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My Look Back at 2013 + Your Favorite Posts

The blog world runneth over with “Best of 2013” recap posts today and here I am to add to the fun. I would like to start out by saying that overall 2013 was a good year for me. It wasn’t without its struggles (probably one of my personal favorite posts from the year) but one thing that I have learned over the past few years is that life isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect and neither are other people. It’s exhausting to hold on to the belief that perfect even exists. Starting to loosen my grip on that has helped with personal growth in many areas.

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2013 was especially pivotal for me because I wished my twenties farewell and celebrated my thirtieth birthday. I won’t say “I feel so old” or anything like that but entering a new decade of my life definitely has made me ask myself some hard questions about where I want to be, where I want to go and who I want to be a part of my journey.

This year also brought a lot of change on the career front as I made the scary decision to spend more time on the things that light me up and that I cannot get enough of (teaching, writing, training) and less time on the things that drain me (all things management). I launched a personal website (which I plan to actually focus on in 2014) and announced my desire to start teaching workshops, teacher trainings, master classes and maybe even traveling (which all is SO happening in 2014).

My career evolution has really surprised me in the two and a half years since I left my career in marketing but more than anything I continue to be amazed by the opportunities that present themselves when I stop doing what I think is “right and safe” and trust the things that I am over the top passionate about. I am looking forward to sharing a big new project with you soon (details are being finalized) that came to me the Monday after I left my general manager role at Metro. If that isn’t the universe saying “follow your passion,” I don’t know what is.

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I was also fortunate to do a lot of traveling this year. Trips to Punta Cana for a yoga retreat and a wedding, a girl’s weekend in Chicago, a week at Kiawah Island Resort and a getaway to Mexico were some of the highlights. I was also fortunate to really cultivate close relationships with friends. I finally took off my suit of amour and started to talk, feel, forgive and show up unapologetically as the real me. It’s broken my heart open more than I can express in words.

So that’s my personal take on 2013. Here is the statistical take. I wrote 305 posts in 2013 and these are the 10 that were the most read and commented on. You’ll notice a theme…recipes and workout topics are popular. I will definitely take note of that when writing for the year ahead and make sure to get you more of that.

1. Perfect Paleo Banana Bread

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This Paleo Banana Bread features coconut and almond flour. It tastes amazing and has a great texture. This recipe alone has received nearly 100,000 page views! (But it really is that good…for a Paleo baked good!)

2. Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Mini Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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These cupcakes are a wonderful substitution for carrot cake lovers with gluten sensitivities or for anyone looking to “health-ify” carrot cake. No refined sugars or flours!

3. Tips for Getting Into Crow Pose & Advanced Variations

This post features a video tutorial demonstrating how to get into the yoga arm balance crow as well as advanced variations of it. I also included written tips. I wrote a follow up post to this about side crow that also features a video tutorial.

4. Tabata Training 101 + 20 Minute Bodyweight Tabata Workout

Tabata workouts have been popular with you guys this year! In this post I share what tabata training is and provide a workout with video demoes. Check out this post and this post for two more bodyweight, at-home tabata workouts.

5. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

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I have been making these bars for years. Always a crowd pleaser and so easy to prepare!

6. CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Course: My Experience

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I completed my CrossFit Cert in 2012 but didn’t get around to writing about it until 2013! This post details the certification weekend and gets a lot of Google search traffic from those wanting more info about the course.

7. Easy & Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

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I made these granola bars to share with young athletes to demonstrate how easy it is to make healthy snacks at home but they’ve ended up becoming a favorite for many of you as well. They feature a short ingredient list and very easy prep. So great to have on hand for a snack.

8. My First Marathon Experience

 

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The story of my first marathon was a big hit and I loved reading all the responses and hearing about your experiences too! You can read my second marathon recap in this post.

9. Simple Dumbbell Strength Circuit

I am always being asked for simple (but challenging) workouts that people can do in the gym on their own. This post includes a workout with some of my all-time favorite movements as well as a video demoing all of them.

10. BodyPump 85 Review

My BodyPump 85 review was a surprise hit. I included a video of the plyometric step jumps in the lunge track that received almost 5,000 views on YouTube.

So there’s 2013 for you. I’m all ears for suggestions and feedback on what you want to see more of/less of/new topics/new series/etc. Cheers to all of you! Happy new year and here’s to an INCREDIBLE 2014!

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Alaina December 31, 2013, 5:59 pm

    What a wonderful 2013 you had Jen!!

    Maybe 2014 will bring you to Boston?? 😉 Happy New Year!!

    • 2
      Jen January 2, 2014, 3:52 pm

      i have never been to boston so i would LOVE to visit! (maybe when it’s warmer! :))

  • 3
    Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run December 31, 2013, 6:12 pm

    Here’s to a happy 2014! Thanks for sharing your life with us 🙂

    • 4
      Jen January 2, 2014, 3:52 pm

      happy new year hillary! grateful we connected this year!

  • 5
    Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope December 31, 2013, 6:26 pm

    What an incredible year behind you! I think a career in the fitness industry will mean constant evolving and learning, both of which are always exciting! Can’t wait to see where life takes you in the next chapter of your life and career journey 🙂

    • 6
      Jen January 2, 2014, 3:54 pm

      heather – i totally agree with you on the fitness career perspective. it is constantly changing which is really exciting! i’m so excited to follow your next steps as well. glad we connected. xo.

  • 7
    Emily December 31, 2013, 6:38 pm

    What a great year, it’s been so exciting to watch you follow your dreams! I love all your posts but definitely the workouts and recipes are some of my favorites! I made your maple apple spice bundt cake for my family to eat on Christmas morning and it was a huge hit-so thanks so much for the inspiration and encouragement to try my hand at baking my first cake ever! Cheers to a wonderful 2014!

    • 8
      Jen January 2, 2014, 3:55 pm

      thank you so much for reading emily. i’m really happy to hear that you not only tried my recipe but that it was a success for you! first cake…that’s big stuff! 🙂 happy new year!

  • 9
    She Rocks Fitness December 31, 2013, 6:48 pm

    Can we do a yoga retreat together in 2014? I need to travel more this year…Happy New Year and totally saved that banana bread. I have all the ingredients except for the bananas. XOXO

    • 10
      Jen January 2, 2014, 3:55 pm

      come on our retreat at the end of february! 🙂

  • 11
    Yasmeen December 31, 2013, 8:02 pm

    You are my new favourite blogger! I will definitely be following you to see how your 2014 goes and to pick up some workout tips & inspiration. Plus I hear that you’re recipes are really good. Happy new year!

    My recent post – Goodbye, 2013! Hello, 2014!

  • 12
    Michelle December 31, 2013, 8:38 pm

    Happy New Year, Jen! You and your blog saved me (literally). Love and best wishes for 2014.

  • 13
    pamela December 31, 2013, 9:59 pm

    Happy New Year! I have been meaning to comment for ages but my phone keeps kicking me back to Wordpress. Anyway, I loved your forward fold photo yesterday. So liberating to know that we all have “tight” days!!

    And I am glad you are starting the year off healthy and uncovered the anemia culprit. I have it too and it was great to know that was all it was last year because I thought I had some terrible disease.

    Thank you so much for this blog and for being yourself with such grace and honesty. I learn something every single time I read one of your posts and your blog always gives me a sense of ease. And it’s just fun to read!! I am excited to hear about your new adventures in 2014! xoxo

  • 14
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves December 31, 2013, 11:45 pm

    I’m so happy to have found your blog this year, Jen! Your workouts and recipes are awesome, and I especially appreciate that you post videos of the exercises so we know the correct form.
    I’ve also learned a lot about letting go of perfectionism this year. It’s still tough for me at times, but I’m looking forward to working on that aspect especially in 2014!
    Have a healthy and happy new year!

  • 15
    Caroline January 1, 2014, 8:57 am

    Happy New Year, Jen! Best wishes for 2014!

  • 16
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun January 1, 2014, 9:40 am

    I really admire you for leaving the safe road and branching out to the unknown! That is my biggest goal for 2014 – I lost my job in 2013, live hundreds of miles from family so my husband can attend medical school so I’ve always just worked the jobs that got us money. This year I want to find something I am passionate about – something I Love! I want to be able to do something that makes me want to get up and do it every day – not sure what that is yet, but really hoping that 2014 brings some guidance!

  • 17
    Donna January 1, 2014, 11:34 am

    I do every workout you post and make every recipe – love those posts!!! Happy New Year!!

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