Bruges

As far as small town charm, Bruges is just as great as Rothenburg, Germany. 

Two Nights

Enjoy the Market Square

From restaurant terraces, the Bell Tower and old buildings, this square is quite charming. There are even a few food vendor stands. We split an order of Belgian-style French fries and a hot dog and simply people watched. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, a farmer’s market is held in the Market Square. It was so fun to shop the stands and I only wished we would have rented an apartment so we could cook like a local.

Visit the Church of Our Lady

This holds the famous Michelangelo statue Madonna and Child. It’s the only statue that was able to leave Italy! The church was under construction during our visit and there is a fee to see the inside, but we enjoyed it.

Enjoy the local desserts

Ok, the moment you step into the square you can smell chocolate! There are chocolate shops everywhere! As as matter of fact, they have an entire “Chocolate Row” street dedicated to their famous Belgian chocolate. I bought chocolates from the well known Dumon shop and B&B. The Belgian waffles are also delicious! This one is from Chez Albert. Yum!

Take the De Halve Maan Brewery Tour

An 1856 brewery, we toured both the new and old areas of the brewery. They still kept the 150 year old beer casks and cooling rooms. Funny enough, the highlight of the tour was the viewpoint from the top of the brewery. It overlooked all of Bruges. It was a great tour and ended with a freshly brewed beer.

Rent a bike and ride the outer skirts of town

We peddled all over the place! We had 3 hours with the bikes and rode around the city moat viewing original windmills and stopping at a park to take a break and watch the lazy river make its way around. Locals here were picnicking, reading books and taking naps.

Wander the city and enjoy it’s beauty

Some locations are so pretty they are known as the Postcard Canal View or Picturesque bridge. We enjoyed walking to the Minnewater which is filled with weeping willows, swans and a peaceful lake. If you like ruins, be sure to check out the Crowne Plaza Hotel. In the basement rooms are lined with original stone walls and there are many display cases filled with what modern archaeologists found here.

Other highlights

The Basilica of Holy Blood : This double-decker church, built in 1150, holds the drops of Christ’s blood a Crusader brought back from Jerusalem. We were there to observe the relic itself. This church also has a pretty painting at the alter and it tells the story of how the blood arrived in Bruges.

For local cuisine, try the mussels! I’m not a big seafood person, but when I travel, I love to have as many local experiences as I can. No matter what restaurant you choose, it’s a good meal to split because the pot is huge!

Five Easy Fast Food Meals That Don’t Require Hitting up the Drive Thru

We live in a society where we want many things fast. Don’t want to cook? We want to get a meal fast and sometimes that means hitting the drive thru. It doesn’t take much effort when you’re driving home from a long day of work. I remember these days very clearly. Wendy’s was my go-to. “I’ll take a number 1 with cheese and ketchup only with a diet coke.” Sometimes I would eat it in the car, other times I would wait until I got home. Next thing I knew, I was on the couch for a nap.

Two questions I had to ask myself:

  • Are Wendy’s cheeseburgers my absolute favorite burger?
  • What can I replace that’s also fast and convenient?

The answer was no, Wendy’s is not my favorite. So, I started to replace a high calorie mediocre fast meal with something more nutritious, but still satisfying.

 

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1.) Canned tuna or chicken

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This takes less than 5 minutes to make. I will add chopped celery, mayo (a super easy recipe I just started making) and light onion. I’ll eat it with a spoon or wrap it in lettuce if I have it available. This is one of my main items for emergency food and I always make sure I’m stocked up on it. Note: Be sure to read your labels on these canned foods. It should be about three ingredients (chicken/tuna, salt, water). Try to avoid buying canned food with soy.

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2.) Rotisserie Chicken

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This requires a quick stop at the store but a much better choice than my go-to Wendy’s. Plus, it is definitely more than one meal so you can use the rest for other meals throughout the week. Pair it with a salad in a bag or prepared in a box from the store and you’ve got an easy meal. Option four works too.

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3.) Cooked Meat at Deli Counter

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Another option I’ll use from time to time is just grabbing a cooked piece of meat at the deli counter. They also usually have salmon available too, but I’m not that much of a fish fan.

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4.) Stir Fry Vegetables

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This is a great side dish for any of the above, plus you don’t have to worry about your vegetables going bad since they are in the freezer. Grab a handful and saute your veggies. You can even chop your deli counter or rotisserie chicken to make it an official stir fry.

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5.) Omelets

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This is another easy five minute meal. If you have fresh vegetables to add, great! If not, use your frozen veggies & cook them up first. Deli ham chopped into chunks could be a nice addition if you want a ham and egg omelet.

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Practice Makes Progress

Since this is the beginning of a New Year, we all get excited about our goals. How can we not? Motivation is high and you’re ready to put in the effort to make it work. It’s easy to visualize what success looks like.

What We Think Success Looks Like

But many times that excitement fades because you will have days when you don’t want to put in 100% effort or you start to lose that motivation. It happens to all of us! The main reason people don’t follow through with resolutions is because of setbacks. It’s easy to think, “I failed and I’m giving up.” When your mental energy is burned out from making decisions all day, all you have left are your habits and they are either good or bad. But, how do we transform those bad habits to good habits?

There are so many success stories in our society. “I failed three times before I made it.” J.K. Rowling was denied by a dozen publishers. Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team. Bill Gates’ first business failed.

What success actually looks like

Working towards your goal is hard work and the only way to conquer your goal is to work it, accept that a setback or obstacle will come, but from learn it and move forward. 

This approach can help you with everything in life. Whether you are trying to become debt-free, lose weight, eat healthier, exercise consistently, strengthen a relationship, or land a big job.

Two questions to ask yourself when a setback occurs:

1.) What could have caused this?

2.) What can I practice next time?

Practice makes progress.

When you analyze why a setback happened, you’ll have the opportunity to get back on track faster. You may try something new and find out it didn’t work at all. Go back to the drawing board until you find what does work.

You may notice over time that the more you learn, the longer you will stay on track too because you won’t be constantly working through obstacles. You’ll have new work-arounds to keep you moving forward without slowing you down.

With this mindset and effort, results will happen. You will chip away at your debt, you will lose weight, you will consistently make better nutrition choices or get more exercise, your relationship will feel stronger or you will learn what it will take to land that job you want.

It’s easy to reflect on my own journey. Exercise is effortless for me but it’s because I have decades of practice with playing sports and loving the feeling of being active. But with my nutrition habits, I have decades of practice of eating processed foods, desserts and take out consistently. With seven years of practice for me, I’ve realized I’ve completely transformed my nutrition, but it didn’t happen overnight. If I never practiced getting better after my first nutritional setback (essentially given up), I’d be sitting at Day 1, starting over again.

Over the course of the year, I want you to remind yourself of all the success stories that happened due to failing first. Remind yourself that having a setback gives you an opportunity to learn, push yourself and eventually change yourself for the better. With this mindset, you’ll be able to reflect at the end of the year and realize how far you’ve grown.

How to do a perfect push up

How to do Perfect Push ups

Push ups are a fantastic strength exercise for building upper body strength, core strength and transforming your arms. Plus, you can do them anywhere! Most importantly, you want to make sure you are doing them correctly to avoid an unwanted injury.

Three common mistakes with push ups: 

1.) Low back sag – many times when this happens, your core and glutes are not assisting you with the exercise.

Key tip: squeeze your glutes and brace your core as you lower down and push yourself up. If you find this is challenging, place something between your legs, squeeze it and imagine you cannot let it drop the floor. This will naturally help you engage your glutes and core. Still too hard? Try elevating yourself so you are no longer on the floor, but using a bench, bar, etc. 

2.) Hand and shoulder position – many people like to place their hands wide and when they lower down to the floor, their elbows stick out to 90 degree angles. This puts your shoulders in a bad position and can eventually lead to an injury.

Key tip: focus on keeping your hands 45 degrees from your ribs. Your elbows should slightly tuck back instead of out. 

3.) Reaching with your neck – this is another common mistake I see often and it puts your neck in a bad position since it causes forward neck posture.

Key tip: focus on leading with your chest and keep your head still, as if it cannot touch the floor. By keeping your head back, you’ll keep your neck in a better position. 

In this video, you can notice my head reaches towards the floor and my elbows flare out instead of back.

What about girl push ups? Please don’t do them. By performing push ups from your knees, you put yourself in a different position where your core and glutes don’t work. You also shorten your hip flexors.

If you can’t do a push up from the floor, try elevating yourself to a higher position and focus on getting your chest to meet the bar, bench, couch or whatever else you are using. Remember, imagine your whole body coming down and up in one (head down through glutes).

Range of Motion is Key

To see your body and strength transform, you’ll need to make sure you are challenging your range of motion. If you are doing a push up on the floor, but can’t hit your chest to the floor, put yourself in an elevated position so you can get the full range of motion.

Many times when coaching, I have individuals use a bar for push ups to work specifically on a full range of motion. As they get stronger, the bar gets placed lower and lower until eventually they are doing push ups on the floor!

The Perfect Push Up

  • Elbows tuck back and flare out at 45 degrees
  • Head down to glutes comes up in one (glutes/core engaged)
  • Head stays still