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How I healed my knees naturally (without surgery).

One year post injections! 
I don't know how each of my meniscus tears happened.

I can't point to a specific moment. However, it started with pain in my knees, and within a year of my first day of pain, I could barely walk, sometimes needed crutches, and I couldn't climb the stairs in my home to say goodnight to my children. The severe pain kept me from sleeping, and I would sometimes cry trying to find a comfortable position in bed.

As an active person, a jogger, a fitness instructor, and personal trainer, my limited movement affected me mentally. I modified all my exercise, focusing on core and upper body movement, but somedays I couldn't get out of a funk. At 46 I worried that if I kept declining physically, and increased limitation of movement.

So, I looked for treatment options.

Two orthopedic surgeons, after looking at my MRI's diagnosed me with a medial meniscus tear in each knee. They diagnosed me after six months of physical therapy, which I was hopeful would heal my knees. It didn't.

Both orthopedic surgeons recommended arthroscopic surgery to remove the meniscus. The surgery would require me to use crutches for a week or two after, physical therapy for about two months, for each knee. Meniscus surgery, to scrape out the torn bits, is simply a pain management treatment, not a fix. One surgeon told me I would never run again, and would have to be cautious with lower body exercises. The surgery would also put me at greater risk for osteoarthritis. The other surgeon would give me at least five years with decreased pain, before I would need a knee replacement.

WHAT??!!!!

I tried more physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage. I changed my nutrition to an anti-inflammatory diet. I took supplements like turmeric, collagen, and glucosamine. I wanted a natural solution, but the pain remained severe, limiting even walking with my husband. So, I scheduled the surgery.

One week before the surgery for my left knee, where the tear was worse, I discovered PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapy. A friend of mine's mother, who ran marathons treated her torn meniscus with PRP and was running races and hiking since the treatment.

I started researching. The information I found, explained PRP re-introduces your own concentrated blood platelets into areas of chronic joint deterioration. PRP injected into the joint brings healing growth factors to the site of the injury. In the case of the injured meniscus, the damaged tissue can not repair itself. Healing in the meniscus depends on the having enough of a blood supply and/or growth factors at the site of the injury.

Three days before my scheduled surgery, I canceled it, and scheduled PRP injections in both knees at the New Jersey Regenerative Institute. I scheduled it here, because PRP is not a treatment for a torn meniscus here in my town, and I knew several people who had PRP injections for a torn meniscus at this facility. 

When I arrived for my procedure, a nurse drew two vials of my blood from my arm. Then I went to the waiting room, while a centrifuge separated my blood into rich and poor platelets, which took about 30 minutes. After this, it was time for Dr. Malanga to inject the rich platelets into my knee. 

About half an hour before I arrived, I took a Percocet Dr. Malanga had prescribed for me, to feel less pain during the injection. Flat on my back on an exam table, my husband stood next to me, as did a nurse. The doctor took a vial of my separated blood and injected it into one knee, with the help of an ultrasound machine. The sting of the needle and the feeling of the fluid entering my knee joint made tears appear in my eyes, and I exhaled a large breath, with a little "oh." It was painful, but only for about three seconds. The pain felt like a combination of a sting, and hitting your funny bone. 

The worst part? Now the doctor had to inject the second knee, and I knew what was coming! I'm grateful for the quickness of the procedure! 

When I stood up, I could walk, but my knees felt wobbly, like marionette legs, that I had to swing in front of me to walk. The entire procedure took less than an hour. Post procedure instructions banned any aspirin or ibuprofen, ice and Tylenol only for pain, and no walking for three days, except for walking from the couch or bed to the bathroom. However, the doctor said he wanted me to move my knees in a bicycle motion, while sitting, and rub the knees about every hour. 

Additionally, he gave me a large vial of my "leftover poor platelets." 

"Put it on your face," said the nurse. "It's like an instant facelift!" (Side note: it was! I put it on at night before bed, and it tightened up my entire face. In the morning my face felt soft and smooth)! 

After three days, I could resume normal daily activity, but no lower body workouts, fitness walking, or jogging for six weeks. 

I went for my first jog at eight weeks, and have since been running, squatting, lunging, and jumping. Definitely not with the same intensity I had when I was 20, or even 30, but enough to get in a good sweat sash for me! 

Recovering at home with my boys, one day post injections.
I was a little reluctant to write this blog post because PRP isn’t covered by health insurance. But the reason I’m sharing it anyways is because I truly believe this is how we make change. In the U.S., we provide “sick care,” not “health care.” If we’re loud enough, if we demand better options and treatment, if we’re informed enough, we’ll make changes to the health care system.

With that said, nothing I've written is meant to replace the advice of care of your doctor. I’m simply sharing my experience, my opinions, and the treatment I am undergoing to show that there are alternative options. I urge you to do your own research, and listen to your own instincts.

I share this story to show that not all healing has to come in the form of medicine. We don’t always have to get a prescription. There are many things our bodies can do naturally. They are incredible vessels! I hope you found this info helpful! Leave me a note below with your thoughts. I love hearing from you!

How to get energized to crush your workout, and how to recover afterward.

Energize, Motivation, Beachbody, Autumn Calabrese, Tosca Reno, 21 Day Fix, Tony Horton, Vanessadotfit, vanessadotfitness, vanessa.fit, Vanessa McLaughlin
Most days, I lack workout motivation. You may think I live to workout, but I do it because I know it's healthy for my body. Focusing on how I feel after the workout helps, but what the real motivation, and drive through my workout comes from Energize, and then Recover, for my sore muscles. No one wants to workout the next day when sore muscles make it difficult to move!

So, I power up your performance and get a jump start on recovery with a pre-workout, and a post workout drinks—Energize and Recover—to help give me a blast of energy, sharpen my focus, improve my performance, and speed recovery, all with natural ingredients!

ENERGIZE Pre-Workout Formula

If you have low energy, low motivation, and lack of focus during exercise, Energize will help. I can't live without it! I take Energize before workouts for more energy and endurance. I never workout without drinking Energize first. And now, not only does it come in a lemon flavor, but a tropical fruit punch flavor as well!

ENERGIZE is formulated with key ingredients to help:

• Boost energy and endurance• Improve exercise performance• Sharpen focus and reaction time• Increase muscle power output

• Delay exercise-induced muscle fatigue

Energize, Motivation, Beachbody, Autumn Calabrese, Tosca Reno, 21 Day Fix, Tony Horton, Vanessadotfit, vanessadotfitness, vanessa.fit, Vanessa McLaughlin
HOW TO USE ENERGIZE PRE-WORKOUT FORMULA

Simply mix with water according to the label instructions, and drink within 30 minutes before you begin exercising.

The vibrant yellow color of Energize comes naturally from quercetin, a phytonutrient found in many fruits and vegetables and in green tea. A strong yellow color indicates higher levels and higher purity. The quercetin in Energize is the best in the industry, so it’s brighter than other products that contain inferior quality or lower levels of quercetin. This color is natural; there’s nothing artificial about it!

Check out the ingredient label:

Energize, Motivation, Beachbody, Autumn Calabrese, Tosca Reno, 21 Day Fix, Tony Horton, Vanessadotfit, vanessadotfitness, vanessa.fit, Vanessa McLaughlin

Energize, Motivation, Beachbody, Autumn Calabrese, Tosca Reno, 21 Day Fix, Tony Horton, Vanessadotfit, vanessadotfitness, vanessa.fit, Vanessa McLaughlinRECOVER Post-Workout Formula

When I'm too sore from my workouts, it’s much harder to be consistent with an exercise program. If it hurts to move, then my workout becomes even more challenging! Recover takes advantage of the critical post-workout window to help combat exercise-induced muscle soreness, speed muscle recovery, support muscle growth, and improve strength recovery.

RECOVER is formulated with key ingredients to help:

• Speed muscle recovery
• Combat exercise-induced muscle soreness• Reduce muscle breakdown
• Promote lean-muscle growth
• Improve adaptation to exercise
• Improve muscle strength recovery
• Support muscle glycogen recovery

HOW TO USE RECOVER POST-WORKOUT FORMULA

Simply mix with water according to the label instructions, and drink within 30 minutes after exercise. It tastes like a Wendy's Frosty, without any chemicals or preservatives!

These two products are part of the Beachbody Performance line.

Check out the RECOVER ingredient label:
Energize, Motivation, Beachbody, Autumn Calabrese, Tosca Reno, 21 Day Fix, Tony Horton, Vanessadotfit, vanessadotfitness, vanessa.fit, Vanessa McLaughlin

WHAT IS BEACHBODY PERFORMANCE?

It’s a performance-enhancing supplement system specifically designed to meet the demands of Beachbody’s world-class workouts. Now, you don’t have to let anything hold you back from getting the results you want. Beachbody Performance helps you overcome your fitness obstacles, whether it’s low energy, lack of focus, dehydration, exercise-induced muscle soreness, slow recovery, or poor workout performance. With Beachbody Performance, you can push yourself harder and last longer, which means you can get better results from your workouts—faster.*

WHAT MAKES BEACHBODY PERFORMANCE THE BEST?

Beachbody is committed to getting results. So when we set out to
create workout supplements, we knew they had to outperform anything else on the market. Just as we revolutionized superfood nutrition with Shakeology, we are determined to revolutionize your workout performance—and help you get the best health and fitness transformation of your life.

Beachbody Performance is the best because it’s:
  • Developed by Harvard-trained scientists using cutting-edge sports science and nutrition research.
  • Formulated with ingredients at clinically effective levels scientifically shown to make a difference in energy, focus, stamina, strength, and recovery.
  • No gimmicky ingredients without proof that they work. Beachbody Performance is backed by evidence-based ingredients shown to help improve performance and recovery.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
If you want more info about the Performance Line, Energize or Recover, and how to become the best version of yourself, fill out the form below, and I'll respond in 24 hours! 
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How I stopped overeating before dinner...

I don't know about you, but I love cooking dinner. I know many parents dread this time of day, but it's one of my favorites. It gives me a little me time to unwind, to listen to one of my favorite podcasts or The Beatles, and I love to create new, healthy recipes for my family to try.
The only issue is that when I'm chopping and stirring, I'm so hungry! I would nibble, taste, and eat the entire time I cooked. I not only reached for handfuls of food from the snack pantry, like premeasured containers of almonds, but I also taste-tested dinner along the way as it cooked.
I ended up completely full by the time I sat down with my family to the delicious meal I'd prepared. And I ate that too! Oh, the discomfort and bloating I felt from overeating! I was so stuffed, I just wanted to lie on the couch and didn't have the energy to do the dishes or play with my kids. I went to bed feeling so puffy, and sometimes I'd wake up still feeling that way, which would affect my ability to work out, and sometimes would make me skip it altogether. 
I knew this couldn't continue, so I brainstormed a strategy. Now, on Sundays, I meal prep chopped veggies. This serves two purposes. When my boys come off the bus starving, I put the veggies on the counter with some hummus, or guacamole, or Greek yogurt dip. It satisfies their hunger while also getting my boys to eat more veggies. It also serves as my pre-dinner "snack."

I cut up carrots, peppers, and cucumbers and stored them in separate containers. Each afternoon, I arranged them on a platter with the dips for the boys. Each night while cooking dinner, I grab some off the platter and crunch while I cook. The veggies satisfy my hunger, but they are light enough that I don't feel stuffed when I sit down to enjoy the balsamic chicken and green beanscheesesteak zucchini boatschicken pesto stuffed spaghetti squash, or whatever healthy dinner I made. 
This little Sunday snack hack, which takes under 10 minutes to prep, has been the key to preventing overeating at dinnertime. Now, my boys and I crunch together, and in addition to helping to satisfy predinner hunger and prevent overeating, I feel good knowing we're all getting some extra fiber and nutrients.

I hope if you're like me, this little snack can work for you too! 

My favorite health and wellness podcasts!

As a woman growing up in the thick of diet culture, I've developed body-image issues and disordered eating behaviors that have been difficult to navigate on my own. But I found a wealth of knowledge, support, and encouragement to embrace intuitive eating and self-love through the wonderful world of podcasts. Here are five of my favorites, along with must-listen-to episodes.

1. Food Psych podcast

The Food Pysch podcast is probably the one podcast that impacted my relationship with food and my body the most. Led by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN, it's all about health at every size, intuitive eating, eating disorder recovery, and rejecting diet culture.

In the first five to 20 minutes of each episode, she answers a reader's question to help them navigate a personal issue regarding anything from antidieting to body issues. The last 40 to 60 minutes, she brings on an expert to discuss topics such as binge eating, healing body dysmorphia, and eating disorder recovery. I love that she always begins the interview saying, "Tell me about your relationship with food growing up." Her podcast has helped me regain trust in my own intuitions about food and exercise and encouraged positive self-talk.

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 74: "The Truth About Emotional Eating With Isabel Foxen Duke, Anti-Diet Health Coach"
  • Episode 129: "Health at Every Size and Eating Disorder Recovery With Kristie Amadio of Recovered Living"
  • Episode 149: "The Truth About Binge Eating With Amy Pershing, Anti-Diet Therapist and Binge Eating Disorder Expert"
2.  Love, Food Podcast

This is the podcast I've been listening to lately, specifically in the car. Led by Julie Duffy Dillon, RDN, the Love, Food podcast is in the form of readers' letters written to food — yes, the readers actually begin with "Dear Food." All the questions are so relatable, and Julie calls on fellow experts to help answer the readers' questions. Some examples are how to be OK with gaining weight with intuitive eating, dealing with feeling embarrassed about having struggles with food, and how to control eating out of anger or sadness; it's so helpful and informative.

This podcast is easy to listen to, and I always feel like I learned a tidbit or tip to help understand my history with dieting and improve my relationship with food. 

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 122: "I Think About Food All Day Long"
  • Episode 128: "I'm Afraid of Relapse While Raising My Kids"
  • Episode 134: "Why Hasn't Intuitive Eating Made Me Thin?"
3. Body Kindness


When beginning my journey exploring intuitive eating, I found this podcast. Body Kindness by certified exercise physiologist Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, talks about how to be healthy and improve your physical and emotional well-being with kindness and self-love and with zero emphasis on weight loss.

This podcast helped remind me to have compassion toward myself and to quiet that inner self-critiquing voice, and it gave me the tools to start breaking free of dieting mentality and the need to change. Her interviews with fellow dietitians and other experts include topics about self-care, sleep, body image, and sex.

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 51: "Why Diets Are Bad For Your Brain With Neuroscientist and TED Talk Superstar Sandra Aamodt, PhD in Neuroscience"
  • Episode 79: "Diets Can Kiss My A** With Jess Baker, Author of Landwhaleand Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls"
  • Episode 92: "Talking About Food and Bodies in the Home With Anna Lutz, RDN"
4. The BodyLove Project

The BodyLove Project podcast led by Jessi Haggerty, RDN, CPT, is great, since she's both a registered dietitian and a personal trainer. She discusses topics including diet culture, body image and body positivity, and how to get off the diet-binge roller coaster.

Jessi's interviews with experts, including fellow registered dietitians, writers covering intuitive eating, and doctors, let me know that others shared my experiences with food, diet, and body image. Knowing I was not alone in my emotions and habits helped me feel supported in my rejection of diet culture.

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 001: "Intro to Intuitive Eating"
  • Episode 048: "Caroline Dooner, Founder of the Only 'Diet' I'll Stand Behind"
  • Episode 052: "How Diet Culture Impacts Our Body Image With Katherine Zavodni"
This was the very first podcast I started listening to. I wanted to start my day with positivity, and I listened to this as I got dressed and applied my make up. Chalene always lifts me up, and makes me see how confident and fabulous I am! She gives top tips & practical steps for diet, fitness, organization, and self improvement. It's for anyone making all around health a priority with advice from Chalene and experts she interviews to  improve relationships and productivity. No BS. Chalene delivers straight talk and simple strategies (with a side of humor) so that every show delivers a return on your investment of time. The Chalene Show is life coaching, personal development, nutrition, exercise, focus, faith, family & fun all rolled into one! Want to be happier, healthier and more organized?

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 336: "Moving Meditation/You Are Amazing"
  • Episode 360: "What To Do If You Just Feel Meh"
  • Episode 367: "From Failure to Fabulous"
  • Episode 406: "I'm Fat and Other Damaging Stories we tell ourselves"
To get healthy recipes, my newsletter, or more info about my Fit Clubs, fill out the form below! Or subscribe to my newsletter! There is strength in numbers!

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Why I eat dessert every night

I want to first say, that you should eat whatever you want, whenever they want. Food is food, not "good" or "bad" foods,  just foods that are more nutritious than others. Nothing should be "off-limits," and if you're trying to lose weight (that's great if that's your goal, but don't feel pressured to!), you shouldn't deprive yourself.

OK, now that we got that out of the way, I should admit that I am one of those people on a weight-loss journey. Not because I'm trying to achieve a certain aesthetic or because I feel pressured to — I feel healthy ad strong— but I noticed my weight creeping up the last couple years. Since I am in perimenopause and staring at menopause in the near future, I'm more at risk for gaining weight, and all the health implications that come along with that, as well as more weight stresses bones and joints.  I also suffer from anxiety, and experimented with which foods can help my mood. I want to be healthy and happy control, and also be a little lighter so I can power through my workouts (less weight to try and pull during pull-ups!), keep my strength and agility.

I've been using a macro and calorie-tracking app to track my food and I aim to stay within a macro and calorie range each day. Since I don't follow a regimented, strict diet and my only goal is to hit a specific macro and calorie range, no foods are "off-limits." This gives me room to enjoy my favorite foods (in moderation, of course) and never feel deprived.

I should also admit that love sweets: cake, muffins, and creme brûlée are my weaknesses, while I feel no temptation from chips, pretzels, and snack-type foods. I would rather have a cinnamon chip coffee cake muffin, than dive into a bag of Lay's. Knowing this, I won't deprive myself of something  sweet after dinner. If I told myself dessert was completely off limits, it would make me crave it more, leading to an unhealthy binge and probable weight gain. So I enjoy dessert every night. It has not impacted my weightloss, and here's why.

I always recommend my clients enjoy 150 calories of whatever they want at the end of the day, even if they are trying to lose weight. Everyone needs a little break from dieting, and I feel 150 calories each day of discretionary calories won't break the bank, especially if it's budgeted in. Think of it like the carrot at the end of the day. An end-of-day treat doesn't necessarily have to be dessert; it can be a glass of wine, a small bowl of chips, or a mini bag of popcorn. It will help you get through each day and help you stick to your plan.

If you can budget for this 150 calories within your daily calorie target, it won't have an impact on your weight-loss goals at all. But even if you go over by 150 calories every once in a while, it won't totally derail your progress.

WHAT I EAT FOR DESSERT

I eat the foods I enjoy. A handful of berries won't cut is as dessert if I crave a piece of chocolate. So to  make it work, I'm careful to measure out portion sizes. I'm a big fan of Skinny Dipped Almonds, and budget for a serving (about 15 almonds) of the Chocolate Peanut Butter. I love chocolate and peanut butter, so eating these chocolate-covered almonds was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Each serving had about 150 calories, 12 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs, and seven grams of sugar.

My other go-to treat is dark chocolate caramel wedges from Trader Joe's. I buy the little tins of the  from the checkout line. Two pieces are big enough and sweet enough to be satisfying. Two chocolate caramel wedges have about 60 calories, four grams of fat, seven grams of carbs, and five grams of sugar. I'm usually satisfied after one or two pieces.

Other desserts I reach for are four squares of Lilly's Chocolate (sweetened with stevia) which comes in many flavors, my favorite is the salted caramel which contains 54 calories, 5 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, and 0 grams of sugar per four squares, or one of my homemade gluten free chocolate chip cookies (100 calories, 7 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs, 5 grams of sugar per cookie).

Since I know the nutritional information for everything I eat, I factor it into my daily calorie budget. But even if I don't allot for dessert that day and go over my daily calorie target with dinner, I still treate myself every night.

My weight fluctuates like crazy and the scale continues to surprise me — I could gain three pounds overnight or lose a half a pound after a weekend eating nothing but pizza and Nutella. But what I find eating dessert each night, is that there are less binges, and I still can lose weight. It's a reminder that I can eat the foods I love and crave without impeding my progress.

I should also note that, in general, I weigh myself every few days. I have a fraught history with the scale — I used to weigh myself obsessively every day — and while the number on it used to have a huge impact on my mood (positively and negatively), I no longer tie my happiness to what the scale says. If it's a higher number than I'm expecting, I acknowledge that and move on with my day.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED

When I would try (unhealthily) to lose weight in the past, I had an all-or-nothing mentality. I would cut out everything I considered "bad," including sweets and dessert, all in the name of losing weight. I could last for maybe a week or two, but would crave sweets and sugary carbs so heavily. Inevitably, I would not only give in to my cravings, but go on a full-on binge buying candy from CVS or giant muffins from the bakery.

By eating a little bit of something sweet each night after dinner, I honor my cravings without going on a sugar binge. This habit satisfies my sweet tooth and leaves me feeling satisfied after dinner  — without a sugar rush or inevitable crash and stomachache like after a dessert binge.

Sometimes I don't crave something sweet after dinner, in which case I'm totally satisfied with my evening meal. But other times I do, and I know that if I reach for one of my go-to desserts, I shouldn't beat myself up about it. I can enjoy the foods I love and still stay on track with my goals.

Meal Planning Made Smarter - The Ultimate Portion Fix

Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix, Portion Fix, Ultimate Portion Fix, Tosca Reno, Clean Eating, Vanessa.fit, vanessa.fitness,
The 21 Day Fix introduced the world to the rainbow portion control containers, and now it's creator Autumn Calabrese revamped the nutrition program to make it EVEN BETTER to achieve results! Portion controlled containers changed my life. I was eating healthy foods, but in large quantities! I love food!

Portion control is just the beginning. In this new program, Autumn dives in to other principles including balanced macronutrients and eliminating processed foods from your diet. The Ultimate Portion Fix will help you break your sugar addiction, get your whole family on board with eating healthy, and teach you how to maximize your nutrition for performance.

The Ultimate Portion Fix is about giving your body exactly what it needs to operate at its best! No starving. No random points that disregard food source. No fasting. No trendy fad. This is how you enjoy food, and get the most out of it because it feeds your body what it needs in the right ratio!
Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix, Portion Fix, Ultimate Portion Fix, Tosca Reno, Clean Eating, Vanessa.fit, vanessa.fitness,

What’s included in the program?

  • Over 30 new videos about the containers and principles of the nutrition plan
  • Portion control containers
  • A workbook and daily logbook
  • Fixate Volume 2 Cookbook with 102 new recipes
  • Access to over 200 episodes of the Fixate Cooking Show
  • 75 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids PDF
  • Tracking with the Nutrition+ and Beachbody on Demand apps
  • BONUS: When you purchase the Ultimate Portion Fix before April 1, you’ll get real time streaming of 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme Workouts, so you can work out together with Autumn Calabrese starting April 1, 2019
The Combo pack will also include an Insulated Beachbody Tote Bag that comes with large partitioned containers, ice packs, and plenty of storage so you can take your food with you wherever you go.

But the best part of purchasing the Ultimate Portion Fix is that you get access to me as a coach as well as an invitation to my UPF Lifestyle Challenge Group!!

When does UPF launch?

The program comes out on March 18, 2019 for customers and live workouts will start on April 1.

If you are interested in earning a discount or making an income, you can get early access to the program on March 4 by signing up as a coach. If that sounds like something you’d like to do, click here.

Why should I work with Vanessa?

You can try the Ultimate Portion Fix by yourself, but I know from experience that I achieve success when I am surrounded by like-minded people who can hold me accountable!!

I have been running my coaching business for four and a half years, and I have some tried and true methods for success to share with you. I have run over 50 Virtual Fit Clubs, and I have developed a toolkit full of tips, motivation, meal planning ideas, and more so that you can manage going on vacation, late night snacking, and any other issues that might arise during your busy life!

I love the Portion Fix and I’ve been using it for four and a half years. It helped me get my portions under control and hone in on my nutrition, which is why I am so excited to run a Virtual Fit Club full of women like yourself who are looking for a little extra support in their health and fitness journey!! We will work together to keep each other on track and along the way I will share my little tips and tricks for making your life easier.

I'm interested in the Ultimate Portion Fix

Fill out my online form.
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How I got the funk out of my workout clothes, and my teenaged sons' stink out too!



 I have a sports bra problem. Specifically, I have a stinky sports bra, workout clothing laundry problem.

I'm not typically a smelly person (…pretty sure), but recently I noticed that even after washing, my workout clothes were a little, especially my sports bra (which was right under my nose) smelled, well, funky. Or they would smell fine right out of the wash, but as soon as I put them on and started sweating again, things got a little ripe. Ick.

Things got even worse when I went for a run, or did hot yoga. When you wear a tank top, sports bra, and leggings for an hour-long workout high heat, then drop those soaking-wet clothes in hamper until the next load of laundry, you've got a recipe for serious stench. No amount of washing with regular detergent would get the smell out. I even washed with Tide Sport, but that did nothing, other than mix the stench with a floral smell.

In addition, I'm the mom of two teen boys. If you've ever smelled teen boys, not just their workout clothes, but their every day clothes can crinkle the nose of the most loving mother!

Odor in workout clothing is most commonly caused by a buildup of sweat and bacteria from your body. Then, how you store your dirty workout clothes can also lead to additional odors—for example, leaving sweaty clothes in a closed up gym bag, locker, or hamper. (Guilty no longer).

In addition, the very qualities that keep high-performance fabrics comfortable during a workout—their ability to push water out of their fibers rather than retaining it, so you stay drier—make it harder for sudsy water in your washing machine to penetrate the fabric and pull the sweat and bacteria out.

I had to get rid of the stink, so I embarked on a quest to find the absolute best way to get workout clothes odor-free. First, some general tips from my research and own trial-and-error:
  • Turn clothes inside out before washing (since the sweat, oils, and bacteria from your body accumulate on the inside of the clothes).
  • Always use the sniff test before putting the garment into the dryer (although I don't dry my workout clothes, because the heat ruins the elastic/spandex material).
  • Wash clothes as soon as possible after wearing (I do this now, just throw in a load a day).
  • If possible, let sweaty clothes air out immediately rather than stuffing them into a plastic bag or hamper.
  • Don't use more detergent than recommended or overstuff the machine, both of which make it harder for clothes to rinse clean. (In my tests, every single method did worse if I crammed too many items into one load.)
I ended up testing the list of specialty "stink be gone" detergents and boosters below (five in all).  How I did it: I tried each method or specialty detergent at least two times (most of them four or five times), always washing in warm water and hanging dry. Each load had at least one super stinky hot yoga, or hot run item in it. I sniffed everything right out of the wash and after drying, and also noted if clothes smelled worse when worn. I paired the natural methods with my usual laundry detergent, Method,  a greener brand. For the specialty detergents, I focused on brands that were also environmentally friendly.
My requirements: a liquid whole detergent (not a laundry booster), that words with my front load washing machine laundry soap tray, that gets out the stink, and is environmentally friendly. (I know, I want it all)!

Here are the brands I used, and my review of each:

OxyClean Odor Blasters: this is a laundry booster, which means it's used in addition to your regular laundry detergent. It sort of worked, but it infiltrated a strong, flowery scent to all my workout clothes, which then I started to smell while working out, and I didn't like.

Defunkify: This worked well, however, it is a powder, and doesn't work in a front load washer soap tray. However, it's HE machine compatible, and you can place a scoop of powder right in with the dirty clothes.

Biokleen BAC-OUT: This also got the skink out, but is a laundry booster, so used in addition to detergent. This is used for cloth diapers, and it is powerful, but environmentally friendly, and a liquid.

Rockin' Green Soap - Well-known for getting the stick and bacteria out of workout wear. It's a powder, so not compatible with the front loader machine soap tray. However, it's HE machine compatible, and you can place a scoop of powder right in with the dirty clothes. The directions state soaking the clothes in a bathtub first, before washing. This is not feasible in my busy lifestyle.

FunkAway: another laundry booster (but my favorite). Priced well, de-stinks, and is a liquid! It has a very mild, fresh, clean pleasing scent. However, I have to use it in addition to detergent.

I couldn't find one that met all my requirements, but I'll keep getting the FunkAway for the price and effectiveness along with my Method detergent.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind when washing workout wear:
Using too much detergent is probably the biggest mistake people make when it comes to laundry, and if there’s one place where I can encourage you to kick the habit, it’s when washing sweaty, smelly exercise apparel. Using more detergent won’t leave your clothes cleaner; instead, it leaves a buildup of soap residue that traps odors in clothes after going through the wash.

Use a laundry booster or sports detergent (from my list above).
Boosters are used in laundry in addition to regular detergent. For eliminating odor, you can try adding a quarter-cup to a half-cup — again, depending on load size — of white vinegar or baking soda to the wash.

Wash like fabrics together.
Avoid washing athletic gear, especially if it has stretch in it, with towels, fleece and other linty items, as well as with very heavy garments, like jeans and sweatshirts. Athletic clothes with stretch in them will pick up stray lint in the wash, and heavy items can lead to pilling and damage to more delicate athleisure-wear.

No fabric softener
Fabric softener leaves a coating on clothing that can lead to odor retention, even in clean laundry. That coating, especially when it builds up, makes it harder for water and detergent to fully penetrate the fibers, trapping odor-causing bacteria.

Avoid heat
Elastic clothing doesn’t love being exposed to high heat, and that heat will also amplify odors. Wash workout clothes in cold water, stick with the low- or no-heat dryer setting or, better yet, allow exercise clothes to air dry.