Home/Gym Circuit Training

Long. Boring. Monotonous. Hard. Those four characteristics are probably the most common reasons people don’t like or want to work out. And if thats what you think about working out, I have a great solution to change your mind with Circuit Training. I like to think it’s sort of like cross fit WODS (work out of the day) without the group intensity. The best part about circuit training is that it can be done at home or at the gym with little or no equipment AND it goes by quickly! I like to incorporate cardio and weight training in my circuits and do it for 30-60 minutes depending on how intense it is. I incorporate cardio bursts to help keep my heart rate up and burn more caloriesBelow is a circuit that I like to do at home, I provided rep ranges and cardio ranges because we all have different fitness levels and use different weights, so try it out and see what works for you. If you can only do 15-30 second cardio intervals because you’re so fatigued, that’s fine, at least you’re doing it! This Circuit is made to hit all of the upper body muscles-shoulders, triceps, biceps, back and legs with cardio. I will post another later for legs!

Repeat Circuit for 30-60 minutes 
1. Bicep Curls: 10-20 reps
You can do these standing up or sitting down.
Do these with a moderate weight that is challenging.

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2. Cardio Burst: 30-90 seconds
Options: running/sprinting, squat jumps, jumping lunges, running in place,
burpees(another favorite), or incline walking. possibilities are endless!
Just shoot to get your heart rate up for 30-90 seconds after each weight exercise!

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3. Shoulder Row: 10-20 reps
You can use dumbbells, barbells, or even kettle bells for this move!
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4. Cardio interval! 30-90 seconds
I also love to use weights and walk at an incline, really gets my heart rate up!

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5. Tricep Kick Backs: 10-20 reps
You can perform these without a surface, but I usually use a bench or chair.

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6. Cardio Burst: 30-90 seconds

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7. Shoulder Press: 10-20 reps
You can stand or sit doing this exercise.

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8. Cardio Burst 30-90 seconds…then go back to beginning and repeat!
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I would love to hear what you think or if you try this circuit! It’s one of my favorite ones to do when I haven’t had much time to lift during the week and it ensures I’m hitting all the upper body muscles while keeping my heart rate up. I may throw in another back one like bent over rows or even just pushups for extra emphasis in that area! For more tips and daily inspiration, follow my fitness Instagram @fitnessandhealthspot or Facebook page–>see to the right!

 

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Do What You Love & Success Will Follow

If you asked me last year how school was goingor even up until a week ago, FullSizeRender-3my response would be: “it’s ok.” Or “its school.” Or if you caught me stressed, “I hate it.” My plan was to go to school and study business because IU has a phenomenal business school and the degree would provide me with a successful job. I wanted to follow this route because it was “safe” and I see how awesome my brother is doing now and have always looked up to him.

The thing is, this goal had nothing to do with my happiness, it was mainly for the prestige and stability that I would receive from achieving it. I’ve had the thought of changing my major since the beginning of last year, but I’ve been too concerned of what others would think, or if a different major would even allow me to succeed. A couple weeks ago, I finally realized that I can’t live that way or do something I don’t want to do—because I won’t be happy in the long runso I FINALLY decided to go with my gut and make some moves. ;)

I went to the school of public health and talked to an advisor about changing to the major I’ve always wanted to pursuethe Health and Fitness Specialist. The first thing she asked me was what made me make this decision? I told her fitness and health is my passion and I aspire to have my own business FullSizeRender-2someday involving wellness and I needed to finally go with my gut and leave the safe route. I think she could tell how important it was to me and she helped me figure out what I need to do next semester (take pre-reqs and pre-reqs for those prereq’s because I’m already a sophomore—eeks!). Luckily, many of the courses I’ve already taken will count for this degree! Additionally, I will continue to take a few business courses to complete two business minors—business and entrepreneurship— because I’m almost done with them anyway! This is the first time I’ve been ecstatic for any of my college classes and I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.FullSizeRender-1

Moral of the story is, life it too short to not do what you love. I believe that if you’re passionate about something and are willing to work, you will be successful. I’ve been in love with fitness/nutrition/health for years and it would be wrong for me to not pursue it because it’s my ‘thing’, when I work out I’m in my ‘element,’ when I talk about nutrition/fitness/and health you can see me ‘light up’ because it is my passion.

I know this is where I’m supposed to be.

thank you to all of those who know how important this is to me and have supported my decision and want me to be happy. <3

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Which “whey” and why!

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take your protein with you in your blender bottle and shake it up post work out when you’re on the go!

One of the most important parts of creating lean muscle tissue is proper nutrition! Yes, lifting can make you stronger, however, the way you treat your muscles and body is essential to making effective progress. Therefore, consuming protein within 30 minutes (the window of opportunity) after your lift is necessary to refueling your muscles so they recover faster and allow you to perform well in your next workout. Resistance workouts break down the muscles and it requires amino acids (protein) to repair and build them. Protein also helps build enzymes that allow your body to adapt to endurance sports! Another perk? Protein intake post-workout can help reduce cortisol production- a stress hormone that can break down muscle.

What type of protein should you use?

  • Whey Protein- whey protein is the fastest absorbing protein blend and delivers amino acids straight to the blood
    make your post workout shake fancy to satisfy a sweet tooth with whipped cream and almond milk blended with ice!

    make your post workout shake fancy to satisfy a sweet tooth with whipped cream and almond milk blended with ice!

    stream right after the work out; making it a great option for muscle synthesis! My favorite whey protein is Mint Chocolate Chip by Cellucor because it is extremely smooth and tastes just like mint chocolate chip ice cream when mixed with vanilla unsweetened almond milk. (find at costco or bodybuilding.com) To get the most bang for your buck, try the double chocolate flavor by optimum nutrition on amazon.com for the best deal!

  • Casein Protein- casein protein is a slower- digesting protein (it can take up to 7 hours to breakdown) andIMG_9854 it provides a constant supply of aminos to the muscle for strength and growth. It provides the highest level of glutamine which is depleted when the body is under stress from a hard workout. Try mixing whey and casein for maximum benefits post workout! Optimum Nutrition has the best deals for this type of protein on amazon.com!

Don’t want to use/buy protein powder? These options below are great as well!

 

  • make an awesome breakfast with eggwhites and greek yogurt post workout, like me!

    make an awesome breakfast with eggwhites and greek yogurt post workout, like me!

    Eggs/Egg Whites- 1 egg has about 7 grams of protein, to cut down the fat use liquid egg whites or 4-5 eggwhites with 1 full egg post workout. Make an omelette out of it with veggies or hard boiled eggs if you’reon the go!

  • Greek Yogurt- 12-17 grams of protein in each serving depending on the brand. Add some protein powder for an extra punch of protein or flavor
  • Cottage Cheese- 1 cup has 28 grams of protein, opt for the low fat and low sodium kind for optimum benefits
  • Lean Beef/Bison- high in iron (good for the bones) and has about 25 grams of protein per 4-5 oz serving
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make a smoothie with greek yogurt, veggies and fruit to replace glycogen and added micronutrients!

How much protein?
This is a hard question to answer because everyone has different goals. However, if you’re trying to lose weight and become leaner (preserve your muscle with protein to burn more calories!) or if you’re trying to gain muscle (sustain and build more muscle), protein is a very important nutrient for your body. Typically post workout, 20 grams of protein is sufficient men and women is sufficient for maximizing muscle growth in the body.

Why else is protein beneficial?

  • Less hungry throughout the day; lower calorie intake
  • Better bone density and less risk of osteoporosis
  • Better brain function
  • Better sleep
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Faster recovery

 

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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
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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!click here for part 2!!

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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.

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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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