Business Tip: Finding Time for Your Side Hustle

katie-30.jpg

I want to talk to you guys about how to make time for your side hustle.  So, I’m looking at you stay at home moms, full-time workers, and anyone else who finds their days loaded down with responsibilities.  These tips are to help you work your side hustle in when you can and make it grow.

I know the struggle very well.  When I started my own hustle about 5 years ago, I had three kids under the age of three!  Finding the time to do anything other than just living and trying to care for my young family was really hard, but I wanted this side hustle to work.  I saw value in it, I believed in it, and I really got so much enjoyment from it.  To be completely honest with you, I think the biggest reason I had the motivation to stick with it was because I appreciated the little breaks here and there from my family and my “mom duties”.  I worked really hard to find enough time to grow my business but still be the best mom I could be at the same time.  

Along the course of my journey, I developed quite a few tips and strategies, but I’ll stick to my four most important to start:

Four Tips to Find Time for Your Side Hustle:

1.  Schedule Office Hours and Protect Them!  

(No, seriously.  Protect them like crazy!)

This is going to look different for everyone.  For me, I always scheduled my office time during nap time or, now, when my daughter is at preschool.  You will not find me cleaning during office hours.  You will not find me cooking.  I even try not to work out during that time.  That is time for my business!  That’s the time when I’m in my office with my computer and to-do list, and I am focused.  Something like dishes can be a spur of the moment chore, but office hours need my full focus and attention, and that takes effort to carve out in a day.  

Maybe for you, if you are working full-time, that means you work early in the morning or even between dinner and bed.  Your lunch hour is an option, too!  I know life is busy, and we are all so busy these days, but if you want to keep your side hustle successful, you have to find time to fit it in.

2.  Prioritize

(Ask yourself, “Is this TV time really adding value to my life?”)

This goes right along with protecting those office hours.  Our days are already so full that making time for office hours is going to require some sacrifice. In my case, there were years where instead of decompressing at night in front of the TV or relaxing with a book, I would be working.  I gave up a lot of things, but it has paid off for me, and my side hustle has become a full-time income for my family.

Try and think of some things that are taking up time that could really be used for your business.  What could you give up, or at least move to a back burner?  This doesn’t mean that you are never going to watch TV again.  I just means that you are prioritizing things that are important for you, and maybe, for the time being, TV goes.

3.  Keep Lists

(Who has time during their office hours to wonder, “What are my business activities?”)

Trying to fit a little bit extra productivity in our days is basically the definition of a side hustle, but that means when you sit down, you better work!  You can’t waste time thinking, “What am I doing today?”  I have a list going all of the time in my office to keep me on track.  I also use Evernote on my phone to make notes while I’m out (It’s a great app because you can pull it up anywhere and link your content between devices!).  I keep these lists so that when I sit down in front of my computer for my office hours, I can grind it out quickly.

These lists aren’t just useful for during your scheduled office hours.  For example, now that my youngest is the only one at home with me during the day, there are times when she’s gone off to play by herself, so I’ll bust over to the office for some work.  That’s when it is so helpful to have lists of what I want to do.  Also, she starts kindergarten in the fall, so my whole schedule is about to change!  Times when everything is in flux are when lists are essential to squeeze in work where you can.

4.  Visualize Your Goals

(Surround yourself with what you want to accomplish so your eye never leaves the prize!)

Grinding it out and having a side hustle can be exhausting.  So often after a long day at work or with the kids, nothing sounds better than kicking our feet up with a glass of wine, but that just isn’t going to move us closer to our goals.  I find that keeping my goals everywhere in my space reminds me why I hustle.  Above my desk I have a white board, and I have my word for the year, and under that I have a few very important tasks for the week.  It’s just right there.  It can be your yearly goals, your quarterly goal, or even just your reason for your hustle.  It can be anything.  I also find that journaling helps me stay focused and reflect on my goals on a daily basis.  Having these goals all around you is like having a support system of your own ideas.

The thing is, grinding out your side hustle is hard.  Sometimes it can feel so fun and easy, but other times you would really rather just read a book or get a pedicure.  It’s just like exercise! Working out can be so much fun and feel great, but having some strategies in place on the rough days can save you from breaking a routine.  That’s why I think these tips are so important. Protecting your offices hours, prioritizing your tasks, making lists, and visualizing your goals can really help you keep on track and make your side hustle a success!

I hope all of these tips were helpful.  Please, message me if you have any questions, and I hope you guys have a great day!

P.S.:  Entrepreneur Academy!

Guys, I am working on putting my online Entrepreneur Academy into a downloadable work-as-you go self-paced program. I can’t wait to share it with you in just a few weeks!! If you want to be the first to know when this is available, send me a message! XO

ALL the Drinks!

Hey Everybody!

Today I want to talk to you about drinks!  These are drinks that I incorporate into my healthy living, and are great options for you, too!  Before I get into it, though, I just want it to be clear that I don’t drink all of these every day; I’d float away!  Instead, use this list as a guide for choosing your beverages.

Water

Still Water:  This is my beverage of choice.  I know that sometimes reaching your water consumption goal can seem like a chore, so I try to make it enjoyable in little ways.  Try to find a container or a cup that you really love because you’ll love using it!  I’m aiming for about 70 ounces of water every day, and you should be, too.

Flavored Water:  These can be such a great way to make drinking water more fun!  I found a great flavored water recently called Hint, and it’s called that because it just has a little hint of fruit.  The pineapple is my favorite!  Of course you could also simply put frozen fruit in the water.  It’s a great idea during the summer, and it’s a much better choice than a sugary sports drink.

water recipes.jpg

Sparkling Water:  My husband just loves when I bring home flavored sparkling water.  I’d actually say that he’s a little addicted to it, but what a harmless thing to be addicted to!  It’s fun because it’s carbonated, so it kind of takes the place of pop without all of the sugar.  On the weekends we sometimes like to make a little cocktail with some muddled berries, vodka, and flavored sparkling water.  It’s so good and so healthy (or as healthy as a cocktail can be)!  If you’re trying to break your pop habit, try giving sparkling water a try!

Hot Drinks

Coffee:  It is absolutely no secret, I love coffee.  I always put raw honey in my coffee; I only use about a teaspoon or so.  I’m still fasting when I drink my coffee, so I try to stay under about 50 calories or so, and I technically won’t break my fast that way.  I’ll also splash in whatever coffee creamer I have on hand, usually an almond or a coconut creamer.  Sometimes, if it’s a low-carb day, and I’m using high amounts of fat for energy, I might use a little heavy whipping cream.  I also like a little cinnamon.

Now, once in a while, if I’m having coffee later after I’ve broken my fast,  or not fasting at all that day, I use MCT oil.  It is pure coconut oil, and I just add a splash.  It is so good for you and super delicious!

coffee.jpeg

 

 

Tea:  I’ve been really big into tea lately.  It’s such a warm, healthy drink to enjoy during the cold months.  I find that the fruit flavors, like peach, help mask other supplemental things you may be adding to it, like apple cider vinegar (which I certainly don’t drink because it tastes good!).  I also like to add a little bit of raw honey to make it even more of a treat.

Good for the Gut

Apple Cider VInegar:  So, this one kind of counts for a drink!  Apple cider vinegar is a daily thing for me because I’ve noticed such a difference in my skin tone!  I try to have a tablespoon or so every single day, and my skin has cleared up!  It’s so good for your gut, and so much of your health starts there.  I even give it to my kids, but I have to sneak it in when I can (usually some tea with honey is a good way)!

ACV.jpg

 

Kombucha:  This is an acquired taste, but I actually kind of crave it now.  I’ve tried to make my own, but, let’s be clear, I’m actually kind of lazy about that.  I’d really just prefer to get something ready made (my favorite brand is GTS).  Just make sure that if you aren’t going to drink the whole bottle, you pour it into a glass so that you aren’t mixing your own bacteria with the good bacteria in the kombucha.

Cleanse Juices:  I’ve started doing a 24-hour fast with a juice cleanse one day a month.  I order from The Weekly Juicery, and it comes with six juices.  They have a tiny bit of fruit juice for flavor, but they are packed with a TON of veggies and other healthy ingredients.  The juices flood your body with wonderful ingredients, and because the fiber is filtered out, you're continuing to fast. If you want to try the juice cleanse, click here!

Juice.jpg

 

Supplements

Shakeology:  I'm a big fan of Shakeology.  It’s higher in carbs, so on my low-carb days I’ll have a normal protein shake instead, but the taste and nutrients in Shakeology are just so good.  It is meant to be a meal replacement because it has so many nutrients aside from protein, but I usually use it just to supplement what I’m already having that day.  I’ll have this a few times a week.

Protein Powder:  Protein is essential for feeding our muscles when we are working out, and protein shakes are a great way to make sure we are getting enough.  I love protein shakes for snacks, but I also like to keep some powder around to cook with.  Things like cookies or pancake batter can really get an extra boost, and a healthy addition, with a scoop of protein powder.

BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids):  These are really handy for the intermittent faster.  If you’re working out in the morning before you break your fast, you want to protect your muscles from breaking down because you’re not feeding them.  BCAAs coat your muscles, allowing you to burn fat instead.  It also helps you not be as sore and to bounce back faster.  This is especially great if you are new to working out or are just getting back into it.  It’ll keep you from breaking your routine to recover from soreness.

Pre-workout:  My favorite pre-workout is called Start.  It’s a clean pre-workout with no artificial stuff added in.  It does have caffeine, so I try to be careful about how much I am taking in.  If I know I am going to have extra coffee that day, for example, I will skip the pre-workout.  When I do drink it, though, it just wakes me up, and it gives me enough of an edge to tackle my workout. It really helps me get through teaching early morning classes coherently, as well!!

For free shipping from my favorite supplement store, check out 5 Star Nutrition! When you mention my name you'll get 25% off!

Treats

Orange Juice:  I like brands that are simply oranges with no added sugars or anything else.  The thing to keep in mind, though, is that this kind of juice is not essential for our health!  Juice contains a lot of sugar!  However, I do drink orange juice a few times a week on my high-carb days. I only drink a little bit each time, though (maybe 4 oz).

Milk:  My kids drink cow's milk in their cereal and my son drinks it ALL DAY.  I usually have almond milk or, preferably, coconut milk myself.  We’ve tried to switch my kids to non-dairy milk, but we just can’t yet.  In the meantime, what we buy is whole, vitamin D milk. Yeah, you read that right! This was hard for me because I used to buy skim milk and fat-free everything, but all that really is is just milk with so much (both good and bad) taken out and water added.  If you’re going to buy milk, just buy the vitamin D milk and monitor your intake of it.  

Wine:  So, I really just include this here because I wanted to talk about how, when I do drink, which is really only once or twice a week or so, I choose a red wine.  They say it’s good for your heart.  It’s just a low-calorie drink that is as health conscious as possible.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t ever have sugary cocktails, but I try to make sure to save those for vacations or really special treats.

 

I hope that these suggestions help you decide what to drink throughout your day.  Keep in mind that I don’t have ALL of these every single day.  Just practice moderation and balance. Sometimes we need to eat or drink something just because it’s good for us.  Not everything has to taste like a party in your mouth.  At the same time, treating yourself on occasion with moderation is totally okay, too.

How Healthy Is Your Gut?

Katie Harlan Logo-06.png


I am so excited to tell you all about a topic that I’ve been really interested in, which is gut health and leaky gut.  I started reading about it when I was thinking about how people can be doing what seems to be everything right with regards to diet and exercise and still be dealing with health issues!  Gut health is fundamental for our overall well-being, and I am so excited to share this with you. The following comes from an interview I did in the fall with Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and Functional Nutritionist. Her information is at the end of this article if you want to reach out to her for more info!


“What is leaky gut?”

Leaky gut has become kind of a catch-all phrase that describes the impact on your small intestine's hyperpermeability.  This is just a fancy way of saying that the tissue in the small intestine has been compromised.  When you have compromised cell tissue, you have proteins and foods that will leak directly, and that can lead to a lot of health problems.  It’s not something that everyone is dealing with, but it is becoming increasingly common in the United States.

“Can my diet cause leaky gut?”

Absolutely!  So much of the sickness we are seeing today is related to, for lack of a better term, the standard American diet.  We’re talking about a highly processed diet that is so far removed from years ago when soil had more vitamins and minerals and we weren’t pumping animals full of hormones.  Sugary drinks can be culprits, too!

“Antibiotics seem to upset my stomach.  Are they related to gut health?”

First of all, antibiotics can play such an important role in medicine, and I do not want to say that they are not valuable.  Antibiotics are designed to kill the bacteria that make you sick, but one of the detrimental things that they can do is wipe out your good gut flora (healthy bacteria), especially if you are on them chronically or for prolonged periods of time.

70-80% of our immunity is in the gut, so if we wipe out the good bacteria there, we run the risk of long term impact, including leaky gut.  This can lead to things such as Hashimoto’s, eczema, or lupus.  Also, when you’ve been on antibiotics heavily at a young age, autoimmune symptoms can emerge later on in life.  

“So, if antibiotics can cause symptoms to flare up, does that mean probiotics are a good idea to maintain gut health?”

There is definitely value in probiotics, though purchasing quality products is important.  Over the counter probiotics can sometimes have bacteria that is dead before it even makes it to market.

Another thing to keep in mind is variety.  Your gut is like a rainforest.  Take a moment to think of how many organisms live in a rainforest.  A lot, right?  Your gut is the same way.  That’s why seeking out a specialist is important, so that you can receive a quality product that has enough variety to benefit you.  

“What are leaky gut symptoms?  Is this something I can self-diagnose?”

A lot of the symptoms are GI related such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.  Food sensitivities can also be linked to leaky gut.  Also, a surprising amount of skin conditions start in the gut, too, ranging from acne all the way to auto-immune issues like psoriasis.

Try to shy away from self-diagnosis, though.  Just start with diet.  Increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods, such as pickled food, and try to scale back and change up the processed foods that you’re eating.  If your symptoms persist, seek out a specialist for testing, which can range from food sensitivity testing to a full blood panel.  

“Okay, so properly recommended probiotics and diet change can help.  Anything else?”

Yes!  So, something we often overlook is how stressed our day-to-day lives can be.  No one is immune to it.  If your mindset is not in the right place while you are eating, it will affect your digestion.  Take a tip from the European way of life.  They make an event out of every meal, savoring the food and lingering to enjoy each other’s company.  While this may not be practical for every meal every day (especially if you have little ones), try to take 10 or 15 minutes out of your day to just sit, relax, and enjoy a meal.  

“So, if I think I should be tested, how should I find a specialist?  Is a naturopathic specialist an option?”

As long as health providers are functionally trained, they can administer tests for leaky gut. Naturopathic doctors are an option, but how much freedom that have all relies on state’s laws. There is an organization called The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), and they have a website, IFM.org, that lets you plug in your zip code and look for a functionally trained healthcare provider.


I hope you guys find this information helpful!  Gut health is just another aspect of our bodies as a whole.  It’s important to gather all the information about ourselves that we can so that we can form the best plan for ourselves and our bodies.

*Information taken from an interview with Cynthia Thurlow.

Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and Functional Nutritionist

Website:  Chtwellness.com
Email:  Cynthia@chtwellness.com

 

IF You Carb Cycle FAQs

What does "carb cycling" mean?

Carb cycling is just a fancy word for being strategic about when we eat carbohydrates. Placing them intentionally in our diet is incredibly effective for burning fat.

Can I still have carbs?

Yes! That’s the best part of this program! No giving up entire food groups, instead, we cycle between days of high carbs and days of low carbs to keep our bodies guessing. On your low carb days you will aim to eat 50 grams or less of net carbs (carbs - fiber).

What is IF?

IF stands for intermittent fasting. It is a simple nutritional strategy that focuses on eating within a shortened eating window, instead of eating all day long.

Will you provide the workouts?

No, I do not provide workouts for you in this program. Instead, I will guide you as to what workouts are best with each type of “day” in order to maximize the effectiveness of our carb cycling. If you want more direction with workouts, you might enjoy joining my VIP Membership group, where I provide daily workouts, monthly recipes, and continued accountability.

Can I do this program as a vegetarian? How about as a vegan?

I’ve had several vegetarians complete this program successfully! They might eat a higher amount of carbohydrates on a low carb day than non-vegetarians, but they will still be able to effectively cycle their carbs. While I have had a vegan go through my program successfully, I think it is a challenging combination to try cycling carbs while avoiding any animal products. It can be done, but carbs are a heavy component of the vegan lifestyle, so it’s a bit trickier to avoid them.

I heard there was a 24 hour fast during the program. Do I have to do that?

Nope! We implement an optional 24-hour fast during our 3rd week to maximize the benefits of fasting and to experience a true digestive reset. It is also an exercise in mental stamina! If you don’t want to participate in the fast you certainly don’t have to.

How long is the program?

The program lasts for 3 weeks, with an option to repeat or to continue on in the VIP Membership group. I purposely designed this program to be 3 weeks because people get tired of checking in after that time period, and the check-ins are vital!

Do I have to exercise for this program to work?

No, you can still achieve great results without exercising, but adding the exercise component will accelerate your results!

Do I need to purchase supplements?

No, supplements are not a required part of this program. I discuss the supplements that I take in week 2 of the program in case you are interested in adding them to your routine.

I don’t like to cook, how can I be successful?

It’s hard to have great results if you are eating out frequently. But I also recognize that cooking every night is not realistic for everyone. I encourage you to make a weekly meal plan, where you plan the meals for the week. My cookbook has excellent ideas for crockpot meals and thrown-together meals that help make dinners easy! And you can feel confident that they are perfect for your plan.

Is there a lot of prep work required for this program?

Not any more prep work than I think you need to be successful at putting your health first! Taking care of yourself should feel like a part time job. I do not require hours and hours of prep work, but the more time you give yourself to make a plan, prepare your food, and get a bit organized, the better you will do!

If you are ready to change your life and start living in your best health, sign up here!




 

The Most Effective Workouts for Burning Fat

Happy New Year!! Is it still appropriate to say that?? Well, I'm going to say it as long as I can because I freaking LOVE that greeting! It immediately makes me happy and hopeful all at the same time. Do you agree?

I'm seeing A LOT more people in the gyms and a lot of people posting about their goals and resolutions this month, which I just LOVE! It's so exciting to see people striving to improve their lives. So I thought it would be helpful to talk about exercises that are the best for burning fat, while improving muscle tone (doesn't EVERYONE want that??).

IMG_7966.jpg

HIIT

HIIT workouts are a great way to support your cardiovascular and overall health. HIIT combines periods of intense, heart-pumping movement with rest intervals in between. It’s an amazing way to burn calories and fat for hours after you finish your workout. Plus, HIIT workouts can help you lower your blood sugar.

Studies show that 15 minutes of HIIT burns more calories than jogging on a treadmill for an hour! That right there is reason enough to convince me that HIIT is the way to go!  But that’s not all it will do for you.  HIIT will also build endurance, burn calories and fat in less time, boost metabolism and help your heart.

Remember, do your HIIT workouts (or other speed-burst training) on low-carb days.  This will jump start fat burning and get results fast!

Lifting Weights

Strength training develops your lean, calorie-burning muscle.  If you want to see changes in your body, you need to lift heavy!  It won’t bulk you up.  In fact, it has the opposite effect.  It will help you burn more calories and fat and help you look toned and fit.

Lifting weights will not only protect your bone health and muscle mass, but it’s how you get stronger (sorry cardio lovers, but it’s true).  You’ll be fitter overall, and it also helps you develop better body mechanics.

Make sure that you’re hitting all of your major muscle groups every week. Follow a well-rounded plan that works your arms, shoulders, back, chest, core, glutes, and legs.

Stop Overdoing it on the Cardio

Cardio doesn’t build muscle mass.  Since we know now that lean muscle burns calories, overdoing it on cardio WON’T help you lose fat.  In fact, over time your body will get used to your routine and you’ll start burning fewer calories during your workouts.

If you do a lot of cardio, especially if you don’t take the time for recovery or other forms of exercise, your body gets tired and stressed.  You can even develop overuse injuries if, for example, you run too much.

Doing cardio-only exercises can actually put you at higher risk for joint pain and injury.  This goes right back to muscle mass.  When it’s too low, it puts pressure on your body and can cause serious damage over time.  Strength training is necessary for increasing and maintaining bone density, strong tendons and ligaments.

Putting It All Together

Carb Cycling, HIIT and Strength Training, used strategically, are an amazing combination to help you burn more fat, increase strength, and hit your fitness goals!  If you want help with learning and implementing the strategies of carb cycling and intermittent fasting, paired with these effective workouts, you might consider my IF You Carb Cycle program. We start another round on January 29th! Check it out by clicking here.

The Holidays are Over, Now What??

IMG_7959-Edit-2.jpg

It's January 2nd!! The holidays are over and if you're like most people, you indulged in December. That's okay! It's time to get back on track and I've got some quick ways to feel like yourself again!

1. Load up on water!

It seems that holidays are a time for food, family, friends, and...less water? It's true for me and it is for most people, too! Instead of our water bottles, we're drinking more cocktails, wine, and hot chocolate, Make a solid effort to get at least 70 oz in for a week straight and then you most likely won't have to think about it. 

I use a water bottle with oz marks so I know I only have to fill it up three times per day. Buy yourself a cute new one (or three!) for the new year so that you look forward to filling it up each day!

2. Reduce your carbs for a few days.

I carb cycle, so I alternate days of eating lower carb with days of eating high carb meals, but directly after a holiday of indulging I like to give myself a few extra low carb days. Because Lord knows I had plenty of carbs over the Holidays!

As a reminder, carbs are fruit, oats, rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, etc. Other than potatoes I don't pay attention to the carb content in veggies. That keeps it simple!

3. Extra cardio.

My weekly workout plan usually has 2 cardio sessions per week, but the first week or so back from a holiday or vacation I like to add a few extra cardio sessions in place of my strength training so I can SWEAT out the toxins (think sugar, alcohol, indulgences). Not to mention you'll drop a few extra pounds quickly this way.

4. Log your food.

I don't log food year-round but it is certainly helpful after a few weeks "off." Nothing keeps me accountable like SEEING the calories and macronutrients in the foods I'm eating. It's also tedious, so it keeps me from just snacking on some m and m's here and some toffee there. Use My Fitness Pal for easy logging.

5. Tell someone!

Listen, we are social creatures. We weren't meant to do hard things alone! Tell your friends and family that you're getting back to it. Hang up your goals where everyone can see them. Ask friends to meet you at the gym. Post on social media. Do whatever you need to do to add a little extra accountability to your goals. And please reach out if you need help!! 

XO,

Katie

My Thoughts on Quick Fixes

We all know that quick fixes don't last. And most of us have tried a quick fix with our nutrition and fitness, even though we know that they are not a permanent solution. Perhaps we've done it in preparation for a trip or event, or just to help us get some quick wins to motivate us onward. I've certainly tried quick fixes in the past and I was miserable, hungry, and got results that were not built on anything I could continue with beyond the short time frame.

DSC_1561.jpg

The older I get the more I find joy in chasing health every day, not an aesthetic or image. And that is so freeing!! When I look back at some of the quick fixes I've tried in the past, HEALTH was never at the heart of them. And that's why they didn't work.

The program I wrote and designed is only a 3 week program, and some people think I'm promoting a "quick fix" because of that, so I wanted to take a moment to elaborate on that. I have been hosting online "accountability groups" for nearly 5 years now. Prior to writing my own program, I helped people complete other programs, improve health habits, and stay focused on their goals. The accountability piece was HUGE in helping them reach their goals. I hosted groups of all different lengths: 2 months, 1 month, 3 weeks, 2 weeks, 5 days, etc. And through a lot of trial and error I discovered that people thrived with groups that lasted 3 weeks. It was the perfect amount of time to stay focused; any longer and I noticed that my clients were losing interest in checking in with me each day. So when I wrote my program, I knew that 3 weeks was the right amount of time for accountability.

In my three week program IF You Carb Cycle we learn about intermittent fasting, carb cycling, proper supplementation, gut health, creating our study of one, how to incorporate the right types of exercise into our routine, and we also discuss tracking our macros. Some clients find that this is enough time to develop new habits and continue on their own. And some clients want continued support. Which I why I created a support system to help them beyond the three weeks.

My VIP Membership is the bridge from my program to living the lifestyle outside of the 3 weeks. The membership offers the opportunity to continue daily check-ins and support for those clients who thrive with accountability. Every member is also given their own login and password to access the online portal that has daily workouts, recipes, and upper level training from our guest expert of the month. January's guest expert is teaching us how to customize our macros.

This community has truly become one of my favorite places because it is full of supportive women who are chasing good health every day!

So no more quick fixes for me, and certainly not for my clients either!! Three weeks is a jumping off point, perfectly timed to hold their interest and get them feeling AMAZING, but after the three weeks, they will incorporate what they've learned into their LIFESTYLE.

Gift Ideas for the Fitness Lover

Ho ho ho!!! I'm here with some fun ideas for the fitness lover in your life!! These ideas come straight from ME and what I would LOVE to be gifted with for Christmas! 

A Juice Cleanse!

Guys, these juices are one of my favorite parts of every month!! But they aren't cheap! It's truly an investment in your health. So gifting someone one of these is a really sweet way to show that you care! 

Click here to order!

Juice.jpg

New Workout Pants

There is nothing better than an amazing pair of workout pants, and I have some that are on major sale through January 1st!  The pants on the left are the NEW Gray Ombre Leggings and they are only $39!!! The pants on the right are the Navy Amazing Seamless Leggings and they are only $35!!

Get them here!

2144-Gray_Ombre_Leggings-front.jpg
2148-Navy_Amazing_Leggings-front.jpg

The Gift of a Great Book

One of my all-time favorite books that help me get in the right mindset to make and sustain change is the Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy. This book is full of ideas for improving our health, our relationships, and our careers. It's a staple on my shelf! 

I LOVE listening on Audible! But it's also available in paperback and on Kindle!

Compound Effect.jpg

An amazing, simple, and delicious set of new recipes!

I'm not joking when I say that I reference this cookbook at least 3x per week! It is full of my favorite family recipes that we can feel good about eating. And the best part is, the recipes are SIMPLE. 

Grab your copy here!

S and S Cover.png

If you need more ideas for the fitness lover in your life, don't hesitate to reach out! I'm happy to help you pick something he or she will love!!

What does "carb cycling" mean?

IMG_7897-2.jpg

For a solid year now, I have been carb cycling, and I have never felt better!! I teach my clients how to effectively cycle their carbs for maximum results, too, and they LOVE the freedom this way of eating gives them because they don't have to give up any food groups to be successful. 

What exactly IS carb cycling??

Carb cycling is the intentional variation of carbohydrate intake each week.  As the name suggests, you'll cycle through higher and lower carbohydrate intake. Most carb cycling plans consist of alternating high carb days and low carb days. For maximum results, your carb cycle should correspond with workouts to maximize fat burn and energy levels.

So How Does it Work?

On low-carb days, you deplete your body’s glycogen stores. Your workouts on low-carb days are designed to get your body to fuel your workout with its glycogen stores in the muscles and liver. When you work out, you’ll have very little sugar in your bloodstream, which causes the body to use glycogen. By relying on these energy stores, you don’t need to eat to fuel your workouts.  

Not only that, but your body will also naturally begin to use its fat stores for energy on low-carb days, too.

On high-carb days, your body gets the food it needs to rebuild its energy stores. However, because the body first uses glycogen and then fat for energy, it will begin to replace its glycogen stores before it stores fat. So, even though you’re consuming carbs, your body isn’t storing excess carbs as fat because it’s busy building glycogen back up. Because of this, carb cycling is highly effective at helping your body burn fat, even when you’re not restricting calories.

What Else Can Carb Cycling Do for Me?

Carb cycling can do more for you than just teach your body to burn fat.  Carb cycling can also:

  • Increase your metabolism

  • Lower your body’s insulin

  • Help counteract insulin resistance

Carb cycling allows for planned high-carb days that increase thyroid output and help control hunger.  Planned low-carb days will offset the high-carb days. With this type of cycle, you’ll continue to see fat loss, increased energy levels and improvements to your overall body composition.

When you’re active, your body uses glycogen (carb storage) for fuel once it’s used up all of the glucose (sugar) in your blood. When you deplete your body’s glycogen, it works to rebuild it using carbohydrates from the food you eat. That way, you’re not eating an excess of carbohydrates, which will be stored as fat, and you’re not slowing down your metabolism, which happens when you eat low-carb all the time. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s your key to fat loss.

On January 8th I will begin working with another group of women who are ready to implement this super effective strategy. We will partner THIS strategy with intermittent fasting (IF) for maximum results. 

Check out what Janice M. had to say about the program: "I am thrilled with my results. Down 6.4 lbs and lost 9 inches! I didn't take a picture, but really didn't need it as I can see the differences and feel them even more!"

Friends, this is in only 3 WEEKS!!! And the beauty of this program is that if you want support beyond the 3 weeks, you can simply transition into my VIP Membership program afterwards. It is the only thing you need in the New Year! Month after month my clients are telling me how effective this program is at helping them lose fat, transform their bodies, and FEEL amazing. If you are ready to make a real change to your health in 2018, sign up today!! Click here to reserve your spot!

 

Do You Have a Business Plan for 2018?

I get SO excited every year at this time because it is when I start doing my planning for the year ahead. I wanted to share some tips that make goal setting more fun and productive so that you can implement these strategies, too!

1. First, I buy a new planner that makes me happy to look at!

I'm all about digital tools, but when it comes to goal setting, a perfectly sharpened pencil and paper planner are essential. I like the monthly planners best with some room to write monthly goals and push projects.

2. Secondly, I schedule a meeting with my husband to strategize.

Bringing my husband into my business has been a great strategy for growth. Once we made the transition from "this is my business" to "this is our business" there was an entirely different feeling of support from my husband. And that's not to say that he wasn't supportive before; but giving him some ownership increased his stake in the company's success, and therefore his help!

We actually schedule the meeting in his office during the week because we have found that trying to talk about business goals, finances, and strategies is quite challenging at night after a full day! So we work when we are both fresh. And of course I bring Starbucks because it's a fun reward!

3. I goal set in months, then quarters, then the full year.

It is easier to goal set when you break it into bite-sized pieces. So we work month-by-month, starting with January. This way, we are able to allocate for super busy family months (like June and August for example) and adjust the goals down slightly. Every month's goal is unique and aligns with our priorities as a family and as business owners. Once we have set monthly goals, we can look at quarters and decide what the focus is for each quarter. And then of course, we can better see our goals for the full year.

4. Allow ample time for goal setting each week.

Not only is it important to set goals at the end of a calendar year for the following year, but it's vital to be evaluating and readjusting your goals throughout the year, too. Try to schedule 20 minutes each week to look over your goals and allow this time to help you set your business activities. Your goals should create your action plan.

 

Halloween Survival Tips

Katie Coffee

I LOVE Halloween!! It is in my favorite season, comes with comfy sweatpants and cozy fires, and it begins the holiday stretch <3  BUT, with it comes some wellness challenges and I thought today would be a great day to talk about navigating this season without gaining weight or undoing your hard-earned progress! Let's get to it:
 

  • DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy any candy until the day before Halloween (or that day!)!

It doesn't matter if it is on sale. Your health is worth spending a few more dollars. Having that temptation in your house won't help anyone, including your kids! Can we agree on this? Keep the candy OUT until Halloween. You know there will be candy in your house for a few days after the holiday, so let's not add to that timeline with candy BEFORE Halloween.

  • When going to a party, bring something healthy!

I want you to be that "annoying healthy person"! Is that really such a bad thing to be?? Be the person who shows up to parties with a veggie tray, fruit platter, chickpea dip, etc. Actually, become KNOWN for that! It's funny how over the years this has become my role at family gatherings, and while my family teases me about it, I know they all appreciate having healthy options! If you bring something healthy, you know that you have a go-to food you can enjoy. Plus, you're giving all the party-goers a healthy option too!

  • Give yourself one or two days to enjoy the treats, then move on!

Allow yourself to enjoy Halloween guilt-free, and maybe even the day after, then get back to it! Remove the temptations, make a solid meal plan, schedule your gym time, and do what you're used to doing as far as living in your BEST health is concerned. It's important to enjoy the holidays without guilt, and it's equally important to hop right back into your routine! It will feel glorious to eat clean after all that candy :) 

Top Characteristics of Successful Clients

katie-42.jpg

Hi There!

I have worked with hundreds of clients on their nutrition and fitness over the past 4+ years. During this time I've noticed some things that are common among the clients who are successful at reaching their goals and I wanted to chat through some of those things today.

Common Characteristics of Successful Clients:

  • They keep it simple:
    • Clients who don't obsess over specifics do better! Why? Because the success isn't really in the details, but in the BIG PICTURE, right? An extra tsp of honey in your coffee isn't going to make or break you. Having your protein shake an hour later than you want won't make a difference. Keep the big picture and mind and work on the details once you get the main ideas down. Like writing an essay!
  • They have a long-term mentality
    • When clients come to me with a quick goal of losing weight for an event and they are so super focused on that, they might achieve their results, yes, but they often don't sustain this long-term. This is because their focus is on the number on the scale instead of all the ways their HEALTH is improving. It's super important to focus on how you FEEL during my program because that is what will keep you moving forward beyond our time together. When you focus on improving your health, the weight will almost always follow suit.
  • They are coachable
    • During my IF You Carb Cycle program, I ask my clients to do some tough things! I ask them to remove pop, sugary drinks, artificial foods, bread and pasta from their diet. I ask them to complete one 24-hour fast. And a lot of other things that they might not have done before. It's not easy! But it IS simple. The clients who follow my lead and trust me and the process do better long-term. If you come into the program already talking about what you CAN'T or WON'T do, your chance for success is much less than those who say, "Tell me what to do and I'll do it!"
  • They have support systems in place
    • It's much easier to be successful when you have an accountability system (that's me!), a plan in place, a support system at home, and a fully stocked refrigerator. Yes, I lay out the details for you in my program, and I'm there cheering you on the whole way, but clients who put their own support systems in place at home are more successful. That means taking ownership over your situation and setting yourself up to be as successful as possible. When we are prepared, organized, and go in with a plan, we can do better!

If you are interested in trying on this lifestyle of carb cycling and intermittent fasting, the next round of IF You Carb Cycle will start again on October 2nd! I'd love to take your hand, show you the plan, and help you achieve your goals! XO

The 411 on my current supplement regimen

Hi Guys! I owe you a bit on an apology! On Tuesday when I discussed intermittent fasting and some ways I navigate it, I referred to BCAAs. I received several emails and messages from you asking what the heck those are. I apologize for using jargon! I'm going to explain exactly what those are in today's blog post, in addition to information about the supplements I take and why.

After reading up on some of the supplements I'm taking, you are welcome to take advantage of the HUGE sale on the bundle below. It contains my favorite protein powder, BCAAs, preworkout, vitamin and veggie powder, and omega-3s. You can purchase each item separately or in a bundle at 25% off the retail price. Just mention my name. And while you're at it, grab a free workout shirt, shaker cup, and hop on the Inbody Scale too! Visit a local 5 Star Nutrition or give them a call for more info!

BCAAs:

Branch chain amino acids are the building blocks of protein. "When your glycogen stores run low, your body relies on the three types of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) for fuel, explains Lauren Simmons, R.D., C.S.C.S., of Core Dynamics. The catch: Your body can't produce BCAAs on its own, so you'll need to get them from your diet.

And here's why it's worth loading up on this nutrient: Especially when eaten around your workout, “BCAAs can help promote muscle growth and repair and reduce muscle soreness after exercise,” says Isabel Smith, R.D." (Women's Health Magazine).

The timing of when you take BCAAs is important. They are best used around or during your workout. The amino acids act as a coating for your muscles, preventing muscle loss and intense muscle soreness, so you can hit your workout just as hard the next day. I wouldn't recommend them for light workouts. Save them for heavy lifting sessions or HIIT training. I use them while working out fasted to provide some nutrients to my body without losing muscle mass, probably 3-4x per week.

Magnesium:

I started taking a daily magnesium supplement recently after reading about how being deficient in magnesium (most of us are) can cause irritability. And I certainly don't need extra irritability in my life! Read on for more info from Dr. Axe (draxe.com)

"For many people, a magnesium deficiency causes noticeable negative symptoms – including muscle aches or spasms, poor digestion, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. Yet, magnesium deficiency is often overlooked and rarely tested. Therefore, magnesium may be one of the most underutilized but most necessary supplements there is.

Magnesium may not be the most present mineral in our body in terms of its quantity, but it’s certainly one of the most crucial to overall health. It’s actually involved in over 300 biochemical functions in the body, such as regulating heartbeat rhythms and helping neurotransmitter functions.

A magnesium deficiency can cause significant symptoms. Some of the most prominent include:

  • hypertension and cardiovascular disease
  • kidney and liver damage
  • peroxynitrite damage that can lead to migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma or Alzheimer’s disease
  • nutrient deficiencies including vitamin K, vitamin B1, calcium and potassium
  • restless leg syndrome
  • worsened PMS symptoms
  • behavioral disorders and mood swings
  • insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • osteoporosis
  • recurrent bacterial or fungal infections due to low levels of nitric oxide or a depressed immune system
  • tooth cavities
  • muscle weakness and cramps
  • impotence

Why is magnesium deficiency so common? A few factors are at play: soil depletion that lowers the amount of magnesium present in crops; digestive disorders that lead to malabsorption of magnesium and other minerals in the gut; high rates of prescription medication and antibiotic use that damages the digestive tract to the point that magnesium cannot be absorbed and properly utilized from foods.

The body loses stores of magnesium every day from normal functions such as muscle movement, heartbeat and hormone production. Although we only need small amounts of magnesium relative to other nutrients, we must regularly replenish our stores either from foods or magnesium supplements in order to prevent deficiency symptoms.

Protein Powder:

This has been a GAME CHANGER for me! It is recommended that you get between 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or more if you are a male and extremely active. I wasn't getting anywhere NEAR this amount, even though my diet was very clean and healthy. And I couldn't see force feeding myself chicken breasts just to hit my protein goals. 

Adding a daily protein shake to my routine is perfect because it doesn't add carbohydrates or fats to my daily macronutrients-only protein. And since I don't have trouble getting carbs or fats in my diet, it's perfect! I simply shake it up with water and drink it post workout or for an afternoon snack. 

When searching for a good protein powder, be sure to check out the sodium content, as some manufacturers hide unclean ingredients there. Head to 5 Star Nutrition and ask for help, and they will aid you in choosing the best option for your needs.

Omega-3s:

I LOVE improving my brain health (who doesn't??!) and that is my motivating factor for taking Omega-3s. Unless you are eating a diet high in fish you are likely not getting enough of this healthy fat. 

Many doctors prescribe omega-3s for the following medical conditions:

  • High cholesterol
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Infertility
  • IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Macular degeneration
  • Skin issues (eczema and psoriasis)

The supplement I got is a gel capsule and it is flavored with lemon juice so there are no nasty fishy burps later in the day (gross!!).


If you want to dive into this a bit further, I invite you to take a listen to the interview I had with 5 Star Nutrition owner Dave Olit. I love this store and their amazing customer service!

Intermittent Fasting: Why I'm Obsessed

You guys, I am LOVING the intermittent fasting (IF) lifestyle. It has simplified my life, my workouts are working better for me, and I feel amazing!

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating; an eating schedule rather than a diet. Your body is always in one of two states: fed or fasted. It takes roughly 12 hours for our bodies to finish digesting food and begin to burn fat for fuel. People rarely get to a fasted state throughout the day because we are always eating. And while eating several small meals throughout the day can lead to weight loss (calorie deficit diets always do), you will likely burn both muscle and fat. When you lose calorie-burning muscle, you lower your metabolic rate and make it harder for your body to burn fat over time. Reducing the hours in the day when we are eating allows our body to switch from sugar burners to fat burners, and that is where the awesome benefits start to transpire.

 

What are some of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Here are a number of other documented benefits of intermittent fasting, all backed by science:

  • boosting insulin resistance

  • reducing inflammation of the body

  • loss of belly fat

  • increasing your metabolic rate

  • improving numerous risk factors for heart disease

  • improvement of brain function

  • Decreased insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity

  • Increase of the breakdown of fats

  • Improved energy

  • Improvement of muscle tone

  • Increased life expectancy

Let me explain my personal routine with IF:

I begin my fast in the evening after dinner, usually around 6-7 pm. And I break my fast around 11-12 the following day. I enjoy my coffee, plenty of water, BCAAs and tea if necessary during the hours of 6-11 am. I might feel a bit hungry first thing in the morning, but all of those drinks keep me satisfied. When I break my fast I eat a large meal and it's amazing how you really aren't ravenous at this meal. I eat a snack in the afternoon and then dinner in the evening. If I'm still hungry I will have a snack after dinner. 

Most days I get my workout in in the morning, while I'm still in the fasted state. I love working out fasted for the energy boost and the extra fat burn! I drink my BCAAs throughout to fuel my muscles, and if it is a heavy lifting day, I might break my fast with a protein shake. 

You can benefit from IF even just 3-4 days per week! I typically use IF 6 days per week. 

This is such an effective strategy for improved health and fat loss! You'll be amazed at how your body adapts at this eating schedule in a short amount of time!

Three Tips for Staying on Track

I love to share strategies that will help you become a healthier version of yourself! There is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and fitness; instead, I think it's best to collect different approaches and solutions and try them on so that you can complete your Study of One and find the best tools that suit your life and your current goals.

Here are some of my favorite tools that I use to stay on track:

1. Automate

Automating your life means you’re setting up systems to make healthy choices and avoid unhealthy choices without having to think about it too hard. It makes the choices automatic.

Is willpower subjective per person or do we all have a set amount of willpower per day and then it resets?  I like the second one.  The idea is if you go through the day and are constantly saying, “No. No, I’m not going to eat that” then by the end of the day you can feel worn down and then give into temptation.  But if you can automate a lot of your decisions throughout the day so you don’t have to use your willpower muscle to say no to things, then it allows you to have extra willpower at the end of the day so you don’t give in to temptation because you’re tired.

Here’s an example: I keep my kitchen automated.  I don’t buy things to keep in my kitchen that are going to tempt me.  I mean, I love, LOVE potato chips but I don't buy potato chips because then I would be tempted to eat the whole bag. If I can avoid buying them in the store, then I don’t have to use my willpower muscles later when I’m at home.  When I’m cooking in the kitchen, it’s easy to find a healthy option and it’s difficult to find an unhealthy option because I just don't buy things that will tempt me.  Also, we don’t keep ice cream in the freezer because my husband is magnetized to it!  It’s just another thing that he doesn’t have to use his willpower muscle on.

Another example of automating is if you are trying to create the habit of getting up early to work out, you could lay out your clothes the night before.  Also, set lots of alarms on your phone.  Finally, make the evening before a routine so you have the mindset of getting up early the next day to workout.  Make it easy on yourself! Automate everything you can so you can save your willpower! 

2. Accountability

This has been huge in my love for fitness and business!  I got started in fitness by joining something called an accountability group.  Every night I checked in with my points for the day based on a system that my coach created.  That system transformed my life!  It gave me things to strive for each day that I didn’t even know I was supposed to be striving for.  It taught me a lot about clean eating, and it held me to a different standard than I would have held for myself.  And that’s what I do for my clients as well. I coach them through my programs, and I keep them accountable by requiring a check-in from them each night. The clients that check-in daily have more success than those that don’t. Accountability works!

Another way to be held accountable is to get a workout partner.  I love to meet my friends for early morning workouts. It forces me to get out of bed because I don't want them to be waiting for me at the gym by themselves! If you can connect your goals with another person it is so helpful because then you don’t want to let someone down.  Also, if you can set a time to meet early in the morning, it’s great because then it’s too early to call and cancel.  If it’s in the evening, you have all day to cancel.  And that happens, but if you plan to meet in the morning it is almost too late to cancel.

3. Make a Plan

Having a plan for anything in life makes you more successful.  Having a plan is huge!  So when I go to the weight room, I have a plan.  I don’t just walk around and grab things.  I know exactly what I’m going to do.  I have a plan for my workouts each week.  Usually some time over the weekend I plan the week out, and I do it in a way to balance the different types of workouts I like to do: weight training, mind body, cardio.  Fitness doesn’t just happen.  I have to schedule it.

Also, have a plan for meals each week.  Now, I’m not a good meal prepper.  I’m not the person to make all of the week's meals made on Sunday, but I do have a written plan for what we’re going to eat.  If I don’t do that then I don’t have a good grocery list.  If we don’t have a good grocery list then we end up throwing things together or eating out more.

Another example for having a plan is carb cycling.  I love this program because it gives me a focus for each day.  Is it a low carb day or a high carb day?  If it’s a low carb day, I’m having low carbs and no fruit.  I eat veggies, protein, and high fats.  If it’s a high carb day, I’m going to be scheduling a higher intensity work out, and I know I need to have some healthy carbs in my day like oats, quinoa, rice, or sweet potato with some protein and my veggies.  It gives me something to focus on, and having something to focus on is really helpful.

Automate what you can, find accountability, and make a plan!!  These three tools are vital for success in achieving your health and fitness goals!

Check out these results!

I hope you all had a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend! In Illinois the weather was absolute perfection, and such a great way to kick off the summer.

 

Results are rolling in from my Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting program and THEY ARE FANTASTIC!!!! I love my job and it fills me up to read the improved confidence and body image of these rockstar women! 

Here's some feedback from a few ladies in the program:

“I lost 6.5 pounds and close to 4 inches total. I'm so happy as my goal for this group was 5-7 pounds. I love love love IF. Didn't do it today and regretted it all day long. Will be going back to it tomorrow for sure. Thanks so much, Katie! I'm considering joining your next group too. I love the accountability and encouragement each day. ”

"Lost 4 lbs and a couple inches. I like the intermittent fasting, and I have enjoyed carb cycling too. I have been trying to lose baby weight for almost 2 years with no success. Health issues and medications after my second child actually made me gain about 20 lbs and this has been the only program that has actually helped me lose a little. I feel like it's easy to follow and something that I can stick with long term."

"I lost 1.3 pounds and 1.5 inches (.5 from each thigh!). I feel awesome - three weeks of mostly clean eating made me feel in control of my body and gut health. I've learned that carb cycling is great for me because I have to change what I eat each day instead of eating the same (even though) healthy foods every day. I've also come to love LC days - I feel they're easier to plan for, and I love, love, LOVE IF. I thought I'd never like skipping breakfast, but I really like having extra time in the morning and savoring my coffee and tea. One of my main goals was to fit into my shorts for vacation, and I ended up having to buy new shorts in a smaller size! Thank you Katie Harlan for all your coaching and encouragement!!"

"I lost 7 pounds and a total of 2.5 inches! I'm completely amazed at what it has done to my body and my mind."

You guys, this program is LEGIT. The combination of cycling your carbs and intermittent fasting is so effective for fat loss! Not to mention improved energy, moods, control over your diet, and confidence! The next round will begin on June 19th. If you are ready to change things up with your nutrition, this is your chance! Click here to reserve your spot!

 

LEAVE ME ALONE!!

Well, not YOU! You are cool and you are not bothering me! LOL! I'm talking about the men at the gym who find it necessary to offer unsolicited advice and commentary about my workouts. Let me back up a bit...

I've been adding some heavy lifting to my workout routine lately and I'm LOVING it. I love lifting heavy and I really enjoy the new challenges. It's a totally different style of workout than I've done before (think: Crossfit style). However, it forces me to get my workouts done in an actual gym vs. my basement because I don't have heavy enough equipment. Isn't that a fun problem to have??

The weight lifting I'm doing requires me to use the BIG bars, cages, benches, and other "hard core" workout equipment, and if you're fairly new to the weight room, this can present some challenges and discomfort. I've had to LEARN how the equipment works, and that can feel awkward in an already awkward and vulnerable setting. As a female, when you walk into the weight room, you are a minority RIGHT away. It just tends to be a male dominated space. Add the discomfort of learning how to use the equipment on top of that, and it can be pretty uncomfortable.

THEN you add the group of men who seem to find it to be their mission to offer advice to women who are working out alone. WHY??! Why do they do this? I would NEVER offer advice to a gym-goer unless they said, "Can I ask you for your advice?" Never. In some cases I think they are hitting on me, "GREAT form!" and in some cases I think they feel that they are actually helping the poor defenseless little girl in the weight room (sarcasm), "If you sit back in your heels you will feel it less in your knees." UGH. LEAVE ME ALONE. 

My frustration with this got me thinking that other women must be feeling this too. So I came up with a short list of ways we can avoid the unsolicited attend and advice in the weight room ;)

1. Headphones

It's amazing how wearing headphones eliminates 85% of unwanted attention. The bigger the better! LOL! Now, where are my headphones...?

2. Workout with a friend

When my friend (or husband) and I hit the gym together, no one bothers us, offers form advice, or interrupts us to give us a high five. And working out with friends is ALWAYS so much more fun than doing it solo.

3. Have a game plan

I keep my workouts on my phone, and I log my weights in EverNote (it's a free app that allows you to jot down notes easily). Having a game plan keeps you from wondering around looking lost. Looking lost is always an invitation for free advice!!

If you are a man who is reading this, just remember that women aren't helpless! If we need help in the gym (or anywhere else for that matter), we can ask for help :) And ladies, don't be afraid of the weight room! We all look awkward in there some times! Take a friend your first few times until you get comfortable. You've got this!!