Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review: Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich

Since February of this year, I have been attempting to work my butt off. Literally. I'm not one for exercise. I hate it. But I got fed up with looking at my 30 pound overweight body in the mirror every day and so I decided to do something about it. So I joined a local gym. It's not one of those big chain places, but a somewhat new independent gym. I go there four days a week. Three days I do about 70 minutes on the elliptical and the other day I do 30 minutes on the elliptical plus 50 minutes of Zumba. In the beginning, my elliptcal workout started off has five miles per day, but over these months I've worked myself up to a minimum of seven miles.

I have never exercised this hard in my life or been this dedicated to it and I am immensely proud of myself. But in four months of exercising, do you know how many inches I've lost? None. Do you know how many pounds I have lost? Two and half. Two and a damn half pounds in four months. To say I am frustrated is an understatement. How is it possible that I haven't lost more? But I know why... food. Food is why I am overweight to begin with and food is why I can't drop it, despite all of my hard work. Yes I knew what the problem was, I just wasn't really sure what I needed to do. As an experiment I cut down on my carbs considerably (no more bread and pasta) and I immediately lost another two pounds in one week. Aha! There it is. Now that I had a better idea of what I was doing wrong, I needed to figure out how to proceed and do it right.

Then last week I was offered the opportunity to review an advanced copy of Vinnie Tortorich's Fitness Confidential book. The timing could not have been more perfect. Let me point out that I love to read. My Kindle is my very best friend. However I have never read any self help or fitness books before. I am almost strictly a romance girl with a little Game of Thrones and Star Wars mixed in (yes I am a total geek). So I really had no idea what to expect from Vinnie's book.

About the book.
America’s Angriest Trainer, Vinnie Tortorich, exposes the nasty underbelly of the fitness industry while helping you get into the best shape of your life. For over 20 years, Vinnie has been Hollywood’s go-to guy for celebrities and athletes looking to get fit fast. Now, in this hilarious and often r-rated memoir, he holds nothing back. What’s the best piece of fitness equipment money can buy? What’s the fastest way to lose weight: diet or exercise? Why are health clubs worse than used car lots? It’s all here. His take-no-prisoners approach to getting in shape started when he was a kid in Louisiana, where he was routinely teased and beaten after being crippled by a birth defect. He overcame it and, later, found his passion as an ultra cyclist, until a deadly disease nearly took his life on the eve of competing in the Furnace Creek 508: a brutal cycling competition through the heart of Death Valley. In FITNESS CONFIDENTIAL, Vinnie lays it all on the line. So get ready to get fit, get inspired and get the dirt with Hollywood’s most outrageous personal trainer.

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. As I made my way reading through Fitness Confidential, I found myself laughing. A lot. I am fairly certain that the man next to me on the plane did not appreciate my constant giggling. This book was great because it wasn't just telling me what I needed to do in the typical boring fashion. This was a story. A story about where Vinnie Tortorich started and how he ended up where he is today. It's real and it's funny and because of that it was easy to relate to. I don't want to read a fitness book with a clinical tone that goes down through the steps of why I need to change my eating habits and puts me to sleep. I want a real story that happened to a real person. A story that shows how that diet and fitness routine worked in real life. And that is exactly what this book delivered. Of course he does go into what you should and shouldn't be eating (no I'm not going to tell you, you'll have to read the book). Keep in mind that this isn't a get thin quick scheme or one of those ridiculous fad diets. No, this is so much better than that because it is a lifestyle change. A permanent one. In this book you will learn what certain foods do to your body and what you should be eating to maintain a healthy body and weight.

In addition to teaching us all about food, Vinnie also discusses exercising and how you can started on the right foot. He explains how to find a good gym and a knowledgeable, qualified personal trainer to help you reach your goals. After reading some of his stories about the big chain gyms, I am glad there are none in my area. My independent gym has been perfect for me. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book com both from informational and storytelling standpoint. I mentioned earlier that I already suspected that food was my problem, but I wasn't 100% what I should be changing. Fitness Confidntial armed me with the knowledge I need to make a positive change to my diet and ultimately my body. Plus I honestly don't think I will soon forget reading about Vinnie's grueling training for the most crazy, insane cycling events I have ever heard of. Or waiting with anticipation to see if he would finally cross that finish line. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, not just those struggling with weight like myself. But also everyone else, so they can learn what healthy eating and exercise truly is. 

Now I know what you are thinking. What are my results after following Vinnie's advice? Well, let me be completely honest with you. As I finish typing up this review, I am flying somewhere over the United States on my way to Las Vegas with my husband to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Neither of us has ever been and you can bet my big butt that I'm going to be eating all kinds of things I shouldn't. So this is my last hoorah of eating crap before my new healthy eating lifestyle begins on July 2nd. I promise to report back in a few months.

Buy it!
Starting on Monday July 1st, the paperback version of Fitness Confidential will sell for $14.99 and the eBook will sell for $9.99, This weekend only (Saturday June 29th and Sunday June 30th) the eBook version of the book will be half price - $4.99! The eBook will be sold exclusively at

For more information about Vinnie Tortorich visit:

I was given a complimentary advanced copy of this book to facilitate my review. All thoughts an opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tips to Help You Raise a #HealthyBaby Plus a Seventh Generation #Giveaway

A question that green advocates like myself often get asked is why. Why do we need to stop using chemicals? Why should I buy organic foods? My short answer? You probably won't like it, but it is the truth: all of these chemicals are killing us. Before we go any further, I want you to take three and a half minutes to watch this "A Wake-Up Story" video.

Chemicals are everywhere. From the food our kids eat, to the grass they roll around on and the soap we use to clean them up. There are more than 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the United States however pre-market safety testing is not required. That's right, companies do not need to prove that a chemical is safe before it is introduced into the market. In Europe, more than 1,300 chemicals have been banned from use in personal care products yet here in the U.S. only 11 have been banned. We are failing to protect our children and now the leading cause of child-related death in the U.S. is cancer.

Let me repeat that:
the leading cause of child-related death in the U.S. is cancer! 

Our babies are dying before they even have a chance to live. They are born with more than 200 chemicals already in their little, vulnerable bodies. So THAT is why we all need to be more aware of what we bring into our homes and put on our bodies. That is why I personally urge everyone to be green.

Now that we have the why, let's get to the how. How can you reduce your child's exposure to toxic chemicals? If this is all new to you, the best thing to do is start off easy and take it one step at a time. Healthy Child Healthy World offers us five affordable tips to lowering chemical exposure:

  • Take off your shoes. 85 percent of the dirt in our homes is tracked inside on the bottom of our shoes. And unfortunately, it’s not just dirt, but also toxins like lead, pesticides, gasoline residue and more. So take your shoes off at the door and don't be afraid to request guests to as well.
  • Buy safer body care. Children are exposed to an average of 27 care product ingredients on a daily basis that have not been found safe for developing bodies. Protect your family’s health by avoiding products with ingredients like parabens, synthetic fragrances and triclosan. I personally use the Seventh Generation baby products and have been very pleased with them all. For a list of most-toxic offenders, download the Healthy Child Healthy World free eBook, “Easy Steps to a Healthy & Safe Nursery.
  • Open a window. We spend about 90 percent of our time inside, but indoor air is typically far more polluted than outside. So, open up your windows. Just a few minutes a day can improve indoor air quality. And don't forgot to do this in your car as well. When you first get in the hot car, roll down the windows for a few minutes while you wait for the A/C to kick in.
  • Eat whole foods. Processed foods are convenient, but they are also loaded with sweeteners, artificial flavors and colorings, and synthetic preservatives. These lack nutrients and many are also linked to health issues like ADHD and even cancer. Stonyfield Organic offers an arrangement of foods for babies, kids and adults; organic yogurts, smoothies, soy yogurts, ice cream and milk. I can tell you that they are delicious, are the only yogurt products I have ever used in the 8.5 years that I have been a mom and most importantly they are all made without synthetic hormones, toxic persistent pesticides, GMOs and artificial ingredients.
  • Ban the can. Bisphenol-A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that has been linked to everything from obesity to cancer, is in the plastic resin that lines most canned goods—from soups to sodas. Not to mention canned foods are usually loaded with salt. Look for foods packaged in glass or eat fresh, dried, and frozen options.

Now that you have learned a little more about toxic chemicals and how you can limit your exposure, there is still more you can do: take action and educate others. First, contact your senators and urge them to strengthen and pass the Chemical Safety and Improvement Act (CSIA). Click here to send a message to yuor senator now. Next, you can tell your friends, family, PTO, etc. about the dangers of chemicals and the safer products available to them by hosting a Healthy Baby Home Party. There is also a $1 off coupon available to download whether you sign up to host a party or not.

One (1) winner will received a Seventh Generation #HealthyBaby product gift basket. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on July 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer Blu-ray Combo Pack Giveaway

On Friday, nights after we finish eating pizza from the local pizzeria, we like to sit down as a family and watch a new movie together. So I am always looking for a family-friendly movie that we have never seen before for our weekly family movie nights. Jack the Giant Slayer seems like something that my boys could really enjoy. Just the fact that it stars Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci makes me want to see it. I love both of those actors.

Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing Jack (Nicholas Hoult), into the battle of this life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom and its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend... and gets the chance to become a legend himself! Directed by Brian Singer (X-Men, Superman Returns)

Starring: Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy), Ewan McGregor (Star Wars, Moulin Rouge!), and Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones).

Rated PG-13

One (1) reader will win a Jack the Giant Slayer Blu-ray Combo pack. Open to US and Canada residents only. Giveaway ends on July 6, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How Will You Get Your Kids Outside This Summer? #BeOutThere

By 1:00pm this Friday (June 21) my children will officially be done with school until they return for the start of the next year at the end of August. The two months of summer break is something I both look forward to and dread at the same time. I enjoy having my kids home and I really enjoy not having to get the four of them ready for school everyday. I dread the nonstop sibling fighting that will ensue after the first week (or first day, who am I kidding?) and coming up with ideas to keep them active and entertained. It is so easy to fall into the trap of handing them an electronic and telling them to have a good time, but I try my hardest to not go that route. I want my boys to get outside and be active and healthy.

The National Wildlife Federation's Be Out There Initiative wants to help us all get our kids off the couches this summer and out into the great outdoors? Here are just a few reasons why:

Children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001)

Today, kids 8-18 years old devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media in a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). (Kaiser Family Foundation)

In a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own. (Children & Nature Network, 2008)

Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration. (Burdette and Whitaker, 2005; Ginsburg et al., 2007)

Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008)

The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11. (Wells and Lekies, 2006)

The bottom line? It is healthy for your kids, for you and for our planet if we all spend some more time outside. As part of this initiative, the National Wildlife Federation is putting together an e-book that will help parents find solutions for getting outdoors with the kids during the summer. Some of the ideas in this book will be coming from mom bloggers, including myself. They have asked me to contribute to the Be Out There e-book and I am so excited to be a part of it!

The theme for my contribution is "Nighttime Activities" - how you can avoid the heat of summer days by getting outside with the kids when the sun goes down. So I want to know: what does your family like to do outside at night together? Share your favorite activities in a comment below, and you just might make it into the e-book with me!

This is a compensated campaign with The Motherhood and the National Wildlife Federation. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. If I use your idea in my e-book contribution, you will be credited accordingly.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Join Us for the National Wildlife Federation #RRtreehouse Twitter Party on June 5

I was compensated for this post and my participation in the Twitter party. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The National Wildlife Federation has some great tools to help get kids involved with animals and nature. In the past we have had subscriptions to both their Wild Animal Baby and Ranger Rick Jr. children's magazines and the boys really enjoyed the. Being the tech addict that I am, I got excited when I learned that there is a new Ranger Rick's Tree House app for iPad. The app features interactive games, animal photos and facts and is both fun and education for kids ages 7 - 12.

Twitter Party Time!
Join us for the #RRtreehouse Twitter party with the National Wildlife Federation to spread the word about this exciting new app. We'll talk about the Ranger Rick's Tree House app, along with other fun ideas and helpful tips for building excitement about nature among kids and families!

WhenWednesday, June 5th at 1:00mp EST

Where: Follow the #RRtreehouse hashtag on Twitter to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite:

Hashtag: #RRtreehouse

TweetGrid for the party

Prizes: Five prizes will be awarded throughout the party to participants who respond correctly to trivia questions. Each prize will include a basket of goodies from Ranger Rick for your little explorer:
  • Ranger Rick Plush
  • Ranger Rick Nature Notebook
  • Ranger Rick Drawstring Backpack
  • Ranger Rick yellow binoculars
  • June/July issue of Ranger Rick print magazine
Be sure to follow all of the hosts and co-hosts on Twitter so you don;t miss any of the fun!

Hosts@theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann


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