Sneakers & Sweater Weather

Long sweater with crop, jeans and sneakersFirst and foremost, big shout out to my Instagram Husband for shooting this post! Asking Joe to take my picture is usually an absolute last resort because his two-second attention span and unique “vision” result in some really–errr–special, but not exactly useful, photographs. If I’m like, “Hey I just need a picture of me in a squat position to show the proper form” the result will be a picture zoomed in on a traffic cone far off in the distance with half my legs cut out of the frame. His response is usually something along the lines of, “Negative spacing is very artistic, Nicole, you just don’t appreciate my talent.”

Ok, Mario Testino. (LOLLOLLOL)

Long sweater with crop, jeans and sneakers

Well time to give Insta Hubs a little more credit because I’m in focus AND you can see my entire body–a good thing since this post is all about my new kicks.

Now that I live in Downtown Crossing, I’m just a quick walk from Designer Shoe Warehouse and I can’t stay away from their sneaker section. No joke, when they reached out to me about working together I was literally in the store buying the white sneakers I’ve been wearing in recent workout posts. I checked my email on my phone and was like c’mon. What are the chances?! Long sweater with crop, jeans and sneakersDSW has a wide selection of brand name and designer footwear (and accessories) with tons of different styles, colors, sizes and widths. I love these adidas NEO Courtset sneakers I’m wearing for a casual every day look or to wear to and from teaching at the studio. I’m also on a serious gray kick (really broadening my fashion horizons from my typical black on black on black looks haha) so these shoes were perfect. dsw-adidas-neoLong sweater with crop, jeans and sneakers

I’ve always loved sneakers, so having this whole athleisure trend explode has given me the encouragement I didn’t need to wear them with literally everything. Leggings, duh. Jeans and a cozy sweater, done. Dresses, sure. Bathing suits, you’d be surprised. 😉 Long sweater with crop, jeans and sneakers

If you don’t live by a store, check out DSW.com for an even larger selection of shoes.

Any fellow sneaker lovers out there? What does your go-to pair look like?

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This post was sponsored by DSW. While I was compensated, all opinions–as always!–are my own. I appreciate your support of the brands that make this blog possible. 🙂

5-Min Warm Up for At-Home Workouts

5-Minute Warm Up for At-Home Workouts - spending a few minutes on light cardio and dynamic stretches is important before your workout to avoid injuryLet’s talk about warm ups. Before any workout–and especially a high intensity one!–it’s important to prepare your body. Depending on the type of workout you’re about to do and any muscle imbalances or recovering injuries you have, a proper warm up will vary.

Warming Up for Your Workout 101

In general, the components of a solid warm up are:

  • Light Cardio | 5-10 minutes on your favorite cardio machine at the gym will do. Gradually increase the pace (think brisk walk, ending with a brisk jog). If you’re at home, you could walk/jog around the block. If you’re short on time and have no equipment, well, that’s why I made this 5-minute warm up video! Bodyweight exercises work, too–no space required.
  • Dynamic (Active) Stretching | When most people think of stretching, they think of holding a position in stillness for a prolonged period of time. I’m not talking about that–personally, I save static stretching for post-workout. Before a workout, focus on functional movements that are going to facilitate the range of motion needed to complete the exercises you’re about to do: actively stretch. We’ll do a series of movements to open up the hip flexors, low body, shoulders, core and arms.

Self-mayofascial release (SMR) techniques like foam rolling or trigger point are optional before a workout. If you’re super tight in a certain area to the point that it’d severely hinder a normal range of motion, I’d recommend foam rolling the problem area before the dynamic stretching and cardio portions of your warm up. Otherwise, I think it’s fine to omit. Personally, I prefer to foam roll at the end of a long day or on rest days and spend a solid 20 minutes sprawled out on my floor with my roller while watching TV (and most likely making odd moaning noises). One example of a time I would foam roll before a workout is with long distance runs. My calves are super tight so while I was training for the Boston marathon, I always did some SMR on them before running. Helped a lot!

5-Minute Warm Up for At-Home Workouts

This warm up was made with the workouts I post to the blog in mind. We’ll start with 2 minutes of cardio exercises (4 moves, 15 seconds each, twice through) to gradually increase the heart rate. We’ll then do 3 minutes of dynamic stretches to open up the body and prepare it for intense movement.

It’s worth it to take the extra five minutes and warm up before HIIT workouts. It makes a world of difference when it comes to injury prevention! Could you spend more time warming up? Definitely. And in some cases you should. I’m just being realistic with this sequence: If you’re doing a 15-minute interval workout from my blog do you really want to spend that same amount of time preparing for the workout? My guess is no. Always listen to your body: If you need more time to ease into your workout, do just that.

5-Minute Warm Up for At-Home Workouts - spending a few minutes on light cardio and dynamic stretches is important before your workout to avoid injury

WEARING | Fabletics leggings (get your first outfit for $25) // Lululemon tank (old, shop current selection HERE) // adidas neo sneakers

Enjoy your evening! Sorry this post is coming at you so late–I could not get my sh*t together today!! Maybe it was the rainy weather, but I was so ridiculously unproductive. Unless taking a nap, browsing Donald Trump memes, and stalking 20-year-old Instagram-famous models on the internet (don’t ask) counts as productivity. In that case … NAILED IT.

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5 Things to Know about Probiotics

5 Things to Know about Probiotics

You know a post is going to be good when it involves a phone call to your mom and repeated use of the word “diarrhea”–am I right or AMIRIGHT?!

I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite MegaFood products over the last couple months, and today I want to talk about their MegaFlora probiotic line and probiotics in general. I think of my mom as a guru of all things spiritual, nutritional and holistic (she’s also an RN and the Clinical Director of Hospice on the Vineyard!) so I decided to give her a call to help me put together the best info on the subject. As luck would have it, she was out to breakfast with her friend, also a healthcare professional, so I got to pick two expert brains.

As a side note, it says a lot about MegaFood that when I asked her on the phone what to look for in a product when choosing a probiotic brand her response was, “Oh you don’t have to worry about that if it’s MegaFood–they’re great, you’re in good hands.” It’s so true, too. After touring the company I have complete trust that anything with their label on it is the highest quality I can get.

While yes, this is a post about probiotic supplements, I always like to approach these things with a “food first” outlook. The following information covers both!

5 Things to Know About Probiotics

1. Often the answer lives in your gut.

Digestion, metabolism, our immune system–they all start in our gut.*

This epicenter of bodily functions houses the majority of our body’s bacteria, and the importance of these microbes is huge. There are even studies suggesting that a portion of human genes have actually come from bacteria over time (check out this article and this one–so cool!). Clearly this epicenter of bodily functions is important. And what makes for a healthy gut? Bacteria.*

We most frequently hear about “bad” bacteria (the stuff that makes us occasionally not feel well) but there are lots of good bacteria that our body needs. Whaddup, Probiotics! There are certain ailments that we might readily associate with gut bacteria being out of whack and they can be associated with poor intestinal health and a lack of bowel regularity and immunity.

2. Fermented: Your new favorite “f” word.

When most people think of probiotic-rich food, yogurt comes to mind. And it’s totally true, yogurt can be an excellent source of good bacteria. If you’re vegan or just otherwise don’t like yogurt, however, look for other fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and tempeh to get your probiotic fix.

3. All yogurts are NOT created equal.

Since yogurt is probably the most easily accessible of the above foods, let’s focus on it for a second. Just like “muffin” can often be a euphemism for “cupcake,” that “yogurt” you’re munching on could really just be slightly melted, way-less-fun ice cream. Check the label. If it’s packed with artificial sweetener and/or sugar, it may be doing more harm than good. After all, a high-sugar diet can create a breeding ground in our gut for the bad bacteria.*

4. Check the numbers.

This goes for yogurt as well as probiotic supplements. On yogurt labels, the more “active cultures” they boast, the better. That means you’re getting more strains of good bacteria. As my mom’s friend put it, your gut is like a garden. A healthy garden contains an ecosystem of different plants all complementing and sustaining each other. A yogurt has to contain at least 100 million cultures per gram to be labeled as containing live and active cultures (as determined by the National Yogurt Association).

Using that info to put things in perspective, one MegaFlora pill contains 20 billion colony forming units, and 14 different strains known to benefit the digestive system. So it’s easy to see why a supplement could be beneficial even if you are eating fermented foods daily.*

5. Prescribed antibiotics? Bust out the probiotics.

5 Things to Know about Probiotics

I can’t even remember the last time I was prescribed antibiotics (I think for a sinus infection in high school??), but my mom would always make me take probiotics when I was. Antibiotics are incredibly important and effective at killing bad bacteria, but they kill off good bacteria in the process.  Taking a probiotic supplement like MegaFlora can help promote that good bacteria growth.*

As a reminder, I am not a medical professional, and you should always check with your doctor before taking supplements with medication. 🙂

When I Take Probiotic Supplements

I don’t take a probiotic supplement every day because I’m consciously incorporating fermented food into my diet. Total TMI alert, but I actually find if I do take one every day I occasionally get a bit constipated. I take one MegaFlora probably three days a week, and each morning when traveling.

MegaFlora Options

5 Things to Know about Probiotics

I’ve been taking the basic MegaFlora, but MegaFood has a few different options and I want to highlight their MegaFlora for Women. It contains cranberry to help support urinary tract health* along with MegaFood’s signature blend of 14 different strains to support your digestive balance and immune health.* So awesome!

And before I close this post, don’t forget to refrigerate your MegaFlora! Remember, it’s alive and therefore perishable. 🙂

5 Things to Know about Probiotics

Do you take a probiotic supplement? Have you had an ailment alleviated by probiotics?

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This post was sponsored by MegaFood. While I am a paid ambassador for the brand, all opinions–as always!–are my own. I absolutely love their products and think you will, too!

* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.