Recipe of the Week: Chocolate Protein Donuts

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I love making protein donuts – A LOT. I’m also known for them. My coworkers request them, my TIU sisters want me to start delivering them, and my boyfriend loves them.  I have tried, tasted, and altered a dozen recipes. Some of them turn out wonderful, some of them turn out to be disasters I then consume with a spoon. Here is my #1 favorite donut recipe.

Chocolate Protein Donuts

1c almond meal
1/2c chocolate perfect fit protein (or another pea based protein)
1/2c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs cacao powder
3 tbs maple syrup
1 egg
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2c water
1/4c almond milk (as needed)

Topping

1/4c chocolate chips or bar
1 tsp coconut oil
drop of vanilla extract

Mix all of the dry ingredients. Mix all of the wet ingredients. Mix both together. Cut a corner off of a baggie and place mixture inside of the baggie. Pipe into greased donut pan. Bake 10-12 minutes in a 350* preheated oven. Melt 1/4c chocolate chips (Update: I have been using 1/4 of an Eating Evolved Signature Bar!), 1 tsp coconut oil, and a drop of vanilla for the topping. Cut a small corner off of a baggie and squeeze topping onto donuts. Keep refrigerated and enjoy! One batch makes 6 donuts.

Xo, Pam

Race Recap: 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon

I crossed the finish line!

I knew I could do it- but that’s not what I had been training to do. I wanted to cross the finish line in less than 2 hours, but that didn’t happen. I finished with a second best time of 2:05:05, and after calling my mom (duh!) and talking with Coach Jared, I’ve stopped beating myself up over it (more on that later).

Let’s rewind for a minute and talk about the race experience! Thursday afternoon, I headed to Brooklyn Bridge Park for the Pre-Party. At Pier 2, you picked up your race bib, had an opportunity to shop for Brooklyn merchandise, and get your last minute race questions answered. Brooklyn Running Co. set up shop with some cool Brooklyn gear and any last minute essentials (like headbands and Gu) that you may need. There was also a spot to get your race shirt customized! Outside there were swings, giant Jenga, a band stage, and fantastic views of the NYC skyline- the perfect photo op! There were just a few food trucks with some snacks and drinks; honestly, I was hoping for more food options.

Fast forward to race day… traveling from Nassau County to Brooklyn can be aggressive. We decided to hire a car which picked us up on time from my house and dropped us off right at the starting line. Our early wake up call ensured that we arrived in plenty of time to check our bags and get through security. My friend, Javi, was running in Wave 1 and bag check closed at 6:10am… Zzzz… I ate my breakfast while waiting in the corral since Wave 2 started didn’t start until 7:45am. This gave us time to warm up and use the porta potty (which I recommend doing ASAP because the lines became outrageous).

Race time! 7:45 am and the gun went off… funneling to the starting line I was SO READY to go. All that waiting had made me a little bit antsy to get started. The Brooklyn Half course starts with 3 miles outside of Prospect Park with minor ups and downs in the elevation. When you head into the park, it starts off flat and just before Mile 5 comes the biggest hill on the course which is not as steep as some of those Central Park hills, but seems like it will never end (it does, I promise). As you loop around the park, you discover what goes up must come down and get to enjoy a nice downhill as you come through Mile 7 just outside the park. You head to Ocean Parkway with a quick dip down and a steady bump in elevation on the entrance ramp. Think of this as your final stretch to the finish line- I just thought Ocean Parkway would never end. Until this point in the race, I was really feeling strong. The crowd was alive and had some really funny signs! My pace for the first few miles was a little faster than I wanted so I tried to slow myself down a little. I missed the ‘beep’ of my Garmin at Miles 6&7 and was unsure of how fast I was going. Unfortunately, I slowed myself down too much and had trouble picking up the pace again. When I saw my PR slipping away, I mentally checked out of the race, too.

As you’re running South, the Avenues go in order from A to Z then you make a right hand turn onto Surf Avenue and can see the roller coasters up ahead. The end is near! I had been wearing a bracelet with pace times for my 2 hour goal; when I saw the sign that said “800 meters to go,” I ripped it off and just made a strong finish. Crossing that finish line felt so good, but I was sooo disappointed in myself. I knew some of the mistakes I made early on in the race, but I was really mad that I had mentally given up. My jello legs made their way down the boardwalk where I was given my finisher’s medal, took a sweaty photo with it, then finally found some water (it kept everyone moving, but the water was a little bit down from the finish line).

After the satisfaction of crossing the finish line finally set in, now I had to find my friends and party! My legs were mush and I was tired, but I walked down the boardwalk where finishers also received a bag with water, Gatorade, an apple, pretzels, and a PowerBar. (One of the nice volunteers let me trade my bag so that crazy me could have a blue Gatorade- thank you!) Picking up my gear from bag check was a breeze and was also the designated meeting spot for my friends. *Side note: I had read recaps from last year about limited cell phone service. While I didn’t have a problem with my phone, some people had spotty service so make sure you designate a meeting point ahead of time.*

The Post-Race party was so much fun! You head into MCU Park, Home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, to find thousands of other runners celebrating with their friends and family. Beers were flowing, hot dogs were cooking, and the band was playing everything from the new JT song to some old school Spice Girls.

Before I left the house at 4am, my mom told me to “just have fun!” I definitely did that 🙂 The Brooklyn Half was a great race with excited runners, spectators cheering the whole way, and a killer finish line party. I will definitely be running this one again! Although I didn’t PR like I had hoped, I know there are more races to come. Coach Jared and I have discussed the idea of an October race… hmm… until then, I’m excited for the Baltimore 10 Miler in 2 weeks where I will be running for fun with my best friends!

Happy Sunday Funday, my loves!
Louise

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A huge congratulations to my friends; Javi, who crushed his goal with a time of 1:29:54 and to Virginia, who finished her first half marathon! 🙂

Workout Wednesday: 5 Strength Moves for the Stairs

Happy Wednesday, everyone! This week’s workout will target your total body in just 5 easy moves. I took our workout to the front steps of my house to kick it up a notch. Using stairs is a great way to add a vertical challenge for your workout. A step can also modify the intensity of an exercise to make it easier or more challenging depending on your fitness level.

Try these 5 moves for sets of 20 reps. Repeat 2-3 times through for a challenging, total body strength training routine.

1. Bulgarian Split Squats

Start with one foot up on a step and the other out in front. Bend both knees, keeping your torso upright and abs tight. Push back up to starting position. Complete 20 reps on one side before switching to the other.

2. Push Ups

Start with shoulders positioned over hands and brace your core. Lower your body, leading with your chest and bending at the elbows. Push yourself back up to the starting position. **To increase the intensity, put your feet on the step and hands on the ground (see exercise #5).

3. Step Ups w/ Knee Up

Start with one foot on the ground and one foot up on the step. Drive the bottom foot up, bring your knee towards your chest, then return that foot to the ground. **To increase the intensity, step up 2 stairs at a time.

4. Tricep Dips

Begin with your hands on the step, straight arms, then walk your feet out keeping your weight shifted in your arms. Bending at the elbow, lower your body weight down then push back up to the starting position.

5. Decline Mountain Climbers

Set yourself up in a high plank position with shoulders over the hands, core braced and feet up on the step. Drive one knee up to your chest then back to the step. Alternate left and right. **To decrease the intensity, place feet on the ground and hand on the step (see exercise #2).

Now head outside, enjoy the sunshine, and invite the neighbors over for a workout!

Catch ya later,
Louise

L: I Cheated on My Taper

Runner’s World defines the taper as “the reduction of exercise before a competition or race. Tapering is believed to be essential for best performance and can take from as little to a week to two or three weeks.” During a taper, mileage cuts back and intensity cools down. When race week comes, it’s time to focus on resting and mentally preparing for the big day. The countdown to Brooklyn is on… 4 days! And yesterday I was bad. I tried to cheat the taper. 

At the end of last week, I started having some back pain (over doing it on my workouts) and one of the PT’s I work with told me my back muscles were in a spasm. Ouch. To avoid further aggravation, I skipped my long run and exercising over the weekend. Then Sunday night I started reading other people’s recaps of Brooklyn and their sub-2 half marathons. And maaaybe I freaked a little bit. So Monday morning I woke up and went for my last run before Brooklyn. It should have been easy. Leisurely. A walk in the park. I should have just walked in the park. But mentally, I needed to make sure I could run a 9 minute mile… so I ran 3 of them.FullSizeRender (3)

And then Pam yelled at me 😦 I tried to cheat my taper and squeeze in some extra speedwork. Needless to say, my back started acting up again yesterday so now I am listening to my body! Ice and Advil, ftw. But I was pretty damn proud of myself!

I’ve come up with some things to keep me occupied for the rest of the week so I’m not tempted to try a race pace run again. When a training cycle is coming to an end and it’s time to taper, try making a list of activities so that you stay busy- it will be perfect to distract you from the decreased mileage!

  • Monday: (After my little running adventure…) I cooked chicken and brussels sprouts to eat for lunch at work! Brussels were marinated in olive oil, salt, pepper, & rosemary then roasted at 375* until crispy ❤
  • Tuesday: Manicure & pedicure! Splurged and got a foot massage, too 😉 Nails are painted the same pink as the Brooklyn race logo for inspiration
  • Wednesday: *singing Rihanna* Work, work, work, work, work, work
  • Thursday: Pre-Race Party! I am so pumped to check out the food vendors- HA! I’m bringing my mom along to party with me then we are heading to the Mets game!
  • Friday: Pasta party (duh!) Should I go for some garlic knots, too?

Our friend Race Pace Jess also created a list of things for keeping yourself busy the week before a race. Check her list out here!

Until Saturday, fingers crossed for sunny skies and PRs! ❤
Louise

 

Race Recap: UAE Healthy Kidney 10k

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I finished.

That is about how I will summarize yesterday’s run. One of my favorite quotes when it comes to social media is “never compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel”. We often only post the good- the PRs, the weight loss, the muscle definition- and we exclude the bad – legs that feel like lead, the emergency bathroom visits, the muscle aches and more.

Two weeks ago, I had a perfect race. I felt strong, fast, and unstoppable. I hit all of my splits and I ran my goal time. Yesterday, I just wanted to make it to the end. This past week I’ve been fighting a bit of a cold, I’ve been running on less sleep than usual, and my stress level has been a little elevated. Not only that, but I had a killer week of workouts and my body was sore and tired literally from my toes up to my the top of my head. When my alarm went off I almost hit snooze. But then I thought “why am I doing this? why did I start?”. I am trying to push my limits to become the best runner I can be and to enter marathon training season ready to do work! I also really like shiny medals and collecting dry fit shirts. So I rolled out of bed, gathered my items, and headed out to catch the 7:06am train from Lynbrook.

It was smooth sailing to get to the race start. I hopped the E train from Penn to 72nd, walked over to the bandshell to grab my bib number, checked my bag, used the porta potty, and headed to the start line. Waiting in the corral I knew I just wasn’t feeling it. My body felt heavy and tired but I told myself it was only 6 miles and to take one at a time. The gun sounded and we were off for just over one clockwise loop of the park (which is the opposite direction that I am typically used to). My body felt so tight and heavy but I tried to settle in.

IMG_1767I knew that I was going to have some hills to climb and they wasted no time starting. It wasn’t until we descended Harlem Hill and we had the climb for what felt like the entire mile 3 that my body was like “I’m over this”. I wanted to walk to be quite honest but then I found these two runners in front of me. One was an older gentleman and one was a female around my age.  They both had tanks with a slogan that I can’t quite remember but it was a program for addicts to become athletes. I’ll never know if they were running for themselves, a loved one, or just to support the cause in general, but the energy they gave off was contagious.  The gentleman was being so motivating and encouraging and every time he dropped a one liner, I pretended he was talking to me. I ran behind them for at least another mile before I realized that I was officially “the creepy girl in the purple tank running behind them that looked like she was dying”. So on a downhill I ran up beside the gentleman and was like “hey, I just wanted to thank you both for being so motivating and inspiring today. I really wanted to walk back there but instead I hung onto your energy and I really appreciate it”. Then I decided to run in their vicinity for the last mile instead of right behind them to reduce the awkward level.

The last 800m is identical to the NYC marathon finish and it really brought up a lot of emotions. It allowed me to remember the big picture and that all of these tears, sweat, and calluses are going to be worth it come November. The duo ran up beside me for the last 400m and we kicked it up a notch. Suddenly, the girl stopped running and said go ahead without me. WHAT?!?! My new gentleman friend and I turned around and we were like no way- the finish line is literally 200 yards away. This moment is really engrained in my memory.  Sometimes we fear success. What if actually achieve the things that we thought were impossible? What do we do once we have stepped into the unknown? What happens next in this unfamiliar territory? Watching her shake off her doubts and to cross that finish line together was the highlight of my day. I say it all the time but running is so much more than a physical activity. The memories and experiences I have shared on the concrete have been life changing. I’ll never know what their stories are but I know that they became a part of mine. My garmin says I finished the race with a 55:43 for 6.26 miles  and a 8:54 average pace. Post race I grabbed my bag (which NYRR does flawlessly), a frozen orangeade, and I hopped the subway back to Penn with my shiny medal in hand.

This Wednesday I jet off to Miami for my fitness retreat with the Tone It Up girls so be ready for a 305 explosion.

Xo, Pam

Event Recap: lululemon’s Word of Mouth with Jenn Hunter-Marshall

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What’s one word to describe Jenn? What do you think you know about Jenn?
She’s a badass.
…Or is that a mask?

Long Island is known for it’s gossip. This event embraced the gossip and went straight to the source. Jennifer Hunter-Marshall is a Coach at CrossFit Garden City. She not only coaches in Garden City, but she also works for CrossFit to train new coaches. As a lululemon ambassador, she is known around Long Island for showing off her six pack abs on the store’s wall. But what is Jenn really like? Who is she beneath the tough exterior? That’s exactly what May’s Word of Mouth event taught us!

Jenn shared her story with a small group of people. Some were lululemon employees, some CFGC members, some friends, and some friends of friends. Starting back when she was eight years old, she referred to a picture of herself that is kept on her desk; striking a sassy pose and sticking her belly out. Jenn talked about her first year of college. She had an ROTC scholarship and she was working hard in classes when some major medical issues came up. That is when she learned the act of putting on an exterior to protect what was really going on. So she put on the mask that she was still living a healthy life and became determined to overcome. Her best friend basically told her to burn it all to the ground- go skydiving, hang out with frat boys, and do it all without care. But Jenn is true to her values and never let the speed bumps change her attitude. Jenn touched on the dreams of the girl in the picture and how they differ from the dreams of the woman she is today. The dreams that she and her husband have for their future and their family. The challenges that have come up and the masks she has worn over the years while overcoming those challenges.

“What would you tell the girl in that picture?”
“Suck it in!”

The truth is there will be speed bumps. There will be dark times. But you get over those speed bumps. You come out of that dark place. And the gossip you hear may only be a mask that someone is wearing. You see their tough exterior, but need to take the time to learn what’s happening on the inside. That’s how the gossip changes. You strive for that girl’s six pack and see only your stretch marks- maybe she wishes she had stretch marks. We compare our story to someone else’s highlight reel; thinking: Why not me? Well, why NOT me?

L: Before I knew Jenn, I knew her as this ripped chick lifting weights in a picture on the wall of lululemon Roosevelt Field. When I worked at lulu, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Jenn whenever she came into the store. She has a tough exterior, but once she opens her mouth, you know she is a sweetheart. Listening to Jenn talk about how we all put on these “masks” made me think about the masks I’ve worn. Sometimes you cry in the shower, but then it’s time to pull it together. It’s about finding your inner strength.

P: I had never met Jenn before this evening, but I HAD heard about the badass woman that ran CFGC. I was so excited to finally meet her and learn more about the journey that has led to where she is today. My favorite message I took away was the idea of perfection. Especially as women, we feel this immense pressure to be perfect and when we come up short, it means we have failed. But is it really failure? Or is it exactly where we are supposed to be at that moment in life? I personally believe that when we shed the preconceived image of what exactly a perfect life is, we can then live the life that we are meant to have. Jenn was a perfect example of adapting to the curve balls life throw her and using them to propel her to the next step in life.

The event was intimate with several couches set up in the lobby of CFGC. As people arrived and Jenn began speaking, there was still a group completing the W.O.D. which we casually peaked in on. Before and after Jenn spoke, everyone mingled, sipped some wine and enjoyed some snacks. Belkis Bites made the delicious treats including salmon cakes, grilled vegetables, stuffed mushrooms, and turkey lettuce wraps- yum!

Thank you to the lovely Coach Jenn for opening up your heart to us and sharing your story! And a big thank you to lululemon Roosevelt Field for hosting a great event. We’re not sure when the next Word of Mouth event will be… but you know we will be there.

Xo,
Louise & Pam

img_1732PS. Their bathrooms are fantastic. It literally had everything you could possibly need post workout to transition to the day. A mirror selfie was required 😉

Recipe of the Week: Energy Bites

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Oatmeal balls, energy bites, globules of deliciousness, whatever you want to call them- they are amazing. My favorite thing about them is that they take less than 10 minutes to prepare and you can really alter any recipe to fit whatever ingredients you have around your house. Sometimes I add extra chocolate if I want them as a dessert or I add a scoop of protein powder

My Classic Oat Bite Recipe

1 cup dry rolled oats

1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

½ cup nut butter (I used natural, unsalted peanut butter)

½ cup ground flax seed

½ cup chocolate chips (optional, may substitute with raisins, seeds, or cranberries)

1/4 cup raw honey

1 tsp vanilla

My Blueberry Oat Bite Recipe

1 cup dry rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1 scoop pea protein

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

My Vanilla Coffee Oatmeal Bites

1 cup dry rolled oats

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup almond butter

2 tbsp ground coffee beans

1 scoop of pea protein (optional)

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions for all of the recipes!

  1. Mix together all the ingredients. Make sure everything is mixed well, it will help with making the balls.
  2. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour. (if too dry- add a splash of almond milk)
  3. Roll, roll, roll the mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter.
  4. Enjoy!

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L: Dreaming of Summer Running

Only 11 days until the Brooklyn Half Marathon!! I think it’s finally starting to sink in… until this point, the race has seemed so far away. Now I’m in Week #11 of training and the runs are starting to get a little shorter…

After a little set back last week, I picked up with my speed workout on Saturday then rested Sunday. Monday morning I adventured to Massapequa Preserve for my 90 minute long run; it was so nice outside and early in the morning the park was so peaceful. Unfortunately, I have no idea of my distance or pace because I forgot my Garmin 😦 But the run felt good and I practiced eating my Gu and drinking water on the go- every second is going to count next week.

Heading out on another running adventure today, I went down to Jones Beach to run on the boardwalk for my speed workout. Last week, my speed workout changed to 6 x 2 minutes at my half pace (or faster) with 1 minute of recovery in between. It’s definitely challenging, but I know I’m pushing myself to run faster than race pace. Knowing I can push myself to go a little faster is calming my lingering race day nerves.

The boardwalk is a great place to run or walk and I’ll often go for a run in the morning before plopping my beach chair in the sand. During the week this is a great place to go, but avoid it in the summer on the weekends since the beach is usually pretty crowded. You can ride your bike along the boardwalk, too! Running from Field 6 down to the far end of Field 1 is 2 miles and there are mile markers along the way. Today I did an out and back run with a mile warm up and cool down. The south wind was really blowing on the first half of my run, but it carried me all the way back.

Speedy Thoughts from My Speed Workout

  1. Oh hello, sir. Starting your Garmin, too… and you’re gone.
  2. This wind is not making for a good swell today. Or for running west.
  3. Hi Garmin man! I’m running right behind you. I hope I’m not creepy. We’re going the same pace…
  4. I literally cannot wait to just lay on the beach. How many weeks until Memorial Day?
  5. I have to stop looking at the ground. The boardwalk is making me dizzy.
  6. These guys are riding longboards… I should try that. But would I ride the same way as I snowboard? Why does it seem awkward?
  7. Keep running. Get to the pencil.
  8. Sprint. Just sprint it out.
  9. 3..2..1.. Yes! Done! Only 4 more runs to go…
  10. What should I have for lunch?

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Who else is getting excited for Brooklyn?! Are you guys running any other races in May?

Keep running,
Louise

PSA: Instagram Geotags & Safety

There is always a lot of talk about internet safety and protecting your identity. I try not to do the obvious things like post ultra personal information or purchase things on unprotected websites. However, I live a very active social media life. I obviously have this blog, a fitness IG account with over 9,000 followers, a personal IG account, multiple FB accounts, and more. I’m connected with friends, family, colleagues, other fitness professionals, Tone It Up girls, and COMPLETE STRANGERS I’ve never met before.

So when my friend Gabby alerted me today that she heard Bethany on Z100 say someone approached her and was like “hey, I don’t want to scare you but I know where you live” thanks to IG geotags, I was alerted. I immediately went to my fitness account where I had over 600 tags on my home! Someone could literally see exactly what house I lived in. Now obviously that’s not top secret for my friends and family, but it is definitely not something I want so easily accessible to the general public. So do me a favor, go to your IG account, and check to see exactly what information is accessible.

Here is my personal IG account (since I already removed them from my fitness act)! If you click on the location symbol (the pear shape with the dot in the middle) it pulls up this map. If you continued to click on the photo collection  with 334 photos, it would literally take you to my street and my house. Click EDIT, then click on the album, then DESELECT ALL, then DONE, and then CONTINUE when it asks to remove geotags. And then go to your iPhone settings to remove the Location services access for Instagram.

 

Xo, Pam

5 Tips to Dominate Your AM Workouts

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I have a secret- I love AM workouts. Starting my day off with a bout of heart pumping exercise before the day takes over allows me to center my thoughts and sharpen my focus. It also provides me a post workout glow that I continue to carry throughout the day. With our busy schedules and daily demands, we never know how the day may unfold so I love knowing that my workout is already checked off my to do list.

However, waking up before the sun rises is not always easy- the snooze button and your blankets can be so tempting! Here are my favorite 5 tips to have a successful AM workout and to make rolling out of bed a little easier.

1) Prep all of your bags and lay out your clothes the night prior. Being successful at morning workouts truly begins the night before. I make sure that I always have my lunch packed, my clothes laid out, and my work bag ready to go. This allows me to minimize the time I need in the morning and it makes sure that I don’t forget anything at home. I also set my coffee pot for 5 minutes before my alarm is set so it is ready to go and I can smell it brewing.

2) Go to bed early and without distractions. This seems like a no brainer but sometimes I fall into the trap. I get home from work and I decide to flip on a television show. Next thing I know an hour has passed and now I am behind on getting my desired hours of sleep. On nights where I know I have an early morning workout planned, I try to leave the television off and limit time on my phone. This helps me fall asleep on time and with my mind a little more centered.

3) Set your aIMG_1511larm with music. I dread the sound of an alarm clock. There is nothing that makes me want to get my day started less than a horrendous WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP. I pick two songs (I set two alarms, the first one means wake up and four minutes later it means stand up) with a soothing intro that builds into more of an upbeat tune. I enjoy hearing my alarm go off and it puts a smile on my face. My current wake up tunes are by Sia and Ellie Goulding.

4) Set your alarm with a message. On my Iphone, I can label my alarms with different names. I choose to name them with a motivational quote, emojis that make me happy, or events coming up that are really important to me. If I am training for a certain race or event then I always include that. This helps me take off the covers and get my workout underway.

5) Have your workout written out. If you go to the gym without a plan, your workout is going to take longer or it’s not going to be as productive. I always know exactly what I’m doing and it is usually some form of a high intensity workout. This allows me to elevate my heart rate and keep the duration to 30 minutes or less. Having it written out eliminates you having to think too much and ensures you have a successful workout.

 

What time of day do you prefer to workout? Do you have any AM workout tips?

Xo, Pam