Pursuit of Healthy Happiness

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5 Minute Anywhere Workout

Happy Friday, friends!

I hope you’ve had a fabulous week.  Next week, Zak, the pup, and I will be traveling back to Cleveland to visit family and friends.  It’s a seven hour drive (ughhhh) but totally worth it to see everyone.  We’ll be there for one week, which I’m sure will sadly fly by.  

While we’re away, I plan to still practice yoga.  I’ve been searching for free yoga videos.  While I’ve found a couple decent 15-30 minute ones, I don’t think anything will compare to sweating and twisting for an hour straight in a 90-degree heated room with personal instruction. Oh man, I think I’m a yogi now. 

I will definitely miss class, but have thought of this great little 5 Minute Anywhere, full body workout that is sure to get your blood pumping and hit your major muscle groups.  If you’ll be in the car for hours like me, this would be a quick and simple way to squeeze in a little fitness at rest stops.  Sure, people may glance at you funny, but hey, that beats the cramped legs and sore butt you get by sitting for hours and hours in a cramped space, right?  icon wink 5 Minute Anywhere Workout

You could also stack this mini-workout to be a complete, high-intensity workout.  Repeat it 3-5 times, resting 1-2 minutes between circuits.  That’s what’s awesome about this workout, it’s flexible to your lifestyle.  Plus, you don’t need any gym equipment!  Whether you use it as a 5-minute break from your work desk, do it in the morning with a little stretching session to wake up, stack it or combine it with the Slimming Inner Thigh or 5-minute Power Plank workouts for a complete, blood-pumping, challenging training session.

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As always, make sure you do a little warm-up and cool-down to avoid any injuries and to get the most out of your workout!

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Let’s Chat!

What are your holiday plans?

How do you fit in time to workout when traveling?

Do you like doing physical activity in little bits throughout the day? Or in one planned full workout?


Motivation Monday Quote & Weekly Goals

Happy Monday, friends!  

Am I the only one who struggled to wake up this morning?  I mean my bed is just so cozy and warm, but it’s a new week and there is so much to do.  In case you haven’t been counting down like a little kid waiting for Santa to sneak in their house and leave them presents…there are only 10 days till Christmas. 10 days!!!!  So here’s this week’s Motivation Monday quote to help you get your week started, to keep you on your fitness track, and to tackle the rest of your holiday shopping.

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Since my time off from the blog, I’ve started a new habit.  At the beginning of each week, I sit down (usually with a very large and tasty cappuccino) and write out my weekly goals, errands, and tasks that need to be completed.  I’ve found it helps me get wayyyyy more accomplished when I actually right it down instead of just trying to keep track of each item by memory.  There is something that is just so oddly satisfying about checking a box once I run that errand or reach a goal.

I’ve actually designed a beautiful little Weekly Goals sheet to help me stay on track.  Check back next week to see what this little beaut looks like!

This week I’ll be decorating my Christmas tree, getting ready for my trip back to Cleveland, picking up a few last minute Christmas gifts, and going on a date with my main squeeze.

My weekly health goals are:

  • Practice yoga four days this week
  • Drink plenty of H20
  • Meal/snack plan for next week
  • Go to bed 15 minutes earlier
  • Find a free yoga video to do while I’m in Cleveland (Anyone have a fav?)

Have a fabulous week, amigos!

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Let’s chat:

What are your plans this week?

Do you plan weekly goals? What are some of them?

Any big, exciting news I’ve missed out on?

When Passion and Career Collide

Wow. Where do I even begin?

Let me start out by saying thank you to my family, friends, and boyfriend for their continuous support. You mean the world to me. 

Last you knew, I had quit my job at the restaurant and was nannying the most precious little babe.  I was struggling to find the job of my dreams and doing a lot, I mean A LOT, of soul searching.  Well, turns out I was right when I wrote this post about Redefining Winning.   Because I got a job!!!!!

baby steps When Passion and Career Collide

Yes, you read that right. I found a job.  And not just any job.  A job that I love, and a job that challenges me, and a job that lets me use my skills and passion that helps people.  If you asked me a year and a half ago when I graduated what I wanted to be doing, I would have told you that I want to be working with children in low-income areas providing health outreach and nutrition education.  And that’s exactly what I’m doing.  I’m now the Health Manager for a national non-profit that provides education and health care to low-income children and their families.  Whoa, that’s a mouthful.

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I started working at the new job right before the kids began school in the fall.  That meant that not only did I have a ton of job training to complete, but I also had to, yanno, do my job during this time.  I made the decision to set the blog aside for some time (as much as it pained me and I missed it and my fabulous readers).  I needed to focus on the task, errrr…many tasks at hand, learn as much as I could, and do the very best I knew how.

So with that, I’m back.  I feel like me again.  The past year and a half after graduation have been challenging, and difficult, and downright a pain in the butt sometimes.  But more importantly they have been wonderful, and wonderfully challenging, and exciting, and an adventure.  They have taught me to stay determined and that it’s okay to falter and be sad once in a while.  Most importantly, it taught be the power of perseverance and to continually pursue what I want out of life.

Keep going after what you want out of life, friends! 

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Let’s chat:

What have you struggled with? How did you stay positive?

How are you?!? What’s new with life? Fill me in!




Weekend Recap: Keeping a Positive Outlook

This past weekend my lifelong friend Emily and her boyfriend, Matt, came to visit.  It was fabulous being able to spend time with them-we always have so much fun together.  Saturday we went out for a nice breakfast from a restaurant that grows their own produce-which I love-and then took them on a tour of the sites.  

As we were on our way home, we were rear-ended.  The person who hit us failed to see that we we were stopping.  She nailed us, she didn’t even brake.  Thank our lucky stars no one was seriously injured.  We were hit hard and there is quite a lot of damage to the car.  We’re all pretty sore, but lucky.  (Now, this is the second, yes second, time I had been rear-ended this year. The first time I was rear-ended, on Thanksgiving day, by a cop who had fallen asleep at the wheel.  Luckily all parties involved were ok, but my car was totaled.) So now we have to go through all the hoopla, yet again, that is involved with car insurance claims. Ugh!  (more…)

Super Tush Toning Workout

Happy Friday, friends!  This weekend my friend Emily is coming to visit along with her boyfriend.  Em and I have been friends since…well…we’ve been friends so long we actually don’t quite remember when we became BFFs.  Sometime back around 2nd or 3rd grade is our best guess.  

One of the things I love most about Em is that she always has a great time.  She is one of the happiest people I know and makes you grin just being around her.  So to say that I am excited for this weekend is an understatement.

But before I go enjoy my weekend with my soul, I want to share this week’s workout with you.  It’s sure to get your derrière in tip top shape.

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How to properly perform: Jump Squats | Marching Hip Raise | Step Ups | Single Leg Deadlift | Sumo Squats

Let’s Chat!

What are your weekend plans?

What’s one of your favorite lower body exercises?

Weekly Workout- Total Body Toner

Happy almost-4th of July everyone!  I hope you all enjoy your long weekend and are able to spend it with those you love.  In the spirit of Independence Day I have to share this little joke with you that I found hilarious…  Weekly Workout  Total Body Toner

 Okay, on to the Weekly Workout!

With the holiday weekend upon us that means lots of folks are traveling.  Whether you are flying or driving, packing light is a must.  But maintaining your healthy lifestyle shouldn’t take a back seat to your travel bug fever.  What’s a super simple solution to working out while on the road?  A resistance band.  That’s it!  It’s teeny tiny and super light, leaving you more room to pack the essentials (here’s looking at you super cute ).

This week’s workout is all about resistance bands.  You don’t need a lot of space to do it, plus, it hits all your major muscle groups!

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How to properly perform: Front Squat | Woodchoppers | Lateral Band Walk | Bent Over Row | Knee Pull | Incline Chest Press

Let’s Chat!

How do you stay fit while traveling?

What are your weekend plans?

Do you find it difficult to maintain your health lifestyle during holidays?

The Great and Powerful Dr. Oz?

Oh, Dr. Oz….it seems like you either love him or hate him.  I remember years ago, when Dr. Oz sprang into daytime television, capturing the hearts of so many.  I was one of them.  He was charismatic.  He presented information in an easy to understand way.  He seemed like a guy you wanted to be friends with-to have lengthy conversations with over scrumptious homemade dinners. Oz The Great and Powerful Dr. Oz?

That feeling changed for me when the show took a disheartening, and worrisome turn.  Dr. Oz began to present and advocate more and more products on the show, touting their “miracle” health benefits.  A good majority of these products have been for weight loss pills and supplements (It’s important to note that weight loss supplements are not regulated by the FDA.) .  Many of these products haven’t been researched well enough to prove their effectiveness or do have research that disproves their outlandish claims.

My issue is not solely with the products he promotes.  It’s that he speaks in absolutes-i.e. ‘This new craze weight loss system will work for EVERYONE’.  In general, health professionals should know that health is an individualized and intricate process with many different factors.  Beyond that, Oz seems to use questionable research to validate his claims. (Check out this review about some of the supplements Oz talks about.) 

Recently, Dr. Mehmet Oz has come under fire and was called to Capitol Hill by the Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee.  The panel was called to discuss his advocation for products that have faced legal action from the FTC  for “unfair or deceptive advertising and marketing practices that raise health and safety concerns.”  This isn’t the first time that Dr. Oz’s practices have been questioned.

As Seen On Dr. Oz The Great and Powerful Dr. Oz? Now some will say that the public has a certain responsibility to use common sense in regard to interpreting and following advice such as that seen on the Dr. Oz show.  Well, yes and no. Yes, we have a responsibility to use common sense when any Ole Joe tells us that drinking only lemon juice and cayenne pepper is healthy.  But what about when that Ole Joe has the initials, M.D. following his name?

So what about Dr. Oz? Is he wrong?  

Some say yes, some say no, each for specific and differing reasons.  

Here’s my thought, if Oz was just an entertainer, just a talk show host, the story may be different.  But the fact of the matter is that Dr. Oz is a licensed medical doctor.  The public is just in believing that he should have a person’s best interest in mind regarding their health.

Dr. Oz The Great and Powerful Dr. Oz? As a health professional myself, I can’t get behind someone who tells millions of viewers that Green Coffee Beans will help them lose weight when there isn’t solid research behind these claims and when that company has been found to have fabricated those claims. Or when the same man made the even more outlandish claim about another supplement saying that in order to lose weight there is “No Exercise. No Diet. No Effort” all you have to do is take a “magic” pill. 

Yes, the show is produced for entertainment purposes, but it’s also designed as an informative means to deliver health and medical advice to the masses, one that is lead by a practicing and licensed M.D.  Yes, people have a certain level of personal responsibility in not believing everything they hear, doing their own research, and speaking with their medical provider.  However, health information coming from a medical doctor should be sound, well researched, and proven advice-which many segments of the Dr. Oz show are not.  And that my friends is deceiving.

So what does it all come down to?  Yes, I hope that Dr. Oz uses this experience to reevaluate and adjust his practices.  And I hope that people begin and continue to question what they hear, to do some research, to ask questions, to be curious. And finally, I hope that as health professionals we hold ourselves to a higher standard, and practice honest and ethical methods.

P.S. Do the research for yourself. (See an overview of literature about weight loss supplements here.)

P.S.S.  Not everything Dr. Oz promotes is bad or ineffective.  He does give some very sound health advice.  Just take everything you hear about magical or miracle products with a grain of salt.


In good health, Sam


Let’s chat!

What are your thoughts about the Dr. Oz show?

Have you noticed questionable practices like this elsewhere?

What are your hopes for the health industry?


Weekly Workout

Happy Wednesday, all!

This week I began nannying full-time.  Let me tell you, it is a very welcome change.  The babe is a sweet pea!  Each day we go for a long walk and I spend a lot of time walking around the house with her.  But while she’s sleeping, I sit…far too much.  Especially considering that sitting is the new smoking.  

We’re a culture that sits alllll dayyy longgg.  We sit as we drive to work, when we get to work, driving home, and kick it on the couch once we make it back to our humble abodes. So with this in mind, I’ve designed this week’s workout to get you moving for a couple minutes.  

Do it multiple times throughout the day to get your heinie off the seat.  Or try repeating it a few times as part of your workout. Power Plank Workout 731x1024 Weekly Workout How to properly perform: Plank Jacks | Thread the Needle | Around-the-World | Side Plank Leg Lift | Alternating Plank Crunch Plank on, friends!

Let’s Talk:

Do you sit a lot throughout the day?

How do you make sure you’re moving throughout the day?

What’s your favorite plank variation?

Redefining Winning

Hey there.  Remember me? Yea, I’m coming back from my unannounced hiatus.  Where was I, you ask?  Soul searching? Pitying myself?  Getting my life in order?  All of the above.

Let me fill you in.  I’ve been searching for full-time employment in my field for a year now.  Graduating from grad school I thought I would have no problem finding a job.  I had two degrees, an exceptional GPA, boatloads of experience for someone my age and who had been in school fulltime.  And I was passionate to boot. 

But it wasn’t that easy.  I’m in the same boat as so many other people.  I’ve applied to an obscene number of jobs…so many to that it’s almost laughable at this point.  I’ve had interviews-ones that I was sure I nailed, and then….nothing.  They decide to go with someone else. 

A Better Yes Redefining Winning What’s even worse-knowing that your resume hasn’t even been looked at.  There was a company that I had been applying for jobs that I was perfectly qualified for (over 10 applications)  I had a recommendation from someone that worked there, I volunteered there, and never heard back.  Finally, one day I hunted down the person in charge of hiring, found their contact and gave them a call.  As I heard her shuffling through papers, I heard surprise in her voice as she read my name aloud.  “You have a really impressive resume.” Awesome! This is a great step I thought.  But then she followed it with “But I think we’ve already hired someone”.  So I gathered all my confidence and asked her what I could do to improve myself so that I would be a person they wanted to hire.  I explained the passion I had for the company, the experience I had with them, the reference, and the number of times I had applied to varying positions.  She began fumbling over her words trying to find what to say.  Finally, she told me “Your application hasn’t been looked at before-We just have too many applications to get through”. WHAT?!?!?!  Hours. Hours! I put into carefully, maybe even obsessively, writing each cover letter, reformatting my resume, researching the position.  And it had never been looked at.  I was heartbroken.  I was angry.


But I picked myself up after a day or two and got back to the grind.  Not soon after I received a call from a company’s HR department that was looking to hire a corporate wellness employee.  Their current wellness employee was retiring and had found my resume on a job seeker site.  She “loved” it and said that I had great experience.  I got an interview.  Worked my tail off developing a wellness proposal (which was beautiful I might add) and nailed the interview.  “We love your ideas….It was so nice meeting you…”  I didn’t get the job.  They sought me out.  And I didn’t get the job.  They gave it to someone that had more experience.  But the job required one or less year’s experience.  And I had a combined total of two.  Complete and utter defeat.


I wallowed, no I pitied myself.  Why was this happening to me?  I worked hard.  I got good grades.  I pushed myself and had great experience and phenomenal recommendations.  More so, I’m good at what I do.  I know that.  I love what I do.  Passion is so many times overused but that’s exactly what this is to me.  My passion.


And it wasn’t working out as I had planned.  I was shattered.  I became depressed and applying for jobs became daunting.  I couldn’t take any more rejection.  

baby steps Redefining Winning


Finally, after endless support from my parents, boyfriend, sorority sister Kari, and my amazingly inspirational fitness friend Kiera, I pulled up my big girl britches and made a plan.  I was going to finally sit down and take my Health Fitness Specialist Certification through ACSM-something I had been putting off until I had a fulltime job with reasonable hours.  Why was I putting it off?  Carpe Diem, right?  So at the end of August I’ll be putting my knowledge to good use and getting that dang certification to make me that much better.


Next step, find a job with more accommodating hours so that I can study and still have a teeny bit of a life.  Also during this time, apply for more jobs.  Let the fear of rejection go.


With that, I found a temporary nanny position for an adorable little love bug.  Her parents are the sweetest, and uber supportive of me studying while babe sleeps.  WINNING.  A friend who took the same certification brought me all her study materials.  WINNING.  I have a boyfriend who pushes me and helps me realize my dreams will become reality and encourages me to work my tookus off.  WINNING.  I have an amazing support system of family and friends who love me and know my worth.  WINNING.  And I have this little furball who always licks my tears away and cuddles me till my heart is content.  WINNING. 

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Conversation Time:

What have you struggled with?

How do you stay positive when faced with challenges?

What was the job search like for you?


No Gym Needed Workout

The gym.  I finally get there after a long day of work only to search for a parking spot for 15 minutes.  Once I’ve made it inside, have gotten changed, and unknotted the behemoth mess that was once my headphones, I begin my workout (which I ,of course, have pre-planned).

Ugh….someone’s on my favorite machine. Just sitting there…texting.  Ok, I’ll just switch up my routine a bit, on to the fly machine.  Eww, that very sweaty man just got up and didn’t wipe the machine down-I’ll just give it a quick wipe.  I walk to to get the spray bottle, trip and face-plant…on free weights that have been abandoned in the middle of of the floor….

Agh! The agony!

Alright, so maybe all of these things don’t happen in succession each time I go to the gym. And I have never actually face-planted (knock on wood).  But sometimes, after a stressful day I just don’t feel like dealing with the gym, or my little gym pet peeves.  Sometimes I don’t want to waste time driving, or am traveling and don’t have access to a gym, or I would just rather be in the comfort of my own home.

So, I give you the “No Gym Needed Workout”.  It can pretty much be done anywhere.  You don’t need a lot of space or any sort of equipment. And you don’t have to deal with little annoyances or distractions. You can focus on you.

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How to properly perform: High KneesPlank Up-Downs | Wall Sit | Mountain Climbers | Bridge

This is a great little workout on its own and it allows for plenty of variations to increase or decrease the intensity.  If you feel like amping it up, try doing some arm work afterwards. Enjoy!

Conversation Time:

What are your gym pet peeves?

What are your favorite at-home exercises?