JUNKFIT’s Top 10 Fall Fitness Fashion Essentials

Fall is here and I’m here for it, honey! The crisp morning air, my coffee in tow to warm by cold hands, layering up, black, navy blue and burnt orange hues, dark nail polish with a matching muted burgundy lip. I actually bussed out my MAC “Fashion Revival” lipstick last weekend because I just could NOT wait. There are some super cute fitness trends that I am dying to get all the way into. Shall we proceed?

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Now, we all know how important it is for us to look good while we work out. It’s a confidence hack. Kind of how we fix our posture to invoke confidence and self-assurance, fly and sporty fitness clothing works in the same way. Right or right?! Lol. I’ve compiled a list of my top ten fitness fashion picks for the fall. Much like mainstream fashion, the looks change by the season. You’ll notice a difference in colors, material, the whole nine yards. Afterall, your neon yellow wind breaker aint gonna get you through those winter jogs, will it? Make sure you’re ready with these essentials:

1. The Running Jacket

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UnderArmour’s Swacket is a simple yet sleek version of the essential running fleece. There’s no doubt that a good performance fleece is necessary during fall and winter runs but you might as well be cute with it. It’s a piece that you’ll be wearing frequently so you want quality and style. Weightless, yet water-resistant, super warm, with reflective features . Add to that, it’s super cute.

 

2. Patterned Tops & Bottoms

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Fabletics, Kate Hudson’s fitness line, has a VAST selection of stylish fitness apparel. I repeat, STYLISH. I was actually shocked at how cute the outfits are. One item that jumped out at me was this sporty running jacket. The Jojo, actually comes with matching Curacao Capris. Now, capris aren’t ideal for a brisk morning run, especially if you got no ankle meat, like myself. But, the outfit comes at a 50% discount when you sign up as a VIP member. Boom!

3. High Rise / Mesh Combo Tights 

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I can never get enough of these. I’ll be the first to say that I’ve seen these done ENTIRELY WRONG. If the material is cheap or flimsy, these can actually mess up an otherwise sporty outfit. Lulu Lemon is known for it’s superior quality. You can count on these to hold you snugly throughout your workout. I prefer a high rise pant to avoid that gradual tug and sag that happens when you’re running or squatting. I know these are capris but I’m sharing them because they’re on sale for $44. It’s a steal for Lulu. Jump on it.

4. Nike Prestos

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Does anyone remember Nike Prestos from the early 2000’s? Well, Nike brought them back for the 2016 Olympics and I could not be happier. I haven’t grabbed mine yet but these will be my fall/winter workout kicks. I love the black on black and the way they make my feet look tiny. Size 9+, gone head and grab you a pair!

 

5. Leg Warmers

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IDK about you all, but leg warmers are kind of an essential for me. I’ve been sporting the same pair from Target for the past 2 years. They’re ideal for cold, outdoor, winter workouts or if you just want some added warmth with your tights on your way to the gym.

6. Marathon-Ready Sports Bras

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Marathon season is upon us. If you plan to compete in your 10 miler, 20 miler, you’ll need a bra that’ll support your lady lumps for an extended period of time. Sports bras are really a catch 22. On one hand, you want the support but on the other hand you don’t want it to be so constricting that it gives you back aches. Enter Nike’s Pro Rival Hero. Dri Fit technology, adjustable racerback, enough coverage to eliminate bounce while still showing off some sexy. Perfect.

7. The Fanny Pack

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Even as a child, I could never get with the fanny pack look. It wasn’t until I desperately needed it for runs and workouts that I took a look into using one. My life has’t been the same since. I tuck my keys away in mine, along with my chap stick, Kleenex, and anything else I may need while on my run. I actually need a new one and I found a simple yet effective fanny pack on Etsy.

8. Dark Graphic Tees

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No matter how old I get, the graphic tee will always be a staple in my fitness wardrobe. They’re so effortlessly chic when styled properly and can transition into an all day outfit if you have errands to run after your workout. Pair it with tights or baggy sweats-either way you’re gonna look stylish. Rainbow has them for thee lowest of the low. I mean as low as $3.99. I lie to you not.

9. The Duffle

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I’ve always been a fan of the Puma bowling bag but now that Rih is contracted with them, I feel like it would be fitting to go with a more vintage, 90’s duffel look. Puma has a plethora of expensive bag options but you might do better by hitting up Marshall’s or Nordstrom Rack for an older version. This one will cost you 12.99. Yep.

10. The Strappy Long Sleeve T

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Kate Hudson really outdid herself with her Fall line. There is an abundance of sexy and sultry fitness options. This one jumped out at me because I love to show off my back.  Check it out on Fabletics.

With the exception of Fabletics, these are brands I’ve used (quite often I should add) throughout my fitness journey. I hope this was helpful! What Fall Fitness Fashion are you serving up this year? Share below!

Xo,

Jazz

 

Here’s Why Your Stability Ball Is Your Friend

You grabbed it during a one off trip to Marshall’s. It was sitting there…shiny, pink or maybe even purple and the price was within your budget. You thought to yourself, let me be cute and get in shape with this trendy ball thing. It started out wonderfully. You used it to work out here and there, and sometimes you sat in it for good posture. You had every intention of spending more time with your stability ball but over time it grew into new age home decor that got the most attention when your nieces and nephews visited. “Where’s the handle?”, they asked. Every now and then your pet would roll around with it. Well, I’m here to tell you, don’t let that thing collect dust and pet dander in the corner of your living room any longer. It’s probably the cheapest, whole body, at home, workout system. At first glance, it looks like an elementary play thing that could never give you an effective workout. But, if you commit to using it consistently, your stability ball can help snap your whole body into beach-ready condition.

For starters, the stability ball helps to build your pillar strength. What is “pillar strength”, you’re wondering? It includes our hip flexors, our core, anterior (front), posterior (back), obliques (sides) and our shoulders. All body movement flows from this region. You can see the importance of strength training this area, right?! There are many exercises that involve this area. Especially if or when you decide to lift, you’ll need a strong pillar before you even venture to that arena. It’s my educated suggestion that you master your body weight before you add any additional weights (20+ lbs) to your workout. The stability ball is a great option for strengthening your pillar and can be combined with an array of body weight workouts to modify the exercise to your skill level. Here’s a breakdown of what I did today. Sorry, I couldn’t record the entire workout but I put them in terms that are simple to understand.

  • Wall squats with the ball resting between your lower back and the wall
  • Single leg wall squats with ball resting between your lower back and the wall
  • Lunges with one leg suspended laterally on top of your stability ball
  • Single leg lunges with rear leg suspended on top of the stability ball
  • Bridges with feet on top of your stability ball
  • Single leg bridges with feet on top of your stability ball
  • Side planks with stability ball in between feet
  • Leg raises with stability ball in between feet
  • Hamstring curls with feet rested on stability ball
  • Plank with feet rested on top of stability ball
  • Push-up planks with feet rested on top of stability ball
  • Sit-ups with stability ball
  • Bridge hold with neck rested on stability ball
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Oh, Hey. I’m just here tightening up my glutes, hamstrings and core with one piece of equipment! 

The key with each exercise is to take your time. Form is everything. You want to make sure you’re taking time to get into the proper position. You’ll probably fall off balance a few times but it’s important not to rush through.

Remember that everyone starts somewhere!

I hope this read was helpful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips To Fitting A Workout Into Your Schedule

For those of us with a packed schedule, it’s super difficult to find time to meal prep and eat, let alone make it to the gym and get a full session in. We’ve got jobs, relationships, families, school, and a litany of extracurriculars that make it nearly impossible to get to the gym. If you struggle with fitting your entire routine in or even making it to the gym, you’re not alone. The last few months were crazy for me (in a great way) but it became increasingly apparent that I needed to tighten up on my strategy. I’ve thrown together a list of things that helped me get my life:

  1. Pack your bag the night before and review your check-list. I go to the gym in the mornings and I shower there after my workout. My check-list includes flip-flops, a towel and wash cloth, toiletries, a comb, a brush, my scarf, my lock, ear phones and of course, my clothes and shoes I plan to wear to work. It really doesn’t seem like such a big deal but this is similar to packing an overnight bag. For most of us, it’s no easy feat. We can get stalled on something as simple as bobbie pins…the black or the brown? The curved or the ridged? Body wash suddenly becomes a life decision. Caress or Shea Moisture? Bar soap or liquid? I can’t be the only one! Lol. Therefore, I go on ahead and get all that out of the way the night before.
  2. Know what you want to do before you get there. It helps when you have an idea of what you’re going to accomplish that day as opposed to going and just winging it. I’ve winged it a lot in the past and sometimes it’s great, other times I leave the gym feeling like I wasted my time because, quite simply, I did. I could’ve moved with phantom speed, flowing from machine to machine, mat to wall, track to stairs but, no. I couldn’t decide between the inclined leg press or an overhead press. What part of my body needs more work? All things I should have given thought to before my workout.
  3. Create your playlist ahead of time and resist the urge to mess with your player during your workout. I know for sure that when I don’t follow this rule, I get pulled into so many distractions such as JUNKFIT.org, a random text or a work email. Focus on the workout, not your phone.
  4. Give yourself enough time to move between locations. Meaning, if you want a 90 minute workout and it takes you 30 min to get to the gym and another 30 to get from the gym to work, you need to do the math so that you’re comings and goings allow for the workout you want. Don’t let a killer 90 minute sesh turn into a lackluster “at least I made it the gym” 30 minute kinda thing.
  5. Lastly, your workouts should fall under your category of “non-negotiables”. There is no IF you can make it to the gym that day. There is only WHEN. You will make it to the gym because you’ve planted that seed and you WILL see it grow. Remember, being healthy, fit, in shape, whatever you call it, it’s a lifestyle. So, get with it. Fall in love with it. It will only love you back!

JUNKFIT Baltimore “Sweat Sesh” Sunday May 22nd

Join us for JUNKFIT’s first ever “Sweat Sesh” this Sunday, May 22nd. We’ll be pumping it up just in time for Summer ’16. Meet at the YMCA at 33rd Street Field in Baltimore, MD at 1:00 pm. Don’t forget to bring your mat, water and small weights if you have them. It’s free so tell your girls and get with us!

All fitness levels are welcomed 😉

RSVP at junkfit@gmail.com.

-Jazz

 

my 10 Tips For Transitioning Vegetarians

The last time I tried to go vegetarian, I did it “cold turkey” – no pun intended. I was really impressed with my cut-off skills. However, I only lasted a measly two months. It’s no small feat for a 30 year old, carnivorous, Jamerican girl from the “Buffalo wing” region. I gave up milk, butter, eggs, meat, fish, cheese…everything! It was such an extreme transition for me that it turned out to be too much at once. The thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I’m either all in or all out. In true gemini fashion, I don’t really have a middle ground. This characteristic is both beneficial and detrimental depending on what I need to get done. In this case, the goal is becoming a vegetarian. This time around, to do it right, I’m setting small goals for myself towards a lasting and successful transition.

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The first phase of my transition was the elimination of poultry, beef and pork. I’m not a huge meat person anyway so my first few meatless days weren’t all that hard. If you’re always checking for the meats with every meal, you might want to eliminate one animal at a time. One week you stop eating cow, the next week you give up chicken etc. However you decide to begin your journey, you’ll need to know what lies ahead. Here are my findings:

1. Avoid settings where the aroma of meat can penetrate your nostrils. Breaking a lifelong habit like eating meat is similar to beating any other addiction. You simply cannot place yourself in environments where meat is being prepared, served or eaten. This is cruical especially if there isn’t a vegan alternative available.

2. Meal prep is life. Realistically, none of us can avoid the temptation of meat all the time. You can have way more control over your cravings when you’re PREPARED with your own meatless goodies. This saved me a few times. Whether it’s work or a friend’s house, bring your meals and snacks to avoid eating whatever’s around.

3. Give your circle a heads up. One mistake I made this time around was keeping my transition on the low. Because last time was a bust, I was apprehensive about sharing my goals with anyone. So when I went to my sister’s house and she placed mashed potatoes, green beans, rice and a juicy chicken breast in front of me, it took all of my willpower to kindly and sadly reject the meal. Instead, I ate mashed potatoes, rice and green beans when she could’ve made me the salmon that was in the fridge. Share your lifestyle change with others so they won’t inadvertently sabotage your goals.

4. Never let your stomach hit rock bottom. Meaning, don’t allow yourself to get so hungry that you’ll “eat anything”. In those moments of brief starvation, your fatigue will compel you to eat whatever is at hand.

5. Try meat alternatives. Nowadays, there are grocery isles full of tofu chicken tenders, eggplant breakfast sausage, veggie burgers and much more. The possibilities are super exciting. I had fun experimenting with a tofu stir fry. Although it wasn’t quite the same texture as meat, the flavor was very similar.

6. Check your existing diet and swap the old for new. If you normally eat eggs and sausage for breakfast, you might want to swap your animal  sausage for a vegan sausage and later swapping out your 1 egg for 2 cups of oatmeal (same amount of protein). This way you match not only your taste bud’s desires, you’re also keeping up nutritionally.

7. Create a list of likeable, plant based proteins. Most of us don’t keep track of our daily protein intake but many of us get way more than we actually need. The average person needs 45-65 grams of protein every day (fluctuates based on gender and age). We can easily meet the recommended daily amount using plant based foods. My list includes various nuts, oatmeal, legumes and for now, yogurt and fish.

8. Look for the “V” stamp. Lots of the hassle of “what’s safe to eat” is simplified by a teeny, tiny V for vegan label on packaged foods. Right now, advertisers are eager to please the quickly growing number of vegan consumers. If it has the “V”, it’s good to eat. There’s soups, microwave dinners, sauces and much more that are entirely plant based. Good for your tummy and time!

9. Do not attempt to convert others. As opposed to forcing your new ideology onto your friends and family (which normally backfires), just tell them YOUR story. Normally, your peeps will want to know what’s new with you anyway and the argument for vegetarianism ends up speaking for itself.

10. Do it for the right reasons. In a day where folks without celiac disease are bragging about eating gluten free, it’s easy to get wrapped up in food fads. There are two things that are the true driving forces of going vegetarian (for me). My health and for the poor animals. When you care enough and are passionate enough about either of these issues you can be successful and achieving  vegetarian, and maybe down the line, vegan nirvana.

Good luck!

P.s.- Do you have any tips for those of us who want to go vegan? Do share!

XO

Jazz

Required Reading | “By Any Greens Necessary” Author Tracye McQuirter, MPH

When I peeled back the wrapping paper on what felt like another token Christmas gift (yes, I’m childish), I had no idea that my brother was gifting me something that would alter my perception of the American food industry forevaaa (Cardi B voice). I’ve seen plenty of vegan and animal rights films but the deeper impact of a good ole paperback just cannot be debated. “By Any Greens Necessary” by Tracye Lynn McQuirter is a must read for all African Americans–especially black women. You can hear this same message from a gazillion different sources, but hearing it from a sista just makes the message so much more personal and tailored to our needs and interests.

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Tracye Lynn McQuirter, MPH

We have the highest rates of many chronic diseases, most of which can be prevented by adopting a plant based diet and eliminating animal foods. It’s common knowledge that animal products are packed with cholesterol, saturated fats, antibiotics, fecal matter, mucus and many other substances that these poor animals encounter during their filthy stay at the barn house. Regardless of all that we’ve read about the American meat industry we are still so reluctant to adopt a vegan lifestyle because we think animal flesh is an essential component to our diets. What most of us don’t know is that our bodies do not need animal products to lead a healthy lifestyle.

In “By Any Greens Necessary”, you’ll learn that contrary to what the USDA nutrition guidelines advise, 70% of African Americans cannot safely digest lactose (big shocker there).  I can’t even look at milk without shuddering. As a child, I digested milk like a champ. As an adult? Not so much. I, like many other black men and women, developed a lactose intolerance with age. Milk simply hurts these days. Hurts my stomach and gives me painful cramps that last for hours if I’m lucky. Sometimes the pain has side affects like constipation and nausea. So why on earth does the USDA recommend 2-3 servings of dairy per day? They essentially ignore the fact that we cannot safely digest it. In fact, many Asian, Native American and Latinos have a hard time digesting lactose as well. The only group that can digest lactose with ease is Caucasians. Yet, it is required that cafeteria workers place a carton of milk on each school lunch tray–whether the child wants the milk or not. It begs the question WHY? How on earth does dairy merit inclusion on the USDA’s 5 food groups? Why, when meat has been linked to heart disease, high cholesterol and many outbreaks of deadly viruses, does the government continue to allow excessive marketing, cheap and unhealthy production, despicable conditions and deceptive labeling to lead the masses to literally eat themselves to death? The recommendation of animal products on our guidelines is a sad and villainous representation of all that is wrong with our country.

If that little tidbit of information wasn’t compelling enough to make you go out and grab the book, maybe this will. My eyes nearly rolled out of my head when I read that dairy had been linked to the dreaded uterine fibroid. That’s plural for most of us. Two summers ago my 3 little fibroids landed me a stay in Brooklyn Hospital for a week on an ice and water diet. I was so miserable. That’s when I learned that a whopping 90% of Black women will develop uterine fibroids between ages 20 and 50. In numerous studies, the growth of fibroids have been linked to dairy, ham and beef consumption. Complications with fibroids can lead to hysterectomy which means no little chocolate babies for you and hubby.

Ladies, please, please, please do yourself a favor and grab this book. It is in fact a matter of life and death. Sista to sista and with love, you owe it to yourself to go out and get all of this knowledge!

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xo,

Jazz

 

 

Operation Babyface: Turn Back The Clock With Proper Hydration

While it might not be the most tasty beverage available, water is undefeated in not only quenching thirst but it also does wonders to quench those thirsty little skin cells of yours. Most of us think of water in terms of digestion and organ function but we often dismiss our epidermis (our skin is an organ, remember that from grade school?). As we age, our bodies retain less and less water. This can leave our skin cells, shriveled up if we don’t hydrate properly. Skin is often the first indicator of dehydration so it figures that when we are properly hydrated, our skin takes on a youthful appearance.

My water intake used to fluctuate on a daily basis and it took me a while to figure out why on some days I had the face of a newborn and on others I looked like a dried out baseball mitt. It was really bothering me. The first thing I did was cancel out coffee. I did some Google research and found lots of articles pointing to coffee as an acne trigger. If you know me, you know coffee is bae. But, it had to go if I was going to figure out what was haunting my skin. Next I began eating hella carrots. I always noticed that my complexion would brighten after eating carrots with rabbit-like fervor. In the midst of all this no coffee  and baby carrot torture, I figured I’d take that extra step and guzzle some water. The next day I noticed a HUGE difference in the texture of my skin. It was very moist and supple whereas the day before, both my skin and lips were super dry. I will admit to faltering on my water intake a few days in and what do you know, my skin began to get dry again. My lips began to peel. Most of us think that our lips are dry because we haven’t used chap stick or lip balm. But what about the ancient humans who didn’t have these things. How did they hydrate their lips? They drank water! How’d they manage to do all that back-breaking farming, hunting and pyramid building? They went to the Nile and sipped! Ha!

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In all seriousness, drinking the proper amounts of water can assist in digestion, organ function and not to mention our muscle function. You don’t know dehydration until you’ve worked yourself into a quad cramp, which usually comes from overworking the muscle in the absence of proper hydration. Did you know that water makes up a whopping 75% of your muscles? Imagine what you’re doing to your muscles when you don’t hydrate before your workouts! Check the image below to see more ways water impacts your overall health.

yesiknowthatIf you’re struggling with drinking your daily water, try creating a water alarm/reminder in your phone. Or you could try carrying a bigger water bottle instead of a smaller one. Many people opt for fruit infused, homemade water as a tasty alternative. There are plenty of ways to get this done! As always, sharing is caring. Drop some feedback or share some water drinking tips below!

xo,

Jazz