Thursday, April 27, 2017

What I'm Reading, Volume I

I love to read, both fiction and non-fiction. I remember the first time I read Gone With The Wind in 7th grade and absolutely fell in love with the story, the characters and the drama that engulfed poor Miss Scarlett her entire life. The fact that the America Civil War was an area of emphasis in my collegiate career is in no small part a direct result of Ms. Margaret Mitchell.

For me, reading is therapy. It lets me get out of my head and into someone else’s. There is something so relaxing about sticking my nose in a book and ignoring everything else.

Sometime I read non-fiction to make my inner student-nerd happy. Random knowledge is some of my favorite knowledge!

Since you are reading this blog, you must be a little like me and maybe you enjoy reading as much as I do. This will be a series on the blog where I let you guys know what I’m currently reading, loving and hating.

Here are three I've read and enjoyed lately.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Let’s be honest. We’ve all had that moment when our spouse pushes us over the edge and we think, “Oh my god, I’m gonna kill him!” In this book, someone says that out loud, to the wrong person (or maybe the right person, depending on how you look at it) and all hell breaks loose.

I really enjoyed this one and while I had a pretty good hunch of what was going to happen, I was still delighted as my suspicions were confirmed!

The Widow by Fiona Barton 

She was the perfect wife and she worked damn hard at it. When the husband dies, will she keep up the façade or let the secrets spill?

Trigger warning, this is one is pretty dark and covers the uncomfortable topic of child pornography. If you choose to read it, pay very close attention to the dates and names at the start of each chapter as it jumps around chronologically.

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi

A story of a Fante tribe of Africa told through seven generations as they suffer through the slave trade and the repercussions of it. It is a good book, but be prepared to continually reference the family tree at the beginning of the book. It gets complicated y'all. And honestly, if you haven’t read Roots, read it first then come back to this one.  Homecoming is like Roots version 2.0, but not nearly as good as the original.

What books are you enjoying right now? I have quite a few I'd like to tackle this year, but am always looking for more!

Stay Strong Y'all!

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Stinky Girl, A Product Review Of Schmidt's Natural Deodorant

Full disclosure: I'm a stinky girl. Some girls don't sweat and they never smell like anything except roses and sunshine. That's not me. I'm foul. I have to scrub and dub-dub. I have to apply industrial strength deodorant. I have to sniff test anything I think about re-wearing without washing.  The strange thing is that I don't really sweat, I just get damp and stagnate. I believe if I did sweat I would push the stinkies out and they would float away. Instead, they just build up and create a noxious stank that emanates from my pits. Thankfully, I stay on top of this and I doubt any of you would realize this truth about me. 

Enter Schmidt's Natural Deodorant, Lavender and Sage. Apparently Birchbox thinks I will enjoy it. Normally they are spot on. I lack faith with this one though. Normal deodorant has a boat load of aluminum chloride that acts as an antiperspirant to actually plug your sweat glands.  They also have some smell good stuff that acts as the de-odor part. With Schmidt’s, there is no aluminum chloride, so you will still sweat, but the product promises to effectively neutralize odor and absorb wetness.

Day one: I apply the product post shower; heeding the directions to "gently apply a small amount to underarms" Strike one: I really do not enjoy the smell of lavender. The sage isn't bad, but the deo sort of smells like a high end blend of Herbs de Provence. Combine that with my honeysuckle lotion and men's Escape cologne and I'm a French prostituée eating leftovers from a fancy dinner on a hotel bed. (Yes, I wear men's cologne).

Workout #1 should be a pretty good test for Shmidty. The weather is cooler than it’s been being, but as I warm up the box starts to feel really, overly hot so I turn on a fan. I do a quick pit-sniff and everything is fine. I lift my arms up and down a few times to test for stickiness and there is none. So far so good.

WOD #1 is a 10 minute EMOM with burpees, toes to bar, and OHS. I’m panting and hustling. If I was going to stink and sweat, it should have started here.

WOD #2 is another 10 minute EMOM of handstand push-ups. After I’m done, a friend who knows I’m experimenting with this deo, runs up and sticks her nose in my pits. LOL she pronounces me officially NOT STINKY!

I am not 100% convinced that the Schmidty is that good. I am assuming it is my 48 hour Right Guard that hasn’t worn off yet. We shall see.

PM: Shower and apply Lav & Sage before bed

Day 2:

AM-I get up and head to work to coach and workout. I haven’t applied any more deo since last night’s shower. Workout #1 for me is some lifting and mobility work. Nothing overly strenuous and I do not sweat or smell.

Midday- Take shower, apply Lav and Sage and head to a routine Dr. appointment. I don’t know about you guys, but every time I go the doctor I get a little nervous and my body acts like I’m about to enter enemy territory. My internal temp goes up, my BP gets a bit higher and my pulse quickens. Research shows stress sweat is stinkier than physical activity sweat due to the increase in cortisol and endorphins being released. This appointment should really test the product and SURPRISE! I leave the appointment and still smell like a French whore! (Which is a good thing in my case, remember?)

PM- Workout #2 is a high rep barbell workout. As I am warming up, I can smell the garlic on my hands that I chopped at lunch which makes me thing, “Hmmmm…lavender, sage and garlic….I smell like a pork chop!” (It’s always about food)

At this point I am starting to lose some skepticism and think maybe this stuff actually works….

Day 3:

My rest day! YAY! Since I don’t go into work until later today, I focused on taking care of some housekeeping. No shower or extra deo, just starting working. I also did Romwod outside in the beautiful sun and can say I did not stink! That’s 24+ hours after the last application!
I took a shower before heading into work and was still pretty hot when I put Schmidty on. I wasn’t stinky, but I did feel damp under the pits all day long. I know the product said it would absorb wetness, but where, exactly would the wetness go when the product absorbed it? It is still going to be under my armpits, right? I keep thinking of soggy diapers…..

That evening I noticed my pits were kind of itchy.

Day 4:

AM-Get up, shower, apply Lavender and head to work. Notice again that I am damp under the armpits and it isn’t going away. It’s really hot outside today and this is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, so no big surprise there. I am, however, still feeling some itching and now I get to add in some burning. That is not cool. As much as I pretend that I am a complete bad ass, my skin is kind of a sissy so I’m not sure it’s liking what is going on.

PM- Amazingly, I still smell fresh as a daisy, but the slight itching and burning is becoming more pronounced and I have red whelps in my pits. I don’t know if I’m allergic to something in the deodorant or just the constant dampness is irritating my sensitive skin.
I take a shower and go to bed without deo of any kind to let me pits breathe a bit.

Day 5:

AM: It’s Saturday! Once I got to the gym I realized I had never put on deodorant at all this morning so I used the Lady’s Speed Stick I keep at the gym. The itching and burning is gone, mercifully. And I keep noticing throughout the day that pits are dry as a bone. That’s a really, really, really good feeling. Score one for antiperspirant.

Day 6:
Once I get out of the shower, I look at the Schmidty and ponder whether to try again. I love the idea of a natural deodorant, but the moistness in my pits when I use it is really aggravating/distracting/gross/odd. And since I’m not sure if I’m allergic to it or not, I decide not to experiment any further and grab my old anti-perspirant/deo and cake it on.

Here’s my official review of this product. It is a great option if you want to go natural and avoid aluminum chloride. I was NEVER stinky and I worked out 4 of the 4 days I used it. I even made it through a doctor’s appointment that would normally make me very stinky from the stress.

However, I just couldn’t get over the wet pits that stemmed from it being a deodorant only. Apparently, neither could my pits as they rashed out in protest. I’ll hang on to this product and try it again in the fall/winter when it’s not 100% humidity and heat and see if that makes a difference.

If you are looking to try something natural, I would recommend you try Schmidt’s. They have different varieties if Lavender and Sage isn’t your jam. I think the Bergamot and Lime sounds divine!

Stay Strong Y'all!

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**I am not receiving any compensation for my review of this product. The opinions are 100% my own. That said, if you do decide to shop through the links above, Amazon gives me a few pennies to thank you for referring you. And if you subscribe to Birchbox using my link above, I get $5 to spend in their store. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sorry, It Ain't Water!

I love soda, coffee, sweet tea and energy drinks. I love them like Brick loves lamp.

But I know that water is best, so I drink at least a gallon a day and then sneak a few treats in occasionally.

Wait, who am I kidding. It’s coffee every morning. That is  non-negotiable.

But sometimes water gets boring. Sometimes I miss that carbonation burn.

Have you jumped on the La Croix train? Well, I’m too cheap for La Croix, so I decided to try the Kroger brand seltzer water. Seltzer water is just water with some carbonation added. 

 Y’all, it’s nasty. Not the Kroger brand per se, but seltzer water in general. Who’s idea was this?

It tastes like really bad medicine.

It reminds me of the first time I tried beer. Really, who drinks their first beer and says “DELICIOUS!”

No one. It’s an acquired taste for sure. So I’m hoping this seltzer water will grow on me. I mean, I love a good beer now, so there’s hope, right?

Anyway, the point of this post is not how nasty seltzer water is. The point is that you have to be careful when shopping for water. Seltzer water is water.

But not all water is water.

While I was perusing the Kroger aisle looking at flavored waters, I spotted this.

To someone who doesn’t like water, but is trying to increase their water intake, it looks really tempting, doesn’t it?

But look closely. It’s not water. It’s a “water beverage”. Look at the ingredients. Do they look familiar?

Y’all. It’s not water. It’s basically Sprite Zero. Almost identical ingredients!

Sprite Zero Lemon Lime
Kroger Strawberry Water Beverage
Carbonated Water
Citric Acid
Potassium Citrate
Natural Flavors
Potassium Benzoate

Acesulfame Potassium
Malic Acid




 I’m not saying there is anything wrong with an occasional Sprite Zero, but please don’t think you are drinking water when you are drinking a soda. Share this with anyone trying to drink more water so they don’t fall into this marketing trap.

Shame on Kroger for marketing this product this way!

Stay Strong Y'all!

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fat Loss VS Muscle Gain

Me: What is your goal for the next 3 months? Fat loss? Muscle Gain?

New Client: BOTH!

Me: Sorry, but you have to pick one.

What? You mean I can't make my muscles bigger and lose this fat around my belly in the next three months? 

Sorry, nope. You cannot gain muscle and lose fat at the same time...unless you are very special* or on drugs**.

Why? Here's the quick and dirty

  • BMR- Basal Metabolic Rate. The number of calories it takes each day to keep you exactly the way you are while doing nothing but resting. No weight loss, no weight gain. 
  • TDEE- Total Daily Energy Expenditure. The number of calories it takes each day to keep you exactly the way you are while going about your normal daily activities. 
  • Gaining muscle means you are actually adding mass to your body. Your weight will increase because there is more of you. Where will the building blocks for the gain come from? Calories! To gain mass you have to eat enough calories to be in excess of your TDEE.
  • Losing fat means you are taking mass off your body. You will weigh less because you are carrying less fat. How will this happen? You will take in calories under your TDEE.

You see the problem with trying to do both? They are on opposite ends of the spectrum! 

The good news though is that when you lose fat, the muscles you already have will stand out more and have more definition, making it look like you gained muscle. I think this is what women mean when they say that they want to get "toned" (a word I would like to abolish). 

If you are bulking (the term for trying to put on mass), the good news is that you get to eat a lot more than you normally would! However, you have to be mentally strong to truly bulk as you will gain fat and get fluffy while bulking. Sorry, there's no way around that. The key is to do an appropriate, well thought out bulk to maximize muscle gain and minimize fat gain. 

Lastly, all these things take TIME!! We aren't talking days or weeks here. We are talking months and years. Be patient and keep your eyes on the prize. To see physique changes that last, you need to cycle through periods of bulk, maintenance, fat loss, maintenance, and keep repeating until desired results are achieved.

PS: Another word I dislike: "bulky", as in "I don't want to get "bulky".  Some women do put on muscle easily and without a good nutrition strategy this muscle will build under their fat layer and cause them to get bigger overall. A good nutrition plan can minimize this by maintaining the strong muscle they already have, but cutting the layer of fat down.

*If you are new to fitness, are extremely overweight and/or are new to dietary tracking it is possible for a brief window to both lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. But it's a small window of opportunity. Don't count on this to be your golden goose.

**Performance Enhancing Drugs can help the user to override normal biological responses. Not recommended.

If you are interested in losing fat or gaining muscle or both (over a period of time!) and need a little help, look here.

Stay Strong Y'all!

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Thanks For Buying The Chocolate Covered Almonds Chuck!

A blog I follow puts out a 'prompt of the day' calendar each month to help fellow bloggers who are looking for fresh ideas. One prompt this month was

"Share your most outrageous (or inspirational) road trip story."

Immediately, I thought,

Thanks For Buying The Chocolate Covered Almonds Chuck!

If you know me pretty well, you know that things happen to me and my family (specifically my mother, sister and daughter), that just do not happen to anyone else. And these events are usually either baffling, hilarious or deadly things. Often times a combination of two or  all three of those.

Here is a little story about one of those times.

Back in 2012, we took a family trip to Hawaii. It was my mom and stepdad (Chuck), me, Jeremy and Brooke. We were staying in a lovely condo on the Big Island and had been out exploring all day.

<at some point remind me to tell y'all about the really awesome people at CrossFit All Star AND why doing a workout with 150 good mornings is NOT a great wod to do on the first morning of your vacation.>

On the way back to the condo, we realized we needed some groceries so my stepfather dropped all of us off at the condo and then ran to the store down the road. As we were filing in, we noticed we had some new neighbors moving into the condo next door. We laughed a bit because it appeared they were not there for a vacation, they were there for a party!

They looked like locals and there was no luggage that we could see. Just tons of coolers and Rubbermaid boxes full of snacks being hauled in. I can't remember how many people and tubs of snacks, but enough that it looked like they had robbed a Sam's Club.

As long as they didn't get loud and interrupt my sleep, I didn't care! Party on Wayne. Party on Kai.

While Chuck was picking up some meat to grill for dinner as well as drinks and snacks, we all sprawled out all over the condo and were chilling out reading, listening to music, napping, and what have you.

Since this was Hawaii and the weather is generally great, the condo didn't have AC. It wasn't really a problem because we would just open the front door and the patio door. Doing so created a great breeze through the condo that kept everything nice and cool.

Real quick, let me give you a visual of the layout of the condo, as best I can.

When you walked in the door there was a small bedroom to your right, then a small bathroom. On the left were a set of stairs. Once you went past these rooms and stairs you entered into the kitchen and living area. From the couch, you could see the front door and all the first floor.

The couch was were I was perched when I saw something out of the corner of my eye go whooshing by and out the front door!


Then I started laughing hysterically because I realized that one of our new neighbors had accidentally went into our bathroom instead of theirs! I mean, our door was propped open and he/she must have had to go really bad and went into the wrong condo. How long was the Bathroom Guest in there?? How long did BG sit on the toilet before realizing,

"OH MY I'm in the wrong condo!"

But wait....

There's more.....

A little while later Chuck is back from the store and the groceries have been put away. My daughter (Brooke) runs to the restroom before we start cooking. She comes out with a gallon size plastic jar of chocolate covered almonds.  I mean, it's HUGE (say in Trump voice if it makes you happy.)

She has the gigantic jar of chocolate covered almonds open and is throwing them in her mouth by the handful. I take a few from her as she settles on the couch and she continues eating them. As Chuck wanders by....

Brooke- Thanks for buying these awesome chocolate covered almonds Chuck!

Chuck- blank look

My mom- Oh, that's a huge container!

Chuck- I didn't buy those.

Everyone- <insert blank face confused emoji>

Everyone- Wild, uncontrollable laughter as we realize where the almonds came from. Discussion abounds about multiple topics such as the gross factor of eating someone else's almonds. The gross factor of eating almonds out of the bathroom. The question of  was the Bathroom Guest eating almonds while using the restroom and plotting his/her escape? The morality of whether to keep or return the almonds as it was probably a really expensive canister of almonds. The question of how pissed were BG's friends when they realize the almonds are missing.

The decision was made to return the almonds so Mom and I go knock on the BG's condo door.

The door slowly opens about halfway and 3-4 faces peer out at us.

Me- Um, I think someone in your group forgot these.

A hand quickly grabs the almonds and the door slams.

We laugh and laugh back over to our condo with mock incredulity that they didn't even say, "Thanks".

That night, BG and crew did party on. They were not too loud, but it was clear they were having a good time. The next day, they were all gone and no trace of them remained.

Seriously, does this crap happen to anyone else or is it just me?

Stay Strong Y'all!

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I Was Featured On Rent The Runway!

Hey guys,

I had an opportunity to discuss the biggest career move I ever made for Rent The Runway! Check it out and read about me and six other women who dared to be BOLD!

Stay Strong Y'all!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why Normal People Can’t Have Abs

Did that title catch you attention? Did it make you feel a little smug and justified as to why you don’t have abs? I mean, of course you don’t have abs! You don’t have the genetics of those supermodels or CrossFit athletes. #notfair

Or did it irritate you a little bit because now you think you can never have abs? Like maybe you’ve always wanted abs, but now you realize you can never have them because you are, after all, a normal person.

Well, I’m sorry to tell you, but you are right. If you are a ‘normal’ person, you will never have abs. Think about the average person in the United States. You know the ‘normal’ person. Does he have abs?

The normal person has habits and excuses that they resort to day after day that keep a layer of fluff around their midsections. ABnormal people have a set of rules and regulations that govern their healthy habits and keep those beautiful 6 packs on display.

Abs don’t magically appear because you wish for them. But you can become ABnormal and adopt the habits of those 6 Packers. Once you decide to no longer be normal, you can become ABnormal!

Take a look at these habits and see where you fall.

Normal folks
ABnormal folks
Go to the gym when it is convenient or when they have a spare moment
Fitness is non-negotiable. They have a workout routine and they schedule their lives to incorporate that
Exercise regularly, but don’t track food intake
Know that abs are made in the kitchen
Eat out for lunch daily
Bring their lunch and snacks with them wherever they go
Throw all healthy eating plans out the window on the weekend
Realize that the weekends are just as important to their goals as weekdays
Don’t weigh, measure and/or track foods eaten
Know their macro goals and consistently track & monitor each bite of food
Don’t eat enough protein
Realize that abs are muscles and you need to fuel them with protein to keep them strong
Don’t eat enough/cut calories excessively
To fuel their workouts and keep their muscles strong, ABnormal folks make sure to fuel their bodies every day.
Do 100 sit ups every day
Know you cannot spot train. To have strong, prominent abs, you have to eat right, have low enough body fat for abs to show and strength train.
Run for hours
Realize that cardio is important for fitness, but don’t do so much that they cannibalize the muscle they have.
Have kids/family/job and use them as an excuse
Objectively look at their obligations and schedule time for themselves. They set a good example for their family of self-care and health.
Treats every meal as a celebration and/or last supper
Treats every meal as an opportunity to get closer to their goals or to move away from them.
Dietary compliance is all over the place.
90% + diet compliance. People with abs do enjoy food and treats, but it is savored and enjoyed with the bigger picture in mind.
Eat a diet full of highly processed carbohydraes
Acquires most all carbs from veggies and fruits
Whip into a fast food place because they are starving
Whip the car off the road and dig through their stash of healthy snacks they keep with them at all times.
Gives up after 15 days because rewards aren’t coming fast enough
Knows that this isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle. There is no end point.

Now, I’m not saying normal is wrong. Normal is normal. Normal is fine! But if you really want abs, you have to reject normal and accept the ABnormal mindset. You have to adopt the ABnormal habits. You can no longer sit around and wonder why you work so hard, but don’t have abs.

If the ABnormal list looks a little weird and hard, trust me, it is! That’s why most people don’t have 6 packs! But it's not un-doable. It's just a mindset.

And don’t confuse ABnormal with neglecting your other life responsibilities. All of the things ABnormal people do can be done by anyone while still leading a full, balanced life.


Got thoughts or questions? Let me know below.


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