WAKE UP AND EXERCISE

Wake up and get that body moving!

Photo Credit: DoctorOz.com

If only I could wake up everyday of the week and workout but with work and school I don’t have the time (well I do but that means I would have to be up at 4 am every morning..a bit early for me so I wait till after work and school). Thankfully on weekends, that is the first thing I do when I get up. I workout. So why can’t you?

With spring only 6 days away, that means more time spent outdoors so why not take your workout back outside. Get out of that house, the weather is finally becoming nice and spring is just about here. Go run or walk!

There are many great benefits to working out first thing in the morning. For one, you get it out of the way and you have the rest of the day to do whatever you want. Two, you will have so much energy the rest of the day. You would think you wouldn’t have any at all but surprisingly, exercising first thing in the morning will provide you with energy throughout your entire day.

What are some of the benefits to working out first thing in the morning?

  • According to Women’s Health Magazine, Monica Nelson who is a personal trainer said that you will start your day with your metabolism being revved up. By having your metabolism revved up in the morning, this will help burn through the food you eat all throughout the day rather than while you are asleep.
  • If you are able to work out in the morning, another great thing will be (if you go to the gym) will be that you will avoid all the people! It’s always nice to go to the gym and have hardly anybody there. More options are open for you to choose what you want to do for exercise. More machines are open to use!
  • Like I said before, if you exercise in the morning you will have more energy throughout the day. Exercising gets your endorphins flowing through your body and you will be more awake throughout the day and be able to get a lot of things done without feeling tired.
  • Knowing that you already have worked out for the day, you will most likely make better food choices when it comes to be time to eat lunch and dinner. Having a positive outlook on yourself by exercising and eating right will make you feel that much better. You will choose healthier options.

If you aren’t able to squeeze in that morning workout, at least try to later on in the day. Fifteen minutes of exercise is better than no exercise at all. Break a sweat whenever you have the chance.

Photo Credit: burn60.com

Another tip that I do to help keep me motivated to exercise in the morning is to have your gym clothes and shoes out the night before so as soon as you wake up, you see those out and you will know what you have to do.

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Women’s Health and Lifestyle Fair

The Women’s Health and Lifestyle Fair was held in Davenport Iowa at the RiverCenter on March 1st and 2nd. Throughout the RiverCenter, over 100 vendors were offering new health products for everyone to try, fashion, beauty products and even companies that you could join or become a part of such as gyms to get your body into better shape.

The featured celebrity guest this year that came to speak was Ruben Studdard, winner of American Idol and celebrity guest on The Biggest Loser. Ruben spoke about his journey on American Idol and more so on his journey on The Biggest Loser and how he lost weight.

Iowa Girl Eats

Photo Credit: iowagirleats.com

Crisp, clear photos of food displayed among Iowa Girl Eats is what captures my attention and I am sure many others who follow Kristin Porter’s blog would say the same. What makes her blog even better is that she’s from Iowa!

As soon as you go to her page, most likely a photo will be displayed of a new recipe for people to try. This week is all of her “favorites finds” among the web and I could agree with many of her favorite finds, many look delicious! Who doesn’t like Edible Eggless cookie dough? Makes me want to make some right now!

Besides recipes that Kristin posts on her blog she also includes different workouts and tips, places she has traveled to and posts about her family.

I was able to contact Kristin to ask her a few questions about Iowa Girl Eats.

Q: How did you come up with your blog name?
Answer from Kristin: When I first started my blog it was more of a “day in the life” account of what I was eating, doing, etc., hence the name. Since the beginning in 2009, my site has morphed into a recipe-centered site, but luckily the name still fits!

Q: Do you create your own recipes? What one is your favorite that you have recently made?
A: Recipes on my site are about 70/30 my recipes/adapted or inspired by other recipes. If I’m creating a recipe that is based on another one, I always site the original source. My favorite recipe as of late would definitely be my Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots, and Parmesan. It’s a riff on my favorite appetizer, Almond-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates, and is so fantastic! (http://iowagirleats.com/2014/02/26/warm-kale-salad-with-bacon-dates-almonds-crispy-shallots-and-parmesan/)

Q: Do you take all of your photos yourself of the food you make? 
A: I do! I use a Nikon D7000 and shoot in natural sunlight whenever possible.
Q: Do you get to travel a lot and is it for business for your site or just for fun and somehow incorporate it into Iowa Girl Eats?
A:
I had a son 7 months ago so I haven’t been doing much traveling lately. Before that though I was able to travel frequently for the blog, on blogger trips learning about different companies/services first hand. For example, visiting lettuce growing fields in Monterey, California with DOLE foods. Whether I’m traveling for business or pleasure, I almost always write about it on the blog. I love sharing my travel adventures!
Be sure to check out her blog and try some of the recipes, there are tons available to choose from.
Be sure to follow her as well on her other sites:

Photocredit: Iowagirleats.com

Iowa Girl Eats Twitter
Iowa Girl Eats Pinterest Page
Iowa Girl Eats Facebook Page
Iowa Girl Eats Instagram

Protein and Nutrition Bars

Quest Bars, Luna Bars, Clif Bars, the list goes on and on.

Walk into any grocery store and there is usually a whole section for health products and foods that are better for you and you will most likely see an entire aisle dedicated to nutrition bars, supplements and drinks. But what makes these bars so great and healthy that people continue to eat them? Well mostly its because people are so busy that they are quick and easy to eat, but not only that, many of these provide protein and other vitamins and minerals that your body needs daily.

Due to my recent health kick lately in trying to eat better, especially during school and not having much time to eat in between, (like many college students do) I have been trying to bring healthier snacks with me on the go, which I have now added nutrition bars into my snack lists.

So which ones are the best? Well everyone has their certain favorite flavors or brands. I myself have only tried LUNA BARS and CLIF Bars but I have heard that Quest Bars are many people’s favorites so I think next time I am at the store I will have to pick one up and give it a try.

Since I have had a few of the Luna Bars I thought I would give a short review on the ones I have tried and list a few other bars that seem to be among the top best.

LUNA BARS

Photo Credit: Luna.com


Based off of the Clif Bar Company, LUNA was launched in 1999 mainly for women who were looking for a nutritious and delicious bar to eat. Now Luna has over 20 different flavors for people to choose from.
Luna offers regular Luna bars, Luna Protein Bars and Luna Fiber Bars.
Regular Luna Bars offer 15 different flavors ranging from chocolate dipped coconut to Blueberry Bliss.
Luna Protein Bars offer 7 different flavors.
Luna Fiber Bars offer 3 different flavors.
Flavors I have tried: Luna Protein Cookie Dough (my favorite), Luna Bar Chocolate Dipped Coconut and Nutz over Chocolate
Luna bars are 70% Organic and the 4 “core” vitamins and minerals are Calcium, Vitamin D, Iron and Folic Acid.

Quest Bars

Photo Credit: Questproteinbar.com

Next onto Quest which seem to be everyone’s favorite. According to their website, it says, “We do all of the work for you. All you have to do is open the wrapper and chew!”
The bars were designed for people who are trying to live a nutritious lifestyle. Quest bars are a low carb protein bar. With over 20 different flavors I am sure everyone can find their favorite flavor.
The newest flavor Quest has created is Cookies & Cream.
Check out the different flavors here!

Other bars offered that you might like to try: Larabars, KIND Bars and Clif Bars.

The Best Fitness Trackers

Spring is just around the corner and that means it’s time to get back into those shorts, tank tops and of course swim suits.

Buying a fitness tracker might help you push yourself a little harder when you see the results at the end of your workout on your tracker and help reach your goals quicker.

There are some great fitness trackers out there that you can purchase and I myself have two of them that I use when I workout. Of course I will post the two I have since I think they are great products but I will also post others that seem to be great fitness trackers according to others that have purchased them.

Fitness Trackers can be pricy but they are worth the cost.

1. Polar FT4 Watch

Photo Credit: Polar.com

*Product I have*
Cost: $99.95 (can purchase cheaper on Amazon for around $70)

  • Basic Fitness Tracker that allows you to track your heart rate and calories burned.
  • Comes with a comfortable heart rate sensor band that you wear around your upper body that tracks your heart rate.
  • Comes in a variety of different colors
  • Battery Life lasts long (have only had to change battery once so far, have had it for 2 years)
  • Polar has many different other types of fitness trackers that you can purchase that have more options than just calories burned like the FT4.

2. FitBit Zip

Photo Credit: Fitbit.com

*Second Product I have*
Cost: $59.95 (sold online and at many sport department stores as well as Best Buy)

  • Very small tracker that you can attach anywhere to your clothing. I put mine on my waist.
  • Zip tracks steps taken, calories burned and distance covered each day.
  • You can sync it anywhere from your phone, computer or tablet/iPad.
  • Comes in 5 different colors (pink,black,lime green,gray and blue)
  • You can create a Fitbit account where you can also track goals, water and food consumed and of course challenge friends!
  • You can earn badges by daily and weekly achievements.

3. Nike+ Fuelband SE

Photo Credit: Nike.com

Cost: $149

  • Wear on your wrist
  • Tracks intensity of your workouts, steps taken, calories burned, time, number of active hours, and sleep tracking (with Nike+Sessions)
  • Available in three different sizes (small,medium/large, extra large) and available in a few different colors.
  • Water-resistant
  • Bluetooth 4.0 pairing with Iphones and Ipods 5th generation or higher to use the Nike Fuel Band App

4. Fitbit Flex

Photo Credit: Fitbit.com

Cost: $99.95

  • Similar to the Fitbit Zip only larger and worn on the wrist.
  • Tracks distance traveled, steps taken and calories burned.
  • During the night it can track your sleep quality and can wake you up in the morning with a silent alarm. (tracks hours slept and the quality of your sleep)
  • Also can sync with your phone, computer and tablet/ipad
  • Water-Resistant
  • Available in 5 different colors

5. Withings Pulse

Photo Credit: Withings.com

Cost: $99.95

  • Tracks steps, distance traveled, calories burned, elevation climbed, heartrate and even sleep quality.
  • Sync with your smartphone or tablet
  • Clips onto waistband or bra
  • Available in 4 colors (black, orange, blue, green)

Dietitian Holds Food Demonstration in Iowa City

JoAnn Miller, University of Iowa Dietitian hosted a food demonstration on February 19, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City,Iowa. The demonstration discussed how to incorporate healthier foods into the diet daily. JoAnn also provided four different recipes for everyone to try and many seemed to enjoy.

Recipes Made (Click to View Recipes)

  • Massaged Kale Salad
  • Fruity Thai Pita Pockets
  • Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
  • Breakfast Rice Cereal

Food Prepping

Lately I have been on a huge health kick and following many others on Twitter, Instagram and people’s own personal health blogs to keep me motivated when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle.

Photo Credit: SkinnieMinnieMoves

Food Prepping has become a huge thing according to my eyes when I see people’s posts of all the food they bought at the grocery store and how they prep their meals for the entire week. Weekend food prep is key to eating healthy during the week.

I myself have never gone and bought a whole week’s worth of meals but I just might give it a shot and see if it helps me eat better during the week and keep on track.

Another great benefit is that spring is just around the corner so that means more fresh vegetables and fruit will start to be in season and you will also be able to buy local fresh ingredients but also will be a lot cheaper.

I came across a few great blogs on how to food prep and I myself will give it a try and I think everyone should too.

HOW TO FOOD PREP

1. Make a grocery list
*Make a list of all the ingredients you need to buy for the weeks worth of meals. Remember to buy HEALTHY products.
*Be sure to check your cabinets first though so you don’t have to buy a product you already have in your home.
*Don’t forget to buy some ziploc baggies as well to help keep snacks in.

2. Get all your tupperware out that you will use to store your food in for the week.

3. Cut up all your vegetables and fruit that you bought to be put into your meals and set them aside.

4. Cut up and cook any meat that you bought that you will be using for your meals.

5. Divide all your vegetables,fruits and meats throughout your storage containers so each meal is equally divided.
*Put in the meat first into your tupperware and then add your vegetables, fruits, grains over the top.

Sounds pretty easy to me. Just be sure to set some time to yourself for meal prepping. At least one to two hours worth of time is what it takes to food prep.

Top 5 Must Haves for Home Fitness Equipment

We all enjoy the benefits to working out but not all of us can afford a gym membership. Working out at home is even better especially living in Iowa, not always can you get to the gym if the weather is bad.

For one, you are allowed to wake up and not care what you look like since nobody (except your family maybe?) will see you. You will save money on gas for not having to travel to the gym and you can workout whenever you want from your very own home. You don’t need expensive gym equipment at home to still get in a good workout .

All you need are these top 5 essentials and you are good to workout from home. Save time and money from going to the gym.

1. Yoga Mat

Photo Credit: Fit & Feminist


Not everyone has nice carpeting in their homes.So having a yoga met will help with not having to lay on a hard floor. And you don’t have to use it just for yoga. Yoga mats are great for stretching, doing sit ups, planks and other forms of core work and push ups. Also most yoga mats are non-slip so they wont go sliding from underneath you when using.

2. Dumbbells/Kettlebells

Photo Credit: StrengthRules

Whether they are 3 pounds, 5 pounds or even 15 pound dumbbells, they are always great to have at home. Dumbbells are great for strength training and focuses on the muscles you want to improve on toning up on. They are portable and you can find many different sizes at reasonable prices at any sports or department stores.
Kettlebells are also great to have. Lifting and controlling a kettlebell engages multiple muscle groups at once and they are easy to hold onto.

Alternatives if you don’t have dumbbells: Filled Water Bottles, cans, books. Anything heavy and easy to hold onto.

3. WATER BOTTLE

Photo Credit: CookingLight

Its essential to drink water while working out. It keeps you hydrated and lets you work out longer. So make sure to have a full bottle of water ready before you workout. Hydration is key. It is good to get in at least 8 cups of water each day, that totals to be about 64 ounces of water daily.

4. Aerobic DVDs

If you love cardio workouts, aerobic dvds are a must have. I myself have over 5 different workout DVDs that I enjoy working out to and keep the routine mixed up so I am not always doing the same thing over and over again. All you need is a dvd player and a tv and you are set.

Some of my favorite workout dvds are:

5. Resistance Bands

Photo Credit: Amazon

There are a variety of different size resistance bands of your choosing such as light,medium and heavy. They are great for strength training and are used to tone up all different muscles in your body. You can do chest presses, tricep extenstions, shoulder presses,rows, bicep curls, and even squats when you place the band under your feet.  Resistance bands are very cheap to buy and can be purchased for under $10.

There are many more items that are great to have in your home gym but those 5 are the 5 must haves! Some others you could purchase are medicine balls, stability balls, chin up bars, jump ropes and stop watchers or timers.

Run all over Iowa

A new year means a whole new year of races that will take place all over Iowa. Whether its a one mile race or a marathon, Iowa has a variety of different races that anyone can be a part of that will be spread out throughout the year.

Color Run

I myself have decided to start running more races this year and I am glad to have found out how many races there are among Iowa that I can register and run for, which many are for a good cause so why not participate in a race and have the money you register with go to a good cause? Its not a competition for me, I just enjoy the race and am happy to be a part of it. Plus its exercise which is even better.

So where are all of these races located at? The Cornbelt Running Club has a huge list of all the races that will be taking place all over the state of Iowa throughout the 2014 year. Be sure to check it out to see if any are in your area.

RUN!

Click here for Nearby Races.

Some of the ones I am really looking forward to in my area which is in the Quad Cities as well as one in Iowa City are:

1. St. Patrick’s Day 5K Race– March 15 @ 10:00 a.m.
Located in Davenport Iowa
Registration Cost $40.00

2. Black and Gold Fun Run (Color Your Campus) 5K Race– April 12 @ 10:00 a.m.
Located in Iowa City, Iowa (Hubbard Park)
Registration Cost $40 per person or Team Registration $35.00
What makes this run fun? You are to wear ALL WHITE and by the end of the race you will be covered in Black & Gold by getting covered in colorful cornstarch.
Charity? A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit University of Iowa Children’s Hospital through the University of Iowa Foundation

3. Race for the Cure- Susan B Komen 5k Race– June 14 @ 8:00 a.m.
Located in Moline, Illinois
Registration Cost $30.00
Benefits of this race: The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® Series is the world’s largest and most successful fundraising and education event for breast cancer ever created. Your participation in this event helps us provide significant funds and bring awareness about breast cancer to our local community. Whether you walk, run, volunteer or donate, your support is helping us save lives and provide priceless support to those in need.

4. The Color Run 5k Race– July 12
Located in Des Moines, Iowa
Registration Cost: TBA
This race is just like the Color your Campus run but getting covered in a variety of different colors!

Those are just a few of the races that I will like to be a part of and there are MANY different runs that are available and I too most likely will also be participating in besides these 4. Besides the Color Run there is also a run that is called “Color Me Rad” that also will be in the Quad Cities but not until fall 2014. Be sure to check out those websites as well that I will list for you to check out to see if they will be in your area.

It’s a new year. Try something new. Get out and run and help out your city.

Color Me Rad 5k Race
Run or Dye 5k Race
Color Vibe 5k Race
Glow Run 5k Race

List of all the Races Among Iowa

 

Iowa City Coffee

Iowa City is a hot spot for some great places to grab a cup of coffee, whether on the go or needing a place to sit down there are a few places you might like to check out (if you haven’t already). Not only is there a Starbucks like always in pretty much every city you visit but there are also local coffee shops to try out. Why not give them a chance too.

Whether you are a student walking around campus or just anybody looking for a cup of joe, I wanted to provide you a list of some of the great places to check out if you are looking for a warm or cool treat to fill your body or just looking for a place to relax and get some stuff done on your own time.

1. The Java House (Located Downtown Iowa City: 211 1/2 East Washington Street) – 6 other Locations as well *check website for more details*
Hours: Monday-Saturday 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
                Sunday 7:00 a.m.- 12:00 a.m.
The Java House made the list of America’s Best 50 College Coffee Shops on Complex at number 19!

  • Choose from Coffee, Tea, Smoothies, Frappes, and a variety of bakery items.

2. May’s Cafe (Located at 136 S. Dubuque St, Downtown Iowa City)
Hours: Monday-Thursday 6:30 a.m.- 11:00 p.m.
                Friday 6:30 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.
                Saturday and Sunday 7:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.
New to Iowa City by opening up in May 2013, May’s brings in some of the highest quality of coffee in the nation to Iowa City. They source two of the top roasters in the country, Kickapoo and Intelligentsia.

  • Choose from coffee, iced drinks, tea, smoothies, and even locally made Ice Cream- Choose from 24 different flavors.

3. T-Spoons (Located at 201 South Clinton St – in Old Capitol Mall) – 1 Other Location * E. Market St.
Hours: Monday- Thursday 6:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m
               Friday 6:30 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.
               Saturday 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
               Sunday 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.

  • Choose from coffee, teas, other drinks and a variety of diff food items for breakfast or lunch

4. Prairie Lights Books (Located at 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City)
Hours: Monday- Saturday 9:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.
               Sunday 9:00 a.m.-6 p.m.
Not only is Prairie Lights a bookstore but it also is a coffee shop!

  • Choose from a variety of different coffee, tea, other cold drinks, bakery goods, and even wine and beer.

5. High Ground Cafe

(Located at 301 E. Market St- Iowa City)
Hours: Monday-Sunday 7:00 a.m- 11:00 p.m.
High Ground Cafe offers Organic coffee and espresso drinks as well as organic teas. They even have smoothies and lemonade and even wine & beer. Not only do they have drinks but they also serve food as well ranging from paninis to salads.

Be sure to check them all out and skip the usual Starbucks. It is always nice to try some place new! You might find a new favorite.