Fitness · Health · Lifestyle

Love Where You Are (Trusting the Process)

I won’t lie. I’ve had a rough past few days. The high stress of trying to get a million things done, eat healthy, work out, and still have down time hit me hard this past week. I was supposed to put this post up three days ago, but I just didn’t have the energy to write it, much less get my thoughts straightened out.

But it’s okay.

I told my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago that even though I’ve been working out almost every day and eating mostly whole foods, I’m still not where I was last summer. I was bound and determined to beat my best this summer, but I didn’t see it happening.

Thing is, I feel it happening, and that’s more important.

I’m stronger than I was this time last year, physically and mentally. I used to only work out at home, too afraid to go to the gym with friends because I didn’t know what I was doing. Now, I laugh it off if I trip or if the dumbbell gets stuck on the magnetic rack. My triceps and hamstrings are showing progress, which has never happened before. I’m trying new things. I feel comfortable wearing little to no makeup. I’m cooking (and we all know that gets messy).

I’m learning to thrive and to rise above the setbacks.

I’m learning to love where I am and trust the process.

xoxo ~ Erin 🌸

Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@bloomandgrowfitness) and like my Facebook page (Bloom and Grow Fitness) to get more updates, workouts, and recipes!

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Fitness · Health · Lifestyle

Full Day of Eating | What I Typically Eat in a Day

Time and time again, the big question about a fitness lifestyle is, “What kinds of foods do you eat?” The answer varies (greatly) from person to person. Here’s the good news: there are tons of choices! Here’s what a typical day of eating looks like for me.

Breakfast: Eggs and Fruit

I’ll be honest, I used to hate eggs. But now they’re my staple breakfast food! I cook mine scrambled or over medium. I also love having a giant bowl of fruit at breakfast. I usually combine grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and a banana. I happened to have some pineapple in the fridge, so I added that too! And of course, coffee. In a pineapple mug. What’s new?

Lunch: Salad with Chicken and Oil & Vinegar Dressing

To make this salad, I combined iceberg lettuce, spring mix, and carrots. Then, I added some chicken and two hard-boiled eggs for a little extra protein. Instead of dressing, I used olive oil and red wine vinegar to top it off! I’ve also used spicy brown mustard. Add a little pepper and it’s perfect! This is a pretty big salad and it keeps me full through the afternoon.

Dinner: Chicken and Sweet Potato

When I’m on the go, this is my go-to dinner! I cooked up some chicken seasoned with salt and pepper and added a sweet potato with cinnamon to my meal prep container. Pro tip: cook extra chicken at lunch and save it for dinner! It will save you time, especially if you’re dashing out the door.

Post-Workout: Green Protein Smoothie

Okay, so this one didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as the one from my Tropical Green Smoothie Recipe post a few weeks ago, but it was packed with protein and antioxidants! I used Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk as a base, added a handful of spinach, a banana, a handful of blueberries, and a scoop of Vital Proteins Unflavored Whey Protein. Just blend with ice and enjoy a sweet treat after your workout.

Snacks: Larabars, Nuts, and More

I had never had a Larabar before, but my boyfriend told me how great they are and now I love them! My favorite flavors are Chocolate Coconut Chew, Pecan Pie, and Banana Bread. They’re Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Vegan, Dairy Free, and Soy Free. I also love grabbing a handful of almonds or pecans, or if I have enough time, apples and almond butter is one of my favorites.

Let me know if you try any of these meals! What are your favorite healthy meals? Leave a comment!

xoxo ~ Erin 🌸

*Disclaimer* I am not a certified nutritionist. This post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

Fitness · Health · Lifestyle

What Fitness Actually Is

What is the definition of “fitness?” The dictionary says its “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.” Of course, everyone has a different view on what it means. Fitness is different for everyone. But here’s my definition.

Fitness is:

• Finding an activity you love. Whether it’s running, lifting weights, swimming, bicycling, playing soccer, or hiking, you need to enjoy what you’re doing. Exercise isn’t just one activity, it’s anything that gets your heart rate up, your blood pumping, your body moving. I love being in the gym, but I also love going hiking with my boyfriend or hitting up the beach volleyball courts with a group.

• Pushing your mind. Fitness is just as much mental as it is physical. Get that last rep in. Run that extra quarter mile. Swim the extra lap. Push a little harder. You are capable of amazing things, but you have to believe that. Your mind is your only limit when it comes to growth.

Having a balanced diet. Fitness doesn’t necessarily mean all you can eat is spinach and carrots. Find healthy foods you love. One of my favorite dinners is salmon, asparagus, and sweet potatoes! Experiment with different combinations and find the right ones for you. There are so many great recipes on Pinterest that are easy to follow and look super tasty! And don’t forget to give yourself a treat every now and then. *le cheesecake*

• Loving where you are while loving where you’re going. Easily one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the last 3 years is that you’ll always want to strive for more, but you have to love where you are and love the process. Stay focused on your goal, but make a point of being grateful for what you are capable of now! I love that I can hold a plank for a whole minute right now, but I don’t want to stay there — I want to work up to 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes. They always say to trust the process, but I say /love/ the process. 🌸

What is fitness to you? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo ~ Erin

Follow me on Instagram for updates and lifestyle content! @bloomandgrowfitness

Fitness · Health

5 Ways to Wind Down

Do you ever just want to sit in a nice, hot bath, drink some tea, and read a good book?

Me too.

And sometimes you have to allow yourself time to do just that. Especially after a hard workout, your body needs time to recover. Here are some of my favorite ways to wind down:

• Stretch. Stretching is crucial in muscle recovery, and it can also relieve stress. Make sure you stretch after your workouts to help with soreness. I also like to stretch in the evenings before bed to help me relax and sleep better. There are some great stretching routines on YouTube! I haven’t found a favorite yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to share it.

• Read. It’s so tempting to scroll on social media before bed, but putting down the phone and picking up a book really helps to rest the eyes before bed. Maybe it’s just the writer in me, but I love to snuggle up with a good book at night! Hit me up with some good book suggestions for summer. I’m a fan of Sarah Dessen, John Green, and Nicholas Sparks.

Drink Tea. I’m a huge coffee drinker, but there’s something about tea in the evening that is really relaxing. A lot of herbal teas are great and even have health benefits. I’m currently loving the Twinings of London Decaffeinated Chai — it smells AMAZING and the cinnamon is very calming and comforting!

Journal. Journaling helps get your thoughts out on paper so they aren’t swimming around in your head while you’re trying to fall asleep. Get yourself a cute notebook and some nice pens, grab your tea, and just let your thoughts flow! If you’re a stationery nerd like me, comment your favorite brands of notebooks/pens!

Develop a Bedtime Routine. Having a routine makes getting ready for sleep easier on your brain. It also helps your body recognize that it’s time to wind down. I use my Google Calendar app to schedule in time for reading, stretching, journaling, and my bedtime routine. It even gives me a reminder 30 minutes before so I can wrap up what I’m doing. Let me know if you’d like to see my bedtime routine!

What are your favorite ways to wind down? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo ~ Erin

Uncategorized

Tropical Green Smoothie Recipe

I’ve never been a fan of green smoothies, but that was only because I couldn’t find the right recipe. I could always taste the “green,” it would be a weird color, and I just didn’t like it. I decided to try it one more time, and folks, I think I’ve finally nailed it.

I’ve been drinking this smoothie post-workout or as a mid-morning snack while I read or plan my day. I’m seriously in love! Especially because your girl LOVES her some pineapple.

Here’s what you need:

• 1 Handful Baby Green Spinach Leaves

• 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

• 1 Banana (freezing the banana makes the smoothie thicker!)

• 1 Pineapple Ring (I get mine canned — but make sure it’s in its own juice and not in syrup)

• 1 Scoop Vital Proteins Unflavored Collagen Peptides (optional, but it gives a little extra health boost)

• Blender (Mine is a SkinnyGirl Blender from Sam’s Club, it makes single serving smoothies that fit perfectly in a mason jar)

• Mason Jar (optional, but aesthetic)

Just add all the contents to the blender, add ice if needed, and blend for about 1 minute! Super quick and easy, and you can’t taste the greens at all! Plus, how pretty is this color?! I’m convinced the secret is the pineapple.

I think my next step is to add unsweetened shredded coconut and try using unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

What do you put in your smoothie? I’m curious! Comment your favs!

xoxo – Erin

*Disclaimer* This post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

*Disclaimer* I am not a certified nutritionist.

Fitness · Health · Productivity

I Woke Up at 6:00 A.M. Every Day for a Week… And Here’s What Happened

As a self-employed online college student, I don’t have a set schedule that requires me to get up at the crack of dawn every day. I’ve always wanted to be an early riser, but listen… I’m NOT a morning person. At least not until I have coffee. Waking up earlier was one of my goals this year, so I made a trial run. I woke up at 6:00 A.M. every day for a week… and here’s what happened.

My day didn’t feel as rushed. I could allow myself to slow down, enjoy my coffee instead of chugging it, and focus on one task at a time. *phew*

I learned to love the silence. As an introvert, I recharge with alone time. Early morning silence used to make me want to crawl back into bed, but it’s been surprisingly energizing for me. My brain could wake up gradually instead of constantly being on GO.

I got tired earlier. When you get up early, you need to go to bed early. I learned that the hard way! I was used to getting 8 hours of sleep and was only getting around 6. I had to make a point of being in bed around 10:00.

My day was more productive. It’s truly amazing what a difference an hour (or two) can make. I didn’t get much done in the early morning, but because I allowed myself that extra time to wake up my brain, my mind was less cluttered and I found myself checking off tasks faster than normal.

I was more dedicated to my workout. I’ve been going to the gym with a friend early in the day. Having somewhere to be helped a ton with waking up on time, plus I enjoyed my workout more!

I finally had a routine I could stick to. When your schedule is like mine, it’s easy to develop a routine but hard to stick to it. Sticking to this routine for a week really showed me the value in leveraging those morning hours. I’m slowly but surely turning into a morning person!

Are you a morning person? Or do you find yourself dragging your feet when the alarm goes off? I challenge you to wake up an hour earlier than usual every day for a week! Comment your experience – I’d love to hear from you!

xoxo – Erin

Fitness · Health · Organization · Productivity

7 Secrets to a More Productive Day

7 Secrets to a More Productive Day

Have you ever looked at your mile-long to-do list and thought, “How am I going to get all of this done?!” Your girl is guilty. Being an independent business owner, blogger, and full-time college student can make my calendar look chock-full. Prioritizing has to be a priority, and I’ve done some experimenting with my organization and time management. Here are my top 7 secrets for a more productive day:

1. Make your bed.

I know, you’re rolling your eyes at me. But really, if you make your bed in the mornings, you’re a) less likely to get back into it and b) more likely to be in a productive mindset. It makes everything nice and clean and you’ll immediately feel accomplished and ready to conquer the day.

2. Use a planner.

Having everything written down will make it so much easier to know what needs to be done each day, and you’ll never forget an appointment again! Never used a planner before? Start by writing down everything you know you have to do. When do you have classes? When do you work? When is your brother’s game or sister’s dance recital? Then fill in the gaps with things like homework, downtime, and lunch dates. If you want to get real fancy, color code it (my C/Type A personality is ALL over this).

3. Determine Your 6 Most Important Things.

What are the 6 most important things that MUST be done today? Write them down. Maybe you need to do the laundry that’s been piling up, or maybe you need to mail your cousin’s birthday card, write a paper, go to the grocery, or renew your gym membership. Once you have your 6 most important things, prioritize them. What tasks are time- sensitive? What tasks are going to take more time and effort? Eat the frog first. Doing the hardest or most daunting thing first gets it out of the way and off your mind! And remember — busy does not always mean productive.

4. Use the Pomodoro Technique.

“Pomodoro” is the Italian word for “tomato,” and this technique is named for those kitchen timers that are shaped like tomatoes. But don’t worry, you don’t need to hunt one down, just use the timer on your phone! Work in 25 minute increments, and take a 5 minute break between each work session. After 4 work sessions, take a longer break, maybe 15-30 minutes. I use this technique with everything: housework, writing papers, making business calls, you name it. You’ll surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish in 25 minutes! Plus, having a timer keeping you accountable helps limit your temptation to scroll through social media when you should be working.

5. Work Out in the Morning.

Trust me on this one. Morning workouts get you energized and help you focus on the rest of your day. If I procrastinate my workout, I either think about it while I should be focusing on other tasks or decide I’ll do it later and then never do. When I started committing to my workout in the mornings, I noticed I felt better — physically and mentally — throughout my day.

6. Get Up Earlier — Which Means Go to Bed Earlier

Okay, I know you’re rolling your eyes at me again. But really. Getting up earlier gives you SO much more time in your day to be productive. Think of how much you could get done with just 15, 20, 30 more minutes, even an hour more, in the morning. You might even have time to fit in that morning workout we just talked about! Start small and build up to it. But be aware, getting up early while still getting a healthy amount of sleep means going to bed earlier. Which brings me to…

7. Give Yourself Time to Unwind.

How many of you are on GO from the second your feet hit the ground in the morning? Allowing yourself time to wind down after a busy (and hopefully, productive) day is a must for good sleep. Do something you love, whether it’s starting that book you’ve been meaning to read, writing in a journal, or putting on a face mask. Your brain needs time to relax so you can relax and sleep well. Take care of yourself!

I hope these tips help you be your best every day! Comment below which is your favorite and what you do to unwind!

xoxo Erin

Uncategorized

Why I’m Ditching Perfectionism (And So Should You)

Why I'm Ditching Perfectionism (And So Should You) photo

Last year, I wrote my goals down on paper for the first time. I decided what I wanted to accomplish in the year of 2017 and made a list, even breaking those goals down into smaller goals. I even wrote down what I would do month by month (I know, I’m really extra). That list got packed away somewhere in the mess that is my desk and I forgot about it after about three months, even though the plan was to keep track of my progress. I recently found it and decided to look back and see how much I accomplished, as well as how much I forgot to do. The goals I had listed included things like “hold a 5-minute plank” and “get outside more.” But one goal in in particular hit me harder than the rest: let go of perfectionism.

If you know me, you know I have been a hard-core perfectionist from the get-go. I have always wanted everything to be perfect – my schedule, my grades, my assignments, my organization, the way my bed is made, even how the laundry is folded. This is partly my OCD tendencies (no, but really) and partly the stubborn perfectionism that has ruled my life for years.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect. No one is. But I felt like I needed to be – in my business, my blog, and my personal life. Of course, everyone wants to hit every goal they set, but it just isn’t always going to happen like that. I felt like I would be a failure if I didn’t meet my monthly goal, if I didn’t drink enough water that day, if I didn’t work out that morning, that day, that week. I would be upset with myself if I broke my health streak or if I couldn’t find the right word in my writing. If a picture wasn’t perfectly Instagram-ready, I wouldn’t post it. There were pictures I wanted to post but didn’t because it would interfere with my “perfectly structured” Instagram theme. I held off posting, held off writing, held off everything on my blog because I wanted everything to be perfect… but I held off so long that I went months without writing or posting.

If you ask me, that’s not any way to live.

I’m back, I’m better, I’m doing my best to do what I have been called to do, what I love to do, without fear of failure or imperfection.

DO NOT allow perfectionism to rule your life. DO NOT allow the idea of failure to stop you from trying. DO NOT allow one mistake to cause you to give up. DO NOT allow negativity into your heart.

DO enjoy yourself. DO get back up. DO work toward goals. DO challenge yourself.

Be okay with the journey. Trust the process. Stay positive. Reach out for advice. Be persistent.

Be bold, be radiant, be YOU.

I’m ditching perfectionism. Are you?

xoxo Erin

P.S. – Please feel free to comment, DM, or e-mail me your thoughts on this topic!

Uncategorized

Pinterest-y Blueberry Pancake Smoothie

I found a BOMB smoothie recipe on Pinterest about a month ago and I tweaked it to my own liking. It’s literally my favorite right now (next to chocolate and banana, of course). So without further ado, Here is my “Blueberry Pancake” smoothie recipe!


You will need:

  • 1 Cup Skim milk
  • 1/2 Cup blueberries (frozen is preferable)
  • 1/2 a banana (or a whole one, depending on the size of the banana)
  • 2 tbsp. Oats
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon

Put all ingredients in your blender. I have the Skinny Girl personal-sized blender! I got mine at Sam’s Club.


Add ice, especially if your blueberries were not frozen. It makes the smoothie cold and gives it that “blended” texture! I add 3-4 ice cubes.


Blend for about 1 minute and enjoy!


I hope you love it as much as I do!

Comment if you try it out and if you switched up any ingredients! 

xoxo 

Erin

Uncategorized

At-Home 30-Minute Glute & Hammy-Focused Workout


Happy hump day!

So today I overslept and only had a quick 30 minutes to get in my workout. I actually really enjoyed this one because it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of deal. Usually I like to have my workout planned out so I can follow along and check each exercise off my list, but today I just took some of my favorite glute and hamstring exercises (and a couple new ones!) and threw them together into a quick and effective workout.

 
• 3x10x10x10 Calf Raises

10 normal calf raises, 10 calf raises with toes pointing out, 10 calf raises with toes pointing in. Good for a warmup and/or a burnout at the end of a workout!

• 3×10 RDL

Squeeze at the top! One of my absolute favorites.

• 3×20 Lying Hamstring Curl w/ Dumbbell Lay down on the ground (or a bench) and hold a dumbbell perpendicular to the ground between your feet and curl it up with your hammies. I used light weight and high reps for this one.

• 3×8 Curtsy Lunges to Squat Complex
This is a new one for me, and you’ll either love it or hate it. Do a curtsy lunge on one side, come back to center to squat, and do a curtsy lunge on the other side, coming back to center for a squat to complete 1 rep.

• 3×12 Hip Thrusts

Classic booty burning exercise.

• 3×15 Glute Kickbacks w/ Ankle Weights & Resistance Band (each side)

This one was a new twist on one of my favorite exercises. I typically do these with ankle weights, but added a resistance band and OH MY GOSH talk about a booty burn. Get on all fours to do donkey kicks and pin one side of a resistance band under each palm. Put the foot you’ll be “kicking” with in the loop and use the band as extra resistance during the kickback. Keep your foot flexed during this exercise.

• 1 min. Plank

Because what else do you do when you only have one minute left on your timer?


Try this workout or incorporate some of these exercises into your next lower body workout! What’s your favorite? 

xoxo

Erin
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a certified personal trainer. This blog post and list of exercises is only a suggestion from my personal experience.