Cute Workout Gear + 5 Favorite Sneakers...

 
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The weather is cooling off and we're about to enter a new season in New England! I haven't had a gym membership since the Spring but I'm joining next month and looking to amp up my activewear! Per usual, I'm drawn to sweatshirts because COMFORT and there are some really cute long sleeve workout shirts that I found too! I'm a fan of full-length leggings in the winter (usually I get the cotton ones by Nike) so I'm sharing some of those as well! I just got a new pair of black and white Nike Roshe's for just $90 that I LOVE! Since I need a shoe with more support and structure (like these) when I run - I like to wear my Roshe's on days when I'm lifting aka not doing any cardio. With that said, I've also shared my top 5 favorite Nike's for working out!

Shop it all below! Thank you for stopping by :) 

xx, Ashley 

Summer Abs...

Carrying a baby during pregnancy really takes a toll on your body as a whole, but mostly on your core! It took me FOREVER to feel like I had my core strength back and it's still a work in progress. Holding a 1-minute plank is still a real challenge but I'm almost there! (45-seconds and working my way up :) I've been trying to focus on taking time a little time out of every day to work my abs, and with summer just around the corner - I have to be extra diligent ;) 

When London goes down for her nap I take 10 minutes right away to do some ab exercises. I start with a plank and end with a plank - usually the last one I try to hold as long as I can which ends up being (almost) a minute. When I feel like I'm not maintaining the proper technique any longer, I stop the time. There is a "Core" class at my gym, Healthworks that I've taken which I really love and I also think practicing yoga regularly is SO good to help maintain core strength! 

Here are some exercises that I do in addition to the planks...

- 25 Bicycles Crunches (see photo below)

- 25 butterfly crunches: sit on the floor with your legs in the "butterfly stretch" then lay back, keeping your legs in the same position. This is your starting point. Now crunch 25 times with your hands behind your head - keeping your shoulders off the floor.

- 25 Toe-touch crunch: (See photo below) Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air (legs pointed toward the ceiling); arms straight and pulse up 25 times, trying to touch your toes.

- 25 Flutter Kicks: Lie on your back with legs extended and arms at your side or underneath your bum. Lift your legs 6(ish) inches of the floor and scissor your legs up and down. Make sure to press your lower back into the floor - you do not want it to lift off the ground.

                                                                     Bicycle Crunch

                                                                     Bicycle Crunch

                                                                  Toe-Touch Crunch

                                                                  Toe-Touch Crunch

What are some of your favorite ab exercises?! 

xx, Ashley

#SundayFunday Workout...

We've had such great weather this weekend and today, even though it's a bit chilly, I thought it would be fun to get a workout in outside! Lo likes to go for walks (as long as I pack snacks), so I decided to do a run/walk workout and mix in a few exercises along the way! 

If you'd like to try it, here's what we did...

- Run / Walk for 1 mile

- 15 push ups

- 20 lunges (each leg)

- 25 bicycle crunches

- 25 standing squats

- Run / Walk for 1 mile

- Repeat above exercises

I've done this workout before and it's pretty challenging! Plus, London found it pretty entertaining when I did all of the different moves in between. You can always pack a different snack for each stop too :) ... that seems to help too! 

Also, if you live in the Boston area and you're interested in trying in new challenge leading into summer, my gym is starting the "Better Body Challenge" in a few days! It's an 8-week program with weekly workout and nutrition tips! You can choose to be your own coach or have a trainer guide you through! You can learn more about it here

Have a great Sunday!

xx,

Ashley 

My Definition of Being Fit + Healthy....

 

If you were to ask my definition of being fit and healthy just a few years ago, my answer would have been super different. My "pre-baby" self would have neglected to touch upon being fit mentally and just how important that is to one's overall well being. I would have talked mostly about the physical aspects such as exercise, stamina, weight-training - but left out how critical it is to practice self-care. It's SO difficult to make time for myself without feeling mega-guilty, but in the past two years, I've realized that it's critical to survival. Dramatic? Not really. If I don't make time for myself, I get overwhelmed and feel a bit suffocated a.k.a. I end up freaking out and it's really not good for anyone ;) ...At first I thought there was something wrong with me, but then I realized that it's completely normal and all a part of life. Do I still think exercising is important? Sure I do, but my life has evolved and so staying mentally and emotionally "fit" is just as important to me. 

So...I'd say that my definition of being fit and healthy is really feeling like I have a sense of balance in my life; physically, mentally and emotionally. Taking time for myself, even though it's difficult, is definitely a big part of keeping me "fit" mentally and emotionally. Setting attainable fitness goals and getting to the gym at least three times a week helps me stay focused without feeling overwhelmed. I used to be REALLY hard on myself...I never took many days off from working out and held a pretty strict diet. Nowadays, it's just not feasible to get to the gym 6 days a week so I set my goal for three and that usually works out. I'm definitely more laid back when it comes to my diet ... mostly because I don't want London to be a stress ball when it comes to food (as I've been in the past, thanks for pageant life!) Plus, it's pretty freaking fun to stop at Starbucks for a treat with Lo, so I just do it. Life's to short to stress about eating a scone (or two!) ;) 

I wanted to share a few ways that I practice self-care. I wish these things happened more on a regular basis, but such is life. Things come up, kids get sick, demands are hight ... so you just roll with it and squeeze things in when you can, or if you're like me, when you feel like you're near the verge of a breakdown ;) ...Kidding (kind of). 

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1. Find a gym. If you don't feel like working out, go anyway. Sit in the whirlpool, take a nice long shower, do your makeup and just relax. Sometimes all you need is an hour to yourself to feel refreshed for the day! (I've linked my gym here for all of my Boston ladies!)

2. Book a massage. This is HEAVEN, am I right? Try to schedule this once a month. It's something to look forward too and trust me, your body will thank you!

3. Grab coffee with a girlfriend. Hit up your local coffee shop, secure a spot in the corner and gab away! It's really cheap therapy :)

4. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi. This is one I haven't done in awhile and I'm definitely due! It's so relaxing and somehow I feel like I've got all of my "ish" together when I have my nails done ;) 

5. Practice yoga. It's good for you; mind, body, and soul. Flow through this practice to soothing music and a calm atmosphere. Hello heaven!

What are some ways that you guys practice self care?

xx, Ashley 

Fit Friday: Current Workout Routine...

 

Happy Friday! I'm so excited for the weekend and even more excited that my baby girl is FINALLY feeling better and (mostly) back to her sweet self! We are still dealing with those "not so sweet" toddler tantrums of course! (Rolling eyes). I've gotten a few messages and questions about what I do for workouts so I wanted to update you guys on my current routine! Keep in mind ... I wish it could stay this way from week to week, but mom life is pretty crazy so sometimes you have to adjust the routine a bit!

To start, one of the things I'm SO thankful for is that my gym, Healthworks offers amazing classes daily. Barre, spinning, yoga, body pump, dance, and much much more. Not to mention, Lolo really LOVES the Kids Club and it makes it even more motivating to get to the gym when she's asking to see all of her friends :) 

BK (before kids) my workouts consisted of a mixture of cardio and weights with more of a focus on cardio. Typically I would spend 1.5 hours at the gym Monday - Friday with a lighter workout on Saturday and Sundays off. Nowadays I honestly don't have that amount of time to work with. I tend to spend more time focusing on weight training because it seems that chasing a toddler around is all the cardio I need! Here is a peek into my current workout routine and what a typical week looks like...

Monday: 20 mins cardio // 10 mins - stairmaster & 10 min treadmill incline walk (5.0 - 10.0 incline at 4.0 pace) || LEG/BUTT DAY. You can find six "butt busting" moves that I incorporate into my workouts, here!

Tuesday: 20 mins cardio // 10 mins - stairmaster & 10 mins incline walk (5.0 - 10.0 incline at 4.0 pace) || ARM DAY. See some of my favorite exercises from Healthworks trainer Hannah Butera, here

Wednesday: Circuit workout at home (typically something similar to this) OR a 3-mile run (slow pace) & abs

Thursday: Same as Monday; sometimes I may just stick to the stair master or choose to do the treadmill for the full 20 minutes.

Friday: Usually similar to Tuesday. I like to pick 5-6 arm exercises to focus on // Abs 

Saturday: Barre or Yoga class. Some Saturdays I like to sneak in a 20-minute stair master workout prior to class, if I'm feeling extra motivated ;) 

Sunday: OFF for family time! We like to be active together though, so we typically go for a long stroller walk if the weather permits!

This tends to be what the week looks like and of course, it's subject to change! Some days I make little tweaks here and there - but overall, I try to focus on just staying active and doing SOMETHING. It always makes me feel better and starts the day off right! 

If you guys have any specific questions about my routine, leave it in the comments below!

xx,  Ashley 

Fit Friday: Share The Love...

 
Photo credit: Healthworksfitness.com

Photo credit: Healthworksfitness.com

Attention Boston ladies! 

My gym, Healthworks, is all about "sharing the love" this February! They're offering a bunch of special classes through the 14th that you can try for FREE! I signed up for a "Spa Yoga" class (which is now taking place on the 16th, thanks to the snowstorm!) ... but it sounds like a dream! Flow through power yoga then finish with the certified massage therapists? Umm yes ... you can sign up here, but it's filling up fast! 

If you're already a member at Healthworks and you want to bring a friend to a class, have them sign up through the Eventbrite pages! There are locations in Back Bay, Cambridge, Chestnut Hill, and Coolidge Corner!

I hope you see you all there! What are you up to this weekend?! 

xx,  Ashley 

For The Mamas...

 

Happy Friday!

This afternoon we are taking London to the Little Lovage Club in the South End to see baby farm animals! I'm so excited because she LOVES animals so much + they'll have baby pigs, goats, chickens, and more all for the kids to pet! I'll make sure to share on my Instagram stories so make sure to check in later this afternoon ;) 

I'm SO happy the weekend is here! My sister and brother-in-law are spending tomorrow with us and my husband has Sunday off (YAY!) I'm excited to relax and have some time together as a family. I do plan to hit the gym in the morning to start the weekend off right! I've been reminiscing about the early days with London a bit, and how difficult it seemed to find the energy to do anything, let alone workout! I came across this "Mommy and Baby" workout posted on the Healthworks site and I thought it would be great to share with you all! Even if your baby isn't an infant - you can try to do some of this with your toddler at home! It's a 15-minute workout from Phyl London that was voted Top 10 on YouTube. Definitely worth a peek! If you CAN make it to the gym this weekend and you missed last week's "Fit Friday" I shared a killer arm workout from Healthworks trainer Hannah Butera! You can find it here!

Also, check out some of my favorite activewear pieces below :) 

What do you all have planned this weekend?! 

xx,  Ashley 

 

 

Fit Friday: TeamBurn30

BEFORE: With my workout partner for the day + fellow mama of 2, Nadia!

BEFORE: With my workout partner for the day + fellow mama of 2, Nadia!

AFTER: We did it! Dripping with sweat, and ready for a nap!

AFTER: We did it! Dripping with sweat, and ready for a nap!

This month has been CRAZY which has meant a lot of squeezing in workouts whenever I can. Between London's schedule, spending close to three weeks in Maine, and the 90+ degree weather, I was searching for some extra motivation!

I used to workout at least 1.5 hours, 5 times a week and while staying fit and healthy is still a priority, it's just not feasible to maintain that at this point in my life. Mom life is a constant balancing act + when you're working around two naps and a grazing baby who eats 5 meals a day...it leaves you little time for yourself! If I can get 30-45 minutes ... I'm happy! With that said, when I found out that Healthworks was offering Team Training and particularly, TeamBurn; a 30-minute workout that includes high-intensity cardio intervals for a total body workout, I was SOLD. I brought my headphones so I could plug into this mic-pack thingy (yes, that's the technical term) where I could here the instructor Claudia and music at the same time. It was awesome to block out everything else that was happening in the gym and just focus! 

The workout was done solely on the treadmill + it was intense! After a brief warm-up and stretch, we started right in with 9, 30- second sprints and a short rest (VERY short rest) in between. We moved on to hills, where we alternated between different inclines and kept a brisk walking pace. Claudia was super engaged with us the whole time + I felt like I totally pushed myself way harder than I would have if I had been working out on my own. I loved feeling the sort of "team" atmosphere and sweating it out together! (Trust me, you'll definitely SWEAT if you do this workout :) *If you're interested in trying a TeamBurn session...click here for more info! 

If you'd like to try a workout similar to this, here's what you can do:

Warm-up: 2 minutes, brisk walk

Stretch: 5 minutes

Sprints: 30 seconds, Rest: 15 seconds x 10

Hill Climb: Brisk Walk (whatever you feel comfortable) 

Incline: 5.0 for 2 minutes // 7.0 for 1 minute // 10.0 for 1 minute // 12.0 for 1 minute // 5.0 for 2 minutes 

Cool Down: Walk: 5 minutes 

20-Minute (at home) Circuit!

HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE!!!!

(Sorry if my cheery attitude makes you want to punch me right in the mouth - but I'm just trying some reverse psychology on myself. Maybe if I pretend that I like Mondays and they're super cool, then I'll be able to cope. Ok? Great. Settled)

This morning I woke up, immediately changed into my workout gear, and magically something happened ... I found myself a teeeeensy bit more motivated to attack the day! I've been trying to kick it up a notch in the workout department with spring basically here (in New England) and summer well on its way! On days that I can't squeeze in a workout at the gym - I try my best to make it up at home with a quick circuit like the one below! Anything that gets my heart rate up and makes me sweat a little is a win for this mama!

Guys...it's 20 minutes. Let's be honest, we sit on our phones checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for longer than that (Just me). I hope you can find the time to jump start your Monday! Let me know what y'all think!

*Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 15 and repeat 2-3 times

Set A

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Squat Jumps
  • Plank Jacks

Set B

  • Burpees
  • Front Kicks
  • High Knees
  • Lunge Jumps

 

Stack'd Pancakes

I know what you all are thinking..."all she ever blogs about are pancakes..." and you may be right. Hashtag pregnant. 
I promise I will step up my game, and this will be my final pancake post ever (that's a lie). I will be limiting the pancake posts from now on though, and leave you with the amazingness that is STACK'D. I was first introduced to these protein pancakes by our friends in Portland and was sold as soon as I tried them. Let me tell you a few reasons why these should be the healthy pancake alternative for you.
1. They contain whole grains; 100% whole wheat and whole grain oat flour
2. You get COMPLETE proteins with every serving; 25 grams of protein to be exact
3. There are no refined sugars, sugar substitutes, or artificial sweeteners
4. Lastly, THEY TASTE AMAZING!
Chris and I have tried the Cinnamon Roll and Original Buttermilk flavors but they have others you can choose from! They are super quick to make (we had them before work this morning) ... and all you need is water and an egg white, plus the mix of course. I definitely look forward to eating them, especially knowing that they're GOOD fuel for my body! You can purchase the mix online ... so check it out and let me know what you think! 

 

 

Yummy Homemade Marinade

This is kinda random - but I made a really good homemade marinade for chicken tenders last night and thought, ehh...why not share? It's easy, quick, and very tasty. Chris was a big fan!
- 3 T soy sauce
- 2 T honey
- 2 T olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 T chopped cilantro
*Mix all together and place chicken tenders in baking dish. Cover with marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better. Heat oven to 350 degrees, and cook for 15 minutes, turning half-way through. Enjoy!

 

Skinny Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Quick, easy, and only about 150 calories each...these muffins are still very tasty and won't start your day off on the wrong foot! There is no oil or butter, but instead applesauce - which gives the muffins a nice, moist (ugh, least favorite word) consistency throughout. 
What you'll need...
  • 1 and 1/4 cups wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • raspberries
  • chocolate chips
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, applesauce, and egg white together and pour into dry ingredients. Mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in raspberries and chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly between approximately 10 muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Allow muffins to cool and enjoy!

 

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes!

Two days in a row of food posts....blame the pregnant lady :) 

This morning I woke up a little bit earlier (like 10 minutes) so instead of running around frantically preparing my breakfast/lunch...I had time to put something yummy together! I'm a HUGE pancake fan...anytime we're out to breakfast I order them, hands down. With the flour, sugar, etc...they aren't always the healthiest option UNLESS you make them the way I did this morning. I usually mash one whole banana into mine for extra sweetness, and you can add any berries that you have kickin' around as well. They're very hearty and the oats will keep you full longer throughout the morning!

Here's what you'll need:
*Makes 2 pancakes
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 banana (optional; Can use just berries or have plain)
- dash of water
Directions: Cook in prepared pan on medium heat, as you would normal pancakes. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

 

 

Avocado Goodness...

Looking for a good snack packed with nutrients? Look no further :) 
I toasted two pieces of whole wheat bread and spread half and avocado on the toast as you would butter or cream cheese. Drizzle olive oil (just a touch) and sprinkle with sea salt/pepper and BOOM...you've got a killer snack!
Another snack idea that I'm into lately ... plain greek yogurt with raspberries and sliced mango topped with honey! The honey and fruit give it just enough natural sweetness so you don't need to buy the flavored yogurts that are super high in sugar. You can even add granola...a little goes a long way! This snack is great for post-workout, because yogurt has great protein content!