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2017 Gift Guide - Iconic, Must-Have, Can't Go Wrong Gifts on Amazon

FitViews 2017 Gift Guide - Iconic, Must-Have, Can't Go Wrong Gifts from Amazon



It's that time of year again! Crank up the holiday tunes and pass the peppermint mochas it's time for my 2017 Gift Guide!

I've decided to do something just a little bit different this year. This year I'm completely focused on those iconic, must-have, truly cannot go wrong gifts that are readily available on Amazon. I really wanted to narrow my list down to just a handful of really great gifts. Well, I have agonized over my suggestions, and I truly believe you cannot go wrong with anything from my gift guide this year!


Kitchen Gifts


Kitchenaid 5 Quart Stand Mixer

Nothing says I Love You like Kitchenaid. Just sayin'. I don't know many women (and lots of men) who wouldn't love and really use this gift. It's truly the top iconic kitchen gift. Pro tip: you're going to want to be sure and pick a color that goes with their kitchen.

Instant Pot Ultra

Everyone's mother's sister's dog's aunt's neighbor wants an Instant Pot. They really are all the rage, and for good reason. I was resistant at first, but I'll admit it's in my Amazon wish list right now and I'll be buying this exact model soon. It has the most features and seems like the best model to me. It doesn't have the bluetooth, but that model seems to be lacking some key things to me, so definitely this one. 


Vitamix Ascent 2300

You cannot go wrong with a Vitamix. Diamonds? Pffft, Vitamix is a girl's best friend. They're just another one of those truly iconic kitchen items that virtually anyone will use and love. This is the model I have picked out for myself and I really think it's the best balance of features and cost. Plus, not going to lie, I just love the look of it.


Fitness Splurges


Concept2 Model D


I have researched rowers for a year now because we're looking to buy one and Concept2 is hands down my pick for best rower buy. They consistently get the best reviews on all platforms (I don't just trust Amazon reviews these days) and are just good solid machines. This is the model I'll be buying. Rowers are an amazing cardio option for those who don't want the impact of a treadmill or are simply looking to shake things up.

NordicTrack C 990 Treadmill



OK, there's a million treadmills on Amazon. I chose this one because, first NordicTrack is a great, reliable name, and second the features. The C 990 has everything I think a good treadmill should have:

  • 7-Inch web-enabled touchscreen.
  • 3.0 chp drive System.
  • 0 - 12% incline
  • 32 preloaded workouts
  • 0 – 12 MPH SPEED
  • 20 x 60 inch tread belt.
  • Folds up for storage.


Just For Fun


Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 - Ice Blue


These are just so cute and fun. I know they're on a TON of wish lists!



How about you, which one would you most love to receive this year??









Best Ketone Meter? Keto Mojo Unboxing, Demo, and Review

Best Ketone Meter - Keto Mojo Unboxing, Demo, and Review


Since going keto I've noticed quite the debate going on in the keto community surrounding testing your ketones. How can you tell if you're in ketosis? Should you test for ketones? Is it a waste of time and money? What's the best method for testing for ketones? Urine strips, blood meter, breath meter? Is it too obsessive to monitor your ketone levels? Are urine strips inferior? What's the best blood ketone meter?

Quite the hot topic!

As for me, I read all the opinions and did my research and decided that I wanted to test my ketone levels. I'm kind of a data geek anyway, but also I'm looking at this keto thing as more than just weight loss. My goal is therapeutic levels of ketones and optimizing my ketogenic diet. So, for me, monitoring my ketone levels seemed the way to go.

I started out the first 2 weeks doing the Ketostix urine strips. They're easily accessible (I found them at my local Walgreens) and let me know whether I was in ketosis or not. I know there's a lot of controversy in the keto community whether they're a very accurate measure, but they were fine for my purposes at that point.

Then, about 6 weeks into doing keto, I decided that I was ready to go all in and order a blood meter. After doing some research, I decided to order the Keto Mojo. I was really on the fence about it at the time, but now that I've had it and used it...

Keto Mojo Unboxing, Demo, and My Thoughts:




As I said in the video, I love this monitor and am absolutely so glad that I bought it. I love being able to track my ketone levels and pay attention to how different foods and macros affect them. I absolutely appreciate how affordable they've made these test strips compared to others on the market. (It's funny, I've noticed that since the Keto Mojo came out the other strips do seem to be coming down in price!) The autoship program for the strips is also super convenient for me. Overall, I highly recommend this company and product if you're looking to optimize your ketogenic diet. 

Best Way to Test Ketones - Keto Mojo Unboxing, Demo, and Review




So, what do you think? Test your ketones? Don't waste your time and money?











Fitness Fashion Friday - My Secret Crossfit Obsession


I don't really do Crossfit, exactly...

OK, I haven't talked much about Crossfit, it was just one of those things everyone was jumping on the bandwagon a few years ago and I wasn't following the crowd. I get weird about things like that sometimes. Like when everyone was juicing and I was like, whatever. No. Buuuuuut, I have a confession: I've been dabbling. I admit it, I'm a little Crossfit curious.

I do a lot of Crossfit-like workouts and I've done some WODs from the site, but I don't belong to a box or anything. Crossfit related books have been showing up on my Kindle at alarming rates lately, and I think I've watched everything Crossfit on Netflix. And I might be binging crossfit podcasts on occasion. OK, and maybe I rented the Rich Froning documentary too...

I have always really related to the Crossfit community. I have a lot of friends who do Crossfit and I just dig the vibe around the Crossfit community. AND? I really dig Crossfit gear.

For years I've owned a LOT of Reebok Crossfit gear. A lot. Shirts, socks, shoes, and leggings. Stuff that I go to again and again. Not to mention I love my custom Nano 2.0s:


You can't see in the pic, but they have my initials "KO" on the back. Totally worth the splurge.

Plus, I just bought these this week:


But, I kind of LOVE these too! #NEED


They're very Wonder Woman-ish and I kind of want them too. Dear Santa...

The latest Reebok Crossfit gear definitely has me making a Christmas list! (scroll through to see all my favorites)




These aren't all Crossfit-specific, but I'm loving these Reebok capris and leggings (you might have to scroll through these too if you're on mobile):








So, what about you? Are you a Crossfitter? Crossfit curious like me? Loving the gear? Or no way on all counts??









I'm Back on YouTube!

Ketogenic Diet Vlogger on YouTube


Hey guys! I wanted to let you know that I'm back on YouTube. I've been meaning to dust of my channel for a while, and now seemed like a great time to just do it. 

I'm vlogging through my keto journey and answering questions on keto. I will also be talking weight loss, my new workout program, my monthly favorites, etc, etc.

I'd love for you to come on over! And maybe subscribe? ;)

Here are last week's videos if you missed them:









Have a question or video request?





KSWISS 40% OFF Friends and Family Promo Code



Hey guys! Welcome back to Fitness Fashion Friday. 

Today I wanted to do something a little different. I have a special discount code to share with you! I recently became an affiliate with KSWISS (see affiliate disclaimer above this post). As such, I get the opportunity to share special coupons and discount codes with you guys on occasion. 

I'm super excited to share that this weekend KSWISS is having a special friends and family sale. 10/27 through 11/5 (that's a special affiliate extension on the deal, you'll need to click through my link) with promocode KSWISSBFF, you can enjoy 40% off regular priced products!  

A little inspo for your shopping...








Hoke CMF (check out the other colors too, LOVE)








Not going to lie, I kind of want them all...






Cinnamon Cardamom Turmeric Latte - Paleo, Low Carb, Gluten-Free, Keto


Cinnamon Cardamom Turmeric Latte

I love turmeric lattes. OK, so I feel a little weird calling anything lacking espresso a latte, but well, everyone else is so I guess I'll just go with it ;)

Turmeric is an amazing anti-inflammatory super food. Dr. David Perlmutter recommends it in his awesome book Grain Brain (I definitely recommend this book if you haven't read it yet). Also, Dr. Axe has an interesting post on the benefits of turmeric and video on the health benefits of turmeric. Definitely check those out if you're not quite sold on turmeric! 

I am always on the lookout for more ways to add turmeric into my daily diet. I add it to everything from curry, to taco salad, to lattes...

I've been playing around with turmeric latte recipes for a few months and lately this one is hands down my favorite. It is not only paleo, low carb, keto, gut health friendly, anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, and clean, but it's just plain delicious! It has become part of my nightly bedtime ritual.

Keto Cinnamon Cardamom Turmeric Latte

A huge thank you to Wild Foods for sending me their Turmeric Powder for this recipe.

Ingredients


1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon Organic Cardamom
Organic Steviaor Raw and Unfiltered Honeyto taste (These are completely optional, I prefer it unsweetened. Leave it out to keep it keto.)


Low Carb Cinnamon Cardamom Turmeric Latte


Directions


Add all ingredients except the collagen to sauce pan over low heat, blend ingredients well. You can either heat this to desired temperature on your stove or you can add the ingredients to a mug and microwave for about 95 seconds. Once you've heated via either method, add the collagen and stir well. If you have a Frother, give it a whirl. (If you don't have a frother, you really need one, they're amazing and pretty cheap.) It will be amazing frothy deliciousness this way. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.

Paleo Cinnamon Cardamom Turmeric Latte


Notes


Yes, you can use canned coconut milk instead of the culinary, it will have slightly less carbs with the canned. I've tried it with the unsweetened vanilla coconut milk in the carton and that was OK too. 

As mentioned, sweetener is completely optional. I prefer this with none, but turmeric can be an acquired taste, so play with it. To keep it low carb use stevia or other low carb friendly sweetener and as I said, leave out all sweetener to keep it keto. Otherwise, honey or maple syrup are nice options to keep it paleo, primal, etc.


Gluten-Free Cinnamon Cardamom Turmeric Latte


Let me know if you try it!!



Cinnamon Cardamom Turmeric Latte - Paleo, Low Carb, Gluten-Free, Keto, Primal, Anti-Inflammatory, Gut-Healing








Fitness Fashion Friday - Transitioning From Fall to Winter Running


Happy Fitness Fashion Friday! Best day of the week. Today I want to chat about the upcoming change most of us will make in our running gear. The Brrrrrrrr change that is.

If you workout inside your workout gear doesn't likely change much with the seasons. If you run or workout outside however, well, your gear changes immensely. Currently we're having a decently warm fall here and I'm still running in capris mostly, but I'm already planning for the dropping temps and changing gear.

As Fall fades into Winter I will start to pull out the gloves, fleece headbands, and even hats. I always make sure my jacket or hoodie has pockets big enough to stash them if I warm enough to take them off. I also break out the wool or wool blend socks this time of year. I think Santa needs to check out the Smartwool knee-highs below. Hint. Hint. Nudge. Nudge.


Generally I change from a regular running shoe to a trail shoe for Winter too. I just find with the questionable surfaces and weather I do better in a trail shoe this time of year. Luckily I don't have to go full on Yaktraxaround here. Well, I haven't yet that is!

Then, of course, I have to break out my running hoodies and jackets. I'm seriously crushing on the ones in the collage above. Season change is a great excuse for new gear, right?! 

Oh yes, and leggings. I generally prefer to run in capris, but when those mornings begin to get below 32 degrees I am running for my full length leggings. Currently I'm loving my UA ColdGear Leggings, but aren't the ones I have picked out in the collage seriously cute? Again, I believe more shopping is needed ;) One can never have too many cute leggings you know.


How about you? What do you change up in your gear transitioning from Fall to Winter? But seriously, which jacket should I get??









Low Carb, Keto-Style Frozen Chocolate Protein Shake

The Perfect Keto Chocolate Shake

Since I went low carb, and then keto, I have been on the quest to make a good, creamy, frozen chocolate protein shake. Previously my cheat was a frozen banana, but that's too high carb for me right now. Well, after much testing, I think I've finally got it figured out!

Two words: Frozen. Cauliflower.

I know, I know, sounds weird, but seriously, try it! It's perfection. Plus, the MCT Powder makes this sooooo good and keto friendly.

Whether you're low carb, keto, paleo, or just eat clean this shake is for you. It's completely delicious, packed with protein and MCT's, and is a great way to sneak in more low carb veggies. Total win.

Keto Chocolate Shake


Ingredients


1 cup frozen cauliflower


Directions


Blend all ingredients in your blender until smooth.

Options


Change it up by using any flavor protein powder. French Vanillaand Cafe Latteare amazing in this as well. Also, this is a great recipe to add your exogenous ketones to. The chocolate sea salt is an amazing addition.


Keto Chocolate Protein Shake



Let me know if you try it!








Amber Dodzweit's Built for Her Program Review and Results

I was sent a copy of Built for Her to facilitate this review, as always opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.


AmberDodzweit.com Built for Her discount code: use "FITVIEW" at checkout to receive 20% off!!

Amber Dodzweit's Built for Her Program Review and Results

Woohoo! I'm so excited to finally be writing this Built for Her review post. I have enjoyed this program immensely and have so much to tell you! Grab a cup of coffee and lets chat...


What is Built for Her?


OK, for those of you that haven't been following my series, what exactly is Built for her? Built for Her is a complete diet and fitness program from Amber Dodzweit. It is a digital download complete with workouts, nutrition recommendations, and some real talk inspiration. From her site, Built for Her is:


A 12 WEEK START TO FINISH APPROACH TO EFFICIENT TRAINING AND BALANCED NUTRITION FOR DYNAMIC WOMEN. 

  • A 12 week, 4 Phase Complete Training and Nutrition Ebook 
  • Can be completed at home with Dumbbells
  • Macronutrient Calculator
  • Community Support
  • Group Coaching with Amber
  • Online Exercise Videos
  • Program Increases in Difficulty as you Grow
  • Designed to Burn Fat and Build Lean Muscle
  • Formulated to Increase Athleticism, Endurance, Speed & Power

Amber Dodzweit's Built for Her Program Review and Results

The Built for Her Diet (Nutrition) Plan


The diet (nutrition) plan for Built for Her is pretty amazing. From the calorie and macro nutrient calculations to the changes throughout the phases I was super impressed. I really loved getting to test out how my body reacted to the different macros and options like fasted cardio, nutrient timing, and intermittent fasting. 

The nutrition portion of Built for Her is so much more individualized than I'm used to from programs. I'm used to the one-size-fits-all, blanket recommendations. This plan is so much more customized. It takes into account your goals, body type, etc. THEN calculates your calories and macro nutrient recommendations. Also, it all adjusts throughout the program. Each phase adjusts your macro nutrient percentages and calories tailored to each phase. I absolutely loved this, it really made me feel empowered to play around and figure out what works best for me.

Is the diet plan paleo friendly?

I easily adapted it paleo. I did do some dairy (especially whey protein) when it was allowed, and simply swapped grains to another carb in the few phases they're allowed. Otherwise, I found it very paleo friendly.


Am I going to starve?

NO! Hallelujah. The calorie recommendations are very balanced for this. In fact, I even tweaked my calories down a bit (as noted below) from the final phase suggestions.


Amber Dodzweit's Built for Her Program Review and Results

The Built for Her Workouts


The Built for Her workout calendar is set up in 4 different phases, all 5 days on and 2 days off. You can put your rest days wherever you need them (I loved the flexibility). The workouts consist of intervals, HIIT, and circuits that change throughout the phases, increase in difficulty, and never give your mind or body time to get bored. 

I really loved not being tied to my DVD player for these workouts. It was awesome being able to make my own playlists and take the workouts outside on nice days.


What equipment will I need?

For this program you'll need a set of dumbbells to suit your ability; I used my 8 lb, 10 lb, and 15 lb weights. Those are the only required equipment, anything else used can be modified if you don't have it. Other helpful equipment is a box or step, a kettlebell, a set of bands, an agility ladder, and a pull-up bar


What if a move is too hard, I don't know what it is, or I have other questions?

I really loved the support available here. First, there was either a print-out in the pdf showing the moves or there was a video available showing you how to do it. If I had a question, or needed to modify something, I could simply ask in the private facebook group or email Amber. This was priceless.


Amber Dodzweit's Built for Her Program Review and Results

My Experience


I journaled my experience in the blue yoobi in the pic above. Here are a few of my notes from the different phases:

Renew Phase Week 1.
Struggled a little the first 2 days trying to figure out exactly what to eat to hit my macros and calories. TONS of energy by the 3rd day. Sore, but feeling good. Workouts less than I've been doing since January. Calories virtually identical. Very pleased with results so far.
Week 2.
Still experiencing increased energy. I'm amazed at how much. I didn't get the morning smoothie in every morning. Didn't get my water in every day either. Sore, but not terribly so. Feeling great. My body seems to respond really well to the fasted cardio days. Really excited for the challenge of the workouts from the next phase. Feeling like I've caught a glimpse of me.

Establish Phase.
Went back to the calories and macros from phase 1 after 2 weeks of trying the new calories/macros from this phase. Thinking those numbers may be my sweet spot, but will continue to try each phase's calculations. I'm feeling oddly like I've never worked out before! These workouts are awesome. Did this phase an extra week due to a lackluster effort on getting the workouts in weeks 2 and 3.

Challenge Phase.
Tried out the calorie level and keto option for 3 weeks, then dropped calories a tad and upped my carbs and protein a little. Feel like I'm honing in on where my body responds best. Felt amazing on the keto though. I'm feeling extremely empowered to play with my calories and macros and find that sweet spot for this body, at this stage in my life. Pants that were too tight to wear at the beginning of Built for Her are now loose. I'm already looking forward to a round 2 of the whole program. NEVER wanted to immediately repeat a program before. I'm excited to start out stronger and feeling like I've honed in on where my calories and macros need to be. Curious on how much improvement I'll see in the fit test. Feeling like I'm in a really good groove with my food. It's been a loooooong time since I've felt that way.

Performance Phase.
Struggled with these workouts. Had to modify a lot and missed several workouts. Definitely a challenge. I look forward to owning this phase in round 2. Tried out the calorie and macro calculations, but wound up going down a bit in calories. Basically close to the calories and macros from phase 1 still seems the best fit. Still playing around with protein/fat a little. Also, tried intermittent fasting. I've found that an 11 to 7 eating window works quite well for me.

Overall.
I'm remembering that I thrive on routine. Having my workouts planned, tracking in my fitness pal, knowing where my calories and macros are best to reach my goals. I thrive on this. Strange as it sounds, I'm feeling more like me. It's set off sort of a chain reaction of taking better care of myself. I didn't realize how needed this was. I feel great. Stronger. Less foggy. Never got bored or felt limited.

I feel like I caught a glimpse of myself. Of MEMe, me. I've wandered off a bit you see. Since regaining weight. It's crazy how being put back in this overweight body has put me back in some of the same unhealthy mindsets. I caught a glimpse of the real me during this program. The me that's up early to workout. The me cramming as much spinach as she can into a smoothie in the morning just because it's good for her. The fit, strong, healthy me that takes care of herself. The me that has crazy fitness goals just to push herself. It was nice. I look forward to find more of me.

My Built for Her Results


Weight:


-12.6 pounds


Inches:


Bust -1 1/2 inches
Waist -3 inches (Say whaaaat?! Insert snoopy dance here.)
Hips -3 inches
Right Thigh -2 12 inches
Right Calf -1 1/4 inches
Right Bicep -1 inch 

Fitness Assessment:

Mile run test
Before 12:07 minute mile   
After 11:15 minute mile

Test Circuit
Time Before 8:05
Time After 5:28


Those inches though!! I'm amazed. And the improvement on the fit test?? Super excited about that. For me, for a 12 week program, these are all pretty impressive results. Also, I had lost 11 pounds at the beginning of the year and completely plateaued. I was super frustrated, but this broke through that plateau in the first week. ON THE SAME CALORIES. Most noticeable beyond the pounds and inches is how fantastic I feel. I'm extremely pleased with the results I've seen from Built for Her.


Amber Dodzweit's Built for Her Program Review and Results


Final Thoughts on the Built for Her Program


There are only a few things in my looooong healthy living journey that I call game-changers. To be exact those would be: paleo, lifting, and running. To this list I now add Built for Her. This program was a complete game-changer for me. I must confess that after all the years of research into nutrition and fitness and all the workouts and programs I've tested out on the blog, I felt like I "knew" what I needed to know. Yet, at this stage of my life, I wasn't seeing the results I wanted. I am surprised by just how much this program taught me. Things I sort of knew, but wasn't applying. Or things I'd heard, but not really paid attention to or put together like Amber does. I had so many light-bulb moments throughout this program. Small tweaks here and there have made such a difference! Everything from nutrient timing, to intermittent fasting, to the right macro percentages and calorie level. Built for Her has really helped me hone in on what my body needs right now, at this stage, to be strong, fit, and healthy. Yep, game-changer.

I am so grateful that Amber came across my path. I had let myself slip back into old unhealthy patterns of not taking good care of myself. I was really struggling. When I was trying, I felt like I was doing all the "right" things, but having zero results. The plateau after the first couple months of this year had me completely stumped. And hugely frustrated. Not only did this program break through that plateau, but it gave me a glimpse of myself again. I'd really lost my way. I am so grateful to be back on the path to finding me again.

OK, in case I haven't gushed over this program enough, I'll put it plainly: I wholeheartedly give it 5 stars and highly recommend Built for Her to anyone at an intermediate fitness level or above. It's a really well designed program. The phases, the workouts, the nutrition...it's all just good stuff. I think the ultimate question when I do these reviews is: would I buy this program? Yes, I absolutely would. Yes, I think it's absolutely worth it. In fact, I've enjoyed it so much I am going to buy Amber's LIFT program next.


Amber is simply awesome and has offered a AmberDodzweit.com coupon code for my readers! Use promo code: FITVIEW to receive 20% off at checkout!!



What's next for me?


For those of you following along my weight loss journey...

I gained 45 pounds with baby #4, I then gained 20 pounds (yes, post-baby) since moving to Idaho. Therefore, I still have about 45 pounds to loose. Thankfully, my fitness level is so much better now thanks to Built for Her. Plus, this brings me to a total of 23 pounds lost since the beginning of 2017 (placing me firmly back in onederland!). I feel completely ready to hit it and look at this round of Built for Her as a warm-up. I'm excited to get down to business with round 2. Now that I've got my nutrition locked down and I've increased my strength and fitness level, I think I can accomplish much in the next round. I'm excited to try...

Maybe I'll vlog it on my You Tube Channel? I do still have one, ha ha ha! Or maybe just on my IG stories, I'm so loving those lately. One way or another, I'll keep you posted ;) 


Built for Her from Amber Dodzweit Review and Results + Promo Code


***Update: I did Built for Her and LIFT for the rest of summer and fall. I am loving the results I'm seeing and absolutely recommend. Built for Her is still my favorite program that I've ever tried!