The Best Outdoor Winter (Exercise-ish) Activities + My December Workout Playlist

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Seasons greetings, my fellow fit friends! Coming at you live from my couch with my cat Albus in my lap and a giant mug of salted caramel hot chocolate to my right. Man, I absolutely LOVE this time of year. I’m living in Ohio right now (my husband Chase is attending dental school at The Ohio State University), and we just had our first snowfall. It was absolutely magical. 🙂 I LOVE the snow! I’m a Utah girl and my husband is from Alberta, Canada, so, we share an inherent love of that fluffy white stuff. We’re dying being away from our huge, gorgeous rocky mountain range, though. Not going to lie. This photo was taken in Waterton National Park, Alberta Canada — just 20 minutes from my in-laws’ home! (aka where I’ll be spending Christmas in less than a few weeks!!! To say we’re pumped for a magical white Christmas in our beloved Canadia is an understatement!!! Also maple syrup + ketchup potato chips for dayyzzzzz)

With so many family and friends hanging around this holiday season — it’s the perfect time to grab ’em all for some fun times outdoors! Don’t be afraid to bundle + layer up to brave the chill (I mean, unless this doesn’t apply to you cause you’re hangin’ in Florida or somewhere warm… in that case, just continue on with your biking/running in your shorts and disregard the first part of this post! Haha!). Plus once you get moving and get that blood pumping a bit, you’ll be accustomed to the elements. I’m sharing with you five of my favorite outdoor winter (exercise-ish) activities. I use the term “exercise-ish” because some are probably more in the traditional “workout” category than others.

1. Trail-running.
Of COURSE I had to start with my all-time favorite outdoor winter activity. I know I know. I’m too predictable. But if you’re scared of trail-running or winter running in general — check out my last post on tips for running in the elements! You’ve got this. So even though I don’t have my beloved mountains with me, I still have access to plenty of beautiful metro park trails to get my trail-running fix.

2. Skiing or Snowboarding.
Again, this one may depend on where you are and if you have access to a resort nearby or not — but skiing and snowboarding are FANTASTIC workouts! Not to mention incredibly fun!! (That is, if you can get past the practically-fracturing-your-tail-bone-from-falling-on-your-booty-a-million-times-while-learning-to-snowboard part, at least. *Ahem* ME!! I definitely had a purple/blue rear end for a few weeks when I was first learning. OUCH.) Plus, you can’t beat the scenery. Get outside and EMBRACE the winter and all it has to offer.

3. Sledding
Okay okay, don’t laugh. Hear me out here. Just think for a second about how sledding works. You are wearing layers of winter gear and heavy-duty snow boots to stay cozy and dry, you jump on a piece of plastic and head down a huge hill… then what? You have to head on back up that hill, don’t cha? That’s going to take some work! Especially if you’re pulling behind you a sled full of children, too! You’re facing up some serious incline, people. Then you just turn right back around and do it all over again. And again. And again. This is a type of exercise that’s FUN and you probably won’t even really constitute as a workout. BUT — it totally is! Sneaky.

4. Snowshoeing.
That’s what I’m doing in the picture above. A good pair of snow shoes will be well-worth the price you pay! You can trek around and explore many areas you otherwise wouldn’t have access to! **Cue image of yourself trudging slowly and miserably through piles of snow as it leaks into your boots** It’s kind of amazing. If you don’t want to buy a pair, you can snowshoe rentals are available all over the place! Some outdoor/recreational stores, your local university REC department, resort..etc.

5. Ice Skating.
Yep. Here’s another one you may be rolling your eyes at. But it’s definitely a workout! Depending on how serious you take your ice skating excursions — it’s probably going to just be somewhat of a light cardio exercise. But, that heart rate of yours is going to be up higher than when you’re just chillin’ on the couch sippin’ hot chocolate (ME!) nonetheless. Throw a little bit of speed in there –I mean, if your skill-levels allow — and you just did your cardio for the day. WHILE holding that cute certain someone’s hand with Christmas music playing the background. Can’t beat that.

You can snag my December Workout Jamz playlist HERE on spotify, or just scan through these songs and give a few a try. I personally love a mix between hip-hop, pop + some EDM. SO. If that’s up your alley this may just be perfect for you! Or, pick and choose a few and add ’em to your own mix. FYI — I have the clean versions on my spotify playlists, so be sure to avoid any possible explicit versions if you’re listening elsewhere. 🙂

Lighthouse – Andrelli Remix // Hearts & Colors
Nobody’s Better (feat. Fetty Wap) // Z, Fetty Wap
All of Me (Feat. Logic, ROZES) // Big Gigantic, Logic
Ain’t My Fault – R3hab Remix // Zara Larsson
Puttin’ in Work // E-40
Here it is // Chris Brown + Flo Rida
The Mack // Nevada, Mark Morrison, Fetty Wap
The Best Crew – Leeyou & Danceey Remix // Tep No, Leeyou & Danceey
Ride Out // Kid Ink, Tyga, Wale, YG, Rich Homie Quan
Anywhere // Dillon Francis, Will Heard
In My Room (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Tyga) //  DJ Mustard, Yellow Claw, Tyga, Ty Dolla $ign
Keep it Mello (feat. Omar Link) // Marshmello, Omar Linx
Don’t Let Me Down – Illenium Remix // The Chainsmokers
Starboy — The Weeknd, Daft Punk
Now & Later // Sage the Gemini
I’m Good // The Mowgli’s

Thanks for reading, friends! So much love for all you people who read through to the end. 🙂 If there’s something in particular you’d like me to write about — let me know! I LOVE getting input on what type of content you are interested in. Alright, I gotta go. Albus is looking at me sleepily and I think it’s time I join him in the land of the zzzzzzzz’s.

XOXO

Brookie

 

6 Cold-Weather Running Tips

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This one’s for all you die-hard runners out there not afraid of a little chill or snow. You won’t let the elements stop you from achieving that runner’s high + improving in the off-season. Hats off to you humans! Here are some tips for making those winter runs just a bit more bearable.

1 — BUNDLE UP, From Your Ears To Your Toes!
This one probably seems like a given. But it’s not just how many layers you’re wearing — but the QUALITY of said layers. Put a lot of focus on making sure to keep your feet, hands + ears warm with effective, efficient material. Here are some of the best cold-weather running socks (I personally have a SmartWool pair that I LOVE!). I used to just run with cheap cloth drug-store gloves and quickly found that they were NOT doing the trick and I would become miserable mid-run because my fingers were hurting so badly. But the worst part wasn’t during — it was when they began to slowly thaw out post-run. THE WORST! Eek. I shudder thinking about it. A bit of cold is inevitable, but grab some high quality gloves. I’ve had a lightweight Nike pair for a few years and they’ve done the job. 🙂 As far as layers for clothing goes — here are some rules of thumb I found on Runner’s World , depending on how many degrees it is outside:

–30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).
–10 to 20 degrees:
2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer, and wind pants over the tights.
–0 to 10 degrees:
3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.
–Minus 10 to 0 degrees:
3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.
–Minus 20 degrees:
3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses. Or, just stay inside. 🙂

2 –Test Out The Terrain
Play it safe, people. Better safe than sorry! There’s a lot of hidden ice out there, as well as some sneakily slippery slush. Story time: so my Mom is a dedicated runner. She’s run multiple marathons and gets out for a run almost every day. Every morning growing up, she’d leave to go on her run around 6:30am, no matter the weather. Yep, she’s awesome. I used to think she was crazy. There was one instance in the middle of winter when she and my Dad went on a run in the morning, per usual, but they came back after only about 10 minutes. My mom came limping into the kitchen with a blue/purplish bruised up knee gushing blood through a big hole in her running tights. She was rounding a corner and slipped on a sheet of ice hidden under a light layer of snow. I remember as a teen just watching her and my dad clean up her knee and just thinking that she was the biggest bad a$$ ever! Haha! But it took her a few weeks before she was back running normally again.

If you’re a consistent winter runner — this is bound to happen to you eventually, no matter the precautions you take. But thankfully many times, (depending on your city) there will be dirt/salt laid out by snow plows, so that can help with slippery surfaces. Because of the unstable terrain, don’t get too focused on speed and keeping up certain paces. Slow down when rounding corners and running down hill. Be safe!

3 — Make A Mini Warm up a Priority
If possible — try to warm up a little before you even step foot outside. If you have a stationary bike at your house you can hop on that for a few minutes, run up and down a flight of stairs a few times, or do some jumping jacks/high knees in place. Just try to get your blood pumping a bit prior to your cold run. The intense change of temperature can be a shock to your muscles and cause them to tense up. I’ve pulled various muscles many times due to poor warm up. It’s not worth it, people! Be smart. And, when you are outside, still use those first few minutes to ease into your pace. Give your body some time to get accustomed to the elements.

4 — Wear Reflective Gear
If you’re running in the winter, chances are there will be times (whether morning or evening) that you’re running in the dark. Protect yourself. Wear reflective gear of some sort, whether it’s an arm band or a vest, or something built onto your clothing + a headlamp, if necessary. Be especially careful to BE SEEN if your route is in an area where you’re on the road or don’t have much space between you and cars whizzing past. Plus, if you’re running in the snow, it’s especially important you can actually SEE where you’re going.

5 — Find Your Motivation
You need that extra boost that’s going to keep you motivated and push you to get your booty outside, despite the cold. Whether it’s meeting a friend or group to run with, a visual reminder in your house somewhere of your goals, a BOMB playlist, signing up for a Spring/Summer race to train for… etc. FIND IT. Why do you run? What’s your purpose? Focus on whatever it is that will get you excited for your run.

6 — Get Warm FAST Post-Run
So you’re done with your run and you’re nice and toasty, despite it being less than 30 degrees outside. You’ve just had a fantastic run and now you’re lounging about inside your house. But as your body starts to cool down, suddenly you’re just wet with sweat and cold. Change out of those cold, wet clothes ASAP and hop into a hot shower, preferably. Stay in those clothes too long and you’re going to get sick and be cold for the rest of the day. Don’t let the inner-laziness win out! Haha! (I need to implement this tip better!) Often times I finish a run outside and kind of delay taking off my sweaty, wet clothes while I fix myself some hot chocolate or something. But my recovery time would be cut in half if I’d just quickly hop in the shower or change clothes and make sure to warm up my body quickly!

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Now get to logging those miles, friends! And also make your significant other take pictures of you while you’re doing so if the landscape looks like this. 😉 Remember that the work put in for Spring/Summer PR’s is put in during WINTER! You got this!

Thanks for reading.

XOXO
Brookie

December Goals + My Fitness Journal

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Happy December! It’s a new month. A new month means new goals. A fresh start. I’m a huge believer of goal-setting and the power it can have to literally change your life — if you let it. Smaller, short-term goals coupled with the perspective of bigger, long-term goals are the perfect combination to accomplishing ANYTHING you set your mind to.

It’s the final month of 2016 before everyone starts making their new year’s resolutions. But why set goals just once a year? Start now and get in the practice of it. Get used to holding yourself accountable by writing you goals down, checking in with yourself every so often to make sure you’re consistently doing the little things every day that will get you where you want to be. I have a personal journal that I like to write down more life-related/spiritual thoughts + goals, but for health and fitness goals + thoughts — I use the “Fit Happens” journal. And, inevitably there’s always some crossover between the two, content-wise. But I LOVE it! I’ve been using it for a few months now. I picked mine up at Target, but you can snag yours online HERE.  You could totally use a plain white journal or notebook and just follow this same format. I love it because it’s the perfect balance between gratitude, mindfulness + fitness goal-setting.

Here are the sections every entry has:
-TODAY I am grateful for: (3 things)
-My goal to live life fit today is ____
-One thing I appreciate about my strong bod today is ________
-Today’s workout _______
-Today’s food + energy levels _____
-Today’s mood _____
-THIS inspires me _______________

Then, there’s space on each page reserved for whatever you want. Check it:

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My 5 December Goals: 

1. One act of service daily (at least) 🙂
This isn’t really fitness related — but I’m still including it. 🙂 Every day from now until Christmas (and through December) I am really trying to look outside myself and make an extra effort to do an act of service for someone daily. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in my daily routine with my job, church and home life and get focused on ME ME ME. But Christmas time isn’t about the presents and Santa Claus. It should be Christ-centered (as should every day!) so I’m trying to be like Him and love and serve those around me like Jesus would. I am a member of the LDS church (Mormon), for those of you who don’t know! The LDS church has released a “25 Days of Christmas” world-wide initiative, inviting everyone from now until Christmas day 25 ways to #LightTheWorld. Read more HERE. Watch more HERE. I invite you to join me! Seriously inspiring!

2. Workout 5x weekly
The holiday season can be tricky to maintain motivation, at times. My goal is to make an effort to workout and get moving at least 5 times each week. Right now it’s not nearly as tricky, because I’m still at my home in Ohio in my normal routine. But, I’m headed to Canada for a week later this month (my husband is Canadian, so I’m pretty much half Canadian, haha!) and I know I won’t be able to fall back on my routine. But, making that effort to exercise in the morning — whether it’s for 60 minutes or just 20 minutes — will not only put me in a better, happier mood (endorphins, yo!), but I’ll also be able to stay on track despite indulging in some holiday treats.

3. Enjoy treats (in moderation) without guilt!
Where my food-anxious people at?! Guys, I’m with you. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I’ve struggled with somewhat of an eating disorder in the past as well as food anxiety issues. Although I’m doing fantastic now — some of those thoughts/feelings never completely go away, sadly. BUT. I have developed the ability to counteract those thoughts when they come creeping in. SO. This year I have a goal to not feel guilty about those inevitable indulgences that come with the holidays and time with family. I’m not talking go crazy and eat all the peppermint oreos in sight (you guys HAVE to try them, fyi!) — but to enjoy indulgent foods, in proper portions — and not beat myself up about it when I’m laying in bed that night. Yep, definitely been there. It’s not a fun place to be. Instead, I’ll focus on being present, enjoying that peppermint bark + homemade rolls and just soaking up all the happiness and wonderful-ness of spending Christmas with loved ones. I mean seriously — being surrounded by those you love while enjoying some delicious food — what’s better?

4. Positive self talk daily.
I am SO BIG ON THIS ONE. Our thoughts are our reality. Seriously. Life happens, yes. But we aren’t happy or sad based on what HAPPENS to us. We’re happy or sad based on how we REACT to what happens. Positive self talk doesn’t come easily for me all the time. It’s a conscious effort and takes practice. I, like many of you, struggle with negative body image at times. Something that helps me is to focus on ability over aesthetics. ABILITY > AESTHETICS. For reals. Focus on the fact that you just lifted some heavy shiz during your gym sesh and you are AWESOME, or you just completed that 5K, or did some sweet bendy-flexible things on the yoga mat — not how much you weigh today (also if you’re late to the party — throw that dang thing away!). All the amazing things that you are can’t possibly be boiled down to NUMBERS. Here’s the mantra I’ve been repeating to myself in front of the mirror once a day this month. Yes, out loud. In front of the mirror. Looking into my own soul (haha). Try it, I dare you:
I am capable.
I am a loved daughter of God.
I am a work in progress, and that’s okay.
I am loving.
I am non judgemental.
I am strong.
I am freaking awesome.
I will be better today than I was yesterday.
I can do anything.

5. Make two new recipes weekly.
Lately I’ve been feeling kind of bored with the foods I’ve been eating. SO. I’ve made the goal to step outside of my go-to dishes and try out some new recipes. I pinterested-it-up and found many yummy, healthy + easy recipes! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, guys. Come on. Don’t think you have to be eating just chicken, broccoli and rice (bro food, amirite?!?!) to eat healthy. I mean, I definitely love that combo and sometimes simplicity is the best — but don’t let yourself get bored of the foods you’re eating! Also I am SUPER LAZY when it comes to making food. So you can trust me when I say that these two recipes I’ve tried so far are super duper easy: Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili + Quinoa Enchilada Casserole. Chase and I loved them both!

Now go get crackin’ on your December goals!!

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Thank you so much for reading! Much love to you all.

XOXO

Brookie

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus 1/2 Marathon Recap

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mt Columbus Marathon 10_17

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Second half marathon in the books! I ran the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus half marathon, for the second year in the row. It was an incredible event, as always. If you saw my initial Instagram post, you already have a pretty good idea how it went for me personally. (…ha ha!) Also thank you SO much for all the love! You guys were soooo nice! 🙂 ANYWAYS. Let’s just say that after months of training, the race definitely did NOT go as planned. I ended up pulling my hamstring badly on mile 5 and fought intense pain (and tears!) for the final eight miles, alternating between running and walking when the pain was too much to bear. Somehow, thanks to my sweet husband Chase who rode his bike next to me (I don’t deserve the man!😭) + lots of adrenaline, I somehow FINISHED, coming in at at 1:50 (15 min off my goal). But, I crossed that dang finished line, and I’m proud of myself for finishing regardless of the circumstances. After lots of bedrest yesterday icing my hamstring, I had LOTS of time to reflect on the race. My two main takeaways:

1. I AM WAY TOO HARD ON MYSELF — I mean, let’s be real I already knew this one. It’s something I’ve always struggled with. But, this disappointing race just reinforced the obvious. But I’ll admit, sometimes, it can be for the better. Like for example, my senior year at USU when I made a stupid defensive mistake that resulted in a forward on the other team dribbling past me and scoring their game-winning goal. I felt like the entire loss was my fault. I was SO mad that I went straight from the field to the track and ran sprints until I threw up. I figured the least I could do was get more fit and be better for the next game. THAT was in my control. It drove me to be better. Just one example of many. Ha ha. But, then there are times when I (somewhat unconsciously..?) tie my self-worth to my performances. Like, taking it over the top. THAT’S when it’s no bueno. When I let those self-degrading thoughts creep in and affect my actions, the way I act and the way I treat others. Anyone else relate? Two things I do to stay positive when I’m dowwwwn in the dummmmmps: #1 Pray lots to remind myself of my divine potential as a daughter of God 🙂 and #2 reach out to those closest to me who know me the best for little pep talks (in my case, my husband and parentals). I am a growing, continual work in progress – AND THAT’S OKAY! 🙂

2. PEOPLE ARE AWESOMEThere were thousands of people lining the ENTIRE race, volunteering at water stations and cheering for all the runners with hilarious posters. This particular race had Children’s Marathon Patient Champions at each mile marker. Check out the sweet, incredible kids HERE. The volunteer at mile 5 who let me borrow his phone to call Chase (who was riding up ahead to the pacing group I was initially in before the injury — whoopsie!) was a SAINT! So incredibly kind, despite my ugly crying. Bottom line, the running community is unreal. Yes, we’re all technically racing against each other, but in reality we’re all really just racing against OURSELVES, seeking those PR’s. Everyone is SO supportive of each other — across all levels. We’re talking the elite runners congratulating the walkers. What other sport do you find that kind of automatic camaraderie?

Overall, I learned A LOT and don’t regret any of it for a second. I’ve signed up for another half marathon for the end of November, so I’m trying to heal up fast and have a bit of a redemption race. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

XOXO

Brookie

GIVEAWAY: iFit Duo Fitness Wearable

Hello Friends!

FINALLY — a fitness tracker that does it all. Business in the front, fitness in the back. Yes, it has TWO sides. Flip over the classic dial face and it’s an LCD screen displaying real-time activity stats and fitness data. Plus, it’s absolutely ADORABLE and I can wear it to work in professional settings while still staying on track with my fitness goals.

Enter to win your own iFit Duo! 3 steps:

1. Follow iFit on Instagram
2. Follow me (HappyHealthyBrookie) on Instagram
3. Tag two friends on my Instagram post (The more friends you tag, the more giveaway entries and better chance you have of winning!) 🙂

Good luck! Thank you iFit for the band! #SponsoredByiFitTh

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XOXO

–Brookie

 

Healthy Berry Ice Cream

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I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, so having something sweet before bed is a must. My healthy berry ice cream always hits the spot, and it’s under 300 calories! So, obviously I had to share it with all you lovely people. 🙂

Here’s what you need:

-1 cup frozen berries
-1 frozen banana
-1 scoop Vanilla Ka’Chava powder (you can use protein
-About 1 cup Almond Milk
-Handful of ice cubes

Mix it all together in your blender on high speed until it’s creamy and a bit frothy. Aaaaaand BOOMSHAKALAKA! Healthy ice cream! Let me know if you try it.

XOXO

Brookie

U.S. Virgin Islands Trip (VIDEO!)

Hello Friends!

My husband Chase and I went on an amazing trip to St Thomas & St John in the U.S. Virgin Islands this past August and I made a lil’ video that I wanted to share with you guys! Heads up — I’ll be starting up some fun vlogs that will include healthy food recipes, workouts, tips… etc. SO. If you don’t want to miss out, be sure to hit ‘Subscribe’ on my channel so you never miss a video! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

 

XOXO

Brookie