My Love For Kayaking And How It's Helped Tame My Anxiety

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I can feel the warm breeze glide across my face. My skin tingles and a little shudder goes throughout my entire body. I smell the water and sea-salt in the air and the subtle taste of sunscreen hits my lips. I feel the cold droplets of water hit my skin as I glide my paddle into the water. The boat rocks back and forth a bit and I hear ducks and geese nearby. This is being outside on a warm, beautiful sunny day. This is kayaking. 

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I've always loved being in the water. I started when I was just three years old and have been obsessed with water sports ever since. I'm thankful my parents had me swimming at a very young age because it instilled lifelong, instinctive survival skills in me. Water baby for life! I've tried various water sports, including SUP, but kayaking has always intrigued me. This summer we decided it was time to take our lust for kayaking to the next level. We invested a lot of money into some fabulous kayaks and I'm grateful we've been able to spend nearly every weekend out on the water. 

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It's no secret that I struggle with GSD a.ka. generalized anxiety disorder. A fluffy name for something that's actually quite serious and can be completely debilitating in my daily life. I go from one minute being completely okay to the next minute having a serious panic attack. Eating healthy foods, running, and working out works wonders to tame it, but I've found another activity that really helps manage it too.

And that's Kayaking.

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Kayaking has helped bring my daily anxiety level down from a high 20 to a manageable 8. Even better than it helping me with my anxiety is that I get to do it with my best friend. My husband Shane is literally the yin-to-my-yang. I'm not sure what I would do without him and his calming demeanor has been especially helpful since my anxiety has nearly taken over in the last year and a half.

Shane is amazing. Even on the weekend's when we have wedding's and he's worked 60+hours the week leading up, he never says no to anything, even kayaking. He also didn't think I was crazy when I told him we were buying kayaks on fourth of July weekend. We were basically hooked after the first weekend we rented kayaks and decided that we must invest in some so that we could save on the costly rental fee's and take them with us wherever we want. Also? We are both huge outdoor enthusiast's so any excuse to explore a new lake or campground, we are game for! 

We are lucky to live in an area that is surrounded by water and we have access to a lake that is 20-minutes from our house. Easy access for sure! What I love most about kayaking is being outside. I'm a much happier person outside with my main squeeze. I love seeing everything around me and feeling the warm sun on my skin. I love interacting with the ducks and having hilarious conversations with them. Yup. I'm that girl. I love that we can kayak for a relaxing 2-miles and take a picnic with us or we go all out and go for a powerful 20-miles exploring all the nooks and crannies of the rivers and lakes.

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What I adore most about kayaking is spending un-interrupted time with Shane. I love how we can talk and have long conversations about anything and everything. I love how we can just be together on our kayaks and watch the sunset and bask in the beauty of what mother nature gives us for free every single day. I love how we can make jokes and laugh about everything. I love how calm I feel when I'm out on the water and how nothing really get's to me. My anxiety seems far away hidden in a dark door somewhere that no longer needs to be opened. I love how it's just easy. Easy to be loved. Easy to be out on the water. Easy to be. 

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I also love this beautiful outfit provided to me by prAna via Fit Approach. This Filament tank top is a must-have for all of my outdoor adventures. I love that I can sport this while rock climbing and in the water kayaking. It dries quickly so no stress at all if it happens to get wet and it's got a built-in sports bra, perfect for all of those outdoor adventures! Need comfy pants for fall? These super versatile Uptown Pant's in Cargo Green are the perfect color for fall and are oh so comfy! I love how I can go from hiking to kayaking to climbing to date night in these pants and everything in between!

You can snag this adorable outfit for 15% off using my code FAJE15. I'm currently lusting over this for my upcoming Canada trip and this for all of my outdoor adventures this fall! 

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What are you looking forward to during this gorgeous fall season? 

These clothes were gifted to me by prAna via Fit Approach. As always, all opinions and content are my own. 

 

 

 

4-Easy, Fun Ways To Sculpt Your Arms | UB Toner Review

This post is sponsored by UB Toner™ the content and opinions are all my own. 

I've loved doing upper body workouts ever since I started swimming in elementary school. I love lifting weights, boxing, kayaking, yoga, all of it! I realize the importance of having a strong upper body and core strength and it can be hard to do that while on the road and traveling.

That's why the UB Toner™ is fantastic! I'm heading on lots of trips this year and Las Vegas next week, and I'm excited to bring the UB Toner™ with me along for the ride! Lifting heavy weights is important for the bigger muscles like the triceps and biceps but what about those smaller muscles in the areas that are harder to reach? These smaller muscles are harder to get to with weightlifting alone. You all know what I'm talking about, the area right beneath your shoulder blades and your lats. I don't believe in "trouble areas" I believe our bodies are miraculous beings working hard to keep us going at top speed every day, but there are some areas that are harder to get with weight-lifting alone. The UB Toner™ is great for those smaller areas because it works specific muscles in the chest, shoulders, and back region. 

Here are 4-easy moves you can do virtually anywhere and reap all of the benefits of micro-muscle movement.

Make sure you do a warm up before doing this workout and always keep good posture the entire time. Shoulders back, core pulled in with feet hip-width apart. These moves work all of the smaller muscles in the chest and back region and are fantastic to do after a cardio intensive HIIT workout or after running. I especially like to use the UB Toner™ after running and because it's a wonderful tool to use during a cool down. 

Move #1: The Straight Up Move- Stand up straight and keep your core pulled in. Shoulders back and bring the UB Toner™ chest level keeping your arms parallel with your chest. Pull in for 5-seconds and hold and then release for 5-second. Do this move 3-times through for 3-rounds. 

Move #2: Chest Level Move- This move is awesome for sculpting those shoulders. Keep your core pulled in and back straight while flexing your arms. Bring the UB Toner™ right below your chest and hold for 5-seconds then release. Do this move 3-times for 3 rounds. 

Move #3: Reach out- This is one of my favorite moves using the UB Toner ™ and it's awesome to do anytime! Keep your back straight, core pulled in, and lean out to a 25-30 degree angle. Pull your shoulder blades back keep your elbows up and squeeze the UB Toner™ for 5-second and release. Do this move 3 times through for 3-rounds.

Move #4: Straight Down- Stand up straight with your core pulled in and shoulder blades back. Bring your elbows up and to your sides and squeeze for 5-seconds and release. Do this move 3-times for 3-rounds through. 

Make sure you flex and squeeze your arms the entire time to get the most benefit from these awesome, easy moves! You can purchase the UB Toner™ here

Check out the video I created for you guys to see all of the moves below and let me know what you think!

Comment below and tell me what your favorite upper body moves to do on the go and when traveling! 

My Favorite Workout Moves | Best Ways To Wake Up Your Body! | With Beyond Quest Cereal Bars

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Quest Nutrition but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 

Ever wake up feeling sluggish and a tad out of if? I know I do! That's why I've created my five favorite workout moves and best ways to wake up your body in partnership with Quest Nutrition featuring their Cereal Protein Bars. 

These high protein cereal bars are an easy on-the-go snack and with only 110 calories, 2-3g net-carbs, an impressive 12g protein, 6-7g fiber, and 8g of Allulose, (Allulose is a new, naturally occurring sweetener found in raisins, figs, and dates, and it's not metabolized like regular sugar. These cereal protein bars are the perfect companion to my favorite morning workout! These bars come in three flavors, Cinnamon Roll, Chocolate, and Waffle (although my Vitamin Shoppe is currently out of the waffle flavor) they are a fantastic pre and post workout snack and are awesome when you are in need of a sweet treat, but don't want all of the sugar and calories to go along with it. 

I know that I function my best when I do my workout first thing in the morning and I've designed this workout to be all levels friendly. This workout can be done anywhere, indoors and outdoors, and is also perfect for when you need a quick pick me up throughout the day. You can do these moves at any level, as the video below features the beginner, intermediate, and advanced versions of the moves. This workout mainly focuses on the lower body, but it works your entire body- core, arms, shoulders, and back muscles. 

My Five Favorite Workout Moves! Check them out below:

  • Move 1: Shoulder Rolls-1 minute each, front shoulder rolls and reverse shoulder rolls. These work your entire upper body and can be done virtually anywhere. When you are stressed out, try this move and you'll immediately feel better! Plus, you can add weights to this move for even more of a burnout! 
  • Move 2: Squats- Squats are a fantastic, lower body move that works the glutes, thighs, quads, and legs. You can do squats every day, just make sure you have proper form when you do them. Make sure to stick your but out and tuck your tailbone in. If you don't have the flexibility to go all the way down, do a modified version. Always remember proper form over length. 
  • Move 3: Lunges-Lunges are one of my favorite lower body moves and are actually better for your core than doing traditional crunches. They work the glutes, thighs, quads, and calf muscles. Do 1-minute on each side, and you can even alternate between jumping lunges, lunge pulses, and traditional lunges. 
  • Move 4: Wide Legged Squats- Wide legged squats, are a fantastic total body move that works your arms, core, glutes, and thighs. They also work the outside muscle of the glutes which are hard to get to with regular squats. Do this move for 1-minute. 
  • Move 5: Modified Push-ups. Push-ups are a tough, full-body move, and requires you to be able to hold up your entire body weight, so if you can't do that yet, I've provided the modified version where you put your knees on the ground with arms a bit wider than shoulder width apart. Push-ups work your arms, shoulders, back, and core. Do this move for 1-minute. 

Check out my video on YouTube for the full sequence below: 

I hope you guys enjoyed this workout and let me know if the comments section below if you've tried Quest Beyond Cereal Protein Bars and what you think of them! 

The Beginner's Guide To Rock Climbing

I'm harnessed in 30 feet above the ground. My palms are sweaty, I reach back into my chalk bag to chalk up my hands for the next phase of the climb. My right calf muscle is tired and starting to cramp up. I stretch my leg out and put my left hand on the blue rock a foot above me. The blue rock is going to get me to my next rock which will get me to the top of the wall. I lift my left leg up and reach for the next rock with my right arm. Sweat is dripping down my forehead and I'm huffing and puffing. I reach as high as my arms will let me and I make it to the top of the wall! I feel elated and happy and although I'm tired, I just climbed my first 5.13 wall and it feels really good. This is what dreams are made of, this is rock climbing.

My love affair with rock climbing started when I made the decision one cold, January morning that I needed to conquer my fears. I made 2016 the year of facing everything that terrified me, and although rock climbing sounded fun, it scared me and I knew it was something I needed to do. On Valentines Day of last year, my amazing husband surprised me with passes to Granite Arch, our local rock climbing gym and upon entering their space, I fell in love. I learned everything there was to know about rock climbing that day, and now it's become a strong passion of mine. I'm training each day to get good enough to participate in rock climbing competitions this summer.

Rock climbing is a unique way to train your body, and it's tons of fun! You'll conquer your fear of heights, and you'll feel like a monkey when you climb the walls. Rock climbing gives you a strong core and upper body, and the confidence you'll gain from rock climbing will carry on into other areas of your life. Not only will you feel strong, but learning how to rock climb will give you the confidence to try other new things you were fearful of trying before and you will feel stronger in your decision-making skills. This post will guide you through everything you need to know about the basics of rock climbing, what gear you'll need, and the best clothing to wear on those rocky walls. 

The most important thing when learning how to rock climb is having the proper gear and keeping an open mind. You'll need shoes, a chalk bag and chalk, a harness, a locking carabiner, and climbing ropes (optional since most rock climbing gyms have them). You can find all these items at decent prices at any major outdoor, retail store.

You'll also want to make sure you have cool, comfortable clothing. My favorite clothing brand for climbing clothes is Athleta. Their clothes are durable, breathable, and functional, and made for a female's body. The outfit I'm wearing in these photos are made by Athleta and the pants are the Sculptek Stealth Capri in the color Constellation Blue. The Sculptek line is one of my favorite lines from Athleta, with it's breathable, but durable fabric, and super flattering lines, these pants won't let you down. They move with you on the rock climbing walls and are super comfortable. These pants were made for climbing tough walls, running high hills, and lifting heavy weights! The top I'm wearing is also from Athleta and it's called the Inversion Tank made with Powervita fabric in the color Lotus Lady Neon. This top is soft and the fabric feels great on my skin especially when I sweat. This top kept me cool and dry and didn't get snagged on the rock climbing walls. I was impressed at how it stayed put throughout my entire workout and I never had to adjust my top once. Everything stayed put and in its place. The entire outfit is made in a Fair Trade Certified Factory which is really important to me because I know where my clothes are coming from. 

Gear you'll need:

  • Harness- The harness is the belt that keeps you locked into the rope and is required at all gyms. Make sure you chose a harness that fits your body. There is nothing worse than having a harness that is too small or too big. 
  •  Locking Carabiner- The locking carabiner attaches your belay device to your harness.
  • Shoes- Invest in good climbing shoes, trust me, they will be your saving grace and the right ones can keep your feet from getting blisters. Your shoes should fit snugly, but should be flexible enough to have movement in your toes. Try on a few pairs before making your final decision. 
  • Chalk and Chalk Bag- Chalk keeps your hands cool and dry and keeps your palms from getting sweaty. Throughout your climb, you'll reach back and chalk up your hands as needed.                                                                                                                                

Types of indoor rock climbing:

In rock climbing, there are three ways to go, bouldering, top rope climbing, and lead climbing. Lead climbing is for the much more advanced climber, so here will focus on bouldering and top rope climbing. Bouldering is where you free climb on walls that have routes that fall under the V-scale starting from V1 (novice) all the way to V16. You will always have a thick crash pad under you, and the only gear bouldering requires is good climbing shoes, chalk, chalk bag, and breathable climbing clothing. You will learn to boulder by climbing the beginner's climbing wall and climbing up and down as many times as you can. Some exercises that will help your bouldering skils are push-ups, pull-ups, and downward dog exercises from yoga. When you first start bouldering it's easy to get frustrated, but keep trying, and before long you'll be a master at it! The other benefit of bouldering is it will make you super confident when you are top rope climbing. 

Top rope climbing is the most common way to rock climb for the beginner climber. Top rope climbing is where you are secured in a harness, and there is rope that is secured to an anchor on the wall at the gym. You tie into the rope by making a figure-8 knot and the other end of the rope is held by your climbing partner, aka your belayer. Your belayer is the person who manages your climb and will catch you if you fall. Make sure you find a climbing partner you trust and who is a certified belayer. Any rock climbing gym you go to will teach you how to make a figure-8 knot and use of the belay device. I've included instructions to refer to below to see how it's done. 

How to make a figure 8: 

  • Grab your rope and make sure it's long enough, (arms span length is perfect). 
  • Form a large loop in the rope.
  • Elongate the rope, tucking it over and under the line, then feed it back through itself.
  • Make sure to pull it tight and that it's snug and secure. 

Once you've made your figure 8, check in with your partner and ask them if they are ready. They will usually respond with "climb ready, or ready." Once they are ready, you are ready to climb! The standard training routes in climbing gyms range from 5.0-5.15. The 5.0's are usually white colored rocks and your goal will be to stick to the white colored rocks when climbing up the wall. There are two ways to climb the wall called "tracking" and "all feet". Tracking means that you have to follow the same colored rocks with your hands and feet, while "all feet" means your hands need to stay on the same colored rocks, but your feet can go on any colored rocks. Begin with the 5.0-5.5 walls and practice those for a few weeks before you move on to the more advanced walls. Before you know it, you'll be climbing those 5.11 and 5.12 walls and teaching your friends to climb! 

Once you get confident in your wall climbing skills, there are many places in Norther California that have bouldering rocks to train on. Bring your friends, some yummy snacks, a landing pad, your chalk and chalk bag, along with your climbing shoes and you can climb to your heart's content. Bouldering is a fantastic way to build strength and helps you train for the more advanced walls at the rock climbing gym. 

I hope my beginner's guide to rock climbing helps and inspires you to try rock climbing. Once you put that chalk on your hands and finish your first successful climb, you'll be hooked!

And remember, it's not about how high you can climb, it's about the journey you experience along the way. 

A special thank you to Athleta for providing me with the clothes featured in this post. I truly love Athleta's clothing, the brand, and their message to all powerful women. 

How To Sustain An Active Lifestyle, Even When Life Get's Hectic

Your phone is ringing off the hook, the e-mail pings are coming in by the 100's, your dog needs to be fed, you need to be fed, your to-list is miles long, and you cannot remember if you did the face to face call with your boss this morning of if that was scheduled for next week.....Does this sound anything like your typical day? Going in a million different directions and not being able to remember which task has already been done. It can be very challenging to maintain a busy schedule and live an active lifestyle. But don't you worry my friends, I've got a list of tips and nutrition tricks to keep you active, happy, and healthy. 

Tip 1: Make sure you are hydrating, hydrating, hydrating. I know when it's cold it can be very hard to keep your hydration levels up, but staying hydrated is so imperative to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With the colder temperatures it can be really hard to intake a gallon of water a day, but drink up friends! I love staying hydrated with Essence Ph10 Alkaline Water! It has all of the antioxidants I need and helps me maintain normal Ph levels. Do you want to know something else really cool? It has 66mg of organic hibiscus added to it naturally. This is the first water I've found that has all of the antioxidants including hibiscus. Essence Ph10 water also detoxifies your system. I know that when I'm drinking it I have to go to the bathroom more than when I'm drinking regular water. This is a good thing! This means that my body is getting to it's normal pH levels which is imperative to never getting dehydrated. Staying hydrated will keep your body temperatures regulated, will keep those pesky hunger pangs away, (you know the ones you get when you are not actually hungry, it turns out your body is probably thirsty!) Drinking the proper amount of water will keep you from getting dehydrated. The quickest way feel to faint or sick at some point during the day is from not drinking enough water. Here are some easy ways to make sure you are drinking up and staying hydrated.

  • Start your day with a hot glass of lemon water. Boil some water in the morning, slice up a lemon, and drink your water while you are getting ready. You could make your water and lemon with Essence Ph10 water for extra benefits! By the time you are done getting ready, you will have drunk your first glass of lemon water for the day! 
  • Keep a Camelbak with you at all times. I know they are usually used for runners, but even when I'm not on the trails, I have my Camelbak filled with ice so that I always have easy access to water. They come with a built in straw, so no excuses! 
  • When you go to Starbucks or any coffeeshop on your mid-day coffee run, ask the barista for a Venti Iced Water, their water is filtered and free! 
  • Drink tea! If you are too cold to drink water, order a tea. It's not as good as having plain water, but you'll still be reaping the benefits of water with some added antioxidants. Don't fill your tea with sugar either! Just the tea and maybe some honey. Enjoy the flavor of the tea leaves. 
  • Download the water app "Water Logged" in the app store. For 99 cents, this app is a life saver! It sends you reminders and keeps track of your hydration levels.                                                           

Tip 2:  Mason Jar Salads!

  • Go on Amazon and buy the tall mason jars, for $10/9 pack they are a steal and even come with the lids. Then go to Trader Joe's and buy a bunch of produce in bulk and go home and make mason jar salads.
  • Grab kale, spinach, swiss chard, arugula, ice burg lettuce, dandelion root, all the greens! Wash them and toss them all together in a big bowl and add kidney beans, kalamata olives, avocado, pitted dates, pepitas, sliced, fresh fruit, radishes, garbanzo beans, basically anything you love in salad, combine it all together and fill up those mason jars. 
  • Then grab the small mason jars and fill them up with a combination of EVOO and balsamic vinegar with some spices, and you've got yourself, a healthy, easy, lunch on the go. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to a week. The salad jars will last for up to 5-days in the fridge. You can also do this with fruit! Slice up your favorite fruits and combine them in a mason jar, and you've got healthy fruit salads that should last up to 3-days in the fridge.                                         

Tip 3: Apple Cider Vinegar! Apple Cider Vinegar is amazing for your body and mind! I use it for literally everything, but it's also great as an energy booster throughout the day. Make mini shots and store them in the fridge. You can oder BPA free containers on Amazon. 

What you'll need: 4-tbs of ACV, 1 tbs of raw honey, 1 tbs to fresh squeezed lemon juice, and some cayenne pepper. Mix all ingredients together and put them in the little containers. When that mid-day lull hits you at 3pm, grab an ACV shot and you will feel energized! ACV cleanses your system, is wonderful for your skin, helps aid in acid digestion, and will give you a pep in your step. You will instantly feel more alert, and it's healthier than grabbing that 3:00 o'clock cup of coffee. Try those ACV shots, you will love them, and you'll start feeling and seeing the results right away. You can also use ACV on your skin, it works as a fantastic skin toner for all skin types, especially oily skin. 

Tip 4: Get those steps in! Even if you don't have Fitbit, you can still get your steps in each day. Move whenever you can wherever you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car as far away in the parking lot as you can, get up from your desk every 15 minutes and move around or even better, build yourself a standing desk (tutorial on that coming soon.) Just keep moving, and keep your blood flowing. You can also do some stretches for five minutes and that will help keep your energy levels up too! 

Tip 5: Kale, kale, kale! I know, I know, you've heard this a million times before right? But Kale is a must have nutrient and it's a famous veggie for a reason. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that packs a punch. Kale is packed with iron so if you are iron deficient like I am, kale will be a life saver. Your body needs iron and if you don't eat a lot of meat (I rarely eat meat) then supplement that with kale to keep your iron levels and energy levels up. Kale is also low in calories and high in fiber. The more fiber your body intakes, the better everything will move and groove if you know what I mean. Kale also has zero fat, so you can literally nosh on the stuff all day and be fine. Kale is high in Vitamin K which is a cancer fighter, and it helps your bones stay healthy! Kale is also high in Vitamin A which helps your vision and skin. Kale is super high in antioxidants which keeps your immune system up and your vitamin levels healthy. Did you know that kale is also a anti-inflammatory which is essential for keeping bloat down. Do you ever go for a run and blow up like a balloon? If you do, that means your body is not getting enough proper nutrients so eat more kale! Here are some fun and easy ways to add kale to your diet, and if made properly it's addictive, I promise you! 

  • Sautee it in some lemon juice, himalayan sea salt, and, EVOO and you will be wanting kale with every meal. 
  • Throw some kale in your morning smoothie. See my recipe for that here. 
  • Add kale to your salad. 
  • Roll some kale into some chicken breasts and cook them in the oven. 

I know it can be hard to eat right on the go, but I'm hoping my tips will help you maintain an active lifestyle and stay healthy. Remember, the more you take care of your body, the better it will take care of you. 

Comment below and tell me your favorite ways to take of yourself and let me know any tips you have for me!