Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day with a Premier Protein Giveaway

I am a 2017 Premier Protein Ambassador. Premier Protein has provided the prize in this giveaway. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

Happy National Hot Chocolate Day! I love these made-up holidays, not only do they provide an endless amount of blog content to add to my editorial calendar, they are a fun way to connect on social media. I even made up my own holiday once or twice with National Hug a Blogger Day and National Run with Your Dog Day.

I am a 2017 Premier Protein ambassador so when I saw that Premier Protein had a delicious hot chocolate recipe, I wanted to share it with you it to celebrate this holiday! Premier Protein is generously offering my readers a chance to win a 4-pack of chocolate shakes so you can try it for yourself.



In our kitchen at work they have an assortment of coffee, tea and hot chocolate packs. I was having a chocolate craving one afternoon and felt tempted to drink a cup of hot chocolate made from the packet. I am mindful of the foods that I eat and I try to make healthful choices most of the time, but that is not to say I don't enjoy a treat when the cravings strike. I am a big believer in balance. One indulgence will never hurt my progress as long as most of the time I make better choices.

I turned over the hot chocolate packet to take a look at the nutritional content. The calories, fat and carbs did not phase me but when I read the ingredients on the package, I immediately put it away. The first ingredient (the largest ingredient comes first) was corn syrup and it went downhill from there. While I know that consuming a couple hundred of less-than-nutritious calories will not make any difference, it just became unappealing to me. Yuck.

I was thrilled to try out this recipe from Premier Protein because it is a healthier protein-rich version of the hot chocolate I was craving. With 160 calories and 30 grams of protein it is a much healthier treat than those hot chocolate packets from my office. I made mine a little differently than the recipe because I didn't have half and half, so I just used 2% milk. It turned out amazing.



1 Premier Protein chocolate shake
1/4 cup of 2% milk
1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter

I heated the shake, milk and powder in the microwave for one minute until it was warm, then I added the peanut butter and stirred until it was melted and blended.

If you want to save some calories and fat from the peanut butter another option would be to use a (affiliate link) peanut butter powder like this one instead of whole peanut butter.



I invite you to enter the giveaway to win a 4-pack of chocolate protein shakes. You can choose one of the entry options listed below or do them all for the best chance of winning.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


GIVEAWAY RULES:  
Contest runs 1/31/17 - 2/7/17
No purchase necessary
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older
Must have a shipping address in the US
Winner will notified via email and will have three business days to claim prize
If original winner does not claim prize within three business days an alternate winner will be selected
Winner will be drawn randomly from all registered contestants in the US
Prize will ship within 30 days on contest end from Fort Worth, TX

Ollie says good luck but his eyes say "are you really making me do this?"



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Lea

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tunes Tuesday Linkup: Alternative Rock Songs to Add to Your Running Playlist

My big three big passions in life are running, writing and rock 'n' roll, so when I have the opportunity to write about running and music it gets me all fired up. Some of my blogger friends are hosting a Tunes Tuesday linkup and they are inviting other bloggers to share their favorite music and playlists. I'm in!



I am a huge Jack White fan (of the White Stripes fame). Besides his work in the White Stripes, he is (was?) also in the Raconteurs, he's the drummer in the Dead Weather and has several solo albums. I'll warn you in advance my playlist is Jack White heavy, because it is what I love the most. I used to even have a blog dedicated to my Jack White love, but who can keep up with three blogs? Certainly not me. Two blogs are enough..

I'm a vinyl-lover, but since a record player isn't conducive to running outdoors, I'll settle for iTunes or Spotify for my running songs.

 (affiliate -->)Audio Technica AT-LP60WH-BT Fully Automatic Bluetooth Wireless Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable, White 


Without further ado, I invite you to check out my Alternative Rock 'n' Roll Running Playlist on Spotify. These are the songs that get me moving across the finish line a little faster.





What are your favorite running songs?

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Lea


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

10 PODCASTS FOR FITNESS & BUSINESS

I discovered PodCasts out of necessity. I know they've been around for a decade or more, but I just never took the time to look into them. Until one day we moved offices around at work and all of a sudden there was nothing but a cubicle wall separating me and a Chatty Cathy. The talking never stops. I hear about what's for dinner, her complaint about her cell phone service, her husband's medical bills, how many steps she got on her FitBit... She doesn't stop talking for eight hours a day. I just couldn't take it anymore. Not only was it distracting, it was annoying. I needed an escape.

I love my music but I know if I put all my favorite albums on repeat for eight hours a day, I would quickly wear them out. Enter PodCasts. I looked online for recommendations, asked friends and searched iTunes for my interests: fitness, business, entrepreneurs, blogging, etc. I opened up a whole new world. With a little experimenting over the last few months these are the 10 PodCasts that resonate me with me so far.



Business & Biceps


Two guys who run a fitness (supplement) business together talk all things fitness and business. They do an occasional interview but it is usually just the guys bantering. I told my husband I felt a little like I was listening in on bro-talk at the gym, but not in a bad way. They have one long PodCast and two short motivational speech types during the week. I enjoy listening on my way into work on Monday mornings.


Mind Pump | Raw Fitness Truth


Raw is right. If you're easily offended by strong language or real bro-talk this probably isn't the PodCast for you. This Podcast does a great job of mixing entertainment with information. While the guys make inappropriate jokes and have fun, I learn so much about the science of training, coaching and nutrition. These guys really know their stuff. It's great for trainers, but even if you are not a trainer, you can learn a lot about your own training and nutrition by listening in on their weekly conversations.



Fitness Hacks PodCast


I freakin' love Cori Lefkowith. She has an online business and presence, as well as fitness studio in Costa Mesa. This PodCast is Cori and Ryan Heenan interviewing successful fitness business owners and coaches. I learn a lot about fitness, business and marketing. It's so inspiring to learn from the people who are a farther ahead of me on the fitness business path.



The Strength Running PodCast


This PodCast is right up my alley. It is Jason Fitzgerald interviewing and sometimes coaching runners on their training. Since Jason is a running coach after my own heart (focus on strength training) I learn a lot from hearing his advice and listening in on his interviews with runners.




The Side Hustle Show


The side hustle show is another fabulous interview format show. The host interviews people who are successfully side hustlin' (aka part-time entrepreneurs). It is so inspiring to hear the stories and takeaways from the people who are making success happen on the side: from internet businesses, blogs, freelance businesses, service businesses and everything in between. I walk away every week with new actionable tips and ideas. This is one of my favorites, When a new episode drops it goes to the top of the playlist.



You Need to Hear This


Leigh Peele is amazing. This PodCast is her thoughts on fitness, psychology and health. She is a trainer, researcher and writer. She hasn't released a new PodCast since November, but she said on Facebook she had a new series coming up in 2017. Hurry up already! You can get caught up before the new episodes come out.



The FitCast


This PodCast has been running for over 10 years. I've listened to much of the back catalog but there will probably never be enough hours in the day to get through 10 years of the FitCast. The host interviews fitness experts and leaders in the field. This is where I was first was introduced to Leigh Peele, she was once a co-host on this show. It's always entertaining and informative.


Online Trainers PodCast


Linh Trinh gives quick tips and actionable items for personal trainers making the transition to online training. The daily PodCasts are short and to the point chalk full or marketing and motivation, I walk away with a new idea every single day.



Fitnesspreneur's Life


Vito is a motivational speaker. I really enjoy listening to his Podcast, he gets me fired up! He's a trainer and a BeachBody coach so there is a lot of talk of Beachbody. Even though I am not interested in Beachbody, there are a ton of great business and marketing takeaways that apply to any business.


Lift Heavy Run Long (LHRL) PodCast


This show is purely entertainment. I like listening in on this crew of ultra runners who also do CrossFit. It's a unique combination, the love of strength training and marathon running, so I was hooked with their positive message of fitness and acceptance. You don't have to choose between running and lifting weights, these good 'ol southern boys (and girl) prove you can do both.


What am I missing? I realized when putting together my list that I am mostly listening to men. What female led PodCasts will inspire and educate me on fitness and business?

Do you listen to any of these PodCasts? Do you agree? Any other recommendations?



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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Note to Self: Grow Thicker Skin

When you have a blog (or two) you put yourself out there in a way that sometimes can be scary. I've been blogging seriously since 2011 and I have been extremely lucky that my contact with internet trolls has been few and far between. Some people got mad a few years ago when I posted about how the Paleo diet wasn't for me (gasp!) and someone once lambasted me for suggesting going to a running store to get your foot strike analyzed (how dare me!). Other than a creepy guy here and there, that has been the extent of it. I've been lucky. The internet can be cruel.

It's weird how it doesn't matter that 100s of people tell me they love my blog, when one person calls me a narcissist and a snob, I can't get it out of my mind. Even when those two particular insults are so far away from truth that if you know me at all or ever read my blogs, I think you'd know that. I can't image how i'd feel if someone called me something that I was actually insecure about.

So I wrote a blog post on LGF that sort of went Pinterest-viral called, Things to Never Say to a Runner. Now the article itself was categorized under humor and intended to be tongue-in-cheek, as a runner's inside joke. The article wasn't really directed at non-runners because let's face it, non-runners probably aren't reading a running blog in the first place.

I am thoughtful of the things I write and how people will perceive them. It occurred to me when I was writing it that it might come off a little snarky, so I went out of my way to soften it by starting the article with a story about how I don't know the first thing about golf and I asked my golfer friend a really stupid question. Self-depreciating humor to reemphasize that I understand that you don't know what you don't know.

I also wrote in the article that I realized when when people say stupid or silly things to runners their intention is really just to show an interest and I certainly don't expect all my non-runner friends to brush up on all things running just so they can talk to me, but I guess this commenter skimmed over all that.

She told me not to take myself so seriously (it was categorized under humor!) and that I sounded like a narcissist and a snob. She also went on a rant about how she perceived that I said running on a treadmill means that you are not a real runner, something that I would never say and certainly don't believe, especially since I run on a treadmill too. In fact, my often-cited favorite running quote is:


“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” - John Bingham


There were two similar comments within five minutes of each other on a blog post from four months ago, so I assume the commenters knew each other. I left one comment up because it at least tried to be civil about the difference of opinion but I deleted the snob comment because while I am open to constructive feedback, I don't have to stand for people insulting me on my own blog.

This has been swirling around in my head for about a week and writing about things that bother me help me get them out of my head so I can move on from them emotionally. Thanks for listening.

My blog is largely focused on helping runners find the courage and strength to start and continue a healthy running journey, something that is neither narcissistic or snobby. Right? Quick. Someone tell me i'm nice.

Note to self: Grow Thicker Skin.






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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Furry Friday Feature: Calypso the Wonder Mutt (Black Dog Runs Disney)

Happy New Year, friends! I am excited to kick off Furry Friday Feature in 2017 with my old buddy Calypso the wonder Mutt. But first indulge me....

I run two blogs now and I don't like posting on Fridays on both sites. I'd rather space out posts between the sites because it makes it easier for me to share on social media. I am considering moving Furry Friday Feature to Thursdays. Furry Thursday Feature doesn't have the same ring. Tail-wagger Thursday? Dog Trot Thursday? (That sounds gross.) My running partner has a tail Thursday? Any other ideas? Maybe someone out there can come up with something better. I'll send you a "my running partner has four legs" tank top if I use your idea. 

It's Friday and I am ready for the weekend. It's been cold here in Texas but Ollie doesn't seem to mind the cold as much as I do, I guess he has that fur coat to keep him warm! He wants to run and walk more than ever while I have been wimping-out on the treadmill. It's only been cold for about a week here and I am already over it. How did I ever live in Pennsylvania? But I digress...

Meet Calypso (aka the wonder mutt) from Black Dog Runs Disney!


Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner?

Calypso aka Wonder Mutt. She's a 6 year old rescued Lab mix (even though she thinks she ALL Lab), who lives to run, splash, get belly rubs, and basically be the queen of all things silly!

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?

Our neighborhood here in south Florida and the West Orange Trail just outside of Disney World in Winter Garden, Florida


Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.

The day I took Calypso running with me after I had both my knees scoped out and cleaned, and she got me my fastest mile time in years!

Tell us a funny story about Calypso

You mean other than the obsessive water jumping, dinnertime sad faces, Christmas tree ornament tail of destruction incidents and farting so badly she wakes herself up out of a sound sleep? No. No funny stories. :)



What running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?

Who cares about form, time, PR's, or latest running fashions? Just run and chase squirrels!

Thanks so much Kimberley for sharing Calypso with us! What a cute face. You can follow Kimberley and Calypso on Black Dog Runs Disney or @vixen1267 on Twitter or @blackdogrunsdisney on Instagram

Want to be featured with your favorite four-legged running partner? Fill out this form for a chance to be featured in a future blog post. 




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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 New Year Goals

We are a week into the New Year and I am ready to talk goals. I am a big believer in making goals all year long and not relying on a new year, a new month or even a new week to start making changes. But, like the rest of the human race, I am not perfect and I have been falling into the "I'll start Monday" trap for many of the things I want to accomplish. With that being said, I like New Year's resolutions because January 1st feels like a fresh start. Since the New Year only comes once a year, I better start now.

Here's a cute pic of Ollie to kick off 2017


Before I can talk about this year, I like to review last year and talk about what went well, what could be improved and where I failed.

My Business


My major goal of 2016 was to gain momentum with Lea Genders Fitness. Vague enough? While the blog (aka my comfort zone) on that site has taken off like crazy, the training and coaching part has been inching forward slowly. I took a few steps forward but am still far away from where I want to be. I think part of my problem is that I haven't clearly defined where I want to be. I'm not sure a full time trainer is what I even want. Actually, I am pretty sure it is not.

When I got my personal training certification, my initial motivation behind it was just to gain knowledge so that I would have some authority behind my writing. I didn't want to be another fitness blogger, I want to be a personal trainer and running coach who is a fitness writer. Make sense?

But then once I was certified, I thought I wanted to take on clients. I started teaching at a local studio and really enjoyed those classes, but I knew that being a group fitness instructor working for someone else was not the long term path I wanted to follow. Again, I loved having 'group fitness instructor' under my belt, but not as a career path. I start leading my own boot camps (separate of the studio) on Saturday mornings which I love and I think that could evolve into a partial income stream.

My Fitness


I hurt my shoulder last year so I haven't been as active as usual. Despite not being able to workout aggressively, I've pretty much maintained my weight by increasing my daily activity (walking more, etc.) but I've been stubborn. A lot of running causes shoulder pain and I can't do any upper body workouts so I haven't been as consistent with my workouts despite the fact that my legs work just fine and I could be working on building leg and core strength while my shoulder heals. I could stand to lose 5 pounds, nothing major just some tightening up.

Personal Growth


I started studying with Precision Nutrition at the end of last year and totally fell off the wagon after Thanksgiving. I have no idea what happened other than I got lazy with my free time. I can't say I didn't have time, I just chose to spend that time in other ways.


2017:


Goal 1: Develop and grow income streams from writing, blogging and training. 


Pursue freelance writing in a big way in 2017
Grow my boot camps into a regular recurring part-time income.
Take on one or two personal training clients in the evenings (revamp my packages)
Pursue additional paid blogging opportunities


Goal 2: Lose 5 pounds of fat and strength train 2-3 times a week


Russ and I joke that 2017 is the year of abs. My real goal is to lose 5 pounds of fat by monitoring my diet a little closer (I've been a little lax over the holidays) and being more consistent with regular moderate exercise that doesn't irritate my shoulder.

Side note: I started on Redefining Strength's Macro Cycling program. Week one was kind of an eye opener. Without tracking I generally assumed I was getting enough protein because I eat at least three protein-centric meals each day (eggs, chicken breast, fish, etc.). When I plugged the program's numbers into my My Fitness Pal I was high on healthy fats and low on protein every single day. I am working now on increasing my protein intake and reducing my fat intake for week two. I'll let you know how it goes.

Goal 3: Run the Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon with a 2 year PR. 


I'd love to say finish it with a PR, but I am pretty far away from that old PR (1:59) and given my shoulder and running limitations, running faster than I have in past two years is more of an achievable goal given the time frame. The race is in late March, I better start training seriously.

Goal 4: Save Money 


We made a goal to save as much money as possible in 2017. This means making sacrifices and not eating out. We want to make great strides towards paying off our house in 2017. It is a huge goal, but one that is achievable with a little focus and commitment.

Goal 5: Blog More Consistently


Continue the momentum over at Lea Gender's Fitness by posting three times a week and developing a more consistent schedule of 2-3 posts a week on this blog. While the numbers on LGF have grown, they have dropped here. I guess you get out of it what you put into it. My goal is to write every day in Microsoft Word and then decide later where it belongs (Lea Genders Fitness, Running with Ollie or freelance article). See goal 7 for how I plan to achieve this goal.

Goal 6: Finish my Precision Nutrition Certification


I just need to do it. Take the time. Take the tests. The more time I put into it the faster it will be over. Commit to studying daily until I complete it. Science is hard, y'all.

Goal 7: Get up at 5:30 am consistently, even on the weekends


The idea here is to develop a consistent sleep schedule. I like getting up at 5:30 to write, workout or work on my business (or study!) before work, but it's hard for me until I can develop it as a habit. One way to build the habit faster is to do it 7 days a week, not just on workdays. Since my plan is to write a little more for both blogs, 5:30am is the perfect time to do it. I haven't started yet. When I told my husband my plan I could tell he was resisting rolling his eyes and he just said "There is nothing to it but to do it." Couldn't have said it better myself.

Goal 8: 10K Steps a Day


in 2016 I met my step goal of at least 10k a day every single day except for this four day stretch in October when I hurt my back and I couldn't move at all. While it pains me that I broke this extra long streak, I just say now that I stepped 10K every day that I was physically able. My goal is to continue this streak into 2017. I credit my step goal with being able to maintain my weight (for the most part) despite cutting my running volume way down. Whether it was by running, walking or just using the restroom on another floor at work, I met my 10K step goal every day and it really opened my eyes to the effectiveness of just moving (outside of traditional exercise). 

Goal 9: Give up Alcohol


Say what? I know it may sound like a big deal to some folks, but this should be a relatively easy one for us. Russ and I are committed to not drinking any alcohol in 2017. 365 days. It's more of an experiment than anything. We went five months in 2016 and often take months off at a time. It just feels like the right year to stay strictly focused on our goals. We have a house to pay off, we don't have money for alcohol anyway. I think with this goal we'll slide into 2018 richer, skinner, healthier and happier. 2017 is never going to be the year of abs if alcohol is involved. ha ha. 


Happy New Year, friends. Thanks for indulging me. I write out my goals in a blog post because it helps me to process my thoughts, it makes them feel more final and committed and I like coming back next year to evaluate how it went!

Do you write New Year's resolutions or goals? What big things do you have in store for 2017?

We got this! Right Ollie? High-Five!




Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

Ways to (legally) stalk me:




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Saturday, January 7, 2017

BRING IT ON 2017

Happy New Year, friends! I am looking forward to another great year in 2017. I have so many things brewing and it seems the opportunities are coming in from all angles. I am excited, hopeful and a little (a lot) nervous about the big goals I have set for myself in 2017.

BlogFest


First and foremost I am going to BlogFest again this year! This will be my third year and it is one of the highlights of my year. Here is my recap for BlogFest 2015 and BlogFest 2016. The past two years were in Los Angeles, but this year the convention is held in Las Vegas. 

Pros: 1. Hotels are cheaper in Vegas than downtown LA 2. My sister lives in Vegas. 
Cons: Heat death in Vegas in July. 

BlogFest is in conjunction with the major IDEA World Fitness convention, so my registration gets me into two days of blogging focused seminars with the SweatPink ladies and then two days in the IDEA World fitness professional sessions. It is free to attend for bloggers but you have to apply in advance. Will I see you there? 



Premier Protein


I signed on again as a Premier Protein ambassador for 2017. This is an amazing opportunity and I am thrilled to work with them again this year. What does it mean for you? Samples, giveaways, recipes and if you come to my boot camps, protein for everyone! This year, Premier Protein is all about making the day yours! How is Premier Protein helping you enjoy your day, not just the things you have to do, but the things you want to do? I'll be using the hashtag #TheDayIsYours when posting.



Fit 2 Run Boot Camp


Speaking of boot camps, I am hosting a free boot camp every Saturday morning in Haltom City at the Birdville track. We meet at a track, but the workouts are not your typical running or track workouts. We do boot camp-esque movements like squats, pushups and lunges using our body weight, medicine balls and resistance bands. Examples of typical workouts can be found on the Lea Genders Fitness Strength & Running Blog, like this stair workout and this medicine ball workout. Looks fun, right? You can join on MeetUp, on my personal training site or in our Facebook group. I would seriously LOVE to see you there.




Precision Nutrition


Oh crap. I forgot to study since Thanksgiving. Forgot? Sure, let's go with that. I started off really strong and just puttered out. Going to get back into it next week and power through. This is so meaningful to me. I believe that nutrition is the most important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. If you are starting at ground zero, get your eating on track first and you can layer exercise on later. The thing I love about Precision Nutrition is that it is 50% nutrition science (which is as exciting as...well, nutrition science) and 50% coaching training. Once I finish I will be able to better serve my clients. 

Spartan Race Giveaway/ Instagram


I am sponsoring a Spartan Race Giveaway next week on my Instagram channel good for one free registration in the US to help promote the new Spartan Race season passes and the early 2017 races like So Cal, Arizona, Houston, Atlanta & Vegas. In addition there are also some very cool new medals, t-shirts & lots of new obstacles! Stay tuned. I'll add the link here when it goes live. There will be one US based winner. 

In other Instagram news, I usually don't get too caught up in the followers or numbers because I believe that engagement is way more important than followers; a million followers who don't care or engage with your content is almost irrelevant, while a smaller, more engaged community is more meaningful. With that being said, I am a mere 167 followers away from a huge milestone of 10K followers on Instagram. If we are not following each other yet, I'd love to connect



Revo2lution Running Ambassador


I signed on as a Revo2lution Running Ambassador. If you recall, I got a revolution running certification last year and now I am working with Jason Karp to help promote this program. If you are interested in becoming a running coach or just gaining more knowledge to become a better runner, I get a small % if you sign up for the program and say that you were referred by Lea Genders. The price for you stays the same either way but if you mention my name I make a few dollars which helps with the running (pun intended) and maintenance of this site and Lea Genders Fitness



I am ready to take on 2017! I hope to see you in person in Fort Worth, at events around the country or on social media. Happy New Year, friends!


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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

Ways to (legally) stalk me:




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