Thursday, May 18, 2017

My Favorite Health & Fitness Trends

Hello, beautiful! Like many of you, I just finished up my finals. I can't believe my freshman year of college is already over! More on that next week ;)

Though I haven't done a health and fitness post in awhile, I've actually gotten into a good groove when it comes to my fitness routine. I'm working out more often than ever and finally eating 100% vegan (with the exception of honey...I can't give it up) after wanting to try it for years. So, I think I'm in a pretty good place, if I do say so myself!

However, as we all know, motivation tends to be fleeting when it comes to fitness. For every day of cardio and kale there's a night of Netflix and cookie dough to balance it out. Don't get me wrong - you totally need days like that every once in awhile - but as important as balance is, a huge part of maintaining balance for me (instead of giving up and completely letting myself go) is staying motivated.

So, to inspire us all to keep working hard and sweating it out for summer, I'm sharing some of my favorite fitness trends of the Summer 2017 season! I hope this post will motivate you as much as writing it has motivated me. Sunshine and squats, here we come...

Aerial Yoga

If you haven't heard of aerial yoga yet, it's a cross between aerial dance (a type of choreography performed on silks, hoops, trapezes, etc. suspended in mid-air) and traditional asanas. Though looking at the ropes, they might seem a little intimidating, Yoga Journal says aerial yoga can actually ease your comfort level in challenging poses. Basically, in an aerial yoga class, you use a combination of low-hanging aerial silks and traditional yoga to decompress and unwind. Aerial silks are big in the BU dance community, so I couldn't be more excited to try this form of yoga this summer while I'm home! 

Live Instagram Workouts

In case you haven't heard, you can now go live on Instagram! Taking a cue from its parent company Facebook I see :) Some of my favorite Internet trainers, like Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up, are now taking advantage of the feature to bring unique, free fitness challenges and workouts to the table.  To sample what their Instagram workouts are like, you can follow along to past ones on their YouTube channel - and you can catch me up in the gym tonight working out to one of their 40-minute live workouts! (Speaking of which...should I film live workouts in the gym and put them on the Haley Marie Blog Instagram? LMK.) 

Meal Prep

I was never a meal prepper until I got to college and realized just how much money I was wasting on food. Next year, my roommate Arielle and I (check out her blog here!) will be prepping up a STORM in our gorgeous on-campus apartment! If you haven't heard of meal prepping, many fitness sensations have started cooking up a storm on Sunday nights and portioning out meals and snacks for the entire week ahead - finally, a trend that's perfect for the busy broke college girl on the go! When it comes to meal prep, cooking staples like quinoa in big batches and making it pretty with cute bento containers are key. Some of my favorite recipes to meal prep are Tone It Up's quinoa bowl (easy to leave out the dairy - can you tell I love K&K?), Bakerita's peanut butter acai bowls (simply freeze ingredients in individual baggies Sunday night and blend as you go) and Tuulia's creamy vegan lentil bolognese.


Taking a probiotic is something I've sworn by ever since my struggles with the pill (read more about that here). Now, I couldn't be more excited that something I know works from personal experience is finally going mainstream! Doctors nowadays are acknowledging more than ever how important it is to have a diverse, healthy gut microbiome. For example, many diseases are only able to take over your body after competition is eliminated, such as when a course of antibiotics kills off all the "good bacteria" in your gut - I learned all about it in my Infectious Diseases class this semester! Probiotics can be purchased from your local drugstore and taken daily as a supplement; however, they're also found naturally in many tasty fermented foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt and kombucha.

Micro Meditation

Doctors and therapists alike have known for awhile know that meditation benefits the mind, body and brain - yet many of us claim to be "too busy" to take advantage of this practice. Thankfully, health and fitness trendsetters have come up with the perfect solution: enter micro meditation! Instead of spending 10+ minutes meditating every day, micro meditations last only 1-3 minutes. However, with a regular daily practice, you can still reap the same benefits from micro meditation as from a full-length session! To try this trend out for yourself, I've been loving the Aura app lately. This app lets you log data on your mood and then recommends a daily micro meditation session. In just three minutes, you'll find yourself feeling more refreshed, calm and centered. Complete it in the morning or just before bed, then go about your day as usual - you'll be surprised at how quickly you can feel the difference!

Intuitive Eating

After years of suffering through squeezing into size zeros (NOT my real size) after an attempted "cleanse" diet, I couldn't be more excited to share that dieting is finally "out." Self-love is in now! And that includes intuitive eating. If you haven't heard of intuitive eating (some people also call this "mindful" or "normal" eating), it's a set of principles that basically boil down to this: eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full. Simple, yet it's actually shown to be more effective than fad dieting to help you lose weight! Back in high school when I struggled with restrictive dieting, the intuitive eating book Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat 100% changed my whole mentality around food - it's a great starting place for beginners who feel like they'll never break out of the yo-yo cycle of dieting. (I was there once, too!)

Acai Bowls

Acai bowls are springing up EVERYWHERE. They're delicious and nutritious, yet at some trendy cafes, they run for as much as $10-15 a pop. We're lucky enough to have a Jamba Juice that accepts dining points on campus, but my frugal tip? Make your own at home! That way you can save money but still reap the benefits for your body (and taste buds!). All you need is some acai (get a 4 oz bag for $15.00 on Amazon), some plant-based milk and your favorite frozen fruits. Blend them all together until smooth, and serve in a pretty bowl with delicious toppings. My personal favorite toppings include dairy-free chocolate chips, peanut butter, honey, coconut and sliced banana. Mmm!

Buddha Bowls

The bowl trend continues - and I think I know why. Long gone are the years of fancy, sit-down dinners. Now, it's all about quick, easy and healthy meals that can still be savored in a mindful way. The Buddha bowl is the perfect example. Chock full of tasty, plant-based superfoods, Buddha bowls can be customized in almost any way you please. They're so mainstream, you can even find frozen ones, like my favorite one from Sweet Earth (I may or may not have eaten three of these in the past two weeks), at your local Target or grocery store. If you're more in the mood to save money by DIYing, many awesome food bloggers have recipes I love, too - like this sweet potato chickpea bowl by the Minimalist Baker or this spicy barbecue polenta bowl by Half Baked Harvest.

What health and fitness trends am I missing out on? LMK in the comments!

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