Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen

Monday, December 19, 2016

BEST Fitness Apparel For Expecting Moms

Hey fit moms! You want to know about my favorite pregnant workout tops? I love my For Two Fitness tops. I start wearing them at 14 weeks to show off to the world that I was TRAINING FOR TWO (or as early as you want) and my tops GREW with me to even wear them at 40 weeks! No riding up, no binding, still comfy and soft from 16 weeks until 40 weeks! Honestly they were the only top I really wanted to wear at the end of my pregnancy because they were so long and covered my belly up pretty well! 

Guess what? I have a special offer coming to you from For Two Fitness! For being my reader you can use the special Promo code FITBECKY to save 30% STOREWIDE at For Two Fitness and also get FREE priority shipping on orders over $75. Valid through January 15, 2017. Just enter FITBECKY in the discount code box during checkout. They have super cute tops for your growing belly and even a tank for after your little one has arrived! And they have more than just tops, shorts, capris you name it they got you covered!

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

Friday, December 16, 2016

The One Exercise EVERY Woman Should Do Daily

It might be hard to hear this, but ladies, squatting is the BEST for us! And honestly we can rock the squat because we have great leg muscles! Think about how many times we bend down to pick up the clothes off the floor that our husbands just throw off and leave. Think about the toys we pick up. Or picking up our kids. Getting out of a chair, car, going to the bathroom. If I had a penny for every squat I have to do a day I would have a whole lot of spending money right now!

Just because we do a "squat" to pick something up everyday doesn't mean we are doing it right. Often times I catch myself and remind myself to, keep my knees from crossing in front of the toes. Take time out of your day to do some squats with the right form and technique to help your body be able to do it all the more easier and to help avoid injury down the line.

Squatting is such a great leg builder though. A proper squat with good range of motion is great for your quads, hamstrings and glutes (drop it till it's hot!). Do it right and it's also good for your knees, hip and posture. Train it to get some serious leg muscles going on that look fabulous on anyone! Who doesn't want that muscle line visible on the side of your thigh?!?

Here are a couple of ways to help you build up your endurance for squatting
Body Weight Squats
Easier and the first step to building up your squats. No weights, all you do is just squat. Keeping your hands in front of your heart or out front for balance. Keep the weight in your heels. For a beginner start out slow with smaller reps up to 12. As you get stronger increase the number you do up to 30.

Dumbbell or Kettle bell Squat
Once you get up to doing 30 body weight squats 3 times a day you can comfortably start using some weights to help provide yourself with more resistance. Again start with light weights and a smaller number of reps in the beginning and build from there. And as you get stronger you will increase the pounds of weights to use and your number of reps per set! You can change up your squats by pulsing them slightly at the lowest point of the squat. Or holding the squat for solid 10 seconds. You wanna feel that burn in your legs. This will do that for you! This is helping to build up your muscle!

Barbell Squats
The cream of the crop right here. If you want to get some serious tone on your legs, you can max out your weights using a barbell. But, you have to have proper form and technique to be able to perform this as it you can get injured very easily. Build up to this. Have someone spot you at the gym for safety. But seriously nothing makes you feel more like a badass than squatting a barbell with some serious weight on it!

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Race-Cation Tips: Destination- Las Vegas

Inspired by
Planning a vacation around your race is quickly gaining popularity. And really, why not run in a destination race every once in a while? They are FUN! It is a huge change of scenery, especially if you have been running the same course, for the same race, for awhile. Plus...MOTIVATION! You better believe that you are going to bust your butt to train for the race because you can't just go on the vacation and not do the race, when that was the whole point to the vacation in the first place. This was a huge motivation for me when I trained for my Disney Princess Half Marathon. We were doing a huge trip with the race and I HAD to do the race. That was the whole reason I convinced my hubs to go to Disney World in the first place! 

So... let's do a little virtual racing prep right now. 
Photo by: Odyssey Stock

Now that the weather is cooling off, a bunch of races in the hot southwest are taking place over the next couple of months. One destination that I would love to run in...VEGAS BABY! Flat courses, sights, and tons to do in the city! But you gotta play it safe to make sure that you perform your best for the race and still have a trip of the lifetime. And not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. You should come back with TONS of fun memories! Check out my tips on how to have the best time while on your destination race and becoming a winner at the end of your race and maybe even in the casinos! 

1) Pick a race you really, really, REALLY want to do. 
Having the motivation of an amazingly killer race is going to drive you to do your training even on the days that you would rather sit in front of the fire in your house and avoid the dropping temps outside. There are trail races, like the Trails of Glory marathon and half dessert dash, (go to the site and look at the amazing landscape), Lake Mead Marathon, And the HUGE Rock 'n Roll Marathon Series that runs on the strip! 
Photo by: Curtis Kim

2) Stay hydrated! 
Traveling to the southwest, it is a DRY HEAT or in the winter it is just DRY. You need to make sure you are on point with your water intake, before (especially if flying) during and after your race. Try to track or have a friend/family member track how much water you are taking in. The last thing you want to have to do is go to the emergency room for dehydration. Also don't over indulge on alcoholic beverages before the race. While you are hitting up the slots, drinks will be brought to you, and time can easily get away from you when you keep winning, but the longer you stay the more you could drink, which will make you more dehydrated. Opt for water instead to stay hydrated.

3) Enjoy the strip, but not before your race. 
Running takes a beating on your feet. Save the sightseeing for after your race (and recovery from the race) Try not to walk around too much a couple of days before your race to save your feet and your energy. I know a lot of people will, but don't be like them. Be smart. Take care of your body and it will take care of you during your race and you will be able to enjoy your race more. After the race, WALK EVERYWHERE! Check out these great Vegas deals to reward yourself for a race well done and enjoy all the fun things Vegas has to offer!  Not only will it help your legs loosen up faster but it will help you from gaining weight if you indulge with the buffets while you are there, which you should, at least once, because they are AMAZING!

4) Try not to go too overboard with the buffets, before the race. 
The last thing you want is to have "tummy troubles" during your race. Save the buffets for after the race. "What about carb loading?" Yes, we all do it the night before a race, but stick with foods that your body is already used to. Don't go all crazy trying new foods, or sauces on the food that you do decide to eat. If you see something you want to try, come back to the buffet after your race and try it out. Stick with what you are used to up until after the race is completed.

5) DO NOT wear brand new shoes for the race. 
Often times at the expo before the race, there are usually some awesome shoes being shown. If you get a pair, GREAT, enjoy them, but not race morning. I know plenty of people that have actually run a race in BRAND NEW shoes. I have seen them wearing these new shoes at the race. And I have seen the bleeding blisters and broken toe nails at the end of the race too. It isn't worth it. The whole point of training for the race is to get accustomed to how physical running is, and that includes what your feet go through and getting them and the shoes used to what you are going to put them through. Change up one little thing (or big thing in this case) the morning of the race and you could be walking away with plenty of blisters or missing nails. Save the new shoes to wear around the strip AFTER the race. Perfect time to break them in actually.
Photo by: Aila Images

6) Enjoy the pool before and after your race. 
Plan it in your race-cation schedule that following the race, or the day after the race, that it is a mandatory pool day. It is a great way to just let your body relax and take a breather from the training. And following your race, your body will thank you so much for taking some of the pressure off of it. Great thing about Vegas, there are pools in most of the hotels there. Enjoy the hot tub and pool to help you recover. But don't forget the sunblock (during your race too!). The sun is very strong in the dessert and you can burn or in my case FRY very quickly. Apply sun screen often when relaxing in the pool. Take it from this fair skinned, Arizona born and raised ginger here, I know a bit about frying in the sun in just 20 minutes! How do you think I got all my freckles? I enjoyed the pool and the outdoors!

I hope these tips help you plan and prepare for your upcoming race-cation, anywhere you do decide to do one. Good luck on your upcoming race and see you at the finish line! To see some amazing pictures of runners just like you taking on Sin City or if you are running in Vegas, check out and use #RunVegas on Twitter and Instagram

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Chocolate Candy Cane Shakeology Recipe

I love anything peppermint in December. Keep me out of Trader Joe's because the temptation is too great with all the yummy peppermint Joe Joe's, ice cream and pretzel slims. But here is a healthy yummy even chocolaty healthy recipe I can enjoy any day of the week and get my peppermint fix on!

Want Shakeology for yourself and see how amazing it is? CLICK HERE to order your own supply! 30 day money back guarantee! Plus get me as your coach!

Chocolate Candy Cane Shakeology

1 Cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
1 - 1 1/4 cup ice depending how thick you want the shake
crushed candy cane for decoration

Pour almond milk, Shakeology, extract and ice in blender.
Blend until smooth
Top with crushed candy cane

Check out some more yummy holiday flavors for Chocolate shakeology!

To view the entire Shakeology recipe collection calendars, CLICK HERE!

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Becoming A Stay At Home Mom

I have been a stay at home working mom ever since Mason was born. We have been very blessed to be able to do so. On top of blogging and coaching as a career I also teach private music lessons 3 days a week. So I am able to help contribute to our family finances but the decision and actual making it happen took some time and a lot of thought.

When we were first married both Matt and I agreed that when we do have kids that it would be best for me to be a stay at home mom. And to be honest, I HATE working for other people. I loved working with my co-workers but I hated going to work. But since it took us 8 years to get pregnant I had a few different kinds of jobs from working in a call center, dispatcher with the police and teller at a bank.

When we moved to Virginia I started looking for a new job, even back at the bank but... I hated having to push product to people who didn't want or even need that product just to satisfy a qualification that the bank required for me to actually keep my job. That is when when I started my teaching business and it was such a blessing. I made all the decisions on my work schedule, how many students, tuition fees how I would run my business and I didn't have to pass it by any one for approval. That choice was so scary because I kept thinking, "what if it didn't work out." Well, then I would find another job. but I wanted to try it out and see what happened. And it went well. I was THE piano teacher in our small town and had a HUGE studio! But once Mason was born, and Matt was deployed, it was time to scale down and let me be the stay at home mom I wanted to be. And that took some sacrifices.

How to make the transition to becoming a stay at home mom:

1. Set Aside Some Savings: Aim to save at least $1,000 in you savings as an emergency fund. Sadly emergencies happen and it is a good idea to have some set aside for that rainy day when all 4 tires go out on your car or some other major expense comes up.

2. Make A Budget: When we went from two incomes to one, we had to make adjustments. No more eating out at nice restaurants. No more shopping just because. We had to stick to our grocery list no matter what! Everything had to be planned and budgeted! Make a spreadsheet or write all of your bills down to help you keep track. KNOW HOW MUCH IS IN YOUR ACCOUNT AT ALL TIMES. Track what goes into your account and what comes out and you will be golden! And discuss it with your partner so that you are both on the same page. Communication is KEY! 

3. Pay off debt and try to stay out of debt: Yes, paying off debt with only one income is HARD! It is a constant reality that we personally have, but you have to be smart about how you spend. And when you stick with your budget and cut out the extras, eating out, excess spending, you actually will have more to be able to apply to your debt. But it is easy to get caught in the cycle of paying off and then having debt again. 

4. Save before you buy: When you pay off your debt start putting that money into savings and not spending. Save for a vacation, (Hello Disney!) save for something nice or somethign that is really needed but save before you buy! It is easy to think, "I'm out of debt, I can go spend my money!" But again that will get your right back into debt again! I also made this 52 Week Saving Challenge, it is different than the other one out there as it changes the amount per month you save so you aren't putting away $50+ a week in December which would never happen because of Christmas.

When we moved to Charlottesville I started teaching again, but on a much smaller schedule. Matt was able to be home from work while I taught so we still didn't have to get a babysitter or daycare. We did take a cut in my income coming in since I went from almost 30 students a week to a max of 10. It was a big change and we needed to learn how to save money where we could so that we could stay as close to our goals of staying out of debt. As we are always trying to get out of debt it seems! But through hard work and diligence you can get out of debt and save money! 

Here are ways to help save money: 

Groceries: MAKE A LIST and stick to it! I shop at Trader Joe's and we actually saved $50 a week just by shopping their products, plus I didn't have the temptations of Junk Food like at a grocery store, but regardless of where you shop. MAKE A LIST AND STICK TO IT! Because once you start to deviate you will spend more money than expected. 

Cars: Pay off your car payment as soon as possible! Make it a goal to pay off your car loan as soon as possible. EARLY if you can. We have always paid off our cars within 2 years of getting them regardless of how much we owed. Because it was a pain to make a car payment every month! Pay an extra $50 a month on your car to help you pay it off early. Make it a non-negotiable goal. Change your mind set to thinking that your car payment is $50 more than what it really is. And once that car payment is taken care of you can apply that amount (including the extra $50) to another bill or into savings if you are already out of debt!

Satellite TV/Cable: When we went from two incomes to one, we cut our cable off and just used Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime which was roughly $24.00 per month. This saved us around $100 per month! We still only use these products and haven't needed cable in 5 years! 

Phones: Use a land line. We have Ooma as our phone service which can be as low as $4 a month after you purchase the equipment. I actually cut having a cell phone for a couple of years to help us save money. Matt needed his for military reasons but I didn't need one since I was staying home most of the day. Now with coaching, I needed a cell phone to be able to communicate with customers easier when out and about, so a year ago I got a phone again, but I am using a secondary service, not Verizon or Sprint, with a lower monthly fee of only $30 a month. Service isn't always perfect but it does what I need it to when I need it.

Electricity: We always seem to have a decent electricity/gas bill compared to our neighbors. Why? We unplug things when not in use. And we keep our house warmer in the summer at about 74 this year and cooler in the winter, our house is currently at 68. Yes it won't be as comfortable as you want but by making these changes it does save you money!  

Family: Breastfeed costs NOTHING! Since you are staying at home you don't have to get a pump if you don't want/need one. I don't own one. Never bought one. Also if you want to save more, try cloth diapering. It is a cost on the front end buying all the diapers and finding ones that work best for you and your family, but after that it doesn't cost you much of anything! I personally don't do cloth diapers. Nope, it's not for me. I use the subscribe and save option through Amazon to get my diapers and actually do save money on diapers a month. Plus they are delivered straight to my door! When my kids start solids I make them myself. I also make homemade meals as often as possible since we try not to eat out as much. Eating out with a family of 5 can get very expensive very quickly! Plus being a stay at home mom we don't have to pay for daycare so that helps with expenses there too! We arrange our schedules so that Matt is here when I teach or takes care of the kids when I have to run errands.

In the end ENJOY But Be Smart: When you do reach your goals, make sure you enjoy your success. Go on that vacation you have been saving for. Enjoy yourself but keep a budget and stay on track so that you don't get right back into debt again!

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

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