29.11.16

How to Keep Fit Over Christmas

Christmas, for many people, is a chance for a well earned break. You may be working full time, and looking forward to a few days with family, be home for the holidays after a tough semester at university or college, or just allowing yourself a break from your online studies, perhaps an online MBA. Every year, Christmas shopping seems to start a little earlier too. We also sometimes see this as an excuse to start the Christmas eating, drinking and partying a little earlier too, eh?! While it’s perfectly acceptable to pig out a little over Christmas, trying to keep as fit and healthy as you can will make it much easier to get back into your normal routine come January. This is especially important if you are training for an event. You’ll be amazed at how much your fitness levels can drop after only a few weeks.


Watch What You Drink
People are always surprised when they find out how many calories and how much sugar there is in their favorite alcoholic drinks. Sure, we’ve all heard of the dreaded beer belly, but that’s just beer, right? Unfortunately not. A glass of red wine can have up to 200 calories. Have the odd glass of wine, or beer, but try to drink spirits with a slimline tonic, and drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.

Eat Before You Go Out
Don’t be tempted to skip meals, thinking this will save calories. It’ll just make you more likely to eat bigger meals when you do, or make you want to snack later in the night. Instead try to eat smaller meals more often, so you aren’t tempted to over indulge.

Exercise
Now I’m not saying you need to go for a 10km run on Christmas morning (but I have been known to do this!), a few days off is fine, as is doing shorter workouts, or reduced intensity for the whole period. Just try not to stop completely for more than a few days. You will start to lose fitness, and the longer you leave it, the harder it will be to get back to where you were.

Get the Family Outside
You might not want to exercise for a few days, but why not get your whole family doing some outdoor activities. Ice skating is a great, festive family activity. Or you could just take a nice country walk, together as a family. Take the kids out on their new bikes if you can. Have some fun.

Smaller Portions
Have a little of everything. Don’t deny yourself any treats that you want. Just don’t go crazy. Have a chocolate every now and then,  but try to resist eating the whole box. The same goes for those mince pies.

Get Stuck in to the Sprouts
Sprouts are in fact a Christmas superfood. So, eat as many as you want. They are full of vitamins and minerals which will give your immune system a boost, and help keep you from getting any bugs over the holidays.

You can easily enjoy all Christmas has to offer, without losing your fitness levels and gaining a little extra weight. Maybe, try to limit any Christmas indulgence to Christmas week only, but don’t feel guilty for any diet slips. You’ll be back to your online studies, or the hard days at the office in no time (gah!)

Give yourself a little break. It is Christmas after all.


Elle :)

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25.11.16

4 Ways To Stick To Your Fitness Goals In The Winter Months


As the days grow shorter and the weather gets colder, it's difficult to maintain your workout routine. The winter blues may seem to hinder your fitness aspirations, but there are strategic ways of staying on track. Adjust your routine to accommodate this time of year and set yourself up for success by joining a gym, tracking your meals, enlisting in fitness programs and setting recreational goals. Here are four ways you can stay motivated and focused on your fitness goals during winter.

Join a Gym
Escape from the outdoor chill and utilise the indoor workout facilities of your local gym. A gym is the perfect environment for you to explore new workouts and keep active during the dark, cold winter months. Many gyms also have equipment and features that let you engage in workouts that you’d usually enjoy in the warmer months. For example, if you’re an avid swimmer, find a gym with an indoor pool. You can stay cozy and still keep up on your personal records for the 100 meter. Many gyms also offer group classes, which are a great way to boost your energy and also increase your social network. Choose classes that are fun and re-energising — like an energetic dance class, indoor cycling classes or yoga — so you can go out and combat the winter world!

Food Tracking
Comfort food tends to sneak into your diet during the winter months, as there are so many wonderful warm foods and holiday treats to enjoy. Stay aware of what you’re putting into your body so you have the proper nutrients for your workouts. You can start a food journal in which you log all your meals and plan out your food schedule. You can also find a digital food tracker, or diet app, that seamlessly logs your meals and provides statistics of your calorie and nutrient intake. The MyPlate and Lose It! apps are helpful tools that will keep you aware of your daily food consumption.

Fitness Programs
If you struggle to stay consistent with your workouts, sign up to a fitness program that will guide you toward your goals. You can choose an app that will keep you on track and give you daily exercises and circuits, which will build your strength and stamina. The Sweat With Kayla app provides you with a six-day workout plan that includes three sessions of resistance training and three sessions of cardio. Each session lasts around 30-40 minutes and provides step-by-step instructions so you aren’t overwhelmed. The program is designed to gradually increase in difficulty, so you don’t start the first few weeks huffing and puffing trying to keep up. You can post your progress pics onto the app, so you can have a visual record of your journey. Make sure you have a phone with a good camera like the iPhone 7 Plus so you can take high-quality progress photos, anytime and anywhere. Other helpful fitness apps include My Fitness Pal, PEAR Personal Coach and ActiveX.

Set Goals
Set lofty goals for yourself, that will keep you accountable. For example, if you enjoy running, sign up for a long distance run — either a 10K, a half-marathon or a marathon. Make sure you only sign up for a race that you have time to prepare for, as injuries may occur when there hasn’t been sufficient training. You could also sign up to a sports tournament, for an individual sport like swimming or for an organised sports team you’re a part of. Having an event to work towards will inspire dedication to regularly workout and will be a great source of motivation for your personal fitness and health.

Any strategies that you use yourself?! 

Elle :) 

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17.11.16

Run With Us: Essential Warm-Up Tips For Winter Running

Run With Us is a new series I've started to coincide with the launch of the newest run club on the block - #WinterRunClub - each and every Thursday evening in the lead up to the London Winter Run (full details for each week can always be found on my Facebook Page or on Eventbrite. It's completely free to get involved and if you choose to join us for the London Winter Run you can get a few pounds off your entry with code SIMPELLE3.

The aim of the posts are to inspire you to keep pounding the pavements throughout the colder weather, to share knowledge with you and of course, to inspire you to Run With Us!

***

Warming up before your run is essential for avoiding injury in the Winter months. Fortunately just 30 seconds of each of the following exercises will switch on the muscles used for running and activate your nervous system. Stretching cold muscles (particularly in static stretches) can lead to injury and stepping out in the cold Winter air can have a similarly negative effect.

The cool air shocks the muscles, reducing blood flow causing them to feel tighter and leaving them prone to injury. By doing a few minutes of active, or dynamic stretching before you head off you can improve your running and reduce the risk of injury.

HIP TWISTS



Here is the first exercise to open up your hips and to prevent tight hip flexors (very common with runners!). Start in a seated position on the floor or on a mat with your knees at 90 degrees. Flip just the knees over to the other side and rotate your torso as you do so, following the direction of the knees. Keep repeating this movement, holding the rotation for a couple of seconds each time.

KNEE CIRCLES




This is a great mobility exercise to open up the hips and prevent any lower back pain or muscle ache. Starting in box position on your hands and knees, with your shoulders tracking over your wrists and your hips tracking over your knees. Make sure your feet are also hip-width apart. Imagining that you have a pen attached to your knee cap, draw knee circles with one leg. Perform 10 rotations in one direction and then change direction of the circle. Repeat on the other leg.

DEEP SQUAT HOLD AND FROG SQUAT


This is the king of the hip-openers and also will alleviate any tight lower back muscles. You can either hold the deep squat position, with your elbow fixed on the inside of the knees (effectively opening up the hips more). Or for the frog squat, whilst maintaining a straight back and open chest, lift the hips up and down in a rocking motion. Perform either exercise for 30 seconds.

SCAPULA SLIDES



Although this warm-up for the upper back and shoulders is best done when lined up with your back against a wall, you can still do this from standing. Taking a deep breath in with your arms above your head, breathe out and draw the elbows down by the sides of your waist as you squeeze the shoulder blades together. You want to imagine a walnut stuck in between your shoulder blades and you’re trying to crack that walnut! Make sure you relax your shoulders whilst performing this exercise.

ACHILLES AND CALF MUSCLES STRETCH


Your calf muscles and Achilles tendon are crucial to running. By giving them a good warm up your running will feel easier and you’ll reduce your chance of major injury. Bring one foot about an inch away from a wall, with the other foot placed behind about a foot length’s away. With both feet facing forward and pressing against the wall with both hands, draw your front knee towards the wall so it reaches it. It is important here to keep the heel of the back foot glued to the ground. Hold for about 15 seconds on one side and then switch legs.

Do you warm up before you go out to run?! 

Yasmine


Yasmine is a West London based Personal Trainer, Running Coach and founder of Say Fitness Personal Training. Having worked as a Graphic Designer and Brand Manager for 10 years, including a stint as a University Lecturer at a private University in California, she decided to pack away the desk job and combine her talents in teaching and fitness with her love of marketing and branding to qualify as a Personal Trainer. Now as a dedicated and passionate Personal Trainer with a diverse skill set, Yasmine aims to help you change your lifestyle habits and set realistic goals for a happier and healthier mind and body!

14.11.16

4 Skincare Tips For Active Women

What happens when you put together a Personal Trainer and a Make Up Artist?! ...well, it isn't a bad joke but it did produce this post! My very good friend from University, Elaine Lynskey sat down with me one wet and chilly afternoon to chat all things skincare when it comes to being active and I wanted to share everything she told me with you here!


Take Extra Care In Colder Weather

There’s the unfounded myth that when the weather gets colder, moisturising your skin isn’t as important but we know that this isn’t quite the case. The harshness of the colder temperatures plus the added windchill are very drying on your skin and your face doesn’t get the luxury of being wrapped up underneath cosy winter jumpers.

Elaine suggested adding a little beauty oil (2-3 drops) to your moisturiser especially when the colder months arrive. The benefits are plentiful but include hydration of your skin, rebalancing and it’s also anti ageing. Don’t be afraid of using oil on your skin even if your skin is classified as oily as you can actually fight oily skin with oil. The key is to look for the right ingredients in the products you chose; Look for something with either jojoba or rosehip oil which are healing, help to reduce scars, sun damage and lines. If you’l l be running or working out outdoors apply your moisturiser plus oil before you head out. Otherwise, simply just add it to your morning or evening routine.

How You Clean Your Skin Is More Important Than When 

So the focus here is on cleaning your skin properly rather than stressing about cleaning straight after exercise. Elaine suggested that we avoid wipes to clean our skin as they contain a lot of alcohol which strips your skin of it’s natural oils. If you deprive your skin of oil, it goes into overdrive producing excess oil which can lead to breakouts.

A good place to start with your skin cleansing routine is with a micelle solution such as Bioderma Sensibio H20; it works to remove makeup, soothes irritated skin and minimises redness. It also doesn't disrupt the natural pH levels of your skin yet can remove the most stubborn waterproof mascara.

The perfect product for the next part of your routine is an old favourite of mine, Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. When you use the product which has a cream base with the cloth and warm water it opens up the pores and cleans your skin more effectively whilst providing gentle exfoliation.


Keep That Sun Protection In Your Moisturiser

I know. It’s cold, and you’re even sure the sun exists any more. But the fact of the matter is if there is daylight, the sun is there somewhere. It certainly can’t do any harm to keep using a moisturiser with added sun protection especially if you will be spending time outdoors (cos, damn, on the London Underground, we can barely get fresh air let alone daylight!). Elaine recommends a minimum of factor 20 when trying to decide which product to use. You can obviously just use a separate sun cream to your regular moisturiser if your favourite doesn’t already have it added. This summer, I tried and loved the P20 Once A Day range as it’s sweatproof, safe for use on your face and very water resistant.

Manage Your Imperfections 

Personally, this is a massive area for me when it comes to skincare; I’m 32yo and still suffering from blemishes which then leave me with uneven skin tone. I’ve also been informed that although my skin is blemish prone, it’s actually dehydrated (can we ever win?!)

Imperfections include, but are not limited to spots / blemishes, dryness and chapped lips when it comes to being active. Elaine recommended Weleda Skin Food in winter months which is good for dry skin. She also recommended Lucas Papaw Ointment for dry, chapped lips.

To reduce the risk of further breakouts, avoid using heavy foundations as they don’t allow your skin to breathe. Elaine suggested that if a base is a must have, use a concealer stick on the areas that you want to cover such as under eyes, on blemishes and around nose. Also don’t forget to keep your brushes clean by washing them once a week (okay every couple weeks in reality!) with hot water and soap before letting them dry naturally to avoid contamination and added germs.

We then heard that spots on the hairline caused by sweating is an issue some of you have to deal with. For this, you can try products containing Argan Oil both pre- and post workout as it protects skin from environmental damage, is great for oily skin to as it controls oil production and is also great for those of us with sensitive skin. As an added bonus It can also be used as an overnight treatment!

***

You can check out what Elaine gets up to via her website or on Instagram.

If you have any other skincare concerns or amazing tips that you'd like to share then please leave us a comment below! 


Elle :)  

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11.11.16

Best Of Keep It SimpElle - #KISE4Years (Part 2)

I've been meaning to write and publish this post for months, since the start of 2016 to be exact but I just never got around to doing it! But now that I'm celebrating 4 years of keep it simpElle it seems like the perfect time to actually get it done (I'm was also taking part in a challenge to blog every day and clear out my draft posts folder when I wrote the first part of this and never published this second post. I know. SMH). 

It's been so long, I can't remember exactly how I put the list together but I assume it was a combination of the most read posts of all time, ones I enjoyed writing and ones that hold great memories from the past four years. I hope you enjoy them this time around if you missed them originally...

- 5 - 

Guest Post: 4 Yoga Poses For Tight Hips

After Adrianna's last Guest Post - 6 Yoga Poses For Tight Shoulders, I had to get her back again! I use the poses she shared with us to warm myself up before teaching, after cycling and generally when I can feel the tension building up in my shoulders.
- 6 -

Windsor Triathlon 2015 #MyMoments

It's kinda surreal. I took part in the 25th Anniversary event of Windsor Triathlon on Sunday 14th June 2015 and now it's all over. I swam in the River Thames, I cycled on the streets of Windsor and then I ran past Windsor Castle. This is how I did it.
- 7 -

Top 10 EssentElle Half Marathon Tips

I first wrote this post nearly two years ago for my first ever Half Marathon. The title was essentially the same but sounded specific to the event which was Run To The Beat. Since running a couple more Half Marathons though I realised that the tips were valid and valuable for every single Half Marathon so I've given the post a little makeover for 2015...

- 8 - 

RECIPE: Vita Coco Coconut Oil Coco Bites

When I went along to the Nike Women's 10km earlier in June as part of the VCCO team, I popped along to the stand and had a nibble on the Coco Bites they had prepared. I thought they were delicious and grabbed one of the recipe cards knowing I would have to attempt to recreate this myself!
Thanks for reading over the past four years! ...I'm seriously excited for what the next four will bring! 

#KISE4Years

Elle :) 

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9.11.16

5 Ways To Stay Fit & Well This Winter

I'm pretty sure that last winter, I picked up a few colds / viruses here and there, so when I started to feel a little symptomatic a few weeks ago, I racked my brain for all the methods I could think of to fight it off and then stay well for the rest of winter. And you know me, I love to see what everyone else ideas are and share those too! So have a read, and if you have any other remedies, please leave them in the comments or chat to me on Twitter / Facebook!


There's Nothing A Good Nights Sleep Can't Fix
Am I right, or am I right?! Sleep is a personal favourite of mine no matter how I am feeling. But it literally is the only time that your body has a chance to recover and heal. It also is where all your efforts in hitting the gym get reinforced so it's definitely worth it and as important as being active in the first place. I've been lucky over the last few months that I am able to sleep until I wake up naturally, but on days where I need to be awake a certain time, I have a Lumi Bodyclock which uses light to wake you up. Bethan, of A Pretty Place To Play says, "I love my lumi! I get pretty down in winter and it helps make sure I have a positive start to the day by waking me up gently." 

Never Underestimate The Effects Of A Good Supplement 
And one of my favourites when I feel the first symptoms of any kind of cold or flu, is Echinacea (they're on sale see too!). I took two capsules in the morning for a couple of days, combined with sleep (see above) and I've been lucky enough (touch wood) to not have come down with anything so far. And yes, you can probably get everything you need from food if you eat a healthy balanced diet but a little help doesn't hurt?! Fellow blogger, Petra, said "if you struggle with healthy eating I recommend supplementing with vitamin C, D, garlic and zinc. These all help with strengthening your immune system". You can pick all of these up at Simply Supplements too.


Winter Is Not The Time To Hibernate 
As the seasons change, it's as good a time as any to set yourself some goals. Victoria (All The Gear) says "it's tempting to hibernate away in the winter, and the dark mornings and evenings mean it's more tempting to reduce your activity levels, but set yourself some manageable, realistic goals to keep your activity levels up. As long as it's safe to, wrap up warm for an evening walk after a day in the office, or get some extra steps in on the weekend while it's light. Make small changes like not getting tempted to take the car to go to the shops if you could walk it just because it's cold" - I don't think I have much else to add to that cos you already know I've set a goal to run the London Winter Run (which you can get £3 off if you use code SIMPELLE3, and also #WinterRunClub every week - get all the info here), right!?

Now You Have That Goal, Don't Forget
...to wrap up warm when you're outdoors. Rebecca told us "layers are key. Just ensure you remove any damp shirts once you stop and change them to prevent you getting cold. Yes, winter is a nightmare for washing but train long in winter, run strong in spring". So don't forget to pack a spare top for a quick change if you aren't showering and drying off immediately after your sweat fest.


Sorry You Got Sick, But Home Remedies Are Amazeballs 
If it's too late (I'm sorry) then you can still help yourself to get better faster. Starting with everything I have said above plus trying to get a little activity / movement / sweat in but keep the intensity lower than normal as you don't want to weaken your immune system anymore than already. Alana (The Larns) shared her remedy with us which is "I swear by warming up on the hob orange juice, cinnamon, honey and ginger when you have a cold coming on. Great for sore throat and clearing the sinuses!"

Do you have any other ways to help stay well during the winter months?! 


Elle :) 

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7.11.16

Run With Us: Top 5 London Running Routes from Break The Loop

Run With Us is a new series I've started to coincide with the launch of the newest run club on the block - #WinterRunClub - each and every Thursday evening in the lead up to the London Winter Run (full details for each week can always be found on my Facebook Page or on Eventbrite. It's completely free to get involved and if you choose to join us for the London Winter Run you can get a few pounds off your entry with code SIMPELLE3.

The aim of the posts are to inspire you to keep pounding the pavements throughout the colder weather, to share knowledge with you and of course, to inspire you to Run With Us!

***

Running is the most natural form of exercise we can do, from our very first tottering steps we were forming the basis of a love for running, a love that has perhaps been forgotten for some. I know I go through phases of love… hate… love… hate… survive… love… you get the picture! I would hazard a guess that 99% of those who hate running, more than likely do so due to one, or a combination, of the following…

Lack of running i.e. general fitness, which actually makes any exercise bloody awful for the first few weeks or so, until you find your feet.

Or, on the flip side...

Too much, too soon which then resulted in injury, only compounding the false view that running is bad for you. I’ve been there and stress fractures aren’t pretty, they also definitely put you off running for a while, also not the goal!


Running really is for everyone, in varying different stages of enjoyment, intensity and distance. The most fantastic thing about it is that all you need is a pair of trainers and a general sense of direction. Although, with smart phones being so commonplace, even the latter isn’t really all that necessary.

As much as I have been known to moan and groan about getting out there to do my weekly runs (see love, hate comment above), London really does have some beautiful running routes, especially when the weather cooperates. I’m partial to a greener, more open plan environment when running but for all you urbanites out there, running the streets of London can make for some amazing architectural viewing, perfect for helping those miles tick by!

Here are my ‘Top 5 London Running Routes’, in no particular order;

1. Richmond Park. You really get a sense of being away from it all, away from the City.

2. Hyde Park. Also a lovely little escape from the madness of London, you can zig zag around and make your run as long or as short as you like, without getting bored from doing the same old laps over and over again.

3. Along the canal ...joining up all the Royal Parks. This is a massive favourite of mine, one that I really wish I did more often! (Note to self!)

4. Parkland Walk, through Finsbury Park, up past Highgate finishing at Ally Pally. That view! Perfect for post work, nighttime runs!

5. Embankment (Both North and South side). You will have to get used to people dodging if you want to run in peak hours, however I’m fairly certain that all that ducking and weaving counts as core work so it’s a double win.

Anyone have any routes to add to the list?


Hayley :) 


Hayley is London based writer, fitness model, triathlon fanatic, travel bug and co-founder of lifestyle blog, Break The Loop. She lives in South London with her man - Dan, her two pups - Betty & Snoopy, and a rather handsome feline named Oscar. Despite it occasionally feeling like she resides in a zoo, she is definitely still in the market for a miniature Daschund named Norman. Her big dream is to quite literally ‘break the loop’ by making the jump across the pond to the US of A and continuing to do everything she does now but in the sunshine and preferably by the ocean.

3.11.16

A Little Life Update / November '16

I know we're all really good at keeping ourselves busy, right?! But when you're a freelancer you need to make sure that the stuff you're doing to keep yourself busy is actually earning you money! ...and, if you're the type of person who has big goals in life (I'd like to think I am under that umbrella) then you also need to make sure that you're taking steps towards achieving goals that you have. So I turned on those two filters recently - 1. Am I being paid? 2. Is this gonna get me a step closer to my goals along with 3. Do I really want to do this / go there? - to help me to come to a decision.

Photo Credit: Lolography

We all love a little life update, right?! I really enjoy reading others so I thought I would share a quick one with you now... grab a cuppa, get comfy and have a read...

I applied for my Masters degree, got accepted, but have decided to defer. I finally found the course that was right for me (Management with Business Innovation at Birbeck) but then I realised that if I started this October, I would have missed a few weeks of lectures (due to my own procrastination in applying) and I would probably have to quit some teaching jobs (and income) to make it work. So the best decision was for me to defer to October 2017 to give me time to work, save a little and get organised. A Masters degree isn't a walk in the park after-all...

I fell in love with indoor cycling again, and decided I needed to pluck up the courage to get back into teaching it. I qualified in indoor cycling maybe about 8 years ago?! I can't even remember; but I've never taught a class. After training for L'Etape London this summer with indoor cycling classes once or twice a week I really got back into it. This week I went along to a Bikes & Beats workshop at Gymbox to hangout with other instructors, swap ideas and chat about delivering the class. So now my next (short term) goal is to prepare a couple of tracks ready for the next available auditions. 

I suddenly turned (what I have named) pseudo-vegan / vegetarian. I don't know what happened, but I have really gone off meat recently. I can still happily eat fish, and I'm pretty sure I would eat meat if I really fancy it but right now, I'm just not craving it! I had to seek inspiration for my weekly shopping though, and I dug out my 'Thug Kitchen - Eat Like You Give A F*ck' vegan recipe book which I've owned for well over a year and never used! I've been enjoying the brown rice bowl for breakfast / lunch, the cornmeal waffles with strawberry syrup and the coconut bread was out of this world (this is based on sharing the loaf and receiving feedback too!). But generally, I stick with being a 'Flexitarian' - I don't want to label how I eat, I just eat what I fancy when I fancy it! 
Week one of Winter Run Club has come and gone! ...when you host a party, you always worry that no one may turn up! So I was happy that there were 15 of us on launch night for #TinyTYRunClub last Thursday evening. I blinked, and it's Thursday all over again! If you're in London, I'd love for you to come and join us one evening (always appreciate the support, y'know?!) as we cater for all abilities! Any questions, just let me know! 

I auditioned at FRAME (an awesome group of studios in London) and am now training up in their class concept, 'Lift'. I kid you not, auditions just make me so nervous and I'm always glad when people can see past that! I feel like auditioning is never the same as really being in front of a group of peeps ready to sweat but I understand it has to be done! ...but what made me even more nervous was the fact the class is completely choreographed and I had to co-teach my first class this week! I literally didn't sleep the night before with all the moves going through my mind and then I feel like my brain just let go of everything I remembered when it was time to teach! haha! ...but now thats done, I feel so much more at ease about co-teaching again and continuing to learn the choreography. 

To help me practice my Lift choreo, and because I like to train at home when I can, I bought myself a pump set (a bar and weights). I got {this one from Physical Company} as it's the perfect combination of weights that I need, looks pretty (yes, yes I said that!) and Physical Company are a reputable brand. 

I think I could probably have kept on writing but I'll take a breath and stop there... 

What's going on with you?! Is everyone getting geared up for C H R I S T M A S?! Check out this protein chocolate advent calendar (you get the chocolate and the gains?! lol)...

Elle :) 

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