A New Fridge

The last couple of months have been interesting in terms of healthy eating because I’ve only had a small dorm room fridge at home. That has changed since I just got a new-to-me fridge!

fridge

Considering what I was working with, I am so excited about all this extra space. I’m loving the larger fridge already. I still need to put up the other shelves with the pieces we forgot, but all my stuff from the tiny fridge fits in there so easily!

What’s in my fridge?

  • frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, peas)
  • proteins (cod, chicken, turkey)
  • condiments (ketchup, light mayo, salsa, bbq sauce, salad dressing, cream cheese, hot sauce)
  • frozen breakfast burritos
  • leftovers (chili, mexican rice)
  • alcohol for entertaining (blue moon, coors light, fireball)

I am so excited to be able to go shop for food weekly and keep produce for a few days. I never thought about how important a big, working fridge is to living a healthy lifestyle. You can do without one, but it definitely makes things easier. It’s hard to remember to be grateful for things like a working fridge, but I definitely am grateful!

I also love this bigger fridge because it will be so much easier to have food and leftovers. That was something that I struggled with in my previous fridge since it often ended up being one thing or the other. Now I have space for EVERYTHING!

Fitness note: I’m tracking my steps with my Polar Loop again today. At 4;30 I’m at 6,220 steps thanks to a walk with JuJu and a quick elliptical workout. I’m playing 2 softball games tonight so I expect that number to rise and hit my daily goal. It’s a great day for being active!

Counting Steps With The Polar Loop

This week I decided to dust off my Polar Loop Activity Tracker and wear it every day. (You can read my previous Polar Loop review.)

polor loop steps

(Hi JuJu!)

Earlier today when I thought about writing this post I was at 3549 steps. That’s not many at all considering it was already into the afternoon! Wearing the Polar Loop Activity Tracker is great for this reason – without that number I would not have noticed that I spent too much of my morning sitting. It was a great reminder to take more breaks and get up to move more often.

I also decided to have an active evening because of my slow steps for the day. I’ve rearranged my living room and cleaned already. I also plan to take JuJu for a walk afterwards.

So far this week I’ve had a couple good days where I’ve been able to analyze my stats.

polar loop results summary

I really like the way Polar Loop displays the information about active time tracked, steps counted, calories burned, etc.

polar loop results activity

polar loop results

It’s also super interesting to see when during the day I’m moving around (or not). I also am pretty amazing that even on days where I’m getting over 10k steps and being pretty active that I’m still sitting for 10 hours. Yikes! I know sitting is a killer! I’m only active for 4.5 hours of my day? That seems like so little!

I’m going to keep wearing the Polar Loop Activity Tracker for the next few weeks and see how much it encourages me to move more often. Checking these numbers is a good reality check and a reminder that I need to do more.

If you don’t use a Polar Loop or Fitbit Flex for activity tracking, I highly recommend it! It’s a great way to monitor your activity levels and adjust until you are living a more active lifestyle naturally. They are both around $100 and you get a lot of use and helpful information from them!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated via a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Why I Play Recreational Sports (And You Should Too)

recreational sportsHow I Got Started In Recreational Sports

Growing up I played sports in the backyard/park/field with my brothers. Adding a few kids to my brothers and I got a game going easily in most sports. We played baseball, football, basketball, etc. There was always a game going and I learned most of what I know about sports through this play time.

When I was in middle school I finally started playing organized sports. I played basketball for one year and then switched to softball which I played every year from 7th grad through 12th. It was my main form of exercise at the time but it was my favorite thing to do.

This past summer on a whim I signed up to play softball with my church’s softball team. I just happened to be in Sunday School when they

Why I Love Recreational Sports

I’ve struggled with why I’m not an athlete when all my brothers are, but I’ve finally accepted that it’s just in my head. I’m naturally athletic. I’m pretty good at almost any sport I try to pick up. I might not be the fastest or the best, but I’m not bad. I always end up being in the middle of the pack players wise (especially true since it’s always co-ed). This realization that I’m actually pretty good at these sports has been a huge boost to my confidence.

It’s nice to hear people compliment plays and tell me I’m good. It’s nice to hear I did well at the end of the season in a sport I’ve never played before. It’s nice to know that this is one thing that is both fun and something I’m good at.

Why You Should Play Recreational Sports

I fully believe more people should play sports more often.  Here are a few reasons why you should play recreational sports (and reasons why I do):

  • It’s fun to play a sport!
  • You can learn something new. If you’ve never played before you’ll pick up new skills.
  • It’s social so you will meet new people and develop friendships.
  • Play is good for you mentally and physically.
  • It’s another chance to be active during your week.
  • You get a new tshirt in most leagues you play in.

What Recreational Sports Can You Play? 

I’ve been playing softball and volleyball but there are a ton of recreational sports you can play depending on what is available in your area. Here are a few ideas:

  • Softball
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball (inside/beach)
  • Football (touch/flag/tackle)
  • Soccer (indoor/outdoor)
  • Kickball
  • Raquetball
  • Tennis
  • Bowling

Now that I’m into the swing of playing and enjoy it so much, I plan to sign up for as many sports as possible. I’m even considering learning another sport like soccer so I’ll have something to play in the gaps between softball and volleyball. Even if I’m terrible at soccer I’ll still get in a great workout because there is a lot of running involved!

If you play recreational sports, what do you play? Any tips or ideas for future sports I should play?

Advocare Spark (Fruit Punch) Review

Y’all the greatest thing has happened. I’ve gotten my new order of AdvoCare Spark Energy Drink!

advocare spark

One of my best friends is an Advocare distributor so she helped me out by ordering me a package of this lovely, lovely energy drink. I first discovered Spark when I did my Advocare 10 Day Cleanse (results of the Advocare 10 Day Cleanse). It was my first experience with Advocare products and obviously it wasn’t my last.

What Is Advocare?

AdvoCare is an American multilevel marketing company that sells energy, weight-loss, nutrition and sports performance products. They were founded in 1993 and offer a traditional model where distributors own their own business and sell the products. More than likely you know someone who sells or uses Advocare already since it blew up in popularity in the last few years.

What is Advocare Spark Energy Drink?

spark fruit punch energy drink

AdvoCare Spark Energy Drink is advertised as a low calorie energy drink designed for people without enough natural energy or who have energy slumps throughout the day.

It comes in several flavors and is a unique cocktail of different vitamins and ingredients designed to give you short and long-lasting energy.

Advocare Spark Energy Drink Details

The official product description:

AdvoCare Spark Energy Drink mix is a unique multi-nutrient system that’s designed to provide nutritionally advanced, long-lasting energy and enhanced mental focus. Its 21 vitamins, minerals and nutrients work synergistically to give you healthy, balanced energy without making you jittery like other caffeinated beverages. Spark’s unique combination of ingredients gives you fast-acting energy and B-vitamins enhance your body’s natural energy-sustaining processes.  For mental focus and clarity, the neuroactive amino acids in Spark help sharpen your mental focus and alertness by supporting your brain’s ability to efficiently transmit messages within the nervous system. With five refreshing flavors and only 45 calories per serving, Spark gives you a lift that lasts for hours.

What it all means:

AdvoCare Spark is an energy drink. It’s got a lot of stuff added in that is supposed to help keep you alert and focused. It has things like caffeine and vitamins that are meant to support your energy levels.

Here’s what is in it:

Key ingredients: B-vitamin complex (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and pantothenic acid), taurine, L-tyrosine, choline, caffeine, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), citrus flavonoids, inositol

All Ingredients: Vitamin A (as beta-carotene), Vitamin B-6 (as pyridoxine HCl), Vitamin B-12 (as cyanocobalamin), Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid), Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl acetate), Thiamine (as HCl), Riboflavin, Niacin (as niacinamide), Pantothenic acid (as calcium pantothenate), Zinc (as zinc monomethionine), Copper (as copper glycinate), Chromium (as chromium citrate), Choline (as bitartrate and citrate), L-Tyrosine, Taurine, Caffeine , Glycine, Citrus flavonoids, Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), L-Carnitine (as tartrate), Inositol, Maltodextrin, citric acid, sucralose, silicon dioxide, beet root extract (for color), natural and artificial flavor

That’s a lot of ingredients!

My Thoughts on Advocare Spark Energy Drink

  • I got my AdvoCare Spark Energy Drink today and I’ve already had a bit to wake up this morning instead of coffee. I also use it before afternoon workouts since my energy tends to slump during that period.
  • I like to use the fruit punch flavor as mentioned in this review. There are other flavors but this one is my personal favorite as it reminds me of fruit punch or koolaid that I used to drink as a kid.
  • I use half a scoop as a serving rather than a full scoop. I found that 1/2 scoop is plenty for energy levels and it doesn’t taste terrible. The more you use the more concentrated the flavor gets and personally I don’t like the extreme taste. Using less also makes it last longer.

merry likes advocare spark

Is Advocare worth it?

I’ve debated on whether or not I wanted to promote Advocare products and AdvoCare Spark Energy Drink in particular. Why? That little list of ingredients. It’s so long and features so many iffy things. They aren’t things that will negatively effect you immediately but the long term consumption is still debatable on whether or not it’s healthy.

However, I like AdvoCare Spark Energy Drink. I drink it. I’m still going to drink it. I know that the ingredients are concerning, but to be honest I’ve consumed a lot worse in my earlier years.

I’ve struggled with energy a lot this year.  I’ve had less energy. At one point in March I was on the phone with my mom crying because I was so tired it hurt. I had started a new job and wasn’t eating well but it was so terrifying to feel that way. I hated feeling tired all the time. After that low point I decided to take action and cleaned up my diet, got super active, and started taking vitamins like B12. A few weeks later I also started Advocare products and suddenly I felt so amazing the difference was frightening.

While a lot of my improvements with fatigue and energy came from generally principles of healthy living (move more, eat less, drink water), Spark did help. It gave me energy in the morning and got me through a lot of hard workouts. I like using it before workouts because it gives me energy but isn’t nearly as intense as a pre-workout. I’ll leave those to my body builder little brother!

Overall I have some concerns about Spark, but I like it and plan to use it for the foreseeable future. The pros outwiegh the cons for me and for that reason, I recommend you try it and decide for yourself!

Get it for yourself on Amazon: AdvoCare Spark Energy Drink or contact an Advocare distributor.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Memphis Is A Cycling City

As loyal readers know, I love to bike.

merry life bike ride

It’s been my main form of cardio fitness for a while and my preferred way to sweat it out. That’s why I get so very excited every time I learn about my city making huge strides in cycling.

The local website Choose 901 shared a story about how Memphis is becoming a premiere destination for cyclists. That’s the just of the new report, “State of Bicycling 2014? from Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator for the city of Memphis Kyle Wagenschutz.

I’m more excited about what the future holds and the potential Memphis holds to become a premier for anyone using a bike from around the world.
-Kyle Wagenschutz, Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator, City of Memphis

biking around memphis

Key points Choose 901 pulled from the report include:

  • More than 133 miles of bike friendly infrastructure already exists
  • More than 273 miles will be in place by 2016
  • Memphis now has the highest rate of bike usage in Tennessee
  • Bike usage has more than doubled since 2008
  • While usage has increased, rate of accidents has stayed unchanged
  • Funding has been secured to complete projects

Some of the cool things Memphis is working on regarding cycling are the Hampline (two mile, on-road/multi-use trail designed for all levels of experience in walking and biking) connecting the Greenline (my personal favorite) to Overton Park and another 22 miles of green lanes across the city.

I remember when I was biking to work several miles a few years ago and there weren’t many (or any?) bike lanes back then. It was a bit scary at times but so much has changed here in such a short period of time. The first bike lanes and all that followed really made biking through Midtown and Downtown really accessible. And honestly if you can hit the greenline you can bike across the county rather easily. It’s pretty amazing all the progress Memphis has made in becoming a bicycle city.

The fact that so much MORE is coming in the next couple years is even more exciting. I am looking forward to trying out the new bike lanes and other bike areas that will be coming. I plan to blog more about it and showcase what an awesome biking city this so stay tuned!

mary bike ride

If you are super nerdy, or like biking, or like Memphis (or all three), you can read the whole report here.