Meet my friend Cassandra aka "Natural Fit Mom!"

Let me introduce you to my beautiful friend and Mom Power Team gal, Cassandra. You may have seen her on the cover of Gorgo Magazine... Yes, she is amazing! But even better than that, she is one of the kindest people. She cares about people... truly... deeply! I am so happy to know her!
Name: Cassandra Sawyer aka "Natural Fit Mom"
State:  California
When and why did you start working out?
I started working out about 2 years go.  In late 2011, I dislocated my knee trying to make my infant son laugh while working out, early one morning.  I was out for the count as far as cardio was concerned.  Then I was hospitalized for a week, when I got sick out of nowhere and it terrified me.  When I left the hospital, I quit smoking cold turkey, bought my first piece of gym equipment for my garage and started Jaime Eason's 12 week live fit program on Bodybuilding.com
What is your workout of choice?
Weights, heavy weights and really heavy weights

What is your most favorite piece of workout gear?
You know, I have to say my gloves.  These poor things are pretty much ripped to shreds, but they are my first pair of gloves from 2 years ago and I'm oddly sentimental about them.  I see all these cute, new gloves with lots of great color and pattern options, but I just can't give mine up yet.  I know....it's ridiculous!
Do you follow any diet or take any specific supplements that complement your workouts?  
Well, in my off season, my diet is "eat as much as possible to gain muscle" and during prep, it's whatever my coach tells me to do.  I will say that I LOVE my preworkout supplement.  I take Assault by Muscle Pharm and couldn't live without it.  I workout at 4am every morning, so I need the good stuff to get me going!
What is your favorite cheat food?  People always think I'm crazy when I say this, but it's a Popeye's biscuit.  Not pizza, cake or cookies, but a fluffy buttermilk biscuit slathered in honey and butter.  OMG.....I could eat a dozen!
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Find something that you love to do and then it's easy.  I used to always feel bad because I had these amazing friends who were into running and triathlons.  I would get jealous watching them train and then go have a "big" day that they could be proud of.  But, I wasn't the least bit interested in running, swimming or biking.  When I discovered bodybuilding, it was exciting and I took to it like a duck in water.  I am consistent with lifting weights because I love it and want to get a taste of it every day.

What is your best workout memory?  The first time I bench pressed 135lbs!  For the longest time, I never worked chest.  Then I realized I needed to start doing it and that I wanted to be  badass like the girls in the picture bench pressing those 45lb plates.  It took me quite a while, but I eventually did it with the help of a spotter.  It really felt amazing!
What is your biggest “FIT BUCKET LIST” item?
Ooohh....that's tough!  There are so many things I want to do, but I think the most incredible feeling would come from winning the "Overall" title in a National level show.  I would probably pass out on the spot!
Tell us something that not many people know about you?
I see numbers and colors interchangeably.  I don't know why, but when I see the number 3, I also see green and vice versa.  The number 4 is blue.  The number 7 is purple, but sometimes gray.  When I see the color yellow, it's the number 2, etc.  Don't ask why....I'm a nut!
How do we connect with you:
Go and connect with Cassandra. You won't regret it.


Loving my Apera bag.... Giveaway!

Disclosure: Apera provided me with this bag. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever heard of Apera Bags?  I hadn't until one day I saw a giveaway for one on a friend's blog.  I have been in desperate need of a gym bag for quite a bit. I contacted the company and told them that I would love to try the bag and write a review if I like it. They agreed and sent me this beautiful bag! I have used it for everything.  I am currently in the process of moving, and I use it all the time to take items from one house to another.  It is the best bag ever! 

From Apera:
Isn't it Ironic?

You're inspired to live a healthy and active lifestyle. You exercise. You pay attention to what you eat. Ultimately, you strive to take care of yourself.  However, something is missing. Something important.

How many times have you looked at your bag and realized: this thing is LOUSY.
It's made with cheap materials. It's coming apart at the seams. It doesn't have any organization for your stuff. And, worst of all, it stinks. 

Well, you're not alone. Apera has been watching. And they're inspired to do something about it.

Their bags inspire your healthy and active lifestyle.  
Apera bags don't stink. Literally. Groundbreaking antimicrobial product protection, inside and out, resists bacterial odor. Their innovative vented compartments allow your bag to breathe, while clever wipeable linings make for easy cleaning. How's that for a refreshing approach to your bag? And Apera's intelligent storage make them extremely functional. Your shoes, electronics, and wet or dry gear are kept separate and organized. And the amount of stuff you can carry is unbelievable. Really, you have to see it to believe it.
Truly, Apera bags inspire your healthy, active lifestyle.
To learn more about Apera and their products, visit aperabags.com. Or download our product catalog featuring product images, prices and specifications
the inside

Good News!
I get to giveaway an Apera bag on my blog! You can win a Sprint Pack!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

They are running the sale of 40% OFF the entire Blue line of bags.  Any style of bag, including the Performance Duffel, will be 40% OFF!  Also, all of the Duffel Packs, any color, are 40% OFF too.  

The bag for Apera's monthly email newsletter giveaway for March is the Sling Tote.  You all will have a chance of winning a new bag by just signing up for our email newsletter.

Consumers Are Raving

"After spending countless hours (read: days) trying to find the perfect gym bag - I stumbled upon Apera a few months ago. In this bag they have really thought of everything I didn't know I wanted but now couldn't live without.  After using this bag for a while, I was in an athletic store and was looking at the standard sports-branded gym bags - the quality just doesn't come close.  I think  is stuck with me for good!" ES NYC

Citi's Every Step of the Way and $25 Visa Card giveaway!

This post was created in partnership with Citi®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Athough the Olympics are over, the Every Step of the Way campaign is still going strong. Citi has joined forces with some amazing olympic athletes. You can vote to award Citi's $500,000 donation to the 9 community programs in need.

Check out the Citi's Every Step of the Way Program HERE

Anyone who follows the winter games remembers this name and probably the picture below. 
In 1988, Dan lost more than just his chance to medal in the speed skating event in the Olympics, he lost his sister, Jane to cancer.  The morning of his big race in Calgary, he found out that Jane had lost her battle with cancer.

Hear Dan talk about hearing the news and knowing he would have to skate later that day:

Anyone who was watching that day remembers Dan's race. It was so painful to watch him slip and lose
his dream of winning a medal. I was 14 years old and I remember sitting on the couch crying with my mother. America mourned with Dan that night. Our hearts were broken for him and his family. I had been following Dan's story, and I thought he was awful cute (his picture was on my locker door...) I couldn't believe I was watching this.
            That didn't keep him down though. Dan returned to the Olympics in Lillehammer in 1994. He won the gold medal.  The thing I remember most was that it wasn't just Americans rooting for him. This time it was the world. Everyone wanted to see this man overcome what happened to him. And he did. Then he skated his victory lap with his baby daughter Jane, named after his late sister. There is a very special mark on his medal...
What happened to Dan makes him a true hero. His story is timeless and is one that I personally enjoyed sharing with my 10 year old son. I think it is important in athletics that we focus on the good and resilient people who have such inspiring stories to tell. These are the heroes our children need to know about.

20 years later, Dan's struggles have inspired him to help other athletes. Here is why Dan is a part of Citi's Every Step of the Way program:

Now head on over to https://everystep.citi.com/#dan and vote for Dan or to https://everystep.citi.com and vote for your choice.

GIVEAWAY TIME! Who wants to win a $25 Visa Gift Card?
You must comment which Citi athlete/community program inspires you the most and visit the Every Step of the Way website to vote. Tell me who you voted for.

What is Citi's Every Step of the Way Campaign?