Gym Bag Essentials

It’s finally time to pack up and leave for Sophomore Year! Since I have everything organized and ready now, I decided that I would share my Gym Bag Essentials for a good workout are as I pack them to leave for school. All of my Gym Bag Essentials will have a link to them if you click the text and want to get one of them for yourself!

1. Adidas Gym Bag- I just ordered this from Amazon and I absolutely love it because its the perfect size; not too big and not too small. It holds all of my gym necessities and could hold extra clothes if I need to bring them with me!

IMG_98762.Polar Heart Rate Monitor- MY ALL TIME Favorite Fitness Device- I will share more about it in a later post, but I use it for all my workouts to track my calories burned and heart rate to make sure I’m working hard enough. It’s extremely beneficial for runners because it helps me keep my pace, and I know when to go faster or slower depending on how long I want to run because I know how to last if I stay in a certain heart rate zone. It was $65 on amazon and is so worth it!

IMG_98613. Quest Bars- I am in love with this protein bar brand. They’re great to eat post workout or preworkout. With: 180 calories-1 gram of sugar, 20 grams of protein and carbohydrates, 17 grams of fiber and minimal ingredients. My favorite flavors in order are Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies and Cream, and Double Chocolate Chunk. They’re all awesome, but those are my top three. The only downside about these is they’re a bit pricey. HOWEVER, buy them from Suppz.com and use the code Quest20 to get $5 (20%) off each box! ($20 for 12 bars). Also, GNC has buy 3 bars/boxes and get 1 free.

IMG_98454.Cellucor C4 -Pre-Workout- This is the only pre-workout I’ve ever used because I trust Cellucor‘s brand. Typically I’ll use 1/2-1 scoop on days I don’t have much energy or days I plan on lifting really heavy and it gives me a really good boost (wakeup) in the gym. It gives you a really good pump without making you bloated as well! I buy it from Costco when it’s on sale for $30 (2 packs of 30 servings)  Watermelon is my favorite flavor!

IMG_98705. Wrist Wrap- I have extremely weak wrists and they finally caught up to me this summer and I had to take a break from lifting for a week and lift lighter…until I found these-my new best friends(:! I use only one for my really weak side and sometimes both of them if I feel I need it. They’re super effective and they don’t hurt at all when I lift now!

IMG_9854Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.04.30 PM6. Whey Protein- Currently my favorite brand is Cellucor-Mint Chocolate Chip Flavor (YUM, especially when blended with almond milk-curbs my sweet tooth,too!!), I buy it from bodybuilding.com when they have the buy 2, get 1 free canisters. If I need some good quality protein for a really good price (Cheap!) , my go to is Optimum Nutrition from Amazon, my favorite flavor is the Double Rich Chocolate.

IMG_98757. Hair Ties and Head Bands- This is a given, but I really like the headbands with no slip grip on them–good ones are hard to find!

 

IMG_98858. Sacuony Guide Tennis Shoes- I over pronate when I run, so these are perfect stability shoes for me. They were about $100 from Dicks Sporting Goods or Amazon has them, too. The right shoe can make a huge difference in how you feel when you workout or run. I usually buy a pair every 8-10 months. (I should get them more often because of how much I use them, but they’re expensive!

IMG_98479. Blender Bottle- I always keep my blender bottle with me for after lifts to make sure I get the protein to my muscles right after I work them! I bought this one from Amazon for about $7.

10. Gum- I always have to have gum when I workout, I’m not sure exactly why. This IMG_9863brand is my favorite, so I get the big pack at Costco whenever I run out.

 

11. Camelbak Water Bottle- Water is so important and I drink a ton to stay hydrated throughout the day! I really like this water bottle because it doesn’t leak when it falls over because you IMG_9878squeeze it for water to come out-I’m not very careful with my items, so this is good when I toss it somewhere :)..It was $5 dollars from amazon and a lot cheaper than the other ones.

 

12. Ipod/phone ArmBand- I always use these armbands for my runs and IMG_9850workouts, they’re really comfortable and affordable!

13. Deoderant- Just stocked up on a couple of these for the semester, it’s just IMG_9868gym etiquette not to smell around others ;)

14. Jumprope- Jumping rope is one of my favorite forms of cardio. I like to practice my double unders because I used to be SO bad at them when i did IMG_9869
crossfit last year! Give it a shot, a great plyo and endurance builder exercise.

 

IMG_987315. Ibuprofen- I’m not big on using pain killers, but Ibuprofen always helps when my wrist hurts or other muscles are in pain.

 

IMG_988216. Chapstick- Chapstick is a must when going on a run or just in general for me.

So, those are all the essentials, I might throw in a workout towel some days for a spin class! If you have any questions about the products above or about my workouts, feel free to ask in the comments or email me!

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The 10:1 Ratio

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 12.29.04 PMSo the weight room at LA Fitness has become a “new home” for me this summer, and one thing I can’t help but notice when I go in there is the 10:1 ratio. What’s that? It’s the guy to girl ratio in that area of the gym. Now, I can’t say I’ve always been comfortable being one of the few girls in there…

SHORT STORY–>Earlier this year I decided to go to the awesome weight room in the SRSC at Indiana University because I wanted to use the pull up bar bands (if they had any, I didn’t check) since my gym in Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 12.31.07 PMBriscoe didn’t have any. Once I finally found the room, (the place is three stories, I looked a bit lost and out of my element) I took a lap and ran back to my gym….never in my life had I felt SO intimidated in a fitness environment! There were athletes, huge guys, ZERO girls and most of the equipment was occupied; I looked like a lost puppy in there and wanted to go back to my comfort zone and I have yet to go back there.

Fast Forward to the Present: I enter the weight room without a second thought, do my thing and embrace the strength I have worked extremely hard for this summer. However, I Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 12.37.47 PMwill admit, LA Fitness was easier to get adjusted to because there are a variety of fitness levels and ages there, but still it lacks the female population. At most, there are about 4-5 girls in there during the “hot” gym time period after work. I think there is a huge misconception about weight training that causes women to avoid the weight room and stick to the cardio
equipment
.
Weight Training does not make women get bulky,” it will actually do the opposite. Weight training allows muscle to grow and create lean mass that will burn more Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 1.06.27 PMcalories/fat in the body through out the day for men and women. The only way women get “bulky” when lifting or in general is if they eat an excess of calories and food. Men TRY/WANT to gain muscle mass when they lift, so they will consume a lot more food throughout the day for a purpose of gaining.

Also, note muscle weighs more than fat– let me elaborate, a pound is a pound; however a pound of muscle will take up less space in the body because it is more dense and compact rather than a pound of fat. This is why people should not use scales to check progress because it does not factor in one’s Body Mass Index, the percentage of fat and lean muscle tissue in the body. I’ve stopped using the scale all the time and just compare progress pictures or see how my clothes fit because the scale messes with my head.
Why else should you consider weight training to change the ratio?Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 1.02.17 PM

  • As women build muscle in the body, the hourglass shape forms better on the body frame
  • Clothes will fit better with lean muscle mass
  • Strength Training reduces stress and has been seen to improve memory function 
  • Strength training combats loss of bone mass and improves heart health
  • Strength Training improves sleep quality
  • Strength Training improves endurance
  • Strength Training will cause the body to store less body fat, especially in the mid-section
  • CONFIDENCE! Being strong has such a different effect mentally than just being skinny.

Being strong makes me feel happy, confident and proud of myself. Lifting has made a huge difference in my body composition and the way I see food -as fuel-and working out to reach new goals in the weight room (heavier weights, more reps). Trying something new isn’t easy, but I challenge the women reading this article to step in the weight room at their local gym and embrace their strength. 
Also! This fall- I plan to go back to the weight room in the SRSC with my chin up and not let the intimidation of the guys affect me.–>I will note how it goes in a later post :)

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Meal Prep: 101

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 11.20.23 AMOne of the things I made sure to do this summer was to meal prep and eliminate most processed foods. After a year of eating in the dorm, I was so excited to cook and meal prep this summer. For those who have no idea what meal prepping is- a day where you cook your food for the week or for a few days and put them in containers/ baggies in the freezer/fridge to grab them when you need them. It takes a bit of time, but it’s totally worth it because I eat a lot of food and don’t have time to cook lunch or dinner everyday/I don’t like waiting for food to cook when I’m hungry. :) My meal prep consists of cooking lean meats (chicken, lean ground turkey/beef, or lean steak–you can do fish too, but I’m not a fan of seafood!), veggies, brown rice or sweet potatoes.

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 10.24.44 AM

one my favorite breakfasts! Ezekiel toast with egg whites, cinnamon and peanut butter!

don’t prep my breakfasts because I like cooking my egg whites and oatmeal fresh in the morning. However, if you don’t have the time to make breakfast, I’ll show a couple options at the end of the post.
What you’ll need:

  • oven/stove/grill
  • rice cooker (<–click to see where I got mine for $20) or use oven for sweet potatoes
  • 2 baking pans
  • Pam spray
  • your food (meat, veggies, carb source)
  • plastic baggies
  • seasoning (I use Mrs. Dash salt free seasonings)
  • optional: food scale

image

 

Step 1. Preheat oven to 375 degreesimage

Step 2. Wash rice and turn on rice cooker (brown rice takes about 45 min to cook, so I do that first). If you’re making sweet potatoes, they will take about an hour to cook, so once you cut them-line the pan with foil, spray them with cooking spray and put them in the oven for an hour after the oven preheats.

Step 3. Spray baking pan and layout meats and season it the way you want

Step 4. When oven is done preheating place in oven for 30 minutes
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Step 5. Cut veggies, put in pan and spray with Pam or use olive oil and season them the way you want

Step 6. Place veggies in oven when there is fifteen minutes left on the timer for the oven

image

Step 7. Cut chicken in smaller pieces

Step 8. Put a palm size amount of
chicken
 
in each bag or container. If you have a food scale(<–click to see where I got mine), I use 3-5 ounce portions of lean meat for lunch and dinner depending on my meal planimage

Step 9. Place a handful of veggies into same container/bag or a different one if you want

Step 10. Place a fist size amount of brown rice or sweet potato (3-4 ounces) in a baggie

imageStep 11. Store your baggies/containers in the fridge/freezer and eat throughout the week. *Note: I usually keep 2 days in the fridge at a time to make sure my food doesn’t get old!*

Extra Notes: I bought my food scale and rice cooker from amazon for twenty dollars each and have been an awesome investment! Mrs. Dash can be found in the seasonings section in almost all grocery stores. The brand has a delicious taco seasoning I use with ground turkey! Also, I like to portion my meats, veggies and sweet potato/rice for the day and put them in a big baggie sometimes to just reach in the fridge and grab them all together or if I’m on the go somewhere, I can put them in a lunchbox/cooler easily. Meal prepping is an exceptional way to keep me on track and I definitely recommend it for everyone trying to get leaner and stay fit. You can prep before traveling and freeze your food to put them in coolers as well!

Breakfast Prep

My breakfast usually consists of egg whites and oatmeal with peanut butter or Ezekiel toast with egg whites and cheese

However, if you find yourself short on time in the morning. egg-white muffins and overnight oats are great choices!

For egg white muffins: you’ll need egg white cartons and veggies or toppings of your choice. I like to use bell peppers, spinach, green onions, fresh mushrooms, ham/turkey bacon/chicken,turkey slices all chopped and diced!

  • Desired Veggies (look above)Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 10.53.16 AM
  • Desired Meats
  • salt/salt-free seasoning
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Liquid Egg Whites or Regular Eggs
  • Muffin Pan
    Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan. Combine all ingredients except for egg whites. Divide your ingredients evenly among muffin cupsPour in egg whites over the dry ingredients. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the eggs are firm and not runny. Once they’re cool run a knife around tins to release and put them in small baggies/containers or however you like to store them and take them on the go in the morning or for a snack!

For overnight oats: you’ll need almond milk, protein powder or greek yogurt, and toppings of your choice, stevia/cinnamon is what I like to use.

  • 1/2 cup Old Fashioned oats or Quick OatsScreen Shot 2014-08-10 at 11.03.55 AM
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • stevia/splenda sweetener
  • cinnamon
  • 1 scoop protein powder (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt (can omit if you don’t like it)
  • other options: chia seed, flax seed, raisins, nuts, cocoa powder or whatever you like

Directions: Mix all ingredients in bowl or mason jar and store them overnight. In the morning top with fruit, peanut butter or just eat it how it is!
Click here for other recipes to make overnight oats!

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My Story: Part 2

 A New Perspective
Balance. Positivity. Strength. Confidence.
(if you haven’t read My Story: Part 1—click here!)

I’d like to say everything CLICKED all at once, but that was not the IMG_8861 - Version 2case—changing a mindset takes time. During sophomore year of high school, I became less restrictive, indulged in my favorite food- ice cream :) -more, and worked out everyday. I started to enter the weight room at the end of cardio workouts, but didn’t really know what I was doing.  And during cardio, I read health and fitness magazines and learned more about nutrition and fitness. It became my hobby; I would research nutrition and fitness in my free time and finally began to understand how it affects the body. I was seeing positive changes, but I was still a slave to the scale everyday and felt discouraged when numbers went up.

Junior Year (2012)

Junior Year (2012)

At this time, I made it a priority for me to surround myself with positive influences and people; I think it was easier for me to transition into a more positive lifestyle along with healthier eating habits because of the support I have/had. I have an awesome family and an incredible boyfriend who would tells me I’m beautiful often, encourages/motivates me to be a better person, and always supports me in whatever my current goals are.

 

Spring Break 2013

Spring Break 2013

My junior year– running became an outlet for me; it was an exhilarating feeling to just let go or free my mind when I was stressed. In the spring, I ran my first mini-marathon in 2 hours and 5 minutes. It was one of the most rewarding feelings to cross that finish line, and being able to say I ran the whole thing. (I told myself I had to run it all, no matter how slow/fast.) At the end of junior year, I chose to take a weight training class at school. We were blessed with an amazing weight room and a coach that empowered women, strength, and confidence. I was finally feeling more balanced and somewhat content with my body image by the end of senior year.

College: Freshman Year at Indiana University

Tail Gates are my favorite time of the year #hoosiers

Tail Gates are my favorite time of the year #hoosiers


The freshman fifteen is not a myth; it’s actually, very real. Even though I didn’t gain fifteen pounds, I put on a few more than I wanted my first semester. I worked out all the time, but the food optionsprocessed foods/weird eating times, THE TAILGATES, and stress really took a toll on my body. So, second semester I did a ton of research on nutrition–because abs- they’re made in the kitchen–and looked to see what changes I could make in the dorm. (look forward to future posts on how to stay healthy and fit in college)

 Buccetos Barbecue Chicken Pizza is my favorite takeout dinner in Bloomington


Buccetos Barbecue Chicken Pizza is my favorite takeout dinner in Bloomington

During March I received my NESTA Fitness and Nutrition Coaching certification and it has helped me understand nutrition even more. I ‘ve learned it’s not just about calories; it’s about the macronutrients you digest that impact weight loss and weight gain. At the end of the school year I began a lifting and cardio regimen that I still implement today and have seen a tremendous difference in my body and mind. Lifting has made me feel more confident in myself and I receive a sense of accomplishment when I finish a difficult lift and crave that ‘I can’t move my body’ soreness the next day. It has also made a large difference in the way my clothes fit and body looks even when the scale doesn’t budge.

certified in March 2014, I love helping people reach their fitness and health goals :)

certified in March 2014, I love helping people reach their fitness and health goals :)

TODAY- I’m happier, stronger, and more confident than I have ever been. I’ve stopped the scale insanity, and weigh myself once a week for progress and curiosity. (this is something I’m most proud of) I’ve learned to love my body for what it gives me the ability to do. Life is too short to focus on a number and try to be something I’m not- I’m not the skinny girl, nor do I want to be; I want to be strong, fit, HAPPY, and healthy. I look up to girls who respect themselves AND are happy, because to me, happy girls are the prettiest girls. I have goals right now to get stronger and leaner and be a better me everyday. I want to inspire others and show them how much a positive attitude, healthy lifestyle and fitness can improve their life. Some days

enjoying the summer in my favorite spot (2014)

enjoying the summer in my favorite spot (2014)

aren’t easy, but then I remember how far I’ve come and remember how blessed I am to be able to do what I can. I now focus on healthy progress, not unrealistic perfection.
This mental transformation has taken a long time, but I’ve learned so much from it. Positivity has improved my life and has made me stronger than ever. Society’s unrealistic expectations can really affect one’s health in many ways, but I will not let it affect mine anymore. Having a healthy body and body image is important to me and I hope to inspire other people to see how important it is, too. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my really long story, hopefully you didn’t fall asleep and maybe even took something from it. Also, thanks to all the people in my life that support me, make me laugh, and make life so much more worth living. xoxo

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My Story: Part I

IMG_8848Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about when it all started, how it all started and why I have come to live this lifestyle. It’s been a long journey since I began, so I’ll try to keep it brief…

I haven’t always been a health nut/clean eater. When I was a gymnast (started at 3), I was able to eat anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was in the gym four to five hours a day for practice four times a week. My typical meals went like this: poptarts or cookies and milk for breakfast, school lunch, mcdonalds or other fast food before practice, ravioli after practice, and 4 BIG scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream for desert. It’s safe to say I did didn’t have the best nutrition, but I didn’t need to worry about it because of all the energy I expended at practice.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.18.22 PM

8th grade dance – Spring 2008

However, when I quit in sixth grade, puberty hit, I eventually gained weight because my body didn’t utilize all the energy it used to.

It was the Spring Break of 8th grade when it really hit home with me, when we went to Mexico for my brother’s Senior Trip. All the girls there were thin and really pretty. It then made me think about how I was going to be in high school where they were and I wouldn’t fit in. At that time, I was out of shape and would call myself “thick,” I don’t really think I was fat, but I was a lot bigger than I used to be.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.17.21 PM

Spring Break-2009

When I got back home, I knew I needed to change some of my habits. So, I told my mom I wanted to get a gym membership! I started going everyday, I did the typical girl thing and would go on the elliptical or treadmill for an hour and occasionally throw some ab work in and that was it. It was probably less than a year where I lost all the weight…almost 30 pounds when I was at my highest and lowest. I never wanted to be skin in bones, I just wanted to be skinny and wear cute clothes without having to worry about my curves. If people noticed, I would just say I run a lot and that’s what made me lose all of the weight. However, it wasn’t just running; I would look at the nutrition labels and only eat it if it were low in calories, I ate a lot less processed foods, and ate smaller amounts. NOTE: I never resorted to binging or starving myself, it was all through a better diet and cardio! After losing the weight, the only physical health effect I noticed, was that I was extremely cold all of the time. I think it was because I had a big change in my body fat percentage and I wasn’t eating enough of the right minerals and nutrients that made my blood level lower.

Even though I had changed physically and was healthier, I really struggled mentally. When I think back about it, I was obsessed with being skinnier; my mind was not in the right place, I wasn’t really “happy”—to be honest, the only times I was “happy” was when the scale was at a certain number. I hid my anxiety about food and my weight enough that it didn’t become an issue others could see…I never told people sometimes it was ALL I could think about. I was also completely uneducated about nutrition—often times, I wouldn’t eat the meat in my salads because I thought it was going to make me gain weight, I didn’t drink much water because of the same reason, I would weigh myself everyday and I would get in fights with my parents about what we would have for dinner if it weren’t healthy, and so much more. (mom and dad: if  you guys read this, I’m so sorry about the nagging I’ve put you through, I love you guys for putting up with me and supporting me!!xoxo)
1 Year Later
I finally realized my anxiety was starting to take over my life and happiness during my sophomore year of high school when a close friend finally spoke up and indirectly hinted concern about my weight and knew I needed to change my mentality to become happier.  It was then, when I started to educate myself and change my perspective.

If you read this, thank you for taking the time to do so…I will be sharing My Story: Part 2 next week–focusing on how I changed my perspective on health/body image, working out, nutrition and how positivity has impacted my life!

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Make the Distance Easier

My favorite new shoes :) Make sure you find a shoe that fits right when running. It can maker a huge difference!

My favorite new shoes :) Make sure you find a shoe that fits right when running. It can maker a huge difference!

If you asked me if I were a runner, my answer would most likely be along the lines of “no, but I like to run.” Yes, I run a lot and yes, I can run many miles not very fastbut I never do it for time and because the perfectionist in me would be upset if I would be slower than the last run or would have trouble with not seeing improvement. So, I just run for fun and do as many miles as I feel like doing depending on how I’m feeling.

Anywho, back to my real point, how did I build the endurance to casually run 5-8 miles everyday? Or actually get to the point where I enjoy running long distance because it comes easy to me? Besides practice, I made sure to incorporate interval and HIIT—high intensity interval training— to MAKE THE DISTANCE EASIER. HIIT training is also a type of workout that burns more calories and improves endurance by increasing your aerobic capacity—the amount of oxygen your body uses— while doing it for less time than a steady state workout.

IMG_7171

Use a heart rate monitor to track how hard you’re pushing yourself! It’s my favorite fitness device!

You can do this type of training on any cardio machine or even incorporate weights with it. I do it via bike, the treadmill, the Step mill/ Stair Master, jump rope, and sometimes the rowing machine.

An example workout would be like this:

  • -Warm up 5 minutes:   5.0 mph
  • -slow jog 90 seconds:   4.0/4.5 mph (depending on fitness level)
  • -sprint 30 seconds:        7/8/9/10 mph (depending on fitness level)
    –> and repeat the Jog and Sprint cycle 10 times
    or until you can’t go anymore.

You can play around with the times and speeds and once you get better; make sure to increase the speeds or the times so you can keep on increasing your endurance during long runs and make those easier.

Another reason why I love HIIT workouts is because I feel like it makes time go so much faster because you’re constantly changing the speed. Give it a shot and do it every other day. Doing it everyday is hard on the body, so I try not to do it back to back or just lower the speeds. I notice a tremendous difference (stronger/faster/easier) when doing long runs after incorporating HIIT workouts for a couple weeks, so I hope you find that change too!
**An awesome way to track HIIT workouts is using a heart rate monitor—I use a polar Ft40, I’ll explain more about it in a future post—because I can see how hard I’m working and make sure I’m exerting enough energy and pushing hard enough.**

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Numbers in Progress

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.58.45 PMI’m going to be honest, it is easy hard to eat healthy your freshman year of college. You have the food courts, and the laziness of getting to them and eating processed food, no stove or oven to make healthy veggies and grilled chicken, the TAILGATES, no car, and all of the other festivities involved with college life. So of course, I gained a few pounds and my goal at the beginning of the summer was to get rid of them. While weeks have gone by this summer, I’ve kicked some major *booty* in the weight room and have had amazing runs day in and day out; however, the last time I checked, I still haven’t lost some of the weight.
To some extent, I felt defeated for all the hard work I had been putting into my workouts, eating right and what not, but then I reflected on everything that had changed. The NUMBERS IN my PROGRESS. The number on the scale is just ONE of the HUNDREDS of numbers that have changed this summer. For example, the picture you see below to the right; I ran 8 miles in 85 minutes the other morning. My morning runs usually are 4-7 miles, but the other day I was feeling so good that I just kept going! To know that my body was able to crank out that extra mile was a new accomplishment and I ran it again the next day. and 85 minutes? I never would have guessed my body could have the endurance to do that so casually– without mental Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.13.02 PMpreparation for something like a race– until this summer. Additionally, there is another number that I realized I forgot to focus on, lean body mass percentage! While I don’t have one of the fancy scales that measure that, I noticed my *ahem* *rolls* are less pronounced/shorts fitting looser and my muscles are becoming more visible! Which brings me to my new goal of the summer, building lean muscle to help burn more fat! I’ve always loved to lift, but I really started to put it in high gear this past year and summer. It’s a fun, yet difficult game to me in the weight room to try and lift heavier weights or have a higher volume on supersets. Lifting also makes me feel more empowered and proud of my body to see what it can do. The numbers on those plates have definitely changed this summer!
–>side note to girls- it doesn’t make you bulky, lean muscle makes you look good! I’ve lost fat, but maybe not pounds, and gained muscle by doing so. <–
What are the other numbers (besides the one on the scale) that you can note in your progress?
-
 clothing sizes–> you may be shrinking fat
and building muscle= looser clothing!

- distance you have ran
- the number of times you work out
– the time it takes you to do something

- how many times you’ve eaten healthy
– the new PR on your bench or squat

- the number of water bottles you drink in a day
– the number of pushups/pull ups you can do

- the number of hours of sleep you receive
- your heart rate when working out, is it harder to get it higher?- you’re now fitter!
- your cholesterol number
- your blood pressure number
– the number of times you stretch in a week (something i’m working on!)
– lean body mass number, use a measuring tape instead of a scale!
*muscle weighs more than fat / 1 lb of muscle takes up less space than 1 lb of fat* 

There are so many numbers that can be affected when you progress, it’s important to note progress because you can see how far you’ve really come and be proud of your accomplishments. What are your numbers in progress?
p.s. to the college readers- I’m planning on creating a health and fitness section for my website that includes nutrition tips/recipes and workouts for how I stay fit while being in college myself! 

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You vs You

IMG_8760I wake up every morning to get my cardio in, some people don’t understand it and sometimes I don’t want to do it. While running this morning, I was thinking of all the reasons why I live the lifestyle I do, and how I can keep myself motivated. I’ll be honest, the main reason I started my fitness lifestyle was because I compared myself to others; I wanted to be like “the pretty girls,” I wanted to be as skinny as “the pretty girls” and not have to be embarrassed of my body. I don’t know why society makes us believe that, why girls look up to celebrities that are unhealthy, and give us the unrealistic image of what “healthy” and “pretty” really is.

My point is, Comparison is the thief of happiness, and I’m proud so say that I have a much better view on life and have evolved so much mentally and physically through my fitness journey. I now believe in the fact that it’s You vs Everyone Else You. I’ve realized that I can’t focus on what I can’t be; other people or have a different body, but I can focus on what I can become. I know that I can get stronger than I used to be, I know that I can get faster than I used to be. I think its important for everyone to realize how much they accomplish and see what they’ve achieved. In every aspect of life its You vs You; whether its being a better mom/dad/friend, getting all of your tasks done, playing in a game better than you did last time, trying something new, eating healthier, or being more appreciative. Where did this mentality come from? It’s always been in me- a gymnast at heart competes against herself to be better at her events- but I seemed to have let society take over until: Short story: In middle school I hated running and the only  reason I learned to like it was because I had to, my track coach made the distance girls run the mile and mile and a half meet. I went out for track to be with friends and everyone made the distance team, as long as they did what they were told. I remember telling my coach I couldn’t run the mile and a half, I was too tired or not “feeling well” haha, oh man, but she never let me skip it. I thank her for that discipline, for leading me to a new passion; running and competing against myself. After track ended, I continued to run on my own, I would race against myself by running longer distances and achieving shorter times. That was when I realized how important You vs You really is. It’s about being proud of personal accomplishments, seeing how far you’ve come and what you can make of yourself. Make a journal, see it visibly, or just reflect and think once a day. Did you do something better today than yesterday? What about this year compared to last year? Whenever I think about being critical of myself, I remember where I started and how much progress I’ve made and that keeps me going. I hope you find this post somewhat helpful and thought provoking, I hope you realize how great you really are and how important it is to be proud of your own accomplishments- big or small. Having a positive and healthy mindset is key to happiness; your glass is always half way full. 

And, if you were wondering; the reason I get up in the morning to run everyday is because it makes me stronger. It makes me better than I was yesterday. It builds my endurance. But most of all, it gives me clarity. I feel blessed that I was given the ability to run; its a true privilege because not all people can, and I make sure to use it. 

 

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Traveling Fit 101

I hope everyone has had a great start to their summer, it feels like time is moving so quickly- I water ocean beach paradise islands 1280x1024 wallpaper_www.wallpaperto.com_29already finished my summer class! Now it’s time to relax and take in the natural vitamin d this season :) Summer is the time many families travel and go to new places because they have time off, so I decided share my top tips to stay fit and healthy while being away from home! These tips are also just great ideas to do apply everyday, whether you’re traveling or not!

  1. Flying or Driving- Whether I’m flying or driving, I always make sure to pack healthy snacks while being traveling to my destination. Almonds are my go to because they’re the most satisfying, but others include: string cheese, low sugar protein and granola bars, skinny pop, apples and raw veggies. 
  2. Airport Food- Airports are filled with many places to grab healthy snacks and meals at. Usually I’ll grab a cup of coffee with skim milk with oatmeal or a  yogurt parfait from somewhere in the morning. If it’s in the afternoon, there are many vendors and restaurants that provide healthy grilled chicken salads and veggies. If you’re looking for snacks, go for the almonds or nut mixes at the shops to keep you satisfied. 
  3. shoppingHydration- During the summer I try to drink about one to two gallons of water a day. Yes it can be annoying to run to the bathroom all the time, but it’s extremely important to stay hydrated on vacations because you’re usually in a warm area and water helps you stay energized, less bloated –>the more you drink the less you will bloat, and keeps your body working properly. Hydration is extremely important if you’re drinking alcoholic beverages as well since alcohol is a diuretic. Read more here on why you should stay hydrated: HERE
  4. Set a Goal- Sign yourself up for a race! Or just make a promise to yourself that you want to be able to do _________(physical activity) or lose ____(#) pounds by a certain time. It will be easier to keep yourself accountable if you know you have something you’re working for and keep you on track.
  5. Tell Somebody-Tell a friend that you’re trying to lose weight or that you want to keep yourself from eating processed foods. They can help you reach your goals just like setting a goal, so you have a person to remind you and supporting you on your journey. 
  6. Alcohol- Alcohol has so many empty calories, however I know that vacations are when alcoholpeople splurge in this area. Just remember a glass of wine/one beer/one shot has approximately 100 calories each! Mixed drinks usually have even more because of all the added sugar, so try to limit yourself when you go out to keep your waistline where its at. Alcohol can contribute to major bloating and that awful feeling after, so theres another reason to drink less. *don’t forget to drink a glass of water, for every alcoholic drink you consume*
  7. Morning Workouts- One of the best changes you can make to your routine is doing a morning workout. Go for a walk/jog or go to the gym in the morning before your day starts. Running on the beach in the morning is one of the most peaceful feelings! WalkingtoRunning_AA050254_n_lgGo on an empty stomach and try fasted cardio to dip into your fat stores easily..read more about fasted cardio HERE. Morning workouts are the best because you don’t have to think about them all day and skip or procrastinate it, I always make sure to get it done early on vacations to spend time with friends and family the rest of the day. Lay out your workout clothes and shoes at night and make it easy to put on and go.  
  8. Sleep- Get a decent amount of sleep every night (7-8) hours preferably. Without enough sleep, you won’t have as much energy and you will notice that your appetite and hunger will increase because your leptin level (hunger satisfying hormone) will be decreased and gherlin (hunger simulating hormone) will be increased. Less sleep is also associated with craving for high fat and high carb foods. 
  9. Breakfast- Start your day right with  a good breakfast including complex carbohydrates 3294687099_f49fba48e71and protein (oatmeal and eggs is a great option!). Not only will it provide you with satisfying energy, but you will also be less hungry if you eat the right food!
  10. Protein- When going out for meals, make sure to pick a lean protein as the main part of your meal, grilled chicken/turkey/lean sirloin and steak, are great options. Protein will make you fuller, thus you will eat less of the bad stuff. I usually choose grilled chicken or steaks with a side salad whenever going out to eat.
  11. Research- Research the resort/hotel/area you are staying at to see if they have any trails to run on or a gym to workout in. Most hotels have a gym with at least a treadmill and maybe free weights to use. Take advantage of it!
  12. Mind Game- Having a positive mind set and being motivated is key in a fitness lifestyle. There are some days I don’t want to workout, however I remember how much better I feel afterwards. Stay positive and remember why you want to work out and just do it!
  13. keep-calm-and-stay-positive-65Stress- As much fun family vacations can be, they can be stressful at times too. Try to relax as much as you can and go on walks and make sure to workout to keep the stress at bay. Stress causes the body to hang on to fat and crave unhealthy foods like sweets and carbs.
  14. Journal- Track what you’re eating throughout the day, sometimes you may eat more than you realize and it will allow you to make healthier changes. 
  15. Style- If a new shirt or workout outfit doesn’t make you want to go to the gym, I don’t know what does :) haha, just kidding, but I love getting new workout clothes, it definitely makes me more motivated to go to the gym. When you look good, you feel good- so go show it off and get your sweat on. So go to the store and grab a few new workout tops that fit just right and get some use out of them on vacation!
  16. 20 minute Rule- Often times, our body doesn’t recognize we are full right after we eat. Next time you’re still hungry after eating dinner (your first helping) try waiting it out and have some good conversation or stay busy for the next twenty minutes to see if you’re still hungry. It takes the body about twenty minutes to receive the “full” feeling.hiking-larger
  17. Fit Destination- Plan something fun on your trip that involves physical activity. Hiking, walking around the zoo, canoeing, sightseeing, biking. There are so many ways to explore a new place involving physical activity, take advantage of your new area!
  18. Playlist- Sometimes an awesome playlist is all it takes to get a good workout in. If you’re me, you probably haven’t updated your iPod in years- so use a pandora or Fit Radio app on your phone! Songs with fast beats make great workouts, and so do the “old” songs-from about 5 years ago!
  19. 4pher7kfvitbvftrMagazine- When I’m on the treadmill/stairmaster/elliptical I almost always read fitness and health magazines. It makes time go by a lot quicker while also finding out new info!
  20. Don’t say diet- A pet peeve I have is when people say someone is dieting or ask if you’re on a diet. Eating “clean” or “boring food” is my lifestyle. Make eating healthy a lifestyle so you don’t have to see it as restrictive and follow the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy during the week and enjoy sweets and treat meals on the weekend or a couple times a week! 
  21. Be Prepared- I typically plan my next day at night before I go to bed. Think about times I’m going to workout and what I have to do to make sure I can get it all in and stay on track. Make your workout something that is planned, that way you know you have time to go. 
  22. Portion- “your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” I used to hear that one all the time when I was little, however its true. Have smaller portions and try the 20 minute rule. Make sure you have the right ratios of food to create a satisfying meal- lean meat, complex carbs and some fat. If you’re out to eat, save the left overs for tomorrow! 
  23. Track-(pedometer)-Sight seeing? Make a game with yourself to see how many steps or miles you can go everyday. 
  24. Love Yourself- I think its important to be happy with yourself and that its half of what makes a healthy lifestyle. Don’t beat yourself up for having a bad meal, just get right back on track at your next one!
  25. Grocery-  Go to the grocery store to grab deli meat, bread, fruit and veggies to take to theSHopping-cart-994x1024 beach or have for lunches! It will save you money and is easy to bring with you! Eating in will save you money as well, so take a night to cook with the family or friends and just hang out!
Hopefully these Traveling Fit tips help you out on your next vacation or just in general!
Comment below if you have any fitness/nutrition/health related questions. I plan on doing a question and answer segment once a month or even a week depending on how many there are! have a great day!

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Do FASTED cardio to BURN FAT

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 1.09.58 PMEver wonder what it takes for your body to tap into your fat stores to use for energy? Well, fasted cardio might be your best answer. Usually when you workout during the day, the body uses the energy and nutrients in your GI tract to provide energy for your workout because they’re readily available. But when you sleep and workout on an empty stomach–> you’re working out in a “fasted state” and because it’s been hours since you’ve had any nutrition, your insulin levels are low. Isulin inhibits lipolysis (breaking down of fat stores) by blocking the metabolic process of releasing fatty acids, but when it is low- your body can release these fatty acids to be oxidized for your fasted cardio, thus you burn more fat. (aka: PRIME TIME TO SHED THE FLUFF) However you should do fasted cardio in a moderate pace because if you increase your intensity, you body taps into your stored carbohydrates as a fuel source for a different stage of oxidation. Do it for about 30-45 minutes everyday to see results. My favorite fasted cardio includes: jump roping, running or spinning (I LOVE TO SPIN :] <–try it! )

I started doing fasted cardio this year because I like to get cardio out of the way early so I can focus on my lift in the afternoon, but besides burning more fat stores, I have noticed a dramatic change in my attitude and energy for the day when it is done. YES, it is HARD to get up, but once you’re UP, it just gets easier from there. When my alarm goes off, I do a couple stretches and then I get up and cant wait to start my day with fasted cardio. I feel more energized, the endorphins kick in and I have “me” time in the gym. Or if the gym isn’t open– I’m the girl jump roping in the floor’s lounge jamming to avril lavigne pandora or summer hits of the 90’s sweating like crazy. It’s become part of daily routine, my roommate probably thinks I’m crazy, but I love it because its one of my favorite parts of my day.

Do it, I promise you won’t regret it. I do advise trying to get a decent amount of sleep before hand, because that is extremely important for your health, too. If you need a little motivation to get started, try a cup of coffee before hand or just glass of water with lemon.

for more information go here: http://www.fitnessrxwomen.com/fat-loss/cardio/running-on-empty/

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