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Instagram Fitness Challenges

I love doing Instagram fitness challenges and  I think you should do one too. Here are 5 reasons why.

1.     Accountability- Once I commit on my Instagram that I am going to do a fitness challenge, I feel like I am voicing it to the world and I don’t want to skip a day. Even on days when I am exhausted or have had a very full day, I still do a little bit of activity and get my Yoga picture in for the day. Pretty soon 15-20 minutes of Yoga practice happens that would have otherwise been skipped.

2.    Variety- Let’s face it workouts can get pretty monotonous at times or you get stuck in a rut. Fitness challenges can give you new exercises and help get you past a plateau. Yoga challenges are a great way to expand your Yoga practice and get you past doing the typical Sun Salutation over an over again.

3.     Challenging- There are many exercises that look very difficult or even impossible to me.  Because I personally do Yoga challenges, some of the poses require a significant amount of strength and flexibility. Attempting the pose or a modification of the pose challenges you both mentally and physically. Doing the poses each day also challenges your body. Every day you get a little bit stronger, a little bit more flexible, and a little more brave.

4.    Marked Progress- Sometimes we work hard and don’t notice results because we are only looking for weight loss or some other number but what about changes that you can see in pictures? When I do Yoga day in and day out, I don't think that my poses are getting any better, but when I have a picture to compare it to, I can see how much progress I have made in a certain posture.

5. It's Inspiring- It's a lot more fun to workout and be able to get creative at the same time. If you are doing a challenge and posting pictures, it's fun to find different backgrounds or fun places to take your fitness challenge to. It also inspires workouts when you would otherwise just kick back and not do much activity. Even though I am very active, I find myself inspired to want to get even better at what I like to do because I have a challenge I am working towards.



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Taco Ground Turkey

This healthy recipe is a favorite in our house.  I make this weekly and we all snack on it throughout the week.  It's so easy and so good!

  • Taco Ground Turkey
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes or fresh tomatoes chopped
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1/2-1 onion chopped
  • 1 serrano chile chopped

Brown and cook your ground turkey in a pan sprayed with a little cooking oil.  Once meat is cooked add in the tomatoes, taco seasoning, onion and chile.  Cook another 5 minutes on low then enjoy.

You can serve this with a sweet potato, and black beans, make it into a burrito, or eat it by itself with chopped romaine and a fresh squeeze of lime juice.

The picture above shows how I served it as our dinner.  One baked sweet potato, a few tablespoons of the taco ground turkey, black beans and a teaspoon of Fage 2% Greek Yogurt.  This is "clean eating" at it's best...Yum!


Pincha Mayurasana

One of the draws to Yoga is that it releases the inner child in you. Hand stands, back bends, and all sorts of fun gymnastic-like movements. What I love about Yoga is that it is a great way to increase flexibility and strength all the while you are working on using your breath and your mind to accomplish some pretty challenging poses. One of the poses that is so fun to try out is the Pincha Mayurasana.

Here is a brief description of how to perform this challenging, but fun Yoga pose:

1. From downward dog, bring your forearms and elbows down to the mat. Draw your core muscles in to support your spine. Spread your fingers wide, press the base of your index finger into the mat and begin to breath deeply. (Don't hold your breath!) In the beginning you can practice near a wall until you build up the core strength to do it on your own.

2. Slowly walk your feet up toward your face, until your shoulders and hips are stacked over your elbows. Push your chest toward your legs to create 90 degree angles at your elbows.

3. Lift one leg up to the sky and activate your glute muscles to help you control your movement. Try to create a straight line from your elbows all the way to the toes of your top foot.

4. Rise onto the tip toes of your bottom foot and begin to shift your weight off of your bottom foot and onto your forearms.

5. Once you have shifted all of your weight onto your forearms, you may bring the bottom leg up to meet the top, finding balance in classic Pincha Mayurasana. Stay for 5-10 breaths.

6 . Feel your body reaching up through the toes and keeping a strong base in your forearms and shoulders. You can also split the legs. Even with split legs, feel your body reaching up, rather than sinking down. Keep the 90 degree bend in your elbows.

7. Be sure to breathe and have fun. Don't rush, use control and slowly return to your mat.




HIIT- Tabata

Happy Monday to all of our followers! As summer approaches and it becomes more and more difficult to hide our bodies under a plethora of clothing, we are reminded that we need to kick our workouts into high gear. One of my favorite ways to do that is with HIIT or high intensity interval training. There are many different types of intervals that you can do. Mixing it up is a great way to get your desired results and keep you from plateauing. One method of interval training is the Tabata method.

Tabata originated from a guy named Izumi Tabata a Japanese researcher and physician. He came up with a protocol to increase the speed of athletes. The basic model is broken down into 8-20 second high-intensity intervals with 10 seconds rest,  for a total time of 4 minutes.

The key to this type of training to be effective, is based on how hard you are pushing yourself during the 20 second interval. You want to give your all-out best effort, recover 10 seconds, and then repeat. This type of training is not ideal for beginners, however if you have been doing cardio training on a regular basis and are looking to burn fat and build lean muscle then you're ready to give it a try. For those who are new to interval training, start with fewer intervals and work up to completing 8. Remember to always consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Once you have become proficient at doing 8 intervals work up to 2 or 3 sets of 8 intervals with 2-5 minutes rest in between each set. Be sure to warm-up 5-10 minutes prior to your workout and bring your heart rate down after you finish your last interval.

Not only will you see amazing results from adding interval training into your routine, you will save a lot of time. This workout is intense but it's also very quick.

When you think of intervals you think of cardio equipment and that is often the way I do it. Doing intervals on a spin bike really helps you achieve the speed necessary to get your heart rate up, while not compromising your joints. The spin bike is my favorite way to interval train, as I get most of my weight training from Yoga and Pilates. Below is an example of how you could incorporate Tabata training into your weight training workouts. The combinations of exercises you do for each interval can vary from chest presses, stairs, leg presses, etc. The sky is the limit.

20 seconds of push-ups
10 seconds rest
20 seconds plyometric squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds pull ups
10 seconds rest
20 seconds plyometric lunges
10 seconds rest

Repeat circuit 

Be safe and most importantly have fun!




Kick-Start Kale Smoothie

This is one of my favorite smoothies. It is so rich in many vital nutrients. Each ingredient is packed with vitamins and minerals. Cashews are packed with iron and magnesium. Soaking them helps make them more digestible. Dates are rich in potassium and iron, making them a great post-workout food. Kale as we all know by now is full of vitamins and minerals. This smoothy is so creamy and delicious. Enjoy!

1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk or water
1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in water  over night, 
then drained and rinsed
1 cup or organic baby kale or torn green kale
2 ripe bananas fresh, frozen for a thicker smoothie
2 dates pitted and diced
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
1 cup of ice 

Blend ingredients until smooth.


Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

My super sweet friend Danielle shared this recipe with me and it has quickly become a family favorite. Danielle is working on a blog of her own with clean eating recipes, fashion, and lifestyle tips.  If her blog is half as amazing as she is then it will be unreal!  I'll make sure to share it with you guys once it's up and running.

Anyways, back to this yummy's easy to make, delicious, and last for about 4 days in the refrigerator.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad
  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • 1 green apple chopped 
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1/3 C chopped red onion
  • 1/3 C dried cranberries
  • 1/3 C chopped pecans
  • 3 Tablespoons white balsamic 
  • 1 Tablespoon champagne balsamic
  • 1/2-1 C plain 2% Fage Greek Yogurt
  • Salt and Pepper
Take all of the chicken meat off of the chicken.  Roughly chop it into small pieces.  Chop up the apple, shallot, red onion, cranberries, and pecans.  I use my Chop Wizard and it takes me about 5 minutes to throw this salad together.  

Add all chopped ingredients into a big bowl and mix.  Add in the white balsamic, champagne balsamic, and then the greek yogurt.  Add the yogurt in one tablespoon at a time,  until you get the right consistency.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Stir everything together and enjoy!

You can eat this plain, in a wrap, on whole wheat bread or over fresh spinach.  It's delicious!

10 Benefits of Practicing Yoga


Why I love Yoga? The reasons seem to be endless. If you are not doing Yoga already, here are a 10 reasons why you should add it to your fitness routine.

1. Improves Your Posture: A study from Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital reports. A sequence of standing, sitting and balancing poses helped avid posers raise their levels of the brain chemical GABA (low levels are linked with depression) by 27 percent compared with a group who read quietly.

2. Keeps Away the Aches and Pains: A study in Spine shows that people who suffer from back pain who did two 90-minute yoga classes a week, for about six months, eased their soreness by 56 percent.. Those given treatments like pain meds and physical therapy lessened their aches and pains by only 16 percent.

3. Improves Your Sleep: Insomniacs fell asleep 15 minutes faster and slept an hour longer each night after two months of doing a 45-minute series of yoga poses daily before bed.

4. Body Confidence Improves: Research from the University of California in Berkeley finds that women who practiced regularly, rated their body satisfaction 20 percent higher than those who took aerobics, even though both groups were at a healthy weight.

5. Strengthening and Lengthening: In Yoga, you are using body weight to move through each pose and in some poses you are using all of your body weight such as the Pincha or the Crow.

6. Improved Brain Function:  Hatha Yoga has been shown to improve your cognitive function and boosts focus and memory.

7.  Stronger Bones: A 2009 pilot study found practicing yoga could increase bone density among older adults.

8. Anxiety Relief:  Women who practice Yoga once a week for two years or more released 41 percent less of a tension-triggered cytokine (a type of protein) that can make you feel tired and moody a study in Psychosomatic Medicine found.

9. Improved Cardiovascular Conditioning: While Flow Ashtanga practice can get your heart rate up to improve your cardiovascular health, even slower forms of Yoga are still beneficial to the heart. Studies have found that yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise.

10. Boosts Immunity: A recent Norwegian study found that yoga practice results in changes in gene expression that boost immunity at a cellular level. The researches believe that it can boost your immune system almost immediately.