My Top Healthy Skin Tips

flower

These are my top 5 tips for healthy, glowing skin!

  1. We’ve heard it over and over, but it’s my top tip because it’s true. Drink more water! Ideally, you should be drinking 1/2 of your body weight, measured in lbs, in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you would drink 75 oz of water in a day. It is important to drink water throughout the day, not all in one sitting. I would also go one step further and say that if you are working out and sweating a lot, add an extra glass of water after your workout.
  2. Skip the toner! When toners were created, the goal was to balance the pH of your skin. I completely understand this. However, the problem with most toners is that they dry you out! We want to have a natural glow and encourage our skin to produce enough oil to be hydrated without overproducing and giving us oily skin and clogged pores. If you are using products that over-dry your skin, your body’s natural response is to create more oil, or sebum, to hydrate itself. If you aren’t over drying your skin, your body will adjust and reduce it’s oil production to balance the skin.
  3. Have a quick shower after your workout. If you allow all of the salt and bacteria to sit on your skin after your workout, the pores become clogged, causing the dreaded acne and back-ne (not a word, but you know what I’m talking about. 😉
  4. The other tip that we’ve heard 1,000,000 times…sunscreen! In your 20s, it may not seem that important, but soon you will start to notice little sunspots and freckles on your skin if you don’t remember to screen up daily. Often facial moisturizers include a sunscreen, but I would go one step further and layer on a separate sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. My #1 fav product is made by colorscience. It is a mineral based sunscreen with zero additives. It is a powder sunscreen (crazy, right?) containing only 2 minerals to block those sun rays (both UVA and UVB), titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. I keep these little tubes in the car, in my purse, and in the studio so I can always reapply. Plus, it freshens your makeup! Double bonus. 🙂 Check it out at www.colorscience.comcolorscience
  5. Eat nutrient dense foods! You will always notice a difference in your skin tone after even a day of eating heavy, fatty foods. Your skin just doesn’t glow like you know it can and should! After a night with a couple extra cocktails, your skin is screaming for a little hydration and nutrition. Eating healthy, nutrient dense foods is great for your body, your mind, your hair, and your skin. Plus you feel more energized and prepared to take on the world! If I feel like I have had a week of lazy diet choices, I love to kick start the system with LOTS of greens, fruits, and raw veggies. I’m loving sugar snap peas, watermelon, and peaches right now. Yum!!!

Benefits of Foam Rolling

Hello beauty!

Today, I want to talk about foam rolling! This is a pretty hot topic in the fitness realm right now. What are the benefits of regular myofascial release…and what exactly is myofascial release? I will also break down a couple of my favorite foam roller exercises.

The goal of myofascial release work is to break up the adhesions in our connective tissue, allowing our muscles to lengthen further, increasing range of motion. Our connective tissue, commonly called fascia is integrated throughout the body. There is connective tissue in between every muscle cell in our body. If you were able to look at the body without any muscles, bones, organs, or blood vessels, we would look like a large spider web. This is connective tissue, also known as fascia. Crazy, right?! Imagine an orange with each little compartment containing a little bit of orange juice. Connective tissue is kind of like that, surrounding each muscle cell.

There are also thicker bands of connective tissue throughout the body. A great example of this is the IT (iliotibial band). This band of connective tissue is connected to the TFL (tensor fascia latae) which is a small muscle on the outside of your upper leg. It is responsible for abduction (levering the leg away from the bodies’ mid-line) as well as stabilizing the knee. It then attaches just below the knee on the tibia.

To release the IT band, you could lie on your side with your left elbow planted on the ground. Place the roller under your left side just below the hip. You can plant your right foot down on the ground in front of your left leg if you are just beginning to foam roll. As you are able to adjust to the sensation of myofascial release, you can stack your legs on top of one another. I’ve pasted both options below. You will then roll the roller down towards the knee and back up to the hip. As an extra challenge, if you find a couple of points along the IT band that feel like knots, you can pause and bend your left knee at those points. This will encourage that portion of the IT band to lengthen further.

 Iliotibial band roll-out Iliotibial band Roll-out stacked legs

Another release technique that I love is for the intercostal muscles. These are little muscles that run in between each of our ribs, connecting them together. I like to roll out the intercostals by lying on my left side with the roller underneath the middle of my rib cage and a little pillow between my head and my arm. I will then find a space between the ribs and start to roll my torso forward and backwards allowing the roller to press into the intercostal. If this is tender or ‘tight’ feeling, I will pause and think of using my breath to expand the left lung, allowing the intercostal to lengthen under the roller. I will repeat this a few more times, scooting the roller up one rib each time until the roller is almost in the underarm. Before I move to the other side, I like to sit up and take a few breaths. If I took my time on the first side, I am able to feel like my left lung is able to expand more than the right as the ribs are more mobile and able to move when air fills the left lung. How cool is that???

 Intercostal roll-out Intercostal rolling forward

There are many other forms of myofascial release work in the body. These are just my top two faves. Please comment below if you would like to learn about some other techniques! Thanks, beauties!

xo Lara

Love Letter To a Green Smoothie

This is a love letter to green smoothies. 🙂 I got married in July of this year and received the greatest gift....a vitamix blender! I have used it literally every day since. I know that the vitamix can be a hefty investment. There are other blenders that still do a pretty good job that don't carry the price tag that the vitamix does. I haven't used it, but I have heard that the Ninja Professional is a good alternative. I used to use a Cuisinart blender and it did the job as well. 🙂

Each morning, I make a green shake with a base of dark leafy greens.  I usually use kale because I like the flavor and it is easy to find organic kale in most grocery stores. Organic swiss chard, rainbow chard, or spinach are great alternatives. Then I will add any assortment of fruit that I have around the house. Today, I used banana, orange, frozen organic pineapple, and frozen organic mango. I like to add about a 1/2 cup of full-fat greek yogurt for protein. As a side-note, I don't believe in using any product that is labeled as reduced fat, or fat free. Just think of what they have to replace the fat with. Usually a concoction of chemicals. Double gross! Also, the fat and protein help keep me full throughout the morning. After I throw in all of the fruit and greens, I add about 2 cups of water and blend it until it is smooth! So easy, so quick, and packed with nutrition. I am always running out the door in the morning, so I will throw it into a large glass jar and drink the shake throughout the morning until lunch time. 

This is one of the easiest ways to eat extra greens. I am a huge fan of a chopped kale salad, but let's talk about how time consuming that is to eat! I know that we all live busy lifestyles. Like many of you, I am often eating lunch on the go and simply don't have time to chew a big salad! 😉 Drinking your vitamins sounds like a great alternative to me!

Speaking of vitamins, kale is full of essential vitamins A, C and K as well as minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. All things that we need in our daily diet. Pineapple contains dietary fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6 and copper, vitamin C and manganese, plus it's delicious and adds a tropical twist to my morning. Mango contains vitamin c and folate. In addition to potassium, bananas are also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. All great things! I believe so strongly that the most direct path to good health is to take care of our bodies from the inside out. Put good foods in the body---body feels better. 🙂 Plus, it is less expensive, and far tastier to eat your vitamins instead of needing to add a supplement to fill in nutritional gaps. 

I am always looking for new variations on the green shake. Share your recipes below, and eat up, Buttercup!

xo Lara

Be Kind To Yourself

Be Kind To Yourself

When is the last time that you looked in the mirror and gave yourself a compliment? When was the last time that you looked in the mirror and said something critical about yourself? I bet that for many of you, it is much easier to think about the critical moment...even if you didn’t didn’t place any weight on that self-comment at the time. Why is that? I will be with myself for every second of every day for the rest of my life. Shouldn’t I be kind to myself? Would I ever want to hang out with a friend who told me that I look ugly, or that butt looks saggy and fat today? NOPE! So why on earth would I ever say that to myself? And yet, we all do it sometimes multiple times a day. Crazy!

I propose a challenge...the 5-day, 5 compliment challenge. First thing in the morning for the next 5 days, look yourself in the mirror and give yourself 5 compliments. Try to have 5 new compliments for yourself each day. They can be physical compliments, but please don’t neglect your inner beauty as well (FAR more important)! Do speak outloud to yourself while looking in the mirror. I promise that it makes a difference. The effect just isn’t the same if you just think to yourself. If you want to take it a step further, write them down and read them to yourself later in the day. Reinforce those thoughts. Don’t hold back or justify your statements. Live out loud! As women, we are taught to compliment others and to remain humble ourselves. I completely agree that being humble is incredibly important and an important quality in all the people that I surround myself with. However, in my opinion, this is about bravery! The antithesis of bravery is not humility, it’s timidness. Live boldly with respect for yourself and others. 🙂

Be bold! Post your self compliments below...yay bravery!

Starting A New Fitness Regimen

How many times have you jumped into a new diet/fitness plan with both feet and the best of intentions, only to fall off the wagon almost immediately after you started? How many times have you heard that the secret is: eating veggies and lean protein and do cardio? So many freaking times! Is that sustainable? NOPE! Not for me at any rate. That said, I have tried that same formula probably upwards of 20 times. Not kidding. Every time, I have started out with the best of intentions and 2 days in, I am starving and cranky, drained of energy, and I make a beeline for the sugar, okay...sour gummy worms. Sound familiar?

 

It finally clicked for me when I started making small changes, adding one small shift to my lifestyle each week. The key to this is making sure that each change is not drastic! Okay in this sample plan, I know that week 2 sounds intense, but the purpose of trying 4 different workouts is to a) find out what workouts you like to do (that part is super important) and b) you will feel great after moving your body that many times in a week!

 

Here’s what your plan could look like:

 

Week 1: Drink more water! Carry a bottle everywhere you go and drink up, buttercup! If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. (pro tip: add berries, cucumber, or fresh mint to make your water a little more interesting)

Week 2: Try 4 different workouts (classes, or videos in your living room :)) and see which workouts are fun for you! I gravitate towards a combination of Pilates, dance cardio, and High Intensity Interval Training. I learned that I hate biking. Good to know what will be fun for you on the days that you don’t want to face your workout.

Week 3: ADD VEGGIES TO YOUR DIET. Don’t cut anything from your diet which can leave you feeling deprived. If you love chicken fingers, eat chicken fingers and fill the other half of your plate with veggies: maybe broccoli, salad, or green beans.

Week 4: Think of your favorite meals and create tweaks to make them a little more lean, green, and clean. For example, that fried chicken from last week: could you make a similar recipe with baked breaded chicken?

Week 5: Go find a fitness community! It could be a community online, KKLKL perhaps?, or a studio where you jive with the instructor and other clients. Build your support system!

Week 6: Meditate for 10 mins at the beginning or end of your day. This can be as simple as setting a timer on your phone and telling yourself to focus on each inhale and exhale. There are many different forms of meditation out there. There are even apps with guided meditations if this feels a bit daunting.

 

Making these little lifestyle shifts slowly over an extended period of time, WILL shift your mindset and your sense of self confidence and self respect. Wishing you all the best! I would love to hear your comments and questions below. Looking forward to hearing from you!