#SUMMERSTRONG

IMG_4531

 

Holy smokes, you guys…Memorial Day is RIGHT around the corner, and before you know it, we are in JUNE!!!

 

There is never a perfect time to get started on making a change. We are never “less busy” than usual. There will always be parties, and holidays, and soccer practice, and traveling. So the perfect time to get started often has to do with something within.

 

There has to be something within you that wants to make a change. A reason. A why that is propelling you forward. Without that why, you may start something new excitedly, but then quickly fall off because you weren’t serious about making your change or you didn’t fully understand why you jumped in.

 

So maybe you are the:

 

*Former athlete turned mama who wants to get back to her old self again

*The working mom who just can no longer fit in that gym commute

*The gym rat who loves working out, but it somehow just not getting the results

*The one with the sweet tooth who cannot stop late night snacking and wants to improve with healthier habits

*The gal who just wants to feel confident in her bathing suit this summer

*The woman who is daily going through her closet disliking everything she puts on.

*The mama who just seriously is craving some ME time

*The person who is tired of being sick and tired and wants that boost to energy and motivation

 

Because I have been ALL of these women and more at some point and time…

 

And I can say now that:

 

*I am happier + healthier than ever before

*I have found a community that supports each other and lifts each other up

*I have gained a ton more confidence in myself and my capabilities

*I feel excited to get dressed in the morning

*I feel strong in mind, body, and soul

*I have opened my mind to so many more possibilities and have learned so much

 

I may never be completely confident in my bathing suit…but hey we all have our insecurities, and no one is perfect.

 

But it’s not about being perfect. It’s about improving yourself and being the best version of yourself there is.

 

If you are READY to commit to making a change. If you want to reach your full potential. If you want to be happy and healthy. If you want to feel #SUMMERSTRONG…

 

Then I would LOVE to include you in my upcoming #SUMMERSTRONG health + fitness Challenge Group starting June 5th!

 

Each person in the group will be following an at-home workout program that I will help to recommend based on your goals and interests, drink a daily superfood shake packed with clean energy and nutrition, follow a nutrition plan, have my full support as your coach, and be surrounded by other positive uplifiting challengers like yourself who will motivate each other to reach our goals.

 

These groups have been LIFE CHANGING for me, and I know if you are ready, they will be for you too!

 

Please comment below with your email address or email me if you would like to learn more! Make it a great day everyone!!!

XO,

Gina

March Into Spring

MARCH.png

The first photo here is 6 weeks post partum with my 2nd baby. I clearly felt uncomfortable about taking this photo even though I had no reason to. I stayed healthy throughout my pregnancy. I exercised regularly…ate well…I JUST HAD A BABY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. And I had already lost 20 pounds of baby weight after this photo was taken. I had a PLAN of action this time around, unlike after 1st baby when I had no clue what sort of whirlwind I was being thrown into. This time I was prepared. Yet, I was still feeling uncomfortable in my own skin taking this photo. As much as I wish I could have just embraced my body and what it did for me (and trust me I LOVE what our bodies are capable of. I think it’s truly amazing and has brought me two of life’s most greatest blessings)…I still hated seeing myself like this. With my line of work as an online health and fitness coach, I knew that in order for others to see how our programs work, I was going to have to show others what was possible. So I took the photo, but I didn’t love doing it. And it’s still tough for me to share here today…even though in my heart of hearts I KNOW there is absolutely NOTHING I should feel bad about. If anything I should feel proud that my body was able to create two amazing little humans.

That being said…the 2nd photo here is taken about a year later. After a lot of hard work. After ups and downs. After a lot of personal and mental growth. After CHOOSING to make sure that I did not get lost this time. That I remained a priority in my own life. It’s not easy to make a change. But I knew after my 2nd baby, I wanted to feel GOOD. I wanted to feel like myself. I didn’t want to wait around and “see what would happen.” I made a decision to take things into my own hands. Instead of letting life control me, I would control my OWN life.

I know 100%, that without Beachbody, I would not have been able to make this type of change. I would have told myself that I would make it to the gym, that I would go on a run before my husband left for work, that I would somehow, someway fit it into my day…but I wouldn’t. I now know that about myself. I now know that I needed something I could do from home. I needed something that could be done quickly. I needed something structured…that told me what to do each day and how to eat better so that I didn’t have to think too much about it. That I could just get it done in 30 minutes, and move on with my day.

I was able to make this change not only with the incredible workout programs and nutrition plans (because they seriously are AMAZING), but even more so because of the community of SUPPORT that I have had to stay on track toward my goals and stay consistent with a healthy lifestyle. I don’t have some “insane level of dedication or motivation.” People message me frequently and tell me that they love my dedication, or they also tell me that they wish they were as motivated as I was. But I’m here to tell you that I’m not any different than anyone else. I love ice cream and pasta just like the rest of us. (and I eat it often lol) I sometimes hate to get my workout in. I am definitely not perfect…not even close. But because of this community…because I stay more accountable for things when I know I will be checking in…because I have the support of like-minded people around me…because I’m the coach and I know I need to lead by example…I have been able to achieve things that I never believed would be possible after two kids.

If you are like me and you WANT to feel good about yourself, but:
-you struggle to fit working out into your busy day, or
-you have become stagnant on your journey toward reaching your goals…
-if you think you could use the extra support of a positive community that values individual progress over competition…
-if you cannot afford an expensive trainer at the gym, but want workouts that are going to get results…
-if you need to improve your nutrition habits or need new ideas to make meals more fun…

then please join me and my group as we MARCH INTO SPRING…with our heads held high. Starting March 6th, we will begin our next group based on making progress toward reaching our goals and feeling more confident than ever going into that spring break season. I don’t know about you, but I have Punta Cana on the calendar, and I want to feel my best!

***Comment below with MARCH INTO SPRING and your email address if you want to join or you would like more details about the group! You can also feel free to email me at gina.notes26 {at} gmail.com ***

 

Hoping you’re having a fantastic weekend!

XO,

Gina

One Year Later

one-year-later-front

This afternoon I shared my results from my recent Hammer + Chisel program with my Challenge Group, and I came across my first “Before” photo that I took at 6 weeks post partum. Whew! Hard to look at for someone who has always been an athlete and in shape in the past. I am proud that with my body I was able to give life to two awesome little dudes, but I was eager to look and feel like my old self again. My mindset was much different than after my first pregnancy.

After my first pregnancy, I never really tried to get back to myself for a long time…18 months long. To be fair, I had to figure out who I was at a person since becoming a mom and I just didn’t understand how exercise could still fit into my lifestyle. I had many excuses…many of them were legit excuses…work, time, travel, gym commute, etc….but they were still excuses. I finally found a way to find that time for myself again when my son was 18 months old. I started the original P90X at home, and was SO pumped to start!!! …and then 2 days in I found out I was pregnant again with Baby #2. So while I did start my path of healthy eating, exercise, and “me” time, my journey was a little different than planned. 😉

After having my 2nd son, I was SO eager to finally get back to my daily routine and finally get in real shape again. My mindset had completely shifted and I had made that decision to go after some goals. I whipped out that 21 Day Fix and did 3 rounds in 3 months. My journey continued this past year with P90X3, 21 Day Fix Extreme, CIZE, 22 Minute Hard Corps, Country Heat, and lastly Hammer + Chisel. I honestly cannot believe I have been able to stick to so many programs over the past year, and this is the longest I have stuck to a routine in YEARS. I feel amazing, strong, my endurance is up, and even with little sleep and two little ones, I somehow have energy. With my busy schedule, I now cannot even imagine spending an extra time commuting to a gym or classes. These 30 minute home workouts + healthy eating (with treats of course!) + daily Shakeology have truly been a godsend for which I am so thankful!

Looking forward to rounding out my year with the 3 Week Yoga Retreat and the new kickboxing/MMA program, Core de Force. I love knowing what I have coming up, because it keeps me on track and helps me stick to a daily routine. Knowing how I felt after having my first son and then knowing how I feel now, there is no way I could ever go back!

one-year-later-side-no-label

Hope you all had a great weekend, and you are enjoying this lovely Sunday evening!

XO,

Gina

P.S. The Country Heat Giveway winner was announced on my Facebook page, so head on over there if you want to hear more details about the package and who won the prize!

Country HEAT Giveaway + More!

img_0463

Happy MONDAY!!!! I used to get a “case of the Mondays” every now and then, but not so much anymore…and especially not today. Today I am announcing the BIGGEST popcorn and pandas giveaway of the year!

Most of you know by now that I became an online health + fitness coach almost 2 years ago (Jan will be my 2 year anniversary), and trust me when I say being able to get results doing 30 minute workouts AT home while having two children has been a complete game changer. After having my 1st son, it was near impossible for me to get back into shape and to feel like my old self again. I took a different approach the 2nd time around as a coach, and it’s been life changing, for realz.

In an effort to pay it forward and show someone else that it is indeed possible to feel like yourself again and get into a routine with only 30 minutes a day, I’m giving away a COUNTRY HEAT Package on my Facebook page this week! Here’s what you’ll get:

-Country Heat DVD Workout Program

-Nutrition Guide

-Portion Control Container System (this is KEY!)

-A 7 Day Supply of Shakeology in all 7 Flavors

-A Shakeology Cup

-A Spot in My Monthly Challenge Support Group for the Month of November (the support is MAJOR!)

HUGE!!!! Not only does this program guarantee you an amazing cardio dance workout, but it’s FUN! You’re so busy movin’ and shakin’ that you don’t realize how hard you are working until you are done and in full sweat. Not a dancer? No worries. The best part about this is that you’re in your living room! LOL. So you don’t have to stress about looking silly dancing in front of others 😉

“Okay, enough already. What do I have do to WIN this program, Gina?”

Alright, here you go. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Go to my Popcorn and Pandas Facebook page and click LIKE.
  2. Comment on the Country Heat Giveaway post which will be pinned to the top.
  3. In the comment TAG 3 friends to let them know about this giveaway, and let me know WHY you want to win this program! (do you need something fun to mix things up, do you love to dance, are you stuck in a rut, do you want to work off the baby weight, etc.?)

That’s it!!! Simple as that.

Winner will be announced on my Facebook page this FRIDAY.

For more details on Country Heat, check out this link here.

In other news…our new KICKBOXING program, Core de Force will launch on Halloween! Today (and for the next 3 days) we are opening up a FREE sneak peek of the program if you want to check it out! Sign up here if you want to try it out. I have personally tried it out, and it’s awesome!! I will be the first one buying that complete program on Monday!!!

Okay, hope this little post and giveaway has officially cured your Monday blues today. Can’t wait to draw a winner on Friday for this amazing Country Heat giveaway!!

Make it a great day!

XO,

Gina

Homemade Apple Butter

IMG_9520_Layers_v1

After our recent trip to Fishkill Farms, I knew that this was going to be the perfect opportunity to finally make homemade apple butter this season. With fresh organic apples from the farm and a recipe from Skinnytaste, I decided to spend a Sunday afternoon making this delicious spread that reminds me of my childhood days. I was nervous with how it was going to turn out, but I have to say, it was pretty spot on!

IMG_9527_Layers_v1

Ingredients:
 
  • 6 large apples, peeled, cored, finely chopped (honeycrisp, gala, ambrosia) – *I used a couple extra apples and the apple type was whatever we found at the farm
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, not packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg – *For all the spices, I had an Apple Pie spice that I used instead which had these ingredients

Directions:

Place the apples in a slow cooker. Top with sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and mix well. Cover and cook high 5 hours, or low 10 hours, stirring once halfway, until the apples are tender and dark brown.

Uncover and puree with an immersion blender. *(I do not own an immersion blender, so I actually had to spoon it out and blend it in my regular blender…not really recommended, as it’s hot and this is a difficult procedure! However, it got the job done.) Cook on high uncovered 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Spoon into jars or containers, cover and refrigerate.

Makes 2 cups.

IMG_9532_Layers_v1 IMG_9537_Layers_v1

Nico has been enjoying peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches for lunch as I did as a child, and he absolutely loves it! I have enjoyed some on toast as well. If you have other great ideas for how to enjoy apple butter, please share!

Hope you all had a fantastic Halloween last night. My boys dressed up as Curious George (Nico) and the Man in the Yellow Hat (hubby). Luca was a skeleton (with a pumpkin hat), and I was a panda (naturally). We enjoyed our neighborhood Halloween Parade, which was fabulous, and then took off for some Trick or Treating. Nico had his first candy this year, and had no idea what to do with a lollipop. It was a pretty funny experience to say the least. We let him have a few pieces…and then my husband and I had a few too many pieces…and now I need to GET IT ALL OUT OF MY HOUSE!

21 Day Fix Round 2 starts tomorrow as well as my Thankful for Fitness Challenge Group, and it’s healthy eating and living from here on out so that I am going into the holidays feeling happy, healthy, and strong.

Who’s with me?

Happy Sunday!

XO,

Gina

7 Day Push Up Challenge

7 DAY Push Up Challenge

It might be the end of summer, but there is one work out that you can take with you ANYWHERE! On the beach at vacation, on your office floor, in your living room, Saturday in the park…no matter where you go…you can take your PUSH UPS with you!

Join me on Monday August 10th for a FREE 7 Day Push Up Challenge! Strengthen and tone that upper body with one simple exercise each day for a week. I promise you are stronger than you think!

I will share proper techniques, and no matter what your skill level or athletic ability, you should be able to participate. I will also be sharing modifications for beginners, and for the advanced, there will be tips for making your push ups more challenging. Our push ups will increase each day and we will motivate each other to get through the week one day at a time.

So who is ready to PUSH YOURSELF?!?!?!

Comment below with your email address for more info or email me at gina.notes26@gmail.com to get in on the challenge 🙂

Hope you are having a great week!

XO,

Gina

{34} Lately…

33weeks

Lately I’ve been…

reading  Caught up on some Health Magazine at the beach yesterday. Love their tips for healthy eating and exercise.

writing  Lots of e-mails, and catch up on blog posts before heading out to NASHVILLE on Thursday! if anybody has any good recommendations for while I’m out there, please let me know!

listening  The Coffee Shop (Ch. 31) on Sirius XM Radio. Puts Nico to sleep every time and he loves it.

thinking  That I need to get things together before this new baby arrives. I am 33 weeks today. Holy guacamole! I delivered at 38 weeks with my first babe, so it’s crazy to think that it’s less than 2 months before we will be a family of FOUR.

smelling  The yummy mocha that I treated myself to this morning.

watching  Finally saw the movie, Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon. The movie is based on the book by Cheryl Strayed with the same title. Being an outdoorsy person, I was a huge fan of the book as it depicted a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for 3 months. I thought the movie did a decent job of portraying the book, but I definitely preferred the book over the movie. Although, I must say that is generally the case with me!

wishing  A very Happy Birthday to one of my favorite people in the world, Erin, who we spent the 4th of July weekend with at Seneca Lake. Her bday was yesterday, and I know it’s going to be an amazing year for her! Love you butt buddie!

hoping  For the internet to keep working. I have wasted a ton of time today hopping from cafe to cafe around the neighborhood and it’s like the internet is not working anywhere!?!?! What in the world is going on? Came back home and hoping it will stay on here so I can actually get some work done today!

wearing  Living in lots of dresses, maxis and flip flops on these hot summer days.  Whew!

loving  Speaking of these hot summer days, I actually love them…because that means BEACH TIME! Since we won’t be able to attend our family vacay to the OBX this year, I am going to try to soak up as much local beach time as possible this summer!

wanting  More space in my apartment! We are going to be doing lots of furniture rearranging in the next few weeks to make room for our new little roommate. Why do such tiny humans need so many things? lol.

needing  To finish planning Nico’s 2nd Birthday Party. We need to have it early this year, because his birthday is two days away from my due date. So I finally picked a date and ordered the cake. Now it’s time to figure out the food and decor. I seriously cannot believe he is going to be TWO.

feeling  SUPER excited for my upcoming trip to NASHVILLE for the Beachbody Coaches Summit! Excited to finally meet my team in person and for all the amazing events, workouts, and trainings that I get to be a part of. I’m sure it’s going to be an incredible experience that I will never forget.

craving  All the sleep I can get. Starting to get a little more tired again in this last trimester. Trying to get as much sleep as possible, because I know there are some all-nighters coming up in the near future again. Yikes!

clicking  On this adorable blog by Amaris, both mama and fashionista. Her outfits are chic yet casual, and her baby girl is sucha doll!

 Hope you all have a great week! I started off my morning with a Banana Chia Pudding breakfast, a Turbo Jam workout, and a walk around the neighborhood. Time to buckle down now and get crackin’.

*

HAPPY MONDAY!

What have you been up to lately?

XO,

Gina

Summa Summa Summatime

21 Day Fix Invite July 13

Summa Summa Summatime!

It’s mid-summer and I am looking for 5 more women who want to commit to the next 3 weeks of healthy eating and fitness! There is still time to feel confident in that summer bikini, at that summer wedding, or at your family reunion, ladies. It all starts with you and your decision to change and make a difference both by being active and making smart choices in the kitchen.

My next round of the 21 Day Fix is starting up on July 13th, and I would love to help you reach your goals! It will include:

-A DIFFERENT workout each day of the week to keep things interesting
-An EASY to follow nutrition plan complete with portion control containers to map out what you should be eating each day
-30 MEALS of Shakeology – a super healthy drink packed with vitamins, nutrients, and super foods
-MYSELF as your personal coach and motivator
-3 week SUPPORT group full of other challengers like yourself where we will share inspiration, motivation, tips, recipes, etc.

Don’t let a busy schedule hold you back from making a change! Some of my best challengers with the most rockin’ results are busy moms, busy professionals, and have full plates. *30 min a day is only 2% of your day and anyone can make time for this program if they are ready to make a change.*

COMMENT below with your e-mail address if you would like to join the party or if you would like more information. You can also e-mail me at gina.notes26 {at} gmail.com if you want in!

Make it a good one!

XO,

Gina

Fit Mama Thoughts

Prego Coach Post

Shortly after I became a fitness coach, I discovered I was pregnant. I panicked. Not because of the whole extra child part. For that I was pretty excited, even though we were a tad surprised at the time. But I panicked about just starting a new job where people would rely on me to reach their health & fitness goals, because how could I set a good example while pregnant? I obviously wasn’t going to be showing any “results” photos from my program. I had to switch my program. I would be getting BIGGER…not smaller. What if I couldn’t keep up? Would people want to work with a coach who couldn’t practice everything they preach?

But I decided to give it a shot…give it my all…and see what came out of it. I have been working out as much as I can, eating healthy, and sharing my journey through pregnancy as a fit mama.

And you know what? I now have over 30 challengers in my groups and THREE of them are prego mamas just like me! I never would have dreamed I would be able to help and inspire so many people to reach their goals and stay healthy…especially the pregnant mamas. I am actually so incredibly inspired by THEM and all of my challengers to keep going on a daily basis.

This job has given me an amazing opportunity to not only help others but to better myself in the process 🙂 A year ago, I never would have thought I would be able to stay at home with my son and still accomplish so much in the working world. I am incredibly blessed and thankful, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store!

Hope you all are having a great week!

XO,

Gina

Why I’m Tougher This Pregnancy

28weeks

Pregnancy. What a wild ride it is…and each time is different. My first pregnancy was cut tragically short due to a miscarriage after 7.5 weeks and ended in devastation and sadness. My 2nd pregnancy, I was a nervous wreck for the entire 1st trimester and then some. Afraid to work out. Afraid of another loss. Eventually as time wore on, I started to become less nervous and embrace my pregnancy along with all the ups and down, scares, vomiting, nausea, itchiness, heartburn, early contractions, duck waddling, and more. With every sonogram (and I had a lot of them) I felt closer and closer to my Little Monkey. Eventually, on August 29, 2013, my little boy was brought into the world and everything made sense. All of that craziness was worth it, and my life was forever changed. I can’t believe that little boy is now almost 2 years old, and I have another on the way.

Most women would say that being pregnant the 2nd (or in my case 3rd) time around is more difficult. I would have to agree that it has been quite challenging. However, I think it has somehow made me TOUGHER. And here’s why:

1st Trimester Nausea & Exhaustion

I thought this was bad before, but this pregnancy was much worse! Previously, I would get sick, and then feel better, but I pretty much felt a constant wave of nausea all day every day for the entire first trimester. Even if I got sick, I did not feel any better. I tried ginger candies (I was repulsed), preggie pop drops, eating small frequent meals, and sea bands, but nothing really seemed to do the trick except letting time pass. I was also much more exhausted, but couldn’t exactly fall asleep whenever I wanted to. Knowing that I was able to get through this first rough of a 1st trimester with everything else going on in my life makes me feel like one tough cookie.

I Have a Toddler This Time Around

This is probably BY FAR the most challenging aspect of this pregnancy! Previously, if I needed a nap or I felt sick I could lay down and rest. As a stay-at-home working mom this time around, I cannot just take a break when I need to. My toddler is very active and wants to run around and play all day. He takes one nap a day, and at the beginning, I was napping right along with him! With the 2nd trimester, I gained a lot of energy back, and now I work during his nap time, but it was a a struggle in the beginning. There was a lot of time for planning during my last pregnancy, but I feel as if this pregnancy is just flying right by! Anyone that can get through a pregnancy while taking care of a toddler is tough in my book!

I am Running My Own Business

Speaking of work…since the company I was working for folded in September, I decided to take a step in a new direction as a fitness coach and freelance writer. I now stay at home with my son, work from home, and make my own schedule, but it’s also extremely tough to fit everything in in one day on top of being pregnant. Toddler playdates, doctor’s appointments, conference calls, emails, quiet time to write, taking care of the house, building a business…there is so much to fit in each day, and only so much time. I find myself working a lot of late nights trying to get it all done, and luckily my husband is good about letting me sleep in a lot so that I don’t run myself ragged.

I am Working on My Fitness

As I said before, I was previously scared to work out during my last pregnancy. I walked a lot, which was a great way to keep active, but I did not feel “in shape” at all. This pregnancy, I have been doing the PiYo program (combo of pilates and yoga) at least 4-5 times per week for at least 30 min per day, hiking on weekends, etc. My body feels so much more physically fit, strong, & toned, and my lungs have so much more endurance and capacity. I feel so much more energized on a daily basis after I have completed my workouts, and I generally just feel tougher!

I am Eating Healthier

I do feel that I generally ate pretty healthy during my last pregnancy, but since becoming a fitness coach, I have paid even more attention to what I am putting in my body on a daily basis…especially processed foods and sugars. Of course, this pregnant mama is never going to completely cut ice cream out of her diet…I mean we all have to live a little, right?!?!  Sometimes those pregnancy cravings will get the best of me for sure. I am not perfect, and will never claim to be!  But on the whole, I am conscious of what I am eating and I strive to make healthy, clean choices for myself and my growing babe.

I Have Been Through It Before

I have a newfound confidence this time around. I mentioned being afraid a lot during my last pregnancy…but this time I am more confident with my decisions, I realize that there are some things that are just out of my control, and I have to let go a little.  I generally have an idea of what to expect this time for labor and delivery (although I do understand that things could be completely different), so I am not super anxious about what’s going to happen. I understand that things may happen unexpectedly, I now know what contractions feel like (and I know to drink tons of WATER to prevent dehydration and early contractions), and I know not to freak out if I go into my regular check up and they tell me I am not leaving without a baby. I feel prepped and I feel calm.  I’m actually more anxious about how things are going to go POST-delivery when I have two children! Haha.

Curious as to what you other mamas are going through out there? How have you been feeling throughout your pregnancy? If you are pregnant for a 2nd time around, have you felt that it’s been easier or harder? Do you feel tougher as well or has it all been a lot to handle?

I definitely feel that my workouts combined with my nutrition have played a HUGE role in my “toughness” this pregnancy, both mentally and physically. It keeps me going and keeps me strong.

Happy Monday to all you Mamas, and everyone else out there reading! We had a nice weekend with family and friends. Today marks 28 weeks pregnant for this gal.

Let’s make it a great week!

XO,

Gina