Tag Archives: running

Las Vegas: The Next Big Fitness Mecca?

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “Las Vegas”? The bright lights that dot the Strip? Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood? The clink of coins in the slot machines?

Las Vegas

Image via Flickr

If you ask Josh Furlow, health and fitness should rank pretty high up on that list.

Furlow is the Senior VP of Operations of the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series. Every time the series touches down in Las Vegas, it becomes the city’s biggest outdoor fitness event – the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon. And in just a few short years, it and other events centered on fitness and health may well eclipse gaming as Las Vegas’ biggest allure.

The city’s gaming industry has reported big revenue losses for the sixth year running, according to CNN Money. The situation doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon, either, especially with online gaming companies gaining even more ground through lucrative jackpot games with a low barrier for entry.

With the gaming industry in the virtual dumps, large-scale events, conventions, trade shows, and expos have helped Las Vegas roar back from the economic downturn in recent years.

Not only is the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon a big draw for health and fitness enthusiasts the world over, it has also helped stimulate the city’s economy. In 2014, for example, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the event generated almost $85 million worth of direct spending.

The brains behind the marathon have also recognized a great opportunity to further capitalize on Las Vegas’ spot as the premiere convention destination in the United States. For the non-runners, they’ve also set up the Las Vegas Health and Fitness Expo. Both events will start on November 10th, 2016, with the marathon concluding on November 12th and the Expo closing its doors a day later.

Other health and fitness events have also recognized the opportunity for synergy. This year’s installment of Interbike, the biggest bicycle industry trade show in the US, for example, will start on September 21. On the same day, CrossVegas will kick off the year’s cyclocross World Cup season. One guess as to where both events are taking place.

With all of these events and more on Las Vegas’ calendar, the day may not be that far off when it becomes the next big health and fitness mecca in the US.

(Guest Editorial)

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Baby & Mommy Yoga

Good morning, beautiful people!

As promised, today I will tell you about Sofia’s baby yoga classes.

Those of you who have followed or have known me for a while are well aware of my love for yoga. What you may now know is how it all started.

My first encounter with yoga happened when I was still in elementary school. I remember my dad pulling out this book with pictures of strange looking people. *Not to discount this guy’s talent, it’s actually quite impressive what he’s doing here… but, c’mon, you  we all know what I’m talking about! Haha!* 

old fashioned yoga

Source

Anyhow, let’s move on. I remember being very intrigued, but at the same time being super confused. Breathing through the pain? Moving slowly? Breathing on counts? To add to my confusion, it went pretty much against my rhythmic gymnastics training and I didn’t see the point of standing in a pose where nothing was pulling. *I was flexible, remember?*

I never read that book *No colorful beautiful pictures, remember?*; nonetheless, I my fascination never faded away and I kept on leafing through the pages every now  and then. Fast forward to my early twenties, curiosity was still there. What was different is that now I wanted to learn. I’m turning 30 later this year *gasp* and I’m addicted to yoga. I love how practicing yoga makes me feel and don’t plan on quitting. Those stretches feel way too good! *It’s crazy how our bodies change, don’t you think?*

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I actually wanted to attend prenatal yoga in addition to my prenatal aqua class. Unfortunately, both class were held at the same time, so I improvised.

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Sofia’s first yoga class happened when she was almost 2 months old. I was thrilled to have that experience with her, yet I had no idea as to what to expect.

Well… It was interesting! Definitely not what I expected, but there is nothing wrong with it! I guess going into it I was thinking yoga flows… deep stretches… What I forgot to account for is BABIES! *Duh?!* Also, generally baby classes are great for socializing; thus, majority of moms were beginners and we had to go at their speed. *Once again, there is nothing wrong with it. Just regular overambitious self! Haha!*

2nd baby yoga class

Babies LOVE Savasana

All jokes aside, there is a big deal I learnt at baby yoga classes!

Probably, the coolest part was learning various stretches for babies. Sofia still enjoys them!

First, we would warm up babies’ various muscle groups, just like we do for ourselves, starting with upper body.

Exercise #1

Lay baby on her back on the floor. Hold on to her wrist. Lift baby’s arms up and then bring them down. Repeat 5 times.

Exercise #2

Begin in the same position as before, but alternate sides: Right arm – up, left arm – down, switch sides. Repeat 5 times.

Exercise #3

Still on the floor, spread baby’s arm out to the sides, bring them on across her chest, and spread them out again. Repeat 5 times.

The next stage is a lower body warm up.

Exercise #1

With baby lying on her back, hold her feet or lower legs. Gently push one leg up toward her chest while extending the other. Switch sides. Repeat 3 times on each side.

Exercise #2

Now do the same, but with both legs simultaneously. First push both  knees to the stomach, then extend to the floor. Repeat 3 times.

Exercise #3

It’s time to do a bicycle! Guide your baby’s legs in a circular motion as if pedaling a bike. Do the movement 10 times, then reverse the direction.

Exercise #4

With the baby on her back, lift her legs perpendicular to the floor. Gently stretch them to the sides, like a mini split, then bring legs back in the Buddha pose while crossing legs one over another. Repeat 3 times while alternating the leg on top.

Exercise #5

While on the back, bring baby’s knees to the stomach. Move the legs in a clockwise circle, then reverse in a counterclockwise motion. Repeat 3 times in each direction.

At this point, the baby is warmed up for full body stretches.

*In this video Sofia is 4 months old. I was simply playing around with her while doing some of these stretches.*

Exercise #1

Lay baby on her back. Hold baby’s right wrist with your right hand and baby’s left foot with your left hand. Gently pull baby’s left foot to her right shoulder while bringing her right hand across to her left hip (baby’s leg should be above her arm). Repeat 3 times, then switch sides.

Exercise #2

With baby’s feet in your hands, gently bring them to your baby’s nose. Don’t force it. Repeat 3 times.

Exercise #3

Beginning with your baby on the floor on her back, grasp her forearms (if your baby still doesn’t hold her neck properly, you can hold your baby under her arms while still supporting your baby’s neck with your fingers). Gently bring your baby to a sitting position, then to standing. Then in reverse: back to a seated position and, finally,  on the back. Repeat 3 times.

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I may have forgotten a move or two, but you get the gist of it. Sofia absolutely loves these exercises. Believe me, you will be rewarded with multiple smiles while bonding with your baby at the same time!!!

You may also be curious as to how YOU can practice yoga with a baby by your side. No worries, mama! You can still do it!

First of all, the baby can be cooing right NEXT TO you.

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Your baby can be ON you.

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You can also hold your baby in your ARMS. Most importantly, make sure that you are stable in any given pose. If needed, stand by the wall or hold on to a chair for extra stability; but if you’re still in doubt, just put your baby down. It’s better to be safer than sorry.

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Don’t forget to make it a fun activity for both of you. Babies love interaction!

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Have you done yoga with your baby? How do you engage your baby?

xoxo
Olena

 

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My Postpartum Fitness Journey

Salut, mes amis!

How have you been?!

Spring is almost here! Even though it is still very cold here in Montreal, I am full of excitement. Spring is my favourite season. I love it because everything around starts to bud and blossom, coming back to life. I can’t wait to go for long walks again and finally start training for my first half marathon. I bet Sofia will have a blast in her stroller accompanying me!

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Throwback to fall

 

Many of you have asked about my fitness journey since giving birth in July. The truth is I had to, as they say, proceed with caution. Surprisingly, I was given very little guidelines at the hospital in regards to how to recover from having a cesarean. Naturally, I did have a few hiccups here and there when I would ‘push’myself too much without even knowing it and I would end up in a lot of pain that would prevent me from moving completely. I had to be cautious and patient, which, as you can only imagine, is not very easy for an active person like myself.

I started by taking short stroller walks around the block, then slowly increased the distance to 3 and eventually 5 km.

At about 8 weeks postpartum, I began a baby yoga class *read more here* with Sofia, 4 weeks later – a mama dance class. *More on that here.*

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Heading to our first baby yoga class

In October, the incision sight didn’t bother me as much. I thought it would be a perfect time to jump back into it by incorporating 30-day challenges into my daily routine *read more here*: I started with a squat challenge in October, then embarked on an ab challenge in November, and finally ended up with an  upper body challenge, which I found on Pinterest, in December.*Please, let me know if you have a good link for proper credit*.

30 day upper body challenge

In the beginning of January I knew I was ready for more, so I signed myself up not for one but for two challenges, both were totally free and could be done from the comfort of home.

One of them was a 30-day Yoga Camp by Adriene.

I’ve been following Adriene for close to 2 years now. I’m honestly in love with her videos! I totally think we could be best friends if I ever got to meet her. I love Adriene’s approach to yoga: Find What Feels Good. What was different about this yoga camp is that Adriene focused on mental well-being as well. I thoroughly enjoyed daily mantras and emails to go with it.

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If you wish, you can start Yoga Camp at any time by signing up here. *You will thank me later!*

Another challenge that I embarked on was an 8-week challenge by Tone It Up.

I admire Karena and Katerina so much. They are best friends in real life, great fitness role models and entrepreneurs. They were able to build a great online community, which I’ve been a part of for over a year now.You can opt in to get their nutritional plan and buy extra video workouts (which I did), but it is not necessary as there is always a free option available. I love their energy and continuous support through social media and emails.

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It never occurred to me that there is a big Tone It up community in Canada, including Montreal! To my surprise, I was recently ‘found’ through one of my hashtags I used on Instagram by one of the girls from Montreal community, so I am really looking forward to meeting them at the next meet up!

The next 8-week challenge starts within a few days. To hold myself accountable, I’d like to show you my progress from the previous challenge. There are no drastic changes as I haven’t made any changes to my diet. It is more important for me to be able to nurse my baby for as long as I can rather to lose an extra pound or two. That being said, I love how much stronger I have become in such a short period of time. It’s awesome to be in control of my body again!

progress

What was your fitness journey after having a baby?

*Haven’t read my birth story? Head over here!*

xoxo
Olena

 

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Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bars Review

Hi there!

Earlier this month I was given an opportunity to review Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bars. I am very honored to do it since it’s a Canadian company.

If you’ve never tried hemp seeds, hemp products have a slightly nutty taste. According to care2 article, hemp has the following 5  health benefits:

  1. The protein and fiber in hemp combine to slow digestion, which prevents spikes in blood sugar and therefore sustains your body’s energy. A diet rich in hemp promotes digestive regularity.
  2. When sprinkled on your cereal or fruit at breakfast, hemp protein and fiber also help aid in satiety, which will prevent you from snacking and keep you fuller longer.
  3. The Omega-3 fatty acids in hemp reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, and may even ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Hemp seeds are one of the few Omega-3 sources found in plants.
  4. The Omega-6 fatty acids in hemp stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and help the brain function.
  5. Hemp seeds contain essential amino acids, which improves muscle control, mental function, and normal body maintenance of cells, muscle, tissues, and organs.

(Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-surprising-health-benefits-of-hemp-2.html#ixzz40wRqQLmS)

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart bars are crafted with the goodness of hemp and other tasty ingredients too. They’ve whipped up three different delicious flavours to choose from: vanilla, chocolate and apple cinnamon. Each 45 gram bar contains 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas, so whether you grab one for a pre-workout snack or nutrition on the go, these convenient bars are sure to get you through even your busiest day! Needless to say, I was very curious to try out the two flavors I was provided with: Apple Cinnamon & Chocolate.

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Apple Cinnamon

Ingredients: Hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds), organic coconut palm sugar, organic brown rice syrup, dried apple, cinnamon, organic apple flavor, pectin, organic sunflower oil, organic caramel flavour, rosemary extract.

I definitely liked this flavour a lot! It’s not overly sweet, yet satisfies a sweet tooth. I had it as an afternoon snack just before my workout. It was light and filling and gave me the boost I needed.

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Chocolate

Ingredients: Hemp heart (shelled hemp seeds), organic brown rice syrup, organic coconut palm sugar, organic cocoa mass, organic dutch-process cocoa, organic chocolate flavour, pectin, organic sunflower oil, rosemary extract.

It took me a few bites to appreciate the taste of this bar, mostly because it’s been a while since I had dark chocolate. *I’ll blame Valentine’s day for this! Haha!* That being said, I can see myself enjoying it before a long run or simply as a snack.

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Manitoba Harvest is running a photo contest:

Tag @manitobaharvest #hempheartbar #fuelledbyhemp #sweatpink @fitapproach for a chance to win a box of your favorite flavor of Hemp Heart Bars!

A winner will be chosen each month!

Eligibility: open to US and Canada residents

Also Manitoba Harvest offers a discount to all of my readers. The discount code hhbarlaunch1015 will get you 15% off! It expires on March 31, 2016, so go ahead and take advantage of it!

What is your favourite hemp product?

xoxo
Olena

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Let’s Play Catch Up: Sofia’s 7-month ‘Time Lapse’

Well, well, well… Hello there, lovelies!

How have you all been?

The life has been nothing short of AMAZING in this part of the woods. I’m pretty sure I’ve already said it at least a thousand times, but I love, love, LOVE being a mom! It’s such a rewarding feeling. Plus, Sofia has been such a great baby. I am sooooo lucky!

Can you believe she is 7 months old?! I know, I can’t. Time flies waaaaay too fast! I mean, I love see her grow, but I also want to freeze this moment forever. I’m torn…

Here is a quick ‘time lapse’ for you.

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The day Sofia was born…

Favorite things: Skin-to-skin contact and eating non-stop 🙂

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1 month

Loves sleeping in a stroller and in a swing, daily walks, daddy’s lullabies and a colorful painting in the living room. ‘Oh, and give me that booby back!’

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2 months

Sleeps through the night, gives smiles every now and then, started going to a yoga class. ‘Aroo, aroo, aroo!’

3 months old

3 months

Very talkative, rolls over from back to stomach, enjoys dancing classes in a carrier and playing with toys on her play mat, sleeps in her own room. ‘Mmmmm! My hand is yummy!’

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4 months

Holds her head very well, treats mommy and daddy to occasional giggles, loves doing airplane and stretching, experiments with funny sounds and smacking her lips. ‘That mobile thing on my bed is fascinating, I’ll definitely try to catch one of those rotating starts sometime soon!’

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5 months

Loves to talk, sleep on her tummy, explores surroundings by rotating on her belly and likes to lean forward in a booster seat. ‘Who’s that dog licking me all the time? Also, I have feet? Let me taste them!’

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6 months

Fascination by Bella prompted crawling because there is an absolute need to touch that doggy and take away her ball. Loves taking out mommy’s National Geographic magazines from a TV stand one by one. Can sit but has to hold herself up with her hands, flips from stomach to her back. Started on solid foods (first cereal is barley cereal, vegetable – carrot puree, fruit – banana) and water, but breast milk is still the very favourite. Goes to a swimming class. ‘Oh, no, I just dropped that toy… Thank you for picking it up for me! Actually… it’s kind of fun! Go pick it up again!’

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7 months

Loves laughing at daddy’s jokes and when he picks her up by hands and feet. Can sit on her own. Reading lift the flop book Toes, Ears & Nose only one time is NOT sufficient. Bella’s tail, door stoppers and wires are the best toys. Also it is always a great idea to crawl to check on what’s happening in the bathroom and kitchen. Tried out many foods so far, but the absolute favourite are sweet potato, butternut squash and zucchini puree. ‘Is eating chicken necessary? And, mommy, that applesauce thing is just blaaaah…’ Drinking water is fun (has to run down the face and make a bib wet or, otherwise, what’s the purpose?)! Nursing is most entertaining when mommy’s face is being pulled in all directions.

This week there will be a couple of more posts, so be on the lookout!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s the last day of 2015?!

I can’t help but to reflect on what a wonderful year it has been.

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I have so much to be grateful for! Our baby Sofia and 4-legged baby Bella, our family and friends, old and new.

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And last but not least, my beloved husband.

I’ve definitely had some tough situations to deal with this year and he’s always been there for me. As they say, through thick and thin till death do us part. He is my best friend, and I still can’t fully grasp how lucky I am to have this man in my life and that two of us created our beautiful precious baby.

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I know it will probably sound absolutely crazy, but when I was pregnant, it seemed like a miracle that there was someone growing in my belly. And now, I am a mom. I LOVE being a mom! It is such a rewarding feeling.

being parents

I haven’t been much in the blog world this year. I guess, it’s mostly because I wanted to live my experiences and not to spend a lot of time writing about them. That being said, I am so grateful for my blog friends and readers. You are like an extended family to me and I value more than you can ever imagine!

I am so excited for 2016! It will be a year full of firsts for Sofia. It’s so inspiring to watch her push her boundaries each day. My aspiration for 2016 is to grow too. I want my little girl to be proud of her mommy.

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I am wishing you all a beautiful year ahead. Make it memorable. Make it count. Tell your family and friends how much you love them and appreciate them, don’t wait for special occasions to do so. Love. Create new memories. Share smiles. Don’t forget about people in need. Don’t be greedy. Get stronger day by day. Be healthy.Be happy. Explore new horizons. And be the best possible version of you not for everyone else but for YOU!

Happy 2016!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Merry Christmas!

Hi friends!

A little late, but Merry Christmas to you all!

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I hope your day was filled with love and happiness in the company of friends and family just like it was for us! *Sofia had a blast tearing off the wrapping paper!*

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So many great things have happened this month! I will shortly write to you about my impromptu baby yoga challenge, but if you’d like you can have a sneak peak on my Instagram account.

Until then, enjoy your time with your loved ones and don’t forget to tell them how much you love and appreciate them!

xoxo
Olena

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CanvasPop Christmas Giveaway

Hi friends!!!!

Can you believe it’s December already?! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And to celebrate, my friends at CanvasPop are giving you the chance to win your Christmas. *You may recall my collaboration with them last spring.*

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Featuring prizes from VISA, Apt2B, Toys R Us, and Best Buy, CanvasPop has got the perfect prize pack to help you fill up your stockings with gifts for the whole family.

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Prize pack includes:
$1,000 VISA Gift Card
$200 Best Buy Gift Card
$200 Toys ‘R’ Us Gift Card
$400 Apt2B Gift Card
$500 CanvasPop Gift Card
Samsung 40” 1080p Smart TV

So what are you waiting for? Enter tomorrow to win this awesome prize pack and make this Christmas one to remember!

WinYourChristmas_CTA

Additional Contest Details:

The Win Your Christmas giveaway will run from December 2 – 11, 2015.
The giveaway will close on December 11 at 11:59PM (Pacific Time).
The winner will be notified via email on December 12.
The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada.
Individuals are limited to 1 entry per email address but may gain additional entries through entry methods specified on the giveaway landing page.

Good luck!!!

xoxo
Olena

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My Addiction To 30-Day Challenges

Hey there!

It’s Friday! I know, I know, you may ask, “What difference does it make? Aren’t you on maternity leave, anyway?” *As a side note, in the province of Quebec, we are entitled up to 50 weeks off. Happy dance!* Yes, you are right, but I am super thrilled to have my hubby home for the weekend. It’s always great to hang out as a family. Plus, Sofia is super funny these days. For instance, I was over the phone with Justin yesterday and was mimicking his snoring the night before, when all of a sudden she started laughing at me. *These moments are so precious!*   

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Yesterday, I was hanging out with a friend and we started talking about exercising after having a baby. I was thrilled that finally I broke the 117 mark and I’m currently in 116-pound range. *That’s where Justin will sigh and shake his head lol!* No, I’m not obsessed with my weight. I’m not following any diets either because it’s more important for me to make sure that my baby gets enough milk and nutrients than it is to drop a pound or two. But it is nice to see that the short workouts I do on a daily basis make me fitter and leaner.

As you may know, when Sofia was about 8 weeks old, I joined a weekly yoga class with her. In October, we also joined a dance class. *I will do a separate blog post on a dance class shortly.*  However, even though I had lots of fun there, I was scared to add more activities because my C-section incision would swell up when I would even end up walking too much.

In the end of September, I came across 31 Days Away From a Banging Booty challenge, I was all for it.

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There’s something about having a schedule that makes it easy for me to commit. Moreover, I can focus on a specific body part. Squats was a simple choice because it didn’t engage my ab muscles (my main concern at that point of time) while keeping my core composed.

When November came around, I was ready to focus on my core! After a quick Google search, I came across the following 30-day challenge.

30 day challenge

Source

I’ve really enjoyed it because it gave me some sort of a gentle transition from not doing any ab exercises for over 9 months to actually feeling the change in my core strength.

See some of the previous challenges I participated in here:

At the same time, I find it’s important to mention that you have to do these kind of challenges in addition to your daily workouts. Otherwise, they are not as effective. Keeping your workouts balanced (cardio, strength & flexibility) is key to success.

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Putting up her first Christmas tree last night!

Now that December is just around the corner, I’d like to focus on my upper body strength. *I definitely have a head start constantly carrying around my ever-growing 15-pound baby. Haha!* I’m thinking a mix of push-ups, pull-ups and maybe adding some dumbbells to my workouts. Any suggestions?

Do you like incorporating 30-day challenges in your workout routine? Why?

xoxo
Olena

 

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Snacking Doesn’t Have To Be Boring! #SeasonEatings

Hi friends!

How have you been?!

There is sooo much happening in our household! Sofia is growing so fast and I’m full of conflicting emotions: I want to see her grow but at the same time I just want to stay in this moment.

It was a big month for us with Sofia’s baptism.

Sofia's Baptism

She also just turned 4 months old.

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Since I’m breastfeeding exclusively, it does take a lot of energy. It doesn’t come as a surprise that I find myself looking in the fridge for a snack more often then usual. However, just like during pregnancy, I want to make sure to opt for healthier options. First of all, everything I eat gets passed on to my baby girl. And with the holidays just around the corner, I want to look my absolute best! *Is it too much to ask for? Haha!*

These past couple of weeks I was experimenting with healthy snacks that not only satisfy my sweet pre-holiday cravings, but also provide me and my baby with nutrients.

Probably one of the best recipes I came across is these No Bake Peanut Butter Bites. They are super delicious and fast & easy to make.

no bake peanut butter bites

First, soak 1 cup of raisins in warm water for 10 minutes. Then, add 2/3 cups of oats, 2 tbs peanut butter, 1 tbs chia seeds and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Blend together until well mixed. Make 1 inch balls and put in fridge to set for 15 minutes. *Try not to eat them all at once because it’s not snacking at that point, more like pigging out. Haha!*

Another scrumptious snack I made recently is these Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookie Bars. They definitely take a little longer to make, but they are definitely worth it.

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While preheating the oven to 350 F, rinse and dry 2 cups of chickpeas. In a blender, mix chickpeas, 3/4 cups of maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda until smooth. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and poor batter into it. Lightly press 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips. Bake for at least 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then transfer to a rack for another 30 minutes to set. Cut in bars or squares and enjoy!

If you don’t have time or desire to make anything, you can always resort to the following ideas:

  1. Fresh fruits: I personally love snacking on apple slices with peanut butter!
  2. Vegetables: how about a few slices of tomato sprinkled with feta cheese and olive oil or baby carrots & celery with tangy hummus?
  3. Nuts: toss together your favorite trail mix and pre-measure it in serving sized ziplocks.
    By the way, if you are not aware, Nuts.com  has entire page dedicated to various healthy snack ideas.
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  4. Holiday flavored teas to satisfy sweet tooth: I’m addicted to David’s teas! Check out a set I bought for myself this week. I have tried mulled wine, hot chocolate and Alpine punch flavors and I’m in love!
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  5. It’s not really a snack, but try fooling your stomach by lighting some candles at home. At the moment, I’m in love with Vanilla Snow Flake from Bath & Body works. *I bought it last year, so I’m not sure if they still have it to be honest with you.*

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What are your favorite holiday snacks? Please, do share, it’s always fun to try something new!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Health, Holidays, Kitchen Adventures, Running, Weight Loss