Monday Mantra: So you had a bad day…

Happy Monday, Sweathearts!

As usual, I want to help you start the week off with some motivation. Have you ever had a bad day? I’m guessing the answer is yes. I’m even willing to wager that a few of you are having a bad day today—it is Monday, after all. I’ve had my fair share of bad ways. Some have been bad for silly reasons, and I’ve woken up the next day already forgetting the cause of my bad mood the day before. Others have been so bad that they’ve stuck around for awhile. Once we find ourselves stuck in a bad day rut, it can be hard to get out of it. Here are some of my favorite ways to remind myself to find the silver lining in cloud-filled situations.

Sweat it out: Okay, you had to know this one was coming. This is a fitness blog! But while I typically enjoy hitting the gym or a class to get my workout on, when I’m in a bad mood one of my favorite ways to move is an outdoor run. There is something about breathing in the fresh air and taking in my surroundings that helps to calm me down. Even in the winter, I’ll bundle up and take a quick jog around the neighborhood when I need to clear my mind.

Talk about it: When I’m frustrated, it is so easy to shut myself away from the rest of the world. I want to be angry, and I want to be angry by myself…because if I talk to someone, chances are they’re going to help me see the good in a bad situation. They’re going to encourage me to keep my chin up and move forward. And even when all I want to do is curl up into an angry ball and throw a pity party for myself, I force myself to talk through situations with my parents, my sister, my girlfriends, or my boyfriend. Their advice is always spot-on, even when I don’t feel like I’m ready to take it.

Treat yourself: I’m a bit of a shopaholic. I know that I get a little endorphin rush whenever I click the “buy” button on my favorite website. It is a weakness of mine that I have to keep in check, but I budget a certain amount of “fun money” for myself each month. When I’m feeling down, I’ll treat myself to a new book or small gift to bring a smile to my face. I’m not advocating going on huge shopping sprees whenever you’re having a bad day, but a small treat can be a great mood booster.

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My idea of the perfect pick me up: workout gear with motivational messages! (Image from Lorna Jane)

Eat healthy foods: The struggle is REAL when it comes to pigging out on junk food when I’m feeling sad. But I’ve noticed that giving in doesn’t make me feel better at all after the initial food coma wears off. I typically feel sluggish or sick after eating food that I’m not used to, and end up breaking out a few days later as well. Not worth it! I try to have some go-to healthy comfort foods: freshly brewed tea, smoothies, a savory egg dish, or fruit.

Remind yourself that it’s a bad day, not a bad life: Perspective is one of the most important things that I try to remind myself of. I try to gauge things by the “facebook laugh-o-meter”: If I posted what was making me upset on facebook, would people laugh at me? If the answer is yes, it’s time to put things in perspective. It’s not the end of the world to scuff a pair of shoes. It isn’t going to kill me if I don’t win my next pageant. My life is still an incredible one, and I should transform my negative feelings into positive action: helping those around me whose bad days are far more troubling than my own.

How do you like to cheer yourself up when you’re having a bad day?

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Best of Sweatchester – Sweaty Betty’s Ballet Bootcamp

Hello, Sweathearts!

I was planning on sharing a clean recipe celebrating Valentine’s Day on the blog today, but something a little bit more exciting and far more time-sensitive came up that I want to share with you. This is the first post of my ‘Best of Sweatchester’ series, which will review fitness stores and studios in Westchester and the surrounding area. Are you ready to get your dance on? Let me explain.

A few months ago, my mother, sister, and I discovered that Sweaty Betty, a premier British active wear line, had opened a boutique in Greenwich, CT. It is only their second US based store—the other is in NYC—and we immediately fell in love with their styles! Their clothes are on-trend, functional for workouts, made from luxurious materials, and fit well. Needless to say, we always make a point of stopping by the store when we are out in Connecticut.

The Greenwich Sweaty Betty boutique offers weekly fitness classes at their store for free, including an excellent pilates class sponsored by Core Pilates (a post on them is in the works for the future!). This month, Sweaty Betty decided to shake up their regular schedule and is offering a free Ballet Bootcamp class! This class is extra special, as it is a collaboration with Sleek Technique.

Sleek Technique is a fantastic ballet bootcamp program developed by professional dancers Victoria Marr and Flik Swan. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting them in person and taking a ballet bootcamp class taught by the graceful duo!

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With the fabulous Vicky and Flik of Sleek Technique!

The class was SO much fun! Set to upbeat music, it goes through a variety of moves designed to strengthen your legs, arms, and core. There are sequences that incorporate dance technique (ballet positions, some small turns/rotations, plies, and leaps). However, you don’t have to be a dancer to keep up! The class is a great mix of cardio and strength exercises. I was sweaty and sore by the time class came to a close, and (in my mind, at least) a step closer to having a fabulous ballet body.

Sweaty Betty Swag

I also left with this sweet giftbag of Sweaty Betty goodies!

Are you interested in giving ballet bootcamp a try? If you’re in the NYC or Greenwich, CT area, Sweaty Betty will be hosting classes at the following times:

Greenwich, CT – Thursdays in February – 6:15 PM – Call 203-717-1095 to book

Soho, NYC – Saturdays in February – 9:30 AM – Call 646-386-7003 to book

If you don’t have a Sweaty Betty nearby, no problem! They’re made a ballet bootcamp video featuring Victoria and Flik available on their website:

Do you plan on giving Ballet  Bootcamp a try? I’m planning to incorporate this video into my workout routine moving forward!

Monday Mantra: Do All Things With Love

Good morning, Sweathearts!

I am so glad to be sharing my first ‘Monday Mantra’ post with you today. One of my favorite blogs is Lorna Jane’s Move Nourish Believe. Their Monday Motivation posts are always so inspirational to me! In my opinion, there is nothing better than starting the week off with a positive mantra. In honor of Valentine’s Day, this week I thought we’d focus on love…specifically, doing all things with love.

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Treat yourself with love

Perhaps the most important lesson that anyone can learn is the importance of self-love. It is easy to get wrapped up in our busy lives. Work demands our attention, family members need our support, and concerns need to be addressed. We get so caught up in keeping up that we begin to neglect ourselves. Our plans to eat fresh and healthy foods are replaced with a rushed fast food meal. Our time usually spent practicing yoga and meditation early in the day is full of returning emails instead. We all need to take a deep breath and stop.

Seriously. Just stop. Whatever it is you’re doing. Take a few deep and cleansing breaths. Take five minutes to walk outside and take in some fresh air and the beauty of nature. A little break like this can make all the difference, and gives you the chance to disconnect and recharge.

Then, take it a step further. Look at your busy schedule. Where can you cut back? Sometimes, we aim to please others so we say “yes!” to every opportunity that is thrown our way. Take a minute to think about pleasing yourself. Did that extra commitment make you happier? Or did it further drain you. Think about saying no, and use the time you have freed up to specifically schedule an activity that is all about pampering yourself: a massage, a yoga class, a walk with your dog, or even just a Netflix session

I’m aiming to do better at this myself this week. Looking ahead at my schedule, I’ve made plans to go to bed an hour earlier at night and wake up an hour earlier in the morning. I’ll get a full 8 hours of sleep, and will use the extra time in the morning to eat a healthy breakfast, meditate, and awaken without being tied to my cell phone or laptop/

 Treat others with love

            Because it is Valentine’s Day on Friday, I’m sure there is a special person (or, many wonderful people) that you would like to show gratitude for this week. You don’t have to stress out—instead of aiming for a grand gesture, try some of these small but thoughtful ways of showing someone that you care:

  • Pick up the phone and call them. Let them know that they are on your mind.
  • Bring them a sweet treat. Baking is a wonderful way to unwind in the evening. If you have time, whip up a tray of your favorite snack and make extras to share.
  • Sweat together. Meet up with a friend at the gym. Challenge each other and laugh over your inability to understand some of the machines together (or is that just me?)

How do you plan on loving yourself and loving others this week? I’d love to hear some of your ideas.

Image from needinspiration.com

Sweat Worthy – Link Love

Happy Friday, Sweathearts!

It has been a crazy week. I’ve spent a lot more time at home than usual, because I was snowed in on both Monday and Wednesday! In between home workouts and baking cookies (of course), I came across a few fabulous links that I’m going to share with you today. Look for “Link Love” posts every other Friday. I hope you enjoy these blogs, images, and recipes as much as I have.

MIND DETOX – We often focus on detoxing our bodies. And while that is very important, so is detoxing the mind! This powerful post shared on the Move Nourish Believe blog challenged me to really be aware of the negative thoughts that I direct towards myself, and to work on minimizing them.

ROCKIN’ RIVERDANCE – Chances are, you’ve already seen Jason Brown‘s fantastic free skate from the US Figure Skating Championships in January. But if you haven’t, today is the perfect day to see it as the Winter Olympics have begun! It is so inspiring to see an athlete compete at the top of their game. Good luck, Jason!

IT’S OKAY TO INDULGE – I try to eat as clean as I possibly can. But, I love sweets! I love bread! And I’m not going to spend the rest of my life avoiding them at all costs. Taralynn of Undressed Skeleton feels the same way, and I loved her post that recognizes that perfection is impossible.

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THE SMALLEST LOSER? – Rachel Frederickson, the latest ‘Biggest Loser’ champion, has taken a lot of flack on social media for her dramatic weight loss this season. Do you think that Rachel took it too far? I don’t follow the show, and I’ve only seen this photograph. From the picture, I actually don’t think that she looks overly frail. I think we need to shift the focus from Rachel (who I sincerely hope is healthy, inside and out) to the practices of “The Biggest Loser“. From what I’ve read, the physical and mental pressure put on participants can be very detrimental. Thoughts?

SHAKE IT UP – One of my favorite afternoon treats are smoothies! I even keep a Magic Bullet in my office so that I can blend them fresh daily. I can’t wait to try out this Apple Pie Smoothie recipe from Claire at The Slender Student. Apple pie is one of my favorite decadent desserts, so I want to see how this captures its essence.

What were some of your favorite links from around the web this week? Do you have any great fitness plans for the weekend? Leave a comment and let me know!

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!