Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What I’m Loving Lately 129

Hi, guys!

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a What I’m Loving Lately blog post, so this one is quite the round-up of goodies. I’ve been gathering fun/interesting links and favorite products for a few weeks now, and I’m especially excited to share them with you. Let’s get right to it, shall we? 🙂

Brooks Ugly Sweater Sneakers (aka Levitate 2) – You guys might remember these from my Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide, but they’re worth another mention because they are seriously THE BEST holiday sneakers I have ever seen! I honestly don’t think a sneaker has ever made me so happy, and I know just about any runner or walker on your shopping list will LOVE these!

The Silent Tragedy Affecting Today’s Children – This was a really eye-opening article.

Butcher Box on demand – No subscription needed! I love this new offering. You can get the same high-quality meat you love without the commitment. We’re eating less meat nowadays, so it’s perfect for getting a box every once it awhile instead of on a regular basis.

Latest Videos

These Women Didn’t Lose a Single Pound, but Their Transformations Will Amaze You – LOVE THIS! It’s my favorite type of “before and after” post, and one of the MANY reasons why I don’t like the scale and think it’s SUCH a joke and mindf*ck. Changing your body is all about composition and fat loss – NOT just the number on the scale. 

UA Pindot Open Back Women’s Long Sleeve Shirt

I shared my love for this open back long sleeve shirt in a previous post, but I find myself wearing it ALL the time. It’s so easy to throw on with a soft and cozy sports bra and actually feel like you’re semi put together! 🙂

BTFBM Women Long Sleeve Zipper Sherpa Pullover – One of my girlfriends just brought this pullover and loves how cozy it is. For just $26, I might just have to order one for myself! 

Women In Their 40’s Give Advice To Their 20-Something Selves, And It’s Worth The Read – I loved reading this post!

8 Sneaky Offenders that Cause Weight Fluctuations – As I mentioned above, you guys know that I’m not a fan of the scale, so just wanted to share this post about why you see frequent fluctuations. Just remember even though the scale might go up, it doesn’t mean you’re not making progress!

Unidear Women Casual Long Sleeve Top with Pockets – Another cute and cozy top that I might just need in my life! 🙂

Peanut Butter Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips – These look absolutely delightful! Speaking of which, did you see that Health Warrior now has microwaveable protein muffins now? Each one is gluten-free, dairy-free and has 12g of plant-based protein. Their peanut butter chocolate chip is my favorite!

Question of the Day

What are your thoughts on the scale? What is THE NUMBER so important? 

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Why an “Ab Routine” Isn’t Necessary (and What I Do Instead)

One of the first things people do when they start working out is focus on their abs—crunches, sit-ups, leg lifts, bicycles, and the like. I mean, who doesn’t want a six-pack? Entire fitness schools have sprung up around the idea of targeting your abs with direct work. Take Pilates. In its purest iterations, it’s considered a “total body” philosophy, but the way most classes seem to go you end up spending all your time doing a bunch of complicated crunches and other targeted ab work (and grimacing every time you cough for the next week).

Let me make a radical proposal here. All this ab work isn’t necessary.

Don’t get me wrong. The “abs” are extremely important. Not only do they round out the physique and look great, but abdominal strength also provides stability, supports good posture, and improves movement. Strong abdominals allow and enhance the full expression of a person’s athleticism. Running, jumping, lifting, throwing (balls, spears, or punches), and basically any movement all require—and are improved by—strong abs (i.e. a strong “core”).

When you think about training the abs, consider what the abdominals’ purpose is: to provide a stable foundation for the rest of your body as it moves. They can move, but it’s not their primary function. As such, the way most people train abs is completely superfluous and ignores that essential function—maintaining stability and resisting movement. When you think about it that way, crunches and sit-ups don’t make a whole lot of sense.

What Kinds of Ab Work Make Sense?

  • Deadlifts make sense because your hips are designed to hinge to allow you to pick up objects.
  • Squats make sense because your knees are meant to flex and extend under load.
  • Pull-ups make sense because your lats and biceps are designed to pull your body’s weight upward.

But crunches? Abs are best at holding steady and supporting all the other tissues and limbs as they move through space. Using your abs to move heavy weight a few inches is just weird. It “works,” but is it ideal? No.

If you insist on direct ab work, focus on movements where the abs don’t actually move all that much.

  • Instead of crunches (abs moving), do bicycle crunches (abs stationary, legs moving).
  • Instead of sit-ups (abs moving), do hanging leg raises (abs stationary, legs moving).

In both cases, you’ll be blasting the hell out of your abdominals, but you won’t be flexing and extending your spine.

Okay, with all that out of the way…

What Do I Do For Ab Work?

I don’t do much direct ab work. You won’t find me doing crunches or bicycles. Instead, I’m using my abs all the time.

  • When I’m doing pushups, I’m tightening my abs. A strong, stable, cohesive abdominal complex makes my pushups better and stronger. Do a pushup without tight abs, and your hips will dip toward the ground. You’ll be sloppy and weak.
  • When I’m doing deadlifts, I’m tightening my abs. My abs are resisting the pull of the heavy bar. They’re preventing my spine from rounding and hurting itself.
  • When I’m doing pull-ups, I’m using my abs to maintain a cohesive frame. Try it. Instead of kicking your legs or flopping them around to propel yourself upward, keep them straight and tight. Tighten your abs. Think of your entire body, from top to bottom, as a single piece. Pull that piece up past the bar. Feeling it in the core, are you?
  • When I’m standup paddling, I’m using my obliques, my “outer abs.” They support the paddling motion. They’re my base of support. Go paddle for an hour as a beginner, then see how your sides feel the next day.
  • When I’m doing band pull-aparts (a great shoulder pre/rehab movement, by the way), I’m tightening my abs.

Heck, when I’m driving my car or carrying my groceries or walking the dogs, I’m tightening my abs.

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. The abs figure prominently.

There’s probably one exercise I do specifically for my abs, and that’s the plank. But again, the planks work the abs by resisting movement, by keeping your body straight and solid against the pull of gravity. They aren’t moving.

I made a short video on how I work my abdominals without a specific abs routine. Take a look.

Finally, the single most important thing you can do for your abs in terms of looks, of course, is to become a better fat-burner. Hidden underneath even the most sedentary, flabby exterior is a rippling six pack. Simply possessing basic human anatomy means you have visible abdominals somewhere under there. Get lean enough and you’ll see them.

Thanks for stopping in today. Questions, thoughts? I’d love to hear them.


The post Why an “Ab Routine” Isn’t Necessary (and What I Do Instead) appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Getting a Jumpstart on 24 Days of Togetherness

Hi, friends!

I can’t believe December is just around the corner… although, I’m more than ready for it! 🙂 I feel like December marks the “official” holiday season – at least with regard to our family’s traditions via “24 Days of Togetherness.” If you haven’t had a chance to download your PDF yet, be sure to print it out and cut it up today, so you’re ready for all of the holiday fun that starts on SATURDAY!

With Thanksgiving falling so early this year, we couldn’t help but get a jumpstart on our usual holiday activities. Typically, these are mixed in with our 24 Days of Togetherness bucket list, but, this year, we’ll just add new ones to chose from. There are so many options, we might as well complete as many as we can to fully embrace the season! 🙂

The first activity that we completed was get a Christmas tree. Quinn saw one on the top of someone’s car on the way home from Thanksgiving dinner, and he just couldn’t get it out of his head, so we got our tree a couple of days later. He was so excited, we just couldn’t wait until December!

Like previous years, we went to our favorite go-to place to purchase this year’s Christmas tree.

I’m pretty sure we’ve gone to see Bernie since we moved to the area more than 10 years ago. He has the cutest little place, and the staff is so incredibly friendly!

It didn’t take us long to find the perfect Christmas tree!

Actually, Quinn picked out our tree, and it was quite the beauty – not too big (like the first year we moved into our new house) and not too small (like last year when we were afraid of getting a tree too big). His tree was the perfect size!

Annual photo! 🙂

I mean, how adorable is this place?

We counted the rings to see how old our Christmas tree was! 🙂

We also kept our Lime Leaf tradition alive and picked up takeout on the way home from getting our Christmas tree. Delicious!

After dinner, we broke out our ornaments, played John Denver’s Muppet Christmas, and started decorating the tree. (Yes, we have one million pug ornaments!)

In addition to pug ornaments, here are some other favorites…

Our hospital bracelets from when Quinn was born

(I just bought a plastic ornament on Amazon and put them inside.)

An eagle from the White House when I heard Michelle Obama speak

The new home ornament that my mom, sister, and I ALL bought for each other

The ornament that we bought after Mal and I were engaged in New York City

The ornament from Quinn’s first trip out of the country (when he was in my belly)

Decorating our tree was such a nice time together. If it’s any indiction of how the rest of the holiday season will go, we’re in for a treat! 🙂

The finishing touch was the star on top!

Question of the Day

Is your Christmas tree up already?

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Boys x 2

I wanted to check in and share how being a mom of two is going and how the brothers are bonding.

Mazen is very sweet to Birch. He runs through the house with his friends and stops to pat Birch’s head or give him a kiss. Day by day, he is getting more affectionate and now asks to hold Birch (briefly!) We still call him Brother a lot of the time – a habit from when he was on the inside that has been tough to break!

Please disregard the ripped pants :mrgreen: All of Mazen’s pants from last winter have ripped left knees!

Mazen often comes up first thing in the morning for a visit to us both and always gets excited when Birch wakes up and opens his eyes. Birch has started to track our faces, and he looks very intently at Mazen.

Naturally I call Birch all kinds of cutesy names – Mr. Birch, Little B, Cutie Bean, Snuggle Pumpkin (sorry, I know those are annoying!!). But what’s funny is that Mazen has adopted the names as well and will say with a serious face “When do you think Cutie Bean will wake up?” His affection towards B has been my favorite part of watching him become a big brother.

Mazen doesn’t like it when Birch cries, and he’s tried to help me soothe B a few times. I can’t wait until Birch is old enough to respond to Mazen’s face and Mazen can make him smile and laugh! That will give Mazen a whole new role and sense of pride, I’m sure.

As for being a mom of two boys, it’s been both really hard and fairly easy depending on the moment. Easy in this moment when I was able to take a shower with B happy in his seat and Mazen playing Pokemon cards on my bedroom floor:

And hard when I was nursing on the couch and heard Mazen and our neighbor discussing how best to “sled” down the stairs in a cardboard box – eek! I had to jump up and intervene. It’s much harder to keep track of what Mazen is up to when I’m stationary while nursing or changing a diaper (or even just having a baby in my arms).

What I have realized though is the power of my voice. Even though my hands are often tied up, my voice is always available. Things I used to do myself I’ve been able to delegate through voice. One night I was able to verbally walk Mazen through how to draw his own bath in my tub. He turned on the faucets, adjusted the temperature, added bubbles, got his bathrobe and some toys, and got in the bath all by himself.

I’ve been able to play Legos using my voice too. Mazen controls my person by making her walk or get in a Lego car, but I make her talk.

When I read stories at bedtime, Mazen holds the book and turns the pages, and I read the words.

Mazen has been really helpful too if I need some water or for him to retrieve something simple. I’ve stocked our pantry with a lot more single serve snacks. That way if he needs a snack he can get it himself, already portioned out and at his reach.

I know age gaps are often not planned, but I am loving ours! Mazen understands so much of what’s going on and we haven’t had any jealously/behavior issues (yet, at least). And while they might not ever be close enough in age to play toys together, I have no doubt that their brotherly bond will be super strong. And I’m not gonna lie: it has been awesome to have Mazen be in school for the majority of the day. I seriously do not know how people have newborns and 2 year olds at home all the time! You moms have some super energy.

I do feel a little guilty (for lack of a better word?) that Mazen spends time at Matt’s so I have breaks from having both kids in my care. But I will say that during these early, sleep-deprived days, that has been such a blessing, especially when school is out or on the weekends when Matt takes Mazen out for activities.

Our most challenging times with two have been at 6 am when I’m nursing, still half asleep and disheveled, and Mazen refuses to get out of bed without me. Thomas has been so helpful though, and he makes Mazen a smoothie and helps me get him out to the bus. (I can’t imagine if I had to drive him to school every morning! Three cheers for the bus!) Because this all happens so early, there’s not much I can do to plan around it, like nurse Birch earlier or get up earlier – because I am so desperate for sleep myself. We’re working on it all though!

See the necklace that I’m wearing in this photo?

Here’s a close up. Thomas gave me a gift certificate to Stella and Dot for our wedding anniversary so that I could pick out an engravable piece with the boys’ names. I knew immediately that this rose gold pave wood necklace was perfect and had their initials engraved. I love it!

Overall I feel the same as many mothers do: double the kids, double the love!

The post Boys x 2 appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food

Fall Macro Plan FLASH SALE

Hi, guys!

If you missed the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but still want to jumpstart your nutrition with the holiday season now upon us, lucky for you, I’m offering a TWO-DAY FLASH SALE on the Fall Macro Plan (regularly $79)! Here’s your chance to get on track (and stay on track) with your personalized macro goals for a discounted price!

Gain access to your custom macros calculation via our “Just the Macros” plan, PLUS a copy of our fall meal planning e-guide, which is filled with delicious recipes to enjoy this season and beyond!


  • Daily protein, carb, and fat goals for workout and rest days
  • Established daily calorie goals for workout and rest days
  • Fall Season Meal Planning E-Guide
  • How to Track Macros Quick Guide
  • Macro Cheat Sheet
  • Ebook Download with 12 additional Macro-Friendly Recipes

The Fall Macro Plan is only available today and tomorrow, so be sure to hop on it before it’s gone!

from Carrots 'N' Cake