May 20, 2015

Sponsored Giveaway: Balance Bar Summer Shape Up

I wrote yesterday about my wonderful weekend at Blend Retreat, and how happy I was to be outside getting exercise with my friends. Honestly, exercise is actually something I’ve been stressing out a lot about lately. As much as I like to think that this weekend was “typical”, it’s really more typical of how I was last year. Lately, I haven’t really been as active as I would like, in part because I’m finding it hard to get into a routine and make healthy eating/exercise my norm instead of something I have to fight for.

Balance Bar on Bear Mountain
Weekday morning hikes like this need to be my norm rather than the exception to the rule and something I get excited about. (And I need to make it a habit to refuel from such hikes with a small Balance Bare bar like that, not with a trip to the taqueria for enchiladas and margaritas.)

I was talking about my diet/exercise routine with Adam today, and realized that I am being kind of a whiny baby about my weight/body, and being that person I hate who just makes tons of excuses. When I was traveling for work, I was in a pretty regular routine and found it really easy to hit the gym at 6am every day before getting to work at 8am (even if I was taking a different class every morning). Working out was just what I did when I got up, and I didn’t have to think about setting my alarm early to do that. However, I found it really hard to eat healthy with the variety of work dinners and late nights at the hotel bar… so I didn’t have the body I wanted. Now that I’m home, I’m doing a lot better on the eating front (at least when I’m eating at home rather than going out for social occasions). However, I’m really not getting into a routine at all when it comes to exercise. You would think that working from home a lot would make it easier to work out, but I’m having trouble getting into a groove since some days I have to leave home by 6:30am to get downtown for meetings, while other days I try to catch up on sleep and wake up five minutes before I need to be online in my home office a few steps from my bedroom. (I know, life is hard.) I know exactly what I need to do, but I am just not actually doing it 🙁

Adam-The-Wise made a pretty apt (yet obvious) point today: I either need to stop complaining about it and just accept that I’m a little bit less in shape than I’d like, or I need to do something about it and get into an actual exercise routine and diet regimen. Come to think of it, that is the same motivation I had all those years ago when I had a summer internship in Florida and missed all my friends: I reasoned that I could either quit and go home or I could find something productive to do with my summer, but that sitting around miserable was not the solution. And so I taught myself to run one mile, which turned into a 5K, which turned into a marathon, which turned into 50by25. Hooray for baby steps toward goals!

This time around, though, my head is just not in the game, and baby steps aren’t working. One day it’s incredibly easy to eat healthy and I am psyched to work out, and the next day I’m just like “nope, a quesadilla sounds damn good right about now.” I don’t know where my motivation for staying fit has gone, but the idea of having to actually work at it sounds terrible… yet so does the idea of not changing my drink-all-the-Colorado-craft-beer body. Can’t a girl eat her cake and burn it off too? (Answer: not unless I want to spend my summer in a muumuu.)

According to a recent survey by Balance Bar, 43% of Americans feel most balanced during the summer… so I’m hoping that my own food/exercise balances out by then too. For that to happen by June 21, though, I’m going to need to put some work in first! My friend Erika is running a “Hot Body Challenge” for June, whereby we all put $10 in a pot and then see who has the most points for healthy behavior at the end of the month – winner takes the pot. Each day, you get a point for tracking calories, staying under your goal # of calories, avoiding processed sugar, and working out (1 point for each 15 minute increment). We are logging all our points in a Google spreadsheet, and I think the competition will help me rev up my motivation (even if I don’t win). Or at least I’m hoping it will!

Gabby Reece, spokeswoman for the Balance Project, put out a list of tips for smart eating and staying active that help her feel more balanced and ready for summer.

Make it your own: There is not one right way to get it done. There is the right way that works for you. When it comes to eating healthy, find the foods you like and implement those into your daily diet. The same goes for exercise. If you hate the gym then find something outside that is manageable for you. This is not about torture; this is about creating a lifestyle that you can do week after week. You can see some of my favorite fitness moves here.
Watch the calendar: Use summer for motivation to shape up but don’t wait for June 21st. If you wait until summer actually starts, you’ll feel rushed and end up crash dieting or doing a crazy workout schedule. I personally like to keep a calendar in my kitchen and cross off the days as I countdown to bikini weather. The visual reminder – right where you eat – is helpful in keeping you on track.
Sign up a friend: We tend to be more successful at accomplishing some type of exercise if we have an accountability partner. Solicit a friend and maybe use this as your time to connect. You can train for a 5k together or join an outdoor boot camp; there are a lot more options now that the weather is improving.
Plan to snack: Take snacks (like fruit, nuts or a Balance Bar®) wherever you go to prevent mindless eating. If I have an afternoon or early evening workout planned, I make sure to have one of these handy an hour or so before so that I have plenty of energy to get in a good workout.
Variety is key: Make as many meals as you can at home so you can control your nutrition. These are some of my favorite recipes – fresh and full of veggies for springtime! To keep things interesting and fresh at my house, I try to rotate foods. One night I may go for something heavier with veggies and grains, and then the next night focus on proteins. I really try to change up the food and create a great deal of variety.
• Each day is a new chance and it’s never too late: If you fall out of your summer shape up routine one day, don’t sweat it. Forgive yourself and move on – and just keep moving!

I especially love Gabby’s tips to “sign up a friend” and that “each day is a new chance” – both of which I am trying to address by taking part in Erika’s challenge. I am frequently guilty of all-or-nothing thinking, so it’s really important that I remember that each time I make counts. Maybe I need to re-read The Beck Diet Solution, which has a lot of tips for willpower that got me really motivated when I first read it several years ago. One way or another, I need to find a way to start getting more serious and committed!


Once again, Balance Bar has generously offered to give away a great prize pack… this time with the new Balance Bare Bars and a cute headband.

Balance Bare Bars
The new Balance Bare Bars are made with really simple ingredients, minimally processed (so you can see everything in them at a glance through the clear packaging), and only 160 calories each – perfect for a small snack rather than a full-on meal replacement.

Check out the Rafflecopter widget below (if you’re reading this in Feedly/Bloglovin’/email, you’ll need to click through to enter); to enter, leave a comment telling me how you get motivated to get fit when you’re feeling as iffy as I am right now. The contest will run through Thursday May 28th at 12am MT, at which time a winner will be chosen by random drawing and contacted by email; the winner will have one week to claim their prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: Balance Bar provided me with a prize pack just like the winner of this giveaway will receive, but I received no other compensation for this post, nor was I pressured to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own, and in my own words 🙂


35 thoughts on “Sponsored Giveaway: Balance Bar Summer Shape Up”

  1. Like you, I find it easier to complain than just get up and do something!! But then I think about how much I like cupcakes and wine… And how if I don’t do something at least kind of active, I won’t really be able to enjoy those things! Ok, I’m not the best example!!! Oops.

  2. I set a few goals for myself, and then I use a calandar to track my progress. Seeing my results in writing helps keep me motivated; I hate seeing a blank spot where my workout should be. In addition to visually tracking my workouts, new music or a new audiobook to listen to while exercising really makes me want to workout. And then there’s always the power of a new exercise clothes 🙂

    1. I’ve been tracking with MyFitnessPal for years but I feel like I’m immune to it. As in, if I eat poorly or skip a workout and my log is terrible, I don’t care. Oops :-/

  3. A girl can eat her cake and burn it off too (and craft beer!)!

    Life patterns ebb and flow as well as our current fears and desires.

    I remember reading yearly goals by Lauren Fleshman. One of them struck me: each year to become more and more disciplined without it seeming so.

    What does it mean to become?
    How does she/you/I become?
    How does she/you/I increase discipline without it seeming so?

    And Adam is 95% of there way there when he says “to make a decision”.

    1. I think part of the problem is that I’ve wanted to be disciplined without feeling the pain… that is, make those healthy habits natural. Long way to go for me to do that!

    1. Lisa, you’re a solid person! The un-important, and yet important, question is: how did you become that way? Do you think it just happened? How did your psyche just know that that was what you wanted to do?

  4. I am in sort of the same boat as you! I was in the best shape of my life this time last year, but with a move to a new city, a new job, and traveling, the weight has crept up. My struggle is access to food all the time at work, so I am working through turning down treats even if they are free! I need to read the comments for everyone’s advice!

  5. I get up early and knock it out–life cant get in the way that early in the morning, and it makes you feel great for the rest of the day.

  6. I’m actually feeling like this lately too. My plan is to clean up my eats and knuckle down on getting work outs during the week. I usually find new work outs to do to keep me motivated since I get bored with the same ones.

  7. I buy myself a new workout outfit to help me with wanting to work out or I just get up and do it even though I do not want to

  8. I’m having the same struggle right now. The working out piece is fine, but the eating? Not so much. I put on a few pounds when I was on this elimination diet to figure out what’s wrong with my digestive system, so I was pretty much eating white rice and tuna and like one vegetable or fruit a day. So I gained weight and still don;’t know what’s wrong with me. I hoped that once I started eating normally — mostly healthy with a few splurges — the weight would come off easily, but… no, no it hasn’t. And the motivation to eat SUPER clean and not have food fun is just not there. So if you find the secret, let me know!

  9. I need a very specific gym routine– if I know that I’m supposed to be at spin class every
    Thursday, I won’t skip it. It doesn’t take much willpower to do something that I’ve already
    scheduled, and do every week at the same time, whereas if I had to decide what workout
    to do every day, it would be much more of a hassle.

  10. I take advantage of a few minutes of feeling ambitious and sign up for fun workout classes for the week. Then I’ve already paid for them and won’t cancel, so I always go!

    1. That definitely worked for me in NYC and Dallas! I haven’t gotten too into the boutique scene in Colorado (there are so many free ways to work out outdoors) but I think that may be what I need to start.

    1. I love Class Pass! I tried them for a month and still need to write a full review for my blog, but it is AWESOME.

    1. I like that idea – I used to have a specific workout playlist (actually from Fit Bottomed Girls circa 2008!) so maybe I should start playing that right when I wake up.

  11. I have a weekly workout plan where I essentially do the same workouts each week (e.g. run a certain distance on Mondays, do a circuit on Tuesdays, etc). The routine helps me stay focused, by every week I try to do the workouts faster or do more reps or a harder form.

  12. Being close to 60 pounds overweight I knew I needed to make a change and back in January that is exactly what I did. I planned my week out and added in my workouts. They are in scheduled in on my phone so I get a reminder a few hours before to remind me and motivate me to get through my day. In my gym if you register and don’t show you are charged. Being on a tight budget I know I need to make those classes.

    I have lost 30 pounds so far and I remind myself I wasn’t happy before and now I am. It is a huge motivating factor for me.

    Good Luck!!

    1. Congrats on your 30 pounds of weight loss! That is awesome and I can definitely learn from your motivation 🙂

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