Things Of Random

5 Top Fitness Trainers to Follow on Instagram

by Keetria on November 7, 2017

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What’s the best thing about following fitness trainers and your “body goals” inspiration on Instagram?

Scrolling through your feed and pausing to watch a video or appreciate a post gives you instant fitspiration. You think to yourself, “If they can do it, I can do it.” And before you know it, you’re off your couch where you’ve spent too much time going through your social media feeds and off to the gym or rolling out your yoga mat.

Here are the top 5 fitness trainers on Instagram that you should definitely be following if you need motivation to get back on track:

  • Jennifer Nash Forrester | @jenniferforrester

Jennifer is not only an Instagram star but also an entrepreneur. And on top of that, she’s a new mom. In fact, she took all her Instagram followers on her pregnancy journey, proving that pregnant moms can still be active. Now her feed is also filled with her gorgeous son who often joins her on workouts! Be inspired by Jennifer’s quick workout videos and motivational quotes.

  • Amber Karnes | @bodypositiveyoga_

Amber Karnes teaches us all about self-acceptance and making body peace through body positive yoga. We love her for spreading fat positivity and proving that yoga is accessible to us all. Her Instagram feed is filled with yoga poses, and she often features the beautiful women who embody the #bodypositiveyoga campaign.

  • Tanya Popett | @tanyapoppett

Tanya Popett has a killer body that she achieved despite a business lifestyle. She gives nutrition advice and workout ideas. All the images on her Instagram feed are beautiful shots, making her not only #fitnessgoals but her Instagram account is #feedgoals too!

  • Christmas Abbott | @christmasabbott

Christmas Abbott offers inspiration daily. She’s doing it all – a motivational speaker, transformational guru, branding advisor, and professional athlete. As an online fitness coach and the creator of Badass Body Diet, expect her feed to be filled with fitness and lifestyle goals.

  • Estelle Archer | @estellearcher

Estelle Archer has been an inspiration to her followers for how she gained control of her health and well-being by battling her depression. Her focus has been to help people do the right thing. We’ve watched her go from a size 18 to a size 6 and so motivated not only by her body transformation but how she also transformed her entire outlook on life.

Who’s your favorite fitness instructor on Instagram? Are you looking for exercise tips or meal ideas? Or are you most inspired by body transformations? Tell us about it!

Did you know that having a sense of purpose for your life will make you live longer? In fact, it’s even been proven to reduce your risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Those who develop a strong sense of purpose usually do so by discovering their passions. Following your passion doesn’t necessarily mean finding the right occupation; it means finding what you love and what you live for.

But how do you discover what your passion and purpose in life is? With so much noise going on out there and in your head, maybe you just need to quiet your mind and soul so that they can tell you what it is.

What you need is to observe your thoughts as they drift through your mind. And the only way to do that is through meditation.

Meditation allows you to refocus your awareness and let go of random thoughts. As your experiences play out in your head, recognize how they make you feel. Meditation has the power to unlock even our deepest memories, things you may have thought were left behind in your childhood. You’ll be surprised by how glimpses of the past can have a profound effect on you today and in this moment.

You can remember the warmth on your face on a sunny day or your laugh as you played with the family dog. Sometimes our purpose in life comes from the recollection of simpler days when we remember the things that made us happiest.

Ask yourself when the last time you laughed uncontrollably was, had a grin on your face you couldn’t wipe off, or had butterflies in your stomach.

Was it the times that you’ve helped others? Or maybe it was when you baked your first pie. Perhaps the last time you felt true happiness was when you traveled alone.

Reflective and mindful meditation allows us to gain a deeper insight or wisdom to a question we bring to mind. Sit comfortably and take slow and increasingly deeper breaths until you are relaxed and calm. Ask yourself the question.

“What is my purpose?”

Insights will surface in your mind. They could be memories, random thoughts, or even dreams you’ve once had. Watch them like a movie. Observe them without judgment while you continue to focus on your question.

The answer won’t always come to you right away. But overtime, you will be able to focus on what the insights are telling you. And soon, you’ll come to recognize exactly what your body, mind, and soul have been trying to communicate to you.

Remember that you have your own path and your own pace when it comes to tapping into your consciousness. Only you can make the mind-body connection.

5 Upcoming Art Festivals this Fall 2017

by Keetria on October 3, 2017

Visual arts, music, literature, crafts, tattoos, photography, and performances. The list of what goes on in art festivals is endless and don’t we just love it all?

Whether you’re looking for crafters like you or want to listen to book readings or see art in action, we’ve listed 5 upcoming art festivals that you may fancy. Pick one that interests you or make it a plan to check them all out!

  1. Art for Art’s Sake 2017

When: Oct. 7, 2017

Where: New Orleans, LA at the New Orleans Art District on 798 South Liberty Street

Don’t miss Art for Art’s’ Sake 2017, the annual street party that attracts tens of thousands every year. There’s something for everybody! At New Orleans’ Warehouse Arts District, you’ll find galleries showcasing work ranging from classic to contemporary across all medias. Magazine Street is lined with art galleries, antique shops, and jewelry stores. And the Contemporary Arts Center offers new exhibits and musical performances.

 

  1. 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival 2017

When: Oct. 13-29, 2017

Where: Greensboro, NC at multiple locations

It would be amazing if you could be there for all 17 days of this art festival as more than 70 artists spanning various art forms will throw together over a hundred events showcasing their creativity and craft. There will be live music concerts, craft beer, dance and theatre performances, body painting, visual arts and loads more!

 

  1. Hyde Park Village Art Fair 2017

When: Oct. 14-15, 2017

Where: Tampa, FL at the Hyde Park Village at 1602 W Snow Ave

Held in the upscale Hyde Park neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, the Hyde Park Village Art Fair is a celebration of art and the finer things in life. This two-day event will feature over 150 artists and crafters who will showcase their unique works. We’re talking about jewelry, life-sized sculptures and one-of-a-kind decorative pieces which include paintings and other crafts.

 

  1. ARToberFEST 2017

When: Oct. 21-22, 2017

Where: Galveston, TX at Downtown Galveston on Post Office St & 22nd St

ARToberFEST is an annual fine art festival in Historic Downtown Galveston where local and regional artists working across a variety of media are featured. Come on down and purchase an original piece from one of these artists for your collection. This outdoor art party features live music. And because it takes place right on Post Office St, you’ll be surrounded by restaurants and cafes.

 

  1. Full Moon Tattoo & Horror Festival 2017

When: Oct. 27-29, 2017

Where: Nashville, TN at Hotel Preston on 733 Briley Pkwy

Don’t want to miss one of Nashville’s more unique events and the largest festival of its kind in the South. The finest tattoo artists from across the country are attracted to this festival each year. But wait, you don’t need to be inked to appreciate the artistry behind tattoos.

This is also the best place to be right before Halloween as the Full Moon Tattoo & Horror Festival delights in the scary and relishes in all things twisted. You’ll see horror film stars and esteemed tattoo artists as they gather for 3 days of horror film screenings, tattoo competitions, and costume contests.

Art is such a broad term. What’s your favorite art and which of these upcoming art festivals will you likely be at?

 

Women’s fitness is a booming industry right now, and that’s certainly a good thing. It means women and girls are thinking about their health — not just their looks and their bodies, but their lifespan and wellness. This is certainly important. Through fitness, we women can help lower our risk for heart disease, various cancers, diabetes and other physical ailments like obesity.

Fitness is a complicated issue because everyone’s body and journey is different. Are you looking for more information on fitness that takes into consideration the needs of women? Here are four blogs you need to add to your bookmarks bar.

Lift Like a Girl

Twenty, even ten years ago, “like a girl” was an insult popular among men and boys. “You throw like a girl,” “you hit like a girl,” and so on — it usually referred to how men were supposed to be stronger than their female counterparts. Fast-forward to our modern era — we’ve had rampant discussions about how harmful “like a girl” can be, and we’ve also showcased how strong women truly are. Lift Like a Girl is run by Nia Shanks, a strength trainer who aims to empower women through fitness motivation.

Black Girls Run!

In 2009, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks looked at the growing obesity epidemic within the black community and asked themselves an important question: how can we help to solve it? Their answer was Black Girls Run!, a foundation and blog built on encouraging fitness and exercise among young black women in America. Black Girls Run! is now host to almost 200,000 members and discusses fitness, beauty, lifestyle and valuable nutrition information.

Fit Bottomed Girls

As women with full schedules and busy lives, we don’t always have time to workout. When we do find the time, sometimes it can feel like a punishment at the end of a long day. Fit Bottomed Girls is run by two women, Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead, who fit that description to a T. Instead of making exercising a chore, they come up with practical, fun approaches to fitness that are rewarding. They don’t just discuss fitness, either; Walters and Whitehead discuss their lives, motivation and other related topics.

Girls Gone Strong

Finally, Molly Galbraith recently became well-known on the Internet thanks to a body-positivity that went viral on Facebook. What you may not know is that her dedication to women’s fitness goes beyond that video alone. Her blog, Girls Gone Strong understands that fitness should be an issue of health, not an issue of attractiveness or thinness. She offers workout tips for women who want to shape their body and their life in a myriad of ways, from gaining muscle to eating better.

We all come from different places, have different body types, schedules, styles and genetics. These blogs look not just at women as a collective, but as individuals. Look for other blogs that speak to your specific interests. What fitness blogs do you recommend?

Spring is in full swing and summer is approaching at a breakneck pace. Before we know it, fall will be upon us…but in the meantime, we’ve got some exercising to do!

Summer is largely about fitness, whether it’s getting ready for bikini season or being active outside with friends and family during school and work vacations. It’s also a time period where you see a spike in fitness novices trying to get out there and embrace fitness wholeheartedly. These newbies look for information online and on television from those they think they can trust — the secrets to achieving perky butts and flat bellies.

Sure, there are fitness secrets out there that do work, but there are many more myths out there that are way too good to be true. If you’re interested in getting fit this year, avoid these fitness myths like the plague.

“Lots of sweat = lots of fat burning.”

It’s a phrase that’s commonly tossed around: “more sweat, less fat!” Some exercise junkies use this as a mantra, and their confirmation bias comes out when they lose the pounds after rigorous exercise routines.

The truth is that sweat has no real correlation to how much fat you’re burning off. Sweating is biological and helps to regulate your body’s temperature. Sweating at all is a good indicator that you are pushing your limits, but there’s no correlation to sweating and fat loss.

“Crunches are the best go-to exercise.”

Make no mistake, crunches are great for exercising your core and abdomen. They’re a great beginner’s exercise that is easy to utilize for measuring your exercise journey. You’ll find them hard to do at first, especially if you’re trying to do them quickly, but they’ll become easier over time.

However, they shouldn’t be your exercise crutch. Many believe that crunches are the quickest way to a flat stomach and lower body fat, but that certainly isn’t the case. The best way to lose fat is to burn a lot of calories, but crunches don’t actually burn that many. Don’t rely on crunches alone if you want a beach body this summer.

“The longer you’re in the gym, the better off you’ll be.”

Finally, there’s a common myth floating around that the harder you push, the faster you’ll lose all that weight you want to get rid of. In fact, the opposite is actually true. Of course it’s a good idea to go to the gym, but continuously going to the gym with no breaks leads to fatigue, injury and weight gain.

Why weight gain? Your body eventually needs to rest. When you do take a day off, your body will desperately cling to the calories you take in and you’ll be set back for your next gym visit. Schedule rest days regularly. This also helps to keep you motivated to go to the gym — don’t risk burning yourself out and quitting altogether.

These are just three common myths you’ll find, especially online. When you’re researching information on fitness, always do your research and never trust the first article you see.

A common misconception about mindfulness is that it’s entirely the absence of thought. However, it should be obvious that this is wrong — it’s not called mindfulness for nothing. To be mindful is to (simply put) accomplish two things. First, you clear your mind. Second — and this is the important part — you focus on the present environment and the world around you within that very moment.

No past, no future. Just the moment you currently exist within.

The problem is that as entrepreneurs and busy people, we don’t often have the time or ability to shut off our brains and focus on what’s really around us. That’s why when the moment occurs, we all have to strike while the iron is hot.

  1. Your Daily Commute

It’s probably a good idea to avoid spacing out while you’re driving to work, but that doesn’t mean you can take some time during your commute to be mindful. This is much easier if you take the train, bus or subway to work. You aren’t having to worry about the rules of the road and it’s easier to let your mind wander and focus on the world around you.

If you do drive, try and make it to work a little early. Don’t try to be mindful while driving, but instead for a few minutes once you get to work. Sit in your car, turn off your brain and take in your environment.

  1. Make Food Mindful

Being mindful isn’t just about drifting away and taking in the sights. It’s also about savoring all of your senses — including your sense of taste.

You’ll find time to eat during the day, which means you’ll find time to be mindful. The food you’re eating doesn’t have to be from a five star restaurant in order for mindfulness occur. Even if you only have time for a Hot Pocket at your desk, take the time to notice the flavor and only the flavor. How does the food feel? How does it taste?

  1. Before Sleep

You aren’t a robot — you’ve got to sleep sometime! If you don’t have time to be mindful during the day, simply make time at night. About five minutes before you’re scheduled to go to sleep, let your mind wander and experience the world around you.

It’s actually easier to be mindful when your mind is already looking forward to shutting down. Practicing mindfulness before bed is one way to be more successful at the exercise, and it’s also simultaneously relaxing so you can fall asleep faster.

  1. Emotional Awareness

We’ve covered things like sight, sound and taste, but mindfulness also encompasses another spectrum of yourself: emotions. Examining your emotions in the present is a great way to get in tune with them and ease stress.

This can be done at any time during the day, but consider focusing on this during any bathroom breaks you take at work. Wash your hands and focus on feeling the water and soap, then look inward and assess your emotions. This takes only a few second and can still leave you feeling at ease.

A lot of vacation time happens during the latter half of the year. There’s the summertime, Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holidays, New Year’s Eve…then the vacation days slow down once the next year rolls around again. It’s not longer about taking a few days off at a time, or even weeks at a time, but instead a day here and there.

That is, until spring break rolls around. Spring break can be a time for anyone to take off and enjoy the warmth of spring, from college students to entrepreneurs who just want to take some well-deserved “me time.” However, spring break shouldn’t be about partying and other irresponsible activities. Instead, consider spending some time reflecting during a nature-based vacation where you’re totally at peace.

Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

If you want a mixture of fun and nature, Costa Rica is the country for you. Tamarindo is a tropical location that has amazing beaches, great nightlife locations and other outdoorsy fun activities. Costa Rica has the added benefit of being rather small, so you can come for Tamarindo and stay for other inland cities that also contain great activities. If you’re indeed a nature lover, visit one of their parks and see the country’s bird and butterfly species. The country is home to the famed Blue Morpho butterfly, a must-see for anyone interested in bugs.

Denali National Park, Alaska

While Alaska may be quite a ways away, Denali National Park is certainly worth the trip. Alaska is perhaps where you can find a true look at wilderness up close. For most of us, the scenery of Alaska is unlike any we’ve seen in the continental United States, so the imagery alone is enough to visit for. Park-goers can be dropped into the tundra via a helicopter, hike through the Alaskan wilderness and encounter amazing creatures while there.

Asheville, North Carolina

Another town perfect for anyone who likes a little responsible fun with a nature twist, Asheville is simultaneously home to a plethora of breweries and is a gateway town to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tourists both national and international flock to the city every year during spring break to take in the local culture and hike through the mountains. Other popular activities include horseback riding, animal watching and mountain biking. While on your hike, it’s possible you’ll see creatures like elk or the American black bear.

Big Island, Hawaii

Many don’t know that Hawaii isn’t just the name of the only island state in the U.S. — it’s also the name of the state’s biggest island! Known as Big Island, the largest portion of the state is home to amazing natural wonders, like the volcanic coast of Kona. A must-do activity when visiting Big Island is snorkeling — snorkelers have the chance to see and dive with manta rays and other oceanic sea life. There are island tours constantly ready to take tourists around the large island to see all of the incredible sights. If you want to relax while surrounded by true beauty on your spring break vacation, this may be the option for you.

No one is ever entirely free of stress…or are they?

Stress is something that we consider as a standard in life. Sometimes stress is more dire than it is simple. We stress as teens studying hard for tests and as adults stressing over how much money we need to make to break even. Stress creates a very cluttered mental space, which then begins to impact other areas of life, like productivity and health. In short, stress is something that we don’t want but that seems almost inevitable, especially as professionals.

This is where mindfulness comes in. You may have heard the term in passing, but are you familiar with what it is and what it can do for you?

What is Mindfulness?

To keep things simple, mindfulness is being very aware of the world around you on a moment-by-moment basis, as well as accepting it simultaneously. People assume that this is simple — aren’t we all already living and experiencing every moment of our lives? Experiencing something and actually being 100% aware of it, however, are two different things.

While it’s true that we are physically present for all of our lives, we aren’t always mentally present. The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness, or essentially running on autopilot. Many people don’t fully understand how much of their life is spent lost in thought, avoiding outside stimulus.

Say that you’re walking down a busy city street. What are you doing? Are you keeping your thoughts to yourself, running through your daily to-do list? Are you listening to music from earbuds, lost in the sound and not paying full attention to the world around you? Both are examples of clogging our minds with something in order to avoid being cognizant. Someone who has embraced mindfulness is fully living in that moment, noticing things and taking them in.

What Can Mindfulness do for You?

Mindfulness is often associated with total positivity; it’s something written off as a new age, existentialist way of avoiding life’s problems. However, it’s exactly the opposite.

Let’s look at stress and mindfulness. When someone who is used to mindlessness is confronted with stress, the negative emotion and thoughts of the future cloud their vision. Anxiety gets in the way of productivity. Someone who is mindful, however, fully accepts the stressful stimuli and then formulates a plan based on their acceptance of their current predicament.

Practicing mindfulness can help reduce the harmful repercussions of stress, like panic and anxiety. Realize that stress is a state of being, an emotion — it isn’t a situation itself. When someone is mindful, they don’t experience stress because they experience a situation, not the harmful emotional side effect that comes with it.

Thus, mindfulness is growing in popularity as a way to increase productivity. When we are mindful of our surroundings, our emotional state and what we must do, we are much more likely to seize the day and get things done with no negativity involved.

The Motivational Books You Need for the New Year

by Keetria on December 22, 2016

motivationalbooksWhat is true motivation? Some believe that the best motivator is yourself, and for many people this is true – but not all of us were born with built in confidence or have had the experiences required to be so self-assured. Those who can self-activate are often those who are filled to the brim with courage and mettle, but it’s okay if you aren’t quite there yet.

One of the most powerful motivation tools is finding an example of someone who you’d like to be more like. That’s not to say you have to copy someone’s life experience exactly. In fact, that’s impossible! But if you don’t already have it within you to motivate yourself, learning about how someone else views motivation and their own successes with motivation can help you do the same.

The best way to do just that is to read a motivational book. Unlike blog posts or news story sound bites, books are much more collegiate and substantial. The opinions are formed well and researched – if you get a good book, anyway. To help you weed out any rotten apples and to give you some books to read for the upcoming New Year, here is a selection of motivation books that we can all learn a thing or two from.

“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown

We all understand vulnerability – and if you say you haven’t then you might be in denial. To be vulnerable means to be unguarded, to notice that you’ve got a chink in your armor and know that it can’t be repaired right away. Emotions like uncertainty and precaution are human, though they’re often perceived as weak.

Dr. Brené Brown steers readers in a different direction. Dr. Brown argues that vulnerability isn’t actually weakness, but is instead what makes us stronger and is the core of our most profound emotions. Without vulnerability, things like joy and grief would be nonexistent – vulnerability brings us both the good AND the bad.

“Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change” by Derek Rydall

Many self-help or motivational books focus heavily on how to change who you are. Derek Rydall says that who you were born is the exact person you are right now – changing that is going against nature. We hear arguments like this in regards to things like sexuality, but never to character flaws or imperfections.

Rydall thinks that radical change within your life starts when you activate something that’s already inside of you, not something that you need to create inorganically.

“Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

One thing most of us need help with when it comes to motivation is cleaning and tidying. If you’re looking around you right now and see a stack of disheveled papers and a few too many Starbucks cups, you’re someone who could use this book to help motivate you come 2017.

Marie Kondo is an organizational guru who is here to not only help you with words, but with pictures. With both a written and visual representation of what your mess looks like and why you’re holding onto it, she sets all readers up for organization success.

Fitness Tech to Add to Your Holiday Wishlist

by Keetria on December 12, 2016

fitnessgiftsThe holidays are approaching and you’ve likely got a lot of wishlists you’re focusing on right now. For your own wishlist, you’re looking for new items you want – maybe they’re to expand your life, like a new set of motivational tapes. Maybe you want something more fun than functional, like an art kit or inline skates to get back in touch with your 80’s teen spirit. Others will want similar things, from boxes of chocolate to boxes of ties.

Here’s something to consider: we’ve all likely put on some weight during the winter months, and come New Years we’ll all be resolving to take that weight off. Most of us will fall through on this promise unless we’re properly motivated…and what’s more motivating than having neat tools to help make that reality actually happen instead of it becoming yet another resolution that goes unattended to.

Fitness tech is cheaper than ever, and it’s also widely available. No longer are you looking at buying bulky and expensive treadmills in order to help get fit for the New Year, so let’s take a look at some desirable and chic fitness tech products you may want to get this holiday season – for someone else or to treat yourself!

Garmin Vivosmart HR+

This piece of fitness tech may not fit the criteria of “cheap,” but boy is it neat. Wareable recently gave this product their award of Fitness Tracker of the Year, and for good reason – this Garmin offering expertly combines fitness monitoring with ample tech that makes up for the price tag of over $200.

One of the biggest draws to this particular product is that a phone is unnecessary to use it. Many don’t realize Fitbits only truly work when you’re looking at their app simultaneously, which means running and jogging while paying attention to your Fitbit app if you want to take a good look at your specs in real time. All of the tech that is involved with the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is installed into the device itself. It also includes GPS, heart rate monitoring and sleep monitoring.

Misfit Ray

This fitness tracker falls more in line with most price ranging, coming in at a little under $100 at most retailers. Unlike the Fitbit or Garmin fitness trackers, Misfit looks to svelte elegant designs when creating their product lines. The Misfit Ray is very clean and minimalist, and so is the app that you pair with the device.

Misfit products are best for those who want to start managing their health but who don’t want to go full gym nut just yet. The Ray tracks steps and sleep patterns and offers smartphone notifications, and that’s about the extent of its capabilities. Minimal indeed.

Moov Now

If you or someone you know is already really into fitness and you’re at a loss for the perfect gift, look no further. Made for those who already love intense training, the Moov Now is a leg-worn smartphone holder that coaches you while it monitors your steps and activity. The programmed capabilities include different difficulty levels designed to make training progressively harder, just like a normal coach or personal trainer would.

The price point on this device is also very excellent – you can find it at most major retailers for only $60.