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A Day in the Life of…

I was introduced to Mary through a mutual friend and it literally blows my mind how much she fits into one, single day. I can’t believe she found the time to write this piece for BEC but I sure am glad she did. She works hard, works out, STANDS at her desk, and is an inspirational clean eater! Enjoy a glimpse into the life of this busy Richmond corporate professional and fitness trainer.



On a typical weekday, I wake up around 6:30am to Pandora Radio (usually Fleetwood Mac, Phil Collins, Ryan Adams, or Pete Yorn…something mellow). I boil water to make hot water with lemon and use the rest to fill three stainless steel water bottles for the day. I go back to my room, make my bed and read a scripture for the day from a bookmark I bought in a church bookstore years ago called 31 Days to Praise.

I shower, pack my gym clothes, and pack all my meals for the day (except dinner). I try to pick out recipes I want for the following week, then order groceries for pick up through Kroger Clicklist on Friday and Saturday. I pick up specialty items and refill 3 gallon bottles of reverse osmosis water weekly at Ellwood Thompsons. I have a shelf of cookbooks (my favorite chef is Katie Lee) and I’m also a Tone it Up Nutrition plan member and use a lot of their recipes. I cook one main dish per week and try to prep other things like overnight oats or muffins on the weekend. My freezer is full of frozen soup, veggies, bread, and fruit for smoothies.

I usually pick out a thought leader to listen to on YouTube while I’m getting ready. My favorites are: Chase Jarvis, Marie Forleo, Lewis Howes, Tim Ferris, or Tony Robbins. I’m a Tone it Up Girl, so I’ll also watch fitness videos on their new app or in the past any interviews they would post on YouTube. I follow the Jillian Michael’s podcast religiously and also listen to one book on Audible every month (typically a biography). Saturday mornings I like to listen to 70s and 80s playlists on Spotify before I leave to teach yoga at 10:30am.

I work 9-5 as an Administrative Assistant at SunTrust Mortgage for the Condo and Appraisal groups. I have a VARI Desk at work and an Eron Chair. I’m over sitting after about 20-30 minutes, so I stand for most of the day. During my break, I go into the wellness room and either work on my group exercise classes, do yoga, Pilates, or a HIIT workout, or lift weights. I have a Woss suspension trainer ($30 version of a TRX) that I keep with me at work along with a yoga mat, free weights, and a lacrosse ball to work out muscle tension. I try to move and stretch as much as I can at my desk while I’m standing. I also listen to a lot of Spotify while I’m working, looking for music for my classes.

Sometimes I’ll eat breakfast at home, but if I’m not hungry yet, I’ll bring it to work. My typical breakfast is overnight oats made with Tone IT Up protein, and fruit (berries or pomegranate). Lunch is often soup and salad. This week I cooked Alicia Silverstone’s sweet potato and lentil soup from her cookbook The Kind Diet. I’ve been into making salads with red and green leaf lettuces for months now. I buy 3-4 heads of lettuce per week and they stay fresh if wrapped in a few paper towels (the non-chlorine bleached ones). I pack olive oil with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and a separate slice of lemon to mix for dressing at lunch. With lunch this week I also had a few slices of Cabot cheddar cheese and some Ciabatta bread from Ellwood Thompson’s warmed up with Earth Balance.

I have a snack around 3pm. I’ve been eating an organic apple in the afternoon since I started shopping at health food stores back in college. Organic apples taste so good that it’s easy to eat one every day. The rest of my snack this week was PaleoKrunch Cinnamon granola (my favorite) and a few tablespoons of almond butter.

On Mondays after work I go to Advanced Wellness Center for a one hour personal training session with a strength and conditioning coach. My workouts include exercises like deadlifts and bench press with heavier weight and my trainer is teaching me some Olympic lifts. This habit makes me feel good about Mondays, challenges me and builds into my life. Tuesday through Thursdays I go straight from work to Crunch gym where I’ll fit in 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical trainer before teaching classes. I’ll have protein bar in between: usually Go Macro, Squared, Greens, or Tone it Up and some water. Tuesday nights I teach a 30 minute TRX, then a one hour Yoga Body Sculpt.

My yoga classes are a combination of Pilates, vinyasa yoga and fitness, with 10 minutes of relaxation at the end for rest, additional stretching, or a seated meditation. Wednesday nights I teach Barre Boot camp (a pairing of barre exercises and traditional free weight exercises) then Iron Mat (mat Pilates and Pilates free weight exercises). Thursday nights I teach another Yoga Body Sculpt class. I get home around 9pm which is kind of late for dinner, so I’ll make a smoothie during the week. This week’s was avocado, frozen banana, organic mixed power greens, Tone it Up vanilla protein powder and almond milk. Last week’s was: frozen cauliflower, frozen banana, almond butter, vanilla protein powder and almond milk.

I have a major sweet tooth, so I’ll usually pack some dark chocolate, crystallized ginger or a section of a Lenny and Larry’s protein cookie with my meals during the day. If I don’t, I’ll usually have something like that after dinner with some Synergy kombucha tea. My two addictions are Lenny and Larry’s chocolate protein cookies and Synergy Kombuchas.

My current focus is completing a BASI Pilates Comprehensive Teacher Training Course. I’ve travelled up to Balanced Bodies, a studio in Herdon, VA for 3 out of the 4 weekends, then will complete 500 hours (divided between observation, practice teaching, and self-practice) through an apprenticeship this Spring. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for over 10 years, and a key to directing my life and career. I’ll take the teaching evaluation and practical exam next July in Chicago.






Don’t you love peeking into someone else’s day, habits, and goals? I DO! Mary, thank you so much for sharing your life with us. Good luck with your Pilates Training course! And if you live in the Richmond area go take a class with her; your body will hate/thank/love you!

xRachel

Heading to College this Month? Read This First!

Well, we all know those days are long behind me but I vividly remember the excitement, the nerves, and the weight I gained my freshmen year at VCU. More importantly, I remember feeling super unhealthy because of a sedentary lifestyle, eating everything from a can or a buffet, drinking beer and jungle juice and whatever else we could get our hands on, and not even thinking about working out much less walking to the gym.

Recently I stumbled upon the Instagram healthycampuslifestyle and was amazed that the pics and food choices came from a college “kid”!  I had to know more.

Turns out, Katelyn Barker is a freshmen at Virginia Tech and a Lynchburg, Virginia native (small world, once again I am reminded!).  She is majoring in human nutrition, food, and exercise with the goal of becoming a registered dietician. So she knows her stuff!

 

As a vegan and a dorm dweller, I was curious how Katelyn managed to eat, cook, exercise, etc. Thanks Katelyn for sharing your tips with BEC!

Tell us about eating on campus at Virginia Tech.

I live on campus and although there is one kitchen in my building, I never use it just because it’s a hassle. But there are definitely a lot of healthy options on campus, as well as a nutrition app for all of the dining halls and ways to make things like oatmeal and sweet potatoes in the microwave. I always have oatmeal, it is definitely my go to breakfast food with bananas; rice cakes and peanut butter is another and then I always have a bag of almonds or some other type of nuts. I don’t keep too much in my fridge, but there’s apples, maybe some carrots and hummus, and cashew milk.

You’re vegan, right?  What’s up with that and how do you get enough protein?

Even though I was eating fairly healthy before, veganism definitely ensures that I keep a clean diet which can be really hard on a college campus with all of the temptations. Now I can honestly say I don’t even think about eating any of those foods after being vegan for about three months. To get my protein without meat I try to eat a lot of beans, one of my favorite things to get on campus is a burrito bowl with pinto beans and black beans. Another thing I’ll do is make my own salad at the salad bar with spinach, which surprisingly has a substantial amount of protein, and add chick peas, kidney beans, green peas, and tofu. One thing people aren’t aware of is how much protein is in plant foods, getting protein definitely isn’t something I focus on because I know I’ll get enough as long as I eat enough natural plant foods in a day. Since I do lift I usually drink a vegan protein shake after just to get that extra boost but that’s definitely not necessary to get all the protein you need.

What do you recommend college students do for exercise?

Use the gym! It may be only time in your life you won’t have to pay for a gym membership so take advantage of it! If you don’t like going to the gym find something fun like an intramural sport, you won’t even feel like you’re exercising (you also don’t have to have ever played the sport before). If your school has an app to tell you the nutrition information of certain foods they’re serving definitely take advantage of it. By looking at VT’s app I’ve learned that a lot of the foods are very calorie dense and have a lot of sodium in them… like unnecessarily a lot, so I try to stay away from those foods. Don’t buy unhealthy food to keep in your room, if it’s there you’ll be tempted to eat it! And if you’re really trying to not put on weight, don’t drink too much alcohol. It’s definitely a big thing in college and it’s a fun way to celebrate after a hard week, but it can get the best of people and needs to be moderated. 

 What do you like to do specifically to stay in shape?

Senior year of high school I started lifting weights and found that I really liked it. So now I have a three day plan that I try to follow. I do chest and tris, back and bi, and legs and shoulders. I also am part of the Dance Company here which is a super fun way to do cardio because let’s be honest, most of us don’t like running on the treadmill for hours. I find lifting to be challenging to the mind and body and I’ve seen progress in my body so fast. It might be intimidating to start lifting when you’ve never done it before, especially in college when the weight room is filled with a bunch of buff guys, but I promise they’re all focused on themselves and if you need help with anything most people are more than happy to help you. 

We love your instagram!

I started my Insta mostly to motivate myself to eat healthy on campus and when I went vegan I used it as a tool to keep myself liable. I definitely slipped up a few times while transitioning to veganism, but that’s okay because everyone is different when it comes to switching their diet and it takes time to make that transition official. These slip ups didn’t hold me back, they just made me work harder to change my diet to a vegan one because sometimes your body craves things and its okay to give into those cravings as long as you get right back on track afterwards. Strive to be healthy for yourself and be the best you can be and you’ll be more motivated to stay on track than if you’re trying to look different for someone else. 

Thanks Katelyn for the awesome tips and beautiful pictures of your healthy food!  Follow her here at @healthycampuslifestyle.

Share this post with anyone heading off to college in a few months!

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Spotlight on the Fabulous Lauren Bender

Who is Lauren Bender? Where do you live? 

I’m a beachy blonde 23-year-old girl with a passion for health and wellness. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, crave adventure and love connecting with likeminded people. I’m from South Florida and currently live in my quaint beach town of Palm Beach Gardens.

What do you do? 

WHAT DON’T I DO?! I like to keep my life busy – the bigger the challenge, the better! I’m a model, workout fanatic and creator. I’m in the works of starting my own brand (lots of exciting things to come), modeling, the CEO of my Rodan and Fields team (BEST skincare, changed my life), getting my Pilates / Megaformer certification, and working in the business department of my dad’s nonprofit, Place of Hope.

What is a typical Tuesday like for you from sun up to sun down? What are you eating? Drinking? Doing?

Tuesdays get me motivated. I like to plan out my week the Sunday before, so I know what to get prepared for. My alarm goes off at 6:50 am and I tiredly put my slippers on. I normally jump in the shower, throw on my robe, and head straight to my Nespresso machine. I add collagen peptides and cinnamon to my Italian cappuccino. I love slow mornings, being able to sip on my coffee and read my devotions. Once I’m ready to go, I grab a yummy Whole Foods granola bar, a glass bottle of water and head to Place of Hope. I make sure to drink A TON of water throughout the day… like I flood my body with it. I like to stay hydrated and energized throughout the day to keep focused and have motivation to workout later. I don’t like to snack either, which I think is a major struggle for some people. I head home for lunch and normally make some organic bone broth, so yummy. During my lunch break, I like to get caught up on emails, follow up with people, and brainstorm my next project. I’m constantly working, but I love it! I always make afternoon hot tea with a teaspoon of ashwagandha (stress reliever, natural energizer and mind clearer). Right before I workout around 6:15 I eat a pre-workout snack – been loving a spoonful of almond butter lately. I workout at Core Evolution (Megaformer / Lagree Fitness workout – killer toning and cardio!) for an hour and normally head to my favorite vegan restaurant, Christopher’s Kitchen. My go-to meal there is their macro kale salad – quinoa, kale, chickpeas, cucumber, sunflower sprouts, beet, carrot, avocado, and cashew cheese. After a long, productive day, I put my favorite pj’s on and enjoy the rest of the night with my family. I jump in bed around 10pm (or earlier) with a cup of citrus chamomile hot tea, turn on my Spotify sleep station, and get ready for the next day.

What is a typical Saturday night for you?

Totally depends on what mood I’m in! If I don’t have any travel plans, I love finding the best local spots to hang at. I probably spent the day at the beach or on the boat, so I keep it pretty low key at night to catch up on rest. Currently loving The Cooper, a local farm-to-table restaurant with a seasonal menu and unique drinks. I’m either with a group of friends or at dinner with my boyfriend, so my Saturday nights always keep me entertained. I know my body, and I can’t function without sleep. So, I like to turn in at a decent hour, and wake up Sunday morning and head to yoga or Core Evolution.

What’s your workout routine? 

If I’m not at Core Evolution, I workout at the gym with the boys. If it’s leg day, we start with weighted lunges and I like to superset them with banded air squats. We stick to 4 sets of 12 reps for every exercise. We do about 5 different leg workouts and finish with 10 minutes of abs and 10 minutes in the sauna. On other days we workout triceps and chest, biceps and back and finish with 15-20 minutes of cardio. KILLLLER BABY!

Do you stick to a pretty strict diet?  What are some of your splurges?  Any healthy snacks or recipes you can share with us?

I am so against “strict diets” – we weren’t made to be scared of what we eat! I am used to and actually love eating healthy, so it’s easy for me thankfully. I am so aware of what goes into my body, I don’t want to flood it with crap. I have never counted calories or not eaten something because of a strict diet. I simply eat clean because I want to!

If I do splurge, like I did tonight, I have vegan ice cream from Christopher’s Kitchen topped with organic vanilla cookies. I have never had anything so good in my life!

I love finding new healthy snacks! My new favorite thing is going to the Whole Foods protein / granola bar section and picking out different individual bars. You can’t go wrong! Just pick what flavors you’re craving and grab a few for the week ahead. I also love snacking on goji berries and currants – simple but so good for you. Organic kale chips are so so yummy too. I put them in the oven at low broil with olive oil or coconut oil (you choose), pepper, garlic powder, Himalayan pink salt, and hot pepper flakes.

How would you describe your style? You always look so chic! Are you a bargain shopper or labels all the way?

Changes on a daily basis! I don’t think I can describe it with just one adjective. My eye is always drawn to all different styles! I love looking casual and comfortable in my worn out converse, ripped jeans, and white V-neck. I also love grabbing my Prada heels and black dress and heading to The Breakers for a cocktail. Then again, you can always find me in a bikini!

I am totally a bargain shopper. I’ll splurge here and there on a good pair of shoes or a nice bag, but love heading to TJ Maxx and exploring their fun shoes, accessories and tops! A good family friend also owns a consignment shop in West Palm Beach, so I’ll go to City Girl consignment for exclusive finds with a story behind them.

Do you read a lot of blogs?  Food? Fashion? What are some of your favorites?

I am obsessed with podcasts lately! My favorite is The Balanced Blonde. I love how real she is, it’s so refreshing. She blogs about life, health, travel and so much more. I have also been following Gold Fish Kiss for years, and met Rebekah at Miami Swim Week – such a sweet human with a happy soul! Her blog is full of tropical inspiration, and makes me want to be on an island with my favorite bikini. Steph Claire Smith is my IDOL. She’s an Australian babe who models, does kick ass workouts, and has her own recipe and workout books. All these girls are so inspiring – but I tend to drift towards more food, fitness, and health blogs. I go to some fashion blogs like Rocky Barnes, Sincerely Jules, and Jacqueline Mikuta for some inspiration on what to wear.

Beach or pool?

Beach – salt water cures everything!

Flats or heels?

Converse ;)

Drive or walk?

Walk – fresh air!

Smoothie or milkshake?

Smoothie no doubt – love making sweet smoothies that taste like healthy milkshakes too!

Steak or fish?

Fish – all about blackened Mahi

Is there anything else you can share with us?  Anything else you’re passionate about and want the world to know?  

I’m really excited about concentrating on getting out of my comfort zone and exploring. I’m finally making an effort to focus on my wellbeing and happiness. I think it is so important to take care of yourself spiritually, mentally and physically. I’m starting to do some soul searching through traveling, journaling, working out and relationships. I’ve become a huge advocate for living a balanced and pure life.

What’s next for you?  Where will you be in one year?  Three years?

Praying for amazing things in the future and trusting God and His timing! I would love to be modeling more and more a year from now. I truly have a passion for being in front of the camera. I know I will always be building strong relationships with people, no matter where life takes me. My goal is to travel back to Italy within the next 3 years to visit my family again in Milan, Sorrento, and Positano. I am up for anything that gets thrown my way, and enthusiastic for this journey of life!

 

I mean, I am obsessed with this girl!  Follow her on insta and expect <more> AMAZING things from her in the coming months!

Thanks again Lauren for opening your world to us!

xx,

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Simple DELICIOUS Summer Side Dish

So simple in fact, you don’t need a recipe.

And just in time for your July 4th weekend festivities!

Who doesn’t love a caprese salad?  Am I right?  Super ripe, sweet, LOCAL summer tomatoes with slices of salty mozzarella and ribbons of crisp, fresh basil.  Splash on some good olive oil, maybe some balsamic and BOOM.

I LOVE THIS.

But when serving a crowd (which I do more in the summer when everyone can spread out outside) I like to serve up a chopped caprese with a twist. I add bread to put a little panzanella spin on the salad and spinach so it packs even more of a nutritional punch. Pine nuts give added crunch and texture-which to me is what takes a salad from boring to bright and something people will go back for seconds and thirds!

There is no need to measure, just add what you like in whatever amount. Here’s what you need:

  • Local cherry tomatoes, the more color variation the better. Slice in half.
  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella or burrata cheese. I will be using creamy burrata because it is INSANE. Tear into bitesize pieces.
  • Basil leaves. Either tear into pieces or slice into ribbons.
  • Organic spinach. Same as with the basil, tear or slice for easy eating.
  • Toasted pine nuts or any sort of nut you like.
  • Local, fresh bread from Lorraine’s if you live in Lynchburg or any other clean, whole wheat bread torn into bitesize pieces. Toss with olive oil and toast until lightly browned in the oven.

Put all of your ingredients into a large bowl and drizzle with GOOD, fruity olive oil and a little balsamic if you like. Dash generously with salt and pepper and serve immediately!

Voila!

Happy holiday weekend y’all!

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