Friday, December 27, 2013

Working out is not one size fits all - Mr. #ShutUpandTrain

Before long, we will be counting down the final hours of 2013, and celebrating the start of a new year. To many, this is their chance for a new beginning or an opportunity to transform. I think it is the perfect time to clean your slate and set goals you’ve been avoiding or have been too afraid to tackle. This year, I am heading into the New Year with the goals to shed a few pounds, get in shape and just give myself a healthy boost. 

Like many, I feel clueless when it comes to working out and making it work for me. So I decided to ask a professional how to make it work this time around. Ray "Mr. Shut Up and Train" Grayson, a celebrity trainer in Atlanta, and the man behind The 30 Day Challenge that has been sweeping the nation, was kind enough to share some great advice with me in an interview. Ray has helped hundreds of people achieve their fitness goals with his 30 Day Challenges and his signature style of training, which focuses on keeping your heart rate elevated and your body in motion. Check out our interview below to get some inspiration for a fitter you.

To avoid paying for a pricey gym membership, how can I get the most out of my apartment gym? Keeping in mind that my apartment gym has limited equipment.
The biggest thing is having a plan. A lot of people, when they get to the gym on their own get discouraged when they don’t know what to do. With all of the free tools online, before you even get to the gym you should have a planned workout of what you want to do. The equipment or lack thereof isn’t an excuse; you can get the workout you want as long as you have a plan.

How do people without trainers know how to keep their workout fresh?  How can we plan our workout so that we don’t get bored and give up?
Sign up for something like The 30 Day Challenge or the Total Fit Challenge where we send out weekly workouts and motivational emails. and are great too, there are just so many free resources online. There is no excuse. Focus on what you want to be.

What's the biggest myth about fitness that drives you crazy?
That it’s supposed to be easy or that people feel like they’re going to get these microwave results. It’s a process; it’s about making healthy lifestyle changes.

What is one workout you think everyone should do?
My favorite exercise personally is the burpee, love it. New York Times said it was the number one exercise in the world, or the most efficient. I don’t think there is one workout for everybody. It's not one size fits all. Whatever fits your time, your budget and keeps you excited and motivated. Whatever you can commit yourself to.

What's one workout everyone does that they should just stop doing (for example, crunches)?
There are some things that are definitely more effective than others. And there are some things that I don’t personally love but there are people that swear by them. If you are getting your body moving, staying active and getting healthy then I applaud you. Whatever is going to get you to your goals, that’s the key. There is nothing wrong with crunch/sit up. Some people that don’t do them correctly, you run a high risk of injury when not doing them correctly. Make sure you're using correct form. That is the key.

How many days a week should we workout?

You should do something active at least 4-5 days a week. Doesn't always mean the gym or a run. Walk through the park, basketball, ice skating, just getting active.

How do you feel about juicing, and all of these milkshake supplements programs?
A supplement is just that, it’s there to supplement a healthy lifestyle that you’re already doing. The key is to commit to healthy eating, active lifestyle and finishing your workouts. You can then dibble and dabble in some different supplements and shakes.

Do you encourage calorie counting?
I personally don’t. I like balanced meals. I think people get caught up in numbers. I don’t stress numbers at all. I do baseline assessments with clients and then we may not do any numbers or measurements for awhile. You know what’s going on in your body. Your clothes will fit better. Most people are uninformed that muscle weighs more than fat anyway, it’s dense. The numbers may not be coming down but your body is tightening up and you’re developing some muscles so you’re losing some fat. You’re getting your goal but your scale may not be moving the way that you have set in your mind that it’s suppose to move.

What is your favorite protein bar?
I actually only do protein bars occasionally and I’ll do a Clif or Detour bars. I prefer to eat my protein; meat, chicken or I’ll just do a shake after a workout because it will get in my bloodstream quicker. Some of the protein bars are glorified candy bars, they’re just like a Snickers on steroids.

Do you see value in things such as Nike Fuel Bands?
Yes because some people are motivated by numbers and some people might need a reality check. Some people aren't working at the level they think they’re working out at. Just don't get caught up in the numbers.

When does your next challenge start?
Next challenge starts January 7th. This is our 21 Days to a Happier Healthier You. The premise is that it takes 21 days of repeating anything to create a habit. And for the people already living healthy lifestyles, you’ll get great workouts or recipes that you've never had before.

My interview with Ray was extremely informative, the biggest thing that I learned is that, working out is not one size fits all. It's all about finding out what works for you. Ray talked about how some people are in love with the idea of being in shape but not in love with the process of getting in shape. I am completely guilty of that. Everyone looks amazing in their Instagram photos and I dream of looking like that but what am I really doing to get there. Nothing. He suggested that to get there you have to fall in love with the process. Go into it knowing it won't be easy. Stick with it knowing it will be worth it. There is strength in numbers and accountability partners. This is why Ray’s challenges do so well, he is creating a community and utilizing social media to bring people together to help each other reach goals.

Don't forget to check out the next challenge starting January 6th, 21 Days to a Healthier Happier You. You can sign up for the challenge here It's absolutely free. Make sure to follow Ray on social media for constant inspiration and motivation. You can find him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. This guy is the real deal and was a true joy to talk to. I got a lot of great information from him and look forward to the 21 Day Challenge starting in January. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Friday Five Featuring the #JollyVoxBox!

As you may already know, over the past few months I have tried to figure out how to grow my blog and post more. Partnering with great brands is a sure fire way to grow your blog and increase visibility. Through research I found Influenster, which is a great company that deals in blogger activation and connects bloggers to major brands. For my first campaign I received the #JollyVoxBox which included the following five items.

1. Puffs Ultra Soft & Strong To Go Tissue Pack
Who doesn't love puffs? We all grew up with them as a kid. We took a box of them to school to satisfy our elementary school teachers. Well forget the box, when you're on the go you need the To Go Pack! Love them. Way better than using your sleeve.

2. NYC New York Color HD Color Trio Eye Shadow
Such a cute little trio of colors. I tried it on and it gives you a very subtle but nice look. I'll use it again for sure.

3. Rimmel London NEW Show Off Lip Lacquer
The color I received was a very sheer and sparkly color. I like it. I've been using it on top of some of my darker and brighter colors. Great addition to color and alone.

4. Skinny Cow Candy
The new love of my life. Chocolate candy with creamy peanut butter in the middle. One, I don't LOVE chocolate but I could eat this all day every day for the rest of my life. Just saying. Three little squares for only 130 calories. So if I eat 10 packages of these a day that is my calorie count of the day...oh wait. Damn it. Seriously, love them though!

5. Ducklings Mini Rolls
Love! We have all seen all of the fun Duck Tape out there but this isn't the old school huge tape. This is cute smaller tape with beautiful designs. I used it to hang my Christmas lights on the wall. Way better then the ugly tape I was using before ha :)

As a blogger if you are interested in becoming an influencer in the blogosphere, I highly recommend Influenster. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

These products were complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Think I Am in Friend-Love With You

I Think I Am in Friend-Love With You

Sweet, might just be the best word to describe this book. When I agreed to review this book I didn't know what to expect. It's a very quick read filled with pictures and very few words. Clearly right up my alley! I wanted to read this book because I really loved the idea of friend-love and learning what it was all about. As short as this book is it's cute and really sends a great message of friendship.

We all have friends, and each of them means something different and unique to us. Some friends serve specific purposes in your life, whereas others are more well rounded and there for every twist and turn. This book celebrates friend-love, a totally platonic, yet super close friendship. I like that it promotes being happy for your friends when they have someone and supporting them.

This would be a great gift for a friend. I highly recommend checking I Think I am in Friend-Love With You out! The author, Yumi Sakugawa, is a comic book artist and illustrator. This is actually her first book. Kudos to Yumi, this was a really cute book.

Great artwork for your home that you can afford!

BirdAve is your solution for affordable art for your home or office. I recently received this photo of the Chicago skyline and it's beautiful. It will fit perfectly in my kitchen. The pop of color really makes the print stand out. 

BirdAve offers prints of your favorite sports team, city, or special place you have traveled, with their very unique prints. They have over 750 prints for you to choose from with series including music, sports, children, lifestyle and different cities around the world. Not only can you choose your print but you can choose it's background color to match your house or office.

What I really liked was the fact that if you couldn't find something that you loved there is an option to customize a print for the very same price! They have 8.5 x 11, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20. I'm all about customized pieces so that your decor stands out! 

To take a look at what they have go to

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Shop, Sip, Socialize - VIP Ticket Giveaway!

We all know I love a good event. Coming up, Sunday December 15th is another really fun Sassy City Chicks event here in Chicago. I'll be attending with a few friends to get pampered and check out all the great booths. 

I have a limited number of VIP tickets available to give out to readers of The Savvy Brunette. If you are interested in a VIP ticket for the December 15th event leave a comment on this blog and I will send you the code.

Learn more about the event here!

Monday, December 2, 2013

How To Change The World -- One Box at a Time!

Paper or plastic, is no longer a question you only have to consider at the grocery store. 

Over the summer, at Lollapalooza, I saw many concert goers drinking water out of paper cartons. I was intrigued but like all too many things I got busy and learning more about paper water cartons got put on the back burner. Just recently, I learned about Icebox, a very popular brand of water in a box. The great thing about Icebox Water is that as a company they aren't just out to mae sales but they are on a mission to change the world—and they are already making a huge difference!

Icebox boasts that it is BPA free, which until now I didn't understand. After seeing it everywhere I decided to look into BPA further. BPA is a controversial chemical used to line cans, they have found that it can even raise child's risk for developing heart problems or kidney disease. Whether or not this is a proven fact, or just something currently being studied, this should be alarming enough to make us think about what we are really letting our bodies come in contact with.

For as long as I can remember, recycling has been a hot topic. I remember going to a recycling plant in grade school seeing all of the recyclables compound together in a huge plant. Icebox understands the importance of recycling, their pressed paper carton is made from renewable resources and is recyclable. Another nice plus that you get when supporting this brand. 

As for taste, it definitely has a different taste to it. I could describe it as a clean taste. It's better than tap water than I tend to typically drink. I'd definitely start to drink Icebox and look for paper cartons. 
Learn more about Icebox Water on their website, Facebook, and TwitterJoin the conversation on Twitter and Instagram with #RefreshNaturally.
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