What Motivates You?

As part of the 30 Day of Summer Photo Challenge, today’s question was…

‘Monday Motivation.  What Motivates You?’

I thought of numerous things that motivate me but as of the last 8 months my main motivating factor is to have a fit & healthy pregnancy.  

baby bump

Baby bump and I after a 3 mile power-walk this afternoon… 

Not only does working-out make me a much more positive, happy person but it can also help with labor/delivery and more importantly it’s extremely beneficial for little baby Doyle.  How can you not workout after knowing you’re helping your baby? :)  And here are my other ‘Top Motivators’ to get my butt in gear…

1. – My Fitbit. I told myself that I’d walk 10,000 steps a day/6 days a week and since I’m super competitive with myself, it means I have to do it.  No excuses; just do it!  If you don’t want to pay the $$$ for a Fitbit, any pedometer will do the trick.

2. – Signing Up For A Race. This one always works especially when I’m training for a half-marathon.  I can’t even count the amount of days that I went out for a run on a freezing, snowy afternoon or on a super hot & muggy summer morning.  If there’s a race on the horizon, then there’s training that needs to be done! (so hardcore, huh? ;))

Gearing up for a cold, winter run…

3. – A Workout Buddy.  This a win, win situation.  You have to workout if someone is waiting for you and a workout buddy makes everything more enjoyable. 

4. – Doing An Activity You LOVE.  Back when I lived in Southie, I was right down the street from an awesome boxing gym and loved being able to workout there.  I didn’t even question setting my alarm for 5 am since I knew how much fun I’d have at the 5:30 boxing class.  My new love (besides running) is ‘barre & soul’. :)

5. – Signing Up Online For A Workout Class.  Even though I love yoga and barre, there have been occasions when I really just didn’t wanna go…   but on the other hand, there’s no way I could bail on a class that cost me $15 so I sucked it up and went.  And surprise, surprise, I always left the class feeling a million times better. 

6. – Positive Mantras. I’m a little obsessed with positive workout mantras but that’s A-OK with me.  I just head over to my ‘Motivation’ board on Pinterest and read a few mantras to get me amped-up for a workout.

7. – Bikini Season! Just the thought of being in a bikini in a few weeks or months is enough to get me to the gym or out for a hard, sweaty run. 

8. – Treating Myself. On days (pre-pregnancy) when I didn’t want to workout, I’d tell myself, ‘if you just finish a quick speed workout or hill repeats then you can have a glass or 2 of wine!’  And it worked.  I’d go for a quick 30 minute run and stop at the liquor store on my way home. If wine doesn’t motivate ya, you could always treat yourself with a pedicure, frozen yogurt, a new workout outfit, etc.


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So tell me…   what motivates YOU?


A Green Smoothie a Day

…..keeps the doctor away!  Between the rain, crazy Spring allergies and being pregnant, this has been a tough week for me.  Which is exactly why I need to feed my body more nutrients to make it through the long work days.  Some mornings I’ll have a greek yogurt bowl loaded with fresh fruit for breakfast but during weeks like this when I really need more vitamins and a boost of energy, I’ll start my morning off with a fresh green smoothie!

green smoothie

Lately my ‘go-to’ green smoothie has included the following ingredients:

1 cup coconut water or unsweetened almond milk
1-2 handfuls organic baby spinach
1 cup frozen fruit – banana, blueberries, strawberries, mixed berries, pineapples, mangoes, etc.
1 cup fresh fruit {same list as above}
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 scoop of flax seeds, chia seeds or almond butter {optional}

Not only does this smoothie taste f’n delicious but it also starts my morning on a healthy foot and motivates me to stay that way throughout the day. :)

So what’s so great about a green smoothie?!

*Green smoothies are a great way to sneak veggies into your diet.  Just by adding spinach to a smoothie your loading up on vitamins, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium {which is necessary for energy metabolism, maintaining muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, a healthy immune system and maintaining blood pressure}.

*They’re quick & easy to prepare {and can easily be made the night before to save time on a busy, work day morning}.

*They’re high in antioxidants.  Not only are you giving your body the best defenses for disease, but you are ingesting a variety of natural substances that are essential for optimum health and fitness.

*Green smoothies are low in calories but very filling. Because they contain high amounts of water and fiber, they’ll make you feel as if you just ate a full meal.

*They provide you with a lasting source of energy.  A green smoothie is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that don’t bog down your digestive system.

*Unlike fruit juice or using a juicer, green smoothies use the whole fruit and vegetable so that you get all the fiber and nutrition.

*Green smoothies may even give you clearer & more radiant skin. Smoothies are high in fiber which allows your body to eliminate toxins the right way instead of through your skin.

Wanna know how to make your own green smoothie?

That doesn’t sound too hard, right? :)

Alright, time to log off and plop on the couch for the night…   Hope you all have an awesome, sunshine-filled Friday/weekend! 

10 Superfoods for Pregnant Women {or Anyone}!

Happy Sunday, friends!!!  Hope you’re all able to enjoy the nice, sunny weather this weekend! 

So the other day, I was online about to order Organic Burst Baobab Powder but like I do with most new foods, I googled it to make sure it’s safe to consume while pregnant.  Well, not only is it safe but it’s also a superfood!  Say whaaaaat?!  Here’s exactly what the internet says about Baobab Powder:

‘Made from the baobab fruit, the baobab powder contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. It has about ten times more vitamin C than the oranges. The African women enjoy eating the baobab fruit pulp during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The powder can be added to desserts, drinks, and snacks.’

Obviously, I quickly ordered this powder and now I’m {im}patiently waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Yay, for superfoods!

While I’m no expert on what you should and shouldn’t eat while pregnant, I do know which foods are super-healthy and should be kept in your kitchen throughout your pregnancy.  And if you’re not prego, these foods are still awesome and should be included in your diet. :)  

Here’s a list of some of the superfoods you should consume during your pregnancy:

Avocados are loaded with potassium, folic acid & ‘good fats’.  You can add them to your sandwich, salad or just cut it in half, toss some salt & pepper on it and grill it up for a tasty ‘lil snack.

Beans provide you and your baby with fiber, protein, iron, folate, calcium, & zinc {<— I actually didn’t know about all of these benefits until recently…  I’m definitely adding more beans to my diet!}  Simple add the beans {navy, pinto, black, garbanzo beans, etc.} to your salads, soups or stir-fry.

Berries are packed with vitamin C, potassium, folate & fiber.  Plus, they’re delicious!  So add a bunch of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or raspberries to your meals & snacks.

Dark Greens such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard and other dark-colored greens are a great source of vitamins, minerals and valuable plant compounds that fight disease.  A great way to sneak these greens into your diet is by adding them to your smoothie!  

Eggs contain a lot of protein which provides amino acids to you and your baby.  They also have more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for baby’s brain development.

Greek Yogurt is high in protein, calcium, vitamin B & Zinc.  So start your morning off with a greek yogurt or enjoy it as an afternoon snack.

Nuts & Seeds are are full of fiber, vitamin E & magnesium.  I always keep a bag of trail mix at home and at work for when I’m craving a sweet & salty snack.  

Salmon (wild-caught) contains omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your babies brain and eyes.  Make sure you eat wild caught salmon and not farm-raised {yuck}.  And read the labels carefully when buying salmon – sometimes they trick you by saying ‘fresh salmon’ but in the little print below it says ‘farm-raised’.  So ‘fresh’ does not always = healthy.

Sweet Potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate & fiber.

Whole grains are loaded with folic acid, iron & have more fiber than white bread and rice.  Try eating whole-grain cereals, oatmeal, brown rice or pasta on a daily basis. 

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Do you eat these superfoods?  

What are your other favorite superfoods not included on this list?

Tips To Become A Morning Exerciser

Now that the sun is rising earlier in the day, I’m excited to get back into my early morning workout routine!  I just feel so much better when I bang out a workout before 6:30 am and don’t have it hanging over my head all day.  Plus, it sets me up mentally and physically for a great day ahead. :)  And I know it’s not the easiest thing to do {especially if you’re not a morning person in general} but it’s so worth it in the end!  

REASONS why you should workout in the morning:

You won’t have to squeeze it in later in the day.  Between working late, happy hours, preparing dinner, doing laundry, walking the dog, picking up the kiddo’s, etc… there’s just so much to do in the evening and so many excuses as to why you don’t have time to workout.  Why not just get it over with in the morning before the craziness begins?

To revvvv up your metabolism. Morning workouts get your metabolism going which = more fat burning throughout the day.

You’ll avoid the crowds at the gym.  I get anxiety just thinking about how crowded and stuffy the gym will be after work and will do almost anything to avoid it.  Whereas, the gym is practically empty when you’re there between 5-7 am.  

You’ll only need to shower once that day!  

It’s cooler weather in the morning which is KEY during the hot & humid summer months.  The weather in Boston can be brutal in the summer which means I either have to run super early or not at all.  This thought alone usually gets me up and at it!

TIPS on how to do it:

Pack your gear in advance.  Before bed, set out your clothes, sneakers, headband, gym bag, iPod, protein bar, etc.  This will save you crucial moments and give yourself the peace of mind that you don’t have to do it all in the morning.

Prepare your breakfast, lunch & snacks for the next day. This will also help you sleep better at night and make your life easier in the morning.

Go to bed early.  It sounds like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at how much easier it is to rise and shine when you’ve had a good nights sleep.  I’m usually in bed by 9:30 when I know I have to wake up extra early for a workout.

Plan out your entire workout. Instead of saying ‘I’ll go for a run in the morning’ or ‘I’ll head to the gym’ actually plan it out detail for detail such as, ‘I’ll run the 3 mile loop around the neighborhood and then stretch for 10 minutes’ or ‘I’ll use the elliptical for 30 minutes then focus on core work {crunches + planks}’.  Going to sleep with a set game plan is essential!   **Also, if you’re out of workout ideas, you should create a new ‘workout’ board on Pinterest and pin away! 

Do something you like.  So this tip goes along with the one above…  When you’re planning your workout, make sure it’s something you really like!  If you love yoga then sign up for the 5:30 am yoga class.  Or if you’re into spinning then plan a workout around the morning spin class at your gym.  I looove a morning run so most of my morning workouts revolve around different running routes.  

Find a workout buddy. You wouldn’t blow off 6am run when you know your friend is waiting for you, right?  Having a workout buddy makes you obligated to show up so make weekly dates with a friend — or spouse!

Think POSITIVE. The hardest part of being a morning exerciser is just getting out of bed but once you’re up and at it, you’ll feel a million times better!!!  So just think about the feeling of accomplishment and the amazing endorphin’s you get after a great workout!! :)  

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Do you have any tips or tricks to working-out in the morning?

Do you prefer AM or PM workouts?

Clean Fifteen vs. Dirty Dozen

With the Summer quickly approaching and fresh fruits and veggies popping up everywhere (Hello Farmer’s Markets!:)), I figured it’s a good time to discuss which fruits and veggies are worth buying organic vs. which ones are not.  The pretty chart below (courtesy of Pinterest & this website) will sum it all up for you guys… 

Clean 15 = No Need For Organic (clean, clean, clean)

Dirty Dozen = Buy Organic!

We definitely don’t buy all of the ‘dirty dozen’ items as organic at the Doyle household but this is something I really want to change.  ‘You are what you eat’…  so I need to stop putting pesticide-ridden foods into my body and really focus on clean eating. :)

And if you’re like me and have a hard time spending $$$ on organic or just finding organic foods in general, you should check out the freezer sections at the grocery store.  Buying frozen fruits and veggies is a step-up from buying canned and they may even be fresher and better tasting than the produce section! 

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Which foods do you buy organic?


Wanna Walk?

Happy Friday, friends!

Although the last few days have been rainy and chilly in Boston, the forecast for this weekend is looking bright and beautiful!  Which means it’s the perfect time to get out of the house and get moving!!  I’m going to attempt another run this afternoon but if the baby isn’t feelin’ it then I’ll switch over to a power-walk.  And as much as I miss a hard, sweaty run, I’m finally starting to look forward to my power-walks.  It’s just so much easier motivating myself to go for a simple walk rather than mentally & physically gearing up for a run.  Seriously, for a walk you just throw on your sneakers and you’re good to go! 

Want a few reasons why YOU should be walking?

Not only is it a chance to enjoy the fresh air while getting a little bit of sunshine but there’s lots of health benefits as well, including… 

Let’s make it a goal to get out and walk for at least 45 minutes this weekend!  Who’s with me? :)

Have a great weekend!

No Gym? No Problem.

For the first time in 15 years I’m gym-less.  Yup, that’ right, no gym membership for me.  It’s not like I’ve ever loved going to the gym but it has always been an option and something I needed to have.  Even in college when I could barely afford groceries (or a $10 handle of cheap-ass vodka ;)), I still made sure I could afford a membership at a nice gym off-campus.  But I’ve gotten to the point where it’s more of a hassle going to the gym and it’s only going to get harder once baby Doyle arrives in August.  So I gave up my LA Fitness membership and will instead work-out on my own.  Here’s how I’ll do it:

1) Build a home gym

It doesn’t require much to build a decent gym in your house.  This is what we currently have in our lovely unfinished basement gym:

  • Treadmill: As I’ve mentioned, we just purchased a new treadmill (‘Milly’) last week and I’m in love with her.  So on the days when I can’t run/walk outdoors, I’ll simply head to our basement for a treadmill workout.  
  • Free weights in all different sizes: I have free weights in 2, 5, and 8 lbs while Mike has his own heavier manly free weights.  I purchased the weights at Target but I’ve also seen them at Marshalls and TJ Maxx for super cheap prices.
  • Jump rope: If you don’t own a jump rope already, you need to head out and buy one!  Jumping rope is an awesome, quick, effective way to burn calories and get the heart rate up. 
  • Large gym mat: This is necessary for ab work, circuit training, stretching, yoga, etc.  We picked one up at Sears but you could easily use a yoga mat or a carpet.
  • Access to DVD’s and YouTube: Workout DVD’s are the best!  I love following along to a yoga video, getting my sweat on with my Jillian Michael’s DVD’s and checking out the thousands (millions?) of free workouts on YouTube.  We don’t have a TV in our gym so I just set my lap top on the table and get after it!

That’s really all we have or need in our gym.  Most of my circuits (lunges, squats, push-ups, planks, jumping jacks, etc.) require no equipment so thankfully it’s super easy to do them at home.

2) Run/ walk outside

I’d choose running outside over any other activity.  In order to keep the runs exciting, I like to switch it up and have a variety of routes (we all know how painfully boring it is to run around our neighborhood over and over again).  On days when I need a long run, I’ll head to Southie and run Castle Island and along the beach.  On the other days I’ll either run the lake by my house or I’ll run around the Breakheart Reservation loop.  And on the few days that I’m feeling extra ambitious, I’ll add in a track workout or stair repeats.  

3) Sign-up for studio classes (barre, yoga, spin, pilates… )

Now that I’m not paying for a gym membership, I can afford to sign up for more yoga and barre classes.  Woohoo!!  I’m hoping to take a class a week and maybe add in a spin class every once in a while.

4) Set-up workout dates with friends

(My workout buddy, Jacki and I before a ‘lil 5K race)

Since I’m prego and can’t enjoy happy hours with my girlfriends, I’ve been trying to plan fun workout dates instead.  So far my friends and I have taking a barre class followed by dinner, a spin class with brunch afterwards, a walk along the lake while drinking iced coffees and yoga followed up with a date at the bakery next door.  I have a feeling that once it warms up I’ll be dragging my friends out for a lot more walking + iced coffee dates with me. :)

5) Sign up for a race

This is always my #1 tip when friends ask me how they can get back into shape.  If you sign up for a race then you have no choice but to workout and prepare for the race, right?  I make sure to sign up for races year round in order to always have a goal to work towards.  I’m already planning out my first half marathon post baby. Who’s with me?? 

6) Take a hike

This is one of those activities that I love to do but I don’t do enough of.  It’s such a fun, easy way to work up a sweat while enjoying the outdoors.  I’m not sure if I can really hike with a baby bump but I’m hoping to get back into it this Fall.  

As a bonus, this is also an activity you can do with friends…  Hiking + a water bottle full of wine sounds like a good time to me!

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What are your favorite ‘gym-less’ ways to stay active?


Yoga for Runners?

Yesterday morning started with a quick trip to the Farmer’s Market down the street.  It’s open every Saturday morning in the summer and I’ve been wanting to stop by for months.

I checked out the organic (and super pricey) fruits/veggies, wild fish, cage-free chicken and eggs, but decided to save my money and buy a jar of home-made honey

and a home-made lemon dressing.  I also bought another bottle of dressing and fresh cookies for my friend’s Apartment Warming Gift.

And since the market was conveniently located right at the lake, I went for a 4 mile run right after shopping.  And boy, was it a struggle trying to get through the last mile!  But I sucked it up and finished  the run with an 8 min/mile pace.

The rest of the day was spent running a ton of errands and plopping in bed around 9:30.  Fun Saturday night, huh?


I had an AWESOME 15 mile run!!  I don’t even know the last time I felt so good during a run?  For the last month of so, my calfs/achilles have been hurting me for the first 4ish miles and then both my knee’s start to kill around mile 9.  But today, NOTHING HURT!   And it was amazing. :)

To fuel for my run, I had a Luna bar at 6am and 1/2 a package of sports beans while driving to Castle Island.  I also had energy Gu at mile 6 and the rest of the sports beans at mile 11.  I stopped a couple of times at the water fountains but besides that I just kept pushing through the run.  My overall pace was 8:49 with my last mile split at 8:14!! 

The only part that sucked about the run was that as soon as I finished, I could barely move.  Like at all.  My shins, knees, feet, and hip were all so stiff and in pain.  So I stretched and iced my knees as soon as I got home.



Although, icing and stretching does help a little bit, I have a feeling it’s not gonna be enough.  Which is why I need to start taking yoga more seriously!  I did the Jillian Michael’s Power Yoga video last week (PS it’s free on YouTube: you should all check it out) and felt way more flexible and less achy.  So I’m thinking that maybe this contributed to my great run today??  I always hear that yoga improves your strength and flexibility which can help you stay injury-free.  So my goal this week is start really getting into yoga in order to become a better runner.  I’m going to try the free online yoga video’s and maybe even check out a yoga studio.  I also want to make sure I do the poses from this great article titled ‘Yoga for Runners: 3 Poses You Should Practice’.   Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually become a yogi! :)

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Anyone into yoga? 

Does it help with your running?

What’s your favorite ‘style’ yoga class??   


Lil’ Running Tip For Ya….

Don’t run when it’s 98% humidity!  Either wait ’til later when the humidity levels go down (which may only take 30 minutes) or take it indoors where there’s AC.  I knew it was going to be humid at 5:30 this morning yet I thought I still thought it was a good idea to go out for a run?  Bad idea Julie, bad idea….   I barely made it 2.25 miles before I threw in the towel and called it a day. 

Oh well, you live and you learn. :)

On a separate note, it’s a good thing I showed you guys ‘What I Ate Tuesday’ instead of  ‘What I Ate Wednesday’.  Yesterday’s food choices were a tad pathetic.  I started off healthy with a breakfast parfait but then I slowly went downhill.  I made the office rounds and ate a lot of candy from my coworkers and then my dinner included a lovely bag of tortilla chips and some white wine.

Sooo  I made a couple of bad choices yesterday and this morning but you know what?  It’s turning into a beautiful morning,  

Two coworkers surprised me with delicious coffee’s (thanks guys!) and I had my own tasty home-made coffee (the super large one on the right),

AND it’s almost the weekend, yay!  So it’s all good. 

Btw, since I didn’t have the best work-out this morning, I’m going to make up for by doing this ‘at home’ workout later tonight:

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Would you rather run in humidity or heat?

Any fun weekend plans?

What’s your number?

Good morning!

Four. Four is the amount of days I have to work out per week.  I planned on going last night after work but I somehow drove past the gym, stopped to pick up wine and ended up at home organizing my apartment and getting ready for our big move.  Sometimes life comes before the gym, right?  I also took a 10 minute break to throw together this easy peasy meal. 

I added some EVOO and cheese to the mix and it turned out delish! :)

So it’s no big deal that I skipped the gym; it just means that I have to workout today to hit my four workouts this week.  Friday afternoon’s aren’t the ideal time to workout but the gym bag is packed and ready for a hot date with the stairmaster at 5pm. 

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How many days a week do you workout?
Any fun weekend plans?