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Danielle Boss

When Skipping the Gym is Okay

skipping the gym

Now I know that skipping the gym is always okay.

I used to get so upset with myself for missing a workout.

I felt like I was failing somehow, or that I could do better, or that I wasn’t keeping up with others within the fitness community. But in real time, all that was happening was that it was really mentally taxing to be so unhappy with myself every time I missed the gym.

This last semester of classes was especially difficult. I am sure I could have squeezed in my workouts here and there, if I really prioritized it, but it just didn’t happen. Other things in my life had taken a priority over exercise, and that was hard to accept. I would walk past the mirror and find noticeable changes in my physique. I was working out less often and the resulting change to my body was my daily reminder. I found myself comparing: there had been a time in my life where I had been consistent with my workouts and had seen entirely different results.

It was hard to watch myself “losing progress”.

And, especially on days when I hadn’t gone to the gym, I began to feel disheartened.

As a way to care for myself and my overall health, I decided to take fitness day-by-day. What taking fitness day-by-day looked like was going into each day with a workout scheduled in. However, if life became busy and other things came up, I would skip it. It’s okay to miss a workout. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem that way. But I promise, it is okay!

Here are some of the changes I’ve made to help me make peace with my current practice of fitness:

Plan the night before 

Planning out your day can include scheduling your workout!

Whether you have 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour, just plan to do something that fits within that time restraint. Let’s say you have 30 minutes free in the afternoon– use that 30 minutes to do a quick yoga flow, bump up your strength training routine with compound movements, or run a few sprint intervals. Think of something that gets you what you want out of your workout in a shorter amount of time.

Keep on going

If you miss a day, sometimes your brain starts to think all-or-nothing: well, I missed it yesterday so I might as well just never go this whole week. However, that’s not how the body works, and it doesn’t have to be how you work! Missing one day of exercise won’t make or break your fitness goals. If you miss a day or two, just keep going! As if you’d never missed it. Self forgiveness and compassion is a beautiful thing.

It doesn’t have to be extreme

You can do a form of light exercise if you want to! “Go hard or go home?” Yeah, it doesn’t really work like that.

There are so many of these fitness pages these days with girls lifting these heavy a** rocks onto these huge walls (and I would totally try that if given the chance), but you don’t need to do an INTENSE workout every day. In fact, you shouldn’t!

If you aren’t sure how else you can get moving without going crazy at the gym, here are some ideas. You can:

  • Go for a walk
  • Go swimming
  • Ride your bike, or whatever else.

You don’t need to be dripping in sweat and heaving afterward to have a good workout. It’s okay. Move in a way that is enjoyable, always. If your HIIT workout hurts, take it down a few notches. Challenge yourself when you’re up to it and listen to your body when you’re not.

Switch it up 

The more you switch up your workouts, the more you will stay interested and want to do them. Whether that’s going outside, doing a full-body workout, doing a body-weighted workout – anything to keep challenging and exciting your body.

And you could do something totally awful, but at least it was something new and you tried it! That will keep your interest level high increasing your motivation.

Let go and forgive

If you miss a day, or a few, or just need some time off, don’t beat yourself up.

As I said, last semester was hard for me (and I am pretty good at handling stress). But life goes on, I made it through the semester, and I was fine even with fewer workouts. This summer, I started working out again now that I have a lighter load. It doesn’t mean I didn’t try during the semester or that I failed at anything: it just happens. Fitness doesn’t have to be the priority.

I know that I am still learning this whole process of finding peace with exercise at all levels. There are still times I am upset and frustrated and feel like blaming myself. But that’s okay, too– nobody is perfect. The important part is that I will keep practicing and keep trying to let go and forgive myself, every day.

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4 Ways to Upgrade Your Lemonade

When life hands you lemons, don’t be boring! It is time to get creative and fun with lemonade because nothing is quite as refreshing as a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. Some change is good. Here are some fun new options for your summer’s lemonade:

Coconut-Mint Lemonade

You need:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 small sprigs of mint
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk

In a shaker, make sure the mint and sugar are well mixed. Then add the lemon juice, water, and coconut milk. Put the top on and shake vigorously to combine all the ingredients. Serve over ice.

Green Tea Lemonade

You need:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of green tea powder
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup of cold water

Combine the sugar with the green tea powder and warm water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. After the sugar dissolves, it can be transferred to a cup and you can stir in the lemon juice and cold water. Stir and serve over ice.

Delicious Blueberry Lemonade

You need:

  • 3/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 3 cups of cold water

In a blender, blend together the 3/4 of lemon juice, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 cup of blueberries, and hot water until the berries are mushy and the sugar is dissolved. Pour this into a pitcher and add the cold water. It is recommended to chill for at least an hour. Then serve on ice and enjoy!

Fresh Peach Lemonade 

You need:

  • 1 cup of fresh of frozen peaches, sliced and peeled
  • 2/3 cup of country time lemonade
  • 4 cups of cold water and ice
  • Sprite or 7 up (optional)

In a blender, blend together the the 1 cup of fresh or frozen peaches, 2/3 cup of country time lemonade, and the 4 cups of water. Stir a little before serving. If you want a little carbonation, add a little bit of the sprite or 7up. You can always add some frozen blueberries to the top for the aesthetic 😉 

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Why You Should Study Hard But Travel Harder

Studying abroad is and experience that truly cannot be described. You are entering a totally new atmosphere. Wherever you choose to travel to, it will be worth it. While you’re there, these are the three things to focus on:

1. Meet the Locals

You will become friends with locals. The locals allow you to gain an insight on the culture that you couldn’t understand without talking to them. You can read all you want, but you will never fully understand their social norms unless you submerge yourself into their environment.

Befriending locals allows you to expand your horizons from beyond the local tourist points and find the hidden gems of the city. 

2. Gain New Skills

You will better your skills. Going to places with cultures very different from your own expands not only your knowledge, but your communication and interpersonal skills, as well. Language barriers worry people – but that is part of the beauty of new places. You learn different words and slang within that country and can then understand the way people communicate to one another. You discover what kinds of things influence the people there (gender, socioeconomic status, etc.).

3. Enjoy Yourself

You will have the absolute time of your life.

Everyday is a chance for a new adventure. You get fill each and every day with the beauty of a different culture. You get to taste new foods, learn a different language, stay up too late, maybe drink too much, and spend day after day enjoying your wonderful company – whoever that may be.

The number one reason I picked my university is because they had ways to travel. From the first day you tour the school, they make sure you understand that traveling is a huge part of what makes your experience, your education, and the school itself. 

So no matter what, study hard and travel harder. I promise you that the best way to learn about a culture is to live it, breath it, and speak it every single day.

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I Gave Up Instagram To Find Myself

Sometimes you need to turn off the notifications.

Is this article’s title dramatic? Yes.

Did it happen? Yes.

Let me start from the beginning… I decided to give up (some) social media for lent. I already knew that I needed to give up Instagram (because I honestly just REALLY love Instagram). I also decided to give up Twitter. (because who doesn’t get sucked into those threaded videos?)

At first, I would click on the app out of pure habit. I would immediately exit out. Twitter wasn’t hard for me to give up, but Instagram definitely was. I missed seeing what my friend’s posted and what the people I once was close with were up to. It’s a good way to keep up with what people are doing if you don’t get to talk to them everyday.

But man, was it nice.

I love following my favorite fitness accounts, but it was incredibly refreshing to not click on Instagram and immediately be bombarded with pictures of lean figures, booty pictures, and chiseled abs.

Don’t get me wrong, many of these people work very hard to get these incredible bodies. But I have hard time remembering that the person in the picture and myself live very different lives. I get caught up in seeing incredibly fit college students and wonder: why I don’t look the same? Really, we just live such different lives and have such different bodies – how can I even compare?

It goes beyond fitness accounts. It includes the best contour, the cutest outfits, being able to travel, etc. People read into the images on other people’s Instagram accounts and become absorbed, imagining lives much more glamorous and attractive than their own. You start to miss out on the opportunities you have and all the wonderful things your life is full of. Make a conscious effort to not read too much into the  images on these accounts. Posed photos and material goods don’t justify your happiness.

But lets say you just really look up to someone on Instagram, and you hope to live a life like theirs. Well, let me be the first to tell you that you won’t obtain their lifestyle by grazing over their Instagram account and wishing for it.

The point of this rant isn’t to diss Instagram or condemn social media. 

This is just a reminder that…

1. Your life rocks. Each and everyday you get to decide how to accomplish your dreams. Either you get up and do something about it or you can sit back hoping it magically falls into your lap.

2. Don’t forget to set the phone down or turn off the notifications and just enjoy the moment you are in.

3. Go outside, forget your phone, forget your camera. Try not taking pictures for a night. 

4. What you see is not always what you get. Photos are usually posed, don’t read too far into them.

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Hop Into Spring With This 30-Minute Workout

It’s finally springtime.

The weather is getting warmer, the sun is shining brighter, and people are all around feeling happier. What a wonderful time of year. 

When the beginning of this year started, I made a list of goals for 2017. One of them was to go outside as much as I possibly can. I want to just enjoy my surroundings, whether I do this by taking a walk, studying outside, adventuring around, or whatever else – just getting outside can have a huge impact. Life is too short to be stuck inside

With this spirit in mind, I am determined to get outside when I break a sweat. So I’ve created a fun little workout to jumpstart your warm-weathered season!

Warm Up (5 mins)

A warm up should consist of dynamic movements. Dynamic movements are movements that get the muscles warm. You should be moving while performing these stretches, but not pushing yourself too hard. It’s just help you break a little sweat and prepares you for your workout 😉 

  1. Lunge twists
  2. Straight leg swing
  3. Karaoke 
  4. High knees
  5. Circle the arms

The Workout (25 mins)

This is meant to make you sweat. It’s high intensity, but get yourself out there and know you can do it!

1. Squat jump up, squat jump down, burpee (2 sets, 12 reps)

Assume a squat position. 

Use your legs to push through your heels and jump as high as you can. Land with a slight bend on the knees and go back down to a squat. 

From the squat, put your arms down and extend your legs back so you assume a plank position. Step or jump your feet back up to get back into the squat position. Repeat! 

2. Switch lunges (2 sets, 12 reps – 6 each leg)

Lunge on one side, then jump or step to switch feet to lunge with the other side. Make sure your knee does not go over your front toes! 🙂 

 

3. Sprint up the stairs, high knees down (2 sets, 2 minutes each time)

 

4. Quick feet (2 sets, 2 minutes each time)

This involves one foot just tapping the higher step, then coming back down and replacing the standing foot. Then the previous standing foot taps the higher step and repeats. 

5. Clap push-ups (2 sets, 8 reps)

This is a normal push-up, but when you come up you release your hands and clap. 

 

You will end up with your arms in the extended position again and repeat! 

Reminder: Modify the movement if needed! It is okay to not be able to do these movements or not be able to do them for the full amount of times/repetitions. Do what you can, and set some goals for next time! 

Cool Down (5 mins)

Stretch it out. You know where your body feels tight. Focus on stretching the legs after this workout, especially the hamstrings.

Make sure you spend at least 5 minutes stretching, and focus on static stretching. Static stretches are meant to help with flexibility rather than warming the muscles. So holding a stretch would be much more beneficial.

I hope your enjoy the wonderful weather and breaking a sweat with it.

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The Ultimate Foodie Bucket List

My dream job: to travel the world and stuff my face every day with all sorts of delicious food. But unfortunately, that job doesn’t exist; so instead here is a smaller version of my Traveling Bucket List: Food Edition…

BLACK TAP – New York, New York 

Black Tap is a modern, fun diner. Although they’re known for their burgers and beer, their milkshakes look absolutely incredible. Like these milkshakes have lollipops, cookies, sprinkles, a piece of cake, cotton candy, and more literally coming out of the shake itself. 

I repeat there is a literal piece of cake on top of a huge shake… That’s pretty amazing if you ask me. So I would most definitely google these shakes and add it to your food bucket list.

ODDFELLOWS ICE CREAM CO. – Brooklyn, New York 

Oddfellows looks like your old-school diner, but don’t let that fool you. The food looks unforgettable.

Every day they have new rotating flavors – sometimes their ice cream goes so fast they have to make new flavors throughout the day. Their ice cream is made in small batches and is very fresh. As I am looking at their menu, they have a s’mores flavor coming soon and that is it – that’s the one I need.

PASTICHE – Providence, Rhode Island

Pastiche a bakery filled with amazing treats. They have cakes, chocolate, cookies, tarts, and other sweets such as cannoli and butterscotch crumbcakes.

Personally, after observing their menu, I would absolutely love to try their fresh fruit tart.

JUGOS – Boston, Massachusetts 

Jugos is a super cute juice bar in Boston. They have smoothies, acai bowls, pitaya bowls, sandwiches, and of course – juice! I would love to try either their Kai acai bowl or there apple, beet, carrot, cucumber, ginger, parsley juice. What a nice refreshing treat 🙂

 

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GJUSTA – Venice, California 

A lot of the foods I have mentioned have been desserts or acai bowls, but this cafe just looks absolutely delicious. Although they are a cafe, they are also a deli.

They have breakfast, gjusta sandwiches, smoked meats, and fish plates. Since breakfast is my favorite, I would definitely like to try the classic egg sandwich – english muffin, collards, gruyere, bacon, and hot sauce! I would also like to taste the veggie sandwich which as whole wheat, roasted peppers, tomato, fennel, radish, pickled turnips, (extra) avocado, sprouts, and tahini. Mmm!

BOWL OF HEAVEN – Madison, Wisconsin 

Bowl of Heaven is in a few locations, but no matter where you go, there food looks absolutely incredible. I would like order Dan’s PB bowl which has organic acai, bananas, strawberries, peanut butter, MAQ7, and chocolate almond milk topped with hemp flax seed granola, more banana, and honey. I could also go for any of their heavenly smoothies.

 

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3 ARTS CLUB CAFE – Chicago, Illinois

First of all, the cafe is absolutely stunning with a see-through ceiling, a huge chandelier place directly above a fountain (yes, it’s inside), and comfy couches to sit at. The atmosphere looks phenomenal.

Although the food selection is small, I am telling you, it sure looks delicious. I honestly think I would come here to simply enjoy the coffee bar or tea. If I were to eat there, I would try the bacon club – avocado, gem lettuce, green tomato, and aioli on whole wheat.

CHIN CHIN LABS – London, UK

Chin Chin labs is known for its nitro ice-cream. Although I would have fly to get there, I absolutely would. They have weekly flavors and specials, but have classic flavors, ice-cream sandwiches, sundaes, shakes, cookies, and hot chocolate. It is pretty much a sweet tooth’s dream. I would definitely try the ‘brown-wich.’ This is their bestseller that consists of two freshly baked chocolate brownie cookies stuffed with vanilla ice cream. 

 

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This Food Mindset is More Effective than Any Diet

Everyone has a different relationship with food.

Some see food as form of comfort. Some see food as the enemy. Some don’t think about food for taste and only think about its use for nutritional value.

These thoughts aren’t what being healthy is about. I am here to tell you that food is your friend.

I know that society today has this overwhelming perception on how bodies should look. The first thought on many people’s minds is that they need to be skinny to have the stereotypically “ideal” body. Once that’s been implanted into people’s brains, the first thing they tend to think is that they need to eat less.

This is absolutely false.

Now there is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to be up-front and honest.

The only way to change the appearance of your body (not that you need to) is to change the way you eat and exercise. Let’s be honest: a lot of people have goals centered around changing the way their bodies look.

Note: Of course, this is totally unnecessary. Live happy, healthy, and balanced and the rest will fall into place. So really, you can just ditch that negative body image and self doubt and love your body right now instead. 

But anyway, to make your body look stronger, healthier, leaner, or whatever you’re trying to do, it’s important that you eat right. See the catch is: I didn’t say to eat less, I said to eat right

Some days are harder than others. Some days, you want to eat well and you end up eating chips and pizza and cookies and soda all at once… But hey, that’s life. So what do I do? I chose to eat food-conscious.

why food is your friend, not your enemy

That term does not mean to be self-limiting. It doesn’t mean to make rules and limit food, but instead that you should wake up everyday with the intention to feed your body well.

What does that mean?

  1. You want to be eating things that give you energy and keep you alert.
  2. You want to be eating things that nourish your body and help you grow.
  3. You want foods made of whole foods that digest well and help you be the best you can be.

Now that food may not always been readily available, but that’s okay. Do the best you can. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

You are allowed to enjoy desserts and big meals and feeling full; it’s normal.

But make sure you take the time to eat some fruits and veggies because your body will love your for it and flourish from it.

One of my biggest pieces of advice for this is to go to your local farmer’s market and load up on fruit. It’s cheap, fresh, and supports locals! 🙂 

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So in summary: continue to be aware of what you are eating, but don’t let it consume your life. 

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Fitness Taught Me To Love Myself No Matter What

My name is Danielle, and I want you to know that my fitness journey is still in progress.

I have been a dancer since I was very young, but I became interested in fitness my freshman year of high school.

My Dad taught me the basics such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, and lunges to get me started. They were easy-to-follow moves, and I continued to do them.

I began to get bored with my routine and I asked my mom to take me to her gym. I tagged along one day and did one of the workouts she was learning from her personal trainer. The workout kicked my BUTT.

Funny thing is, I’m seriously not exaggerating when I say that: I ended up passing out at the gym. And nearly dying. Okay, that part’s a bit dramatic. But it was frightening; my eyes rolled back, my lips turned blue, and I distinctly remember my hearing fading.

At this point, I realized how important eating enough and staying hydrated were. We went in the morning, so I hadn’t felt hungry beforehand and I generally didn’t drink very much water. That was definitely a wake-up call to the nutritional aspect of fitness.

Loving your body requires more than physical activity.

Up until my senior year of high school, I had just tried to figure out the basics. But then, I wanted to be pushed, so I took a weightlifting class. That’s when my love for fitness really took off. As much I loved learning the new lifts, I also learned about other important aspects of training such as how long each rep should be, the correct form for each movement, and about what it meant to believe in and push yourself. 

Not in just the physical sense, but also mentally. High school is filled with immature, like-minded beings who only have one image of what beauty is, so people said a lot of hurtful things. Most of them would claim to be joking, but words hurt.

Along with taking this class, I began to kick box in my local area. This team was incredible. The encouragement and determination of the other members was so inspiring. Everyday after school, I would have dance practice and then I would head to train with them. Even though I had no free time, I was happier than ever and loved spending my days active and on-the-go.

Then I entered my freshman year of college, and I was struggling. I have always been a busy-bee and managed my time well, but this first semester was unlike anything I had ever encountered.

The stress I put on myself became emotionally, mentally, and physically straining. The stress became apparent and my optimism quickly turned into constant crying, calling my parents two or three times a week because all I could manage to feel was hopeless and tired.

Weight (and muscle) slowly slid away because the stress would sit in my stomach, not allowing me to get a full meal down. My hours of sleep became smaller and smaller because I would try to fit too much done in to too little of time. A never ending cycle was established resulting in me being absolutely drained all the time. With my lack of sleep, energy, and food, there was no way I was making it to the gym. 

 

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Even though I looked relatively strong, I was weak.

I was not healthy. 

So for my health, I ended up transferring to a school closer to home, and so far it has been the best decision. I have found a balance between school, my friends, getting my workouts in, and extracurriculars. I am involved in the Dance Company at my school, work out regularly, and have recently joined the Women’s Lacrosse Team, along with my participation in clubs, studying, etc.

My (incomplete) fitness journey has been a whirlwind, but it’s made me who I am today. Fitness goes beyond the aesthetic of one’s body. It is something that you do because you love it and you love yourself. It helps you gain an appreciation for yourself that you never had before. You can squat 250 lbs? Heck, then you can do anything!

The encouragement I get from my friends, family, and people I don’t even know has been tremendous. Every insult that has ever been said to me, has only made me try ever harder because I am a strong, independent woman and I love what I do. Some days are harder than others, but you keep on going.

 

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Fitness has truly taught me to love myself — no matter what comes my way.

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How to Show Everyone You Love Them on Valentine’s Day

Growing up, Valentine’s day meant one thing: candy.

You would craft the most wonderful box you could think of. You would arrive at school and set out your box proudly, waiting for the time you could hand out the candy you oh-so-carefully picked out and receive all the wonderful, cartoon-filled valentine’s day cards your classmates made. You couldn’t wait to get back home, rip open all of the cards, and shove as much pink, heart-shaped candy into your mouth as you possibly could.

But as time continued on and you continued to grow, Valentine’s day developed a whole new meaning. It wasn’t about candy suckers and cards taped shut with heart stickers… It was about your relationship status. 

Not only was it about whether or not you were in a relationship, but it was about what you did and the gifts you got on Valentine’s Day.

You see, once you become a teenager, society begins to tell you that you “should” be in a relationship.

Society says that in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, you should be showered in jewelry, flowers, chocolate, a fancy date, etc. The constant commercials filled with romance are overwhelming.

But I am here to tell you that it does not have to be that way. 

To me, Valentine’s Day is something much deeper than that. It doesn’t have to be about a romantic relationship: it can celebrate platonic relationships, love for your family, and love for yourself.

Valentine’s Day is all about the celebration of love!

So instead of dwelling on how single you are, or how you can’t find somebody, or how everyone sucks, why not ditch all that and be positive? Spread the love to those around you and just show your appreciation for them.

It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. All you really have to do is say, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I love you and I am so grateful for you! Happy Valentine’s day!” It may not seem like much, but it means so much to the person that is receiving it.

BE A RADIANT BEAM OF LOVE AND DON’T LET ANYONE TRY AND TEAR YOU DOWN. The day can be whatever you make of it. And if you don’t feel like spreading the love and would rather just sulk, well at least let me give you some ideas for activities that incorporate loving yourself.

  1. Watch your favorite movie.
  2. Take a long, relaxing bath while listening to your most soothing playlist.
  3. Go to the gym, take a walk, go for a run outside, whatever makes you feel good.
  4. Put on some good music and dance around.
  5. Make your favorite meal.
  6. Get a manicure/pedicure.
  7. Buy yourself the Valentine’s Day essentials (chocolate and flowers). There should be no shame in this purchase.
  8. Do something with your friends!
  9. Do something creative.
  10. Go visit your family.
  11. Do something that you love to do that you haven’t had time to do lately.
  12. Sleep in.
  13. Have a lunch date with your friend.
  14. Write down a simple list of things you love.
  15. Try something new. It can be as simple as getting off campus and going to a new restaurant.

No matter what you decide to do, just make sure to spread the love. Whether that is calling an old friend, texting someone to let them know you miss them, or complimenting a random stranger, just embrace the day with open arms and keep smiling. 🙂 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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