[lazy] Healthy Lunch – Simple Soup

Special Edit – Since this post has been so popular, I’m going to be creating a [lazy] lunch series — the next installment will be coming your way on Monday, April 13th!

Hello, Sweathearts!

Happy Monday! I don’t know about you, but I personally over-indulged on Easter sweets over the weekend. I crashed hard from my sugar high last night, and it was hard to get out of bed this morning. When I finally made my way to the kitchen to get ready for my workday, I realized that I hadn’t done any sort of meal prep over the weekend. Cue horror-movie music.

You see, if I don’t have a lunch prepared that I can grab and run out the door with, I’m likely to leave my house with nothing and rely on picking up lunch at the office. My local options? McDonalds, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Subway. Not ideal. While it is possible to pick out relatively healthy choices at each of those restaurants, I tend to allow myself to run wild. I end up back in my office with a meatball sub, medium fries, a chocolate caramel muffin, and a large sugary coffee. Okay, I’m exaggerating…but you get the point.

I’ve taken to keeping some backup items on hand so that on days when I haven’t prepped a full meal, I can still put together a balanced plate in a short amount of time. Here’s my favorite “lazy” lunch:

Soup

First up, a can of Amy’s Lentil Vegetable Soup. It’s delicious, filling (hello, plant-based proteins!), and has a pull-top. I throw this into my bag with a bowl for heating.

Green Giant

Next, I pull a Green Giant Steamers veggie box from the freezer. They have so many veggies to choose from, but this Healthy Weight version is my favorite. The veggies are balanced in a light butter sauce, but there are also plain veggies and even veggies with rice available.

APPLE

Apples are my favorite fruit, so I always have at least one sitting on my kitchen table. I’ll throw one in with my lunch, but usually I’ll have it as a snack in the morning.

CHOCOLATE

Finally, I’ll throw in a chocolate square to round things out. Life is all about moderation, right?

So there you have it–an easy to pack in less than a minute “lazy” lunch! It just so happens to be vegetarian friendly, as well. What are your favorite lunch choices for days when you are in a hurry? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

I’m Baaaaack…. with a 12 Week Challenge

Well sweathearts…I’m back!

It has been nearly a year since my last post here on Sweatsational. It has been a year full of clean eating, exercise, and goal shattering. It has also been a year riddled with cheat meals, laziness, and incomplete challenges. Hey, I’m only human!

One of the best parts of this past year was discovering Pure Barre, and training to become a Pure Barre instructor. I love being an instructor! The classes at my local studio are filled with an extremely diverse group of clients, all who bring a positive attitude (even at 6 AM) as they work to lift, tone, and burn!

The only downside? Well, I’m at the studio almost every day–but that doesn’t mean I’m working out! I’ve really struggled with keeping up with my personal fitness. Because of that, I’m challenging myself to take the next 12 weeks (starting on February 1) and recommit to a healthy lifestyle.

So, what will that look like?

MOVE – I am challenging myself to MOVE every day of the week! I hope to fit in 2 Pure Barre classes, 1 Soul Cycle class, and 3 home HIIT sessions, and 1 nice long outdoor walk per week. I also challenge myself to take the stairs at work, take a brief walk during my lunch hour, and park my car farther away from my destinations to get some extra steps in!

NOURISH – I am challenging myself to cut out fast food, processed foods, and unnecessary sugar over the next few weeks! I will plan my meals ahead of time, bring my lunch from home, and stop going to Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up daily. I also will be drinking more water and herbal tea daily.

BELIEVE – I am challenging myself to add at least 15 minutes of “me time” daily to focus on meditation, light yoga, or journaling. I’ll use this time to really focus on my goals, set my intentions, and express gratitude for the life I have been blessed with.

In addition to bettering my body and soul as part of this challenge, I plan to better myself financially as well! I have a really bad habit of buying myself “treats” on a regular basis for no real reason. Those little treats add up, and I’m sure I end up wasting around $300 per month on things I don’t even need. For the next 12 weeks, I will cut out frivolous spending. I know I’ll be happy to have nearly $1000 in the bank at the end of this challenge!

So, sweathearts, what do you think? Have you ever challenged yourself like this? Do you have any tips for me? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Move. Nourish. Believe.

Hello, Sweathearts! Long time, no read — and for that, I sincerely apologize. Life is so incredibly busy, and it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose sight of taking care of yourself. Thankfully, I’ve found a wonderful blog to follow that gives me an excellent mantra to live by: Move Nourish Believe by Lorna Jane.

Lorna Jane is a fantastic woman’s active wear brand that originated in Australia. Lorna Jane Clarkson is the driving force behind the brand, and has taken her business from a small, one-woman show to a thriving international company. Moving your body at least once per day, nourishing your body with healthy foods, and believing that you can do anything are the tenants of her brand.

Lorna Jane has been hosting a Spring Clean competition among her US fans, with followers creating a new Pinterest board each week for three weeks: a move board, a nourish board, and a believe board. I had SUCH a wonderful time creating each board and trying out some of the new ideas I found. I’m linking each board here–I hope you find them just as inspiring as I do!

MOVE

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Outdoor yoga — so fun (even when it is cold)!

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At a dog walk with my pup, Duke!

NOURISH

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Healthy meal prep for a week of nourishing lunches!

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Fresh juices and delicious smoothie supplies!

BELIEVE

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My favorite new inspirational tank!

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Reading Lorna Jane’s books and writing in my 2014 Move Nourish Believe Planner is a great creative outlet and way to make action plans for accomplishing my goals.

What is your favorite way to move? Nourish? Believe? I’d love to hear!

Sweat Worthy – Link Love #2

Hello, Sweathearts!

Happy Friday! Today has been one of those weeks–cold weather, late nights, and a full schedule.  I also haven’t been as committed to my health and fitness this week as I like to be. It shows–I’m tired, not feeling my best, and my skin has broken out. It is time for a weekend refresh and detox!

Are you taking the weekend to relax and unwind as well? Here are a few great links to check out in your free time.

OFFICE YOGI – I’m lucky enough to have my own office at work. Generally, I keep my door open–it makes me feel more in tune with the rest of the people on my floor. But I’ll often close the door to listen to music or do some office yoga. It revitalizes me when I hit a wall working on a certain project, gives me a burst of energy to beat the afternoon blues, and just generally makes me feel better! Move Nourish Believe shared a great post on 6 poses you can do at your desk this week, and there are many more guides available on Pinterest!

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NOW CIRCLE TWERK IT – Okay, I’m sorry to share skating-related links twice in a row. I know that not everyone is obsessed with figure skating as I am. But this Buzzfeed post had me cracking up.

CALL A TRUCE – I’m currently reading ‘Make Peace with Your Plate‘ by the fabulous Jessica Ainscough. During pageant season, I am able to stay dedicated to carefully crafted meal plans (shout-out to http://completephysiqueusa.com/ for those!), but I often stray from clean eating when I’m not in competition mode. This book is inspiring me to stay on track all of the time–the health benefits will certainly make it worth it!

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+ POSITIVE ENERGY – I’ve been noticing Alex and Ani bracelets a lot lately! I’ve never been a bangles kinda gal, because I have really small wrists. However, when I saw that Alex and Ani makes their bracelets adjustable to fit most every wrist size, I placed an order and fell in love. I’ve already amassed a collection of 6 bracelets. My favorite: the Path of Life charm. It reminds me that life can bring about all sorts of twists and turns, but I am strong enough to keep moving forward.

What links have you been checking out lately? Let me know in the comments, as I’d love to check out your favorites. I’m always looking for new inspiration, a good laugh, and fun fashion to check out!

Guess who’s back?!

Hello, Sweathearts!

It has been a very long time since my last post. Too long, really! I am so excited to relaunch Sweatsational and provide you with a premier health, fitness, and wellness blog. Here are some of the things you can look forward to in the weeks ahead…

MOTIVATION – Need an extra boost to make it through the week? I’ll kick off each Monday with an inspiring message.

BEST OF SWEATCHESTER – Interested in trying out a new fitness studio in Westchester? I’ll give them a test run and review a class for you here some Wednesdays.

CLEAN PLATE CLUB – Trying to adjust to clean eating? I’ll share fun recipe ideas on alternating Wednesdays.

LINK LOVE – Keep an eye out for links to blogs, videos, or websites that I find especially interesting every other Friday.

FASHION – Workout clothing should always feel good, but it can also look good! I’ll put together some fun looks every other Friday.

HEALTHY SELFIES – Let’s connect! Share your healthy photos during the week on Instagram, using the hashtag #sweatsational. I’ll share my favorites here on alternating Saturdays.

SPECIAL FEATURES – Every other Saturday, I’ll surprise you with special features, including interviews, playlists, and more!

I am so excited to be blogging again, and hope that you are excited about becoming a part of the new and improved Sweatsational! Are there any other features you’d like to see here on Sweatsational? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Sweat Worthy: Charity Miles

I’m sure that many of you, like me, were absolutely floored by the tornadoes that tore through Oklahoma and other parts of the midwest this week. The power of nature is absolutely incredible, but in this case, absolutely devastating.

As a college student preparing for graduation, I don’t have extra money in my budget at the moment to donate to charity. Between bills and paying for gas to fuel my car, there just isn’t any wiggle room. Still, I wanted to give something to the families in Oklahoma that now have to completely rebuild their lives. Charity Miles offers an easy way to do so.

I recently discovered Charity Miles, an app that allows you to track the miles you complete during an outdoor run, walk, or bicycle ride. It then donates a set amount of money per mile to the charity of your choice. They have a pretty substantial list of charities to choose from, one of which is Feeding America. Feeding America is one of the organizations that will be providing truckloads of food, water, and supplies to those in need in Oklahoma (and across the rest of our nation as well.

If you’re interested in getting your sweat on and giving back to those in need at the same time, be sure to download the Charity Miles app! I’ll be dedicating my next few weeks of miles to Feeding America. On just a short run today, I was able to donate 2.5 meals. It may not sound like much, but when facing such a large challenge like those in Oklahoma are currently experiencing, it is important to remember that every little bit counts.

For more information on Charity Miles, click HERE.

Sweat in Style…For Less!

Hello Sweathearts,

I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for cute workout gear. Lululemon, Nike, Under Armour, you name it! I’m pretty laid back when it comes to the rest of my workout look–hair in a messy ponytail, and no makeup allowed–but I love picking out workout gear that is cute and functional. By functional, I mean that I don’t have to worry about anything hanging out or showing through. Being able to deflect sweat well is an added bonus–I don’t like to half-ass my workouts, so I’m always drenched by the time I’m through.

The problem with some of my favorite brands? They’re expensive. SUPER expensive. Not-realistic-for-a-college-student-who-works-as-a-babysitter-expensive. But I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that have helped me add Lulu, Nike, and UA to my wardrobe without breaking the bank.

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I didn’t pay full price for ANY of these items!

  • Sporting goods stores aren’t your only source of workout gear! I’ve picked up some great Nike pieces from Kohl’s and Nordstrom. Neither store offers a full range of product, but their small selection is often eligible for markdown and couponing (Kohl’s) or hits the clearance racks at a great price (Nordstrom).
  • But sporting goods stores DO offer great rewards programs and deals. Dick’s Sporting Goods is my go-to store based on their reward program. I get coupons regularly from them that range from $10 off a purchase to 25% off of an item. My local Dick’s also offers GREAT clearance racks at the end of each season that feature already marked-down items at an additional 50% off. I’ve gotten Nike shorts for under $10, and a Hard Tail Tank for under $20.
  • Outlets are the real deal (pun intended). I live about 40 minutes away from Woodbury Commons, a popular outlet center for locals and tourists alike. While I generally don’t find deals on everyday clothing there, the deals at the Nike, Under Armour, and Lululemon outlets can be incredible! Because it’s a long drive, I try to hit the outlets only once per season. I scored a Lululemon Vinyasa scarf for $29 in outlet that I had seen listed on eBay for close $80!
  • Give flash sales a chance. The Zumba capris pictured above? I found them listed on Zulily, a flash sale website geared more towards moms & children. My mother, a teacher, spotted the sale and alerted me to the deal. Since then, they’ve featured other fitness brands, such as Lucy. ACTIVE GearUp is a flash sale website that exclusively features fitness gear, but even the traditional websites such as HauteLook occasionally upload workout brands.
  • Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s a bargain hunter’s way of life. If I fall in love with a newly released item from any store, I try to wait it out. It’s really tough for me–my instinct is to buy right away so that I can make it my own. But I’ve found that being patient often results in markdowns and worthwhile extra savings. I wouldn’t recommend doing this for something you absolutely can’t live without, but if you see something, bookmark it and check in every few days. Chances are, you’ll be able to score a deal.

What are some of your favorite ways to workout in style without paying a high price? I’m always looking for more ways to save money while leading an active and fashionable life!