Responding to Reader Questions

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Hi, I'm Tina!

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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weight loss

I get a lot of questions from readers. Most of them are easily answered by my FAQs or Weight Loss Q & A, but sometimes they require more detailed responses or a little research on my part.

Last week, I received 2 great questions that I thought other blog readers would benefit from reading as well.

My Morning Routine

A few months ago, I wrote about my morning routine and provided a sample schedule and tips for getting your butt out of bed for morning workouts, but a reader recently asked me for tips to streamline her mornings at the gym before work. She also wanted to know what I packed for my quick and easy beauty routine in the locker room. So, here you go!

Tips for Streamlining Morning Workouts


  • Have a plan! I always have a rough idea of what my workout will be. For example: 30 minutes on elliptical + 30 minutes strength training. Before strength training, I always write down what exercises I plan to do– usually on a small piece of scrap-paper. (I save the good ones for future use!) This way, I stay focused on my workout. I hate leaving the gym without finishing what I said I planned to do.
  • Reserve your place in class. Along the same lines as having a plan, if your gym allows you to reserve a spot in a group exercise class online (or over the phone), make sure you do it! It encourages you to actually attend the class and not make an excuse to skip it. And, most importantly, it reserve your place in class– it’s the worst when make the effort and the class is full!
  • Organize your locker. Most gyms have “day” lockers where you can stash your stuff while you workout. Before I exercise, I make sure to organize my things for easy access. For instance, I put all of my shower stuff on the top shelf of the locker, so instead of digging through my gym bag to find everything or possibility forgetting something I need for my shower, it’s all together in one place to grab and go. A shower caddy helps with this too.
  • Time Your Shower. Most group exercise classes end on the hour or half past the hour. If there is typically a wait for a shower at your gym, plan your workout around these times. For instance, during the work week, a large group exercise class at my gym ends at 7:00 am, so to avoid the crowds, I end my workout at 6:45 am or 7:15 am. I rarely ever have to wait for a shower.
  • Use the 5-minute Blow-Dry: Most days, I only blow-dry my bangs and the top section of my hair. No one sees the bottom part, so I leave it semi-wet and pull it back into a low-bun or ponytail. It takes 5 minutes and doesn’t look half bad!
  • Multitask on Cardio Machines: Of course, listening to music makes the time pass faster, but why not multitask why elliptical-ing away? I watch the news (which saves a newspaper later), listen to podcasts or audiobooks– typically about subjects that I want to learn more about. I love learning!

What to Pack

  • Work clothes— including socks and undergarments! I’ve forgotten one or the other way too many times!
  • Shoes. I keep a pair of black and brown heels at work, so I often don’t need to pack dress shoes.
  • Sample-size products. I pack a mini bottle of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. in my gym bag. It takes up less room that regular-size products. I’ve also purchased some of my favorite products in a travel-size just for the gym.
  • Moisture-wicking towel. I bought a small one for the gym that gives me a head-start on drying my hair. They actually work pretty well!
  • A small box with simple jewelry. I have a couple of necklaces and bracelets and 3-4 pairs of earrings that work with most outfits. That way, I don’t have to think about coordinating with my outfits.
  • Flip-flops for the communal showers.
  • Tinted moisturizer with SPF. This 2-in-1 product seriously speeds-up my morning! And it makes my skin look great!
  • A small gym-only make-up bag with minimal products inside. My gym make-up bag has tinted moisturizer, an eyelash curler, mascara, blush, a comb, mini shampoo, condition, lotion, and body wash. (I keep a toothbrush and toothpaste at work, so I brush my teeth there.)
  • Sneakers. Well, I don’t actually pack them. I wear them to and from the gym since they take up most of the room in my gym bag. And there’s no way I can forget them!

Gluten-Free Dining

Another reader recently asked me for suggestions for gluten-free dining in Boston. I really had no clue what to say since I eat plenty of gluten, but I didn’t want to leave her hanging. I did a little Google searching and found this great link: Gluten-Free Registry. It has a whole slew of gluten-free-friendly restaurants, bakeries, caterers, and grocers that you can search by city and state.

Question of the Day

If you have a blog, what’s the strangest question you have ever received?

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