Style Never Stops [Reebok Skyscape Shoe Review]

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The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.

A few weeks ago, I didn’t really see myself as the kind of gal that would walk around sporting bright pink shoes all over town. I have to admit- ever since I received these Reebok Skyscape shoes via Fitfluential – I’ve had a hard time taking them off!

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:)

A few weeks ago, the nice folks at Reebok sent me this adorable little package all wrapped up with a bow:

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I have to admit- when I first opened up the box, my initial reaction was something like “whoa… those are pink!” I really wasn’t exactly sure how I’d feel about these shoes- they’re quite different from what I usually wear. But- seconds after slipping my Reebok Skyscape shoes on for the first time, I knew that they were a keeper.

I must say – these shoes 100% match the description:

“So lightweight and comfortable, you’ll forget you have them on.”

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The Coffee vs. Smoothie Dilemma [JAVAPRO Review]

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The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of JAVAPRO.

Aside from water (and possibly almond milk), coffee and smoothies are two of the beverages that I consume more often than anything else. I am most definitely one of those people that doesn’t feel truly awake until I’ve had my morning cup of coffee. I also can’t drink coffee before my morning workout (that would not sit well on my stomach while teaching Spinning class!) but immediately want a cup when I’m home from the gym. However, I also like to have a smoothie right after a workout. This is the dilemma that I often face: should I make a cup or coffee or make a smoothie? As you may already know, I love smoothies…

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I’ve attempted to make my own version of a coffee smoothie many times- whether it’s from using cold coffee, coffee frozen into ice cubes or adding instant coffee to the mix. Some of my attempts have turned out to be okay- but none have really blown me away. When I was presented with the opportunity to review JAVAPRO through my ambassadorship with Fitfluential, I felt like someone had been reading my mind! I’m a fan of coffee flavored anything and thought that a whey protein powder that has coffee in it might be just what I’ve been looking for!

I had actually been noticing the bags of JAVAPRO at my gym for a few weeks – the packaging is certainly eye-catching and separates itself from the standard tub of protein powder I’m used to buying.

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Seven [Simple] Must-Have Gym Accessories

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I’ll admit it- I’m one of those freaks that actually likes to exercise. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I spent the first 23 years of my life being sedentary and shuddered at the thought of breaking a sweat intentionally and I’m making up for lost time. Or maybe, just maybe it’s because I found ways activities that are fun- and I even look forward to doing. As I’ve said several times before, my number one, absolute favorite way to burn a few calories is hiking. I don’t really even view hiking as exercise because I love it so much. There’s just nothing that compares to being out in nature, climbing up a tall mountain and enjoying the view from the top- especially when you have some great friends right alongside of you.

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Unfortunately, due to mother nature’s mood swings, I haven’t been able to get out and hike much lately. Our trails are covered in snow and ice right now, which makes hiking anything significant a bit of challenge. However, that snow does have a silver lining- in the form of skiing and snowshoeing! Both provide great cardio workout, but more importantly are a lot of fun!

In the months of January, February and March I find myself spending much more time in the gym that any other time of year. No matter what’s going outside, I can always be comfortable wearing shorts and a tank top inside the gym and don’t have to worry about slipping on ice. My typical gym routine includes two days of teaching Spinning, two to three more days of light cardio and four to five days of strength training (and usually one day of teaching Bodypump). Several of those days overlap- I always take at least one rest day!

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Armour39 Performance Monitor

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The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Under Armour.

I recently had the opportunity to review Under Armour’s new Armour39 performance monitor via my ambassadorship with Fitfluential. I’ve used heart rate monitors during workouts for years and find them to be an effective tool when tracking various exercise statistics. Armour39 is much more than a heart rate monitor because it tracks everything you want to know: workout duration, heart rate, calories burned, real-time intensity, and WILLpower™.

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I’ve had other heart rate monitors track workout duration, heart rate and calories burned, but real-time intensity and WILLpower are totally new concepts to me! Real-time intensity is a percentage indicating how hard your body is working at that very second. You will also be given a WILLpower score during your workout, which is a number (on a scale of 0.0 – 10.0) associated with how hard your body is working during a training session. The overall score is an average from the entire length of your workout, which takes a number of factors into account: the length of your work out, body position, user profile, and key heart rate information like your maximum heart rate, ventilatory threshold, recovery rate, activity level, and dynamic changes in your heart rate. This allows you to objectively measure a hard day versus a light day (so you can compare how hard your work during your workouts).

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Paying Attention to Protein [with Designer Whey!]

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Designer Whey.

Right now, in that weirdly wonderful week between Christmas and New Year’s I’m feeling a bit…unhealthy. I don’t necessarily regret the extra calories I’ve consumed in the form of sugar, alcohol, butter and more sugar over the last week, but my body certainly feels and performs very differently when I’m not feeding it with respect. Up until the beginning of this past week, I had actually done a pretty good job of eating a balanced diet and eating foods that provide proper nourishment (and not just empty calories!). I gave myself permission to just “eat a bunch of crap” for a few meals and not feel bad about it. I definitely enjoyed every cookie and cocktail that passed over my lips- but am definitely ready to get back to eating an adequate balance of carbs, healthy fats and protein. Getting the proper amount of protein in my diet is definitely something that I’m going to focus on in the new year!

One of the things that has really helped me eat better lately is paying attention to how my macronutrients are broken down. I only just started paying attention to macros this past month, but am definitely going have that play a big role in the way I eat in 2014 (I’ll write much more on this in a post next week!). I really didn’t realize how carb-dominant my diet was! (And just so you know – I’m a big fan of carbs and know how important they are for functioning properly and provided energy- but you have to have balance!).

I started looking at a specific balance of macronutrients when planning out my meals and noticed one little problem: getting enough protein. Often I would fall short of my protein requirements for a meal and struggle to think of what I could easily add in to hit my goal. And then I found a very simple solution:

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5 Tips For A Healthier Holiday Season [with Nutrex Hawaii]

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The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Nutrex Hawaii.

Keeping a healthy diet during the holidays can definitely be a struggle. So many of us tend to “throw all of the rules out of the window” during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve only to wake up on New Year’s Day feeling fat, tired and bad about ourselves in general. Besides keeping a less than optimal diet, we often run ourselves down with all of the craziness of the season. We sleep less, stay out later and place working out as a very low item on the priority list.

Between all of the extra calorie consumption, lack of exercise and lack of taking care of ourselves in general, it’s not wonder that so many people get sick during this time of year (and no one wants to be sick over the holidays!). Admittedly, I’m definitely guilty of giving in to some of the holiday temptations (and I think that’s a-ok!). But, I also do my part to try to stay as healthy as possible during this crazy, wonderful season. Here’s a few tips on how I make it to January 1st without feeling sick, tired and 10 lbs. heavier:

1. Choose your indulgences wisely.

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I will never, ever promote eating 100% “clean” 100% of the time. When you deprive yourself of everything that you really want, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. I’m sure you know that having a frosted sugar cookie or a high-calorie cocktail isn’t going to cause you to gain 5 lbs. overnight. But, if you eat that cookie and have that cocktail every single night it’s going to add up.

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10 Holiday Gift Ideas [from cheap to steep!] for the Active Female

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It’s hard to believe that we’re already ten days into December- meaning that Christmas is just fifteen days away! I have never been the type to get all of my shopping done early so that I can just sit back and relax. No, I’m the woman that you’ll find frantically (but methodically) shopping for presents on Christmas Eve (hey, I do my best work under pressure!). To my credit, I actually have purchased a few presents so far and plan to do most of my shopping online this year.

Admittedly, shopping for people can be a little stressful. There are some people (namely my family members) that are extremely hard to shop for. But others (like my friends) are really easy- because we typically like the same things! I’ve put together a list of gift ideas which include items that I personally love and use all the time. Hopefully you’ll find something listed here that someone in your life (or maybe even you!) would love to receive!

*This post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Koss.

1. Koss FitBuds and FitClips

Koss

I was lucky enough to recently receive both of these types of headphones from Koss, which are specifically designed for women (by women!). I have a really hard time finding in-ear headphones that fit well and that I don’t end up fiddling with through my entire workout. My biggest issue is getting a pair that are comfortable and don’t continuously fall out. When I work out, I sweat- and earbuds just fall fright out of my ears. Thankfully, I’ve finally found a solution to that problem! I first tried out the FitBuds and they withstood a workout that included rowing and functional training (which involved lots of burpees!). They stayed securely in place the entire time! They’re super lightweight and sweat-resistant, too.

I wasn’t so sure I’d like the FitClips as much- I just wasn’t sure about the design. Surprisingly I liked them even more than the FitBuds! Like the FitBuds, the FitClips are soft and stay in place (even during a plyometric workout)- but I noticed that these really blocked out all background noise as well! And trust me- there are several circumstances at the gym where I’d prefer that the background noise is blocked out. They’re also super affordable, retailing for $29.95 each! I absolutely recommend these two styles of in-ear headphones to any woman- and know a few ladies that might be getting a pair from me this Christmas!

They can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Best Buy, Kmart and Sears (and look out for a super low price of $19.99 this month!).

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Designer Whey + Smari Icelandic Yogurt [Triple Strawberry Doughnuts]

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It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of yogurt. I eat it just about every day and I’m pretty picky about what I choose. Typically my preferred form of yogurt is plain, thick with just a little bit of fat in it (whether it’s in the yogurt already or I add it in the form of nuts or nut butter). Greek yogurt is what I purchase the most but every now and then I like to switch it up with some super thick Icelandic yogurt (or skyr as it’s called in Iceland). I first discovered Icelandic yogurt about two years ago and bought it out of pure curiosity. I was not disappointed- it’s delicious! Needless to say, I was more than eager to try out a new-to-me brand of Iceland yogurt along with a big box of high-protein goodies from Designer Whey via Fitfluential. I’ve been a big fan of Designer Whey’s various products for a while now and they’re a constant staple in my pantry (I think I have at least 5 different varieties of their protein powder open right now!). I hadn’t previously tried the two flavors of protein powder that I was sent this time (Luscious Strawberry and Vanilla Almond) and I loved each of them. Both have just 100 calories, just 2g of sugar and a whopping 18g of protein per serving!

Along with a box filled with powders, bars, recovery drink mixed and ready-to-drink shakes, I was sent some coupons to check out Smari’s line of Icelandic yogurts.

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Pear Mobile: Your Own Personal Workout Coach

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Recently I received a PEAR Mobile kit from PEAR Sports to review as part of my ambassadorship with Fitfluential.

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Here’s a brief paragraph about PEAR Mobile right from the source:

PEAR Mobile is a digital audio training system that coaches users in real-time by monitoring their heart rate, adapting to their fitness level and putting a world-class coach in their ear. It uses cutting-edge technology to provide immediate and useful tips so users can exercise effectively. Pear has something for everyone- from beginners to seasoned athletes- and is continuously adding new content.

The kit I received contained the “PEAR Stride Earphones” and a heart rate monitor strap.

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PEAR Stride Earphones come with different size soft casings to mold perfectly to your ear (since not all ears are the same size!) and stay in place during your entire workout. I’m not sure about you- but I have had a big issue with ear buds slipping out of my ear as soon as I start to break a sweat! The earphones also have a volume adjustment on the cord- which is a huge bonus! The heart rate monitor strap is comfortable and snaps (and adjusts easily). The PEAR Mobile app is available for iPhone 4s/5 and is the third piece of the package to get started on your workouts.

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NuttZo: The “Powerhouse” of Nut Butters

Forgive the title of this post- WordPress has a habit of not letting the whole thing show.. It should say: NuttZo: The “Powerhouse” of Nut Butters.

Of all of the things in my kitchen that I love to eat, nut (and/or seed) butter ranks right at the top of the list. Peanut, almond, sunflower, hazelnut, cashew… I’m not picky. It’s one of those things that I make a beeline for at the grocery store and always notice if there’s a new brand of it on the shelf.

I’ve been eying NuttZo brand nut butter for quite some time now, but just hadn’t yet taken the plunge. I think the timing’s just been bad- I have a rule about how many open jars of nut butter are allowed in my house at once (and always have way too many!). I was recently given the opportunity through my ambassadorship with Fitfluential to review a variety of NuttZo and (of course) I jumped at the chance!

NuttZo is a 100% organic 7 nut and seed butter that is gluten and soy free and contains no added sugars, oils nor preservatives and is available in 3 flavors: Original, Chocolate, and Peanut Free.

I received a jar of the Creamy Original Seven Seed & Nut Butter:
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(source)

One thing that I noticed right away is the new design of the label and the glass jar! NuttZo has always caught my eye because of it’s unique “upside down” jar (which is GREAT for any natural nut butter to help prevent oil separation!) and I love the look of the new label and packaging.

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