Upgrade Your Workout for Under $20

It’s amazing how making a few small changes to your workout routine can make such a big difference. For me, wireless headphones were a game changer–no longer do I get tangled up in the cords! That was a pricier change, but there are plenty of products I’ve found costing under $20 that have forever changed my workouts for good. Here are 5 of my favorites.

photo 1-2lululemon Light As Air Thong, $16

I know, spending $16 for a pair of underoos sounds crazy. But these thongs are ridiculously comfortable, leave no visible panty lines, and come in simple solid colors and fun prints, like this camouflage pair.

photo 1Sweaty Betty Hair Toggles, 5 for $8

I have extremely thick, hard to manage hair. In the past when working out, I’d use 2 thick hair ties to keep my hair in place, and it still ended up falling out–usually just a few minutes into my workout. These hair toggles really grip your hair and keep it firmly in place. I can now make it through an hour-long power yoga sequence without worrying about my hair flopping into my face during downward dog.

photo 2-2Master Lock Speed Dial Combination Lock, $7

This easy to use lock makes it simpler than ever to keep your belongings safe at the gym. It unlocks using a series of movements (up, down, left, right) rather than numbers or a key.

photo 2Sparkly Soul Headbands, $15 (thin band)/ $17 (thick band)

In addition to being untamable by hair tie, my hair (or maybe my head) tends to repel headbands. I’ve purchased countless bands to try, but only Sparkly Soul has stood up to the task of staying put. They come in tons of colors, and add a fun touch to any workout outfit. I’m in love.

photo 4Lorna Jane Secret Sock, $10

I hate when my socks fall down during a workout, but I also hate socks that stick out ridiculously far from my shoes and rub me the wrong way. These socks strike the perfect balance–they are comfortable and remain perfectly hidden. I have them in black and white, and they also come in a nude shade.

What are some of your favorite bargain fitness finds?

Sweat Worthy – Link Love #3

Hello, Sweathearts! It feels good to be writing here again. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me–I won my first local title in the Miss America system, an am delighted to represent my community and take my first trip to the Miss New York pageant. When I relaunched Sweatsational, I was not expecting to win a title. My schedule is now going to be a little tighter, but I’m dedicated to making Sweatsational a success! Keep an eye out for more of the usual posts, but also a series related to preparing for the Miss New York lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit competition! I’m not trying to lose weight, but want to build lean muscle tone so that I’m at my best fitness level when I hit the stage.

I hope you enjoy the links I’ve gathered this week. A few are very near and dear to my heart!

MOVE TO END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – I’m an advocate for empowering teens (and adults!) with the tools they need to say no to domestic violence. I work closely with My Sisters’ Place, a local organization dedicated to providing support (in many ways) to survivors of domestic violence and educating the community. Their newest initiative, Team MSP, allows you to get your sweat on while raising funds to support these needed services.

gratitude-attitude

CULTIVATE GRATITUDE – I discovered 12 Months of Lent through the lululemon blog a few months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever sense! This recent post by blog author Dani features an excellent 60 second stress-buster aimed at fostering contentment.

LOVE A GOOD WORKSHEET? – I used to love worksheets when I was still in school. I know, I’m a nerd. I was extremely happy to see these fabulous worksheets on the Move Nourish Believe blog this week. They are designed to help encourage your positive mindset and help work through any insecurity you may be struggling with. I’ve printed them and will be using this weekend!

How-Use-Small-Exercise-Ball-Effectively

Photo from PopSugar

SMALL CHANGE, BIG RESULTS – I’ve only ever used large fitness balls–I’ve never even seen one this small until this week! In my PopSugar Must Have Box for the month of March, I received this small pink fitness ball that I had no idea what to do with. Thankfully, they have a how-to guide online, which I’m sharing here. Have you ever tried a mini fitness ball before? How did you like it?

What links have you been loving this week? Leave a comment here, as I’d love to check out your picks!

*The link to PopSugar Must Have is a referral link, which means if you purchase a box through that link, I will be credited for referring you. You do not have to use that link to purchase 🙂

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?

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.

Do-all-things-with-love-200x300

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

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!

O2 MAX Accelerator Program – Day 10!

Well, Sweathearts…

I made it! Today marks day 10 of my O2 MAX Accelerator program. In other words, the last day! I’ve had a lot of fun testing out the program, and sharing it here with you. While 10 days seems like such a short amount of time on paper, in reality, it seemed like a pretty long almost week-and-a-half. One thing I wondered when starting the plan was “Will ten days really have an impact on my body?” The answer is yes…and not just on my body, but on my mind as well!

I didn’t lose any weight following the program, but I didn’t gain any weight either. As I’ve become more interested in fitness, I’ve lost interest in the numbers on a scale. Instead, I focus on how my body feels. Do I feel stronger? Absolutely! I’m able to push through more squats, crunches, and pushups than I could ten days ago. I also can see some added definition in my arms, abs, and legs. Nothing dramatic, of course. But it’s there, and getting me closer to my ideal summer swimsuit body!

The diet plan included in the program was also helpful for me. Admittedly, I didn’t always stick to it. But I’ve made some healthier than normal choices over the past ten days (cutting out a lot of processed foods, eating more fruits and veggies, and drinking lots of water) that will hopefully become normal habits for me as I continue to stick with them.

Most importantly, I’ve gotten into a groove of really looking forward to my daily exercise time. It’s “me” time, that I truly enjoy. It feels so good to dedicate time and effort into becoming the best Sarah that I can be.

Thank you, O2 MAX, for the chance to test out this program! Sweathearts, have you tried any similar programs in the past?

O2 MAX Accelerator Program – Day 2

Hi, Sweathearts!

That lovely spring weather I mentioned yesterday? Well, today it was interrupted by a not-so-lovely torrential downpour this evening. I’m not a huge fan of such heavy rain, but I will admit that the accompanying thunderstorm was pretty amazing to watch. Weather aside, I had a pretty great day fitness wise. I took an incredible yoga class at Hastings Yoga, then headed home to tackle day 2 of my O2 MAX Accelerator Program.

ImageDay 2…yoga style!

One reason I’m loving the Accelerator Program already is the fact that you workout your entire body via six easy moves each day. Today, the moves focused on legs (2 exercises), chest, shoulders, lower back, and abs. I know that a lot of people swear by workouts where they focus on a different body part each day, and I know how effective that method is. But I love to switch it up for two reasons. First, I get bored if I don’t! Second, I like targeting multiple body parts at one time because it makes the pain a bit easier to bear the next day…rather than wanting someone to carry me around all day because I did one too many leg exercises!

As always, that is just my two cents! How do you like to plan your workouts? Would you rather target one area per day, or get a full body workout in?