Faith and Fitness with Marsha Apsley

Helping Women Live Fit and Free

10 Ways to Thrive This Holiday Season


Ready or not, December is here!  I don’t know about you, but I want to enjoy every minute of it.  I love Christmas!  Some of my favorite parts are the lights and decorations.  I love my early morning runs through a quiet town and seeing houses lit up.  Instead of letting the month and all the activities overwhelm, I hope that you become overjoyed with the season.  

Welcome to December! Ways to make it the most wonderful time of the year. #healthyliving Click To Tweet

I want to share a few things I’m doing not to survive the holidays, but to thrive, this holiday season.   Maybe you’ll see something that will help you as well.

  1. Daily quiet time.  I’m following the Love God Greatly advent study.  If you don’t have one, it’s not too late to start.  They are great Bible studies.  If my heart is not prepared, nothing else will fall into place.

  2. Breakfast!  It’s key to a good day.  I go through phases with breakfast.  Sometimes it’s a shake like Shakeology or Vega One.  Other times I eat oatmeal everyday.  If my workout comes later in the day, I may just have a bar.  Oatmega, Think Thin, and Kind bars are some of my favorites.  Lately I’ve fixed a piece or two of whole grain toast.   

  3. Get enough sleep.  Keep to your schedule.  Anybody who knows me knows I’m an early to bed girl, but I’m also an early to rise girl.

  4. Stay hydrated….with water!  If you’re having a cocktail then drink extra water.  Don’t drink your calories!

  5. Move.  Plan a 5K.  I’ll be doing Santa Hustle 5K in a couple of weeks (use AMAPSLEY16 for $5 off your registration).  Don’t workout to punish yourself or out of guilt.  Just do it to stick with your schedule.  Get some fresh air.  

  6. Manage stress with things like yoga, leisure walk, hot bath, hot tea, read a book, listen to Christmas music

  7. Focus on protein.  Make lean protein a focus at each meal and snack.  

  8. Accountability.  Keep up with your running or walking partner.  Use an app.  Keep a workout journal.  Email me and let me know you worked out!  I’d love to hear from you!   

  9. Be prepared.  Pack a bar or small snack so you always have something with you that’s a healthy option if you get caught in traffic, shop a little longer than anticipated, visit with a friend, etc.   

  10. Most of all, ENJOY this time of year!  You can do that by practicing moderation.  I will never tell you a certain food or food group is off limits.  You just have to figure out what is beneficial for YOU!  There is no “one size fits all”.  You have to find YOUR fit.  Be present in every moment.  If you’re going to have a treat, then really savor and enjoy it.  Have enough to taste and be satisfied but not so much that you’re completely stuffed and full of guilt wishing you had never had the first bite.

Let's commit not to survive, but THRIVE, this holiday season. #tips #merrychristmas Click To Tweet

Tell me….

What are you doing to thrive this holiday season?

Which of the above tips will you put into practice?


If you’d like this list to print off and keep to refer to, please click this link.  I’ll send it to you!  Here’s to thriving this holiday season….and everyday after!

Let’s Go Shopping! Some Discount Codes on a Few of My Favorite Things

Christmas shopping

Disclosure:  I have been provided discount codes to share and in return I may get compensation via free product or a small payment when my code is used.  But be sure all comments and reviews of products are my own!  

I love Christmas!  It’s my favorite holiday.  It’s my favorite time of year!  I love giving gifts, BUT I don’t like shopping.  Or rather, I don’t like to GO shopping.  I prefer shopping from the comfort of my home behind my computer and having the gifts delivered to my front door.   

Here’s a little secret.  The thing I dislike more than going shopping is the wrapping part!  That’s why my husband and I have this agreement that I buy the gifts, and he wraps them.  It’s a wonderful arrangement 🙂

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite things along with some discount codes in case you still have some shopping to do!  

Bondi Band  –  This is my all time, hands down favorite headband!  I’ve tried several kinds, but then I found BondiBand.  It doesn’t slip. It can be used year round.  You can pull it over your ears or leave it above.  Not only are they functional but they are so fun!  The sayings are fun, and they’re always adding new ones.  The price is right as well, and they’re always running promotions.  I can’t get enough of these headbands.  When you place your order, use code MLA10 for 10% off your order.

Pura Vida Bracelets  –  These are so fun and versatile and support a good cause.  The proceeds from every order goes to help provide jobs for local artisans in Costa Rica.  This is near and dear to my heart, because I went on a mission trip there when I was in high school.  When you use MARSHAAPSLEY20 you get 20% off your order.  I have tons of these bracelets to go with every outfit.  You can sweat in them, get them wet, wear them wherever.  They make great gifts too!  

Let's go shopping! I have some deals for you! #sponsored Click To Tweet

Love God Greatly Study  –  I have been following Love God Greatly and doing their studies for a couple of years.  I love these studies because all materials can be accessed online and sent to your inbox for free.  Recently they began releasing an actual study guide and journal to go along with the study.  I highly recommend it, but you can still follow the study without making the purchase.  I just started the Advent study on Sunday.  It’s not too late for you to join too!  

Santa Hustle  –  This is my favorite half marathon (and I’ve done TONS of them!), because I get to celebrate my favorite holiday (Christmas!) by doing my favorite thing (run a half marathon!).  The Santa Hustle half marathon came to Indy a few years ago.  This year I get the opportunity to offer a discount code for the Indy event or for the virtual race.  So even if you don’t have a Santa Hustle in your area, you can register and get the swag and do it on your own.  If you’re not feeling like 13.1 miles, you can choose the 5K. Given my recent knee problems and summer off of running, I’ve decided I should do the 5K.  But, I’ll still get my ipod loaded with Christmas music and enjoy the run.  They have fun cookie and candy stations along the way.  Use code AMAPSLEY16 for a $5 discount. 

Still have shopping to do? Check out my list with a few discounts codes included! #sponsored Click To Tweet

Cross Training Couture – This makes up the majority of my wardrobe!  The company tagline for Cross Training Couture is “Fitness is my witness”.  I love everything about this company…..the message, the quality of the product, the price, the heart, the message.  AND they just launched a pajama line in time for Christmas!  I have mine ordered already!  I am sooo excited about this AND I have a very special cyber Monday deal to share with you!!!  Use ctcpjs to get $5 off your order… only!!!!  

Trades of Hope – This is a company that supports women around the world and helps them get out of poverty.  The items are unique and from a different country or places in the United States.  I’m always pleased with the quality of the products.  I have bags and jewelry, scarves and stationary.  I’ve also purchased a few Christmas gifts as well.  

MDA donation – Christmas is the season of giving.  Back in May I ran a half marathon with Team Momentum.  This was to raise funds and awareness for those with muscle disease.  If you’re looking to make a donation to a good organization, this is one I’d recommend.  

Green Bean Delivery – I’ve already proved that I would rather shop online than any other way, but grocery shopping often requires a trip to the store, like it or not.  However, I get most of my groceries delivered to my door from a fairly new service in my area.  Green Bean Delivery arrives weekly or bi-weekly depending on my preference.  The groceries show up in a cooler on my doorstep about the same time each week.  

And then after you have all of your shopping finished, you might have to start wrapping these gifts.  And with wrapping you won’t have time to fix your lunch or dinner, but no worries!  Your Box Catering has you covered.  If you’re in Shelbyville, you can order lunch (or even dinner on certain nights!) delivered to your door.  It’s delicious!  


What are you waiting for?  It’s time to go shopping!  Tell them I sent you 😉


Tell me….

Do you have your Christmas shopping done?

Do you have a favorite shop I need to check out?  Please tell me!  Online shopping is the only way I go!

Making the Most of Your Mornings: Tips for being intentional about your day and your health {Guest Post}

I’m happy to welcome Sarah to my blog today.  She’s sharing some great tips for making the most of our mornings.  In addition, she is doing a challenge in December to help us implement some of these tips and to enjoy the holiday season.  Read all the way through and consider joining the challenge!


Our reality is shaped by our expectations, beliefs, and thoughts.
We all know the good old glass half empty saying – two people can look at the same glass and see two very different circumstances (one half full, one half empty.)
Our beliefs and thoughts, while they may seem unconscious, are formed through practices and habits of our daily life. Understanding that we have the power to change the way we think can change our lives!

Guest post with challenge included. How to make the most of your mornings. Click To Tweet

Before we dive into five tips to help you make the MOST of your mornings, let me back up a second and introduce myself!
My name is Sarah and I am very excited and grateful that Marsha shared her blog with me today. I write a fitness blog myself and am also a new mama!sarah
Along with writing a blog and learning the ropes of taking care of another human being, I also work full time as a Fitness Director and personal trainer at a country club and run a little side jewelry biz with a BIG impact.
Needless to say, life can often times feel hectic and overwhelming.
A couple months ago, I learned a very valuable lesson. I was filling my days with so many things that “needed” to get done and stressing about checking off my to-do list that I was not enjoying the most important part of my day – my family.
When I force myself to slow down (which is not always easy), I find my blessings waaaay outnumber my troubles!
I truly feel taking time to slow down, count your blessing, and be intentional about your day will save you so much stress, energy, and time in the long run!

Tips that will help you make the most of your mornings Click To Tweet

5 ACTIONABLE  tips that will help you make the MOST of your mornings
1. Write down what you are thankful for each morning (and pray for those less fortunate)
Often times we focus on the problems and stresses of life, which lead to anxiety and unhappiness. Our thoughts form our outlook, so take time to focus on the positive.
Taking time to feel gratitude, even in the smallest of things, reinforces all the positive things that have happened in our day and life.
2. Write down the 3 most important tasks you want to get done today
It is proven that writing things down helps you to gain focus on your day and remember important tasks. By jotting down your most important tasks in the morning you are able to prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts.

3. Wake up earlier

 Even if it is only 15 minutes, waking up earlier gives you a little more time in your day to get things done with less distractions… read, exercise, meditate, sit down and eat breakfast, enjoy a quiet house, whatever you want to do!
Some of the most successful people wake up early. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Set your alarm a little earlier tomorrow and when it goes off, just get two feet on the floor.
Once your feet hit the floor, you will be amazed how much easier it is to start your day.
 4. Exercise
Having a hard time fitting in exercise? Get it done first thing in the morning – and hey – you will be up earlier now, so knock it out before your morning cup of coffee!
 A healthy body equals a clear and healthy mind.
5. Drink a big glass of water
 Drinking water boosts your energy levels and helps you to think, focus, and concentrate! Water also boosts your immune system and flushes out toxins. When the body is functioning at its best, you will feel great and be happy!


I wanted to throw in a bonus practice because it is something you would actually do at night.
Write down one thing you want to remember about your day.
It could be anything! Maybe you made chicken parm for dinner tonight.  Perhaps you tried a new yoga class. You were up late reading a good book.
Start a little journal and just start writing down one thing you would like to remember about the day.
This helps you look back and feel accomplished. And, how neat would this be for your grandchildren to read and learn more about you one day!?


If you love the idea of being intentional and making the most of your mornings as much as I do, I would like to invite you to join my {2 week} holiday challenge that starts on December 5!
The First 15: Holiday Shape Up Challenge challenges participants to take 15 minutes during the first hour of their day for a simple + efficient workout, a mindset practice, and a cup of coffee this holiday season!
AND here is the part I really love…
I’ve teamed up with Northern Light Coffee (whose mission is to offer the best coffee and be a light for girls out of human trafficking) and we will be sharing some fun + healthy coffee recipes and giving out free coffee!

How it works:
Every weekday morning (for the 2 weeks of the challenge), take 15 minutes to complete the daily workout, a mindset practice, and relax!

5 Minutes – Simple yet challenging workout (no equipment needed)
5 Minutes – Mindset shift practice
5 Minutes – Relax + enjoy a cup of joe (or tea)

To learn more (and sign up if you like), click HERE:
Tell me….
Does this sound like a challenge you’d like to do in December?  I know I’m looking forward to it! 
Do you have a morning routine?  If so, what do you do?  I like to start out with warm lemon water, some stretching, and devotions.  
Again I’d just like to say thanks to Sarah for coming over to the blog today to share some tips and invite us to her December challenge!

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