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If you asked all my past roommates and exes if I am a morning person, let’s just say you’d receive some big laughs and a resounding “No!” A self-proclaimed morning hater for as long as I can remember, I’ve been known as the queen of excuses such as “three more minutes” (averaging an additional hour of time in bed – no easy feat) and everyone’s favorite, “Can you carry me out of bed?” (which I used throughout my college years.)

Source: Corbis Images

The concept of being a morning person has always been foreign and intriguing to me. When I was sleeping in too late, throwing myself together, frantically grabbing coffee, and running into the office at the last minute, I felt like my morning-loving co-workers lived secret, zen lives before 9 a.m. that were full of accomplishments out of my reach. I would attempt to become a morning person and hit up the gym or head to yoga before work, but despite all my efforts, my morning routine stayed the same . . . until six months ago. I’ve experienced a serious change that I (and everyone in my life) once thought to be impossible: I wake up two or three times a week at 6 a.m. to work out. I wish I could say that I woke up one day magically filled with more energy and maturity, but I would be lying. Instead, I fell hard for one workout.

At first, I resisted SoulCycle‘s advances. This indoor-cycling studio’s cult-like following made me skeptical, but after I got my ass handed to me at my first class, I was hooked. I had recently broken up with a long-distance boyfriend, and throwing myself into a new cardio routine I loved made me feel strong and more like myself than I had in months. A few months into my new relationship with SoulCycle, I realized that my weeknights were booking up fast. I spent my evenings sweating at the studio and was saying no to dinners out with friends, relaxing solo Netflix sessions on my couch, or yes, new dates.

After a wavering back and forth, I knew that there was one option that could help me have it all, but it would require me waking up at the crack of dawn. Things didn’t change overnight; it definitely took a few weeks to get into the groove. But approximately three weeks into my morning-person project, something clicked – and it stuck. I now realize that my past attempts to exercise in the morning faltered for a number of reasons. Here’s what made the difference this time around.

Source: Corbis Images

No Option to Snooze

While there’s certainly a meditative aspect to my morning SoulCycle routine, the music, group energy, and programming works to wake my body up – there’s no option to snooze on my mat like I used to do during a quiet yoga session. In SoulCycle, I find myself invigorated by challenging cardio, dancing on the bike, and other people sweating it out in class. When it comes to a morning workout, making the shift to intense group fitness was a must for me. There’s plenty of time for me to chill on my yoga mat after work or on a weekend afternoon.

Hard-Earned Dough

Before-work sessions fill up in a flash at the SF studio, so signing up and paying for classes days in advance is a must. I quickly learned that the guilt of sleeping in past my wake-up time is only trumped by the realization that I’ve wasted $ 30 before getting out of bed. When my alarm goes off and my mind taunts me to stay under the covers, I remember that I’m throwing away money if I don’t pop up and out.

The Way You Make Me Feel

Dragging myself out from under the covers has always been a struggle, and heading to a workout that felt like another thing I had to do or cross off my list didn’t make the process any easier. This became a nonissue with my new routine, because I genuinely love SoulCycle and the way it makes me feel all day long. Sure, there are tough moments where I’m bitching and moaning on the way, but I am never disappointed with my decision to wake up and work out once I walk into the studio.

At this point, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m a SoulCycle convert. I also get that it is not the ideal morning workout for everyone – just like every workout out there is not for me. Sure, I love group fitness, but I’m not down with any class where I’m berated by an instructor (think military-style boot camp), and I can’t fathom the concept of craving a long run. The lesson here? Find your SoulCycle. There is a workout out there that fits your personality and your body’s needs, and it can change your tune about waking up early – I’m living proof.

Front Page Image Source: Shutterstock

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POPSUGAR Fitness

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Regardless of how young you are, it’s never too early to make health a priority - something these actresses know firsthand. See who made time this week for a workout, whether it was running or boxing!

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POPSUGAR Fitness

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The World’s Healthiest Meals

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Kelly Anne Porter’s weight-loss success started with a serious health scare. “I was diagnosed with diabetes, and it scared me skinny: I watched my father choose to eat what he wanted and lose his eyesight, his legs, and his life,” Kelly says. “I never wanted my kids to have to watch me do that. I always felt like my dad could have lived longer if he took care of his diabetes. I don’t want my children to ever think I was too lazy or that a bowl of pasta was more important than me being in their lives.” Now, with over 100 pounds lost, she shared her Before & After success story with us. Read on for her advice and inspiring story below!

Kelly: Before


POPSUGAR Fitness: What made you decide to start?
Kelly Anne Porter: I decided to start to lose weight in October of 2012. I was weighed at the doctor’s and I was almost 300 pounds. I never minded being a “big girl” or the “fat chick,” but at 294 pounds, I really felt like I was just too big. Unfortunately, for about a year, I watched my calories and exercised and only lost 28 pounds. I decided that maybe I was just destined to be heavy and figured, if I was taking care of myself, I was doing all I could.

In July of 2013, I went back to the doctor complaining about exhaustion and aches and pains. I figured, at 43, I was just aging. I was very wrong. I was diagnosed with diabetes. That scared the ever-living heck right out of me. I had watched my father lose his eyesight, legs, and eventually his life to diabetes, and I never wanted my kids to watch me do the same. My dad chose to live his life the way “he wanted to” as opposed to living his life to live. He ate whatever he chose. He drank and smoked. He did not exercise. And I always felt like, to some extent, he chose to die, as opposed to choosing to live. I was going to choose to live. I do realize that diabetes will eventually be my cause of death, but I will fight it every step of the way and do everything within my ability to make sure my kids never feel like I chose to die.

PS: What’s your favorite way to work out?
KP: I walk my two large dogs every day that I can. We walk in our town somewhere between three to nine miles a day, depending on the weather and my schedule. With the extreme Winter we have experienced in 2014, it has been sporadic, so I try to accomplish some basic calisthenics before I head to work. The dogs “help” me do them, too. They at least make me laugh while I am working out. And the Snowmageddon 2014 did help me continue to work out: I did a lot of shoveling. I even shoveled our two neighbors’ driveways and our own.

Kelly: Before


PS: What’s your weekly exercise schedule?
KP: I try to walk or do some sort of exercise every single day. Honestly, it is because, when I don’t, I don’t feel as good as when I do, and I know myself pretty well, and I worry that, if I stop, I won’t start again.

PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?
KP: Dodging traffic, laughing at the doggies, varying my route, and listening to my favorite podcasts.

Kelly: After


PS: How much weight have you lost?
KP: In total, I have lost 105 pounds. Since my diagnosis, I have lost 77 pounds. I am working on losing 25 more pounds. Unfortunately, they are stubborn. But I will prevail!

PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?
KP: I saw myself in a reflection at my fiancé’s Christmas party. I was stunned at what I looked like.

PS: How do you track your weight loss?
KP: I weigh myself often. I try my best not to get to freaked out by natural fluctuations and keep the big picture in my sights.

Kelly: After

PS: What’s a typical day of meals and snacks?
KP:

  • Breakfast – low-carb tortilla, one tablespoon natural peanut butter, a small fruit or piece of cheese, and a serving of almonds.
  • Lunch – low-carb soup, veggies, and hummus.
  • Dinner – lean protein: chicken, fish, pork, or red meat; a double serving of veggies, and a small serving of fruit, maybe a small piece of dark chocolate as a treat.

PS: What’s the range of calories you eat per day?
KP: I eat 1,200 calories a day. On days when I get a lot of exercise, I will eat more, but my net calories needs to stay under 1,200.

PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge?
KP: Apples, berries, snow peas, sugar snap peas, hummus, natural peanut butter.

PS: How do you strategize for meals out?
KP: I choose selections that are salad based or order my meal without bread/pasta and ask for double veggies and no potato.

PS: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey?
KP: Seriously, go to the doctor first – just to make sure there aren’t any underlying causes that may affect your progress. Then just be dedicated and patient. Both will give you results, I promise! My personal weight-loss journey has been fraught with frustration, and while I do admit that eating healthy is much easier when your life is on the line, in reality, everyone’s life depends on eating right and taking care of your body. You are given one chance, one life, and one body. Your life does depend on you taking care of yourself, every day and in every way!

Do you have an inspiring Before & After story to share? Message us on Facebook, and give us a few details of your journey. We might even profile you on the site, like Kelly!

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POPSUGAR Fitness

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The dish on items from coconut water to coconut chips.

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U.S. Information – Well being

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Trina Hall deliberately received excess weight – and discovered a lot more than she bargained for.

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U.S. News – Health

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POPSUGAR Fitness

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Salad dressing is one condiment you can depart off of your shop checklist not only is it less difficult to make at residence than running to the store, but it also gets to be healthier when produced in the convenience of your personal kitchen area. I like to use grapeseed oil so that I have the versatility of using the dressing in a heat salad as properly as colder greens. Given that grapeseed oil has a increased smoke point than olive oil, it will not degrade when heated up in a pan as olive oil tends to do.

Find out how to make this easy salad dressing following the break!
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FitSugar

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When I’m on the go or out of town, I turn to trusty Starbucks to pick up my favorite bottled green juice: Evolution Fresh Sweet Greens and Lemon Juice. With that bottle of the slightly sweet, definitely green, and perfectly smooth stuff, I always feel like I’m doing my body good when I invest in a $ 6 bottle. The back of the bottle showcases the fruits and vegetables used, and on a recent day, I thought, “Hmm, I’d like to try that recipe out at home.”

Upon closer look at the ingredients list, I was a little disappointed by the actual amount each bottle provides. While there is a sufficient amount of celery, apple, and parsley, other ingredients have oddly minimal amounts: 1/8 of a cucumber, 2/5 leaf of romaine lettuce, and 5 leaves of spinach? As an avid juicer, I felt a little ripped off.

I tried to stay as true as I could to the amounts listed on the back but did make a few tweaks so each ingredient makes a significant presence in the juice. (My grocer doesn’t carry fresh sprouts or wheatgrass, so I didn’t include those in the recipe, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t add them.) I was worried that with so many ingredients, the juice would take a long time to make, but start to finish, it took 15 minutes to chop the vegetables and process them through my Omega Masticating Juicer. Interestingly enough, the juice yields at least twice the amount of juice you’ll find in the bottle, if not more.

When I bought the ingredients, I was curious to know if it would be cost-effective, compared to the Evolution juice. When I broke the price down based on the recipe I developed, the total amount of organic ingredients was $ 5.14, so not much less than the Evolution bottle. For the recipe, and a side-by-side taste comparison, read more.
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FitSugar

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Very low on lunch suggestions? Attempt this.

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U.S. News – Well being