Well, I haven’t posted much about food on here in…years?

I’ve talked a few times about my journey towards having a balanced relationship with food but I’ve rarely shown the foods I’m actually eating. There are two reasons for that. Reason #1: I’m horrible at remembering to take pictures of my food– when I’m hungry, I wanna eat. Reason #2: It can be a breeding ground for comparison. All of our bodies, genetics, metabolisms and activity levels are different which means that a healthy and nourishing diet for one person, may not be for the next.

That being said, I will never, ever post a “Full Day of Eating” on Build Your Bliss. I did in the past (back in 2013, I believe) which were the days of living on the same rabbit’s diet day-in and day-out and wondering why I was always tired and grumpy. I assure you, I eat plenty now and my diet varies quite a bit from day to day. My meals are simple because I rarely ever get to eat at home #fulltimejobprobz and, when it comes to meal-prepping, I’m lazy. Plus, I like simpler foods. I’ve always been that way. Do I generally try to make healthy choices? Of course! 90% of the time, I opt for foods that I know will leave me feeling good and, the other 10%, I say to-hell-with-it and enjoy whatever I might be craving. Of course, some weeks that percentage gets a little skewed. This past week, for example, my sister and I have ordered pizza 3 (yes, THREE) times…oops. Emotionally, it has been an exhausting few weeks and that’s just how things played out. And you know what? I enjoyed every freakin’ bite. For me, that’s balance. You have to find what works for you.

Alright, enough chit-chat.

Here are a few random meals and snacks that I managed to snap over the past week or so. Some greens, some caffeine and some ice-cream ;)

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What does a “balanced diet” look like for you?

Here’s to eating foods we actually enjoy…

-Emily

Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @missemmmysue

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The older I get, the more I realize that life is a journey. 

There is no final destination. We are ever-changing, ever-growing and ever-learning. We must build a beautiful today to have a beautiful tomorrow. We should never lose sight of our goals; however, to the same regard, we should never get so caught up in them that we stop appreciating the present.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, bliss is not one-size-fits-all.

Find what makes you smile. Do that. Surround yourself with people that bring joy and inspiration to your life. Fill your days with things that make you happy to be alive. Set goals and work towards them. If the winds of change blow through and you’re forced to take a different course, keep going. Never, ever fear change. Embrace it. Run with it. And always be a work in progress.

Here’s to the journey…

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue

I love Instagram.

I mean, who doesn’t these days, right?

I know there’s definitely good and bad (as with all things in life) and sometimes it can become a breeding ground for comparison but, regardless, I just think it’s fan-freakin-tastic.

Personally, I follow a lot of different types of accounts– health, fitness, fashion, beauty, photography, and of course a hot male celebrity [or 5] ;) and I think that’s one of the main reasons I love it so much. I’m exposed to a wide variety of people and lifestyles, all with a few swipes of my thumb.

That being said, if I had to say which genre filled up the majority of my feed, it would definitely be fitness. I’m forever inspired by the unbelievable athletes, companies and exercise-lovers that I follow and their accounts give me motivation on both my good days and my bad. I turn to them for tips, tricks, advice, new workout ideas and overall inspiration to never stop working towards my goals. This isn’t to say I solely follow ultra-ripped models with bulging six packs, shelf glutes and a never-ending stream of shirtless selfies…that’s not the case at all, actually. Most of the fitness feeds that I follow are simply hardworking, dedicated, down-to earth people who inspire by sharing their passion and the lessons they’ve learned on their journey. Some of them have already made a name for themselves in the industry, some of them are models, coaches, sponsored athletes…and some of them are simply people with a vision, a goal and a hell-of-a-lot of dedication.

So, in this post I’m rounding up 10 of those fitness instagram accounts that inspire me day-in and day-out and have made an undeniable impact in my personal journey. They are beautiful on so many levels and I think they deserve every follow they have and more (you, maybe?). Give their feeds a scroll and prepare to be inspired.

PS: Listed in no particular order. Promise. 

1.) Nikki Blackketter [duh] (@nikkiblackketter)

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This one doesn’t even need an explanation. She’s gorgeous, hilarious, down to earth, hard working AND has a bangin’ body…oh, and she’s dating Christian Guzman…so yeah, enough said.

2.) Kara Corey (@karacoreyfitlife)

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Kara was actually one of the first fitness accounts I stumbled upon a few years ago and I’ve been following her ever since. She’s an RD with awesome, informational YouTube videos that discuss different aspects of nutrition and has such a fun, relatable personality.

3.) Brittany Lesser (@brittanylesser)

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I met Brittany through blogging yeeeaars ago and we’ve stayed close ever since. She is one of the most genuine, quirky people ever and always inspires me to kick ass in the gym and stay positive, no matter what life throws my way. AND I’ll be meeting her very soooon. :)

4.) Elle Chapleau (@elle_bfitbody)

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Wanna be totally inspired? Elle is your answer. Every single time she posts, I’m reminded of what dedication and passion for something really look like. She does her own thing and makes it work for HER…always with a smile on her face.

5.) Emily Duncan (@em_dunc)

FullSizeRender (6)Another quirky personality that I feel like just gets me. Emily lifts with the boys and consistently proves every “girl fitness stereotype” wrong and I freakin’ love it. And her delts are everything.

6.) Marie Wold (@marie.wold)

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I’m inspired by Marie for so many reasons but, above them all, is her openness and honesty about the ups and downs of fitness. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows but that’s OKAY. It’s the hard times that helps us grow. Plus…that booty though!

7.) Sarah Bowmar (@sarah_bowmar)

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Sarah has one of the most informative Instagram feeds I’ve ever come across. She shares some killer workouts and constantly motivates me to push the limits. And her snapchat story is always one of the most entertaining parts of my day. Seriously– go follow her [and her cats].

8.) Emily Hayden (@ehfitness21)

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Emily Hayden is a bikini competitor with an unbelievable physique, but that’s only a small part of what she has to offer. She is dedicated, hilarious and was my inspiration to truly start visualizing what I want in the future…when we believe it can happen, we’re halfway there.

9.) Meg Morat (@megmo

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Okay, Meg is just freakin’ adorable. Her instagram is a mix of fitness, gorgeous selfies and picture-perfect sunnyside up eggs. ;) Her humor and smile are contagious and her journey has had a lot of the same ups and downs as mine which helps me relate to her on an even more personal level.

10.) Danielle Waltman (@mrswaltman)

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Danielle is a mom of two adorable little ones (what?!) and manages to maintain a killer body and eat healthy, all while taking care of her kids. She motivates me to get to the gym, no matter what, and always push myself to go a little bit further. And those quads!

Okay, yes I know these are all females…that does NOT mean I don’t follow male fitness accounts (I mean, duh…) but since I’m a girl, I’m really inspired by other girls in the industry. It was actually difficult for me to even narrow this down to 10 so there’s a good chance I’ll be doing a follow-up to this post with 10 more accounts in the near future.

The bottom line? Inspiration is out there. Find it, “Follow” it, and get moving. :)

Do you follow fitness Instagram accounts? Who are your favorites? 

Here’s to positive inspiration…

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue


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Keep fighting.

No matter how many times you look in the mirror and wish to see something different, keep fighting.

Health [and bliss, for that matter] truly are NOT one-size-fits-all. No single diet, workout regime or product is ever going to make you look and feel your best…if you search for health in external places, you’ll never find it. You must look inside yourself. Listen to your body and trust what tells you. Eat foods that not only taste good, they make you feel good. Find an exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly…if one day you don’t enjoy it anymore, find another one. Just because you were once ‘happy’ at a certain weight, doesn’t mean it’s the right weight for you right now. As you grow and evolve mentally, you should also grow and evolve physically. Just do what feels good.

Love your body exactly how it is today and then work to improve, not change.

Here’s to finding our own personal health…

-Emily

Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @missemmmysue


Truth be told, I can’t remember what life was like before I ate bars. Was there a time? I know that I definitely fueled myself with Luna Bars all throughout high school and, before that, crunched on Nature Valley bars during my awkward pre-teen years. They’re great. Well, I think they are at least. I know a lot of people will argue that they’re too “processed” and that we should aim to eat only “whole foods” and blah blah blah. Yes, I agree (see my post on that topic here) but I still love bars. I mean, I frequent another type of “bar” and put worse substances in my body sooo….

Nowadays there are literally bars in every flavor with every nutritional profile and made out of every ingredient imaginable. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s prooobably a bar that will fit the bill. I mean, there are even bars legitimately made out of meat…like what?

So, since I’m [obviously] a bar advocate, I thought it was only fitting to share and compare my favorites. To keep this post from turning into a novel, I’m going to focus solely on those marketed as “protein” bars and I’ll have a post next week focusing on “snack” and/or “energy” bars.

Each of the 7 protein bars that I feature will receive an overall rating based on their nutritional profile, ingredients and price. Since I’m horrible at planning (good job, Emily) I actually have no idea which one will come out on top. I guess we’ll all find out together? I’ll also include my favorite flavor of each brand (although for many of them I love multiple) but I may as well have just said “I always like the peanut butter or cookies & cream best” because I’m basic and have a raging sweet tooth.

7 [Protein] Bars I Love:

1.) Quest Bars – Cookies & Cream

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Details: Low Sugar. Low Net Carb. // 60 g bar

Ingredients: (for Cookies & Cream) Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate), Soluble Corn Fiber (Prebiotic Fiber), Almonds, Water, Cocoa Butter, Natural Flavors, Erythritol, Palm Oil, Dextrin, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Sea Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Sunflower Lecithin, Sucralose, Coconut Oil, Xanthan Gum, Baking Soda, Steviol Glycosides (Stevia)

Nutrition Facts: 190 Calories (9g Fat, 20g Carb, 21g Protein, 14g Fiber, 210mg Sodium, 1g Sugar*)

Price: $2.39-2.99 per bar

Overall Rating: 9/10 – Delicious Taste. High Protein. Low Carb. Low Sugar. High Fiber. High Price Range.

PS: Quest also has AMAZING customer service and offers a variety of other high-protein products– including chips! Click the picture below to order some for yourself and prepare to be obsessed!

2.) ThinkThin Bars – Creamy Peanut Butter

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Details: Gluten Free. Low Sugar/Glycemic. Kosher // 60g bar

Ingredients: (for Creamy Peanut Butter) Protein Blend (whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Soy Protein Isolate, Casein), Coating (Maltitol, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Sodium Caseinate, Milk Fat, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Salt), Glycerin, Maltitol, Peanuts, Water, Cocoa Butter, Peanut Flour, Natural Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Sea Salt.

Nutrition Facts: 240 Calories(9g Fat, 22g Carb, 20g Protein, 1g Fiber, 300mg Sodium, 0g Sugar*)

Price: $1.69-1.99 per bar

Overall Rating: 7/10 – Low Price Range. High Protein. Gluten Free. Low Sugar. High Sodium. Chalky Aftertaste.

3.) PureFit Bars – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

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Details: Vegan. Gluten-Free. Kosher. Non-GMO. // 57g bar

Ingredients: (for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip) Brown Rice Syrup, Soy Protein Isolate, Beet Syrup, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract), Soy Crisps (Soy Protein Isolate, Tapioca Starch, Salt), Peanuts, Sunflower Oil, Peanut Flour, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Soy Lecithin

Nutrition Facts: 230 Calories (7g Fat, 25g Carb, 18g Protein, 1g Fiber, 180mg Sodium, 17g Sugar)

Price: $2.69-2.99 per bar

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Non-GMO. High Protein. Great Ingredients. Delicious Taste. High Sugar. High Price Range.

4.) MusclePharm Combat Crunch Bars – Cookies & CreampGNC1-20933581dt

Details: Gluten Free. Low Sugar. Low Net Carb. // 63g bar

Ingredients: (for Cookies & CreamProtein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (Prebiotic Fiber), Chocolate Cookie Gems (Rice Flour, Evaporated Cane Juice, Sunflower Oil, Tapioca Starch, Cocoa [Processed With Alkali], Chocolate Liquor, Salt, Baking Soda, and Soy Lecithin), Vegetable Glycerin, Vegetable Oils (Palm, Palm Kernel Oil), Sugar, Almonds, Water, Soy Protein Isolate, Maltitol, and Cocoa, Contains less than 2% of: Resistant Maltodextrin, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Sucralose, Vanilla, and Tapioca Starch.

Nutrition Facts: 210 Calories (7g Fat, 28g Carb, 20g Protein, 12g Fiber, 459mg Sodium, 5g Sugar*)

Price: $2.50-3.50 per bar

Overall Rating: 7/10 – Delicious Taste. Low Sugar. Low Net Carb. High Protein. High Fiber. High Sodium. High Price Range. 

5.) FitCrunch Baked “Snack” Bars – Peanut Butter

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Details: Low Sugar // 46g bar

Ingredients: (for Peanut Butter) Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein Isolate), Palm Kernel Oil, Dry Roasted Peanuts, Vegetable Glycerin, Maltitol, Sorbitol, Gelatin, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Partially Defatted Peanut Flour, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Brown Sugar, Corn Syrup, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, Salt, Mono- & Diglycerides, Natural Tocopherols, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Tapioca Starch, Silicon Dioxide, Reduced Mineral Whey Powder, Maltodextrin, Sodium Caseinate, Citric Acid, Whey, Beta-Carotene, Palmitate, Potassium Sorbate, and Sucralose.

Nutrition Facts: 190 Calories (8g Fat, 14g Carb, 16g Protein, 1g Fiber, 200mg Sodium, 3g Sugar)

Price: $1.50-1.99 per bar

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Delicious Taste. Low Sugar. Low Carb. Low Price Range. Long Ingredient List. Lower Protein Content.

6.) D’s Naturals No Cow Bars – Peanut Butter Cookie Doughdsnatural

 

Details: Dairy Free. Soy Free. Gluten Free. Vegan // 60g bar

Ingredients: (for Peanut Butter Cookie Dough) Protein Blend (Brown Rice Protein, Pea Protein), Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (Prebiotic Fiber), Roasted Cocoa Nibs, Peanut Butter, Peanut Oil, Peanuts, Cocoa Butter, Peanut Flour, Sea Salt, Erythritol, Almonds, Monk Fruit Extract, Stevia

Nutrition Facts: 170 calories (4.5g Fat, 25g Carb, 20g Protein, 19g Fiber, 200mg Sodium)

Price: $2.50-2.99 per bar

Overall Rating: 9/10 – Great Ingredients. Dairy Free. Delicious Taste. High Protein. No Artificial Sweeteners. High Price Range.  

*Disclaimer: Just because a bar claims to have 0-3g of sugar does NOT mean it doesn’t contain sugar alcohols (aka: artificial sweeteners). The long-term effects of consuming sugar alcohols has yet to be determined and whether or not you choose to do so must be a personal choice.

Do you eat protein bars? Which brand/flavor is your favorite?!

Here’s to the joy of [protein] bars…

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue

Can I just say something really quickly?

Relax. 

Please. I’m telling you right now that it’s okay. I’ll admit that I’m the biggest culprit…”relaxation” rarely even finds its way into my vocabulary. But when it does, I’m reminded of how important it really is. True relaxation is going to look and feel different to everyone so you do you, girl. If you want to let your hair down, have a drink and go out dancing, do it. If you want to light candles, slip into a bath and delve into a romantic novel, do it. If you want to run a freakin’ marathon (def not relaxing in my book but I digress…), do it. Just let go of the stress and tension that fills your life on a daily basis and allow yourself to simply live, breathe and enjoy whatever is nourishing your soul.

For me, relaxation means breaking routine. It means quieting the overwhelming thoughts that cloud my brain on a daily basis and having fun. It means spending time with friends and laughing until my stomach hurts. It means staying up past my [grandma] bedtime and sleeping in late the next day. It means maybe having one-too-many vodka sodas because the bartender was buying. And it means waking up the next day and going to the gym because I want to, not because I “have to”.

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-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue


21 Breakdowns have been a part of my life for…gosh, as long as I can remember.

My dad came up with this awesome workout formula when I was probably 11 or 12 and we’ve been using it ever since. It started as a basic formula for ab workouts and manifested itself into a way for us to perform any kind of circuit imaginable. Every single one of his clients knows (and dreads) them and he holds a yearly 30-day 21 Breakdown challenge where participants perform a breakdown of 3+ ab exercises every day for 30 days. Killer! Oh, and he tortures himself with a breakdown of his age with 20(!) exercises on every birthday– um, he’s in his 60’s guys…go ahead and imagine how long THAT takes (last year it was over 5-hours!). Long story short, we love 21 Breakdowns.

So, I figured it was about time I share the love with my little corner of the internet!

The formula is simple; create a circuit of 3+ exercises and perform 21 reps of each. Next, work your way down by 3’s so that you complete the exercises a total of 7 times, ending with 3 reps each.

Over the weekend, I challenge you to try this full body 21-breakdown that I created yesterday. It will get your heart rate up, work every muscle and [undoubtedly] make you sweat!
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The key is to keep moving! Try to take short breaks only when absolutely necessary and, if you’re working out at home, do no-equipment versions of each exercise (ex: bosu burpees can be regular burpees, cable crunches can be regular crunches, etc.) I completed the entire thing in just under 28 minutes so challenge yourself to beat my time! Let me know what you think– happy sweating!

Here’s to the good kind of breakdowns…

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue


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