Not Just Another Resolution

Approaching New Year’s, many are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions. Each year it is often the same, or maybe it’s just a slight twist on a previous New Year’s resolution.

Whatever may be the case, instead of anxiously awaiting to adhere to a specific resolution right after the ball drops; the clock strikes midnight, or your hangover kicks in the next day, make one commitment with yourself; something that isn’t as abstract as just saying, “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to stop smoking.” Instead, set up small challenges for yourself to create the right set of footprints to allow you to track where you’ve been and how far you’ve come.

Ask yourself, “What can you do to get to where you want to be” For example, make a commitment to take a walk for 30 minutes for at least 3 times per week, and then add on to that.

You could even make a commitment to cut out soda everyday, or limit yourself to one soda per day or per week.

Taking small steps will keep you on the right track and not overwhelm you to the point where you just forget or renege on your resolution.

Quick Holiday Workout

It’s hard to stay on course with good eating habits and exercise when you’re inundated with the stress and excitement from the holidays. It doesn’t help that temptation from cookies and other sweets smother you with their sweet aroma, some beautifully decorated with bows and gift wrap, presented as a thoughtful gift or at a simple get together.

It’s hard not to get wrapped up in holiday traditions; to revel in the small moments that capture us for a lifetime and lure us in for everlasting memories. It’s easy to eat cookies and enjoy great food with great people, knowing that you can always start tomorrow or the next day with those resolutions that will probably make or break you.
And let’s not forget the frustration that you feel if you’re wallet is a lot lighter, but you may not be. And let’s be real, stress certainly doesn’t make getting those few extra pounds you may have gained over the holidays any easier.

So let’s start simple.

Instead of plunging right in, ready to start counting calories, restricting what you eat, and killing yourself on the treadmill or outside in an attempt to beat the bulge, start simple. Begin with drinking more water as a way to “jumpstart” your system; to get it to start functioning at its highest level again.

By drinking more water, it will help restore balance of body fluids, restore your skin’s appearance as well as your hair, better nutrient and mineral absorption, which means that your organs don’t have to work as hard if they’re getting an adequate water supply, and helps get your metabolism working properly again. It’s like giving your insides a bath.

It can be difficult to jump into a fat loss program with the holidays still buzzing in the air, and I don’t think the stress or excitement is going to die down anytime soon, but this quick workout should be just enough to keep your internal fire burning those extra calories. And all that is required is your body weight (and maybe your purse) No gym required. So grab your water bottle and Let’s Do It!!

Complete 3-4 rounds of 20 reps.

Jumping Jack Squats
To do: 1 full jumping jack, at the bottom of second jumping jack (when feet are spread wide apart) jump into a squat. Return to starting position (feet together) pause then repeat. 20 reps

Switch lunges into a pushup
To do: Alternating jump lunges (you could also lunge forward, return to starting position, lunge forward with alternating leg) After lunge on each side, back to start position (feet together) and then jump down complete one pushup. Return to start. 10 reps each side

Squats with lateral walk and overhead press
To do: Grab your purse Ladies!!! Place feet shoulder width apart, toes out slightly, hold purse in front of you. Squat down and as you come up reach purse overhead. Step to the side and repeat. 10 reps to the right and 10 reps to the left.

Ab crunch
To do: Lie down on your back, bend knees, feet flat on the floor, cross hands behind head or in front of chest. Lift head and shoulders off the floor, hold for one or two seconds. Back to start and repeat for 20 reps. Challenge: Lie down on back, legs in air, lift head and shoulders off of floor, and with arms extended, reach up towards feet.

If you do it, feel free to post the time it took or let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!!

I Am an Addict

I’m an addict. I sweat. I suffer from withdrawals. I feel pain. And I feel weak without it.

I’m an addict.

It feeds me adrenaline. It wakes me up inside. It makes me feel strong… And powerful.

I can do anything, I am unstoppable. I am an addict.

I become miserable without it. I have mood swings. I need it; it’s my only drug.

Weight lifting.

Feeling the weight of another rep; overcoming it… defeating it. Pushing hard. Through the sweat. The pain.  I do it over and over. Again and again.  I love it; the noise; the sound of the weight against the machine, the grunts of power and pride of lifting another rep; doing another set. Control. Failure is not an option. Progressing is; seeing change. I need it. Feel it. Breathe it. I am an addict.

We are all addicts. Addicts of something.

Or maybe you’re not.

 But, we all want something to make us happy; something to make us forget our pain, hurt, and anger. Just for a little while. Rather than succumb to feelings of helplessness, we may want to become numb, and just keep moving instead of dwelling on it.

But sometimes, the fear is so deep within us, that we ultimately lose consciousness of our surroundings. We may take steps and use words, when, in reality, we’re not really concentrating on what we’re actually saying or doing. But no one can tell. No one can tell, because we hide it so well. We’re used to it. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

We all need an outlet to be ourselves; to let loose all of things that are casting shadows around us. Without judgment. Without fear.

I go to the gym. That’s my place. My time to feel peaceful and hopeful.  Feel powerful rather than helpless. I feel that if I can just overcome one more rep, force it up, defeat what is trying so hard to bring me down; to fall or stumble; to know that if I let it go, drop it, it could leave me severely injured, but if I could lift it against the force of gravity, then I could fight back and overcome a lot more. Sometimes it’s difficult when it hits so close to home. It becomes more than just a metaphorical dumbbell or barbell that you’re trying to overcome and resist against. And sometimes, you don’t have a single clue as to what to do to fix things and make it better, and all you have are these videos flashing through your mind on fast forward; giving you tiny glimpses of what you’re so damned afraid of. No stopping, no pausing, just heart beating, skin crawling, loud clamoring adrenaline pumping, hard-core-drop-and-give-me-100 frightening situations that’s either going to control you or be controlled.

Because you just have to keep going and try to keep up. There is no other choice; it’s not going to stop just because you do.

You’re just going to have to overcome defeat, get back up and get ready to tackle the world from every angle.

How to Get the Body You Love

How does a nice dish of plain chicken breast and a side of green veggies sound?

 Fried, greasy foods, sugary sweets and salty foods is the good shit.  Surround yourself with a few good friends or family and it tastes that much better. Being happy is what counts; after all, life is short.

 I love going out to eat. And who doesn’t? In fact, there was a time when all I did was go out to dinner. I supported restaurant and fast food joints like it was nobody’s business. After working all day long, the last thing I wanted to do was stand in the kitchen pressing buttons on a microwave or cooking a meal. But when you see the changes in your body after cutting down on the amount of time spent going out to eat or microwaving a processed meal from your grocer’s freezer section, you’ll definitely see what all the excitement of eating right and exercising is all about. It’s only when you don’t see results that you begin to dismiss any small changes that you’ve made and settle for just remaining the same.

 How do you prevent that from happening? I used to believe in finding a balance, but when I realized that I wasn’t even practicing it, I started to question if there is even such a thing. Honestly, for me, to find balance in life is just something that you can find at a playground; two people on a teeter totter, one person on the other end jumps off without notice, and the other gets catapulted into the air. Basically, you’re screwed. And to me, that’s what life is. One big gigantic teeter totter and you’re always the last one on it unless you happen to make sure you’re the first one off. That, or the other person just isn’t an asshole.

 I’ve come to recognize that a majority of things in life we tackle with an all or nothing approach; it’s either, “you’re in or you’re out”. We all to often thrive off of perfection and try to make our best even better because our best never seems to be good enough.  

When we set our sights on a goal and prepare to embark on a new endeavor that has the potential to change us from the inside out, we find out everything there is to know and go balls to the wall. We fight through any resistance there may be and if there is an obstacle in the way, we work harder. However, when it comes to a new diet, a new exercise program, we tend to just give up and walk away if we don’t see results fast enough or if the results have stagnated. It’s like something in us breaks and leaves us feeling helpless and feeling guilty to the point where we find ourselves trying to rationalize why we gave up, “I work too hard” “I don’t have time” “I’m too tired,”. It is only in this aspect in our life can we manage to utter the words, “I don’t care, I’m not perfect,” in other areas of our life, we’ll exhaust ourselves to the point where we start to use our body as a sacrifice to reap the reward from things that provide us instant gratification. Yep, when it comes time to take care of ourselves, we just simply walk away.

 We walk away because sometimes it feels like our best is never good enough; the image of what we should look like is something that many of us struggle with, and it’s far from a clean cut, straight and narrow path. Diet and exercise lacks the instant gratification that we yearn for; lacks the appreciation, gratitude, love, admiration, and respect from others and doesn’t come with a price tag.  It’s complicated and it’s a challenge. It requires all of those (minus the instant gratification and price tag) from within; it requires being strong when you just want to be weak, forgiving yourself rather than quitting if you’re not at your best for the day or even the week. Loving yourself even when you don’t like what you see looking back at you in the mirror.  

 Other people are extremely forgiving when you stop or stray from a diet or an exercise program.  Be those other people.

People also become more uncomfortable when you change the way you eat or look.  Be uncomfortable.

 And don’t eat for what you don’t have the “time” to burn off.

 ***As long as you fuel your body with the right amount of food and nutrients that suits the type of body type that you are trying to achieve, then it’s okay to have a snack or stray a little off the beaten path. It’s okay to not be so strict and count calories, weigh your food, or become extremely anal about it. Besides, let’s face it, no one wants to live a miserable life…

 So…

Get off that fad diet you’re on (the results are only temporary AND it’ll make you miserable)

Keep a journal or a blog of your fitness journey through Instagram or other social media site of your choice.

Keep track of changes with pictures (selfies). Note: Make sure to use the same lighting and camera each time.

Measure yourself rather than weigh yourself; it’s a lot more accurate and less deceiving. Do this every two – four weeks.  Don’t compare yourself to others. I’ve struggled with this a lot (still do). Remember that you’re trying to create a better version of yourself not of someone that you can never be. Not to mention, with all of the apps to distort or change a picture, you don’t know what is really happening on the other side of the picture before it was posted.

 ***And if you’re not losing weight or you struggle with problem areas, chances are you:

 **May have a food allergy (dairy, wheat etc) and not know it

**Suffer from too much stress, which increases cortisol, and as a result increases the risk   of fat storage in your trouble areas. (For women, it’s usually their butt and thighs. For men, it’s usually their stomach)

**Eating too much “crap”

**Not eating enough food (which can also lead to your body storing body fat in unwanted places)

**Water retention (Seriously, I’ve gotten down to 9-10% body fat and still looked like I had fat under my butt)

**Antidepressants can also make it harder for you to achieve your ideal body

 **It’s harder to lose fat and tighten up your butt, upper thighs, inner/outer, back of your thighs, due to low blood flow in those areas. (low blood flow=poor mobilization of fat)

 Ultimately, you want to drink more water, eat less crap, find time to relax and make sure that it’s calorie free! (most of the time).  But most importantly, above all, learn to love and accept your body; flaws and all, take care of yourself, make life full of memories, make goals that aren’t fast and hard, but slow and steady, and that makes you happy.

After all, the reflection in the mirror isn’t truly who you are; it’s merely an image of what your eyes see.

Please Don’t Lose that Butt

Once upon a time I just wanted to tone. I joined a gym, ate only 1300 calories, did a ton of cardio, group fitness classes once or twice a week or the treadmill for 45 mins to an hour and felt good about it. I felt energized, motivated, and I felt skinny. But I was too skinny. I was in a size 0 but I still had “problem areas” so I “trained” harder, “dieted harder” I still ate 1300 calories, but I controlled very strictly where those calories were coming from…even more than before. But I just couldn’t get rid of those “problem areas” I hired a trainer who prescribed less calories, more cardio and at that point, I was burnt out, tired of people asking me if I was sick, and sick of people telling me that I was “too skinny” I was hurt. After all, I put a lot of hard work and dedication into my body. Blood, sweat and tears mind you. I counted every single calorie, logged in every mile I ran, every step I took, and I still had “problem areas’ I was just skinny. I merely lost weight and toned my bones. I lifted weights too, but I wasn’t doing anything right. It was all wrong.

 I dropped the trainers, took a few steps back and invested the time and effort into finding out what the hell I was doing wrong. It was right in my face. While it wasn’t a quick fix and it was going to take some time and more work and dedication, I was finally on the right track. The reason why I still had these problem areas, was simply because I wasn’t allowing muscle growth to occur, which just left my body to hold onto fat in my “problem areas” The solution? I needed to lift weights to build muscle necessary to give my body the shape to “correct” those problem areas.

 So how about you?

Do you ever find yourself in the gym on the treadmill or elliptical when your eyes start to wander towards the weight room? You avoid it like the plague because you don’t know where to start and heck you fear where you may end up; like on some crazy machine turned inside out or flipped upside down…

 Or maybe you’ve seen muscles on women and don’t think it’s attractive. Maybe you don’t want to look exactly like that but you know you want to do something differently; you need a change because the same old boring routine on the treadmill at your gym isn’t cutting the fat, it’s only making everything face south. And maybe you don’t want to do a group fitness class because you’re not coordinated enough, or are afraid to make a fool out of yourself. Or maybe you even suffer from social anxiety…

 And then there’s always the fact that you’ve been doing the group fitness classes and still aren’t seeing results, but you keep going because it’s fun and besides, any exercise is better than none. Not to mention, you don’t necessarily want to look like a bodybuilder either. So… what’s the “in-between”?

 You want to tone.  The words slipped from your tongue, rolled out in red carpet fashion, you utter the infamous phrase, “I just want to tone up”  Cheers come from the crowd, your name is called, you feel powerful; like a bull master, ready for whatever; ready for the ultimate win. Congratulations.

 Well guess what?

1. You can’t tone up what you don’t have AND

2. You can’t tone fat. No really, you absolutely cannot tone fat.

3. And I guess you can tone your bones? I did. I guess.  

 As Sir Mix A lot sings in the song, “Baby Got Back”, “…You can do side bends and sit ups but please don’t lose that butt” he may not of known it, but it’s because doing only body weight exercises, doing excessive cardio routines, or hamster wheel training without really ever challenging yourself will only make you lose more of what you already have, so “if you ain’t got it to begin with, you really ain’t gonna have it after all is said and done.” Same shape of body but smaller. So, ladies, if you want to tone, you’re going to have to be a beast in the gym. That’s right, get your ass into the weight room and pick up something heavy; push yourself, challenge yourself, go for intensity not long classes or long workouts that burn any or all muscle that you may have to begin with.

 When you workout in a class, you’re most likely not eating enough to fuel your workouts AND the rest of your day. Most people either eat too much that’s lacking in nutritional value, or eat too little, again leading to a nutritional deficiency. And then you just start doing these long classes or just spending hours at the gym.  

 It’s quite possible that you could be either one of these two people:

 (A) You want to lose weight so you skimp on calories, thereby skipping meals, eating like a bird, and therefore, you’re not getting enough nutrients to fuel your body properly. You also do excessive amounts of cardio or a couple long group fitness classes a week to complement your impeccable eating habits, and burn off the little muscle that your body does have, which makes it impossible to lose fat, maintain or increase strength, and continue to perform daily activities at the same or higher level.  

 (B)  You do lots of cardio, eating like crap in between, not getting enough nutrients to fuel your body properly, continue to perform daily activities at the same or higher level, or maintain or increase strength, and ultimately stay the same weight because while you may have enough stimulation for muscle growth, you don’t have enough nutrients to sustain or build muscle.

 To stay lean and “tone” you have to have muscle. You have to eat and train for the body you want, not just a smaller body of what you already are carrying around.

A smaller body doesn’t automatically equate to being stronger or healthier either.

I’m not toning. I’m shaping, redefining; re-creating.

 And it’s still a progress people. Trust me, once you see the results, you will become addicted.  

So become an addict with me.

Become addicted.

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