Five Favorites

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Hi friends!

It's been awhile since I have done a Five Favorites post, so I thought it would be fun to get one up! I have been trying out some new products and brands lately and I have some things that I am LOVING. I can't wait to share!

Here we go:

  1.  Tarteist PRO Glow Highlight and Contour Palette
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I am obsessed with this palette! It is seriously *beautiful*, and smells amazing too - which is a bonus! I love love love the highlighter and it has the prettiest shade that I love using as an eye shadow. Highly recommend this! I received this palette in the Summer FabFitFun box, which brings me to my SECOND favorite thing at the moment...

2. FabFitFun Subscription Box (Use code AMC10 for $10 off your first box!)

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FabFitFun is a subscription box that comes to you every season full of FULL-SIZED products! The box contains various things related to beauty, fitness, tech, and lifestyle from brands like Moroccan Oil, Trina Turk, Tarte Cosmetics, Dermalogica, Dr. Brandt, and more. I have been dying to try out a box for a long long time because I've seen them posted all over social media. When FabFitFun reached out to me and asked me to be a #FabFitFunPartner I jumped at the opportunity! And let me tell you, the box did NOT disappoint. It is as amazing as I thought it would be - more so! I love all of the products and it is so fun that each season you get a new box filled with new goodies! They gave me a code for you guys: Use the code AMC10 and you'll get $10 off of your first box at FabFitFun.com!

3. Fawn Design Diaper Backpack

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I can't say enough good things about this diaper bag. Not only is it BEAUTIFUL, and totally does not look like a diaper bag, but it is also extremely functional. Now that I've been "momming" for a couple of years, I can say hands down that a backpack diaper bag is the way to go. Especially with a toddler. You need those hands (and arms) free, mama! This bag is great quality and I can fit so much into it. Get the bag here.

4. Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Program

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You've heard me rave about the Core Rehab Program (click here for more info. on Core Rehab) for postpartum mamas and how it helped me to heal my abdominal separation after having my first son (read about my experience with the program here and here). Well, the creator of the Core Rehab Program has a program for pregnancy and it is just as amazing! I have been doing the prenatal workouts throughout this pregnancy and I love them and how they make me feel! You can learn more about the workouts by clicking here!

5. Made by Mary Zola Disc Necklace

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I have this necklace with 'james' on it and I just love it so so much. You can get it personalized to say whatever you want and I think it is so special. I wear it all the time (I switch off every day between this necklace and my mama and baby bird necklace!). I can't wait to get this necklace with the new baby's name on it once he arrives! I'll get it in an 18" chain and wear it with my 'james' disc necklace above it. This would make such a great gift for a new mom! For reference, the disc necklace I have is in the rose gold color, brushed metal, 16" chain. Click here for the necklace.

I hope you guys enjoyed this edition of Five Favorites! I'll do more of these, I promise. They are so fun to do.

Let me know what you are currently loving in the comments!

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Mommy Monday: 13 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Mommy Monday!

As I mentioned in last week's post (read last week's post here), I met with Maternal Fetal Medicine on Wednesday for a "pre-op consult" because I am getting another cerclage this pregnancy. You can read about my whole scary experience with finding out that I needed an emergency cerclage during my first pregnancy here.

This time around I was told right away: "Once a cerclage, always a cerclage". So, I got in the mindset. Last time around was so scary and unexpected and urgent and complicated. THIS time will be calm, planned, relaxed, no big deal, and not *necesssary*, just a precaution. As of my appointment on Wednesday, my cervix was still over 4cm which is GREAT - super long. At my 20 week scan during my first pregnancy, my cervix was down to 1.2cm, which is extremely short. I was SO relieved that my cervix was still so long at this week's scan!

So, basically, the doctor gave me two options:

1. Get a cerclage done in the next week or two as a precaution. That way, we make sure the cerclage is done under calm and controlled circumstances and that my cervix is super long and we wont have to worry about it the rest of the pregnancy.

2. Monitor my cervix every two weeks and if is starts to shorten, put a cerclage in.

With option two, I potentially would not need a cerclage at all if my cervix does not shorten - which sounds super appealing! BUT, my cervix could possibly shorten super quickly before it is caught and I could lose the baby. And a really short cervix like I had before makes a cerclage a lot more risky (ie, bleeding, puncturing the bladder, etc...) So, I decided to just do the cerclage now. I'll be scheduling it for in the next few weeks, so I'll keep you all updated on that!

Definitely not looking forward to it, BUT this time around will hopefully be a lot more relaxed and pleasant. :)

In other exciting news: WE FOUND OUT THE GENDER!!

I'm not going to say much more about this yet because we aren't going to publicly announce for awhile. The ultrasound tech asked me if I was going to be doing genetic testing, and I told her the ONLY reason I would do it would be to find out the gender sooner. She said, "Well, I can just look and see if I can tell" and I was like, oh YES. haha And she could. And the doctor confirmed. It's REEEAAALLLY early - like, usually you can't tell on an ultrasound until at least 18 weeks and I was only 12. But they were PRETTY confident. :)

So exciting. I can't wait to announce to you all when the time comes! Go ahead and post your guess in the comments below: Is baby Cohen number two a BOY or a GIRL??

Also, I have gotten a few requests about items that I think are necessary vs. unnecessary for a new baby. I'll try to put together a blog post soon going over all of this! If you have any specific questions feel free to leave them below and I'll answer them!

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Yesterday, Ben, James, Gunner, and I went for a drive into the National Forest where we live. We went exploring and Ben shot his bow and it was SUCH a beautiful day! Days like that make me so thankful for this growing family of mine! I am truly blessed!

Who else is doing the Knocked Up Fitness prenatal program with me?? Comment below and let me know so that we can hold each other accountable! And be sure to follow me on Instagram (@annamcohenblog) so we can check in with eachother! Click here to learn more about the Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Program!

Ok, now for the weekly survey:

How far along: 13 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Last Wednesday I was 116lbs at the doctor's office - but that's with clothes and shoes on. When I weigh myself at home I usually don't wear clothes, so that's where I got my pre-pregnancy weight of 107lbs. From here on out, I'll just use the weight from the doctor to make it easier and since I don't have a scale any more anyways to weigh myself at home. :)

Maternity clothes? A few pieces! Maternity leggings and pajamas are LIFE!

Stretch marks? No new ones, but I feel like my old ones are stretching back out. BOO!

Sleep: Oh my goodness, CAN'T GET COMFORTABLE. haha I'm scared. If I'm having trouble getting comfortable this early on, I don't know what I'm going to do come third trimester! Also, the insanely weird, horrible, detailed, REAL-feeling dreams are just getting worse! haha You guys, they are so bizarre!!!

Best moment this week: Hiking with my family in the mountains!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Not yet!

Food cravings: Crunch wrap supremes and sub sandwiches.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really!

Have you started to show yet: Yes, and I feel like I popped even more over the past day or two!

Gender: We know! But we're not announcing yet! ;)

Labor Signs: No.

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On, but I'm going to take them off and put on my place holder ring soon because I already notice them getting super tight and it makes me claustrophobic.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy and emotional!!

Symptoms: Weird dreams, dry skin, acne, tired, congested, aching pelvis,

I'll see you guys back here next Monday for another update! And check back later this week for another non-mommy-monday post!

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Get Motivated With Cute Fitness Wear

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Is there anything more motivating than cute workout wear?? I seriously feel so excited to workout when I have something that is cute, comfortable, and flattering to put on. Feeling confident makes ALL the difference!

I asked you guys on Instagram if you would like to see some of the cute workout clothing that I've found recently, and I think all but ONE person said 'yes', haha. So, below you'll find some adorable workout wear that I am LOVING for the new year!

Click on each picture below to shop each item. Each picture is a link to the product page. Happy shopping! If you end up snagging any of these pieces, be sure to tag me in a photo of you wearing them on Instagram so I can see!! IG: @annamcohenblog

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Shine Organics: My Favorite Healthy On-the-go Snack!

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***Thank you to Shine Organics for sponsoring this post!***

Today, I wanted to share one of my new FAVORITE things: a healthy snack that's EASY to take on-the-go! Shine Organics Pouches (click here for a coupon!) are a convenient blend of real, organic fruits and vegetables, chia seeds, and superfoods.

They are perfect for throwing in your gym bag or purse, or just for when you need a quick snack around the house. Basically, as an active and busy mom of a toddler, these pouches are PERFECT for me! Whether James and I are running errands, heading to music class, or just hanging out at home, I can always have a HEALTHY snack on hand. No fuss, no mess, and no prep time. I just grab a pouch and instantly have a YUMMY snack to enjoy and to satisfy my hunger! These pouches fit into my lifestyle EFFORTLESSLY.

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Finding healthy snack food that actually tastes good, as well as being good for you is tricky. That's why I'm really really glad that I've found Shine Organics!

You can find Shine Organics Pouches at Target in the apple sauce section. Click here to get a coupon for $1 off of a four pack!

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What are your favorite healthy on-the-go snacks?? Please share! I love getting new ideas!

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Workout Wear Lust List

The Bikini Series is coming to an end, and Summer is quickly approaching! I am more motivated than ever to get in shape and tone things up!

One of my favorite ways to motivate myself to get in a workout is by wearing cute workout wear! If I know that I have a cool new outfit to wear for my morning sweat sesh, I am 1000x more likely to hop out of bed and get it done. I love clothes, and workout clothes are no exception!

Now is the perfect time to reward ourselves with some new fitness apparel to give us that extra push to be our healthiest selves, and to look good while we do it!

Here are some workout clothing items that I am MAJORLY lusting after at the moment:

Click on a picture below for all the details and to shop it!

Treat yo'self! ;)

 

 

Mommy Monday: Balancing Exercise, Health, and Motherhood

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Ok, let's be really really honest here for a second: making time for exercise and health as a mom is hard. It takes work and it takes a lot of mind power. Being a mom is such a rewarding and challenging task in and of itself, that sometimes the thought of doing a workout when I could instead be taking a few minutes to relax seems crazy.

But, then I remember how much BETTER I feel - both physically and mentally - when I get in a workout. When I break a sweat, it makes me feel proud and strong and like I am doing something to further my progress towards my physical goals.

It's far too easy to let a day slip by without squeezing in a workout. From there, it is a slippery slope. One day turns into one week...then one month... The next thing you know, it has been months since your last real workout, and your body feels weak and you don't know how to dive back in. Where to start? How to get that strength back? You are so much further from your goals.

Believe me, I get it. I get how it can happen. I've certainly gone a week or two without getting my exercise in, and man, is it hard to get back into a routine. You know what I've found to be the ONLY way to start working towards your goals again? To just simply start. Even if that means a short walk the first day, squeezing in a 30 second plank when you can, powering through 50 squats while your child plays, and then turning on a Yoga or workout video on YouTube during nap time.

Slowly but surely, squeezing in what you can each day, you will start to build up your strength - physical AND mental, because half of it...no, even MORE than half of it is mental.

As mothers, it is so important for us to be healthy...to not only take care of our bodies, but of our minds.

Our little ones see what we do to better ourselves. They watch as we make healthy food choices, and as we meal prep and prepare nutritious food for the week ahead. They see when we spend our free minutes doing lunges or jumping jacks or burpees. They see a woman, strong and proud and conscious of her physical condition and doing something to further her progress towards a goal and towards a healthy life.

I remind myself that it is not just for me that I make the (sometimes very difficult) decision to do a workout rather than sit down and put my feet up. It's for my son. It's for my husband. It's for my mind. It's for what I want to look like and feel like. It's for wanting to be healthy and strong and able to do all the activities that I love to do.

So, one step at a time, little by little, day by day, as mothers, we make the choice. We choose to be healthy. We choose to be an example. We choose to be strong. We choose to eat healthily. We choose to do what it takes. Is it easy? Nope. Important? Very. Worth it? Yes Yes Yes.

What are your tricks for staying fit, strong, and healthy as a mama? How do YOU make time for a workout and for healthy food choices? Be sure to share in the comments below!

What topics do you want to see on the blog? Send any ideas, questions, or comments to info@annamcohen.com! And be sure to subscribe below to be notified whenever there is a new post up!

 

Mommy Monday: Core Rehab, Part 1

If you've been following me for awhile on my blog and on Instagram, you know that I have diastasis recti (abdominal separation) since being pregnant with my son.

Diagram of diastasis recti - mine wasn't this severe at all, but this shows kind of what happens with abdominal separation!

Abdominal separation is very common postpartum. However, there is a shocking lack of information out there for mamas who have this. In fact, many women have abdominal separation and aren't even aware that they have it (learn how to check for it here), OR they have been told that the only way to FIX it is by having surgery. Which is NOT TRUE!!

When I was first pregnant with James, I was searching the internet for some exercises that I could do while pregnant. That's when I first came across Erica Ziel. Erica Ziel is the founder of Knocked Up Fitness and Core Athletica Inc.. She is an EXPERT in helping women to strengthen their deep core muscles in order to have a safer and easier pregnancy, delivery, and recovery. 

Erica Ziel

Now, Erica has developed the Core Rehab Program for postpartum mamas! The Core Rehab Program is designed for mamas who are interested in "rehabbing" their cores after all that they have been through with pregnancy and delivery. This includes working on posture, techniques for safely picking things up, and how to properly engage your deep core muscles to strengthen your core and help to repair abdominal separation.

Pregnancy can do a number on a woman's body, especially her core. Muscles and connective tissues are weakened, stretched, etc... It is important to strengthen your deep core and connective tissues postpartum in order to properly heal and to feel better. But, if you're like me, it can be overwhelming and even a little scary because

...where do you even BEGIN??

Erica was kind enough to let me do the Core Rehab Program in exchange for reviewing it. And I certainly hope you all know that I will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be honest in my reviews. I would never recommend something that I wasn't totally excited about or impressed by or that I didn't genuinely believe in. So, with that said, let me dive right in:

THE CORE REHAB PROGRAM HAS BEEN THE MOST LIFE-CHANGING, GREATEST THING FOR ME. And I truly mean that. 

The program consists of six phases, each broken up into two weeks. I am through the first two phases, and oh my goodness, the changes are so incredible. And I'm not just talking about physical changes, although I've certainly seen some. I'm talking about changes in the way that I feel.

After giving birth to James, my back KILLED me. I have scoliosis, so my back has always hurt me. But pregnancy and delivery just really really messed it up. Plus, being on bedrest didn't help because I basically lost all of the muscle tone that was helping to support my back. Add in the abdominal separation and weakened core, and I was basically a hot-postpartum-mess of pain, discomfort, and consequently - stress

My abdominal separation was minor: just about a finger tip and a half wide, and not very deep (only about to my first knuckle). My doctor told me to just take it easy and refrain from doing core exercises or anything other than cardio for two months or so and it should close up. Well, two months came and went and if anything, when I re-checked, it seemed like my separation had not closed up at all. (Granted, I probably hadn't been taking it as easy as I should have been...) In fact, I think my separation had even gotten a little worse. I was very stressed about this and just wanted my body to be fully healed so that I could get back into my regular exercise routine (exercise is SUCH a huge part of my life!!) and so that I could start building up my back muscles again to help with my scoliosis and pain management. 

I had seen some buzz about Erica's Core Rehab Program floating around the internet and social media and I was really curious about it. Then, I saw one of my friends on Instagram, Kristen Suppa (@well.balanced.home) post something about the program. I messaged her about it, and she connected me with Erica, and the next thing I knew, I was diving into the program with so much excitement and hope. (You can read Kristen's story at the bottom of this post!)

Within the first week of the program, I noticed a difference in how I felt. I was standing taller. I was feeling more supported through my core. I was making changes in the ways that I held my baby and in the way that I picked him and other things up from the floor. I was moving and standing and sitting differently. Even breathing differently!

I finally was being given the tools that I needed to begin to heal myself and FEEL BETTER. 

Now, I've finished phase two and I am so excited to say that when I re-checked my abdominal separation yesterday, I can no longer stick ANY of my finger in AND my separation is less than a finger tip wide, which is normal!! I am blown away with how quickly the program has helped me to heal, and I know that these quick results probably aren't the norm. I also know that I still have a long way to go. I'm going to be continuing to work through all of the phases, and I'll be writing a follow-up blog post once I've completed phase six so that I can update you all, so check back for that in a few months! I can't even imagine how amazing I'll feel once I've finished all of the phases!! 

Again, these are my honest opinions. I am not being paid to say any of this, I just genuinely am so excited about the Core Rehab Program and I want to tell all of you about it in case you are suffering from discomfort, or abdominal separation, or the stress of not knowing where to begin healing your core postpartum like I was. Whether you are three months postpartum or twenty years...Erica shows that it is possible to repair your diastasis recti, strengthen your core, and MOST IMPORTANTLY...feel better. 

The Core Rehab Program opens for enrollment tomorrow, on January 3rd. You can sign up here to receive more information and to be notified when enrollment is open. I don't get anything out of your signing up, other than the joy of knowing that you are going to receive the same loving guidance from Erica that I have. 

If you are a postpartum mama who has abdominal separation, OR even if you DON'T have abdominal separation but just feel like you need some help in strengthening your core, please consider this program, because it has seriously made such a difference for me. I could cry I am so thankful for the Core Rehab Program and Erica Ziel. I want you to feel better too. 

If you have questions, feel free to ask! And follow me (@annamcohenblog), @well.balanced.home and @knockedupfitness on Instagram for more daily updates! 

Here's to taking care of ourselves and to feeling GOOD postpartum!! :)

Kristen's Story:

I'm Kristen, and I'm a Mama of 2 little guys in New Jersey. My oldest is almost 2.5 and my youngest is 10 months. I got pregnant the second time around when my oldest was just 9 months old, and unfortunately I still had some ab separation from that first pregnancy. I was nervous that it would get a lot worse the second time around, and I actually reached out to Erica Ziel to ask about her Prenatal Workouts. She was super encouraging and suggested her Prenatal Sculpt Workout DVD and I was consistent with that (especially the core routine- which is gentle and safe for those with ab separation) throughout my pregnancy. I am thankful for those workouts because I had a very quick labor (3 hours from the first contraction to holding my baby!) and a smooth, easy recovery. As expected, I still had some ab separation postpartum, but I believe it would have been a lot worse (and my labor not as easy) had I not been proactive during my pregnancy and committed to those workouts. 

I ended up having a 2 finger gap from a few inches above my belly button, all the way down to my pubic bone, also the depth of my gap showed that my fascia was weak (something I learned about from Erica's tutorials)- the depth was almost to my second knuckle. I jumped on the opportunity to participate in Erica's newly released Core Rehab Program, and I just finished Phase 4. I am thrilled with how my body is feeling. I am a firm believer in doing what you can when you can and practicing patience with yourself during this season of motherhood where the babies are little and you don't get much time for yourself. Easier said than done (and I'm forever working on maintaining that mindset!), but that being said, it has taken me about 6 months to complete the 4 phases, and I am ok with that! The workouts are all under 20 minutes, and usually there are 1 or 2 videos to do each day, so you can split them throughout your day when you find a pocket of time. You stream them from your phone, iPad, etc. or follow PDF printouts, which is helpful as a busy Mama! I'll be starting the New Year with Phase 5, and I can't wait to see how I feel after I complete the final 2 phases! 

This program did more for me than almost closing my ab separation- it has given me more awareness in my everyday movements and posture than I ever had before, and I'm so thankful for that. My gap is now just localized to about 1 inch above my belly button and right at my belly button, and it is about 1 finger or less in width. Under my belly button, my gap is closed! The depth has improved significantly as well- it is about as deep as my first knuckle at this point and just localized to right around that small belly button area, so I am proof that the program can help to strengthen your fascia as well! Erica gives us so much valuable information in all of her videos and her excellent cueing during the workouts and tutorials that I can now truly connect to my core during activities in everyday life, and I just feel stronger and more intentional with my movements throughout my busy days. Of course, the bonus is how much flatter my tummy is and how much better my posture is. My husband even noticed my posture, so that's a win too! 

My advice to other Mamas and Mamas-to-be is that it is so important to practice self care and find some time for yourselves. Erica's programs are designed in such a way that they're very manageable and they will give you that time for yourself, while giving you your body confidence back! 

I love connecting with other Moms on Instagram (you can find me @well.balanced.home)- we all have SO much in common and can and should lean on each other for support when we need it! I'm so thankful to have connected with Anna through this community of Mamas- her Instagram account and blog always brighten my day! Looking forward to seeing her progress with this awesome program, and hope to connect with some of you as well! Happy New Year! 

 

Five Weeks To Fit: Total Body

This is it!! The final week of the Five Weeks To Fit challenge, and we are finishing up with a TOTAL BODY ROUTINE! That's right, let's work that beautiful body from head to toe! This is the time to give your all and finish up the year strong!

Complete the following routine every day this week. Throw in any of the previous four routines for some extra BURN! Comment below if you are IN!! Let's do this!

Follow me on Instagram (@tiugirlanna) so that we can finish this week STRONG together! I'm virtually cheering you on! You GOT this!!

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Five Weeks To Fit: Lower Body

Week four, here we GO! This week we are working that lower body and toning it aaaalllll up! Complete the following routine every day this week. Five bucks says you see and FEEL a difference in your body.

Want more?? Throw in the abs, arms, and/or booty routine from the previous three weeks!

Are you following me on Instagram yet? Come find me: @tiugirlanna - we can root each other on!

Be sure to check back next Monday for the FINAL routine! 2016 is nearly over...here's to making 2017 the very best yet and starting the year off STRONG!

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Five Weeks To Fit: Abs

Welcome to the third week in the Five Weeks To Fit series! How's it going? Are you feeling sore yet??

This week, we are targeting those much coveted abs. Work your core every day this week! Throw in the booty and arm routines a few days this week too, if you're up for an extra challenge!

Check back next Monday for the next routine! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for some extra motivation: @tiugirlanna

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Five Weeks To Fit: Arms

Welcome to week two of Five Weeks To Fit!! Did you complete the Bikini Ready Booty Routine every day last week? Let me know if you did in the comments below!!

Ready for the next routine? This week, we're targeting those beautiful arms! Complete the following routine every day this week. If you're feeling extra spicy, throw in last week's booty routine a few days this week as well! You will feel the burn!!

Check back next Monday for the next workout routine! And follow me on Instagram if you haven't already! @tiugirlanna - I'd LOVE some extra motivation!! Have a wonderful week!

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Five Weeks To Fit: Booty

Hi there, and welcome to a new series! There are five weeks left in the year, and every Monday I'm going to be posting a new workout right here on Wild Writes Blog! Every week will target a different area of the body. I challenge you to complete the routine every single day of the week. You can do it!! I'll be doing it right along with you, and come New Year's day we are going to be in tip top shape!

You in? Great!

We're starting off with a Booty routine!

Alright, let's do this! Complete the Booty routine every day this week. Then, check back here because I'll be posting the next routine next Monday! For some motivation, follow me on IG: @tiugirlanna

You GOT this! Let's finish the year strong!

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Five Weeks To Fit: Let's Get Bikini-Ready TOGETHER!

ARE YOU READY?

Ready for what, you may ask. Well, to get fit, strong, and motivated!! 2016 is quickly coming to a close. Now is the perfect time to kick-start a healthy, fit 2017!

Starting on Monday, November 28th I'll be posting a new fitness routine every week! Each Monday, I'll post a workout for you to complete every day of that week. Then, the next Monday I'll post the next workout! We will target booty, arms, abs, lower body, and total body.

THIS is your chance to kick your health and fitness goals into high gear as we close out 2016 with a bang! Let's start 2017 feeling fit, toned, and well on our way to being bikini ready! :)

Follow me on Instagram for motivation - we can cheer each other on! (I'm @tiugirlanna ) I'd love to see pictures of you doing the workouts each week! Tag me and use the hashtag #FIVEWEEKSTOFIT :) Yay!

And share the following picture on IG, Twitter, and/or Facebook to hold yourself accountable and let everyone know that you are committing to finishing 2016 healthy and STRONG!

Are you in??? Let's do this!! Check back on the blog on November 28th for your first routine and get ready to sweat!

*I am NOT a fitness professional or a doctor. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness journey. Complete the workout routines in the Five Weeks To Fit challenge at your own risk. Anna M. Cohen and www.annamcohen.com are not liable for any injuries that may occur from participation in the challenge.*

Outside Bozeman, Summer '16

The Summer issue of Outside Bozeman magazine is on stands now! It's their biggest issue of the year and I am SO excited to have two articles published in it! Be sure to pick up a copy! And check out pages 68 and 72! ;)

You can also read the issue online by clicking here!

Cheers to an adventure-filled season!

xo, Anna

 

Healthy Snack: Squarebars!

I can't believe I haven't done a post about these tasty bars yet! Square Organics reached out to me awhile ago and sent me some of these organic protein bars. I'M HOOKED. They are so tasty and I love keeping a few in my purse for when I need some fuel on the go. I love finding new snacks that are good for me and filling, and that don't taste like crap. I'm so excited to have connected with Square Organics because these Squarebars are a GAME CHANGER.

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Here's the best part: you can get 20% off at www.squareorganics.com using the code "tiugirlanna"! I don't get anything out of this, I'm just spreading the goodness! These are great for after a workout, on a backpacking trip or hike, or for little nibble during a long day at the office. Go get yourself a box! You wont regret it.

xo, Anna

Why You Should Hike With A Full Pack

Maybe you've heard the old saying: the best way to train for backpacking is to backpack. If you hadn't heard it before, you have now. And it's a pretty solid statement. Nothing can prepare your body for backpacking except, well, backpacking. 

For anyone who is interested in starting backpacking, my advice is this:

1. Invest in a good pack that is comfortable for you and fits your body type.

2. Get yourself the proper gear such as a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, a tent, a stove + fuel, a water purification system, food, warm layers, rain layers, headlamp, etc...

3. Then pack up all of your gear into your backpack, strap in on your back, and hit the trails. 

Day hikes will do. Just get that full pack on your back whenever you go out. You don't want the first time that you hit the trail with a full pack on to be when you are heading out on your maiden overnight backpacking trip. 

Trust me, wearing your loaded up pack on day hikes is the BEST way to build up the proper muscles and strength required for backpacking. All of the squats and burpees in the world won't be able to prepare you for a steep climb up a mountain over uneven terrain with a 30+lb pack on your back. 

Happy trails!

 

Yoga With Dad

My yoga practice is a young one. I have been practicing at home, in the comfort of my living room for several years, off and on. In fact, I had begun to think of myself as quite good - quite the yogi. When my dad first invited me to go to an in-studio yoga class with him, my first response was, “Yes, of course!” How fun and how practical. That is what yogis do. We go to yoga classes. We are taught by real live instructors and practice with other students in calm, relaxing, and beautiful setting. 

But as my dad started suggesting days for us to go to a class, I became gripped by a deep sense of fear and apprehension. I began to second guess my in-home practice. What if my form was entirely off? What if I was unable to keep up with the class? What if the teacher thought that I looked ridiculous? Worst of all, what if my dad thought that I looked ridiculous?

My dad has been practicing yoga for years, along with meditation. At sixty-one years old, he is an inspiration. He practices daily, and he has always encouraged me to pursue yoga and to try out meditating. A highly successful man in every area of his life, he is a walking endorsement for yoga and meditation and what it can do for your mind, body, and sense of wellness. He is the reason I began practicing yoga in the first place, timidly googling  “yoga for beginners” videos and awkwardly trying to master the poses on a towel in front of my computer. 

After years of never practicing in front of anyone, the thought of going to a class with my dad and finally practicing together was both exciting and terrifying. When I eventually got up the courage to commit to a class with my dad, I was met with many surprises. First of all, yoga in a studio is completely different than yoga in my living room. It is more fun, more lively, and there is an energy and unity amongst the sweaty bodies in the room that is so lovely that I can not even begin to describe it. Second of all, I have learned many methods for improving poses that I thought I had mastered long ago. I’ve also learned that I have a LOT of room for improvement. But that is the beauty of yoga - constantly growing, learning, and becoming better and stronger with each practice. The main thing that I learned about going to yoga with my dad is that he is an incredible, strong person. I was so blown away by his practice, his form, and his strength, and I learned so much from watching him out of the corner of my eye as I struggled through the motions in that first class we went to. 

Now, my dad and I go to yoga together regularly. I have grown so much in my practice through attending in-studio classes, and from watching my dad. He is an inspiration, and a fun person to do yoga with. I am so blessed to be able to do such a wonderful thing with him as my role model. I’ve never been so proud to be a daddy’s girl.

Here's How To Feel Comfortable In A Bikini

Bikini season is right. Around. The corner. It is so close you can taste it. Summer days full of sunshine, warm breezes, salty hair, sandy toes, and bikinis...all of this is quickly approaching.

I would venture to guess that every girl feels at least a small pang of panic when thinking about donning a bikini for the first time after a long winter. The quest for the perfect "bikini body" and the best slimming and toning secrets begins. So much stress and anxiety goes into trying to ease our fear of wearing a bikini and baring so much for the world to see. 

Well, I am not here to talk about a new workout, diet, or treatment that will get you that "perfect" bikini body. Rather, I am here to tell you that the very BEST way to feel comfortable in a bikini is to learn to LOVE yourself and your body, and to embrace your inner confidence! You - yes, YOU, are perfect just the way you are. If you want to wear a bikini, then you should, and you should wear it with confidence. Because, you see, there is no "bikini body". There are just bodies. Many, beautiful, unique, different bodies. 

Luckily, society is starting to catch on to the fact that every woman is built differently, and every body is beautiful. So, I'm here to say that if you want to spend a fun day in the sunshine, swimming and playing and lying on the beach, all while rocking a bikini - or ANY type of bathing suit for that matter - then DO it! And do it with confidence! You deserve to let loose and feel comfortable.

Here are a few quick tips on how to feel your very most comfortable in a bikini:

1. Do not compare yourself to others. Each of us is different. We each have different body types, different skin tones, different shapes, different curves... Different everything. And that's beautiful. You just focus on being the BEST you, and on being confident about who you are and what your body looks like. You are gorgeous and worthy of fun, carefree beach days! It's SO easy to make comparisons. But trust me. Comparison is the surest and fastest way to dissatisfaction and discontent. Avoid it.

2. Remember that you are your own worst critic. You notice flaws on your own body more than anyone else does. Don't be so hard on yourself! There are SO many amazing things about you that you can focus on instead! When you focus on what you love about yourself and about your body, your inner confidence will shine through. Which brings me to number 3...

3. Head high, shoulders back! Rock that bathing suit with confidence! Confidence is the most beautiful thing. Smile, be kind, and be confident in the fact that you are strong, beautiful, and totally worthy of wearing that suit and of having a fun day in the sun! 

4. Ignore the meanies. If for some reason someone makes a mean comment on Instagram about your bikini picture that you posted, or someone gives you a rude look at the beach, make a conscious decision to shake it off and let it go. Realize that people put other people down because they feel badly about themselves. Don't let other peoples' opinions have a negative impact on you. If you feel good in that little bikini, then rock it unapologetically with confidence! And have FUN!

5. Build others up. One thing I have learned is that the more I build other women up and compliment them and treat them with kindness, the better and more confident I feel about myself! AND, the nicer they are to me! You get what you put out, and if you dish out genuine kindness, love, and encouragement, you will receive the same back. Nothing feels nicer than a heart-felt compliment.

Wearing a swim suit is about feeling comfortable and about being able to enjoy a sunny day, splashing in a lake, river, pool, or the ocean! It's not about a competition, or about striving for "perfection", or about working towards some ideal body type. So embrace yourself and your body! Don't be afraid of swimsuit season! Put on that bikini and dive right in and have the time of your life! 


Tips To Eat Healthier

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Eating healthy is so important for a number of reasons, most of which you have probably heard many times before. Healthy, clean, natural, unprocessed foods keep your body working in tip-top shape, helping you to stay at your physical and mental best. I don't have to tell you how important this is for an active person. Fueling your body and your mind with healthy foods will help you to push farther, and stay strong through your workout, hike, or just your daily life in general.

But eating healthy can be a challenging undertaking. Processed foods are so readily available, and it can be so much easier to pop a microwaveable meal in then to prepare a healthy, clean meal from scratch. Cooking takes time. Plus it can be hard to know what to make!

I have learned a few little tips that make it a bit easier to stay on track and keep away from the tempting ease and tastiness of processed foods. Hopefully they will be of some help to you as well!

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  • PLAN AHEAD. This is, in my opinion, the most important tip. Plan ahead before you go grocery shopping so that you know exactly what ingredients and food items you need. Make a list, and stick to it! Going into a grocery store without a plan is a dangerous thing. Plan out the meals you want to make, and get ingredients that you need for those meals. Make a list of healthy snacks to keep on hand in case you get a craving or burst of hunger throughout your day. Plan out your meals for the week. Plan, plan, plan. And stick to it!
  • PREPARE. I have found it to be very helpful to prepare food and snacks ahead of time to have handy throughout the week. For example, I always keep a big Tupperware full of washed red lettuce leaves and sliced red onions. That way, if I'm hungry, I can grab a handful of this mixture out of the Tupperware, add a bit of home-made salad dressing, and voila! A healthy, easy, fast snack! You can also prepare meat, such as ground beef or turkey and have it ready in your fridge to mix up with some grilled veggies. Easy, fast, and tasty. Just like processed food...BUT HEALTHY!
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    • KEEP SNACKS HANDY. If you are like me at all, then you need to always have access to food. I graze throughout the day and am pretty much constantly hungry. It is important for me to carry snacks with me wherever I go, or else I get fatigued, cranky, and sick feeling. I have found that carrying a few healthy snack bars - such as Larabars, Kind bars, and Caveman bars - is the easiest way to ensure that healthy food is always at the ready. This ties into the PLAN AHEAD tip - think ahead about what your day holds for you, and then plan your snack-packing accordingly. If you'll be out for a long time, pack a lunch, like this healthy Turkey Pita Sandwich.
    • DRINK WATER. You may or may not already know it, but often times when you feel like you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. Confusing, I know. But it's just another great motivation to always have a bottle of water with you and drink drink drink. Hydration is so important to make sure that your body functions the way that it should. Being hydrated ensures that your skin will be glowy and you will have more energy for all of your adventures!

    Working Out to Get Out: Fitness Tips for the Outdoor Enthusiast

    1010204_10202919102850376_2540645513967938799_n Spring is right around the corner, can you feel it? Depending on where you are in the country right now, you can probably feel it a bit more than others. Well here in sunny Northern California it feels like Spring is really starting to blossom. With the coming of Spring, I find the motivation to kick my workouts into high gear in anticipation of little dresses, short shorts, and, more importantly, backpacking in the mountains.

    The countdown to warm weather and outdoor activities is on. The mountain roads and trails are opening up in just a few short weeks. Now is the time to commit to getting in your best shape so that you can fully enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer. Because if you hit the trail after a winter of hanging out on your couch without training first, you will be in for a less than stellar surprise.

    10359155_10205203339274859_8055588343266801736_nHere are some tips to help you get in shape for your quickly approaching outdoor adventures:

    1.  Give your stairs some lovin'.  If you have stairs in your house, use them to your own benefit. Walking or running up and down stairs is great training for hiking. It's also just a great workout in general. Do enough stairs a11000056_10205164531464688_1503326286543275879_nt a fast enough pace and you can get a good cardio session in. Plus, stairs are great for your booty.

    2. Walk or jog. Now that the weather is going to be warming up it is a great opportunity to get outside in your neighborhood and go for a quick walk or jog. Just getting your body moving is important, and the fresh air wont hurt either. If the weather's not so nice where you are, get your steps in on a treadmill. If you don't have a treadmill, head to your local gym. No excuses! Walk instead of drive, park farther away from the door when going to the grocery store...find little ways to get yourself moving.

    3. Work Out in Your Living Room. Find a fun workout that you can do in your living room before or after work. There are so many online that you can choose from. An online workout, or a fitness DVD, make it easy to fit in a workout without having to commit the time it takes to get to and from where you are going. Just turn on the workout and get to it. (My favorites: www.toneitup.com, barre3 workout DVDs or MyBarre3 online, and Ballet Beautiful. I do 10391415_10205235803006432_9078270789625860469_none or more of these types of workouts every day in preparation for hiking and backpacking.)

    4. Rock Your Backpack. A really great (albeit, nerdy) way to train for backpacking is to wear your backpack around the house or out for your walk or jog. You can start out with it empty and gradually add weight to it to build up your strength. It's amazing how heavy your backpack can feel when you haven't worn it for a few months. Best to startil_570xN.674740473_5sw6 wearing it ahead of time to get reacquainted.

    5. Squat It Out. Squats are something that you can do anywhere. They will build up your leg strength which is so important for hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, fly fishing, trail running...just about any outdoor activity you can think of. The benefits of squats are unlimited. So do them. Check out this link to make sure that your form is correct. Then, get yourself this amazing tank top.