The KB Swing Mistakes I See All the Time & How to Fix Them

Kettlebell work (and especially the swing) is pretty mainstream these days, and people everywhere are doing them-- from the 24 Hour Fitness goers, to CrossFitters, the at-home fitnessers and everything in between.

It's sort of a misleading move because it seems intuitive and simple (just use your hips to swing the bell up as high as you can, right?), but there's actually a few important components and tweaks that will ensure you're not only doing this move SAFELY, but efficiently.

As a CrossFit coach, I tend to see the same handful of mistakes over and over again with athletes, so I wanted to address the top 5 here today. And full disclosure, after filming the errors for this video, my back hurt for about 2 days. (It's fine it'll be ok I promise!) But that's a huge sign that if you're making any of these mistakes, chances are, your back isn't happy about it.

Are you making any of theses mistakes? I hope this video helps make your KBS stronger than ever, and if it helps at all, please leave a comment and let me know!

And hey ps: thanks, fam, for your patience as I learn how to make these how-to videos for you! I'm learning as I go here so I appreciate you comin' along with me! :)

 

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Fitness & Beyond: The Secret To Finding & Keeping Motivation

The Secret to Finding and Keeping Motivation for Health, Fitness + Beyond

Making it to the gym regularly. Reorganizing your office. Choosing to eat better. Making that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off.  Starting that business.

We all have these things that seem to live perpetually on the bottom of our to-do lists, and never actually ever get done. Whether they’re big projects or tiny tasks, we find them entirely overwhelming and sit around waiting for motivation to hit us before we attempt to tackle them. 

Sometimes those things require overwhelming upkeep need to be added into our daily or weekly habits and routines, like regularly making time for the gym, meal prep, or self care. Sometimes they are overwhelming one-time to-do’s like cleaning out the garage, writing that overdue thank you note (why does that one always seem so daunting?!), or donating those old clothes. And sometimes they’re both - something that takes both a big initial kick and regular upkeep, like finally creating and maintaining that blog, or starting the new side hustle you’ve been dreaming about, which can seem doubly overwhelming.

With all the responsibilities, stress and directions we get pulled every day, between work, kids, home, family, friends, money, health, pets, housework, and so on, most of the time we barely have our head above water and are struggling to keep up as is- let alone have time or energy to give to learn Spanish. If you’re anything like me, the more to-do’s pile up, the more behind I get, and the more stressed out I become, I tend to shrink away, shut down, do less, and become almost paralyzed by ALL THE THINGS. Which then becomes the feedback loop from hell, as more things pile up and all I can do is watch with anxiety and horror, motionless, with eyes like saucers as the stress level rises and rises. Then I’ve really gone and fucked myself. Sound familiar?

So. Whether you’re pinned under an ALLTHETHINGS 21 car pile up, or you have things generally under control but just can’t seem to ever get yourself to do that one thing you’ve been wanting to, where do you find the motivation to make a change?

Finding focus can be a struggle- we've all been there.

Finding focus can be a struggle- we've all been there.

 

Here’s the truth, and it’s probably one you don’t want to hear, but it’s important: the lightning bolt of motivation will not appear out of blue sky and strike down upon you the will to make a change. Though every so often, a rogue spark of inspiration may hit (maybe from reading a book or seeing something that triggered an action or idea), if you are living your life scrolling instagram for that one inspirational post to catapult you into lasting action, you’re making a grave mistake, and here’s why. 

Motivation doesn’t appear until action has been taken. Yeah, let that one sink in. Read it again, say it out loud, write down, and believe it, because it’s science. (But really though: Newton's first law of motion is the concept of inertia: bodies at rest tend to stay at rest and bodies in motion tend to stay in motion). You know before when I talked about that really shitty do-nothing feedback loop? Well it works the opposite way too. When you take action, whether it’s big or small, the feeling of reward and accomplishment is almost always great enough for you to want to take another step or do it again. Taking action is where you find motivation. It doesn’t come from nowhere, it comes from you.

 

One of my favorite takeaways from Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, was her idea that before she started anything, she needed to “tackle a nagging task”. (Read: that thing that’s been full on squatting on your to-list for so long that’s thisclose to actually owning it). What you’ll find is that when you just WOMAN UP and tackle that oh so annoying task, you’ll feel rejuvenated and immediately think, “ok, what next?”, ready to take on the next thing. It won’t be long until you’re a full blown productivity Sharknado, knocking out all those emails, chores, and errands you’ve been putting off for months.

You want to make it to the gym 4 days a week but where do you find the motivation? Do you sit around thinking about when to do it, and then dance around deciding if you feel up to it today? NO. You lace up your walking shoes and put a leash on your fur baby (or strap on your human baby, or put a leash on your human child or strap on your fur baby, I mean really, no judgement here) and you get outside. (And then do it again tomorrow, and the next day)

Wish you had the motivation to work out? Step one is going to the gym.

Wish you had the motivation to work out? Step one is going to the gym.

The sweet, sweet wave of momentum here will be instantly noticeable, and you may decide to turn those walks into longer walks or runs, or trade in that time for the gym, now that you know you can carve out 60 minutes to make it happen. And what you’ve managed to do then, is make it part of your routine- you’ve made it a habit, which is exactly what you want.

People ask me all the time where I find the motivation to work out and eat well. On the workout side, I do it because it’s simply habit for me at this point, plain and simple. It’s what I do. I wish I had something more romanticized to say about that, but this is the secret about motivation: it doesn't last forever. I'm rarely "motivated" to go to the gym every day. I started CrossFit one day, fell in love with it, went 3-4 times a week, and it became my routine. I’ve been doing it so long now that when I have a week where I don’t go as much or at all, I feel off, my mood sinks, my sleep suffers, and I get into a funk. So my "motivation" for continuing to go, you could say, is to not feel crappy. (Have you seen my Snapchat chat on this topic? It's over in the VIDEOS tab!)

And when it comes to nutrition, I choose food that will support me feeling good in the gym- so it’s no surprise that when I’ve been out of the gym for a while, I don’t make the best nutrition choices. Because when I eat well, I feel strong, and feeling strong in the gym makes me feel unstoppable, and that feeling gives me life, and so on (the positive feedback loop). And it all began with me just taking action, taking a risk and walking into a gym one day.

The point here is that the concept of motivation is a slippery one to grasp, because not only do you have to create it yourself, but it doesn't last. When you've created the spark and the will to make a change, you've got to act on it to get momentum going, and then actively work to keep it up. The "motivation" may fade away in time but what you're hopefully left with is a lasting habit, mindset, routine and lifestyle.

And here’s the best part: more often than not, these action steps are transferrable! Meaning, cleaning out your closet or painting your living room may VERY WELL grant you the motivation to lace up those running shoes or do a meal prep sesh, and vice versa. Because the fastest way to feel like you're in control and on top of your shit and doing the things you want to be doing, is to get on top of your shit and do the things you want and get in control. ACT and then ride the wave of momentum.

 So no matter what you are hoping to tackle or accomplish, here are some action steps to do right now to start making some shit happen:


Do this:

 

  1. First things first. If you’re stuck under the ALLTHETHINGS stress accident and need some time away, take it. Take a weekend off of everything, clear your mind, delete social media apps, take baths, etc. Take the time to tune out the noise, reclaim your headspace, find your energy and refresh your life. This is important.
  2. Next, use that clarity to decide what you really want to do. Do you really want to CrossFit 4x a week or would you rather take a hip hop class? Are you needing more time away to decompress on the regular? Are you really excited about starting a blog or is it just what you think you should do? (A whole post on "shoulds" coming soon). What is it that you want? 
  3. Write out your to do list(s) and the things you want to accomplish in no particular order- just all the shit that needs doing. If it helps you to write separate lists from each area of your life (housework, work, side hustle, etc), do it. Just get it all out of your head and to a place you can see it.
    • Comb through your list and rewrite it based on priority. If you know a few tasks are time sensitive, push those to the top, and the things that can wait go to the bottom. (Take a hard look at the things “that can wait”. Are any of those things that you’ve already been putting off for a long time?) Figure out what's important, and then:
  4. Tackle a nagging task. The thing that you think about and groan over while you’re trying to fall asleep, the thing that gives you anxiety when you remember you’ve been ignoring it, the thing that full on nags you, stresses you the fuck out and you really, really don’t want to do. Think like Nike and just FUCKING DO IT. (Sorry for yelling I’m just getting excited here ok?) 
    • If getting active is on your wishlist, tackle a nagging health task too. Lace up your shoes, pop in P90X, join that gym, sign up for that dance class you’ve been dreaming about, arrange for child care to allow the time for it all, etc. Just take one step, do one thing, no matter how small.
  5. Book it in. So now that you've got the annoying stuff out of the way and you have some order to your life, make the appointment, schedule in your gym days, reserve your spot in class, clear a morning for decluttering your office, etc. Actually put this stuff into your calendar and respect it's place in there. This time you're not pushing it off for later- it's booked in, you've made the time for it and you're getting it done. (Bringing a friend along for the ride can up your chances of sticking to it).
    • Keep putting these things on your calendar for at least 8 weeks- by that point things should become routine, but until then, make sure you create the time and respect your promise to yourself.
  6. And when you whittle away that to-do list, rinse and repeat. 

A good reminder

 

Cuz here’s the bottom line: it can feel oh so convenient and cozy and easy to think that these things are just out of our hands- that we have no say or control until the elusive Motivation Fairy chooses to bestow us with a sprinkle of go-get-‘em dust, but that’s just not how this works. The things we want in life become ours when we choose to make it so, and then take action. When we look them right in the face and attack them head on, when we step out of our comfort zone and make a change (cue Man in the Mirror). Action first, motivation second.

So here’s your go-get-‘em dust. What are you going to do with it?

XO,

Taylor

 

 

 

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Every Day Makeup Tutorial

Back with a super quick tut for you guys!

I shared a quick version of this on my Instagram but wanted to do a little talk through for those of you who were interested!

My absolute 3 bare necessities are: concealer, bronzer, and an eyebrow pencil (starred below). Those are the 3 steps I'll do no matter what I'm doing or where I'm going, and then the rest of the steps in here I'll add in if I have time or interest, but I included them here for the sake of the video!

All the products used in the video are:

MOISTURIZER: Fatco Myrrhaculous Face Cream

*CONCEALER: NARS Creamy Concealer in Creme Brûlée  

SETTING POWDER: Laura Mercier Translucent Powder

*BROWS: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown  

*BRONZER: MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Give Me Sun 

BLUSH: NARS Blush in Amour  

HIGHLIGHT: The Balm Cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer  

POWDER FOUNDATION: NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat in Nude

EYELINER: Maybelline Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Liner

SETTING SPRAY: MAC Fix Plus 

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How to: Simple Day Makeup Tutorial

One of the big requests I get on my snapchat is for a tutorial for my "daytime" makeup look. I finally got the chance to film a video for you on this topic so I hope you like it! This is not something I wear every day, but it is my go-to makeup for any daytime event where I want to look polished and glowing but not overdone. It takes a lot longer to film and do simultaneously, but in real life this look only takes about 10-15 minutes! I linked all products used below.

 

*Tip*: Watch in HD for best video quality (select via gear icon on bottom right)! Or watch on my YouTube Channel here.

Enjoy!

 


If you have any other tutorial requests, please let me know! (I do have a skincare vid coming at some point). I have so much fun making these for you guys so any help on what you'd love to see next would be awesome!

(I promise I will get less awkward and better at keeping the vids short as I go)

Thanks for watching, ladies! 

XO

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How to: Soft Glam Makeup Tutorial

 

I'm really excited to have a makeup tutorial up on here for you guys today! I've been pretty obsessed with makeup for a long time- I think I started playing with it in 6th grade and it's been a fun avenue of experimentation and expression ever since.  If you guys enjoy this let me know! I'm hoping to do more of these and offer lots of different looks. 

I will say this of today's tutorial: this is a lot of makeup, there's no two bones about it. You do not need to purchase or own every product I use here to make this look for yourself. Experiment with what you have, and have some fun! (Also note that no, these products are not "paleo"- they are just what I use and love but I'm sure you can find cleaner versions if that's something you're looking for).

Products are all linked down below! Thank you for watching! 

P.S. I recommend watching this in HD. To do that, hit the settings button in the  frame (gear icon on the lower right), hit quality, and then select 1080 HD. Or watch over on YouTube here.

P.P.S. Apologies for all the text typos and for the camera cutting out. Hopefully I'll get better at these vids as I go! :)

 

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Three Rules for a Happy, Healthy Life

Ok, maybe not "rules", but maybe tips, guidelines or advice that will grant you freedom, happiness and positive vibes. Or put another way, the three things I wish I could shout from a mountaintop for every woman to hear. Let's get right to it.

 

THERE IS NO GOOD OR BAD FOOD

I’m being good today so I’ll order the salad. I can’t believe that I ate an entire box of cookies last night, I am so bad! I shouldn’t order a side of fries because they are so bad for you. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all thought like this at one time or another, and it’s no surprise. Our culture and media has an obsession with food, weight loss, aesthetics, and “health” and you are subtly told every single day in multiple ways that kale is a good food and fries are a bad food. It’s simple: if you want to be good (and look good), you should eat the good food.

I hope you’re sitting down, because I have some earth shattering news for you that I need you to hear. French fries are not bad. Kale is not good. You are not a bad person when you enjoy a second piece of cake, and you are not a good person when you eat salads every day for a week. No food is “good” and no food is “bad”. There is just food. Yea. There it is. Boom. Soak it in people! Take whatever time you need to absorb that knowledge bomb and let’s reconvene when you’re ready. Meanwhile, read more from this article on the terminology of food:

"I submit to you that our beloved kale salads are not 'healthy.' And we are confusing ourselves by believing that they are. They are not healthy; they are nutritious. They may be delicious when prepared well, and the kale itself, while in the ground, may have been a healthy crop. But the kale on your plate is not healthy, and to describe it as such obscures what is most important about that kale salad: that it’s packed with nutrients your body needs. But this is not strictly about nomenclature. If all you ate was kale, you would become sick. Nomenclature rather shows us where to begin."
Foods are not inherently  GOOD OR BAD FOR YOU, they are simply foods. your worth is not based in what you eat.

Foods are not inherently  GOOD OR BAD FOR YOU, they are simply foods. your worth is not based in what you eat.

Now! The distinction I need you to make is that if, for example, your current goal is to have more energy or drop a few lbs, choosing a salad instead of a Cholupa will, in that moment, get you closer to your goal, as leafy greens and veggies are nutritious, boost energy, and encourage proper functioning of all your systems and organs. The salad is not good. It simply gets you closer to your goal. The salad is not healthy. It simply is nutritious and promotes health. This salad will not make you a good person.

Conversely, eating a pack of Sour Patch Kids is not bad for you. It will not make you a bad person, you will not get voted off the island, you will not be made to wear an “I Should Know Better Than This” sandwich board as you atone with a walk of shame through town. Sour Patch Kids are not unhealthy. It simply will not get you closer to your goals. Period. 

Can we all just breathe a collective sigh of relief real quick? It’s as simple as that, people. You will not keel over and die from that one milkshake or sprout angel wings and drop 10 pounds from that one salad. No food is good; just nutritious, and will perhaps move you closer to goals, especially when consumed consistently. And no food is bad; it just might move you further away from your goals, especially when consumed consistently. 

More often than not, eat what makes you feel good and what gets you closer to your goals (whether that's performance based or helping an autoimmune condition or anything in between). Food is only food. Memorize this, learn it, know it, speak it, and believe it! 

 

CONFIDENCE CAN BE LEARNED

One of the things I hear so often when talking to women is that they wish they had more confidence. Usually uttered in that same breath is the notion that if they lost that last 10 lbs or fit into a size 4, confidence would finally be theirs. Like confidence is this elusive shiny beacon that is constantly calling their name but always manages to somehow be just beyond the reach of their unworthy fingertips. Like confidence is some secret club that only a select few with “perfect” bodies (whatever that means) and flawless skin and shiny hair are allowed entrance to. 

Think of the most confident woman you know; what makes her radiate that self assuredness? I bet it’s not her rock hard six pack or her perfectly symmetric features or her cellulite-free thighs. In fact, I bet she might not even have a six pack or look like Gigi Hadid and she probably even has cellulite, just like the rest of us. So where is that confidence coming from, exactly? 

Guys. Here’s the deal. The Confidence Fairy will not magically appear and grant you with a feeling of self worth once you get abs or lose weight or fit into your old jeans, no matter what those magazines have you believing. Here’s the ultra top secret rule that every card carrying member of the Girls With Confidence Club knows: the only way to start feeling like a rock star is to decide that you are one.

put out the vibe and watch yourself become it.

put out the vibe and watch yourself become it.

In the beginning this can be a tough thing to do, I will grant you that. But there’s some serious value in the fake-it-til-you-make it angle here, and I urge you to try it. Try acting like a confident, gorgeous, badass chick. Start pretending like you don’t care what others think of you or your body (after all, what other people think of you is none of your business anyway). Start rehearsing to yourself that you love your arms or butt or smile or personality, and say it out loud. Work out in a sports bra, rock those shorts, buy that two-piece. Speak your mind, walk with your shoulders back and head held high, laugh loudly and trust your gut.

Fake the living shit out of all of it, if you have to, because I’ll tell you what: if you consistently speak, think and behave like someone who is confident and proud of who they are, you will become it. I promise.

So there you have it, friends. Confidence can be yours for the low, low price of stop giving a fuck and start behaving like the beautiful, badass woman you are. (Read this piece for more how-to's on this). Everything you need to be that girl is already within you, you just need to turn it on.

 

DO YOU

There is SO much conflicting information out there in the world about how to lead a happy and healthy life. Do cardio, don’t do cardio, lift weights, do CrossFit, don’t do CrossFit, eat meat, don’t eat meat, eat carbs, avoid carbs, count macros, don’t count macros, etc etc etc until the end of time. Man alive! How is anyone supposed to find their way in all of this madness?!

Here’s how: Try it! If you want to try veganism, or macro-counting or go gluten free, go for it. If you want to explore CrossFit or rock climbing or Barre or train for an IronMan, do it. Try going paleo, or low carb or high carb or high protein. And while you’re experimenting, pay extra mind to the fact that other people will (and should) do the same. Just because you’re gluten free does not mean that your pasta loving friend is doing it wrong. Just because you love yoga and running doesn’t mean that powerlifters or CrossFitters are doing it wrong, and vice versa. Your way is not the only way.

Experiment with your fitness and your fuel; play with all of it, because in the end what you will find is exactly what you love and what makes you feel amazing. And what you have there is the holy grail of a healthy, happy life. Find what makes you feel powerful, energetic, strong, and alive. Find what works for you and do it, encourage others to find what works for them, and be ok knowing that your strategies might not look alike. 

find what makes you feel strong and beautiful and embrace it, & allow others to do the same.

find what makes you feel strong and beautiful and embrace it, & allow others to do the same.

Every human body is different; different shapes and sizes and metabolisms and genetics and preferences and injuries and histories and tastes and goals. Do what gets you to your own, personal goals. Walk your own path proudly and with enthusiasm but don't knock others who are also finding their own way.  Focus on what lights you up, and let the rest go.

And while this applies best to the world of health and fitness due to the overwhelming amount of varied advice from every angle, it also applies to just about everything in life. Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

Do you, boo. Do you.

 

I hope you can use these three rules to help guide you through your daily decisions and I hope they bring you as much freedom, happiness and confidence as possible. Now go eat, laugh and live!

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How to Hit Your Goals

With the new year upon us and the resolution buzz in the air, most of us are determined to make some changes and hit some goals in the coming months. However, more often than not, our goals become mere wishes and daydreams that quickly fade away into the minutia of everyday life and stresses as the weeks march on. Well I'm here to tell you something: It does NOT have to be this way, and you CAN make lasting change and achieve whatever you wish to achieve this year (or any other time)! In fact, some of the biggest changes in my life have happened at the turn of a new year- the trick is to just make sure you're prepared, supported, tenacious about what you want, and have the right mindset.

So how do you really make impactful, sustainable life change? With a few tweaks to your mindset and preparedness, all you wish for can truly be yours. Here are 4 tips to help you kick 2016 in the face.

SET REASONABLE GOALS

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but if you've never acted a day in your life, you might not make it onto that movie set by the end of the year. And chances are that if you're just starting a writing class, it might be a little tough to make the bestseller list in only a few short months. And as always, you're not going to drop 30 lbs in 2 weeks, or go up 200 lbs in a year on your squat either. Does that mean you shouldn't reach for those things if that's what you want? No way! Aim for the loftiest, most fantastical goal you can possibly wish for yourself, always! But just know that when it comes to goal setting (and achieving), starting with small, bite sized bits is the most effective way to make the progress that will ultimately get you closer to your dream.

Set goals for yourself that are S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. To start, set 4 small goals per month, or about one per week. They could be something like making it to the gym 3 times this week, or doubling up your veggies at each meal, or signing up for the dance class you've been eyeing, taking the stairs, etc. Or even something like focusing on a meaningful word or phrase for a week, like "be present", or "I am strong". Chipping away at these bite sized portions will create the consistency that's necessary for change, while not overwhelming you with stress and pressure.

GET SUPPORT

There are very few things in life that we accomplish truly entirely on our own- often the biggest successes are due in large to a network of support that creates an environment in which it can happen. It is vital to your success in any goal, big or small, that you have the right support around you. Ask a friend to join that class/gym/challenge with you- just having her by your side can be the difference between success and not so much. Make sure everyone in your home environment is on board with your goals and supportive of what it will take for you to get there. Enlist the helpful eye of a coach, nutritionist, or counselor to help assist you when needed. Use helpful tools like apps, Facebook groups or this awesome day planner to help keep you focused and on track.

Make it your responsibility to be sure your support is in place before you set out. And then be sure to lean on it when you need a boost! (And offer your help and support in return, of course). Go the extra mile to be sure that you are entirely surrounded by a faithful tribe of supportive people who are rooting for you to succeed with flying colors!

PREPARE FOR SPEEDBUMPS (NOT FAILURE)

So you were hoping to make it to the gym 4 times this week but your kids had other plans for you. You wanted to skip the booze for 60 days but you couldn't resist a glass of bubbly at that party. And so on. Guess what? This stuff is called life. 

So instead of letting that one glass of champagne or missed training session throw you off the handle and decide it's all gone to shit now and why should you even try anymore because you're never going to be able to do it and you should just give up and drink 6 bottles of wine and eat 4 pizzas and the coffee table to drown the sorrows of all your "failures", instead- prepare for these situations and have a backup plan in place. If you miss your meal prep session on Sunday, what will you do? Make time for it on Monday, ask your partner to do it? If you miss the gym, are there at-home workouts you can do instead? Think about what could potentially go awry and plan accordingly!

Also, be gentle with yourself. Setting out on a Whole30 and making it to day 24 before you broke the rules does not constitute failure. It is actually an enormous success and you should be crazy proud of yourself for making it so far! Resigning to the mindset that you "failed", in any way, will only serve to push you further back, when you could be using the same experience to catapult you forward. Stay positive, find the silver lining, celebrate your successes, prepare for some detours, and keep your mind straight. (See below)

GET YOUR MIND RIGHT

Arguably the most important part of this whole thing! Think about the things you’re trying to do, the changes you’re trying to make, and the person you’re trying to be. Now we want you to remove the word “try” from the equation. We want you to become it. Decide you are that person.

Decide you are the person who can turn down cake at a party if you want to. Decide you are the kind of person who goes to the gym 3x a week with no excuses. Decide you’re the kind of person who has a non-negotiable meal prep session every week. Decide you are the kind of person who takes the risk to start their own company, or who gets the promotions, is a fabulous friend, or whatever goals you might be working for in life, beyond nutrition & movement.

Stop “trying” and start being. There is a difference. Thinking that you “can’t have” that food, or are “trying to” workout, is a mentality that won’t get you far. However, thinking you don’t want that food because you aren’t someone who eats those types of foods on the regular, and you are someone who makes time for workouts no matter what, is a totally different thing. Don’t let your mind tell you that you’re a noob or a poser and you are just trying these new habits out for a while. Believe and decide that this is who you are now: A self aware, self loving, health conscious, strong and athletic babe who gets what she wants in life. Kapish?

What kind of person do you want to be? Decide that’s who you are, stand by your word, and watch your life change. 

Wishing you all the most wonderful new year filled to the brim with adventure, challenges, laughter, health and happiness. Go out there and make it happen! 

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How To: Your First Strict Pull-Up

Ah, the strict pull up. A distinctive display of upper body strength, control, and a great party trick to boot. And despite what the Marine Corps or your Uncle Joe might think, women CAN do them! 

If you're on the hunt to get your first stricty, or have one but want to be able to bang out a few at a time, we've got some moves here to add to your rotation that will have you repping these out in no time! Head into your gym 15 minutes early and spend some quality time at the bar. Practice, practice, practice!

For beginners, we recommend you start here. If you can hold your chin above the bar for 15 seconds, feel free to jump to the next segment.

Note: Be sure to warm up properly before these movements, and have a coach nearby to help if need be!

THE RING ROW, PART 1

Things to note:

  • Start with your feet under the rings.
  • Keep your body in a tight position. Avoid letting your butt drop or arching your back, or "kipping" the pull by throwing your hips forward to initiate the pull.
  • Pull all the way into your armpits, and extend your arms all the way out in the beginning of each rep.

REPS:

  • Shoot for 3 sets of 10. When this gets easy, take these up a notch by changing your foot placement. (See Part II)

THE RING ROW, PART II

Things to note:

  • Follow all the same cues as Part I.
  • By moving your shoulders under the rings instead of your feet, you are pulling much more of your body weight.

REPS:

  • Shoot for 3 sets of 10. When you can do that comfortably, move on to the next move.

 



THE JUMPING PULL UP, PART I 

Things to note:

  • Stack some plates or grab a box and set up so you can maintain a grip on the bar at full extension
  • Jump to begin the pull. Get your chin over the bar!
  • Try to maintain control as your return to start.

REPS:

  • Aim for 4 sets of 6-8. You can also alternate between this Part I and Part II for this.

JUMPING PULL UP, PART II

Things to note:

  • Remove or adjust the plates so that the bar is no more than 4 inches away from your finger tips at full extension
  • Follow cues for Part I.

 

 

 


THE NEGATIVE

This is our favorite tool for gaining pulling strength! Nothing builds muscle like eccentric movement. Once you can hold yourself above the bar for a few seconds and have the ability to lower yourself with control, this should be your go-to move. 

Things to note:

  • Get yourself over the bar by way of a kip, a step or a jump.
  • Hold at the top for a moment, and then begin to lower.
  • The key to this move is going as slowly as you possibly can
  • You'll most likely hit a point where you lose a little control: This is your sticky point or the weakest part of your pull, so fight like crazy to maintain control through this point.

REPS:

  • Aim for 7-10 negatives, as slowly as possible. When you can lower yourself with complete control through the entire movement, you are ready to start your pull-ups!

THE STRICT PULL UP

Things to note:

  • Try to keep your body in the "hollow" position, with a tight core.
  • Initiate the pull in your scapulas, and be sure to get that chin over the bar!

REPS:

  • For both of these variations, strive for 5 sets of max effort, meaning go until you fail. 
  • If your sets are between 1 -3 reps, we suggest alternating between ME sets and negatives.

STRICT CHEST TO BAR PULL UP

If you can bang out a few stricts, try to make contact with the bar with your chest for added difficulty.

Adding weight is another great way to improve your pulling power. Hook a kettle bell on your toes, hold a dumbbell or medicine ball between you knees, or wear a weight vest!

 

 

Some of you might be thinking, "Where are the bands?" While using an assistance band for pull ups might be well suited to some workouts and other circumstances, we don't believe them to be a big help in gaining pulling strength. This article from Breaking Muscle breaks it down!

The only way to get better at these is with practice, so be sure to spend some time on them whenever you can! We hope this helps you and be sure to tag us if you get your first one, we always want to see your hard work paying off!


If you're looking for an AMAZING structured pull-up program, look no further than Pull Up Queen, created by Neghar Fonooni.

This 12 week program has 3 different levels of badassery and comes with videos, movement libraries and tons of other goodies to help you become  a hero on the pull up bar. I stand behind this program and highly recommend it!


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Getting Back on Track

So you (and the rest of the country) indulged last week. You ate some food that doesn’t really agree with your body, you ate it in bigger than usual portions, and you probably drank your body weight in wine or champagne to boot. The next day, you likely woke up with a food (and booze) hangover: stiff, puffy, in a fog, and maybe a tummy ache for good measure.

You most likely then continued to chow down on all those amazing leftovers (pie for breakfast, anyone?) on Friday, made up dreamy sandwich creations to share on Instagram, and spent most of your non-eating moments on the couch. And this probably carried through the entire weekend, and so now you're left feeling like the goodyear blimp, chastising yourself for letting yourself go, and about to just say "eh, what the hell", and keep up this momentum since the holidays are around the corner and you can hide under parkas and wool sweaters until spring anyway.

To this we say: So what! That’s what we do on Thanksgiving! (You read that right). You had fun, spent some quality time with friends and family, and it was probably all worth it. No big deal. Seriously.

That being said, this feeling of over-doing it doesn't have to last until New Years (or spring). De-bloat, switch gears, and start feeling like yourself again right now, with these tips. 

1. FIRST & FOREMOST: GET YOUR MINDSET RIGHT! Forgive yourself and move on already. It was one day (ok, maybe 4. But still!). The sooner you can mentally move on, the better you will feel instantly and the easier it will be to get back to your regular healthy eating routine.

2. NEXT, TOSS YOUR LEFTOVERS. You've been eating them for 4 days, they have served you well, so do yourself a favor and get rid of any food you truly don't want lingering in the house tempting you. Donate it to someone who would really like it, compost it, feed it to Spot, or just throw it out (note: by "throw it out" we do not mean it it all as fast as you can). You'll feel so much better not having it in the house staring at you every time you walk by the kitchen. If you positively cannot throw it away, store it in the freezer for a treat another time.

3. DETOX. Start your days right this week: Upon waking up every day this week, on an empty stomach, sip a big cup of hot water with the fresh juice of half a lemon in it. This will help to get your lymph system moving to flush out some of that ick hanging in your body, will hydrate you, and will get that digestive system to move some of that waste it's accumulated this weekend. Sip dandelion tea at night after dinner to get some of the same benefits to help detox your systems, and pop a probiotic each day to help your gut deal with itself. Some oil of oregano and fermented cod liver oil will all help you lower inflammation and aid digestion.

4. SWEAT. Either get into the gym or get outside; Even if there isn't direct sunlight, getting out in the fresh air and daylight for a walk will help your brain wake up, lift your mood, and shake the fog. Moving your body in some way or another will also help with the stiffness and puffiness you may be feeling, and get that fluid in your body moving and on its way out.  Important to note:  You are working out to make yourself feel better, NOT as a punishment for what you ate! Working out should never be punishment. Have some fun.

5. HYDRATE. You're almost certainly a little (or a lot) dehydrated from a few days of being off your schedule and eating more than you're used to, so be sure to drink up! Aim for half your body weight in ounces every day.

6. GET GREEN. Eat some green veggies or have a green juice. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants will help with inflammation, and your body will thank you. Eat nutrient dense, soothing foods that deliver a hefty dose of nutrients while fighting inflammation. 

7. DE-BLOAT VIA LOW CARB. While we both eat a large amount of healthy carbohydrates to fuel our training, for most people Thanksgiving is a carb-centric carb-athon that never gets it's athletic outlet. Overdoing it on the carbs and sugar is a surefire way to both feel constanly bloated and trigger cravings for more. (Sugar and carb cravings can actually mean your body needs protein, so give it some protein and fat to get rid of those sugar cravings). Put down the mashed potatoes and focus instead on getting some high quality protein and fat into your body for the following week, and then start to work them back into your diet as normal. 

BOTTOM LINE Above all, refer to tip #1: Forgive yourself and move on! You can't change what already happened, but you can decide what to do today. Try to make decisions that you know will make your mind and body feel like the amazing, vibrant and strong person that you are!

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How To: Open a Pomegranate

Pomegranates are one of our favorite foods this time of year, as they are both loaded with antioxidants and flavor. They are a great addition to salads or desserts, but more often than not we just eat them straight out of a bowl with a spoon!

Getting through the flesh and to the tasty seeds doesn't have to be a headache. Follow these easy steps to enjoy a pomegranate in less than 5 minutes!

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  • Pomegranate sliced in half (through the "equator").

  • A bowl with a few inches of water in it. A bowl with higher sides is better to prevent splashing.

  • A wooden spoon.

  • A slotted spoon.

STEP ONE

Hold one half of the fruit over the bowl of water, seed side down, and begin hitting the back of it with the wooden spoon. Hit hard enough to make the seeds fall out into the water below. Rotate the piece around to be sure to knock all of the seeds out.

Repeat with the other half.

STEP TWO

Using the slotted spoon, scoop off all the bits of the membrane in the bowl- they should mostly all float to the surface, while the seeds should sink to the bottom. Once you've gotten all the floating bits out, use the slotted spoon to scoop the seeds out from the water and into a bowl for use.

If you don't have a slotted spoon, you can carefully just pour out most of the water, and the floating membrane will go with it. You can then pour the remaining seeds into a colander or strainer.

ENJOY!

Do you have a trick for pomegranates too? We want to hear about it! Post yours in the comments below.

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