How To Buy A Sports Bra Because Indecent Exposure Is A Crime

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We've all been there! You're in the middle of whatever exercise you are doing and you realize your sports bra isn't doing it's job. You're one jumping jack away from a potential police encounter. Don't fret! We all need extra support.

I spoke to several activewear girl bosses and a doctor to break down how to choose the right sports bra for A Sweat Life. Click on over and check it out! Never stand by one of those giant walls of sports bras and feel intimidated ever again.

Thank you to Varley, nuyu, Alala, RYU, Fit Atelier & Dr. Nina Watson for your help.!

Five Ways To Motivate Yourself To Workout When You Don't Really Want To

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I have a confession. I’ve not been in super workout ra ra mode lately. I don’t know if it is the change of seasons or the seemingly endless amount of projects I’ve been working on, but I’m just not that into working out right now. But, this doesn’t mean I’m not working out, it just means I’m less motivated to get myself going. And that’s okay because I’m still doing what I need to do, even if it takes some extra push to get there. Here are five ways I’ve been forcing myself to workout during those times when I’d rather being doing anything else

Fashion Is A Great Motivator

Who doesn’t get excited to wear new clothes? If you find you have the cardio blahs, buy yourself a cute outfit. This ALWAYS works for me. Here are a few ideas.

So Is Money…

I am beyond overworked right now. Really, I would love to spend my borderline non-existent free time on my couch, but that isn’t an option right now. So, I’m forcing myself to plan my day when I wake up and sign up for a group fitness class using ClassPass. If you miss a class, they charge you $15 and I’d rather put that cash towards anything else. I also work best under pressure, so if I know I have to be somewhere later that day, I ‘m more likely to finish my work.

If you haven’t heard of ClassPass, it’s an amazing program that gets you the best deals (literally, I’ve checked) on group fitness classes in 43 different cities, making life so much easier if you travel a lot and still want to stick to your fitness routine.

If you’ve never used ClassPass before, use my affiliate link for a $40 credit. They have a few plans to choose from.

As Is Time….

Sometimes I want to skip a workout, but knowing what my week looks like in advance and keeping the big picture in mind makes me aware that skipping a day isn’t an option. There just won’t be an available time slot later in the week. This is especially true because I try to workout 4-5 days a week.

But Short Workouts Are EVERYTHING

Trying to motivate myself to workout for 45 minutes to an hour has been like trying to pull teeth lately. First of all, some days I don’t have an extra minute to spare. Then there’s the fact that an hour can sound like ten hours when I am super stressed. So, I’ve found several 30-minute classes that I can motivate myself to go to. Plus, when I know I’m there for a shorter period of time, I work much harder. This makes me feel super accomplished and totally exhausted when I am finished.

And Convenience Is King

This is a conversation I had earlier this week:

Me- Honey, I’m headed off to the gym downstairs in our building to go for a run.

Husband- You’ve never been to the gym downstairs.

Me- Not true, I go there all the time to use the bathroom when I’m sipping rosé at the pool.

Husband- I mean to workout.

Me- Also not true, I’ve used it five times in the two and half years we’ve lived here.

I’m not a gym person or a running person, but I can’t think of a more convenient place to squeeze in a workout right now. So, I’m starting to use the gym in my building more often. Honestly, it’s not my favorite place to workout, but being able to get in and out the most time efficient way possible is sometimes the only option I have.

Remember— SOMETHING IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN NOTHING! A 30-minute jog around your neighborhood is better than a 30-minute snooze on the couch.  

 

Things We're Too Lazy To Blog About Podcast: Bonus With Dani Havasy Of Core Chakra

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Listen on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherAudioBoom, or stream/download below.

We know it’s been a difficult week to say the very least with everything that has been going on, so we thought we would cheer you up with a bonus episode featuring one of Amanda’s best friends Dani Havasy, who created the fitness/lifestyle program Core Chakra. Dani talks about the process of creating her business, chakras, meditation, workshops, chakra readings (yes, we have a special discount if you want your chakras read by Dani and yes, she can do it through Facetime, Skype, etc), finding your true self, yoga, pilates, fitness, self-care, haters and so much more. It’s actually a very fun and funny episode, which I’m sure all of you need right now. 

Don’t forget, you can EARN EXTRA KARMA POINTS by subscribing and leaving us a five-star review on iTunes. All you have to do is click the Ratings and Reviews tab. Then, Click Write A Review. Then actually write a review.

In the Podcasts App, search for the podcast even though you already subscribe, then click Ratings and Reviews. Click Write A Review. Write about how much you love being a Blogette. It might not show up immediately, but just Ali going to an event, she’ll get there eventually.

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Things We're Too Lazy To Blog About Podcast: Episode 15 With Nutrition Coach Chanel Gold Kenner

Let’s cut to the chase. Listen on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherAudioBoom, or stream/download below. And we are coming to more platforms soon! 

In this episode, Ali and I interview Nutrition Coach, Chanel Gold Kenner. We talk about eating clean and healthy meals, wellness, exercise, losing weight, smoothies, and snacks, as well as making delicious food that is both easy to prepare and cost effective. We also discuss among other things, healthy nachos vs Taco Bell. Fun fact: I’ve never had Taco Bell. Chanel shared so much great information and we were so excited to learn from her. We know you will enjoy listening to this episode as much as we loved recording it.

Chanel’s Website

Recipes

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Like us on Facebook because we really want to be liked.

Don’t forget, you can EARN EXTRA KARMA POINTS by subscribing and leaving us a five-star review on iTunes. All you have to do is click the Ratings and Reviews tab. Then, Click Write A Review. Then actually write a review.

In the Podcasts App, search for the podcast even though you already subscribe, then click Ratings and Reviews. Click Write A Review. Write about how much you love being a Blogette. It might not show up immediately, but just Ali going to an event, she’ll get there eventually.

How A Fitness Instructor Should Make You Feel

Photo by  Hayley Fisk . Makeup by  Kinx Active . Location  dr pilates  Los Angeles.

Photo by Hayley Fisk. Makeup by Kinx Active. Location dr pilates Los Angeles.

I’m not sure if you know this fun fact about me, but I’ve taken close to 550 group fitness classes in the past two or so years. I’m not trying to brag or say “Look at how fit I am,” but I want to share what I’ve learned through the process.

Last week, A Sweat Life published an article I wrote about group fitness. I briefly mentioned a horrible experience I had with an instructor. If you haven’t had a chance to read that post (and you really should), let me recap.

Two years ago, I unknowingly signed up for a West Coast Pilates class. If you aren’t familiar with West Coast style Pilates, it’s essentially Pilates on crack. It was my first time at that studio and I felt like a complete idiot. I had no idea what was going on or what to do. To make matters worse, the instructor was particularly unkind to me for no reason. While I have seen so many instructors go out of their way to help first-timers, this guy seemingly enjoyed making me feel unwelcome. I had to hold back tears. I felt like my body didn’t work right. A good instructor will gently guide you and NEVER shame you. Luckily, I gave the studio another chance and found several instructors who were nothing like that guy. I’m happy I didn’t let him ruin it for me entirely.

A good instructor should be able to teach multiple levels at the same time, beginners to advanced.  Everyone in a group fitness class will have different strengths and weaknesses anyway. For example, some people have strong arms, but weak legs. A decent instructor should at least try to accommodate everyone. And if they can’t, someone doesn’t have a challenging workout and someone else inevitably ends up injuring themselves.

Furthermore, an instructor needs to make sure everyone knows how to the machines and equipment properly. Being short (5”3 on a good day) can be a challenge for me because most equipment is designed for taller people. Some exercises have to be modified or I sometimes use equipment differently than someone who is six feet tall.  We all deserve to get the most out of our workout and if you aren’t comfortable working with equipment, it becomes impossible to have correct form. If you feel something isn’t right or you just aren’t sure if you are performing an exercise properly, ask the instructor. Their job is to guide you.

Then there’s the playlist factor. Musical taste has no correlation to teaching, but we all know there’s only so much EDM a person can take if they aren’t on molly. But, in all seriousness, we know how much easier it is workout to music we actually like or at the very least provides a beat that’s compatible to the tempo of the exercise at hand. I once walked out of a spin class and canceled my membership to a gym after an instructor played this song. If you aren’t sadistic enough to click, it’s a super slow, annoying song and by annoying I mean pretty much a musical abomination. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only person who walked out of that class. As a result, my current standards for playlists consist of anything that isn’t that song.

But I’ve also had lots of positive experiences. Because I’m rather petite, if you tell me I’m strong, you win my undying love, appreciation and extra karma points. Say I have great form, then I will think of you as the American Express Platinum of fitness instructors. Because of my stature, many people perceive me as weak. I even use to think of myself as weak, until I had instructors tell me otherwise. While anyone has yet to describe me as the kind of person you “wouldn’t mess with in a dark alley,” you wouldn’t want me to accidentally kick you. 

Fitness can be transformative. It’s a cliché, but changing your mind can change your body. Instructors should encourage you and safely push you to try harder. I think this is all part of body positivity. If you are going to do something to improve your physical and likely emotional wellbeing, you deserve to do it in a supportive environment with people who make you feel more confident. It doesn’t matter what your ability is, what your body looks like or what your goals are.  And if you’re really lucky, they like Beyonce just as much as you do.

 

Things We're Too Lazy To Blog About Podcast: Fitness

Let's cut to the chase, it's easiest to listen on iTunes or Stitcher.

This week, we get into it about fitness. I talk about inconsiderate people at the gym, my love for AKT, ClassPass, the car accident that changed my life, anxiety, the wisdom of Keltie Knight, The Hamptons, my favorite Pilates studio in LA (dr pilates) and what I has learned after taking 500+ group fitness classes. Ali chats Krav Maga (not to be confused crab dip), working out at home, DVDs (remember those?), feeling good, Danette May and more.

Things I Said I Would Link To In This Episode

AKT

Use promo code ALAKT4U for 50% off your first month of AKT On Demand.

To take a free class in LA, register on AKT. Then email clientservicesla@aktinmotion.com and tell them you heard about AKT through the podcast, as well as the date of the class you want to take.

I wrote an article for A Sweat Life which further details my experience at AKT. So, obviously if you haven't quite had enough of me talking about AKT, give it a read.

Fab Fit Well by Chanel

dr pilates

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Like us on Facebook because we really want to be liked.

Don’t forget, you can earn extra karma points subscribing and by leaving us a five star review on iTunes or Stitcher

 

Balance Blends: A Line Of Supplements Created By An Actual Person

This post is sponsored by Balance Blends.

Let’s talk about vitamins and supplements for a minute. Does anyone else feel completely confused buying them? I feel like you never really know what you are buying. Where did it come from? Is the product safe? Who chose the ingredients? Is this worth the price? Most importantly, does the product actually do what the label says it will? Or am I just overthinking about this? In all fairness, let’s say all of the above.

That’s exactly why I’m obsessed with Balance Blends, which is a line of supplements containing a blend (hence the name), of vitamins and herbs personally formulated by Colette Widrin, L.Ac., MTOM*. Colette is a holistic practitioner in Beverly Hills and Malibu, who has been making bespoke supplements for the rich and unbalanced for years (and maybe even Real Housewives, but obviously she can’t tell).

The ingredients in Balance Blends are hand chosen by Colette herself, as opposed to a nameless cog in a large corporate wheel. These formulas are affective in treating a variety of health issues. We will get to what those are in just a minute.

All of the herbs have been sourced from wholesalers who are compliant with the Food and Drug Administration’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as well as the Natural Product Association (NPA), using third-party quality control. Everything is triple-tested for safety and authentic. The capsules are 100% natural, and free of GMO starch, gluten and chemicals. On a side note, who would think those things are okay to put in a nutritional supplement anyway?

If you have a medical condition, are pregnant or taking any prescriptions, be smart and consult your physician before integrating supplements into your routine. But, you’re smart, so you probably knew that already.

Let’s take a look at the blends.

Just Breathe

I feel like if there were one Balance Blends product that everyone needs, it’s this. Just Breathe (which is a good idea, always breathe), releases stress, moves Qi and helps you relax. I like to take this before bed to wake up feeling peaceful and ready to start the day.

Quiet Please

If Just Breathe isn’t enough to just knock you out, Quiet Please could be exactly what you need. This formula stops your mind from racing (doesn’t that always happen when you can’t fall asleep? So annoying, right?), promotes deep sleep and nourishes the blood.

Acne Be Gone

When you are breaking out, all you need to do is go to the mirror and say, “Acne be gone” to yourself five times. Just kidding! If your breakouts can’t be controlled with topical creams, it’s probably time to nourish your skin from outside in. Acne Be Gone clears and prevents acne-causing toxins from ruining your skin and probably your day, possibly your life.

Cramp Whisperer

Speaking of breakouts, let’s talk about another awful side affect of PMS, cramps. Cramps cramp up your body and usually at least one week of your life. Cramp Whisperer whispers to your cramps to go away (and perhaps bother that annoying co-worker instead, she totally deserves cramps), nourishes your blood and reduces spasms to restore balance in your body, life, etc. 

Force Field

If you feel illness coming on, you probably pop a Vitamin C or Echinacea, but we all know that doesn’t really cut it. That’s why you need Force Field. Think of this blend as a personal trainer for your immune system, strengthening your body’s natural defenses, lifting Qi and restoring balance.

For more info or to purchase, please visit Balance Blends and use Code Amanda30 for 30% off through June 10, 2017.

* Licensed acupuncturist, Master, of Traditional Oriental Medicine, if you were wondering. And I know you were.

 

From Post-Workout Triage To Actually Making An Effort: Best of Gym Bag Beauty

Hurray for honesty. Also this cute  gym bag by Ban.do .

Hurray for honesty. Also this cute gym bag by Ban.do.

I wrote an article for A Sweat Life featuring my favorite post-gym beauty products. So, if you're stinky, sweaty and have a tendency to break out after you workout (no judgements, but obvs you want that to stop, right?), head on over to A Sweat Life.

It's Amanda Lauren X A Sweat Life

I am obsessed with group fitness, but it's an expensive habit. I wrote a post for A Sweat Life featuring my best tips on how to afford those pricey classes and still have enough left over to buy yoga pants that aren't on sale. Click on over to A Sweat Life to check it out.

Five Ways To Trick Yourself Into Achieving Your Fitness Resolutions in 2017

Welcome to January! It’s the official month of no one being able to shut up about their New Year’s resolutions. Let’s be honest. Everyone is talking about changing their life forever, but if you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to recharge from the holidays and can barely change your socks.

It also feels like fitness takes so much more effort in January than it does during a more ideal time of the year like April. You have to wait for your favorite treadmill at the gym (seriously, the sign says there’s a 30 minute limit, you’ve been waiting for 33 and the person who is currently walking 1.3 miles per hour is the most selfish person in the universe), all the good group fitness classes are booked, and if one more person on Facebook asks you to join their Whole30 group, you are going to deactivate your account for a whole 30 days. Losing weight (or any other fitness goal you may have) shouldn’t come at the cost of losing your mind. So, stop listening to that person who keeps bragging about how they’ve lost six pounds since Sunday (and we all know it was water weight anyway), and listen to me.

Don’t Make Resolutions

I’m convinced the person who came up with the term “New Year’s resolution” never achieved one because it sounds intimidating. Who wants to do something they’re not current doing for a whole year? I don’t! Instead, make short-term goals as part of an overall lifestyle change. What sounds easier? Losing 30 pounds this moth or taking three group fitness classes per week? Change your vocab and then change your life.

Something Is Always Better Than Nothing

No matter how realistic our goals are, we all have emergencies, commitments or simply get tired. I try to workout five days a week. But, there are times when I get really busy and four workouts feels like a miracle. I used to feel really bad when I didn’t achieve my weekly goal, but then I changed my perspective, choosing to focus on the positive. Four is better than zero, right? I worked out four days last week. Good for me! 

The Best Workout Is The One You Actually Do

Every day, someone makes a claim that they’re invented some kind of new fitness program that burns 8 million calories per hour and will make your body look like Jennifer Lopez’s in 3 weeks. That’s awesome, but totally ineffective unless you actually do it.

We are currently in the golden age of fitness. No matter what your goals, ability, body type, patience level or budget is, there is some kind of exercise that you will like. And by like, I mean at the very least, not hate entirely. Are you a good dancer? Try AKT or a dance class at your local studio. Like to show off how tough you are and learn new acronyms? Get your WOD on at one of the thousands of Crossfit affiliates. You don’t want to sweat because you get weekly blowouts (on that note, I really want to be you)? Pilates and barre can help you achieve your fitness and hair goals. Do you love spin class but have a crazy schedule or live in Antarctica? Buy a Peloton bike. Perhaps you’re equally serious about fitness and avoiding people? Stream it up with Tone It Up. Between group fitness, gyms, old school DVDs, online programs or just getting outside and putting one foot in front of the other while listening to music or a podcast, there is something for everybody and no excuses for anyone.

Multi-Task & Get Your Friends Involved

Sometimes it’s hard to find time for your social life and fitness, so why not combine both? Instead of drinking 5000 calories worth of mimosas at brunch or beers at happy hour, why not exercise together? Group fitness classes are perfect for friend dates because you have to sign up in advance, making everyone less likely to flake out. If group fitness isn’t your thing, why not go for a hike, ice skate, ski or try a new sport together? Then grab a healthy meal afterwards.

Go Shopping

I know I’m more motivated to workout if I get to wear something stylish. Activewear should be an 100% guilt-free purchase. But getting fit doesn’t mean your wallet has to be lighter, especially if you have a spending hangover from the holidays. I’m absolutely obsessed with the limited edition AKT by Anna Kaiser X Target collaboration that launched this week. Three of my favorite activewear brands, Zobha, Carbon38 and Bandier also have some pretty impressive sales right now. Treat yourself and your body. 

New York Fitness Fave AKT Comes To Los Angeles & Target Stores

If you haven’t heard of AKT yet, I won’t judge you (that much), but let me take this opportunity to inform you, it’s one of the hottest workouts right now. AKT was created by Anna Kaiser, a professional dancer turned A-list celeb trainer. After shaping some of the hottest bodies including Kelly Ripa (I know I can stop right here, but let me drop a few more names), Shakira and Sarah Jessica Parker, she opened up her first New York studio in 2013. Very quickly, AKT achieved “it” status. Four east coast locations later, they are getting ready add another one in Los Angeles in 2017. The brand is also launching a limited edition collaboration with C9 Champion, available exclusively at Target (so feel free to pronounce it Tar-jay).

Last week, I had the full-on AKT experience at their Beverly Hills pop-up. I previewed the line and was totally wowed. Everything about this collaboration impressed me, including the quality, construction and (let me be truly honest about my priorities) style. Priced between $12.99-$41.99, every piece looks way more expensive than it is. Another great thing about this collab is that it’s body positive and size inclusive ranging from XS-3X. While I wasn’t able to preview the entire line, overall, I felt what I saw was cut on the more generous side. I plan to order a size smaller than I normally wear. 

I also got my workout on, taking a Sweat Dreams class. While this sounds like something that involves napping and losing weight, don’t let the name fool you. It was a fast-paced program that consisted of circuits, which alternated between strength training with weights and cardio moves as well as mat exercises. Designed to consistently challenge the body, I found as soon as I got the hang of each circuit, it was time to move on to the next one. I really had to keep my focus, which made the hour fly by. Incredibly intense, it was a lot of fun with an encouraging atmosphere. I also give the playlist bonus points because playlists tend to make or break my motivation. 

Sweat Dreams compelled me to push myself in ways I normally don’t. Because the class was in a smaller space, we only used two props, 3 and 8 pound weights. I rarely use weights heavier than 3 pounds. It was as if I took a magic confidence pill and I was really surprised about what my body could do. The entire experience has actually made me feel more confident in my other workouts. 

I do not look this fabulous when I exercise, but at least I can buy the clothes.

I do not look this fabulous when I exercise, but at least I can buy the clothes.

The class was taught by one of AKT’s top instructors, Ariel Hoffman. I was floored by her ability to take command of such a large group, making sure no one was lost, especially because it was the first time quite a few of the participants were trying AKT. Anna herself didn’t teach the class, but she had a really good excuse because she is eight months pregnant. However, she was there to supervise and correct forms (mine included). Anna glowed hard and had such a kind, happy vibe about her. I can’t wait until she gets back from maternity leave, so I can take a class with her personally.

While AKT isn’t officially open in LA yet, they have semi-secret classes at the Pacific Arts Center. You can check the schedule and book through the Mindbody and AKT apps. 

If you don’t live in a location with an AKT studio, no FOMO is necessary because a streaming program is available, as well as DVDs. But you will have FOMO if you don’t kick off the New Year with new gear on January 1st at Target. So, don’t forget to log in at midnight. Try not to think of this as drunk shopping so much as starting your resolutions at the earliest possible moment. If you prefer to shop in store, the line is available at select locations only. 

Drinking Yourself Pretty With The Food Network's Kate Von

Beauty beverages are becoming a huge wellness trend. But is this just another craze or can you actually drink yourself pretty? The answer is yes, but it’s not a miracle cure. You can’t just drink something and suddenly look like you had a vacation, plastic surgery and a nap. (But wouldn’t that be nice?) Beauty beverages should be treated like any other supplement, as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, nourishing you from the inside out. 

I asked Tatiana Ridley, who is a New York based holistic nutritionist exactly how these drinks work and she broke it down, “While the age-old quest for the proverbial fountain of youth may not have been found in beauty beverages, there is some validity to the beautifying benefits of some of the drinks on the market. First of all, the liquid form of these elixirs makes them more bio-available - meaning the nutrients are easier for the body to absorb and use because they’re already broken down. Since the main ingredients are fruits and veggies, which are packed with antioxidants and water, they work together to benefit your skin. Imagine a microscopic army of antioxidants fighting off the little mutants that manufacture wrinkles and sagging skin, (free radicals), and a fleet of water (boats) rescue the nutrients, delivering them safely to our skin cells to hydrate and plump up.” 

If you need further proof, just look at the beautiful Kate Von of the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and Camp Cutthroat. She makes her own beauty elixir by “blending juiced turmeric, ginger root, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of cayenne.” She says her not-so-secret beauty sauce also has other benefits, “It is the ultimate metabolism booster, beauty amplifier and toning tonic. Stimulating circulation, suppressing the appetite and satisfying your cravings will all improve your glow and keep you feeling fabulous.” I’ll totally have what she’s having. 

Kate Von's big beauty secret is out!

Kate Von's big beauty secret is out!

But, if you aren’t as ambitious as Kate is in the kitchen, it’s totally okay, store bought drinks can work just as well. Whether you prefer smoothies, mixes, liquid supplements or juices, there are lots of ways to drink your way to better skin, hair and even nails. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Project Juice Turmeric Lemonade

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If you aren’t going to juice your own turmeric like Kate Von, Project Juice’s Turmeric Lemonade might be the next best thing. With just 50 calories per bottle (when was the last time lemonade was this low-cal?), it has a mild kick. You can even drink it while working out instead of water. Turmeric is kind of a wonder herb because it reduces inflammation and free radical damage to cells.

Replere Restore & Fortify Beauty Shooters by Dr. Debbie Palmer

Developed by dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer, Replere Beauty Shooters come individually packaged and don’t require refrigeration, so they’re perfect if you are on the go. You can drink the shooter by itself or add to water. The formula contains a variety of ingredients including coffee Arabica (coffee fruit), camu camu, goji and açai berries, chokeberry, blueberries, pomegranate, and resveratrol. The high concentration of antioxidants helps fight against the affects of free radicals. It’s a perfect afternoon pick-me-up and a more hydrating alternative to coffee.

UVO

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If skin has one enemy, it’s the sun’s UV rays. Created by Dr. Bobby Awadalla, UVO is the only drink formulated to protect and repair your skin against sun damage. It comes bottles as well as individual packets you mix with water. The orange peach flavor is like drinking a tropical vacation. Every serving gives you 3-5 hours of sun protection. FYI, drinking UVO isn’t a substitute for sunscreen, but if you are that person who always ends up getting burned (and use SPF 100, which you reapply every 15 minutes), UVO might be your favorite new beach accessory.

Greek Girl Beauty Protein

A combination of whey protein and Greek yogurt, at only 50 calories, Greek Girl Beauty Protein isn’t exactly a big fat Greek smoothie. This powerful powder contains 8 essential B vitamins, which helps prevent dry skin, wrinkles, acne, weak hair and splitting nails. Because it’s gluten-free and contains probiotics, Greek Girl also helps with your digestion. And unlike most protein powders I’ve tried, the honey vanilla flavor actually tastes good.

NeoCell Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid

Hyaluronic acid is a very popular ingredient in many moisturizers. But did you know you could drink it?  NeoCell’s Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid can be taken by the spoonful or mixed with water. The formula also contains pomegranate and green tea polyphenols, which help plump the skin and increase elasticity. Sweetened with agave, it tastes like a liquid Sour Patch Kid.

Core Hydration Water

Water is actually one of the best beauty drinks available. Staying hydrated reduces toxins and helps your whole body function in a more optimal way. Core Hydration Water is specifically formulated to help you better assimilate vitamins, minerals and other nutrients because it has the same pH as your body. So, essentially, it makes all of your other supplements work even better. 

Intelligent Nutrients Intellimune Oil

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Intelligent Nutrients Intellimune Oil is one of the more versatile drinkable products. Organic, it is designed to prevent pre-mature aging and support healthy cell growth. Two teaspoons have the same antioxidant power as ten pounds of berries. This product is great if you want the benefits of a beauty supplement in a more convenient way. You can use the oil in salads, or blend into sauces or smoothies. Or you can simply drink it on its own. It has a mild taste, like buttery oregano. 

Drum Your Way Fit With Pound At Crunch

As someone who participates in group fitness four to five days a week, it’s really important to keep it interesting and challenging. What’s worse than a boring workout? So, I was really excited to try Pound at Crunch. Pound is a really interesting concept because it doesn't fit into a neat category. Instead it combines cardio, strength training, core work, stretching and drumming. Yes, drumming!

To be honest, I was a little nervous to try Pound. Try to think of the least musically talented person you know, such as someone who can’t even pretend to drum on a steering wheel while stuck in traffic. My sense of rhythm is probably far worse.  Before the class, I had a vision that I would drum totally off beat and everyone would give me dirty looks, but luckily that didn’t happen. I was actually surprised that after a song or two, I felt like I was able to keep up with everyone. The drumming also really helped to stabilize my core and keep me balanced, which, as it turns out, is the whole point of the class. According to the instructor, Harmonie (yes, that is her real name and no, it could not be more appropriate), being part of the Pound Posse doesn’t require any coordination, “Coordination is not a huge element that we focus on. Anyone can do this workout as long as you feel the music. Your body just flows with it and connects everything you are doing.”

Harmonie In Action

Harmonie In Action

While Harmonie is a natural fit to teach this class, before Pound, she had no prior musical experience, “I've always loved music and was in dance, but I had zero drumming experience and that’s the beauty of it. You don't have to be a drummer to do this workout at all.”

In addition to making the class good for all levels, by providing different modifications, Harmonie was a dream instructor. She was fun, fit, enthusiastic and most importantly, had great taste in music. Liking the playlist absolutely essential for feeling the flow of Pound. Every song has its own set of moves and choreography such as squatting, stretching, crunches, or cardio, followed by or integrating drumming on the floor, in the air or hitting the Ripstix together.

If Pound sounds familiar to you, it’s because this workout has been around for over four years. Kirsten Potenza & Cristina Peerenboom came up with the idea one day when day they were air drumming sans sticks. They realized they were challenging their cores and boom, Pound was born.

Harmonie was one of the first Pound instructors and she is still happily rocking out every week, “I get the biggest high from teaching class. I empower my class to let it all out and to do their best. I challenge them by asking them to think of something they want to let go of during class and then to focus on something they want to bring more of into their lives. It's quite miraculous to watch their faces when they are Pounding...it's like you can see into their soul because each one is thinking something different. I know I play a small part in their day and it makes me so happy that I can do that for them.”

Another thing I really liked about Pound is that it replaces standard weights with ¼ pound (no pun intended) Ripstix. It seems like dumbbells have become the standard equipment for every workout I do these days from Pilates to Spin and even Yoga (which goes against so much of what yoga is about, but that is a different post entirely). Adding weights adds an extra challenge that many people want, but I am not one of those people. My shoulders and arms tend to bulk easily, so I’m sticking with Ripstix from now on.

If you don't live in Los Angeles and reading this makes you have major Pound FOMO right now, don't worry. The class is taught in over 2000 studios and gyms worldwide. If you want to try Pound at your local studio or get more info, visit Pound Fit’s website.

Go Ahead and Be Selfish: Self-Care 101

For a variety of reasons, so many of us are feeling stressed out and anxious right now. It’s not the first time we’ve felt this way and I’m sure it won’t be the last. There is so much in the world we can’t control. But, we can control the way we react to it. Or at the very least, try to. I know this is so much easier said than done. Consider this post a hug from me.

During these times, it’s absolutely necessary to prioritize self-care. I know from experience that sometimes even just the thought of trying to take care of yourself can feel like someone asking you to climb Machu Pichu or devise a policy to create peace in the Middle East. But, I’ve also learned that even the most minor acts of self-care and self-love can radically change how I feel. Here are nine ways to take care of yourself in during difficult times, in order of actual effort.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a professional. I’m just a blogger who gets anxious a lot. These things work for me. If you need professional help, please get it. If you don’t know how to, read until the end of the post.)

Puppies! Kittens! Bunnies! Hippopotami!

Looking at cute animals online is a great distraction. It also works instantly.  Not kidding. I like The Fluffington Post and the Toast Meets World. Get lost in a clickhole. It’s totally okay.

Get Off The Couch And Out Of The House

When I’m anxious, I need to channel my energy into things that are not an SVU marathon on Netflix. Even just a walk to get coffee feels super helpful. Run an errand like buying groceries or pick up necessities at the drug store. Even just a quick trip has a positive effect!

Exercise

There is a scientific connection between exercise and anxiety relief. It doesn’t matter if you go to yoga, spin, Pilates or something else. Whatever type of exercise you don’t hate completely will work.  

But, if fitness isn’t your thing (no judgments), you don’t have to go all out. No one is going to force you to wear a FitBit or printed leggings. You can start small, like walking around the block for half an hour daily or going to a class three days a week. Anything counts, so celebrate your efforts.

Connect With Others

Isolating probably isn’t going to help you. Meet up with a friend for a meal, drinks or just for a walk (yes, you can combine several of these efforts and multi-task). Share your feelings. Vent. Talk about reality television.

Retail Therapy

If the thought of going to a large mall or shopping center sounds overwhelming to you (it does to me, even on a good day), pick two or three of your favorite stores and take it from there. Buy yourself a present! You deserve it! Even something small like a new lipstick will make you feel better.

Treat Yourself

It doesn’t matter if it’s a mani-pedi at your local salon, the Cosmo-Tai at Drybar or a full-on facial at a fancy spa, get your relax on.

Meditate

I don’t want to turn this post into a personal essay, but I learned how to meditate over three years ago. It was during a really difficult time in my life that was further complicated by getting fired from two jobs I hated, several months apart. I felt so alone and I had no idea why the universe was challenging me so much. Instead of going on a downward spiral, I went to a meditation group every night for a week. It gave me a community, structure and relief from my own headspace. That place was Against The Stream in Los Angeles.  They also have locations in other cities including New York, San Francisco and Boston. I highly recommend it.

I also really like The Den in Hollywood, which offers a variety of different classes multiple times a day, so you can definitely find something to work with your schedule. It’s also not affiliated with Buddhism, in case that isn’t your thing.

If you don’t live in one of these cities or the thought of having to sit in a room and meditate with a group of other people sounds just about as relaxing as a jackhammer, why not try meditating with an app? I personally like the Calm and Simple Habit. Both are free with in-app purchases and feature both guided and unguided meditations. Even just sitting for a few minutes can make a big difference.

Online Therapy

There are times when only a professional can help or you just need to talk to someone immediately, if not sooner. Even if you have insurance, getting an appointment with a therapist can be a daunting task. Luckily, there are tons of places online that will connect you with a professional through video, phone or even text, including Talk Space and Doctor On Demand and 7 Cups

 

Adventures At Crunch's Sex-Ed Class

As someone who takes 4-5 group fitness classes per week, I feel my routine can sometimes get a little boring and repetitive. Sure, every spin, barre and Pilates class is somewhat different, but I like to try new things and keep challenging my muscles. So, in an effort to mix it up, I tried Crunch’s Sex-Ed. While the class wasn’t as naughty as I imagined it would be, it was way more fun than I anticipated.

While many fitness classes I’ve taken use props toys, none have been quite like the ones used in Sex-Ed. You can choose from working with “Carlos” or “Lucy,” who are male and female sex dolls. While Lucy has breasts and Carlos has chest hair, neither has genitalia. Call me dirty, but I checked. With Lucy’s loud blue eye shadow and Carlos’ creepy moustache, it’s almost impossible to work out with a straight face. While it’s a serious workout, you can’t take yourself too seriously while doing it.

Another source of humor was Sex-Ed’s creator and instructor, Jorge del Busto. From Malibu by way of Argentina, Jorge is kind of Central Casting for the stereotypical sexy, Latin man. Watching him demonstrate the moves with his hips and dancing around with Lucy, you just can’t help but smile. While I took his instruction seriously, I couldn’t stop giggling. The rest of the class couldn’t either.

As fun and lively as Sex-Ed was, I actually found it to be a welcome challenge. In addition to dancing with the dolls (sounds like a reality show, right?), the routines consisted of a variety of movements including squatting, thrusting and shaking the hips. Kind of a less graceful and more exaggerated version of what you might do in a barre class. Jorge designed this workout to use and strengthen the core and lower regions of the body aka all the muscles you use when you get it on. And much like having sex and dancing, it looks a whole lot easier than it is. Going back and fourth and tucking, I even got a few kegels in (#multitasking). Sex-Ed was perhaps one of the more interesting lower body workouts I’ve ever had. It’s also worth noting that all of the participants of the class that day happened to be women. While men would certainly find it fun, some might be a little self-conscious to attempt Jorge’s moves outside the bedroom.

As the class was ending, I was having so much fun, I started to wonder if any of the workout was actually affective. I actually wasn’t quite sure if I spent 45 minutes working out or just fooling around with a sex doll. However, it turned out to be pretty affective because (pardon the analogy) I was delightfully sore the next day. You know that feeling!

So, should you add sexercise to your routine? If you want a class that is really like nothing else out there, yes! If you are looking for a class to take with group of friends at different fitness levels, this is it! While Sex-Ed felt more like fun than foreplay, doing it with your partner might just get you in the mood to practice some of the moves you learned outside of class. No matter what, I’m pretty sure Jorge will be leading fun fitness orgies for a long time.