Expensive Athletic Wear: Is It Worth It?


Being healthy and living an active lifestyle is transcending across the globe, and that includes both living and looking the part. Luckily, we’re out of the phase of old t-shirts and oversized shorts to make room for athletic wear that makes us feel powerful and strong. But are the expensive brands really worth it? Here are a few thoughts to consider when selecting your workout gear:


Quality is Better Than Quantity

If the cost of some of the better brands is concerning, keep in mind that swiping your card on one solid pair of yoga pants or running shorts is ultimately better than purchasing multiple pairs of inexpensive workout clothing.


Athletic clothing is often designed from materials that provide amenities such as UV protection, waterproof, or windproof that allow the fabric to both last longer and perform the way you need them to. While something more affordable may look and potentially even feel the same, it’s likely that it doesn’t provide you with the same benefits a more expensive piece would.


Be Selective

To keep you from overspending, make sure you’re investing in workout pieces that will receive the most wear and tear, and that you’re selecting items that will be most effective to your workout.


For example, you don’t need a luxury winter running wardrobe if you’re not training for a marathon and you don’t need overpriced yoga pants if you’re not a yogi. If you’re unsure of the most effective use for some of the nicer brands, check the tag! Brands work to effectively design athletic pieces for specific uses, so you should be able to find the information you need on the tag.


Improve Your Motivation

Making time for fitness can be difficult, and one of the best ways to keep yourself motivated in your journey is to invest in clothing items that make you feel like a boss. Dropping a few extra dollars on the right apparel will not only allow your workouts to be more effective but will encourage you to actually use them!


Simply put, different styles and materials will change the way you work out. Nicer materials and better design technology is totally worth the extra cash!


What Brands Should You Consider?

While the leading athletic wear brands such as Lululemon or Athleta are an easy go to, there are quite a few brands out there that fly under the radar. Here are a few to try!

  • Fabletics
  • Bandier
  • Vimmia
  • Nike
  • Cynthia Rowley Fitness
  • Sweaty Betty
  • Splits 59


Don’t hesitate to check out Old Navy, Gap, or Target as well! Find the right athletic wear that will work best for you, your workout, and your bank account!

No Bake Oatmeal Protein Energy Balls


It's official: The search for the perfect protein ball is over! These chocolate chip oatmeal energy balls are the perfect mix of healthy and heavenly. You can thank us later.  


1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup cacao chocolate chips

¼ cup protein powder (optional)

2 tablespoons liquid (almond milk, water, etc.)



  1. Mix ingredients in a bowl until combined. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove from refrigerator and roll into balls using hands. Store in fridge.



Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com


Healthy Grocery Shopping: Where to Start


What’s the key to healthy eating? Preparing in advance! That starts with a healthy grocery list to stock up on the best ingredients for each of your healthy meals. This guide is the first step in your weekly healthy eating and will speed up those grocery store trips by giving you a plan!


Take Inventory

Before you grocery shop, take note of what you already have in your kitchen from the list below, and make your own list to fill in the blanks.


Investing even just a little more time into your preparation to make sure you have all the ingredients you need- you’re eliminating two huge hurdles when it comes to healthy eating.

  1. Having enough time
  2. Having the right ingredients


Break Down Your Needs into Groups

Since the grocery store is typically broken up by food groups, why not break down your list into groups to make your shopping trip easier?


Below you’ll find what you should always have in your kitchen as well as a few items that are optional! (This is pending any dietary restrictions or allergies)



Always Have

  • High fiber cereals
  • Oats
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Whole wheat/gluten free pasta
  • Brown rice or quiona


Have At Least One of These

  • Whole wheat, gluten free or sprouted bread
  • Whole wheat wraps
  • Whole wheat English muffins



Always Have

  • Boneless/skinless chicken breast
  • Salmon
  • Filet/hanger/flank/sirloin/lean ground beef
  • Turkey bacon


  • Tofu
  • Edamame



Always Have

  • Onions
  • 3 in seasons fruits including at least 1 berry
  • 5 in season vegetables including 1 leafy green



Always Have

  • Nonfat/Non-dairy milk
  • Low fat/nonfat plain Greek or regular yogurt
  • Eggs


  • Parmesan cheese
  • Low fat cheese


Canned Goods

Always Have

  • Toato sauce
  • Low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • Low sodium soup


Oils, Vinegars, Condiments

Always Have

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White wine viegar
  • Mustard


  • Canola oil
  • Other vinegars
  • Horseradish



Always Have

  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh or minced garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Rosemary
  • Crushed red pepper


Frozen Food

Always Have

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits/Berries with no added sugar
  • Ground turkey meat
  • Vacuum sealed fish
  • Shrimp


  • Veggie burgers


Once you have all of your meals, check out a few of our healthy recipe options such as Salmon Sushi Bowls or Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs, and get cooking!

HIIT | Weekly Max Meps Workout


"Nothing Truly Great Ever Came From A Comfort Zone."


Raise your heart rate and earn Myzone MEPS with this great HIIT workout. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with a 15 second rest between each exercise. Repeat for 5 rounds.




30 Seconds 




30 Reps


30 Seconds 



30 Seconds



30 Seconds 




30 Seconds





HIIT | Weekly Max Meps Workout


"Results Happen Over Time, Not Overnight."


Complete this HIIT workout doing 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off between each move. Repeat 4 times through. 




30 Seconds 




30 Reps


30 Seconds 



30 Seconds



30 Seconds 




30 Seconds



30 Seconds 



The Dark Side of Social Media Fitness Culture


Social media is a powerful tool, especially for the fitness world. Instagram offers the opportunity to keep yourself accountable on your fitness journey, a variety of workout options to fit your lifestyle, a chance to build a community for support, and more. There are countless fitness personalities on Instagram that offer daily or weekly workouts, diet tips, and of course, selfies of well-sculpted bodies with inspirational quotes or anecdotes looking to encourage others.


But the overwhelming exposure to such a vast assortment of fitness subculture through Instagram can have extremely negative effects on body image and even be dangerous to our health. What is the dark side to Instagram fitness programs? How do we keep ourselves from falling into the black hole of the perfect lifestyles that are portrayed by social media? Here are a few things to consider:


Potential Misinformation

It’s natural to assume that someone who looks fit, toned, and thin is an expert in health and wellness. Plenty of Instagram fitness personalities, including Kayla Itsines with over 9 million followers, have managed to develop their own programs and turn their following into a substantial business. Kayla offers a variety of different programs, encourages participants to share their before and after stories, and has proven that her methods can deliver results.


One thing to remember, however, is that not every fitness personality is an expert. Someone sharing their fitness regime on their Instagram story is not a guarantee that they are aware of the safest and most effective ways for you to get healthy. Social media is saturated with so much fitness content that some of it, flat out, is not going to be good for everyone. Not everybody can handle high intensity workouts, restrictive diets, or lifting heavy weights- what your body needs and where you are on your health and wellness journey is unique to you.


The most important thing to remember is that most of the influencers offering health and fitness tips are offering just that- tips. They’re not guaranteed to show you the results you may be looking for, so be sure to put your own health first and avoid practices that could result in injury or other negative results. 


Body Image

No one can argue that these influencers and other social media personalities have good intentions in sharing their fitness tips and suggestions, and the countless comments from grateful people does show that lives have changed for the better. However, there is a lurking harmful underbelly to this culture that could be causing the positive message to be backfiring.


Despite the attempt at promoting self-love and body positivity, the fact remains that there is a huge disconnect between the images being posted and the inspirational quotes that accompany them. Many of these celebrities or fitness personalities will encourage you never to compare yourself to others including them, while displaying a photo of their washboard abs.


Consistent exposure to photos that are so perfectly posed suggesting programs that guarantee that same body in 6 weeks is causing participants to engage in habits that are far beyond the reaches of a healthy lifestyle. In attempts to obtain the “ideal” body type, or rather the photo they’re being shown that sets the bar higher than may be possible, users are actually hurting themselves. It can result in having a negative relationship with food, over-exercising, or injuries trying to gain the perfect Instagram body.


Additionally, making your fitness journey about before/after photos shifts your motivation to get healthy to your physical appearance, rather than internal health. You’ll end up finding yourself comparing your after photos to fellow participants wondering why your results weren’t the same, causing damage to your self-esteem.


Health Comes First

Of course, there are positives to the Instagram fitness influencers and what they offer to their audience. These plans and programs provide an outpour of support from fellow participants and are offered at a relatively lower cost than other fitness options. However, it’s important to remember that your emotional and physical health come first.


Not all of these influencers are qualified to hand out advice, so it’s important to take their tips with a grain of salt and be sure to run any new fitness or diet program by a professional first. Listen to your body, know your limitations, and most importantly don’t follow any accounts that cause you to feel bad about yourself. Social media shouldn’t become detrimental on your journey to overall better health and wellness- fill your exposure with positive messaging to prevent the development of dangerous habits.  


Most importantly, remember that fitness and health are not about sweaty selfies, developing six-pack abs, or those before and after photos. It’s about finding the right habits you need to incorporate into your life that can allow you to become the best version of yourself!


For additional health and wellness tips, including 5 Ways to Make Living a Healthy Lifestyle Easier, be sure to check out our blog! 



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