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Behind every success story is a “why” – a greater purpose. For Stephanie Rodriguez, a 12K Le-Vel Brand Promoter, that “why” was her own mother, Terri, whose breast cancer diagnosis three years ago inspired the entire Rodriguez family to dig deep and find hidden reserves of strength. Along the journey, Stephanie discovered an opportunity that would allow her to support her mother’s treatment and remain by her side when it mattered most.

Stephanie Rodriguez and family

The story begins in August 2015, when Stephanie’s mother, Terri, learned she had breast cancer. She spotted a lump during her own self examination, which lead her to discovering she had breast cancer during an exam at her OBGYN. “She always believed in being self aware in taking the steps to get checked. It was how she was able to detect the breast cancer early on,” Stephanie said.

Stephanie’s entire family rallied behind Terri, cutting their hair in solidarity when she began chemotherapy in October. Stephanie took on three jobs to help support her mother and her family throughout the duration of her mother’s chemotherapy treatments. “I was worn out and wiped out,” Stephanie recalls. “I got to a point where I was clocking in and out of work, as well as doing the same in my personal life.”

A co-worker at one her three jobs introduced Stephanie to THRIVE in January 2016 “at a time in my life when I of course needed energy, but more importantly, needed to be present for my mom.” After Stephanie experienced the health benefits of THRIVE first hand, she began sharing the products with others and soon realized the potential of the business opportunity not just as a means of income generation, but also as a way to be more present for her mother through the ability to set her own working hours. Stephanie soon was able to quit two of her three jobs and focus on Le-Vel. She had a newfound flexibility to drive her mother to her chemotherapy and radiation appointments, which continued through early summer 2016. By October, Terri’s treatment was complete, and the family was cautiously optimistic.

Stephanie Rodriguez

Then, in January 2017, a routine exam revealed that Terri’s cancer had returned. “Everyone was shocked,” Stephanie says. At that point, Terri opted for a bilateral mastectomy, then began her second round of chemotherapy in July, followed by reconstruction surgery in January 2018.

“The ‘it’s back again’ moment was one of the biggest hurdles our family overcame,” Stephanie says. “It brought back a lot of the memories and fear, but our mom chose to overcome it and keep going day by day. She stood strong for other people, and her faith radiated through her, which helped our family not give up on hope so we could overcome it, as well. Our whole family was able to grab hold of her strength.”

Stephanie also leaned on her Le-Vel business and fellow Brand Promoters to make it through those darker times. “You don’t always want to share this vulnerable part of your story, but you need to so you can meet the needs of someone else who needs to hear it – it wasn’t easy being there for my mom, taking care of myself and trying to get to the next rank of the company. But now, after witnessing my mom’s persistence, I feel like I can accomplish anything in business.”

Stephanie Rodriguez

In July 2018, Stephanie reached the 12K auto bonus earner rank in her Le-Vel business. When asked how she feels about the company’s continued support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation and a cause so close to hear heart, she says, “It’s so amazing what Le-Vel is doing to help create awareness for others in need. The cause that they’re supporting is funding the same resources, people, technology that helped my mom. It’s incredible. My mom encourages others to be proactive about getting exams and making it a priority as well as using the resources that are out there. It was how she was able to detect her breast cancer as early as she did.”

Stephanie and Terri Rodriguez

“Even though my mom inspired me, I had to inspire myself, too,” she continues. “We’re not always going to have people to inspire us right when we need it. I used a vision board when I needed to lean on myself for support. It’s not about where you are, it’s about where you are going. That is what pulls you out of hard times, as well. Fighting cancer, or supporting someone fighting cancer, is mentally exhausting, the last thing you need is a physical setback. Without THRIVE, I don’t know how I would have been able to be there for my mother. We need to give ourselves permission to be the best version of ourselves and to go into what we do every day, whether that’s mom, a manager, as our absolute best selves.”

Terri Rodriguez

“No matter how long it takes, don’t give up on your dreams because it’s worth it when you get there. Stay plugged in and show up because if it’s right, it will happen for you. Your victory is right around the corner – you just can’t give up. THRIVE helped me come out of my shell and show my true self. It gave me the confidence I needed to share my light with the world. As leaders, we need to lead by that example. It was ultimately my mom’s faith that kept her going and I learned how to grow through the tough moments in the way that she did. It’s so important to persist because you become a better person through it all. We both grew through our perspective on what’s important in life.”

Stephanie and Terri Rodriguez

Today, Terri “is healthy and healed and joyful. Her hair is back, and she’s back. All of our family’s hair is longer, and our faith is stronger. Our lights shine bright together.”

Terri Rodriguez and husband

“Fighting for what you want is going to get you to the next level of your life,” Stephanie adds. “For Mom, it was about health and happiness, for us as a family it was about accomplishing dreams, and for me, it was the freedom that comes along with achieving my goals with Le-Vel.”

Best Pre-Workout Snacks for Energy

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Best Pre-Workout Snacks for Energy

Depending on the time of day you work out, you might need a little fuel to get going, especially if you’re hitting the gym after a long day at work. Pre-workout snacks for energy prior to working out aren’t a must, though. In reality, most of us will do just fine without them. But, if it’s been two to three hours since your last meal or you’re just feeling sluggish, then you might benefit from a snack before your exercise routine – as long as you make a smart choice.

avocado toast and berries

About 30 minutes before your workout is the best time for a pre-workout snack. Aim for a combination of protein and carbohydrates – especially carbohydrates. Keep it small, you don’t want to eat so much that your body is diverting energy to digestion while you’re trying to make it through that spin class. Here are a few suggestions for smart pre-workout snacks that will give you a little boost without weighing you down.

  • Greek yogurt. Jackpot! Greek yogurt contains protein and carbohydrates, so you kill two birds with one stone. Note: Read labels. A lot of fruit-flavored Greek yogurts are loaded with sugar, as are the varieties that incorporate chocolate chunks, candied nut clusters, and the like. Plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt is the way to go.
  • Apple with nut butter. If you haven’t tried this combination, give it a shot – you’ll love it!
  • Rice cake with nut butter. Also delicious.
  • Thrive Plus FORM in Berry or Orange Mango. Sequential Gel Technology from Le-Vel, along with proprietary Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein, supports post-exercise recovery and repair, strong bones and joints, lean muscle mass and weight management, plus firm and healthy skin.
  • Granola bar. Not just any granola bar. Not all varieties are created equal, as you know. Read labels and choose one with as few ingredients as possible. Thrive Pro Bars are a great choice. Each bar is packed with 20 grams of sequentially delivered protein and only 2 to 3 grams of sugar.
  • Packet of plain, unsweetened oatmeal. Cooked with low-fat milk.
  • Peanut butter protein balls. Check out this simple and delicious recipe
  • Pumpkin pie energy balls. Everything’s pumpkin spice this time of year, right? Read recipe.
  • A banana or orange.
  • Avocado toast with or without chopped egg on top.
  • 1 or 2 hard boiled eggs with a serving of fruit.
  • Cheese stick with whole-grain crackers.
  • Carrot sticks and hummus.


Now you’re set with the best pre-workout snacks for energy. As always, be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. 

New Outdoor Workout Ideas for Fall

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New Outdoor Workout Ideas for Fall

At long last, that oppressive summer heat is starting to wear off. It’s time to get outdoors again! Need some inspiration for outdoor workout ideas? Here are several ideas, including a few you can get the entire family involved in.

Boot camps.

If you like the camaraderie of group exercise, but you’re sick of the gym, consider an outdoor boot camp for an outdoor workout. Many groups hold early-morning sessions in the parking lots of retail centers or at local parks. Boot camps are a fun way to get motivated, push yourself further and take your cardio, strength and endurance to the next level.

boot camp

Running/walking clubs.

There’s a club out there for everyone. Whether you prefer a few miles at a slow pace, you’re training for a distance-running event, or walking is more your speed, you’ll often find a community of people who share your interest. Some clubs meet weekly and follow their runs/walks with breakfast, happy hour or some other social gathering. A simple Google or social media search can clue you in to what’s happening in your area.

running club


What better way to appreciate the beauty of nature than with a fall hike? The average 160-pound person can burn around 430 calories per hour of hiking (source here). Best of all, hiking delivers serious benefits, from stress and anxiety reduction to lowered blood pressure and risk of heart disease (source here).


Yard work.

Here’s an original outdoor workout idea that will improve the beauty of your surroundings at the same time.  Working outside gets the blood flowing. Make it a fun competition. Who can collect the biggest pile of leaves? Or create a single pile, then let the kids dive in before you clean up.


Outdoor yoga.

Fitness enthusiasts in many communities are holding outdoor yoga sessions. Depending on the type of yoga involved, some sessions may be slower-paced to facilitate relaxation. Others get your heart rate up while you enjoy being outside in the crisp air. These are fun bring-a-buddy events and are made better with THRIVE Plus Balance to achieve your weight loss goals and  to conquer belly bloat.

outdoor yoga

Pick apples.

If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of an orchard, picking apples is an outdoor workout idea that can recruit all of the muscles in the body. You’re walking, reaching, stretching and carrying an increasingly heavier bushel of apples.

pick apples


Whether you hit the road, a dedicated bike path or a mountain trail, biking is an extremely effective low-impact exercise. Find a group to exercise with, bring a buddy or go solo. Just don’t forget the helmet.


Fun 5Ks.

Fall 5Ks are everywhere. You don’t have to be a super-fit runner to finish. Bring the kids, some friends and the dog, and just have fun.


With this long-awaited dip in temperatures, it’s the perfect time to venture outside and mix up your routine. Best of all, when you bring your family along, you’re teaching them that fitness is about both variety and fun.

Sneaky Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight

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Sneaky Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight

You think you’re doing everything right… and yet, the scale isn’t budging. What are the reasons why you are not losing weight?

There are many aspects of our daily life that we don’t ever stop to think about. A lot of us are on auto pilot and don’t realize that some of our behaviors are actually working against us. Here are a few underlying factors that are to blame for your inability to lose weight.

You’re stressed.

Everyone has it, and too much of it can cause levels of cortisol, a stress hormone in the body, to increase, which in turn promotes the feeling of hunger – and not just any hunger. Increased cortisol drives up insulin levels and drives down blood sugar which make you crave fat and sugar. As a response to stress, cortisol helps the body get into survival mode, increasing and hanging to fat stores and actually enlarging the size of fat cells. The most common area for cortisol-related fat accumulation: the stomach, a notoriously stubborn area.

you are stressed

You don’t exercise.

Some people take an “either/or” approach to weight loss. They either diet or exercise, but not both. To truly get healthy and change your life, you have to have to have both of these crucial elements.

you do not exercise

You’re in an exercise rut.

Ever see people at the gym who do the same thing every day? Boring, right? Variety is the spice of life, so mix it up! Be sure to add strength training in with your cardio. If you’re truly in a plateau, this might be the key to shaking things up.

you are in an exercise rut

You exercise too much.

Intense exercise every day puts stress on the body. And what does the body do when it’s stressed? It hangs on to fat. So turn down your intensity a bit – not necessarily every day, but during some of your workouts each week – and see what happens. You might even throw in an extra rest day.

you exercise too much

You’re hungry.

You’ve got to be hungry to lose weight, right? Wrong. Skip the cleanses and the fasts, and go for a varied, balanced diet of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, fruits and the nutrients your body needs to run its engine.

you are hungry

You’re dehydrated.

You think you’re hungry, but you might just be thirsty. Water promotes better digestion and contributes to a feeling of fullness. Chug that water throughout the day, and you will eat less. Dehydration also leaves you feeling fatigued, while adequate hydration helps you feel more energized. How much water should you drink? There are different schools of thought on this. The old guideline that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day isn’t a hard and fast rule. A good rule of thumb is to start your day with water, make water your beverage of choice throughout the day, and end your day with water. When it’s hot outside or when you’re exercising, drink more water. Just hydrate!

you are dehydrated

You eat and scroll.

Show of hands: Who eats while reading social media, the news of the day or your favorite gossip? That’s sort of in the category of watching TV while you eat. When you’re distracted, it’s incredibly easy to lose track of how much you’re consuming and to mindlessly eat. Try music, silence or conversation instead.

you eat and scroll

You’re tired.

Here comes cortisol again. Being sleep-deprived increases your levels of the stress hormone, which leads to stronger, more frequent cravings for junk food.

you are tired

Guilty of one or more of these sneaky weight-loss saboteurs? Own the reasons why you are not losing weight, address them, and commit to achieving your fitness goals with the support of the Thrive Experience and the Thrive Plus Line

5 Superfoods for Your Grocery List

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5 Superfoods for Your Grocery List

Food fads come and go. But some foods stand the test of time for their proven nutritional benefits. Here are five superfoods you should consider adding to your diet:


1. Blueberries.

Blueberries are high in antioxidants, including Vitamin C, and are a great source of Vitamin A and fiber. Best of all, this superfood is available year-round! The North American blueberry season runs April through September. Then South America imports berries from October through March, when the region experiences its own warm summer months.


2. Salmon.

This flavorful fish superfood provides omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce cholesterol and slow the growth of arterial plaque. It’s also rich in Vitamin D, B Vitamins, potassium, and protein. Aim for wild salmon if possible. Farmed salmon is linked to higher percentages of contaminants, but the amounts are not considered a cause for concern. Any kind of salmon, when consumed about twice a week, is rich in nutrients, contributes to a feeling of fullness and helps you lose weight when it’s part of a healthy diet.

Cacao powder

3. Cacao powder.

Is cacao powder the same thing as chocolate? Nope! Cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted beans. Cocoa, on the other hand, is made by roasting cacao beans at a high temperature, which in turn decreases the nutritional benefits of cacao. Cacao powder helps suppress the appetite and reduces cravings, increases metabolism, relieves stress, enhances your mood and stimulates digestion. It’s also a fantastic source of iron and calcium.


4. Nuts.

From protein to Vitamin E to heart-healthy oils they deliver, what’s not to love about nuts? Walnuts, in particular, are known for their source of omega-3s. Plus, they’re high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, Vitamin E, zinc, and selenium.

Goji berry powder

5. Goji berries.

Native to Asia, the goji berry is credited with anti-aging benefits (thanks to their beta-carotene), immune support (thanks to antioxidants) and glucose regulation. The berries also help against age-related eye diseases thanks to their high levels of antioxidants – those antioxidants, including Vitamin C, also help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Goji berries may relieve depression, reduce anxiety and aid in sleep. If we’re going to label any food a “superfood,” goji berries easily defend their title the best.

It’s easy to incorporate any of these nutritional heavy-lifting superfoods into your diet. Cacao powder and goji berries are available at most natural foods stores and even some mainstream supermarkets. As with any food, more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Moderation is always a smart strategy. If you can’t incorporate all of these superfoods into your diet, no problem! Just aim to get some combination of vegetables and fruits, fish, poultry, beans, and whole grains onto your plate each day. One to two servings of milk or dairy products per day, along with a bit of healthy oils, round things out and are complimented by the Thrive Experience.

For a helpful visual, check out the Healthy Eating Plate provided by Harvard Medical School.