These Unique Exercises Will Get You Ready for Summer

These Unique Exercises Will Get You Ready for Summer

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The weather is heating up, you circled your vacation on your calendar, but your summer body isn’t exactly there yet. We all know the pain of bathing suit season, but it doesn’t have to feel like a chore to start getting into shape. These unique exercises are fun and guaranteed to not only help you achieve your fitness goals, but help you mentally and spiritually.

1. Obstacle Course Race

If you’re competitive by nature, try signing up for an obstacle course race such as a Spartan Race or Warrior Dash. A Warrior Dash includes 12 difficult obstacles over its 3.1-mile stretch, while Spartan Races range from 5K distances to marathons and include all sorts of obstacles.

No matter which one you choose, you’ll gain the muscle you want for the summer while you’re scaling walls and running knee-deep in mud.

2. Water Running

Maybe allergies have you down, and running on a treadmill is more your speed. Switch it up by trying out water running on an underwater treadmill. You get the same benefits as running on a normal treadmill, but minimize injury risk thanks to buoyancy.

According to a study by Texas A&M University, participants using an underwater treadmill showed benefits over those who used land treadmills. The underwater group had less soreness, inflammation and body fat, and improved muscle mass and strength performance. Those are good reasons to give it a try.

3. Try a Group Class

Don’t run from the phrase “group class.” Everyone seems to know classes such as Zumba, yoga and cycling. Kick it up a notch and bring some of your friends along to a surf fit class, where people stand, squat and balance on a surfboard. If you love to dance, sweat uncontrollably at a dancing-in-heels class. The options are endless.

4. Rock Climbing

There’s always one adrenaline junkie in the group. If that’s you, pay attention to this option. Rock climbing — indoor or outdoor — works your back, arms and pretty much every other muscle in your body. Each time you climb, you’ll feel stronger and more fit as you tackle higher-graded routes. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to meet new people if you join a climbing group.

5. Lift Like a Boss

Lifting — weights or your bodyweight — is an important part of any fitness routine. Resist the urge to slim down by jumping on a treadmill, and instead grab some weights to define different muscle groups.

It doesn’t have to be just boring free weights. This total-body workout incorporates equipment in new and exciting ways. That tire won’t just be something the guys lift — if you try these exercises, you’ll be there flipping it with them.

6. Belly Dancing

Let’s face it, there a lot of women who wish for a flatter stomach come beach time. While you look fabulous in whatever you wear, belly dancing is one way to trim your waist and define your abs before beach season.

This workout engages your core and will make you sweat as you try out each dance style. If you love to be on stage, try to find a group that does stage performances. There are studios around for all different ages and skill levels.

7. Aerial Yoga

Yoga is not only great for your body, but it also reduces stress and increases mindfulness. If you feel stuck in your usual yoga routine, give aerial yoga a try.

Besides the pure wonder you’ll feel at flying high, aerial yoga offers people greater flexibility, better focus and more strengthened muscles than regular yoga. It’s more difficult, too, as you’re trying to balance and do yoga poses while up in the air, so make sure you’re up to the challenge.

Feel Healthy and Confident

Although summer is a great time to get in shape, don’t forget these workouts are about more than just the physical. Exercise boosts your mood, reduces stress and gives you confidence. As you try out new classes, you’ll start to notice differences in how you perceive yourself and the world around you.

Exercise to be a healthier version of you, and give one of these unique workouts a try to mix it up and prepare for summer.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash

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An Honest Review Of ItWorks! From Someone Who Doesn't Sell The Products

No, I'm not looking for you to "join a team" or begin any challenges.
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I'm sure you've seen your friends on Facebook transition from friend to salesman. Whether it be for Scentsy, LipSense, or AdvoCare; multi-level marketing companies are on the rise thanks to social media. ItWorks! remains one of the most prominent.

ItWorks! is a health and wellness company using primarily plant-based ingredients without any artificial sweeteners or coloring. Their "number one seller" is the famous body wraps but the company is mostly weight loss supplements and vitamins. The company has a passion for the natural over the synthetic. Co-founder Mark Pentecost states on the site's Our History page that "you want to know that you're putting the very best things in your body."

Since most reviews of these products come from distributors, who are therefore biased, I have reviewed three of their greatest products and one I believe you should avoid.

1. Greens™ Blend Chocolate

As a vegan, I sometimes have to double check that I'm receiving the proper nutrients. ItWorks! Greens have been saving my life lately. It contains 52 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods as well as 34 fruits and veggies. It is meant to alkalize, balance, and detoxify.

This is my favorite product! It gives me energy and even fills in for breakfast sometimes. It honestly makes me feel great. Then again... they always said eating all your fruits and veggies would!

ItWorks! gives you those healthy servings in a delicious chocolate flavor (which is bomb with almond milk). Make sure you use a blender bottle or blender. Like many powdered supplements, it can have that grainy aftertaste.

2. Advanced Formula Fat Fighter™

The idea behind this supplement is that it’s "okay to indulge if you have your Fat Fighters." Basically, if you just must have that sweet treat or piece of bread then you can take this pill within an hour to prevent your body from absorbing the carbs and a portion of the fats. If you're anything like me, you eat what you want when you want, so you'll end up taking these pills on the daily.

The main reason I like the Fat Fighters is that they reduce cravings and I normally have such a sweet tooth!

3. ThermoFIGHT™

This product is meant to increase calorie burning, boost the rate of your metabolism, and boost your energy. Like with Greens, I definitely feel energized when I take this supplement. Not in a jittery or wired way, either.

They say "abs start in the kitchen" but I'll try and cheat the system when I can!

4. Ultimate Body Applicator™ and Defining Gel™

This is the ItWorks! claim to fame... and that ASTOUNDS me.

I used to be so skeptical of this company because of the wraps. I tried them three different times and was not impressed each time. The ultimate body applicator and defining gel are meant to tighten and tone the skin to redefine the appearance of your body’s contour. Sure, you'll receive those results... just at an outrageous price. It's an expensive product that requires a lot of re-purchasing in order to receive any drastic results. Not to mention the most drastic results are just reduction of water weight.

They're really just an overpriced skin firming lotion. I suggest finding a nice cream from Target and sitting in the sauna instead.

If your facebook-friend-turned-salesman pushes for you to buy the wraps, just remember that I warned you.

I would like to give an honorary mention to KetoCoffee (probably their second most popular item). Because it is not vegan, I have not given it a try. I have heard amazing things from multiple women, though. Most keto coffee recipes give people the shakes and amp them up too hard. I've heard that ItWorks! has perfected the recipe.

I have used the first three products for a little over three months now. Sometimes I am inconsistent and miss servings. However, I match these products with a vegan diet (mostly whole foods based) and 3-4 days of exercise. I do not have drastic results but I have lost a little over ten pounds and feel great each day. I plan to remain a customer with this company (I have Greens on Autoship!).

I feel so blessed to be a Loyal Customer with ItWorks! because I receive up to 40% off and free shipping after three months. Without this discount, I probably never would have given this company a second thought. I highly recommend going that route because, well...

Cover Image Credit: Savanah Garcia | Instagram

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I'm Chronically Sick And It Made Me Appreciate The Little Moments In Life

My doctor's office became a second home to me, but never gave me the answers I needed.

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People get sick all the time, a cold here, the flu there. It doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary to get sick a few times a year - I wish that was the case for me.

I have always been the kid in class who seemed to get a cold every couple weeks. It never caused an issue in school, I always pushed through.

As I got older I got sicker.

If I look back at the last year and compare the times I was sick to my friends, you would be amazed. One of my friends would get a cold and it would pass in a few days. I would catch the same cold, and it would stay with me for multiple weeks. This happened every time someone around me was sick, it didn't matter that I had had the same virus two weeks prior. My body couldn't shut out illness.

I remember the day I came into the editor's office at the magazine I was working for and everyone froze at the sight of me. I had mono, strep throat, and a sinus infection - all at the same time. I looked like a walking ghost. To make it worse, I had already had mono and strep throat previously that winter.

My doctor's office became a second home to me, but never gave me the answers I needed. Everything was just a little annoying until it got serious.

Halfway through fall semester at Washington State University, I faced the scariest medical moment of my life so far. I started getting stabbing pains in my left side. They escalated over the next couple weeks, but I didn't have the time to get it checked out. School, work, my friends, and my boyfriend at the time kept me busy.

It got to the point I couldn't stand it anymore.

When I finally went into the hospital the doctors were amazed I was still as active as I was. I had developed a massive infection in my left kidney. My doctor ordered a rush CT scan to ensure I didn't have to have surgery. In the meantime, I was on multiple painkillers and medications, bedridden for over a week. The results finally came back and I was in the clear. With that said, I now only have half of my left kidney function and it is unclear if I will gain it back.

I was lucky that I didn't lose my kidney from that infection. With that said, I lost my job, my depression levels rose and I barely passed my classes last semester due to the complications. My sickness had finally caught up with me, and that was the final straw.

Once I recovered from my infection I started seeing an immune specialist. We discovered that my sinuses had been stripped of all needed particles that filter out viruses and that my body was a boundaryless breeding ground for bacteria.

I'm defenseless against getting sick.

To this day we still do not know what is going on, but we are constantly doing testing to try to make my life as easy as it can be medical wise. I will always be sick, but the experiences I have had have only made me appreciate the little moments in life more. While I hate the fact I'm getting sicker, and it makes me struggle with self-love, it is something I'm constantly learning from.

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