How I Got Rid of Leg Cramps

Oh the lovely leg cramps. They are the worst. I used to get them every once in a while and then when I started running I was getting them all the time. I searched the internet for solutions and here’s what finally solved them:

1. Foam rolling: It hurts but it is so good for you. I foam roll twice a week on my rest days. It isn’t a huge time commitment. I only do it for about 5 minutes or so (you can foam roll for longer but I’m impatient) and it really helps with tight muscles. If you are new to foam rolling, this is a good video to follow.

2. Magnesium: It is important to make sure you are getting enough magnesium. Eat magnesium rich foods or consider taking a supplement.

3. Water and stretching: Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water especially if you are working out. And don’t forget to stretch after your workout!

*Just a disclaimer that I am not a medical professional (obviously) so if you have an actual issue with leg cramps that won’t go away, ask a medical professional. This is just what worked for me.

Podcasts I’ve Been Loving During Lockdown

I never really listened to podcasts until quarantine. I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home during this COVID craziness and started playing podcasts in the background while I worked. I’ve given up on a lot of podcasts but these are my favorite ones I’ve found recently:

  1. Camera Eats First: This podcast is by one of my favorite vegan YouTube channels, Two Market Girls. They discuss vegan news, photography, and so much more but what I like about them the most is that it feels like you are listening to two friends. They are super relatable and always make me laugh.
  2. One Step: This podcast is made by YouTuber Ingrid Nilson who I used to watch back when I was in college. I really like her down to earth personality. She just seems like a real person. She has a new guest every week and the podcasts cover a variety of different topics, from self care to cooking to relationships to finances and more.
  3. Practicing Human: I’m really glad I found this podcast. It’s perfect if you are into mindfulness or meditation or if you just want to be a better version of yourself. A new podcast is posted 5 days a week and they are usually less than 10 minutes so they are easy to find time to listen to.

What are your favorite podcasts to listen to?

Book Review: How Not to Diet

I’ve been a fan of Dr. Gregor for years. It was after reading his previous book, How Not to Die, that I decided to try eating plant based. I also have his How Not to Die Cookbook.

So when I heard he was coming out with a new book, How Not to Diet, I was eager to check it out.

The Good

This book is filled with tons of scientific research which I love! How often are we bombarded with weight loss tips that have no scientific backing to them or are just plain dangerous? It can be exhausting trying to figure out what is actually legit and worth your time. Dr Gregor goes through countless studies showing which weight loss strategies you can trust and which ones you can skip over.

The Not So Good

Now that being said, there is so much scientific research in the book that it can feel a bit dry after a while. If you want to skip all this and just get the facts, the last chapter of the book is essentially a summary of all his tips.

Also, if you want to read the book, don’t get the audiobook. Seriously. I read the reviews on Audible from people saying the narration was horrible and I thought they were just exaggerating. I’ve listened to Dr. Gregor’s podcast so I know what he sounds like but for some reason his way of speaking is different in this book. Some of his words are really drawn out and some of his words are super fast. It sounds minor but it gets very annoying after awhile.

Overall I am glad I “read” it although next time I would just actually get the hardcopy instead of listening to it.

What I Learned

So here are the top tips that stuck out to me from the book that I am going to try to implement in my life:

1. Increase your fiber intake! Fiber is great because it makes you feel full and improves your digestion. Your body is designed to handle 100 grams of fiber. The American Heart Association recommends 25-30 grams of fiber a day. However, the average American only consumes about 15 grams.

2. Eat more fruits and veggies! This one seems obvious right? Everyone knows that. But so often I go for sweet treats at the end of the day because I don’t have healthy snack options ready to go. So from now on I am going to try to buy more fruit to have whenever I need a snack.

3. Now this one I’m probably never going to implement BUT I found it very interesting. Here it is: studies show we should eat most of our food at breakfast, a little less at lunch, and the least amount of food at dinner. I’ve never heard that before and while the thought of being super full in the morning and eating a small amount of food in the evening sounds not so fun, it did stick with me.

Get Shreddy Vegan Protein Powder Review

I’m always on the hunt for a good protein powder. So far, the OWYN brand is my favorite but I wanted to venture out and try some other brands. So when I found out that Grace Fit UK was coming out with protein powders, I jumped right on it. I’ve been a fan of Grace Fit UK aka Grace Beverley for a while now. She’s a Youtuber but also a straight up superwoman. She was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30, she created the brand Tala which sells sustainable activewear, and B_ND which sells my favorite resistance bands and now has protein powder!

The Protein Powder

There are currently three different flavors that they offer: French Vanilla, Chocolate Cookie Dough, and Salted Caramel Ice Cream. I bought the last two flavors since I don’t typically go for plain vanilla protein powder. Each flavor costs $24. They are soy free, gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free and made from pea protein. They also come in biodegradable packaging.

  • Chocolate Cookie Dough – Each serving has 20.9 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of carbs, 0.1 grams of sugar, and 114.9 calories. It has a very mild flavor.
  • Salted Caramel Ice Cream – Each serving has 22.6 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar, and 113 calories. It tastes sweeter than the other flavor.
Pros

I really like that the protein powders are low sugar and low carb while still having a good amount of protein. I find that a lot of protein powders can have a lot of sugar. Also, there are minimal ingredients and you can pronounce them all! Yay for that.

Cons

Okay now onto the not so good. While these aren’t bad protein powders by any means, the texture just isn’t my favorite. It has that classic chalkiness that a lot of protein powders have. I’ve tried blending it with water, non dairy milk, a frozen banana, you name it. The chalkiness is always there. Because of that, both flavors taste very similar.

Overall Thoughts

It’s not bad but the texture could definitely be improved. I also wish the flavors were stronger.

What are your favorite protein powders?

Best Affordable Workout Clothes

When I first started working out regularly I realized I had a problem. I only had one workout outfit – a sports bra that was a bit too tight, leggings, and a loose shirt. It worked at first but over time I realized I needed more. Thus began the online hunt for workout clothes. This was a little overwhelming at first because there are so many options online for activewear. I tried some from Forever 21, Fashion Nova, Amazon, Gymshark and more. Here are my favorites.

My Favorite Leggings:

1. THE GYM PEOPLE Thick High Waist Yoga Pants with Pockets, Tummy Control Workout Running Yoga Leggings for Women

These are $29.99 and I havethe color marble in a size small. These are the perfect length for me. I’m 5 foot 3 so sometimes leggings are too long and I have to roll them up. I don’t have any issues with these, though. They are high waisted and have good compression. I also really like their funky marble print.

2. QUEENIEKE Women Yoga Leggings High Waist Running Pants Workout Tights 60129

These are $21.99 and I have the color space dye purple in a size small. These are a little long on me and I have to roll them up at my ankles but they have really good compression. They make my waist look tiny!

3. ODODOS Out Pocket High Waist Yoga Pants,Tummy Control,Pocket Workout Yoga Pant

These are $23.98 and I have the color space dye purple (who knew that was such a popular color name?) in a size small. These leggings have good compression and have visible pockets. The other two leggings have hidden pockets. They don’t suck you in quite as much as the other leggings but they are so comfy to wear.

P.S. All these leggings are squat proof and super comfortable.

Sports Bras:

FITTIN Crossback Sports Bras – Padded Seamless Med Support for Yoga Gym Workout Fitness

These are $13.99 each. I love these sports bras so much that I purchased 4. They are super supportive and so comfortable. I legitimately forget I’m wearing a sports bra. If I could wear these instead of normal bras every day I would.

Workout Tops:

Workout tops with puns give me endless joy. They make me happy and excited to put them on and work out. I like to get my punny workout tops off of Etsy. There are so many good ones but here are some of my favorites:

NobullWomanApparel Check Meowt Workout Top

This was $24.99 and so cute especially if you are a cat mom or dad. Plus, my cat legitimately looks like the cat on this shirt. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on this top.

CreateandShip Gym and Tonic Muscle Tank

This was $20.40 and makes me laugh every time I see it. The sides are somewhat cut out so you can see the sides of your sports bra which I think looks super cute.

Review of Alive Fitness App

Whitney Simmons’ YouTube channel got me into strength training. Before I discovered her channel, it hadn’t even crossed my mind that women could (and should) weightlift. It’s not something I had ever been told. She really got me wanting to put on muscle and it really jump started my fitness journey. Needless to say, I am a fan. So when I heard she was coming out with her own fitness program I was very excited. This was right around the time I was finished Kayla Itsines’ Sweat App (read my review on that program if you are interested) and I was ready for a change.

The Alive App
I decided to try the 8 week introductory program which includes two upper body strength days, two lower body strength days, one low intensity cardio day, and two rest days.

My Experience

This is a good app if you are looking to get into strength training. I chose the beginner program but there is a second strength program on the app as well as a home workout program. Plus there are a bunch of individual workouts you can do outside of the programs (like if you wanted to switch up your workout on your cardio day.)

The program I chose was similar to the Fierce program in the Sweat App but with less cardio exercises and longer rest times. I liked it at first but overtime I didn’t sweat as much and sometimes felt like I didn’t have as much of a workout. I especially noticed this on arm days. Some arm days I didn’t sweat at all.

I’m glad I tried out the app and I do think it would be good if you are only focused on strength training or if you go into it knowing that you might need to incorporate some extra cardio. I think it might also be good for someone who is looking to maintain their weight or put on muscle.

Health Myths I Used to Believe

Today I thought I would share the health and fitness myths I used to believe.  This is all from personal experience so if these things work for you please don’t be offended.

Myth #1: Low calorie!

I grew up believing that I literally only needed 1200 calories a day. Now I look back and think “what the heck was I thinking???” According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) a toddler needs 1000-1400 calories. An adult needs more than that.

Myth #2: Carbs are BAD!

How many times have we heard that we should be avoiding carbs? Or that low carb is the way to go? Or keto is life changing? (More power to you if you can thrive on a keto diet but I can’t do it.) Your brain needs carbs. I don’t know about you but when I don’t have carbs I find it is really hard to concentrate. Carbs give you energy and fuel your workouts. Nowadays, I eat a lot of healthy carbs and I honestly have never felt better.

Myth #3: Avoid fats!

Like carbs, fats are not the enemy. Actually, we need healthy fats in our diet. They make our skin glow, our hair grow, and so much more! So eat your peanut butter and avocado!!

Myth #4: The weight room is just for guys!

No, just no. Women can lift weights too!

Myth #5: Rest is for the weak!

Okay, what do I mean by rest?

1. I used to think that I could get by with only 5 hours of sleep a night. It became almost a source of pride. I ONLY need 5 hours of sleep. But it is not sustainable over time. I would have to drink so much coffee and tea on a daily basis just to make it through the day. I started going to bed earlier and getting 7-8 hours of sleep and I have so much more energy throughout the day. Yes to sleep!!

2. Take rest days! I know it can be tempting to just want to go go go and not miss a day once you start seeing results but rest days are just as important as working out. Your body needs time to recover.

3 Quick Ways To Add Happiness to Each Day

“There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path.”

Buddha
  1. Start a gratitude journal. What does this mean? Every week either write down or say out loud three things you are grateful for. They can be three overall things in your life or three things that happened in the past week. There are no rules but each week try to come up with three new things. I like to add a weekly reminder in my phone so I don’t forget to do this. It is a nice way to reflect on the week.
  2. Smile! I know this sounds simple but I swear when I smile I feel better, even if I have to force the smile. So when things get crazy at work or life, pause, take a deep breath, and smile. It’s not a miracle cure but it may help.
  3. Meditate! I know meditation is super trendy right now and it IS hard at first but it seriously has helped me so much. I do it first thing every morning for about 10-15 minutes and it helps me start each morning in a calm mood and also react less to day to day inconveniences or annoyances. Less anger=more happiness!

What are some ways you add happiness to your life?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mug Cake (Oil Free and Vegan)

Mug cakes are honestly the best. They are perfect for lazy days and aren’t as time consuming as traditional cakes. And nothing is better than chocolate and peanut butter.

This peanut butter chocolate chip mug cake is super easy to make and delicious. It is also oil free, if that is something you are into.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp nondairy milk
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp nondairy chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredient except chocolate chips and peanut butter in a microwave safe mug.
  2. Add chocolate chips and gently mix in.
  3. Top batter with a tbsp of peanut butter. Just leave it on top. Don’t mix it in.
  4. Microwave for 1 minute.

How to Get Motivated to Exercise: 5 Tips

It can be really hard to be motivated to exercise. As much as I love to workout, sometimes I feel like I am just in a funk and don’t want to do it.

So how do we fix this?

  • Give yourself permission to rest. This is a really weird and stressful time for everyone. It is 100% okay to allow yourself to do nothing. Listen to your body and allow it to rest.
  • Have a “why”. Why do you workout? Exercising for me is a huge way to relieve stress and is great for my mental health. Every time I feel unmotivated I remember why I do it.
  • Have a workout routine. Put your workout into your calendar. I write my workouts for the week in my planner and that helps hold me accountable. Plus when I finish them I am able to cross them off the list. It’s also really helpful for me to work out at around the same time every day. That way it just becomes a part of my routine.
  • Workout with others. I know, we are social distancing so working out with others may be hard. If you can’t convince the people you live with to work out with you (or you live alone), you can also do a livestream workout with others.
  • Do workouts you enjoy. This one seems obvious, right? But for so long I did workouts I hated. And so because of that I dreaded working out. Now I do a combination of low intensity cardio, strength training, and yoga throughout the week. The variety keeps me from getting bored.