of an eating rut and discover new, delicious recipes! Maybe you’ll even get into the habit of cooking more and eating out less! WIN!

4. Social distancing? Treat yo’self with a face mask! 

Who has time to do face masks on a regular basis when life is “normal” and go go go?! Normally, using 20 minutes to relax with a mask is just not happening for me. Especially multiple times a week! There’s always something else that feels more important. And then when I’m done working, I’m just ready to crash. Now that our plates are a little less full, let’s sit back, close our eyes and breathe while we do our skin some good. Ahhhh.

5. Get your beauty sleep

Living that WFH life? Well, good news – no commute means you can sleep in! Turn off that alarm and snag all the quality beauty sleep you can. Catching up on sleep will help your stress level, your mood and is even good for your immune system – so important right now!

6. Start a self-isolation skincare routine

I mentioned the face masks…but don’t stop there! Get a good routine going for washing your face in the morning and at night, and actually start using all those creams and serums sitting on your counter. You’ll thank yourself later for taking care of your skin now, and you’ll feel super confident and refreshed when you go back to work with glowy, gorgeous skin.

7. Give your hair some love too! 

Ahh this one is totally on my list! Normally, I struggle to spend more than a few minutes on my hair. Since I’m not going anywhere anyways, I’ll have plenty of time to do a hair mask! You should try one too! Who wouldn’t feel better with soft, shiny hair?! 

8. Self-isolation gives us more time for spring cleaning!

I’m REALLY excited for this. Do clutter and unfinished “projects” around the house just stress you out? They totally stress me out. Now is the best time to do some purging, organizing and all the deep cleaning we constantly put off (well, I do at least). Nothing feels more satisfying than a fresh, clean house, am I right?! 

9. Deal with things you’ve been avoiding because you had “no time”

That new hobby you’ve been saying for YEARS you want to try, but “never have time”? Or that old friend you’ve been meaning to reach out to but you’re “just so busy?” ORR that book you’ve had on your nightstand for 6 months but “never have a chance to read?” You get my point. We all have things we want to do, but they fall to the wayside because we’re stuck in our usual routine.

Hey…you have time now. Your routine was forced to change. Do one of the things you’ve been saying you want to do! Trust me, you will feel SO GOOD when you do!  

10. Use self-isolation to feel your BEST.

Your stuck at home, staying distant from most of your friends, family and coworkers. This is your chance to take care of yourself! 

This quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing, or whatever you call it is kind of a blessing in disguise – if you choose to look at it that way. And you should! We could all use some time to slow down and for most of us it HAS to be forced to actually happen. So instead of fighting against it and looking at these upcoming weeks as inconvenient or negative, USE THEM.

Be productive. Pamper yourself. Get some of that weight off of your shoulders that has been there for years. I’m talking all of the extra stuff that you normally just can’t get to. Even if you just commit to one small thing, you’ll feel accomplished and less stressed. You’ll come out of this self-isolation feeling more beautiful, more confident, and in a better relationship with yourself! 

As always, hang in there and stay healthy!

Your Healthy Quarantine Grocery List

By | Diet, Nutrition | 20 Comments

Hey guys! 

I hope you’re all doing well and staying healthy! 

COVID-19 has us all hunkering down at home, and the whole situation is changing by the hour. If you haven’t already, you probably want to head to the grocery store to stock up on some things to eat at home while we ride out this quarantine.

To make sure you’re only buying what you need (no hoarding please!) and getting the most out of the food you buy, you need to plan ahead and make a grocery list! Not sure where to start? Let me start with this – NO you don’t have to survive off of nonperishable, processed food during the quarantine. You can totally keep eating healthy…and you should! Let’s keep our bodies as healthy as possible!

Here’s what the Internet says about emergency quarantine essentials

There are PLENTY of articles online about what to stock up on for emergency situations like this. Most of them suggest canned goods like beans, veggies, fish, pasta sauce and soup. They also recommend pantry staples like pasta, rice, cereal, oats, dried fruit, popcorn and chocolate.

For the freezer, they briefly suggest freezing fresh meat, but mostly focus on freezing bread and lunch meat, while buying frozen fruits, veggies and things like frozen pizza. For vegetarians…they really only mention frozen bean burritos and veggie burgers. Hmm…

Here are my healthy grocery list suggestions

Articles like that one have some great grocery list suggestions, but it kind of makes it seem like people are limited if they’re avoiding grains, gluten, dairy and sugar. And no, vegetarians and vegans don’t have to live off of frozen foods for this whole thing! Here’s some things that I grabbed to get me through the quarantine that might help you too: 

Protein: first of all, meat! You can freeze pretty much any meat like chicken breast, turkey and fish. If you’ve never frozen meat, don’t be intimidated! Just read up on how to thaw it safely. Eggs will stay fresh for a couple of weeks too.

Grab some beans (canned or dried), nuts and seeds for some shelf-stable, plant-based protein options. Meat alternatives like tofu and tempeh stay fresh in the fridge for awhile too if they’re unopened.

Fruits and Veggies: Our immune systems need all the support they can get right now, so PLEASE don’t skip the produce! I’d suggest getting some fresh that you can use in the next week or so, and also some frozen fruits and veggies for later. Fresh produce like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, oranges and apples tend to last a little longer than things like berries and lettuce.  

Frozen veggies and cauliflower rice are big ones for me. BTW – frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh! Did you know you can even buy frozen avocado?! 

Staples: Here’s where you can make your food go a long way while you’re stuck at home. Make sure you have plenty of staples like almond milk (or whatever you like), quinoa, broth, soups, condiments (don’t forget the sriracha!), oils, baking essentials, spices, etc etc. Don’t go overboard here – just do a quick inventory of your pantry and grab whatever you’re low on.

Snacks: OBVIOUSLY we can’t forget the snacks if we’re gonna be stuck in our houses. I know the sweets and chips are tempting, but they’re not necessary. Of course you can go for a treat if you want, but make sure you’re grabbing healthy snacks like nuts, plantain chips and salsa, coconut chips and dairy-free ice cream (What? It’s healthy-ish!). I totally plan on baking some yummy, healthy snacks like these Apple Cinnamon Muffins during the quarantine too.

Here’s your grocery list!

Download PDFDownload Image

FRESH PRODUCE:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Baby carrots
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Onions
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Lemons/Limes
  • Garlic

PROTEIN:

  • Chicken breast
  • Ground turkey
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp 
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

DAIRY/EGGS:

  • almond milk or oat milk
  • eggs
  • egg whites
  • coconut yogurt

CANNED/DRIED:

  • Black beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Tomato sauce
  • Almond butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Vegetable broth
  • Plantain chips
  • Coconut chips
  • Dried seaweed
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Almond flour

FROZEN: 

  • Cauliflower rice
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Mango
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Butternut squash
  • Corn
  • Edamame
  • Dairy free ice cream

EXTRA:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut aminos
  • Salsa
  • Sriracha
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon (spice)
  • Cumin (spice)
  • Cayenne (spice)
  • Rosemary (spice)
  • Monkfruit sweetener
  • Baking powder

Let’s make our health a priority NOW!

If you’re constantly wishing for more time to change your lifestyle, now you’ve got it! If you’re stressing because your gym is closed and the grocery store is insane, you can adapt and come out stronger in the end.

We’re figuring out how to keep moving our bodies at home, and we can totally keep eating healthy when we’re stuck at home too. Remember this isn’t forever! It’s just a temporary new normal. Making our health a priority will help us keep those immune systems in tip top shape! Eating healthy will help your mental health too, which is SO important right now. So take a deep breath, grab the things you need (don’t go crazy and overdo it) and let’s make the best we can of this situation! 

Oh and if you wanna see my latest 2 week quarantine grocery haul form Trader Joes, watch this! 

Why Do We Gain Weight In Different Places?

By | Body Image, Diet, Nutrition | 11 Comments

Hey guys! 

I talk a lot about body types, and how we’re all different and unique and beautiful. BUT sometimes it’s hard to accept and love our body’s shape. It’s even harder not to compare our bodies to others.

Have you ever wondered why we gain weight in different places? Like, why does it seem like my thighs grow the second I bite into a donut?! Or maybe, you see weight gain in your face or belly first. Why is it different for different people?!

I thought that maybe if we could understand how this works, it would be easier to avoid comparison. Are you ready to get a little sciency? Let’s go!

This is going straight to my thighs

You know how it is – you eat a cookie (or bread, or pizza) and you almost immediately can’t get your jeans on. THE WORST.

Sound familiar? Well, a lot of this just comes down to being a woman. Most women actually have more adipocytes (fat cells) in their hips/butt/thighs. Women just need more fat for bearing children, and this is where our bodies prefer to store it! Kinda cool if you think about it that way!

Hormones have a hand in this too. BTW, doesn’t it seem like women blame everything on hormones?! 

Well, it turns out you can blame them for where you gain weight too. An estrogen imbalance can actually cause weight gain, many times in the hips and thighs. Women naturally have more estrogen than men, which is why we’re more likely to gain weight in our hips! Men have more testosterone, so their extra weight tends to go to their belly.

Finally, genetics play a role. Your genes might give you a higher chance of having that pear-shape, which means more weight is stored in your lower body. 

Why do I always gain weight in my belly?!

Some of us are super frustrated with our mid-section. It feels like extra weight shows up there instantly, hiding those abs we work so hard for! 

Genetics might come into play here too, if you’re just predisposed to that apple shape. But don’t worry! It doesn’t mean you’re stuck. Things like stress, hormones, sleep and diet all play into gaining weight in your belly too.

When you’re stressed or low on sleep, your body releases more cortisol – another hormone. When there’s too much cortisol hanging around in your body, you’re more likely to gain weight in your belly area.

Remember when I said a lot of estrogen causes weight gain in the hips and thighs? Well, if your estrogen drops and testosterone is higher, you might gain more weight in your stomach. This usually happens during menopause. So basically, where you store fat can change! 

Finally, if you gain weight in your belly area, take a look at your diet. Inflammation is HUGE with belly fat. If you’re eating tons of processed foods (looking at you, sugar) or drinking too much alcohol, you might have more inflammation in your body. That can cause more fat storage in your midsection.

Gaining weight in your face… and other areas

I know some people who swear they notice their cheeks are puffy before they even realize they’ve gained weight. This is probably just because it’s more noticeable there! Your jaws and cheekbones usually have very little fat on them, so if you gain weight you might notice it there first. 

Some women notice weight gain in their boobs first! I know what you’re thinking – not the worst place to gain weight! But why does this happen? It comes back to estrogen – if this hormone isn’t taking fat straight to your hips, it’s probably storing it in another “womanly” area – your boobs.

We were born this way…so let’s OWN IT!

Genetics do play a role in our shape, body type and where we tend to hold onto weight. They affect your metabolism and where your fat is stored. 

BUT – don’t look at genetics as a negative thing, like “UGH I’ll never have a flat tummy because I have an apple shape. Guess I’ll give up!” NOPE. Stop right there. Instead, look at it this way:

  1. Genetics are fascinating and they make us who we are.
  2. Yeah, you don’t have a ton of control over your genes. But that means you should STOP being so hard on yourself when you don’t see a body type in the mirror that just isn’t going to happen. 

Here’s how I deal – I know I will never have a body like Kendall Jenner’s. No matter what I do or what I eat. Those long legs just aren’t in my DNA. And that’s ok! 

I don’t waste my energy wishing I could have that body. Instead, I focus on the parts of my body I’m really proud of. The super strong core I’ve worked so hard for. The arms I can feel getting stronger as time goes on. Our bodies change constantly and I think that is seriously SO AMAZING.

Finally, genetics might make you more likely to gain weight in certain areas, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck. You might have to work harder to keep your “trouble” areas in check, but it’s never impossible. There are plenty of factors that are totally in your control like diet, exercise, sleep and stress level. Focus your energy on improving those areas, and transform your body from the inside out! 

What about your body are you most proud of? Tell me in the comments!

How Much Do Calories ACTUALLY Matter?

By | Body Image, Diet, Nutrition | 20 Comments

Hey Guys! 

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve probably heard of calories in vs. calories out. But I always wonder…is it REALLY that simple? Are all calories really created equal? 

I love asking this question every time I talk to a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist, because it’s so hard to find a definite answer! Like with anything in nutrition…there doesn’t seem to be a “one size fits all” conclusion about this calorie debate. 

I’m still really curious, and I KNOW you’re curious too. So, I did some research on my own to try to get to the bottom of how much calories REALLY matter. 

What I found is really interesting!

Calories in vs. calories out is true… to some extent

Okay…so when you break it wayyyyy down to the biological side of things (like, what goes on in those tiny cells in your body), there is SOME truth to calories in vs. calories out. 

There is tons of research on the subject, and the majority agrees on this – your body burns calories in 3 ways:

  • Resting metabolism – burns about 65-80% of your calories
  • Digestion – burns about 10% of your calories
  • Exercise – burns about 10-30% of your calories

Isn’t that crazy?! Most of our calories are burned… when we’re resting! 

If the number of calories you eat is more than the number of calories your body is burning, you’re likely to gain weight. 

So yes…generally speaking, to lose weight you need to somehow burn more calories than you take in. 

But this gets tricky. VERY tricky. Why? 

First of all, it’s almost impossible to track your calories accurately. 

Nutrition labels are helpful, but not totally reliable. You guys, the FDA allows nutrition labels to be off as much as 20%! That can really add up!

Tracking the calories you’re burning might be even more difficult, because that Apple Watch, Fitbit or whatever you’re using is bound to be off a little too. Oh, and NEVER trust what the treadmill or elliptical at the gym tells you you’re burning because those are notorious for overestimating what you burn!  

So, even if you have a professional to help you figure out your resting metabolism, you can still be way off when you track the other important pieces.

What does calorie counting do to your mental health?

Ugh. I think we all know. 

Calorie counting is tedious, time consuming and honestly…really disappointing if you don’t get the results you’re looking for. 

I’ve totally been there!

It’s really easy to become obsessed with calorie counting. It can lead to stress when it comes to planning meals, eating out and social situations. It could even lead to over exercise and UNDER eating. 

And think about what happens if you work super hard to count calories, but you don’t lose weight. That’s frustrating, and may leave you feeling like a failure. It could even cause you to take more extreme measures to lose weight. 

Basically what I’m saying is this – tracking calories might be a good tool for some people, but it’s easy to become obsessed.

So should we focus on the QUALITY of our calories instead? 

Probably! 

I mentioned earlier that I ALWAYS ask doctors and dietitians what they think about calories in vs. calories out. Most of them always agree that it’s better to focus on eating whole, nutritious foods. 

And it totally makes sense.

Different foods do different things for our bodies. Here’s an example! Let’s compare a fun-size Snickers bar to a medium sweet potato. 

 

The sweet potato has 112 calories, and the fun-sized Snickers only has 74! But let’s look more closely. 

  • Fat – a plain sweet potato has none, while the Snickers has 4 grams, with about a gram of trans fat.
  • Protein – both have basically no protein
  • Carbs – the sweet potato is higher in carbs BUT also has 4 grams of fiber and only 5 grams of sugar. The Snickers has NO fiber and 8g of sugar. 
  • Vitamins and minerals – the sweet potato is PACKED with vitamins and minerals, and the Snickers doesn’t offer much.

Here’s what is important – that sweet potato gives you way more volume compared to the 2” fun-sized Snickers. It’s going to keep you full and satisfied for A LOT longer, and it’s going to nourish your body with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The baby, fun-sized Snickers won’t nourish your body annnnd you’re probably not going to eat just one. 

Satiety is HUGE when you’re trying to avoid overeating. If you can keep yourself full with whole, nutritious foods, you probably won’t need to count calories. 

The breakdown of nutrition is important too, because the way a food is broken down and used in the body affects our hormones, blood sugar and fat storage.

A LOT goes into how our bodies use calories and how metabolism works. There are a lot of factors like sleep, hormones, stress, and genetics. That explains the lack of “one size fits all” advice when it comes to nutrition and weight loss.

My final thoughts

I definitely get how calories can factor into weight loss. BUT I think most of us should focus on nourishing our bodies with whole foods and staying active!

I also understand that everyone is different. Getting healthy looks different for all of us, and there really is no “one size fits all” when it comes to nutrition. BUT…I do think that taking a good, hard look at the foods we eat can make a HUGE difference! 

And no, I’m not saying avoid your favorite foods forever. I’m talking about the OVERALL quality of your diet. The long run is what really matters! 

Calorie counting might be helpful for some people, but I can see where it can lead to trouble. 

If you’re in a disordered or obsessive mental state about the numbers… the calories, the scale, etc… toss all that to the side and feed your body the nutrition it needs. More importantly, give your body the LOVE it needs. Accept yourself and focus on being healthy. I mean really, how much does that number really matter if your mental health is suffering?

The Blogilates March 2020 Workout Calendar!

By | Calendar | 108 Comments

Hey Guys!

Are you as happy to see March as I am?! I am sooo ready to say SEE YA winter, and HELLO spring! This time of year always makes me feel refreshed and recharged. Do you get that feeling too?! I love it!

There are so many ways that a new season can reignite your fitness goals. Maybe spring means you can finally do your workouts outside. Maybe you’re excited for all of the fresh spring fruits and veggies! Maybe you’re just ready for some spring sunshine to energize and motivate you. I get it – a little sunshine makes a HUGE difference for me too!

For me, spring is kinda like a fresh start with a bonus motivation refill. I’m ready to step it up, make some changes, and find new inspiration to reach my goals. And I’m passing that motivation right along to you! Wanna know how?

Well, I’ve had something really exciting in the works that I FINALLY get to share with you this month! AHH!

It’s the March Total Body Transformation Series! (or TBT…because that’s a lot to type)

This is a series of 10-minute workouts that zone in on specific muscle groups. These short workouts will be super easy to fit into your day, and we will isolate the muscles to make sure they’re REALLY working for that entire 10 minutes. Seriously. Don’t let that short amount of time fool you.

I’ll have a new workout ready for you every week in March. First up is lower abs! We’re gonna hit it hard and work that core.

I am so pumped about this!

The TBT Series is part of the March 2020 Workout Calendar!

Here’s this month’s workout calendar! I’m realllly excited for you to get started on these workouts! You’re gonna love them.

Don’t worry, I already worked the TBT videos into your March workout schedule 😉

When you download the PDF, you’ll find that each video is linked! Just click and it will take you to the YouTube video listed!

Here’s an overview of each week of the March Workout Calendar. We’re targeting a different area each day! Your ENTIRE body is gonna be stronger than ever!

SUNDAY: Obliques & Abs
MONDAY: Total Body
TUESDAY: Butt
WEDNESDAY: Cardio
THURSDAY: Upper Body
FRIDAY: Stretch and Recovery
SATURDAY: Legs & Thighs

Do each video once (unless otherwise stated) and check off as you go! Each day will be around 45 min of exercise! OH! And there will be a NEW Total Body Transformation video every Monday!

You can follow along on Coda if you prefer too! Here’s the link!

If you’re just getting started or want to ease into working out, my Beginner’s Calendar is a great place to start! It’s a free 4 week program to get you stronger, so that you can join in on the monthlies when you are ready.

Take a minute to think about all you’ve already accomplished this year. By the end of this month, we’ll be a quarter of the way through the year! Time flies when you’re crushing your goals!

I can’t wait to see how you grow this month. These workouts are next level, and the hard work you’ve already put in this year is really gonna shine through. You might even surprise yourself with just how STRONG you are!

Use that fresh, spring air and sunshine to fuel your motivation this month! You’re gonna transform your body like never before.

Let me know if you’re joining me in the TBT Series in the comments!

Read this before you try the Carnivore Diet.

By | Body Image, Diet, Nutrition | 40 Comments

Hey guys! 

I keep hearing about this new diet that’s getting a lot of hype so I wanted to learn more about it. 

It’s called the carnivore diet. Have you heard of it?! 

What I learned is umm…pretty…INTENSE. So OF COURSE I need to share my findings.

You’re probably assuming just by the name that this diet includes a lot of meat. You’re right. But like, A LOT OF MEAT. You’re only allowed animal products and nothing else. Apparently this diet came from the idea that our ancestors ate mostly meat – kinda like how the paleo and keto diets got started. The difference? At least those diets allow SOME carbs. The carnivore diet allows NONE…as in ZERO.

What foods CAN you eat on the Carnivore Diet?

 

  • Meat: beef, chicken, turkey, organ meats, lamb, pork, etc.
  • Fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, crab, lobster, tilapia, herring, etc.
  • Other animal products: eggs, lard, bone marrow, bone broth, etc.
  • Low-lactose dairy (in small amounts): heavy cream, hard cheese, butter, etc.

Technically, carnivore diet followers should only drink water and bone broth because even low-carb drinks like tea and coffee come from plants (seriously). But a lot of people include them anyways. Oh and seasonings that are zero carb like salt and pepper are allowed, but only by some factions of the diet! (Healthline)

 

What foods CAN’T you eat on the Carnivore Diet?

 

  • Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, green beans, peppers, etc.
  • Fruits: apples, berries, bananas, kiwi, oranges, etc.
  • High-lactose dairy: milk, yogurt, soft cheese, etc.
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, etc.
  • Grains: rice, wheat, bread, quinoa, pasta, etc.
  • Alcohol: beer, wine, liquor, etc.
  • Sugars: table sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc.
  • Beverages other than water: soda, coffee, tea, fruit juice, etc. (Healthline)

Okay now that we know how restrictive the carnivore diet is… why would anyone want to follow it? 

 

The people who praise this diet claim it can help with:

  • Weight loss
  • Mood disorders like depression and anxiety
  • Regulating blood sugar 
  • Arthritis

…But does it really?

Let’s start with weight loss.

So we know that eating more protein can help with losing weight. Protein is filling and keeps you satisfied, which helps you eat less. With the carnivore diet, you’re eating ONLY meat, so it’s also a lot harder to eat too many calories. So, you might lose weight.

BUT (there is always a but with these diets right?!) the people behind the diet also recommend eating high fat meats to help meet your calorie needs. This causes some unpleasant issues we’ll talk about later.

The theory behind the other “benefits” is that eating only meat eliminates any type of food that can cause sensitivities and inflammation – like wheat, dairy, nuts, etc. 

As far as the science behind these claims, there really isn’t any. Nothing reliable at least.

Possible problems with this diet

 

The main thing I don’t like about this diet is how restrictive it is. It would be HARD to follow this for more than a few weeks. So even if you do lose a little weight, it’s probably not staying off for long. 

Next, your body needs more than just meat. You’re missing out on A LOT on the carnivore diet.

Uhh like FIBER!!

When I was reading about people who gave this diet a shot (Joe Rogan was one), most of them said they experienced constipation, followed by horrible diarrhea a few weeks in. No thanks.

Why does this happen? A couple of reasons. We know that no fiber = constipation. Then once you’re further into the no-carb diet, your body has to adjust and make energy from fat and protein. When this happens, a lot of fat ends up in your intestines that needs to well… exit. Which leaves you running to the bathroom.

Eating a diet based on meat can also be really high in fat and sodium. You can actually have vitamin deficiencies on this diet too.

So here are my thoughts…

 

This diet is intense and super restrictive.

Like any extreme diet, the carnivore diet just isn’t sustainable. If you want to lose weight, you’re much better off doing it the right way with a balanced diet of whole, nutritious foods and plenty of exercise. Extreme diets are hard on the body AND your mental health. And most of the time, they don’t work! Totally not worth it if you ask me.

popflex powergirls photoshoot at big bear lake retreat

Looking for my 2020 POPFLEX POWERGIRLS!

By | Contests | 6 Comments

Hey guys!

We’re on the hunt for this year’s POPFLEX Powergirls and I really really want you to apply!! I’m sooo excited that submissions are officially OPEN and I get to meet this year’s group of amazing women who will represent POPFLEX so soon!

Wait, what’s a POWERGIRL?

POWERGIRLS are ambassadors and role models for POPFLEX, my activewear brand. This special group includes girls who have overcome obstacles and challenges in life, and have TRANSFORMED those struggles into their own personal superpower. POWERGIRLS are strong and resilient, but they also radiate positivity and inspiration to everyone they come in contact with. If you’re chosen as a POWERGIRL, you’ll rep everything behind the POPFLEX vibe.

What are the perks of being a POWERGIRL?

Hmmm where do I start because there are SO MANY!

First of all, every POWERGIRL gets their activewear closet sponsored for 1 whole year by POPFLEX!

YUP.

This group is so special to me, so they get everything. You’ll get sports bras, leggings, yoga mats, fit planners – everything you need to stay motivated all year long. I looove to pamper the POWERGIRLS, and TRUST ME when I say I will hook you up – I HOOK YOU UP. Then you’ll take pics, and we’re gonna feature you rocking your outfits on the POPFLEX Instagram and website

ALSO – I’m taking all of the POWERGIRLS on an exclusive, all expenses-paid retreat! We will LIVE. IT. UP. Seriously, last year’s retreat was more amazing than I could have ever imagined and I know this year is going to be even better! We’ll bond, we’ll eat healthy food prepped by our very own private chef, we’ll work out and we’ll do fun photoshoots in absolutely GORGEOUS locations. Here’s a little taste of how amazing last year’s retreat was:

LOOK AT THIS PLACE! We went to Big Bear, CA last year. Where will we go this year!?

Umm… cutest cabin EVER.

Have you ever seen a cozier spot for Pilates?!

My heart almost bursted the moment I met all the POWERGIRLS in person.

Healthy meals, thanks to our private chef! Vegan options, paleo options, Whole30 options, gluten free options, dairy free options…I mean…the food was HEAVEN.

That face you make when you get FREE CLOTHES!

New clothes + magical backdrops = AMAZING photoshoots!

popflex powergirls photoshoot at big bear lake retreat

I mean… 😍

OKAY I’m really struggling to pick a few faves. These girls and this place… best weekend ever!

Okay. So you’re in, right?! Here’s how you apply. 

Read carefully! This is the important stuff. 

1️. Post a photo on your Instagram feed and answer the question, “What is your superpower?” in the caption! Make sure you go out and take your best photo. Show off who you are and everything you’ve got!⁠

2️. Make sure you’re following @popflex_active and @blogilates (we’re checking!)⁠

3️. Make sure you use the hashtag #iamapowergirl2020 and tag @popflex_active and @blogilates in your post⁠

4️. Your profile will need to be public so we can see your submission⁠

5️. 18+ only, but you can live anywhere in the world!⁠

When do I need to apply? When will we find out who’s chosen?⁠

Application period ends 11:59pm on February 25th. Winners will be announced on March 8th, International Women’s Day!⁠

Read the terms and conditions here.

I can’t wait to see your POWERGIRL submission! If you’re thinking, “hmm do I even have a superpower?” I’m gonna stop you right there because YES, YOU 100% DO. Dig deep and think hard because I promise you it’s there. And I wanna know all about it!