Friday, February 8, 2013

Pumpkin Protein Bars

Ok, we have all been there.  That one night where you secretly are craving every single sugary, indulgent dessert on the planet.  You try to fight your cravings, you even compensate by over-eating other cave.  You eat the whole box of those Thin Mint cookies in a two minute span and wish the cute little girl scout down the block was out of town so you could break into her home and steal a year's worth of Tagalongs.  Oh yeah.  We have all been there.  The next morning we wake up, we look at our puffy stomachs and regret it.  Such a vicious cycle of not letting ourselves enjoy the things we love, and then finally overcompensating because we have psychologically made it a food craving thanks to our limitations of that food.  

I love dessert.  Any kind.  Sour, chocolate, cake, name it.  I will never be one of those people who eats no sugar.  However, I have found a way to fulfill my cravings by making healthier options that have major benefits.  

Remember the saying 'you are what you eat'?  It is so true.  Sure you can workout every day, maybe you are even a skinny little beanpole, but to create a toned, fit, HEALTHY body; you have to make your diet a priority.  Eating quality "CLEAN" foods not only help you to lose weight, and develop the fit body we all strive for...but it also brings longevity and quality to your life.  

I am one who knows.  I lived 21 years not knowing I had Celiac's Disease.  I suffered through terrible headaches, stomach issues, fatigue, you name it...for most of my college career.  When they finally found out what was wrong with me, I was forced to make a diet change.  Sure I had been eating healthy, but the whole grains that I thought were good for me were actually poisoning my body.  The processed foods that I binged on would result in terrible side effects that would leave me sick for days after.  

So, sure Clean Eating is going to make a fit, sexy body (if combined with the right amount of cardio and strength training); however Clean Eating does soooo much more.  It prevents so many problems that our diets have caused.  Trust me, I know.  I have gone through it, and will never go back.  

However, we still need to enjoy our lives.  That means eating something sweet every once and a while. Last night I was craving a little sugary treat and found a recipe for Pumpkin Protein Bars that I tweaked a little bit to make it "cleaner" and in my case...Gluten Free.  Give it a try and let me know what ya think!

Pumpkin Bread Protein Bars

2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar

1 Cup Apple Sauce
1 Can Pumpkin
1 1/2 Cup Protein Powder, unflavored
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Whole Wheat Flour (I use Black Bean or Rice Flour because of my Gluten Allergy)
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt 

Chobani Agave Nectar Icing
(Make enough to eat within the hour)

1 Part Nonfat Vanilla Chobani
2-3 Tablespoons Agave Nectar
Cinnamon for dusting

Mix together the Chobani, and Agave Nectar.  Only make enough to spread on the bars that will be eaten within the hour.  If not, the bars get soggy.  I typically just mix up a batch of "icing" and leave it in my fridge for when I want a dessert.

Watcha think?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Small Changes Lead to Big Success

Hey Preps!

Talk about being crazy busy lately...but feeling on the top of the world at the same time.  The gym I train at just launched the coolest weight-loss competition.  There are teams who compete against each other for highest fat mass loss each week (BMI).  The members of the competition go through fitness assessments, work with a nutritionist, are going through personal training sessions, and have been getting super involved in the group fitness classes.  I AM LOVING IT.  You should see the drive and passion the group members have about getting their fitness back on track.  

I write a 'Trainer Tip of the Day' article for them each day, and really have put my heart and soul into this challenge, and the people it involves.  Every person has a different story, a different reason why they are part of the challenge, and I cannot explain to you have inspirational the past two weeks have been to me.  

So, last Monday was their first weigh-in.  I noted in one of the articles I wrote that weight gain at first is normal due to water retention, muscle gain before fat loss, your body changing...etc.  I was terrified that someone would gain weight, get discouraged and quit.  My concerns were shortly crushed though when every single person (all 50) lost at least 3lbs!  I mean how cool is that?  What accountability to have 49 other people, plus fitness professionals rooting for you?  I have seen so much joy, and empowerment in the past two weeks that I think I have ever seen in my life.

Never have I been happier to go to work, knowing that I am going to help better someones life that day.  When they celebrate their accomplishments, I do too.  My heart is in this as much as their own is, and I hope and pray that they can make this challenge a lifestyle...not just something they do for eight weeks.  

That's where my own life comes in.  I remember not being able to fit into a dress I was hoping to wear to spring formal my freshman year of college.  I knew I needed to lose weight, but had no clue where to start.  I wish I had the support group my weight loss challengers do...or someone to teach me the things I can teach others now.  Weight loss was a long process for me.  There were frustrations, times where I wanted to give-up, confusion, etc.  However, the first time I fit back into my favorite pair of jeans is still one of the proudest moments of my entire life...and one that I will never forget.

Fitness and nutrition is a lifestyle...we don't have to be perfect at it, but it isn't something we can do for a week then quit for four isn't always easy, but it is so worth it.  Sure we all want to look good, but living a healthy lifestyle is so much more than being skinny.  Healthy lifestyles prevent future life problems that range from back problems to heart disease.  We have to make healthy changes not only for appearance purposes, but so we can keep being the amazing people we were created to be without poor health getting in the way.  

So what is your story?  What are your excuses?  Do you know where to start?

Every week I make small goals that I want to achieve by then end of the week...each week I change or add goals.  Doing so allows me to make small changes, ones that I know I can achieve instead of unrealistic goals that only result in failure.  

So, here is my list of goals for this week:

Weekly Goals

Remember...change doesn't happen over night.  We all have our weaknesses.  Instead of pushing our weaknesses to the side, we need to make a conscious effort to work at those weaknesses, and turn them into strengths.  Also remember that fitness and nutrition is a lifestyle...not something we can just start and stop.  Don't give up!  Even when you fail!  Get back up knowing you are stronger for it!

Have a blessed Monday y'all!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Anchored Down by the Past

(In picture: Swell Caroline Earrings, KJP Bracelet, Lilly Pulitzer Dress, J.Crew Bangle, Polo Ralph Lauren Sweater, Tommy Hilfiger Sweater)

Hey Preps!

No I do not need therapy.  I promise I only have a mild (huge) obsession and collection of anchors.
A San Diego native who was shipped to the Northeast, and then decided to attend college in the South...I couldn't tell you where my collection even started, or why I initially fell in love with the global symbol for stability.  Maybe because I feel like my life is never completely stable (which it shouldn't be yet), and is ever changing that I have developed a love for the symbol that completely contrasts my current spot in life.  Not to get all philosophical, but maybe like my love of anchors, I am constantly trying to get to the future without enjoying the present.  Why?  Because knowing what my future holds allows me to prepare for it...which means stability.

And there you have it...I have just confessed to being a total control freak. Kalyn, the weirdo girl who is preparing for the zombie apocalypse (not really).  But sure, I want to be successful, and I want to know if I will be right now.  I want the biggest girl job you can find me, no baby-steps along the way, please.  I'm a leaps and bounds type of girl (now I do not mean in relationships so don't even snicker at that).

Then I feel as if I am also the opposite...not only do I want to see what the future may hold, but I also tend to dwell in the past.  I think of all the things I would have done differently...I regret a lot; even on teeny insignificant things...and through my life I have actually become a little bit less outgoing, and a little bit more cautious when it comes to friendships and relationships.  Do I think guarding your heart is a good thing?  Yes.  Do I think getting to know someone slowly is a good thing?  Absolutely...but there comes a point where you know that your guard has been up way too long, and you wish you knew how to lower the walls that are stopping you from developing a really special bond with someone.

Social Media these days has had a huge impact on the way we as society function.  We constantly compare ourselves to what we see on our Facebooks, or go through our old pictures thinking about the good ole' days.  It's pointless.  It really does no good except make us want more and not appreciate the life we are currently living.  It anchors us down.  

I am anchored down by my impatience of the future, and the reminiscence of the past.  I know that, and am trying each day to overcome the weights that bind me from truly enjoying my life (not that I don't).  I have been hurt, and will probably be hurt again...but why am I putting all my blame and energy on a past relationship that didn't work out?  Why am I spending time worrying about the future...when I know I will one day get to where I want to be if I work at it hard enough.  We put so much pressure on ourselves when we are worrying about things we can't help.  I can't help that I have been hurt in the instead of using that as an excuse...I need to focus on the present, and enjoying my life.  We can find reasons to feel anxious or upset...but we can also find even more reasons to be thankful and excited about each day as it comes.  When you are truly happy...that is when your future takes ahold of you, and blesses you in ways you can't imagine.

Don't ever forget where you came from, or the lessons you have learned along the way.  People are put into our lives to teach us.  Look back on the good and bad, and know that you are better from it...and take baby steps instead of leaps and bounds to truly grow as a person.

The first being to admit what is anchoring you down, so you can slowly lift it off the ocean's floor and begin to sail again.  
(I am such a nerd with all my analogies...just call me your 2013 Plato...
my anchor analogy, his cave allegory...basically the same level).

God bless y'all!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Try a Bow Tie

Hey Preps! 

For those that know me, know I am a huge sucker for bow ties.  They are just a party.  Any guy who wants to stand out in an obnoxiously classic and fun way will rock a bow tie.  I am jealous that men get to wear them...I want one!  

I was reading back through my past posts, and decided it was about time to write about my most beloved men's accessory again.  So, I did a little research, and picked out my favorite bow ties from different preppy companies shown below:

(Photo Credits: Starboard Clothing Co., Carolina Cotton Bow Ties, 
Anchored Style, High Cotton Ties)

  1.  Kau'i by Carolina Cotton Bow Ties has a great color combination.  For those gents who rock colored chino pants, this bow tie can be worn in both the summer and winter months...just match it with a pair of red chinos in the winter, or a pair of light pink/green in the winter.  Match made in heaven.
  2. Flying Scot reversible bow tie from High Cotton Ties is a perfect summer bow tie that combines classic gingham with a summer plaid.  Now who is ready for summer so they can wear this guy?
  3. Lenox Flannel bow tie from High Cotton Ties is strictly a winter tie.  I love bow ties that utilize different fabrics other than just cotton, and this is a perfect example.  Change of the texture of a bow tie to a winter fabric, add a winter plaid, and you have the perfect Christmas bow tie (a little late this year)!
  4. Whale Golf Club bow tie by Vineyard Vines, is perfect for those Bubba Watson wanna-bes who have casual summer events they are planning to attend.  I love how VV took their classic whale logo and stuck it on the ends of the golf clubs.  I'm sold.
  5. Andrew Howard Tattersall Beau by Starboard Clothing Co. is quite possibly my favorite beau of the bunch.  I am obsessed with pink and green...ya may be too, but not like me...come to my house and I will prove it to you.  The combination of my two favorite colors in a tattersall pattern.  The sky is the limit with what you can pair this bow tie with.  
  6. CPL. Spires Digital Camo Beau is a Special Edition beau by Starboard Clothing Co., and is one of the beaus I have actually purchased as a gift in the past.  It is perfect for any military gent who likes to add a little flare to his wardrobe.  The duck cloth that this bow tie is made out of, gives it a unique feel and look.  Additionally, part of the profits made from this beau is given to the Wounded Warrior Project.  A patriotic-inspired beau that supports are military?  Love the concept.
  7. Navy Signal Flag Woven Bow Tie by Anchored Style is perfect for all those sailors or nautical-living gents who lean towards a clean-cut look when picking their bow ties.  Signal flags on a woven tie gives this bow tie a classic All-American feel.  
Gents, don't be shy...try a bow tie!

(I am sitting here laughing at my own little cheesy rhyme I just made...seriously I can't stop...ahh I crack myself up.)

But really, if you want to win a girls initial approval (at least this one's) give one a try!
What is your favorite bow tie?
Have a blessed day y'all!

Monday, January 7, 2013

One Happy Cat Lady

(Outfit of the Day:  Polo Ralph Lauren Rugby Polo, Lands' End Canvas Corduroys, Sperry Top-Sider Boots, Swell Caroline Anchor Earrings, Kiel James Patrick Bracelet)
Hey Preps!

I used to joke with my friends about one day being a cat lady (actually I still do), then one day I was with my sister at PetSmart, and the animal shelters from the Pittsburgh area were there with some of the animals that needed homes.  That's when I met Lilly.  She was a little black ball of fuzz and as I watched her play with her brothers, play by herself (yes, she's miss personality), and eventually get so worn out that she fell asleep in the litter box; all in a 15 minute span.  I knew I had to have her.  

So here I am, the proudest cat lady there is.  I love her to death.  However, last night...we had our issues.  I typically don't let her sleep in my bed...but since she was doing no harm fast asleep on my pillow when I decided I needed to hit the hay, I didn't feel as if I needed to kick her out of my room for the night.  Then it started...everywhere I moved, she had to snuggle right up against my face, snoring, and poking me with her whiskers.  I dealt with it for a little bit, but then the sweetie decided to purr at two in the morning.  She was just being her happy self, and I couldn't take it so I moved her downstairs...only for that to result in two hours worth or her crying outside my door.  No sleep for me.

This morning, I get into work, and I jam the copier four times.  No caffeine.  No sleep.  Not accomplishing what I need to.  I just wanted to throw my hands up and walk out the door.  Mondays I tell ya...

Constantly I find myself making excuses as to why I am allowed to feel sorry for myself.  I love personal training, but get taken advantage of at the facility I work, the area I live in isn't fulfilling for me, I have so much on my plate...blah blah blah.  Today I just told myself to quit it.  No more complaining.  

We often find ourselves in ruts because we may not be 100% happy with ourselves or our current situations.  Dwelling on those negative things can only create disheartenment.  If we are always focused on what is wrong in our lives, we are never going to be able to appreciate each day as it comes, or see the lessons in each situation we endure.  In life, we should focus on becoming a little bit better each day.  We should be able to see the beauty in the ups and downs...and start keeping our chins up a little bit more, and nixing the complaining before we even start.

I am not sure what you are going through right now in life, it could be hating your job, struggling with making a decision on what to major in, wondering whether you should make the big move, or recovering from heart break...but trust me, I have been through it all.  If I have learned anything, it's don't dwell on the bad stuff.  Sure, it's hard not to when it is something so huge...but when you do, you are doing nothing beneficial.  

Instead, focus on the good things in your life...look at the positives in your situation, and if you are not far enough removed from them yet, know that there will be a lesson you learn, or an opportunity you are given because of that situation.  Each time you fall down and get back up, you get a little bit smarter and a whole lot stronger.  

Just be the genuine person you are.  Laugh a lot, and know that every little gonna be alright.
Even if I end up being a cat lady for the rest of my life!

Have a blessed day y'all!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Glutes & Legs of Your Dreams

Hey Preps!

Recently I have been getting a ton of e-mails asking about what I do for my own workouts...what I much I run a day...etc.  Let me be the first to say that as a personal trainer who sees all sorts and sizes of people, what works for me, may or may not work for you.  The same goes for what I love versus what you love.  Just because running is a passion of mine, doesn't mean that you have to run.  If you dread running, don't do it.  Do something that keeps you motivated to stay active whether it's spinning, kickboxing, zumba, or any weight training classes...I promise that once you find something you are passionate about in the fitness realm, that it will make that motivation stick.

As part of a New Years motivation to you, I have created three lower body circuits to share with you all.  I do many of these circuits with some of my own group fitness classes, and have found them to be fun and give me the results I am looking for.

First, let's start with the equipment (although you don't HAVE to have these things) that I use during the circuits I am about to show you:

Cute Glutes and Lean Legs Essentials

  1. Kettlebells are one of the most convenient fitness tools I have ever used.  The shape of them allows you to accomplish more advanced moves that work several muscle groups at once.  They are easier to hold than dumbbells and you can lift heavier with them depending on what you are doing.  I typically use a 25lb. kettlebell.
  2. Bar bells are great for isolating squats, deadlifts, and many upper body movements.  At my gym, we have preset smaller bar bells that are great for women who don't want to go to an Olympic bar yet.  
  3. Steppers are used so frequently at my gym.  We have step aerobics, Body Pump, boot camps, that all use them for different purposes.  Today I am using it to elevate one leg at a time to isolate my quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
  4. Dumbbells  we all know what they are, but I guarantee you are probably lifting too light if you are a girl reading this.  We are women.  We don't get bulky from lifting weights.  Your purse probably weighs more than a 5lb weight.  Challenge yourself.
So, there is all the equipment you if you don't have a stepper, use a stair or a bench...anything that is about 12 inches off of the ground.  If you don't have a kettlebell, use a heavier dumbbell, or just use your bodyweight for all of these moves at first if you are a beginner.

Here is your circuit workout:

Cute Glutes & Lean Legs
Let's go over some basics first.  What is a circuit?  It is a type of weight training using several different exercises back to back without rest.  Typically they are repeated several times.  Here, I have the circuits repeating three times.  So, the first circuit is Elevated Split Squats, Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, and Stability Lunges...looking to the right above you will see how many repetitions of each exercise you are to perform before moving to the next exercise in the circuit.  For example, I will do 12 Elevated Split Squats with my right leg forward first, then I will do 12 with my left leg forward second before moving onto my Deadlifts.  After I do 15 Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, I go right into 12 Stability Lunges.  As soon as I am done with the Stability Lunges, I go right back into my Elevated Split Squats...etc. until I have repeated all the exercises in the circuit three times.

When I am finished with the first circuit, I go right into the second circuit.  I repeat all of those exercises three times, and finally go into the third circuit.  Make sense?

For a few of the more confusing moves in this workout, I took some picture below to better explain how to do the moves correctly:
Elevated Split Squats- place one foot flat on the 12 inch stepper, the other foot should be behind the other foot (not directly think railroad tracks) and your feet should be facing the same direction.  Now think of your body as an elevator, this is a strictly up and down motion, do not lunge forward with your back leg.  Make sure your back is straight, and you are not bending at the waist.  I typically use 12lb. dumbbells when I am doing these since I do so many repetitions of them.  This move targets your hamstrings and glutes on the leg that is elevated.
Stability Lunges help to tone the glutes, and inner/outer thighs.  The goal is to do these SLOWLY.  You do have to bend slightly at the waist, but you should not be moving your waist up and down as you shift from one side to another.  The only movement that should be taking place is the shifting of your body weight from one leg to another.  Hold on each side for about 3 seconds before shifting to the other side.
Sumo Squats using a kettlebell, are great for isolating your inner thigh muscles.  Keeping your back straight, not bending at the waist, spread your feet twice your hips length apart, feet pointing away from one another.  Just like a basic squat, bend your knees until they make a 90-degree angle then extend your knees bringing your bodyweight back up.
Running Lunges begin in the basic split squat position.  One foot placed in front of the other, both feet facing the same direction. Once again this is only an up and down motion, think elevator, only moving on the vertical plane of movement, no leaning forward at the waist, keeping the back straight, and always making sure you have good posture.  To start, place feet in the starting split squat position, then bend the knees so they are both making about a 90-degree angle (like shown above).  I suggest warming up first with a few walking "lunges" (I refer to them as split squats) by extending the knees and switching feet that are in front (so move the back foot in ahead of the front foot then do another split squat).  Once you feel comfortable with this movement, you can move on to this explosive, plyometric, exercise that I call the Running Lunge.  

So, back to the beginning we start in the position shown above, using your legs explode upwards extending your knees and switching feet while in mid-air to land with the foot previous placed in the back now in the front.  This move builds LEAN.  I swear by it.  It's a great way to combine a cardio move with bodyweight for maximum results.  You will feel it the next day, I promise.
Hip Raises are a great exercise to target your lower-back, glutes, and hamstrings (so basically all of the areas that most women accumulate fat).  I do my hip-raises off of a step to increase my hips' range of motion and allow my muscles to be worked for a longer period of time than if I were to just do hip raises off of the floor.  Start with your back flat on the ground, feet placed on the floor or step.  Tighten your glutes as you raise your hips until you are making a straight diagonal line with your body.  Hold at the top keeping your core and glutes tight, and slowly release until your bum is barely touching the floor.  Repeat.  

So, there you have it.  A great leg workout that requires a good floor, and very little equipment.  Virtually a workout you can do any where you wish!  It's easy to make excuses as to why we aren't going to the gym as much as we would like, but when I worked so hard to create a workout you can do in the convenience of your own really don't have much of an excuse.  Now do you? :)

Feel free to e-mail me if you ever have questions about workouts, the exercises, nutrition, you know, anything!  

Hope you are having great weekends!
God bless y'all!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Just Skatin' Through

Hey Preps!
My office Christmas party and New Year's Eve dresses.

First and foremost, Happy New Year!  I have been slacking big time on my posts in 2012, so one of my new hopes is to get back into more of a routine now that I am more accustomed to my ever changing work schedule.  Fingers-crossed I can stay organized enough to do so.  

Who knows I was proudly on my way to work, organized client portfolios in tote when I slipped on some ice and POOF...three client's files in a flurry in the air landing on the icky wet, sloppy, half-melted snow/ice mixture beneath my feet.  Sigh.  Typical Kalyn moment.  So I picked up the sad little parcels and moved on.  

Sometimes I feel like the clumsiest person on the planet.  You know it's bad when you start annoying yourself with your own ya feel me?  Why can't one day just work out the way I wanted it to?  Why couldn't I have proudly presented my clients with their beautiful new folders filled with wondrous programs, workouts, and nutrition hints instead of letting all that paper go to waste?  

The same goes for me when I'm out.  So it's New Year's Eve...and I am in heels that I had no business wearing because of the height on those puppies.  I mean hellloooooo wear running shoes every least start with a simple two-inch heel instead of going to the stilts first.  So, there I am all night wobbling my way across the venue we were at...wishing I had a fancy pair of sneakers I could slide into.  You get my point.

Another thing I am just not good at is wearing those new "Bodycon" dresses every single girl 'in da club' is rocking.  I am in good shape, and I feel like my bumcheeks are hanging out and I have fat suddenly developing in places that don't exist when I try them, the fact that I may be a wee bit judgemental of other ladies wearing such attire may play a factor in my self-conciousness.  I mean, let's get real...where do we typically see a bumcheek huggin', love handle makin' hoochie dress?  On some drunk girl 'in da club'.  

So what's a girl to do if she wants to have fun and look (kinda) sexy when she's out, but not look like she's trying to take home the whole football team?  My new and favorite solution is the skater dress.  It is a 50's inspired look with a wee bit of a modern feel.  Let me explain:

Okay, so let's get many girls have this exact picture in their college dorm room?  Audrey is iconic for her fashion sense.  So, how do you take a classic iconic dress and make it modern and sexy?  You add a slightly fuller, shorter skirt to the cinched waistline.  Waaaalaaaa! You have just created the skater dress! What a fabulous concept.  

The 2013 Hepburn

Above, I created a Polyvore to show you how I made outfits out of my beloved skater dresses this holiday season.  You can dress them up with heels or down with a blazer and a pair of flats.  Either way, this style of a dress is super slimming and flattering on girls who have athletic or pear-shaped bodies.  I am hooked, and I hope after this post that you will be pitching those bumcheekie dresses and opting for a classier look.  Modest is hottest you know...OYE VEY am I sarcastic today!

Best Wishes for all your 2013 endeavors!
God bless y'all!