Snack Time!

Happy Monday! We can’t believe July starts this week. This year is truly flying by. We are anxiously awaiting our next visit in August when Amanda is back in Michigan!

We wanted to share some of our favorite healthy snacks since we both love snacking. We try to eat 4-6 small meals a day, and we both can’t go more than a few hours without snacking. It’s good to keep our metabolism going but we also make sure our snacks are healthy and aren’t full of empty calories that don’t satisfy us. Here are a few of our favorite snacks:

  • Apple with almond butter: This is the perfect afternoon snack. Combining a protein and a carb satisfies hunger longer and it tastes amazing!

  • Yogurt with no added sugar: Yogurt it a great snack but make sure it doesn’t have a lot of added sugars. Look for yogurt with less than 10g of sugar. They are harder to find and may not look as appetizing, but they are still yummy!

  • Handful of whole almonds: An easy snack to keep at your desk or in your purse. A handful of almonds can easily keep you full until your next meal.

  • Carrots with hummus: This tasty snack incorporates a veggie with a dip that provides protein and essential vitamins and minerals. You can choose from a variety of hummus flavors, our favorite is garlic or roasted red pepper.

  • Smoothie: One of the best snacks after a workout or on a hot day! We love making ours with frozen bananas, fresh fruit, protein powder, greek yogurt, and almond milk. See this past blog post for a peanut butter banana smoothie recipe.

togetheratheart_pb&bsmoothie

  • Cottage cheese with fruit: While this combination doesn’t sound very appealing together, it is so delicious! Just add pineapple or peaches on top of a serving of cottage cheese and enjoy!

    What’s your favorite healthy snack? We’d love to hear!

    – A & M –

    Advertisements

    Outdoor Circuit Workout

    I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend! It’s warming up in Scottsdale, so it was nice to stay cool inside and get some chores done. A few weekends ago I did a fun outdoor circuit workout and I had a blast! There’s so many things outdoors that can be used in place of gym equipment.

    I started with some step ups to balance on a park bench with leg lift at the top to get my heart rate up. Next I did some triceps dips on a bike rack. My favorite was doing squat jumps up a flight of stairs, making sure to keep good form. I ended with some jumping jacks and then did a few laps across a bridge near by. I did this circuit three times with 30 seconds spent on each exercise.

    It was such a fun way to mix up my workout and be outdoors while working up a sweat. It’s amazing how many things outdoors easily doubled as gym equipment. I encourage you all to try making your own workout outside with your friends, kids or solo. Happy sweating!

    – A –

    Favorite Health & Fitness Apps

    Happy Monday friends!

    Today we wanted to share our favorite healthy living apps that we use on our phone to keep us on track and motivate us. We love to use different apps to help inspire our workouts as well as our recipes. We hope you can use these apps as well!

    Meg’s Top Picks

    • Pinterest

    I am 100% obsessed with Pinterest, but I especially love using it to find inspiration for workouts and healthy recipes. When I go into the gym without a plan and need some quick inspiration to round out my workout I refer to my workout board where I have pinned many focused workouts such as abs, arms and leg workouts. I also have a couple treadmill workouts pinned that I often refer to. It makes my workout more exciting and different each time! I also love using recipes from Pinterest and most recently am loving any zoodle recipes (refer to last week’s post). Pinterest has never-ending healthy, easy recipes that are great to pin and look back on when you need some fresh meal ideas.

    • Nike Training Club

    I have had the Nike Training Club app for a while now and recently have been using it more often when I am looking for a  strengthening workout to follow an outdoor run (thank goodness for warm weather!). The app is free and easy to use as it groups workouts by type (strength, cardio, lean, focused workouts) and also by intensity (beginner, intermediate, advanced). The workouts are between 15-45 minutes long and include video demonstration of each move which is helpful. There are so many workouts to choose from and the ones I have completed thus far are definitely challenging!

    Amanda’s Top Picks

    • Personal Trainers on Instagram

    There’s not a better place to get fitness motivation than Instagram. Instagram has so many inspiring fitness and health related posts, and most personal trainers post great videos showcasing their workouts. My favorite trainer to follow is @mytrainercarmen. She’s an ACE trainer who posts awesome videos that are easy to follow in the gym when I’m wanting to mix it up in the gym. I also use Instagram to find healthy and beautiful looking recipes. I recently made a recipe from @cremedelacrumb1 that was delicious!

    • MINDBODY

    Anyone who knows me knows how much I love trying a variety of group exercise classes to challenge different muscle groups. Most group exercise studios use the MINDBODY software for their client’s to schedule classes. It’s a great app to have on hand when you’re looking to try a new studio, and want to read reviews and schedule your class all in one app. Most studios offer a free first class making it a no-brainer to get out there and try a new class!

    What healthy living apps do you use for inspiration? We’d love to hear from you!

    – A & M –

    May Cleanse

    I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend! Kevin and I were in Palm Springs for a little getaway. It was nice to explore somewhere new and get some R&R!

    togetheratheart_cleanse
    I mentioned in a previous post that my Mom and I are doing a cleanse this month, focusing on limiting artificial sugars with no alcohol for the full month! We wrap up this week and have both had some noticeable improvements in our energy. We are surprised how quickly we didn’t miss having sugar, going cold turkey on deserts and anything with added sugars. We agreed that giving up alcohol was harder, and realized how many social activities involve drinking.

    togetheratheart_cleanse
    The cleanse made us both much more conscious of our eating and drinking throughout the day. I used an app called Lose It to track my meals and activity for the day to see my calories coming in and out. We held each other accountable through the month and shared what was difficult and things that were going well. The support aspect was huge and much needed to stay on track all month. We are both excited to have a cold beer at the end of the month but are proud of our dedication it took to complete the cleanse!

    togetheratheart_cleanse
    – A –

    The Sugar Craze

    I hope everyone had a nice weekend! I want to share more about regulating added sugar in our diets, something I’m really passionate about. If you’re like me I’ve been buying into all the health marketing in recent years, filling my cart with low fat options. Little did I know those low fat foods are often filled with sugar! There are countless studies that prove that sugar consumption causes obesity, diabetes, and cancer and is highly addictive. Then why do we continue to eat it you may ask? Because we aren’t informed to make the right decisions!

    Since reducing my sugar intake I’ve noticed I have more energy, sleep better and get better results in the gym. Here’s some foods that tend to sneak into our diet but are often filled with added sugars:

    1. Juices
    2. Sauces (think BBQ, teriyaki, etc.)
    3. Yogurt
    4. Coffee drinks
    5. Energy bars
    6. Cereal
    7. Low fat ice cream/Froyo
    8. Salad dressing
    9. Tomato sauce
    10. Dried fruit

    It’s important to check the first 3-5 ingredients on a nutrition label for added sugar. Common terms to look for include high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, agave and honey. If you see these ingredients, put the item back on the shelf!

    Being conscious has changed my grocery cart quite a bit. A friend recommended RXBAR, an energy bar with no added sugar. I also closely check my yogurts, salad dressings and cereal to ensure they are low in added sugar. Yes, I still splurge once in a while but I’m also a lot more conscious about how I’m fueling my body.
    togetheratheart_sugar
    If you can tell this is pretty important stuff to me lately! My mom and I are doing a low sugar challenge in May. We are both being conscious of the added sugars in our diet and are are killing it so far!
    togetheratheart_sugar

    – A –

    5 Ways to Be More Healthy

    Hi everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Yesterday was Meghan’s birthday so we had a fun FaceTime session to celebrate virtually. I missed being there to celebrate with her.

    I wanted to share some tips to be more healthy, as it’s been a big focus of mine lately. I’ve always been relatively healthy, but I’ve become more aware of my health in the past six months and I’ve never looked or felt better! So here are some of the things that have worked for me:

    1. Drink lemon water as soon as you wake up: Your body needs hydration after (hopefully) 8 hours of sleep. Lemon water is also linked to weight loss as it awakens your metabolism. I have a big glass with two lemon slices as soon as I finish my workout (before my coffee).

    togetheratheart_healthyliving

    2. Wear a fitness tracker: There’s something about tracking my steps, heart rate, sleep and calories that make me more responsible and aware of my health and fitness. Before I wore one I had no idea how little I walked during the week (I sit at a desk all day). I wear the Garmin Vivofit 2 that syncs with my heart rate monitor and it beeps when I’ve been sitting too long. Having this reminder during a busy day is key. I try to take two walks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, which also makes me more productive. What a difference these walks have made!

    3. Closely monitor your sugar intake: This is a big one for me. I’ve always been conscious of calories, making sure I’m taking in less or the same amount of calories that I burn in a day. What I wasn’t aware of before was the amount of sugar in some of my lowfat/lowcalorie foods.  I’ve recently learned the importance of scanning nutrition labels for sugars, paying close attention to the first 3-5 ingredients to make sure there are no mentions of sugars. The hard part is that sugars have many names these days, so you can’t just look for the word sugar on your nutrition label. Look for things like high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, and agave. Let’s just say my pantry has changed quite a bit since I’ve starting scanning for these ingredients.

    4. Make easy changes: Try going sans cheese on that Chipotle order or making the switch from sugary coffee creamers to unsweetened almond milk or skim milk in your coffee. It’s crazy how quickly your body gets used to not having these “extras.” I recently made the switch from coffee creamer to unsweetened almond milk. I forgot to bring my almond milk one day to work and needed coffee. I put just a bit of creamer in, and couldn’t stand the taste of the creamer. It is really crazy how quickly your body adjusts and you don’t miss those things that once seemed like a necessity.

    5. Build a time to work out into your schedule: Working out has to be a priority and it should be put on the top of the to-do list. Make sure to find a time that works for you in your day and build it in to your schedule just like you would a meeting at work or a doctors appointment. For me I like to knock it out right when I wake up in the morning, so I’ve set an appointment with myself for 5:30am every morning. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy to get out of bed that early, especially to workout. It does make it easier when I tell myself that I can’t miss it, just like I can’t miss that call with my client later in the day.

    togetheratheart_healthyliving

    I hope these tips are helpful and have gotten you thinking about how you can incorporate some of these into your life. Let’s go kick some butt this week!

    – A –

    Cycling Craze

    Happy happy Monday! We are both very excited to be reunited in Arizona in less than two weeks! One way we stay connected while living so far apart is by trying new workouts and discussing them afterwards. When we were both at MSU (oh the good ol’ days), we loved working out together during the week and really enjoyed cycling. We missed the feeling of both exhirilathon and exhaustion after an intense cycling class so we are back at it! Here is a recap of the classes we have taken in the past couple weeks.

    Meg:

    I recently joined Lifetime Fitness and am loving the workout classes that I am able to take there including yoga and cycling. There are two different formats of cycling classes that are available: studio cycle and evolution cycle. Studio cycle is a basic cycling class with a variety of music and instruction consisting of hills and sprints. Evolution cycle is upbeat with techno music and plenty of movement in and out of the saddle as well as some added upper body work with push-ups off the bike.

    togetheratheart_cycling

    I took my parents to their first cycling class a couple weeks ago and after telling me how challenging the class was, they asked to go back this Sunday! I am loving this Sunday ritual since there is no better way to start the week off than with a sweaty cycling class!

    togetheratheart_cycling

    After completing a  warmup, the instructor (who sits at the front of the room) dives right into class challenging us every minute we are there. Each class is different in terms how many hills and sprints sections there are. Typically the sections correlate with the music and ramp up during the chorus which I love. The class finishes up with a cool-down including some stretching. I am so glad I started cycling again, it is definitely a great workout! togetheratheart_cycling

    Amanda: 

    I’ve been on quite the workout class kick lately, trying a variety of different classes across the Valley. One of my favorites lately is cycling and I found a great studio in Phoenix that I’ve been frequenting on Thursday nights. I forgot how much of a butt kicker cycling classes are!

    The atmosphere is similar to Soul Cycle, with a dark room, loud music and inspiring instructors. The class is 55 minutes and is a variety of hills, sprints, and jumps. The dim lighting and loud music really gets me in the zone and allows me to focus on myself, which I sometimes find hard to do in other class settings.

    togetheratheart_cycling

    My heart rate is usually around 160 the entire class and I’m drenched in sweat when I leave! On average I spin about 13-14 miles, and I’m constantly pushing myself to add more resistance and go a further distance each week.

    I’ve been doing more weight lifting workouts so cycling classes are a great dose of intense cardio that I like to mix in 1-2 times per week. Workouts can’t get boring when you’re changing it up constantly!

    We hope you guys have a wonderful week and are able to get some sweaty workouts in as well! Talk to you soon!

    – A & M –

    Staying Healthy While Working

    Happy Monday my friends! Since we have been talking a lot about fitness and motivation in the new year, I wanted to keep the momentum going and share some tips on how to stay healthy while you are at work. As a nurse, I totally understand how challenging it can be to eat healthy, get enough rest, and fit exercise in with a busy schedule. I hope these tips help you to keep reaching your goals in 2016!

    Lately, I have been utilizing my Fitbit to help me track some of these things as I aim to start 2016 on a healthy note. I have been tracking my sleep almost every night which helps me get to bed earlier as I set a goal of eight hours of sleep each night on my Fitbit. I also track my water intake daily. My goal is 64 ounces of water everyday which is a little hard to reach, but definitely a good goal. Lastly, I track my workouts on my Fitbit and I set my goal to working out five days a week. Setting goals and tracking my progress definitely helps me keep track of my health. There are so many different apps and fitness trackers out there now which is great! Now lets get to some tips shall we…

     togetheratheart_healthyatwork 

    Healthy Eating

    • Pack your own food- It can be easy to not pack your own food and settle for buying something at your work’s cafeteria or a local fast food restaurant. However, even some of the sandwiches and salads offered at the cafeteria at my work are packed with unnecessary fat and carbs. It is important to know what you are putting in your body and packing your own lunch can help with this. Some of my favorite lunches to bring to work include a chicken salad sandwich or a salad packed with veggies and either salmon or chicken.
    • Eat small snacks throughout the day- To help keep your energy up and increase your metabolism, eating snacks throughout the day is key as long as they are healthy. For example, the other day at work I had a banana for my first snack a few hours into my shift, my lunch mid-shift, and then I had chocolate almond milk for my last snack. Some nutritious snack examples are yogurt with fruit, almonds, or a nutrition bar.
    • Stay hydrated!- I don’t know about you guys, but I feel 100 times better when I drink water throughout the day. I bring a reusable water bottle or cup to work and keep it filled so I can grab a drink whenever possible. Buying some cute water bottles definitely helped to motivate me to increase my water intake.

     

      Sleep

      • Get to bed early enough- Aiming to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night is important so you can feel energized for your day of work. With so many distractions, it can challenging to get to sleep at a decent time. Working twelve hour shifts, I don’t get home until about eight o’clock which doesn’t give me much time to eat and unwind for the night. I try to get into bed 15 minutes to a half hour before I want to be sleeping so I can relax a little bit first (I usually read a chapter or yes you caught me, browse social media). The Fitbit tracker shows how long it takes you to fall asleep (usually 7 minutes for me) as well as how many times you were restless during the night which takes away from the amount of sleep you actually got. It can be kind of daunting to track your sleep, but it definitely helps me realize how much I actually get!

      Exercise

      • Plan your workouts- Planning your exercise schedule ahead of time helps to eliminate excuses (i.e. too tired, errands to do after work). My dad, for example, brings his workout clothes to work with him so that he can stop by the gym on the way home. My sister sweats it out in the morning before she goes to work (major props to her!) knowing that she doesn’t always want to exercise after a long day . For me, I schedule Pure Barre classes early in the week and know which days I want to hit the gym according to my work schedule. If I don’t feel like doing either, I usually at least try to do a workout dvd or Pinterest workout. Some workouts I have been loving lately include 21 day Fix, Jillian Michaels, and Yoga with Adriene (on youtube). Find what works for you and stick with it!
      • Get your steps in at work- Being a nurse, I usually don’t have trouble getting my steps in. However some professionals may be stuck at a desk for most of the day. When my shifts are slower, I walk the halls to get my steps in (and stay awake). I have also done stretches after charting and staring at the computer for a long time. It is important to rejuvenate your body after sitting for long periods of time. If you are in an office, take the longer route to the bathroom, go up and down stairs a few times, or walk outside and get some fresh air when possible!

       togetheratheart_healthyatwork 
      I hope these tips help you to stay healthy despite busy work and personal schedules. It is important to focus on your well-being so you can be your best self at work and home. Feel free to share your healthy living tips in the comments!

      2016 – New Year, New Goals

      Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and have had a good start to 2016! I can’t believe how fast 2015 flew by. 2015 was a very eventful year. Kevin and I moved from Chicago to Scottsdale Arizona in July and both started new jobs. We took a trip to Cabo San Lucas Mexico with my family in April prior to our move, and enjoyed a couple of road trips to San Diego and Los Angeles.  We made a trip back to Michigan in October for our good friends Mike and Samantha’s wedding and made it back to Michigan again in December to enjoy Christmas with both Kevin and I’s families. What a year!

      togetheratheart_newyear

      I’m excited to see what adventures 2016 holds. Personally, I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks setting new goals for 2016. I’ve found that writing down my goals, printing them out and signing them is the best way to hold myself accountable. At the end of the year I’ll make a list of all that I accomplished and compare that to my original goals to see which of my goals I was able to meet, and which if any will carry into the next year.

      This year I’m really focusing on my fitness. I’ve been working really hard in the gym, shifting more of my workout to strength training while still mixing in some cardio and a Pure Barre class once a week. I can’t believe how much stronger I feel already. I’m going to continue to challenge myself in every workout as I enter the new year instead of just going through the motions in the gym, while also focusing more on my nutrition. My main goal is to cut out some of the sugar in my diet and be more conscious of the carbs I’m eating. In the past I’ve been hung up on eating low calorie or fat free foods, often times missing how much sugar can be in some of these alternatives. Just the other day I looked at the nutrition label of my “fat free” greek yogurt to find that it had 25 grams of sugar! Yuck!

      Other than fitness and nutrition, I also have some travel goals for the year. Kevin and I are currently planning a trip to climb Machu Picchu in Peru with some friends and family and we also plan to travel to Southeast Asia later in the year. It will be a big year of travel for us, so I’m excited to get our trips finalized and have something to look forward to!

      togetheratheart_newyear
      As I finalize my goals, I encourage everyone to set their intention for the year and spend some time writing down your goals before you go on auto pilot and get distracted by all the responsibilities of every day life. Make your goals attainable but push yourself to think outside of your comfort zone. It’s okay if you don’t accomplish 100% of the goals you set. If you always accomplish every goal it may mean you aren’t setting your goals high enough. Cheers to a year of health, happiness and kicking butt!

      – A –

       

       

       

      Guest bloggers – Kevin and Nick

      We hope everyone had a great weekend! We are both busy preparing for Christmas and are excited to see each other this week! We thought it would be fun to ask the men in our lives some questions and let them run the blog post this week. See what they had to say below. Enjoy!

       

      What’s your go to workout routine?
      Kevin: For me I try to focus on getting to the gym consistently.  Since moving to Arizona in July I have created the habit of going before work each morning, which is important for me since I tend to be all in or all out on things.  When I am in the gym I don’t have a routine or the same workout.  Instead I  try to push myself and make sure I am making the most of my time – usually mixing two to three muscle groups a workout with cardio every other day, the idea is to keep things fresh and not to spend too much time resting between reps.  If I ever had a set routine I would worry my workouts would start feeling like a chore and I wouldn’t go anymore!
      Nick: Not sure that I have a go to routine but I usually start with a half hour of cardio then work on weight machines and finish with an ab workout.

       

      What’s your favorite meal that Amanda/Meghan cook?
      Kevin: Everything is the only appropriate answer!  But some of my favorites include Amanda’s Chicken Pot Pie and Steak Fajitas.
      Nick: We usually end up cooking together and our speciality is chicken parmesan.

       

      How do you stay active and healthy with a busy work and school schedules?
      Kevin: I need to workout in the morning, if I don’t knock it out before work I would never make it the gym.
      Nick: The key is to work hitting the gym or a good run into your daily routine because then it’s harder to make excuses for not going. I usually workout right when I get home from class or work before I get too busy doing my homework or relaxing for the night.

       

      What’s your favorite thing to do for a date night?
      Kevin: I love that Amanda and I share a passion for  Michigan State sports, I really enjoy watching the basketball and football games together.  Sometimes I am not the easiest to watch games with but Amanda is a good sport!
      Nick: Favorite date night activity has to be getting ice cream because Meghan loves it and there are so many options.

       

      What’s your favorite memory with Amanda/Meghan?
      Kevin: It is hard to think of one favorite because lot of things come to mind!  Amanda and I both really enjoy traveling so a lot of my favorite memories are around our trips – either longer ones like the month we spent backpacking in Italy or the shorter ones like the weekend trip we just took to Beverly Hills!
      Nick: Our last anniversary we spent in Traverse City was one of the best times I have ever had with Meghan. It was one of our first real vacations alone and we had a lot of fun visiting wineries, going on a sailboat, and enjoying local restaurants. We are looking forward to going back soon!

      togetheratheart_relationships 

      togetheratheart_kevinandnick 

      – A & M –