Here Are My 7 Favorite Healthy Food Staples Plus Benefits

I discovered many new ingredients while participating in the FEEL IT, SEE IT, SHARE IT NEW YEAR CHALLENGE this past December (and I loved the experience so much that I’m doing the challenge again this month with my husband).   I decided to put together a list of my favorite, most versatile staple ingredients and list the benefits and uses because it’s important to know exactly what we’re putting into our bodies. Also, I love the idea of shopping for less and using a few basic staples in many different ways over the course of a week or two.   Here are my favorite staples that I always like to have in my kitchen:   Nonfat Greek Yogurt   Benefits: Excellent source of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. Contains probiotic cultures, is lower in lactose, and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts.   Uses: Paired with fruit and topped with berries for breakfast, can be added to a marinade for a creamier consistency, mix in ice cream or sorbet, add to soups or salad dressings.   Favorite Brands: Fage, Chobani   Unsweetened Almond Milk   Benefits: Naturally rich in vitamins and minerals especially vitamin E, low-carb and lower in calories than regular milk, dairy free which is great for vegans or those with lactose sensitivities.    Uses: Splash it over your cereal instead of regular milk, add to coffee or tea, add to smoothies, use in soups to get a ‘creamy’ yet still healthy consistency, mix in ice cream or sorbet.   Favorite Brands: My all-time favorite is Califia Farms, but I also like Almond Breeze and Silk.     Almond Butter   Benefits: Good source of healthy monounsaturated fats associated with lowering the risk of heart disease, and almonds contain antioxidant properties from Vitamin E which also helps to lower cholesterol.   Uses: Add to smoothies to keep you fuller longer as it is a great source of protein, spread on top of sprouted bread like Ezekiel bread for a filling snack, add to sauces or marinades to top lean proteins.   Favorite Brands: Fresh Direct brand, Justin’s, or you can even make your own!      Eggs   Benefits: Filled with high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and good fats.   Uses: I love creating scrambles of 1 egg + 2-3 egg whites for breakfast, one hardboiled egg + crudité is a healthy and energy-boosting snack, and eggs can be used in smoothies.     Favorite Brands: I don’t favor a particular brand of eggs, but I do like large organic brown eggs and Crystal Farms All Whites 100% Liquid Egg Whites.     Sprouted Bread Benefits: The sprouting process breaks down proteins and carbs and helps make sprouted grain food low glycemic and easier to digest, also retaining a great amount of vitamins and nutrients.   Uses: Can have one slice with an egg/egg white scramble, in an open faced turkey sandwich, and topped with almond or peanut butter and slices of cucumber or carrots.     Favorite Brands: Food for Life, Ezekiel 4:9 Bread   Spinach   Benefits: Low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and calcium.   Uses: Wilted spinach as a healthy side for dinner, mixed in an egg/egg white scramble, leafy green salad topped with other non-starchy veggies and a lean protein.   Favorite Brands: I don’t favor one particular brand but love buying large boxes of organic baby spinach because you need a lot to make wilted spinach – it goes quickly!      Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast     Benefits: Great source of lean, low-fat protein that fills you up for longer and has less saturated fat than most red meats.   Uses: Sliced on top of bed of greens, main source of protein for lunch or dinner with a non-starchy veggie side and a tiny bit of a healthy carb.     Favorite Brands: I don’t favor a particular brand but always go for boneless and skinless because it cooks faster and is easier to eat.   These staples are sure to keep you fuller longer and have a ton of nutritional benefits. I make sure they are in every single one of my weekly Fresh Direct orders because I know I’ll use them at several different times in a variety of ways throughout the week – cooking healthy and smart is a LOT easier when your kitchen is stocked with the right foods from the get-go.   What are your favorite foods that you always need in the kitchen? Shoot me a note with your favorite staples and recipes at [email protected]!  ...

INTENSE Home 6 Min Ab Workout for a FLAT Stomach

No fluff, just a serious killer intense ab workout for a flat stomach. If you really want it, you need to train like this! While they saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ is partially true, you don’t develop strength and tone in the kitchen. Add to that, a strong core is crucial not just for aesthetics, but rather for EVERYTHING you do physically. It keeps you strong and protects your back. If you have back problems, working on a strong core is your best solution! So there you have it… let’s get to it! The Workout 12 exercises Complete each exercise for 30 seconds, moving from one to the next with little to no recovery in between. The Exercises 90 Degree Crunches Leg Lifts Straight leg Shoulder Lifts Leg + Arm Lifts Bicycles Ab Shovelers Roll-Outs Side Crunches Opposite leg -to- Hand touches Scissors Full Body Crunch Plank Dog Walk   To do the FULL length version with me in REAL time, join the Fit Strong and Sexy premium membership. You will get this video, and access to hundreds more all in full length. AND you can participate in our special community, garner 24/7 support from me and my team AND choose to do different fitness programs along the way! Get Full Access by joining here You’re going to love it, well you’re going to love the amazing feeling you get from it (not to mention the ‘abs’)! And men, this one’s for you too, say good bye to ‘dad bod’, and ‘frat bod! Send it over your man, son, brother! ~Here’s to raising the standard on what it means to be FIT! Love, Amanda ...

5 Tips and Tricks To Help Keep New Year’s Resolutions

Now that you’ve set your health and wellness goals for 2018, you’re ready to (or have already) put them into motion. Whether your goal is to eat cleaner, amp up your fitness routine, and/or implement more self-care into your daily routine, first take a moment to CONGRATULATE yourself for kicking the new year off right.  However, we all know that it can be tough to stick to a new routine, especially as we move further along in January. We’re all human, and sometimes life gets in the way – it can be tough to adopt and sustain a new healthy lifestyle.   Here are 5 tips and tricks to help keep you motivated as we move along in 2018:   Set SMART goals. Many of us (myself included) are guilty of setting very hefty resolutions that may be unrealistic, which just sets us up for disappointment in the end. It’s fantastic to be an overachiever, but it’s also important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remember to keep goals SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound. And if you realize you didn’t set a SMART goal, it’s better to go back and tweak instead of giving up and waiting for 2019. It’s more sustainable and inspiring to celebrate smaller victories and up the ante each week. You won’t believe what you achieved when you look back in a few months.   Remind yourself of the WHY. If you’re ever feeling tired, stressed, or unmotivated, remember to bring yourself back to why you are taking action steps to achieve your goal. Sometimes taking a moment to pause and reflect on the ‘why’, as opposed to the ‘what’, can re-energize you and regain focus and confidence.   Have FUN. It’s a known fact that laughing and socializing boosts your immune system, releases stress, and sparks creativity. Remember that working out doesn’t have to be mundane. If you loved playing a sport as a kid, sign up for ZogSports. If dancing or gymnastics brings you joy, sign up for a dance class at Broadway Dance Center. There are plenty of ways to bring active joy into your life, and the more you have fun, the more likely you will be to propel forward.   Get CREATIVE. If you’re sticking to the same meals and workouts each week, it’s likely you’ll get bored and eventually burn out. It’s important to have a library of fun, healthy recipes so you can mix it up throughout the day and plan ahead each week. For workouts, keep it fun and creative. Try a week of cardio, barre, yoga, dance, and then maybe add in something different to the mix like boxing or rowing. If you stick to the same exact routine, your fitness level will plateau, so it’s important to diversity your workouts to maintain a healthy and challenging regimen.   Surround yourself with the right COMMUNITY. One of the many benefits of social fitness is that you’re having fun with peers perhaps without even realizing how much you’re working out or how many calories you’re burning. Not only are you enjoying yourself with the ones you love while getting into shape, but your friends are also keeping you accountable and motivated to attend that fitness class and perform at your personal best (spin classes such as Swerve Fitness are great motivators because you’re working together on a team to get to the finish line).   If you have a SMART goal, remind yourself of WHY you want to achieve your goal, have FUN, get CREATIVE, and surround yourself with the right COMMUNITY, you are certainly on the right track to a healthier and happier 2018.   Cheers to making this the best and healthiest year yet! ...

New Year… NEW BOX!! A Review of the Lean Clean Green Box from Babbleboxx

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com. With the New Year upon us, and intentions to make positive changes, set new goals and aim for a year of increased growth, success and happiness, it was the perfect time to partner with BabbleBoxx to try out some products. BabbleBoxx sent me a curated box of wellness goodies so I could be ready to conquer my 28 Day NEW YEAR Fitness challenge AND elevate my daily life throughout the rest of the year. The products I received from Babblebox: Waterpik CW Hemp G-Shock S Series The Synergy Company Primal Life Organics Waterpik Original Shower Massage Imagine my surprise when I pulled a showerhead out of my Babbleboxx! First I was confused by what it was, then I read that it was a ‘shower massage’, and immediately ripped it open, and no joke, headed for the shower. I am prone to VERY tight muscles, specifically in my neck and shoulders (thank you laptop), and my hips and lower back (thank you scoliosis). It was actually super simple to swap out my showerhead, and I have now turned my shower into a luxury experience. There are several different spray options, so I’m adding excitement to any shower. What I’m not sure about is how it would work if you have different water pressures in your house, but our water pressure is really good, so I am equipped with a superior experience. My only fear now, my water bill may skyrocket as I don’t want to get out of the shower. Ha! To find out more about getting your own check out the below: Shower Head: https://www.waterpik.com/shower- head/lp/powerpulse/ Hand Held: https://www.waterpik.com/shower- head/products/hand-held/YAT- 963T/ CW Hemp When I saw the clean and sleek Charlotte’s Web packaging I loved the name immediately and thought it was just some nice moisturizer, salve and ‘good for the skin’-type of oil. THEN I realized it was actually hemp extract. So I did a little research, and was truly enlightened! As someone with a history of training HARD, I’m always trying to figure out how to recover faster, and the benefits toted by both everyday people and athletes made me want to try it asap. Here are some quick facts about CW Botanicals Charlotte’s Web Hemp Extract: It is a cannabidiol (CBD) It has many potential health benefits for athletes and those leading active lifestyles, including its uses as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, and for improved recovery time. Other possible health benefits include that it helps restore balance in body, promotes general wellness. This is a Whole Plant Hemp Extract. Charlotte’s Web TM is a dietary supplement It contains coconut oil and organic flavorings Dosage (for the oil): take between 2 – 3 full droppers before and/or after working out or being active Thus far, I have been rubbing both the salve and moisturizer onto my ever-tight quads and hamstrings and it has a relaxing and calming effect. I’ve only had 1 day of the oil, so a little soon to see the effects, but I like the mint chocolate flavor in a chocolate smoothie. I’m going to keep up with it as the reviews of benefits are truly amazing, and Charlotte’s Web has my heart, not only because they are acclaimed as the World’s most trusted brand of Hemp Extract, but also because they are a lovely family-owned company from Colorado! If you’d like to order your own , Charlotte’s Web is extending a discount of 10%, click here and use this code at checkout: BABBOXAC8JSFSF6DR7 Note, hurry it expires 2/15/17 G-Shock Series And in the box, there was a pretty pink watch! But not any watch, this is a serious looking watch, and day one received quite the compliments at the gym. As a runner, even though I no longer run, I time everything! From walking to the super market, to my abs routines – this watch has already replaced by usual stopwatch, and I’m setting new fashion trends wearing it. The biggest BONUS – it’s SO simple, I am so over all the overly techy gadgets and watches. Half the time they don’t work, or they take more time to set up than I want to deal with. This is super simple, sleek and serious helpful, especially in tracking my movement throughout the day! For more information check out: https://www.gshock.com/watches/s-series The Synergy Company Matcha Powder and Capsules I personally stay away from energy drinks, formulas and supplements as they give me the jitters and make my heart race. However, I have known the power of matcha since I was a young girl when I was dealing with health issues and prescribed matcha powder. The energy it provides is a miracle and doesn’t give you the jitters like even coffee can. Additionally, it has powerful detoxifying effects on the body (10 times more than green teas and superfoods). The issue has always been finding pure high quality matcha on the market. So, I analyzed hard and was delighted to find that The Synergy Company is the real deal – they use all natural, organic, ceremonial-grade. I am so grateful they sent me this, and rediscovered the power of matcha! p.s. If you don’t like the matcha powder, the capsules are amazing! Get some for yourself: www.TheSynergyCompany.com CHARCOAL (aka BLACK) toothpaste!! (by Primal Life Organics) This product may have excited me the most. I have been hearing nonstop about how people are using charcoal toothpaste (yes brushing your teeth with black charcoal to achieve shinier, healthier, whiter teeth). I have been so curious about it, but wasn’t sure how or where to try it, and then Babbleboxx came through and presented it to me, and I knew it was time to try it. Essentially, the benefits of using charcoal powder is to help make sensitive teeth less sensitive, whiten teeth, help with gum disease and especially eliminate chronic bad breath. BUT from the research I did, the brand makes all the difference. I can’t personally compare as it’s the only brand I’ve tried, but everything I read tells me this is the #1 brand out there, and from my own experience with sensitive teeth, I found it easy to use, maybe a tad messy your first time, but ZERO sensitivity and made my breath super fresh and clean! Also, it comes with a super cute wooden toothbrush 😉 And Primal Life is offering a 20% discount on your purchase with the code: PLOBOXX217 https://www.primallifeorganics.com/ Special thanks to Babbleboxx who sent me this box, and is always at the forefront of new and high quality products. I’d love to know if you have tried any of these and what your experience has been! Cheers, Amanda ...

The Body Transforming Home Workout

It never fails to amaze me how so many of us will spend both money and time we don’t have on expensive clothing, designer accessories, aesthetic treatments, expensive brunches and dinners, yet claim not to have the time, money (insert ‘reason’ here), on the most important thing you can: your health and fitness! To be ‘real’ with you, we know it’s not about the designer ensemble you have on or how much you spent on it, the secret is the body IN it and how you glow with a confident and happy attitude and glowing energy. So this week, make THIS the priority. The fleeting happiness or rush you get from a big purchase will be outlived by the long term happiness, confidence and health you achieve through being truly fit! Here is a workout you will love, all you need is: Optional Light Set of Hand Weights (I use 5lbs or a water bottle in each hand) Towel to wipe up the sweat! Boom- Click here and let’s do it! The Workout: *10 reps of each exercise The 3-Way Lunge One Leg Toe Touch to Front Kick Barrier Jump Bridge Ups Weighted Squat Jumps   Complete 2-3 Rounds and pair it with the workout specified on your given day or add 12-20 min of cardio of your choice. Comment below and tell me how you did! ~Raising the Standard on what it means to be Fit! Amanda ...

Shrimp & Veggies in Parchment Paper

Easy Dinner Recipe: Shrimp in Parchment Paper This is one of my absolute favorite fresh and tasty recipes right now. Not only is it loaded with veggies and protein, really easy to make, and gluten-free, but it’s ready in under 30 minutes and has minimal cleanup. Ingredients: Parchment paper 5-6 cooked frozen shrimp Bok choy Bean sprouts (not soy) Shiitaki mushrooms Braggs Amino Acid (or other low sodium sauce of your choice) Directions: Place the veggies on the parchment paper, top with shrimp, drizzle Coconut Secret over everything, and wrap up the package Cook in oven or toaster oven at 375 degrees for 22 minutes Top with optional hot sauce to taste Want more recipes like this? Check out The 7 Day Body RESET– my battle-tested, structured, healthy eating plan that will teach out how to successfully eat right for life. ~Raising the Standard on what it means to be FIT! Amanda ...

New Year Fitness Giveaway With Slimvance and GNC!!

LOSE WEIGHT, TONE UP AND WIN THIS NEW YEAR! FIVE Lucky Winners Will Receive this Revolutionary NEW Slimming Supplement: SLIMVANCE What is it? Being Called the NEW ERA of Weight Management, Slimvance has been extensively studied and tested on healthy overweight invdividuals (male and female), and the results have been truly incredible. SLIMVANCE™ targets the hips and belly and can help with those problem areas! Start 2018 by getting in shape & FIT more efficiently, by winning the fitness prize pack and ENTER TO JOIN ME FOR THE 28 DAY NEW YEAR FITNESS CHALLENGE STARTS: Jan 8th! And as part of the excitement, I’ve teamed up with GNC to do a giveaway of Slimvance on my Instagram! HOW TO WIN: Follow me on Instagram @amandarussellfss POST A COMMENT on my Instagram post HERE stating your 2018 Fitness GOAL, and if you think you can do the 28 Day Fitness Challenge! Tag me and use #MYSLIMVANCE and #FitStrongandSexy in your comment   DONE! 5 Winners, so make sure to ENTER on my Instagram post! NOTE: Entrants are for US-based only, but the challenge is open for everyone worldwide And BONUS, even if you don’t WIN, Slimvance is offering EVERYONE a free 14 day trial*. The link’s HERE. This post is sponsored by Slimvance, and all opinions are my own. ...

28 Days: My Experience With The Feel It, See It, Share It New Year Challenge

I did the FEEL IT, SEE IT, SHARE IT NEW YEAR CHALLENGE.   I’m not going to lie – I didn’t know what to expect or what I would get out of it. That uncertainty coupled with all of the holiday party temptations and a dry December (which is pretty much the most difficult time to not drink alcohol) made me a bit uneasy going into the month. But, now that it is over I am SO glad I did it. (And just a little note – you can certainly drink alcohol in moderation on this plan – my plan to “detox” and stick to just water for the month was totally a personal choice ;).   I have a whole new-found appreciation for clean eating and interval training. All the recipes in the challenge use totally natural ingredients and I learned more about nutrition than I knew before, including a new obsession with Ezekiel bread and other ingredients I have now added to my kitchen. I cooked a ton, which normally is not my favorite thing to do. But I started to really enjoy it. The recipes are fast and easy to follow. I also really enjoyed the workouts because they’re quick and effective. They combine principles from cardio, barre/Pilates, and even yoga (the “AR-style” yoga is so unique and energizing). Although the workouts were challenging at times, I was able to modify moves or rounds. And whenever I felt a little more pep in my step, I would amp it up and run faster or take the workout series one to two more rounds.   I started the challenge the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. After the first week, I definitely started feeling better and more energized (and even had a few friends mention that my skin was “glowing”). About halfway through the challenge, I lost 9 pounds and 3 inches. Now that I have completed the program, I’m happy to share that I lost 11 pounds and 4 inches. Towards the end, I essentially leveled out on the scale but kept “shrinking” due to the effective meal plans and tightening/toning from the workouts.   Now that the challenge is over, I want to go back and revisit the principles I learned and bring them into 2018. I’m living proof that this isn’t a “quick fix” – you learn healthy ways to eat and exercise that are totally achievable and work for your lifestyle and needs. I’m also used to taking 45-60 minute classes and didn’t realize what an incredible, challenging workout I can get in just 5-10 minutes (and WAY more effective than running on a treadmill at the same speed and incline for 30 minutes).   And this is not JUST about losing weight – I can honestly say that this healthy lifestyle carried into everything I did this past month – from how I conducted myself in business meetings to my relationships with friends and family. There’s nothing better than feeling the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices.   And now, it’s your turn. While I can’t guarantee that you will have the same results as I did, I can promise that you will feel better in your mind and body. So what are you waiting for? Come join all of us in the #FSSNewYearChallenge and feel it, see it, and share it!   If losing weight and inches, feeling completely energized, having glowing skin, and just feeling all around positive and happy aren’t enough motivators, check out some of these great prizes for those who sign up for the challenge early:   – The first 30 women who live in or around NYC who sign up for the challenge will get FREE ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos (so you can track your journey) taken by Irina Mednik of French Kiss Boudoir Photography. Photos to take place at the French Kiss studio, located in Tribeca in New York City.   **Also, if you haven’t already, check out this post where I write about my experience with Irina from French Kiss Boudoir Photography. – Beautini, one of New York City’s top wedding hair and makeup companies, is offering $25 off a hair and makeup trial to the first 20 women who sign up for the challenge! Hair and makeup trials to take place at the Beautini salon, located at 267 5th Ave in New York City. Offer expires 3/1/2018.   What are you waiting for?   Totally transform your mind and body in just 28 days – clean eating, cardio-based workouts, tips and tricks to keep you motivated, a private Facebook community to keep you accountable, prizes/incentives along the way, and much MUCH more.   SIGN UP HERE.   Sending love and positive vibes as we enter into 2018,   Melanie ...

Happy Holidays! Melanie Kotcher’s Fave Playlist for Working Out, Travel, and More.

Hi everyone! Melanie Kotcher here.   HERE is my fave playlist that I use in my private Pilates sessions.   It gets me totally pumped as soon as I put it on (it’s more upbeat than what you might hear in most Pilates classes because I like a little extra cardio boost from time to time).   Want a little motivation while cooking that holiday meal? Or maybe you just want a jolt of energy before the festivities begin. These tunes will give you that extra pep in your step.   And keep it going in 2018 with the FEEL IT, SEE IT, SHARE IT NEW YEAR CHALLENGE, which kicks off on January 8th. Registration is now open!   Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season and new year!   With love,   Melanie ...

The 8 Best Foods For Abs

Personal Note: This post was written by Layla of Howtonight.com, another fitness and wellness blogger who is looking to grow her audience. I am a big advocate of supporting others in their goals, personal or professional, so in an doing so I will occasionally feature others as guest writers. I don’t believe in competition, we should all support others, and if we have the platform to do so, we should offer it up. This is a core philosophy of what Fit Strong and Sexy is all about. I encourage you to check out Layla’s blog and leave her a comment below. The holidays haven’t ended, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start following your new year’s resolutions today! I’m sure a lot of you are planning to achieve that toned body with amazing abs to show off during the summer vacation. But the question is: How? It all boils down to the type of food you consume. While you also need to exercise to tone those abdominal muscles, your abs are 90% made in the kitchen (and the rest in the gym). What are the specific types of food that can help you out with that? Read on as I show you the best foods for flat abs! The Best Foods For Flat Abs Based on studies and research, here are the top seven best foods for flat abs and get you that amazing body! 1. Eggs Sure, they may have some flak on cholesterol, but eggs are one of the best sources of protein out there! This is because they have a balanced amount of essential amino acids, which help build your muscles. It also helps with keeping you satiated throughout the day. Plus, they are one of the best types of food to incorporate into your keto diet because of its high amount of fat and protein! Research shows that the protein and fat found in an egg can help lessen your appetite while enhancing your muscles after a good workout. So unless you have high cholesterol, go for one egg a day for breakfast to keep you pumped and filled up until your next meal. 2. Beans and Legumes If you are a vegetarian, then there are other ways on how you can get your protein besides meat. Beans and legumes are an excellent choice because it’s known to help build muscle and encourage ultimate fat burn, both of which are needed to develop those abdominal muscles and have them show. Beans and legumes also have a lot of antioxidants and fiber, which regulates digestion and keeps you full for longer. 3. Dark and Leafy Vegetables Your mom was right! You’ve got to begin eating your spinach and other greens not only because it’s healthy and prevents certain diseases, but because it’s high in fiber and low in calories, perfect for those who are cutting to show their abdominal muscles. They are also an excellent source of calcium, which is needed for muscle contraction. As a result, you have more energy for your workouts! I recommend that you incorporate at least three servings of your greens into your daily meals, such as pasta, rice, or even soups and salads! You’ve got a ton of choices for leafy greens out there, from broccoli to arugula. 4. Lean Meats Turkey and other lean meats are one of the most popular and effective sources of protein. Through a balanced amount of this, you won’t only strengthen your immune system and prevent diseases, but you will also build a ton of muscle and fight obesity (as long as you match it with exercise!). But that doesn’t meal fatty fish like salmon or tuna should be pushed away. With seafood’s omega-3 fatty acids, you actually promote fat burning and improve your metabolism. 5. Peanut Butter You’ll be surprised at how effective peanut butter can be, as long as you avoid going overboard when putting it in a sandwich. Natural peanut butter (meaning the ones with natural or minimal sugar) can help boost testosterone and burn fat while building muscle. That’s because of the healthy fats found in nuts. Another plus side is that peanut butter helps you stay satiated for longer. 6. Quinoa Quinoa can be the best substitute for rice, which contains a lot of carbs and sugar! Pronounced as KEEN-wah, this is a whole grain which contains a ton of fiber and protein in just half a cup! It also has a nice texture and flavor, which makes it a favorite swap for your usual carbs. Whole grains like quinoa can help prevent your body from storing fat, so you have a better body composition. 7. Dairy Products Dairy products like milk and yogurt don’t only build strong bones, but they also help with getting your required calcium for the day, which is needed for optimum performance in the gym. Plus, yogurt, which is high in probiotics, can help keep your digestive system healthy and have your tummy look flat because of the less bloating and gas. In Conclusion And there you have it! Through consuming a balanced variation of these foods (and also other nutrient-dense dishes), you’ll be able to progress and achieve new goals. If you have any questions or would like to share your tips and experiences with losing weight and gaining abs, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to say. Author’s bio: Written by Guest contributor Layla, creator of the Howtonight.com – a lifestyle blog focusing on health and nutrition. ...

The Travel Workout

This is the BEST travel workout for full body toning and you can do it anywhere. ...

5 Holiday Party Tips & Tricks: How To Have Fun And Stay Healthy

Holiday season is upon us, and there are tons of parties and celebrations – which means plenty of opportunities to be tempted to eat and drink more than usual. But just because you want to be health-conscious doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun. And it goes the other way around too – you don’t have to over-indulge in order to have fun. Moderation always wins in the end. Think about it: how do you feel the next morning when you eat and drink to the point of gluttony? And how do you feel if you missed out on that pecan cheesecake that your best friend baked all day for all your close friends to try? Probably not that great. The solution? Eat and drink moderately until you’re satisfied, and choose socializing and other activities to take the focus off of consumption. Here are 5 tips to help you have fun and stay healthy this holiday party season: Kick-start your day with a workout and healthy meals. Starting your day with physical exercise and healthy meals (including lean proteins, healthy and limited amounts of carbs, and fruits/vegetables) releases endorphins and opens your mind to a positive attitude, which helps you make healthy choices throughout the rest of the day.   Have a small meal or snack before you arrive. If you arrive to the party hungry, odds are you will over-indulge right away to fill the hunger void (think about how most people tend to over-shop at the supermarket when they’re hungry). Your eyes become bigger than your stomach. Having a healthy meal before you leave your home will certainly help. Try healthy protein-filled snacks like a slice of Ezekiel bread with almond butter and sliced up cucumber or a hardboiled egg with crudité on the side. Choose socializing over eating and drinking. If you start to notice that you’re eating and drinking more, shift the focus to socializing with friends. Stepping away from the snack or buffet area is a simple move that can go a long way. Catch up with old friends, take photos, dance – remember that there is much more to a party than the buffet and open bar. Drink water to hydrate. A great trick I use when I want to avoid a rough hangover the next morning is drinking full glasses of water in between alcoholic drinks. Since alcoholic strips the water of hydration, drinking glasses of water throughout the night will keep the H2O flowing. Drinking lots of water increases energy, improves headaches, and flushes out the toxins. Fill up on the “right” foods and savor the sweets.   It’s always better to go for the fish or chicken as opposed to the bread basket. Be mindful of what you’re eating so that you fill up on lean proteins and veggies, but also take the time to savor the sweets and desserts so that you’re not depriving yourself of what you really want. These are just a few tips and tricks to get you through the holiday season so you can let loose, enjoy, and still be mindful when it comes to healthy eating choices. It’s important to remember to not allow yourself to get too caught up in over-dieting or over-indulging. Remember that balance is key – don’t feel guilty for treating yourself every now and then.  If you want a little help to take the pressure off on what to eat, when to eat, and what to do when it comes to fitness, sign up for the FEEL IT, SEE IT, SHARE IT NEW YEAR CHALLENGE, which is a 28-day fitness and nutrition program that kicks off on January 8th, 2018. Just signing up for a program like this can relieve the extra stress that comes with the holiday season because you’ll regain total control of your mind and body in 2018. Here’s the link to sign up! ...

Max Calorie Burn Holiday Workout!

It’s little red dress + super indulge season (paradox to our bodies right)? Not when you have this kind of workout! It’s time to rock the stilettos and feel fit, strong and of course, sexy as you light up the room – plus I think you will have so much FUN doing this workout with me, and my darling guest, Kelsey Lee (in our ridiculous holiday outfits –we took ugly Christmas sweat to a new level). This week it’s all about burning off those calories while ALSO getting your metabolism fired to a faster burn rate so you can burn more ALL day and night without having to spend more time at the gym! What better gift can you give yourself this Christmas? Oh and if you want to really ramp it up this season, Follow my personal 7 Days to Little Red Dress Workout Plan All you have to do is: Click on this link REGISTER You will receive the whole plan and can start TODAY on your own time   Now for this Holiday Favorite Workout, simply Click to Watch! The Exercises: 10 Burpees + 10 Tricep Dips =1 Round Goal is to complete 5 Rounds – that’s 100 reps total!! And record your time in the comments below! p.s. In case you missed it, here is my Free Healthy Holiday Blackbook Guide! Here’s to Raising the Standard on what it means to be fit this season, Love, Amanda I’m ALL OVER the getting the PERFECT Gift for HER! Give your girlfriend a fruitcake for the holidays and your friendship is suddenly on life support. Give that same friend a Fit Strong and Sexy membership or “Little Black Dress” Plan: and you’re a goddess of unusual caliber. To purchase a gift: reply here and let me know who you are shopping for, and I can build a special gift for them based on your budget and the person! ...

New Year Fitness Challenge is HERE! Plus Q&A video with Amanda Russell

Check out the below Q&A with Amanda Russell as we discuss sustainable healthy lifestyle change, New Year’s resolutions, the importance of community, the upcoming FEEL IT, SEE IT, SHARE IT NEW YEAR CHALLENGE, and much more! FEEL IT, SEE IT, SHARE IT NEW YEAR CHALLENGE First, you’ll feel it. Next, you’ll see it. Then, you’ll wanna share it. So, we’re deep into the holiday season and New Year’s is right around the corner – it’s never too early to take action or at least start thinking about health and wellness resolutions as we head into 2018. I’m partnering with Amanda Russell to bring you this new year mind/body wellness initiative that will get you toned, energized, and ready for more. WHAT is it? The #FSSNewYearChallenge is a 28-day fitness and nutrition journey that includes: Daily Fit, Strong and Sexy Workouts with videos to follow along Over 80 FSS meals/recipes Daily and Weekly inspiration and tips from Melanie Kotcher 50% off my ‘Finishing Touches’ Package ($460 value) Incredible prizes/incentives 24/7 support and enthusiasm in our private Facebook group for answers to all your questions and where to post your updates! BONUS FSS Dining Out Guide ($39 Value) BONUS: FSS Five Daily Tricks to Burn More All Day Long Guide BONUS: Melanie’s Wellness Guide MUCH MUCH MORE! WHEN: The challenge kicks off on January 8th, 2018 and ends February 4th, 2018 Price:  The challenge costs $49 for the 28 days ($1.75/day) PLUS: BONUS GIFTS FROM FRENCH KISS BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY, BEAUTINI, AND GNC! Not sold yet? Hurry and sign up now for amazing prizes: The first 30 women who live in or around NYC who sign up for the challenge will get FREE ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos (so you can track your journey) taken by Irina Mednik of French Kiss Boudoir Photography. Photos to take place at the French Kiss studio, located in Tribeca in New York City. Beautini, one of New York City’s top wedding hair and makeup companies, is offering $25 off a hair and makeup trial to the first 20 women who sign up for the challenge! Hair and makeup trials to take place at the Beautini salon, located at 267 5th Ave in New York City. Offer expires 3/1/2018. We’re offering 5 women who sign up for the challenge a FREE 30-day supply of Slimvalence, a brand new natural, stimulant-free herbal supplement designed to support gradual weight loss when combined with a clean eating plan and moderate exercise. Amanda and I have been studying the product alongside GNC Live Well for several months now – perfect to pair with the 28 days of the challenge. A select few will also receive A-MAZING prizes during the challenge, including a FREE Mini Pure Results Regimen gift box from EVER Skincare – clinical grade results without harmful ingredients (retail is $99). Are you ready to get in on this with us? JOIN THE CHALLENGE HERE! A portion of all proceeds will be shared with Go Campaign, which raises awareness and funds that help orphans and vulnerable children around the world live a happy and healthier life.  ...

Top 3 Fitness Concerns this Holiday

I have an important conversation going on with one of my personal coaching groups, which I felt I needed to share because I know it’s something we all face in our own way. First, this conversation actually came about because several of the members asked to extend our program BECAUSE of how worried they were about the upcoming holidays, and more specifically how they could navigate through them while keeping their goals in check AND still enjoy every bit of the season. I was surprised to find out that every single person I have spoken to, when digging deeper, seems to be experiencing similar sources of anxiety over the holidays. Here were the top 3 concerns: How am I going to keep consistency in my workouts when it’s tough enough in regular life? How to keep from over-indulging at all the dinners, parties and get-togethers? How do I avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain?   Can you resonate with any of these? If so, welcome to being a normal human in 2017. I definitely don’t have all the answers in life, or even come close, but I DO have the answers to these specifics concerns, and they are much simpler than you may think. While I could give you a whole GUIDE of tips and tricks (and do have that HERE). The quick and simple answer is this: Treat every event, meal and day just like ANY other when it comes to your fitness and exercise routine. YEs, that’s IT. Sound too simple? Think about it. For example, on Thanksgiving, WHY do you need to overload until you can no longer move? I’m not saying to  need to diet or deprive – rather just do what you do at any other meal. Turkey is actually a nice lean protein – just keep your meal to regular proportions. If you love mashed potatoes and gravy, then have a little less of the pumpkin pie. You don’t have to gorge yourself just because it’s there. Same goes at any gathering – stick to what you would do on any evening or event. For example, if you have a holiday cocktail party on a Thursday, approach it no differently than your usual post work happy hour. Stick to what you would do there, for example: Two glasses of wine, one bottle sparkling water and half of one appetizer of choice. When you make it a pre-meditated decision, you don’t even have to think about it and you’re more likely to stay on track AND still have a great time. Plus you never feel guilty or deprived and you shouldn’t, the holidays, and life in general should not equate socializing and good times to feeling guilty. Will there be temptations to over do it? Of coarse, but that’s NO different than any other event, party, place or time of year. You see, we have been programmed to think that holidays means we will inevitably be on ‘holiday’ from our exercise and normal eating habits, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Stop associating holiday as a free pass to go buck wild with every night out, potluck meal, extra treat, and by god, skipping workouts. If there is anything you should be able to stick to its your workout routine! All of my workouts are 40 minutes or less and require no equipment, because my life, and those of so many of our members, is such that everyday norm entails the chaotic number of events, indulgent opportunities and travel schedules usually associated with the holidays. So I made you this Holiday Guide – here it is, from workouts to tips and tricks to get and keep you in the spirit AND keep your waistline in check! 7 Days to Little RED Dress READY! The PLAN! And, if you want a turnkey surefire plan, I highly recommend signing up for my Sexy Little Red Dress in 7 Program JUST 7 days to get little red dress ready. YES, you will see a difference in just a week, and the momentum will likely keep you motivated to stay healthier and more active all season long. Try it, I KNOW you will love it!   Amanda ...

I got STYLED! The YogaClub Box Review

Subscription boxes are all the rage right now. Here’s what happened when I tried subscription fitness clothing box Yoga Club. *This video is Sponsored by YogaClub. All opinions are my own. I don’t stand behind anything I don’t truly love and recommend. ♥ One thing I WILL say, it doesn’t matter how cute your yoga and fitness clothing are, it’s the body and girl inside that make them. If you are fit and strong you can wear a trash bag and rock it! This is WHY I created the EXACT roadmap for you to follow to stop guessing what works, stop trying random workouts, and yo-yo dieting and FINALLY do it right. Which is why I’m offering this limited time EXCLUSIVE ONE MONTH FREE TRIAL MEMBERSHIP to my entire Fit Strong and Sexy Workout Program and my exercise video library of over 500 workout videos you can do – NO GYM or EQUIPMENT NEEDED! Read – Just click this link: Get My FREE FIT STRONG AND SEXY TRIAL MEMBERSHIP You ARE SO WELCOME! Love, Amanda ...