Guest Post: Finding a Healthy Balance with an Inspiration Board

Today I have a really cool guest post from a reader.  Michelle has a passion for health and wellness, and she has written a piece that will hopefully help you find what inspires you to live better as well.  Although I’ve never created my own inspiration board, I tend to use fitspiration posts and Pinterest to do the same type of thing, so Michelle’s words really resonate with me.  I hope they will for you, too! ____________________________________________________________________________________

It takes trials and errors to find a healthy balance in life’s various facets.  This holds especially true when searching for a healthy balance in achieving and maintaining our fitness goals.  However, you can create an inspiration board to detail and strategize your health and fitness goals.  Envision the healthy balance required to meet your goal, and place pictures representing proportioned balance on your board.  If you strategize your goal this way, organization and motivation unite to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and losing sight of balance.

How do you strategize and organize a healthy balance?  Begin by scouring resources for images that represent your goal and all that you need to achieve that goal.  Include pictures that symbolize inspiration and motivation.  Pictures of healthy foods, action shots of an inspirational person, and a list of daily exercises work well on healthy, balanced inspiration boards.

After you collect the pieces of your collage, choose one image that best signifies your goal and place it as the focal point of your inspiration board.  It does not matter if you have a short-term goal, such as dropping one dress size, or a long-term goal, such as an overall healthier lifestyle to live longer; the central image signifies your goal and visualizing it on a daily basis reminds you of your purpose when the daily steps to achieve the result overwhelm you.

It is now time to surround your focal point with the other pictures that inspire you to meet your goal.  Health and fitness goals require an equal balance of diet, exercise, motivation and emotional health.  Organize the pictures in a manner that makes sense to you: four quadrants, a tier system, a Venn diagram or broken into daily or weekly achievements.        

The foods you eat comprise one-fourth of a healthy balance, so create a collage of healthy foods you enjoy, foods that you want to try, and healthy, tempting recipes.  If it inspires you, include methods of disguising food you should eat but dislike.  You can find inspiration by discovering what makes food fun and what dietary changes you can sustain for an extended time.  

What images motivate you to exercise?  Pictures of exercise equipment, a painting of a path for jogging in a field of flowers, or images of a crowded gym work for some people.  Write a list of exercises you want to perform on a daily basis.  Depending on what gets you up and moving, you might want to include a playlist of upbeat music.  This is your inspiration board: What works for you?

Why should you include a motivation section on an inspiration board?  Despite apparent redundancy, personalizing and visualizing your motivation keeps you on a balanced track.  Use this section for pictures personifying the reasons behind your goal.  A person crossing a finish line, a special outfit for a special day, or a grandparent surrounded by children might remind you why you have a goal, or perhaps you have other reasons.  Search for images of a special person or event that inspires you, and place the picture on your inspiration board.

Emotional health is vital for a healthy balance but is often neglected.  If you include pictures of relaxing activities, such as a bubble bath, a garden or favorite books, you have a visual reminder of the importance of emotional rest and relaxation.  Placing prompts for leisure gives you a respite from focusing all your attention on diet and exercise and rejuvenates your spirit so you can carry on.

Get as specific and detailed as you must: This is your board to seek daily inspiration, so you want images that light a fire within you and not someone else.  Use pictures that enable you to visualize your goal and see the healthy balance required for success in reaching for your particular stars.

Check out this example fitspirational board:


I’m really inspired by yoga for a number of reasons and it is the focus of my inspiration board. Yoga focuses the mind and body, teaching ourselves to find a spiritual balance. I also love that yoga can be done anywhere, even the beach! Simple yoga poses are simple stretches that can be done in the comfort of your own home or when traveling. Yoga is great for beginners and the more advanced athlete.

I’m new to golf, but I find it very relaxing. I’ve been learning at Kaluhyat, which is a New York golf resort. They’ve got great instructors, and several courses to practice on.

As part of my personal mission to live a healthier balanced life, I need to get better at taking care of my body. I’m taking more precaution to protect myself from harmful UV rays. Problem is, I love the sun; to compromise, I bought a floppy beach hat (similar to the one pictured from Wet Seal) to help shield my face and eyes. Wearing sunglasses can help prevent sun damage to your eyes that could cause cataracts.

Improvement in your daily diet is where you notice the most change. The best way to start is by adding more fruits and veggies to your regular routine. Try a tasty green smoothie as your mid-morning snack. They may look funky, but they taste great and can be adjusted to your liking!

Photo Credits: Syracuse golf club | Yoga Class | Green Smoothie | Floppy Hat | Yoga Mat


What inspires you?

Have you ever made any type of inspiration board?

What are some tips you’d give to others on finding their inspiration?

Fitspiration: CrossFit Edition

I haven’t done a Fitspiration post in a really long time, so today I figured I should bring it back for another installation. 

I’ve really been expanding my idea of fitness lately, and I’ve become more and more interested in the world of CrossFit over the past six months or so.  The sport has opened my eyes to a whole new style of working out that I really gravitate toward, and I’ve picked up a few new fitness inspirations along the way.

Physically, it has shown me that you don’t have to look like a chiseled bodybuilder, a skinny model, or any of the other “ideal” body types to be fit.  You can be an average/normal/{insert other somewhat-negatively-associated-but-well-meaning adjective here} girl or guy and still be a fitness machine. 

Of course, fitspiration isn’t just about how you look – it’s also about how you think, how you feel, and how you stay motivated – and these strong ladies inspire me to push myself harder every single day. 


Julie Foucher: 178 by Cassidy McGuire, via Flickr

Camille Leblanc Bazinet

Julie Foucher - kipping

CrossFit Stacie Tovar

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet - my inspiration!

Hard to tell from behind but I think its Stacie!

Julie Foucher.

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet #crossfit

Stacie Tovar

Julie Foucher

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet  Clear example why I hope my daughter enjoys Gymnastics!

Samantha Briggs Cheering Camille Leblanc-Bazinet to the finish line in 13.5

What motivates and inspires you?

Fitspiration Friday

Today’s eats were pretty much exactly like those from yesterday and the day before (plus I forgot to even take a picture of my salad), so I’ll just breeze past them and get on to the good stuff…

I was doing a little work on the blog the other day, and I realized it has been quite a while (five months, actually!) since I’ve done any kind of Fitspiration post.  It’s probably because I’ve had a lot of other things to write about since then, and so exercise just hasn’t been as big of a focus as it once was for me to write about.! 

Hardcore workouts have kind of taken a backseat since I graduated from college and began life in the real world, but I sure could benefit from bringing them back too, at least once in a while.  I love the feeling you get after a really intense workout, and even though I haven’t totally quit working out or anything, I do sometimes miss going to the gym and feeling that huge sense of accomplishment afterwards.

Nowadays, my workouts are usually shorter, broken up into different parts, squeezed in here and there, or just generally less intense because I have less energy and/or less time to focus on them.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing – I’m still getting the activity in, I just have more stuff to focus on these days. 

But in reality, I feel like it doesn’t matter all that much whether your workouts are intense, mild, long, short, tough, easy… what matters most is that you’re still making them a priority in whatever way you can.  For most people, exercise can’t always be the number one on the list because, let’s face it, life just gets in the way, but it shouldn’t drop too far down.  That’s how I try to live, and having a little motivation from time to time can’t hurt that goal!

I hope this little bit of Friday Fitspiration gives you the motivation to get in some activity too – in whatever way you can!



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My own personal running mantra:





And my favorite quote of the day:


(All images from Pinterest.)

Feel free to check out my Fitness Inspiration Pinterest page or my Cookies & Crunches Fitspiration page for more.  Smile

A Big Week

This weekend may have been low key, but sometimes you just need one of those.  I got to catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, get some great workouts in, watch a couple good movies, give the apartment a good cleaning, do some shopping, restock the fridges with fresh fruits and veggies, and come up with a couple new recipes.  I wouldn’t call that a bad time!

Some eats from the weekend:

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{chicken tacos while catching up with my girl Ash <3}

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{soup and bread because my allergies have been keeping me down}

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{homemade popcorn and a good movie}

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{club soda with fresh strawberries for a little something sweet and sparkly}

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{fruity, chocolatey baked oatmeal with Greek yogurt on a chilly morning}

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{more American chop suey to use up the leftovers before a new week starts}

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{cinnamon sugar baked pita chips drizzled with chocolate sauce and fruit}

If you missed the above pita chips recipe or the Cookie Butter cookie recipe, make sure you check them out!


I’m really excited for the week ahead and all the great stuff that’s going to come with it: my last few days at work after three and a half years, my last few days as an undergrad student, walking at my college graduation ceremony, and plenty of celebrations with friends and family. 

And along with all that will also be plenty of normal stuff:  I’m looking forward to some more great workouts this week (although I’m still sore from last week’s, but I’ll call that a success!), I’ll be trying my hardest to keep my allergies in check, Billy’s still got to get through finals (which is never a fun time). and there’s some baseball games to attend. 

With everything going on, it’s going to be difficult to stay focused on the things I try to achieve on a daily basis, like better health and fitness, but there’s also something to be said about enjoying life and where it takes you.  This is certainly going to be one of those “turning point” weeks, not only for me, but for plenty of other college graduates out there as well, so here’s a little mix of life-spiration and fitspiration to carry us into May, and into new beginnings:

so true

{how I’ve felt about both school and working out at many points along the way}

Libby DiBiase- Crossfit inspiration!

{you go, girl!}


be so good they can't ignore you.


i need to remember this

It’s important to remember that inspirations like these can be applied to so many different aspects of our lives, and we’ve got to give it all we’ve got whenever and wherever we can.  Whether it’s in regards to working out, eating right, school, work, family, friends, relationships, setting or achieving goals, or anything else that’s important to you, always remember that if it’s important to you, it’s worth your time and effort.  You can achieve great things and still maintain balance in your life if you just set your mind to it!

So with all that said, the fridge is packed, meals are planned, the apartment is clean, I’m good and rested, and overall, I’m ready to make it a good week!

I hope you are too!!



Do you have anything big coming up in your life this week?

Do you find it hard to stay on track with the day-to-day stuff when you have special things going on?

Setting Mini Goals for Long Term Health

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about how I love setting mini goals for myself.  (Here and here, for example.)  Sometimes that just means getting to the four-minute mark during interval runs and then backing off for a walking minute.  Sometimes it means focusing on eating real foods all day so I can enjoy a treat for dessert at night.  Setting these mini goals gives me something to look forward to, something to strive for, and something attainable to serve as a benchmark for my progress. 

Eating right, exercising, and living a  generally healthy lifestyle are all long-term goals of mine that don’t have any kind of start or end dates, but sometimes setting mini goals can help me really refocus and get back on track if I’ve been straying.  And over the past couple of weeks, I’ve definitely been straying.  I’ve enjoyed eating the things I’ve wanted and I’ve felt like my body has needed the easier workouts, but I’m ready to get back on track with a specific goal in mind. 

This time, that goal is coming in the form of a trip to Florida in May…  I just booked my plane ticket to go see Billy play baseball in the sunshine state a month from now, and I’m so excited! 

Now, let me clarify by saying that this isn’t about planning to lose “x” number of pounds before I go or anything, but it is about refocusing my healthy habits so that I can feel my best. I have a lot going on between now and then (finals, last day at work, graduation, etc.) so it’s not like I’m not going to enjoy myself as I always do, but being able to set goals for myself always makes me happy.  For me, setting this type of mini goal allows me to look back and say ‘wow, I did really great with my [eating, workouts, stretching, healthy living, etc.] for the past [day/week/month],’ and I love that feeling! 

With all of that in mind, here’s some Fitspiration to kick off the next month:



shawn johnson



Fitness Inspiration from Strong Is The New Skinny

fitness inspiration


true fact!

Suck it up and someday you won't have to suck it in.

Truer words never spoken


Do you ever set mini goals for yourself?

Do you find that setting mini goals helps you better achieve your long-term goals?


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