Category Archives: Product Reviews

Product Review: Beachbody Performance Hydrate

Over the summer, the Beachbody company (known for P90X, Insanity, the 21 Day Fix) released their own line of supplements for athletic performance. Let me preface by saying that I am not a supplement type of person. This doesn’t come naturally to me. The only “supplement”, per se, is my nutrient-dense superfood drink, Shakeology. Otherwise, I keep it simple!

 

But I decided to try some of the new Beachbody Performance line to see how they helped me (or if they did nothing).

 

Today I am going to share my experiences with the Beachbody Performance: Hydrate supplement.

Source: beachbody.com

Source: beachbody.com

The Hydrate supplement is meant to help people recover the electrolytes lost during peak performance in exercise. You may immediately think, “why not drink Gatorade? That’s supposed to do the same thing.” Yes and no. Gatorade is made from many more ingredients, including TONS of sugar and artificial colors and flavorings. (One 24-ounce bottle can have up to 40+ grams of sugar in it!)

 

I was interested in the Beachbody Performance Hydrate because each serving has 9 grams of sugar (only 3 grams more than my plain Greek yogurt). As someone who has hypoglycemic issues, I really appreciated the much lower sugar option (not to mention the more natural side of things, too!). This Hydrate made from natural sugars (beet sugar, stevia) to keep it lower-sugar but still natural. Excellent!

 

I began to take 1-2 scoops with me as I taught group fitness classes, especially the more tiring ones (P90X). I immediately liked how light the citrus flavor is! It’s NOT overwhelmingly sugary in taste. I drink about half of my liquid during my workout and then the rest immediately after I’m done, simply because I’m teaching and don’t have much time to drink water.

 

I’ve noticed that I feel less drained by the end of my workout and feel great, even at the end of the day. My husband (who does Body Beast, a weight lifting program) didn’t feel much of a difference, but as a group fitness instructor who talks throughout her class, my throat gets dry. I get more dehydrated than many. I like the added boost!

 

Overall review:

A canister of Beachbody Performance Hydrate lasts me 2-3 months, which is great. More bang for my buck!

The taste is light, but the color is bright yellow. (No changing to taste, though!)

Overall, I like it for really tough workouts. It gives me extra hydration and have noticed less fatigue.

4.5/5

 

Have you considered Beachbody Performance supplements?

Did this Beachbody Performance Hydrate review help you? Share it with others!

 

Do you want to give Hydrate (or any other Beachbody Performance supplement) a try? Reach out to me at info@amandaplazek.com and we can get you started!

 

In peace & health,

Amanda & the fit family

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What Is the 21 Day Fix?

Lately a lot of people have been asking me about what this craze, the “21 Day Fix”, is all about.

21df pic_10-20-15

 

 

As you might have read before, I was the first person to be skeptical about it. I mean, you put your food in these teeny-looking containers! I am not about depriving yourself, and that’s exactly what this looked like.

 

THESE containers? no way, Jose. They are too small! Right?...

THESE containers? no way, Jose. They are too small! Right?…

 

 

But I learned that the 21 Day Fix caters to who you are: Man, woman; office worker to dance instructor; already healthy and fit to starting on their “Day 1” of their healthy journey….whatever it is, the 21 Day Fix customizes to you.

 

On top of that, the containers are portion control assistance, giving you multiple containers of each color per day. As a matter of fact, you eat a LOT on the 21 Day Fix plan. I know it doesn’t look like it, but it’s true!

 

Overall, the nutrition plan of the 21 Day Fix is to feed your body with the right combination of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats (yes, that is a thing!). Spoiler alert: this isn’t the keto diet, this isn’t Atkins….this is normal and human. It even allots for wine and chocolate (hallelujah)!

 

The other half of the 21 Day Fix are these 30-minute workouts that you do with minimal-to-no equipment, from home. Again, I was a skeptic. (What in the world was wrong with me? haha) As being someone who had been working out for awhile, I didn’t think that the 21 Day Fix would be challenging enough for me. Autumn Calabrese, the pillow-mint-sized trainer that tells you to jump higher and run faster, didn’t seem like too much of a threat for my already-trained-body. Right?

 

WRONG.  big time!

Autumn Calabrese. Who knew 30 minutes could be so tough.

Autumn Calabrese. Who knew 30 minutes could be so tough.

 

Each day has a different style of exercise, from lower body to cardio to pilates to yoga. Your body keeps guessing (i.e. “muscle confusion”), which results in a more efficient metabolism overall.

 

So with the nutrition plan and exercise calendar, your body is getting a 1-2 punch of nourishment. You may be sore at first, but by the end, you’ll be much stronger. What you’re doing is feeding your body the nutrition it needs, with exercise moves to develop muscle and burn the high-octane fuel you’re feeding it.

 

 

 

 

In a nutshell, that’s it!

Does the 21 Day Fix sound like something you’d be interested in? How did my 21 Day Fix review help you?

Reach out to me and I’d love to help get you started!

 

Have a healthy week, everyone!

In peace & health,

Amanda & the Fit Family

 

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Periscope 101: Why I’m there, How I’m there, and how to join me

It’s official! I’ve finally taken the jump and given Periscope a try.

 

periscope logo

 

For those of you who don’t know what Periscope is: Periscope is a live video streaming app for both Apple and Android-running phones. What’s cool about this app is that you can get a first-person perspective from users across the globe. I currently follow people who take me on their commute on the London Underground….another person takes me to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre…..and another takes me on a midnight stroll on the starry Paris streets. Really, it can be quite magical.

 

I’ve decided to use Periscope as a way to help people on a broader scale, with a short amount of time each week. As of right now, I plan on having these “broadcasts” on Sunday evenings for 15-20 minutes.

 

Ever wonder what in the WORLD Periscope is? Come and check out what the buzz is:

Ever wonder what in the WORLD Periscope is? Come and check out what the buzz is:

 

Why should I join in on the Periscope craze?

First off, it’s something new, fun, and exciting. It’s developed by Twitter, and really seems to be the newest social media craze. Why not check it out? You may even get to join in a Periscope broadcast with a star! (psst- Ellen Degeneres broadcasted her opening monologue via Periscope in April 2015, so I’m late to the party. You can check it out here.)

 

How do I use it?

You’ll have to download the app onto your phone and create a free account…..like pretty much everything these days. But it’s free, and doesn’t use your geographical information unless you create a live broadcast (which you don’t have to!).

First, find @glutenfreeadvocate under the “friends” picture on the right hand side……

periscope tutorial_9-13-15

 

 

…and then search for other things that you’d want to see in usernames: “healthy eating”; “healthy motivation”; “Parisian native”; whatever strikes your fancy!

 

Once you do this, you’ll be notified of when they begin to broadcast live. you can choose to tune in (thus watching in real time), or you can watch replays of the videos up to 24 hours after they were first created. Pretty cool, huh?

 

Will people know my information? 

Nope. You can make up a fake name or alias- note that mine is focused on my original blog name, Gluten Free Advocate. As a matter of fact, make up a bit of an alias! It could be “funfitfree” or “jazzpianist1921”. Whatever suits your fancy.

 

 

How do I make a Periscope broadcast of my own?

By clicking the circular button, you can create a live broadcast whenever you like. You’ll need to enable access to your microphone, video camera, and location services. Other than that, you’re good to go! No other equipment is needed. But let me emphasize….you don’t need to make your own broadcasts to enjoy Periscope. Periscope is a cool take on the world through another person’s eyes. You can travel all around the world with a click of a button. Just watch out for creeps, look for clear, concise titles of broadcasts, and you’re good to go!

 

Have you used Periscope? Did this Periscope tutorial help you? Do you know anyone who could use this Periscope tutorial? Share this blog entry!

 

 

I hope to see you following me on Periscope- see you on my next broadcast!

In peace & health,

Amanda

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Honest Shakeology Boost Fiber Review

Over the past few months I’ve shared how I went coffee-free because of my hypoglycemic tendencies. I decided to try this new thing called “Shakeology Boost: Focused Energy”. It’s made to add to any Shakeology and give you energy from all-natural sources.

 

Since I was giving that a try, I decided to try the Shakeology Boost Fiber. Who couldn’t benefit from plenty of fiber in their day-to-day routine?

 

Here’s my truly honest experience with the product. Warning: it involves poop!

 

Here's my totally honest review on Shakeology Boost's Digestive Health (Fiber): the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Here’s my totally honest review on Shakeology Boost’s Digestive Health (Fiber): the good, the bad, and the ugly!

As of right now I eat about 3 cups of vegetables/day as well as some type of beans (black beans, lentils, etc.) every other day. I eat an apple a day and a handful of almonds as a snack. I’m telling you this because maybe I under-estimated how much fiber I was already getting in my day-to-day eating.

 

I started to drink Shakeology Boost: Digestive Health for a few days in a row. I blended it with my Shakeology and had no grit or aftertaste from it (yahtzee!).

 

However, the perks stop there. I quickly learned that there is such a thing as having too much fiber in your day. 

 

I ended up being backed up for almost 4 days because of this little trial and error. As a result, I felt very off. I felt distended and tired because nothing was moving!

 

After letting things run their course in time, I decided that Shakeology Boost: Digestive Health isn’t really for someone who already eats healthily on a regular basis. Yes, I’m saying that you don’t really need it if you eat healthily! HOWEVER- if you just came back from a week’s worth of indulging on vacation, this would be a great way to keep you fuller and get your system moving (as you begin to eat healthier again).

 

 

Overall rating: B+. Not for every day use if you’re already keeping natural fiber in your diet.

 

Have you tried Shakeology Boost: Digestive Health? Or do you know someone who wants to try it? Share this review with them!

 

In peace & health,

Amanda & the fit family

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Gluten-Free Beauty: My Shocking Revelation

Since I don’t have Celiac’s Disease, I haven’t paid too much attention to my beauty products and their level of gluten. Truthfully, I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of sifting through reports of which companies use wheat gluten, etc….until I realized I just might have to, from now on.

I had coffee with a friend of mine yesterday and she was explaining to me how her friend (a Celiac’s sufferer) accidentally bought makeup products with gluten in them.  More specifically, she bought Urban Decay’s Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer, which is the only Urban Decay primer that has wheat gluten in it.

As she said this, my focus shifted quickly to me: “Wait! That’s the eyeshadow primer that I use!

Source: www.ulta.com

Source: www.ulta.com

 

I contacted the company and found out that Urban Decay’s anti-aging eyeshadow primer has ingredients with gluten in it.

I’ve been experiencing stinging and irritation on my eyelids every time I use it, but didn’t think it was a big deal. It makes sense now, and I’ve discontinued using it.

I went to my local Ulta store, explaining what happened. Without my receipt or the original packaging, Ulta exchanged it for a normal tube of Urban Decay eyeshadow primer. (Kudos to Ulta and their superior customer service!)

 

This experience has made me think: should makeup companies post if items have gluten in them? We make a point to advertise when items are now paraben-free (of which I’m a huge supporter as well), but with the growing number of people who have Celiac’s disease/gluten allergies/gluten intolerances, shouldn’t these be advertised too?

 

As I dig deeper into healthier living, this will be a subject I’ll be re-visiting!

Are you gluten-free? Did you know about Urban Decay’s use of gluten ingredients? I’d love to hear your comments and experiences! Feel free to comment or e-mail me.

 

In peace & health,

Amanda (& the Fit Family)

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Announcing…Beachbody On Demand!

So the coolest thing to come out of the fitness world lately is “Beachbody On Demand”. Think of it this way: you pay a month’s gym membership cost once every quarter. In exchange, you get access to a huge library of complete workout programs. (Insanity, P90x, P90X2, P90X3, and many others are just a part of the library.) Workout programs + nutrition guides + recipe books + the workout calendars…the whole enchilada.

On top of that, some of the newest and hottest workouts (the 21 Day Fix, Focus T25, PiYo, etc.) are available to try before you buy, too.

 

So if you wanted to ever try a program without committing to the whole workout, this is for you.

Need more details? Here’s my video explaining Beachbody On Demand further:

 

 

Want more information? Would you ever try Beachbody On Demand?. Reach out to me and I can help you get started!

 

In peace & health,

Amanda

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Product Review: The Honest Company Deodorant

As I wade deeper into the pool of healthy living, I want to start making subtle changes in the products I use every day. One of them is deodorant. I’ve never liked the aluminum count in traditional deodorants, hearing the warnings against them. But I can’t go deodorant-less: let’s be honest, we all need it once in awhile!

A few weeks ago I saw someone on Instagram post about The Honest Company’s all-natural deodorant. “What?” I said to myself, “I think I need to give this a try!

[If you’ve never heard of The Honest Company, you should check it out. They make a ton of wonderful, all-natural products for your baby, house, home, and yourself. I can’t wait to try more out post-wedding!]

The Honest Company Logo

 

 

Target is starting to sell more of The Honest Company products at Target, but not the deodorant. Drat. So I ordered it and gave it a try.

source: www.honest.com

source: http://www.honest.com

Review: The Honest Company all-natural deodorant

The first thing that threw me off was that it was a spray-on deodorant. I’ve always been a stick deodorant kinda gal, so this was a little off-putting. But if it eliminated the aluminum deodorants from my life, what was the big deal?

I loved the light smell of citrus and sage (right up my alley in the world of scents!), but I wasn’t a fan of the alcohol in the product, which stung post-shaving. It wasn’t a complete anti-perspirant, so I still sweat here and there on occasionally high-stress days, but it still did the job for me. Another huge plus is that I’m using it up really slowly, which might make it even more cost-effective compared to traditional deodorants. I really like this product and will continue to use it!

Look of product: 5/5

Ease of use: 5/5

Efficacy: 3.5/5

Price: 4/5 (a little pricey, but possibly using a referral link can save you money)

Quality of product: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.5/5. I still get sweaty here and there, but I’m happy to stray away from traditional deodorants for this.

Would you try The Honest Company Deodorant? Let me know!

In peace & health,

Amanda & the Fit Family

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My Second Experience with the 3-Day Refresh

After struggling to feel like myself again post-holidays, I decided to do the 3-Day Refresh for the second time in twelve months.

 

What is the 3-Day Refresh?

The 3-Day Refresh is a 3-day detox that gently gets rid of the toxins we build up in our body. I had a fairly good experience with it over the summer, and decided to give it another try. (psst- you can read my original review here!)

The Refresh allows you to eat fruits, vegetables and healthy fats throughout the day while also providing a fiber supplement drink and high-protein shakes that curb your hunger for the 3 days.

My symptoms were less intense than they were when I first reviewed the Refresh. I struggled with gas the first time around, and this time it wasn’t an issue at all. I craved something crunchy (I eyed up the gluten-free pretzels for sure!) but overall, it just seemed easier. I had a bit of a headache at the end of day 2, but otherwise, I think my body has less toxins built-up than it did in July. It was my first detox, after all. It’s comforting to know that, even in the midst of too many cheat meals (and too many Swedish Fish- my nemesis!),  my body is still in good shape, inside and out. This detox is a good way to maintain that.

While I was hungry here and there throughout the 3 days, what surprised me the most was this new dinner recipe I made. Paired with the vanilla fresh protein shake, I got to make this IMMENSE amount of veggies! I put my hand in the picture to show you how large the portion was of vegetables.

 

veggie photo 3 day refresh_2-5-15

 

As I write this review, I am happily enjoying my regular eating routine once more, 1-day post-Refresh. I’m excited to have all of my favorite foods back! But here’s what I really noticed the second time around….

My post-Refresh breakfast

My post-Refresh breakfast

While I was excited to get back to my eating routine, I didn’t immediately crave junk food. I craved this! On top of that, I noticed how much the taste of my foods popped. My blueberries tasted as sweet as a bag of Skittles (although it was much healthier)! I feel light, my mind feels clear and focused, and I’m ready to take on the day and make better choices. And on top of that, I lost 2 inches off of my body and lost about 4 pounds in 3 days. Not bad at all!

 

I love the 3-Day Refresh and plan to order it again as I get closer to my wedding day! I don’t think I’ll ever do another type of detox other than this one. 🙂

Want to give it a try yourself? Contact me and I can help get you set up with one, too!

 

In peace and health,

Amanda & The Fit Family

the fit family (1)



Through the Looking Glass: My Introspective Thoughts on Month 1 of Insanity: Max 30

 

 

 

As I write this post, I am a successful month 1 graduate of Insanity: Max 30! Month 2 is becoming less and less regular, as I was certified in PiYo last weekend and have been preparing to teach some upcoming classes (ie. running through the routines, ie. plenty of exercise). And, to be honest, I feel disappointed in a few days and enlightened in others.

Insanity: Max 30, month 1, did not go as well as I had hoped. I started the program with the intention to see it through, but I came across many struggles:

1) I was ravenously hungry, with my blood sugar dropping and feeling shaky come mid-afternoon. I tried to prepare for it but it took me by surprise every time.

2) I wasn’t seeing results. I actually gained almost 6 pounds in the first month of Insanity, which I believe was a combination of increased muscle and increased appetite. AND it was the holidays, which, in my field as a musician, means long hours and lots of stress.

3) I gained inches in my problem area. THAT was the kicker for me. I couldn’t care less about what the scale said, but I gained almost an inch in each of my thighs. While this might not be a big deal to many, it was a HUGE deal to me. Ladies know that increasing the size of what they consider to be their “problem area” isn’t something to be excited about. Is the extra inch muscle or fat? Who knows, I’m still not happy about it.

 

 

But through this month, I’ve had some enlightening moments as well:

1) I’m not a full-on cardio junkie. I like it! But I can’t do it every day.

2) Going out of my comfort zone to do Insanity: Max 30 made me want to continue to go out of my comfort zone. [2015 is my year, right?]

So I decided to become a certified PiYo instructor. On top of that, I decided to try and go for the gold. I reached out to a local university to see if they had any interest in taking on a new PiYO instructor. And guess what…they did! 

 

piyo instructor pic

 

I was so incredibly nervous throughout the entire process. I was freaking out on my way to the PiYO certification, asking questions like, “is anyone going to talk to me?” “Will I be the odd person out?” “Will I do ok?” It was like the first day of school all over again!

 

But you know what? Everything went just fine. Better than fine, actually! It turns out that my musical background helps me a lot in PiYo instruction. Thank goodness!

 

But I never would have known that if I hadn’t continued to push out of my comfort zone. (And trust me, it was WAY out of my comfort zone.)

 

 

The prognosis on Insanity: Max 30 is…. it’s not my favorite program for ME. It’s an amazing challenge and exhilarating feeling just to accomplish each 30-minute workout, but I don’t think I’ll do the entire 60-day program altogether. I actually do love the idea of making a hybrid schedule of Insanity and PiYo, so stay tuned for that soon! 🙂



INSANITY: Max 30 : What is “Maxing Out”?

I’m officially finishing up week 4 of INSANITY: MAX 30 and people are asking me, “What is ‘Maxing out’? What are you doing?” And so I decided to make a YouTube video that explains it in more detail.

 

Check it out here:

 

 

 

Thanks for always staying tuned to my journey!

In peace and health- xo