Treadmill and Bodyweight Workout

Treadmill and Body Weight Workout Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a nice restful weekend.  I did.  I got the chance to spend a day with my daughter’s shopping and just hanging out before they start school.  I also went to yoga.  I love yoga.  I try to do hot yoga once a week and really miss it when I don’t do it.  

One of my favorite things on Sunday besides going to church is running with friends.  This Sunday I ran almost 9 miles and it felt great!   Now I have to be honest I have been slacking a bit in my running.  I stopped going to Orange Theory for the summer and I can tell!  If you haven’t been to Orange Theory you need to try a class.  It will definitely push you.  So I started my membership up again and I am taking my first class since May this Friday.  Man am I scared!  It’s been a while.  To prep myself I did a treadmill workout to get myself pumped and ready to go.  I thought I would share this workout with you since it was a pretty good one.  This workout can be done anywhere and requires no weights.  I did a mix of outside running and treadmill running.  I wore my heart rate monitor to make sure I was in the zones similar to what I would be in during an Orangetheory workout.  

Warm Up

1 Mile Easy Run (note your pace)

Bodyweight Workout

  • 10 Burpees
  • 20 Push Ups
  • 30 Full Sit Ups
  • 40 Body Weight Deep Squats

Run 1 Mile (at a push pace, note your pace)

Push Pace is about 1-2 mph faster than your base speed for a normal run.

Repeat Bodyweight Workout From Above

Run 1 Mile (at a push pace, make sure this mile is faster than your second mile)  

Core Workout

  • Plank Jacks (30 seconds)
  • Side Planks (30 Seconds on each side)
  • Regular Plank (30 Seconds)
  • Bicycle (30 Seconds)

Always finish with a cool down and a stretch.  I did a quick 2 minute cool down jog and a few yoga flows and some yoga stretching at the end of this workout.  It felt sooooo good!

Have a great week! 

Meal Prep Recap and WOD (workout of the day)

Meal Prep Success

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So my meal planning was a success!  Even the dogs and kids got in on the fun!  Well the dogs got in the way a bit!  Yes, my kitchen looked like a bomb went off, but now I feel much more prepared going back to work and ready for sports practices this week.  I cooked mostly basics to keep in the fridge or freezer to create my meals from this week.  This will make dinners much easier.  Here is what I made:  ground beef, baked chicken breast, cut up veggies, garden salad, sweet potatoes, rice, hard boiled eggs and my no bake energy bites.   I have to share how I cooked my sweet potatoes.  I used my crockpot!  

Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes  Sweet Potatoe

4-5 Medium Sweet Potatoes

Wash and Scrub your sweet potatoes but do not dry them.  This water will be needed n your crock pot.  Put them into your crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours until cooked through.  Store in the refrigerator or cut in chunks and freeze for later meals.  

This was sooooo easy!  Why have I not been cooking my potatoes in the crock pot?  And who knew you could freeze them too.  

Workout Of The Day

Today’s workout was a good one!  The focus was on upper body and core with cardio bursts throughout.  Give it a try!  

Warm Up:  5 Minutes on the treadmill at an easy jog pace.  You could bike, use the elliptical or row to warm up as well.  

Set 1

  • Single Arm Kettlebell Curl Press (use a dumbbell if needed)
  • Front Raise and Lateral Raises

Perform each exercise above for 10-12 reps.  Complete two to three times.  

Cardio

  • Row 3 Minutes (at a difficult pace, note your meters rowed)
  • Run 3 Minutes (at a push pace, note your pace)

Set 2

  • Bicep Curls using cable machine (use dumbbells if needed)
  • Pull Ups  (use assistance if needed)
  • Tricep Dips (use dip machine or a bench)

Perform each exercise above for 10-12 reps.  Complete two to three times.

Cardio

  • Row 3 Minutes (try to beat your previous meters rowed)
  • Run 3 Minutes (increase pace from your previous push pace)

Final Blast* :  Perform each of the following for 30 seconds.  Complete 2-3 rounds.

  • Battle Ropes (in a squat position lift the ends of the battle ropes and make waves in the outstretched ropes)
  • 1 PushUp-1 Plank Knee to elbow
  • Wall Balls (using a 10-20 pound wall ball stand approximately 16 inches from the wall.  Hold the ball at chin level squat down into a deep squat position and propel yourself up from the squat position while driving your heels on your way up and using hip action to propel the ball to the top of the wall.  

*There are some great tutorials on the web for the final blast exercises.  

Always follow your workout with a cool down and stretch.  

Upper Body Core and Cardio Workout

I hope you all have a great week.  It’s back to work for me this week!  I am actually excited and ready to go back to school.  

Teachers are you excited to go back to school?  Parents are you ready to send your kids back?

 

Throwback Thursday

It’s almost Friday!  Summer is ticking away and soon it will be back to school and back to the crazy!  I really do enjoy my summer as a teacher I feel rejuvenated and refreshed when I go back to school in the fall.  This week was my birthday and I like to reflect back on the year and look forward to the next.  I started this blog a few years ago and never really focused on it.  In college I was a journalism major before changing to education.  I really enjoy writing and sharing my love of fitness, healthy food and healthy living.  Today I was looking back at some of my early posts and thought I would do a little throwback Thursday post and share one of my very first recipes and workouts.  I am continually improving my writing and always love to hear any ideas you would like to see on the blog.  

This is by far one of my favorite recipes.  My mom gave me this recipe a long time ago and I make these at least twice a week for my family.  They are my go to pre-workout/pre-run snack.  They give me the perfect amount of energy without feeling like I ate too much.  You can adapt this recipe any way you like it.  Sometimes I use almond butter and throw in some coconut or raisins. Trust me these are amazing!  

No Bake Pre-Workout Peanut Butter Energy Balls
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Cup Gluten Free Oats (or regular)
  2. 1/3 Cup Natural Peanut Butter
  3. 1/4 Cup Honey
  4. 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (about 1/4 cup)
  5. 3 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseeds
  6. 3 Tablespoons Mini Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients together using a food processor or stir ingredients well. Roll the mixture into 1 tablespoons size balls. I like to use a small ice cream scoop and then roll them.
Optional Ingredients
  1. 1/4 Cup Dried Fruit
  2. Chia Seeds
  3. Unsweetened Coconut
  4. *Any nut butter can be subbed in for the peanut butter
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Today’s workout was one of the first workouts I posted on my blog.  It’s a good one.  I called it the buns, guns, and abs workout.  It gets the heart rate up while focusing on total body strengthening as well. 

Buns Guns and Abs

I hope you all have a great Thursday!   

 

Cross Fit and Cookie Dough

This week I am giving Crossfit a try!  I am actually a little intimidated but I have a lot of friends and family who love it, so I thought I would try it for a week and see what I think.  I am always looking for ways to change up my workout and get new ideas to incorporate into my classes I teach at the gym, so this will be a great way to do both.  So I went over to Crossfit Fireside for a free 1 week trial. Today’s WOD was a tough one.  It included a lot of running, which I love!  Here is a breakdown of what we did today:

  • Warm Up (400 Meter Jog and Dynamic Stretches)
  • Back Squats (since I am new I did these) 5×5
  • Run 400 Meters
  • 50 Air Squats
  • Run 400 Meters
  • 30 Goblet Squats with A Kettlebell
  • Run 400 Meters
  • 20 Goblet Squats with A Kettlebell
  • Run 400 Meters
  • 100 Kettlebell Swings
  • Stretch

Overall it was a great workout.  The kettlebell swings killed me!  I had to use a lighter size kettlebell than I usually use but was able to pump out the 100 swings.  On the way home I drank a bunch of water and ate a few protein balls that I made yesterday.  pb balls

I have a new protein ball/bar recipe for you guys to try.  I am always trying to find a good protein bar that is clean, gluten and dairy free.  This is pretty tough.  I have tried a few that I like, but a lot of them are pretty expensive.  So I whipped up a batch of these peanut butter cookie dough protein balls today while experimenting in my kitchen.  You could easily make these into bars, but I rolled them into balls.  I used Less Naked vegan vanilla pea protein powder but you could also use whey protein.  The texture may be better with a whey protein because pea protein tends to be a little gritty.  I also used Naked PB peanut butter powder but you could use any peanut butter powder.   I recommend these for a post workout snack or a treat anytime during the day! 

 

 

Peanut Butter Protein Cookie Dough Balls
Yields 10
Vegan, Gluten and Dairy Free Protein Balls
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 Cup Vanilla Pea Protein Powder (can use whey)
  2. 1/2 Cup Powdered Peanut Butter
  3. 2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
  4. 1 Tablespoon Natural Peanut Butter
  5. 1 Tablespoon Honey
  6. 1 Tablespoon Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
  7. 1 Packet Stevia (optional)
  8. Water (as needed)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor pulse all the ingredients except the chocolate chips until well combined. The mixture will be dry.
  2. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time to soften the mixture into a cookie dough consistency.
  3. When you reach the desired texture, pulse in the chocolate chips until incorporated throughout the dough.
  4. Form into balls 1 tablespoon in size. You can also form the mixture into 3 bars as well. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container.
Notes
  1. Nutrition Information Per Ball (may vary depending on your ingredients)
  2. Calories: 58
  3. Fat: 2g
  4. Carbohydrates: 5.6g
  5. Fiber: 1g
  6. Sugar 2.8g
http://4livingthewrightway.com/

Breakfast Boredom and Boot Camp Workout

Happy Friday!  We are heading to Hawaii this weekend for a little R&R and time with my family who live there.  I am so excited.  I will definitely be taking a ton of pictures to share with you all when we get back.

Today’s workout was a good one!  I am always starving after my workouts and I look forward to breakfast! 

Bootcamp 30

Do you ever get bored with the same old breakfast stuff you eat everyday?  I am a total creature of habit.  I will usually have oatmeal, smoothies, eggs and toast, or my banana oat protein pancakes.  I typically just rotate these during the week.  Lately I have not been wanting any of those things for breakfast though.  I decided I was on a mission to find some new breakfast things to try.  Today I had the sweet potato breakfast bowl.  I topped mine with chopped cashews, cinnamon and a sprinkle of chia seeds.  It was yummy and super filling.  While searching the web I found these things I plan on incorporating into my weekly breakfast rotation. 

Sweet Potato Toast with Avocado.  Yup, I said sweet potato toast.  This idea is so intriguing to me.  I love sweet potato and avocado so it is a total win!  Here is the recipe I found:  http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Sweet-Potato-Toast-Recipes-41793311  I am not sure about the radish, I may add a sprinkle of chia seeds and sea salt.  

Cookie Dough Cereal.  I love cookie dough and cereal so why not.  I also love this blog.  I use a lot of her recipes.  http://fitnessista.com/2010/08/serious-cereal/  I will probably make the raw version.  

Mashed sweet potato bowls. Here I go again with the sweet potato, but I really do love them and they are healthy and filling.  I usually have sweet potatoes baked and ready in the fridge for left over so this will be quick and easy too! The recipe below is adapted from a few I found on the web. 

 

Mashed Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Mashed Sweet Potato
  2. 1/2 Banana
  3. 1/2 Tsp of Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
  4. Pinch of Sea Salt
  5. 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (optional for added protein)
Instructions
  1. Mash sweet potato, banana, spices and salt until well incorporated. Microwave for 1-3 minutes until it reaches your desired temperature. If you are adding the protein you may need a bit of almond milk as well to incorporate the protein powder. Stir until well combined and add desired toppings.
Optional topping ideas
  1. Sliced Banana
  2. Chopped Nuts
  3. Nut Butter
  4. Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  5. Chia or Flax Seeds
  6. Dried Fruit (chopped dates, raisins, or cranberries)
http://4livingthewrightway.com/

Current Food Faves

IMG_1260[1]Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend.  We sure did.  We got to spend time with family and friends which is always the best.  

Lately I have been trying to incorporate new foods and snack items into my daily meals to change it up a bit.  I am usually a creature of habit but lately I have been getting bored with the same meals and snacks.  I thought I would share some of the new things that I have been trying lately that I love.  So here are a few of my latest food finds.  

  1. Naked PB and Naked Protein Powder.  It is so hard to find a good protein powder that is clean and dairy free.  So I bought the sample pack of Naked Protein Powder and all of the dairy free options were really good.  I tried the goat, rice, and pea.  They were all unflavored.  I added them to my smoothies and my banana oat pancake recipe.  The verdict=I would definitely buy this again.  I am actually going to buy the Naked Pea protein in vanilla and chocolate.  
  2. Organic Black Bean Spaghetti.  This stuff is amazing!!!!!  One serving has 180 calories, 2 grams fat, 17 carbohydrates, and a whopping 25 grams of protein.  The thickness is similar to an angel hair pasta, the taste is not strong and very subtle.  I was expecting a bean taste, but there really wasn’t.  We had it with sautéed shrimp in olive oil and herbs.  It really soaked up the flavor.  Next time I will try it with a traditional spaghetti sauce.  Even my hubby the pasta lover in the family liked it!  The verdict=definitely buy again.  
  3. Crio Bru brewed cocoa.  I am trying to limit my caffeine intake, which is really hard!  I usually only drink 2 cups a day, but I am trying to cut back to one cup.  So based on the advice given from my naturopath I tried this coffee alternative.   Surprisingly it has a similar taste to coffee without the caffeine.  According to the packaging “Crio Bru is the ultimate superfood, a delicious all-natural coffee alternative made from the finest fair trade cocoa beans, roasted and ground and brewed just like coffee. But unlike coffee, it’s 99% caffeine free, high in antioxidants and theobromine for a focused, Honest Energy™ boost that will keep you feeling great all day, without jitters or sleeplessness.”  The taste is similar  to a very dark chocolate.  The Verdict=It’s good, but I am not sure I would drink it a lot.  I may just stick to one cup of coffee if I can.
  4. Kirkland Protein Bars.  These I cannot eat due to the whey protein but I am writing this on behalf of my hubby.  These are almost identical to a Quest Bar in taste and texture.  The only difference is that these are sweetened with stevia and there are only 2 flavor options.  Cookie dough, my hubbys fave and chocolate brownie.  They are also a ton cheaper.  Under $1 a bar.  Quest bars are usually $2-$3 a bar.  I soooo wish I could eat these!!!  The Verdict=Buying these for the hubby for sure!
  5. Humm Kombucha in Pomegranate Lemonade.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE kombucha.  I even tried to  make it once but that didn’t go very well.  So I am back to buying it.  Here in Boise we can get growlers of Humm Kombucha filled up and it is much cheaper than buying it in the bottle.  If you don’t know what kombucha is it is a fermented sweet tea.  It’s a nice alternative to drinking sparkling water, tea, or other sweetened beverages and it’s good for you.  It’s loaded with antioxidants, probiotics, and B vitamins.  My new favorite flavor is pomegranate lemonade, it is so refreshing for summer.  I also love lemon ginger and my daughter’s love coconut lime.  The Verdict=love this flavor and I will keep buying it for sure!

I just wanted to share with you a few of my faves right now. I am NOT getting paid to endorse any of these items (I wish)!  Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.  I love to hear new snack ideas and foods that other people are trying. 

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Spartan Race Recap & Tips For A First Spartan Sprint

I hope you all had a great weekend.  Well….we did it! We conquered the Spartan Boise Sprint Race.  We kicked butt!  For rookie Spartan Racers we feel very accomplished.  I got 4th place in my age group and my hubby got 1st in his age group and we have never done it before.  I am so proud of both of us.  I will say that it may be the hardest race I have ever done. It was a very hilly 5 mile course with rough terrain.  We  ran in the competitive group which I was nervous about but I am glad we did.  We started at 8:00 AM and it was hot!   IMG_1161

Going into this race I was nervous.  I had nightmares the week before.  I do tend to worry and fear the unknown.  That is just my personality type.  This race put me totally out of my comfort zone. Climbing a rope and dragging myself through muddy goat head water under barb wire is not something I usually do!  I had to face my fear and I did!  

Since this was our first Spartan I decided to put together a list of tips and suggestions for any of you crazy people out there who want a challenge and want to try a Spartan Sprint.  

First off the training.  I will admit that I did not really train for the Spartan specifically.  I did run a lot of hills and hill repeats.  That definitely helped.  It was steep and a lot of the time I was walking up the steep hills.  My glutes and hamstrings were on fire!  I did get a chance to try out a few of the obstacles at Camp Rhino Boise, which really helped with safety and techniques as well as to ease my fears.  I think a lot of my daily training helped in many ways.  What I like about how I train is that it is for functional fitness, which allows me to enter different types of races or try different activities without having to specifically train for them.  

If I were to do another Spartan I would definitely incorporate the following into my current training:

  • Hike up steep hills (maybe with a weighted vest)
  • Hit the playground and swing on the monkey bars!  I failed these obstacles and ended up doing burpees.  Monkey bars aren’t just for the kids!
  • Army Crawls and Bear Crawls!  You will do a lot of these in the mud and water under the barbed wire.  This was the scariest part of the course for me.  
  • Find a gym that does obstacle course race training and take a class on safety and techniques.  Practicing at the gym helped me to master the rope climb and helped with my confidence.  
  • Watch videos.  If you don’t have a chance to practice at a gym you can get tips and suggestions from all the videos on the web.  
  • If you have the opportunity to train and race with friends do it!  My friends Matt and Amy really coached me a long since they had previous Spartan experience.  

What To Wear:

  • Spandex and wicking materials.  Do not wear cotton it will get wet and weigh you down.  Wear tight fitting clothing.  I saw a lot of women in spandex shorts and sports bra’s but I chose to wear a tank.  For the guys, my hubby says go with no shirt (first time racing without a shirt but with water obstacles it was a good choice). He was fine wearing athletic shorts with compression shorts underneath.
  • Old shoes you are willing to donate.  My friend tried to wear her new shoes and was very nervous about it so I told her if she was nervous she should not wear new shoes.  You can donate your old muddy shoes at the end of the race and they will clean them.  
  • Sunscreen if you are in hot sunny weather like we were.  
  • I did not wear gloves because I didn’t train with them, I but saw a lot of people wearing them.
  • Compression socks or long tight fitting socks to protect your legs.  
  • Bring a set of extra clothes and extra shoes for the end of the race.  I took a pair of flip flops to wear around.  
  • Do not wear your garmin/watch or sunglasses

What did I eat for pre-race nutrition?  

I would eat and drink whatever you normally do before a long run.  Do not eat anything new.  You may be rolling down a hill and this is not the time to have new foods in your stomach.  I had some coffee and toast with peanut butter and banana about 2 hours before the start.  I drank sips of water at each of the water stations, but didn’t need any fuel during the race.  I would do whatever you normally do for runs or workouts longer than one hour.  

Lastly, these are just a few things I thought about during the race and after.  You have to pace yourself especially if this is your first Spartan.  At first I tried to keep up with my more experienced friend and then I realized that I needed to slow down and run my own race.  Don’t go crazy, be safe and be realistic.  If something goes wrong during an obstacle, pause and don’t freak out, then try to complete it.  One thing that really helped me was to watch other people in front of me complete the obstacles, especially the ones I had not tried before.  I can’t say that I will do another Spartan anytime soon, but I did have fun and I did surprise myself at how well I did without a specific training plan.  If you plan to do your first Spartan go into it with an open mind, have fun and just have a goal to finish.  Someone once said, “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable,” I love this saying especially for me and this race.  

Spartan Hill

Have you done a Spartan or another obstacle race?  Comment with any tips or suggestions you may have.  Have a great week!  

Tips For Drinking More Water

Tips To Drink More Water

How are you guys!  Can we talk about drinking water and hydration for a bit?  THIS IS SO HARD FOR ME!!!!  I will admit I just don’t like the taste of plain water.  It’s going to be in the upper 90’s this week and that means hot and sweaty workouts!  Am I the only one who struggles to drink water?  Especially during the school year.  When you are a teacher with a tiny bladder and bathroom breaks are slim to none it’s tough to drink a lot of water during the school day.  Since it is summer though I have been really focusing on drinking more water.  I think sometimes we focus too much on trying to get the standard 8 glasses of water in each day and don’t focus on what OUR bodies need.  I think it is different for everyone.  I am a heavy sweater during my workouts so my body needs more water.  There are so many benefits of water and I am sure you have heard them all but I notice when I am not drinking enough water my skin looks terrible, I have low energy, I get bloated and sometimes I get headaches.  So here are a few things I have been trying to do this summer to get more water in.

  1. Drink flavor infused water.  I like lemons, limes, cucumbers, and mint.  So good!  
  2. Set a goal, for example my goal is to drink 1 full water bottle by lunch time.  Then another by dinner and one with my workouts. 
  3. Always have your water bottle with you wherever you go.  
  4. Drink your water early in the day!  Don’t try to drink too much water before bed unless you want to be up all night!
  5. Add electrolytes to your water if you are working out in the heat.  I like Nuun Tablets or Emergen C.

What are your tips for drinking more water?  I would love to hear them so comment below and let me know so I can give them a try.  Have a great Monday and if you are in Boise stay cool!

Weekend Adventures in Portland Oregon

We had such an amazing 3 day weekend in Portland, Oregon.  My dad lives there, so we we decided to pack up and take a road trip to see him and meet up with some of our friends who live there as well.

Saturday started off with a trip down to the Portland Saturday market.  It’s a huge street market and fair that features tons of booths with food, jewelry, clothing etc.  I had to pick up my favorite kombucha (Brew Dr. Kombucha) while I was there.  I tried the lemon ginger and my husband tried the citrus hops.  They were both yummy!  Then we went shopping which was a blast.  I love checking out new stores and boutiques that we don’t have in Idaho.  After shopping we were hungry and tired, so we stopped off for some pizza and ice cream.  I had a super yummy slice of pizza and a kale salad at a local pizza place called Pizzacato.  For dessert we were off to Salt and Straw for ice cream.    IMG_0828[1] If you have never been to Salt and Straw ice cream shop  in Portland you need to go.  I don’t eat ice cream often, due to my dairy intolerance, but I had to try a few of their new flavors.  They do offer a dairy free and gluten free option, but I took a chance on the real thing.  This month at Salt and Straw they are featuring fermented flavors, which sounds odd and some of the flavors were a bit odd.  I wasn’t going to try any of them, but my server suggested I try the sourdough with chocolate and strawberry.  Here is the description on the menu:  The ice cream is made of Sourdough, with all it’s fermented tartness and malty-ness, with a gentle smear of liquified chocolate and strawberry jam. The ice cream itself is as pleasantly sour as walking into a bakery at five in the morning thanks to a house fermented sourdough mom we’ve created specifically for this ice cream and candied sourdough “croutons”. Ribbons of jam and chocolate slowly drool from each scoop with the same tenacity that you’ll drool over each bite.  So I had to take a chance and try it.  It was sooooo good!  It may be my new favorite ice cream flavor.  And since I couldn’t decide between all the flavors, I had two!  I went for a scoop of the almond brittle with salted ganache.  It was sooooo good too! I was a bit worried about having tummy issues after eating all that dairy, but it turns out I was just fine. It was soooooo worth it.  Salt and Straw is our Portland tradition.  You do have to stand in line for a while, but we don’t mind!  

On Sunday the hubby and I decided to go out for a run.  We searched around for a good trail and found the Wildwood trail that started at the Portland Zoo and went up to the Pittock Mansion.  When you reach the top of the hilly run it has a spectacular view of the city.  The trail is approximately 7 miles total, unless you take a wrong turn and get a bit lost.  Our 7 mile run turned into a 10 mile run, which was mostly hills!  IMG_0829[1]

The weekend went fast, but it was a lot of fun.  Catching up with friends, spending quality time with family, and enjoying all the sites, tastes and shops in Portland.  I hope you all had an amazing weekend.  

How to sleep better: My tips and tricks

happy birthday to you

Can we talk about sleep for a minute?  I have been really struggling for the past month or so with my sleep.  March was a rough month.  There were nights when I was barely getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep per night.  This is not healthy for anyone especially if you have a past history of seizures.  I tried taking some natural treatment like calms forte and melatonin, but these did not work for me.  So I had to resort to a sleeping aid to get my body back on track (doctor’s orders).  I do not like taking any type of medication, so this was a struggle for me.  Now that I am back on track with my sleep I am going to work on better sleep hygiene.  It’s just like working out, it’s something we need to do for our bodies and minds. Here are some tips and suggestions if you have trouble sleeping or bouts of insomnia.

First off relax!  If you are like me and you have a few nights of no sleep you can easily get anxious or stressed out.  Just relax.  If you always associate negative feelings with going to sleep and worry that you may not be able to sleep it will keep you awake.  Try writing in your journal before bed, listening to mediation guides (I love sleep ezy tonight on youtube), or pray.

I take some supplements to help me sleep as well.  Magnesium supplements can help the calm your nerves and lessen anxiety.  I take my supplement Magnesium Glycinate about 1 hour prior to going to bed.  It can also help with muscle soreness.  If you prefer you can take an Epsom salt bath with some lavendar essential oils to increase your magnesium.

Limit caffeine.  This is a big one for me.  I cannot even have decaf coffee after a certain point in the day.  I make sure I drink my coffee before 10 am.  I am very strict about this.   I only drink two cups per day.

Eat!  Don’t go to bed hungry. However, don’t eat a large meal too close to bedtime.   If you are hungry eat something small before bed that contains tryptophan.  Like turkey slices, eggs, or sip warm milk.  I like to steam a cup of almond milk with some cinnamon and turmeric and sip on that before bed if I am still hungry.

Exercise.  Be sure you are getting enough exercise.  Include a variety of daily exercise including interval training, strength training, yoga and walking.

Make your room a comfortable sleep environment.  If I get too hot I cannot sleep, so I keep my room cool.  The ideal temperature is between 60-67 degrees.  I prefer 64 degrees.  Use blackout curtains if your room is too light and make sure you have a comfortable bed and pillows.

Get some down time.  For me I have to have at least an hour before bed for some down time to just relax and so something to calm your mind and body.  Maybe you watch HGTV like I do or maybe you read a book.  Do what you need to do to wind down before bed.

One last note about technology.  Try to avoid using technology too close to bed.  Stay off your computer and your phone if you can.

One last thing (I really need to work on this one)!  If you can’t sleep get up and go to another room and try to relax.  Maybe read a book, meditate, or make a list of what is on your mind.  If you lay in bed and stare at the clock you will just become anxious and stressed and then you really will have trouble falling asleep.

I am still working on a lot of these areas in my own life.  I hope that these tips will help you get a good night’s sleep!

Of course I am not a doctor and these are merely tips and suggestions that work for me.  Always seek your doctor’s advice before starting any type of supplements or sleep aids.