Muscle Gain, Fat Loss, Weight Loss, OhMy!

IM BACK!

Happy 2017 yall

To begin- you are enough. No diet, exercise, scale, or clothing size will change how great you already are.

This is going to be a quick resurrection of my blog; a snack-sized rant/clarification on weight loss confusions & frustrations that come with strength training. 

Across the fitness world & the ~real~ world (what even is the real world anyway?) there is a lot of focus on weight.

How much do you weigh?

How much weight do you want to lose? How do you plan to lose the weight? 

Oooo how much weight did you gain on that trip/during the holidays/last year?

How much weight do you lift? Are you purposely gaining muscle??? 

& just to be clear- you’re supposed to feel terrible about yourself no matter what your response to any of the above is. The world/media/haters & losers (haha) will always have a clap back for the way you’re living your life & why you’re not good enough.

I REPEAT, YOU ARE DEFINITELY ENOUGH!! 

But to further correct the confusion of mixed messages- transitioning into a more active lifestyle is going to change a lot of things. The beginning will be difficult, your feelings toward the switch will fluctuate, your weight will fluctuate. 

When you strength train, you build muscle. Muscle burns more calories per hour- even when you’re not working out- and begins to force fat out of your bod. You’ll definitely drop lbs at first, but as you become stronger & gain muscle, you may gain weight too. This can be discouraging if you’re tracking your journey via a scale (or via those pants you’ve been saving ‘just in case’)..

Here is the key piece of information: Muscle weighs more than fat. 

As you gain muscle, lose fat, burn more calories, & eat more to fuel your muscle- you will probably gain weight. This does not mean you’re failing!!! 

Stay fab & keep getting stronger! 

*peace*

Start Your New Year’s Resolution NOW

The new year is a crazy time. The world of fitness & health gets more frustrating than usual- filled with people jumping into new fitness routines, people who vowed to make this year their year

We’re all guilty of this ‘new year, new me’ mindset. We start making promises to ourselves to change all of the things we didn’t like about the previous year. We tell ourselves this year will be different- we’ll get in shape, we’ll run that marathon, we’ll finally try those healthy recipes that have been bookmarked for months..

Why do we need the number at the end of today’s date to change to allow ourselves to be better? What is the purpose of waiting? Maybe it helps us put off our own health without feeling guilty, because ‘once January comes around things will be different’…’the new year is when I’ll get serious about working out’. 

Here’s my advice to you (& myself): START NOW!!!

Start researching. There’s a wealth of information for anyone new to the world of fitness & health & wellness. Here are some of my favorite user-friendly places to search:

  • BodyBuilding.com Sooooo many free workout plans, informative articles, exercise how-tos, & even supplements! This is literally how I built my lifting knowledge-base. 
  • Fitness Blender I just discovered these guys. Their YouTube channel has a plethora of at-home workouts that range from interval cardio to weight training.
  • Bad Yogi Official Erin Motz is a seasoned yogi who totally gets that most people who do yoga are not experts… She has lots of free classes that make you feel good about your imperfect practice 🙂

It’s going to take some time before you find a fitness regime you really enjoy. It’s going to take even more time before your hard work is gratified with visible results.

Experiment with different types of exercise. Figure out the different things you’d like to try now.

Make small changes each day so you don’t shock your system & give up when it gets too difficult too fast. 

Get a jump start on your 2016 goals!! Have fun, try new things, & never give up on yourself! 

I hope you all have a wonderfully funky final week of 2015. 

~peace & all good~

Tips for the Perfect Gym Outfit 

Gym attire is a very loaded topic. But don’t worry, I wrote this blog post to answer all of your fit fashion questions 🙂

What should one wear when doing cardio? Should you wear sweats or leggings to lift? 

How color-coordinated is too color-coordinated?

Are your top & bottom flattering?? Will people see that you aren’t the perfect image of fitness? Is it obvious you’re actually wearing underwear??? *gasp* 

Yoga….can a single post even cover the wardrobe woes of a new yogi?

S I G H

Here is a simple answer to the question of ‘what to wear to the gym/while working out’: whatever you feel comfortable in. If you enjoy the skin (& clothes) you’re in, your confidence will complete any outfit!!

It really doesn’t matter what clothes you put on for your sweat session. If you feel great in a Lulu Lemon outfit (& can afford a LuLu Lemon outfit)- good! If you feel great in a baggy t-shirt- even better! Less money spent on gym clothes means more money for food 🙂 ….or, you know, student loans and rent… 

I usually browse Instagram/the Internet in general with fitness or food in mind… This causes me a lot of frustration for multiple reasons.. 

  1. I do not have excess money floating around me waiting for me to spend it. Okay, am I just broke, or are gym clothes expensive af?! Like why in the world would I spend $50 on a shirt I’m going to wear with the intentions of getting sweaty & smelly? I don’t even spend that much on shirts I wear to work… I’m a bargain shopper. Marshalls/TJ Maxx, Target, Fabletics (when there are sales), or the clearance rack is where you’ll find me looking for clothes I can actually afford.
  2. *not related to clothes but…* Eating nutritionally perfect meals every 2 hours does not fit my life. As much as I would love to be able to eat the best food possible at all hours of the day, there comes a time when it’s just not realistic. I would go crazy if I deprived myself of the food I want to eat just because it doesn’t fit my precisely planned nutrition goals. Can I live?!???
  3. I don’t work out in shorts and a sports bra. More power to ya if you feel comfortable in minimal gym clothes….& your gym allows you to workout in minimal gym clothes. I don’t. I would rather be in leggings and a sweatshirt, but that’s not what’s depicted by any mainstream fitness superstars. No one is ever wearing a shirt. Ever. 
  4. When I work out I do not look my best. My hair is generally just doing whatever TF it wants to do. I sweat a lot. I don’t hide it if I’m exhausted. Sometimes I smell… It’s not a picturesque scene when I exercise.. Which makes it hard to relate to the images of ‘fitness’ plastered all over the Internet & advertisements. 

   #gainsandtoast lolz
Sorry fitness media, but unlike the people you promote, I’m a normal person trying to be healthy.. To my own dismay, I’m not sponsored by an athletic clothing company or supplement brand. So I have to pay for the products I use :/ 

I know it’s awesome to step into the gym with a brand new outfit that you love. You feel good when you like the clothes you’re in- even at the gym! The new-ness of your threads gives you extra motivation.. Trust me, I know those feels. But that doesn’t mean you need to take out a loan to buy yourself some gym clothes.. It also doesn’t mean you have to wear something that makes you uncomfortable.

Time that you spend working out is your time. Make it what you want it to be, not what you think other people would want it to be. Take control of your workout. Wear & do things you enjoy. 

You’re all fabulous, no matter what the mainstream fitness bullshit says. 

The End. xo

~peace & all good~

Black Friday Exercise to Free You from Your Guilt

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving.. 

Recovering from lots of food, lots of family time, & possibly lots of adult beverages. Maybe you’re still with your family & friends. Maybe you’ve already been up for hours because you enjoy battling for deals that you can also get from the comfort of your bed… Online shopping is the way to go yall. 

I woke up feeling great this morning- my body is praising the lord for all of the food I gave it. However, my legs aren’t very happy since I made them finish a dreaded 5k yesterday morning. I know 3.2 miles isn’t very much for most people, but ya girl usually runs a single (1) mile if any at all.. So I’m pretty proud of myself for my under 30 min finishing time! rofl

  

It was actually a lot of fun (can’t believe I just said that). Turns out running outside with the fam isn’t as torturous as running on a treadmill..

Since most of us stuffed our faces all day yesterday, I came up with a quick & easy workout to get back on track. Anyone can do this fun little routine!! 

Exercise 1: Sit & Reach

Start on the couch. While holding in your abdomen, sit up and reach for the remote. Repeat as many times as necessary. Try changing the channel & volume in intervals to get more work in!

Exercise 2: Leftover Dash

Start on the couch again. Now you’ll get up & walk to the kitchen. Fix yourself a plate of leftovers. Put the food in the oven/microwave. Walk back to the couch..& then back to the kitchen when your food is ready. Remember to take breaks!! This one can be tough.

Exercise 3: Glass Curl

This one requires a glass of water, tea, coffee, wine, whatever you prefer. Same starting position- on the couch.. Grip your glass & lift the glass to drink from it. Squeeze your bicep muscles while lifting & lowering the glass. Chiseled tank top arms here we come 😉

Stay persistent, & always practice safe sets!! 

Enjoy this time of indulgence, your body deserves it. Too much deprivation never did anyone any good anyways! Besides, most of the food we’ve all eaten for Thanksgiving is relatively unprocessed & full of much-needed refueling nutrients. Guilt-free holidays 4 lyfe!

~peace & all good~

#YogisWhoLift

So it’s Monday night, 

I’m in bed because work in less than 8 hours,

& I’m deciding getting this post out of my brain & into the screen of my iPod is v important. 

#priorities (or bad decision-making, perspective is everything I guess)

This post is really important to me because it’s the result of what life’s been throwing at me recently. A while back I started practicing yoga via YouTube; admittedly, half the things I thought were yoga I have come to learn actually aren’t… So I was loosely practicing yoga. I started because I was going through things that made me question who I am. I mean really question who I am. I was losing faith in my core values that I had worked so hard to discover. I didn’t know how to disconnect from my anxiety. I was losing a battle to negativity, & I was losing pretty fast. I needed to do something. 

That something was yoga. 

Backpedal a few years & you’ve got the time when I started lifting weights. It was a similar situation, but my anxiety this time was coming from body image issuezzz. I was trying to learn how to be healthy & fit.. I decided to try a 4 week weight training program. I loved it, saw results, & have grown into my own style of lifting since then.. 

  
Yoga has literally changed every aspect of my life…I know it sounds cliche but it’s true. What I’m realising now is how much it’s impacted my lifting. There’s a lot to gain from a body-mind-soul approach to fitness.

Mental Strength: In my experience, exercise of any kind is more of a mental battle than a physical one. My body can ingest some food or caffeine & be easily tricked into feeling ready for my workout. My mind, however, takes more effort. Practicing yoga has srsly transformed the way my brain thinks about me. I don’t have as hard of a time getting through self-doubt, or convincing myself that I am worth that hour and a half in the weight room, or that it’s okay if I’m not lifting as much weight as other people. I’m totally cool with feeling awkward at the gym, & that feels like a really big accomplishment.

Knowing My Limits: No ego lifting! I am able to recognise when I’ve done enough. I can feel in my body & mind when I shouldn’t go further. Being in touch with my body has allowed me to get to this point. Yea I’ll try something & fail with flying colors, but I’m not trying something I know I cannot do with the fullest effort. If I’m not there, I’m not there- simple as that.

  
Form: Along with being connected to my body, yoga has helped me stay in touch with what feels right & what doesn’t. This has helped immensely with form! I don’t overthink my body positioning because I know I’ll feel it if I’m doing something wrong. Increased flexibility from practicing yoga has also improved my range of motion…aka more effective lifting & less chance of injury 🙂

Breathing: Breath is 100% connected to form. Yoga has taught me how to control my breath. Knowing how to control my breath helps me bring more oxygen to my muscles. More oxygen means more endurance…..& more blood flow for a sweet pump. ~swole~

Appreciation: I would vote that this as the most powerful benefit I’ve experienced from my yoga practice. I don’t measure progress by how I look anymore… If I can do a single extra rep I feel accomplished. If I work through my own self doubt, I feel accomplished. If I try to lift a new weight but fail, I know there was a time when I couldn’t even do the basic lift itself. I enjoy the smaller steps in my journey. I’m way less critical of myself. I don’t obsess over skipping a day at the gym, because I recognise the importance of taking care of my body.  I’m thankful for myself & all that I’ve been through.

So there ya have it- my personal experience as what appears to be two conflicting identities. Before my own journey I never really pictured lifting weights to have any connection to yoga. Zen meatheads? Um…..???? But as it turns out, the health of your body & mind are extremely connected. The love my yoga practice has shown to my physical exercise is the most clear example of this connection. 

I hope yall enjoyed this little exploration of my journey to mind-body-soul health!!

~peace & all good~

Runnin Thru the Gram With My Woes

*You know how that shit goes*

Social media… I use it, like we all do, but it doesn’t really add much to my life. Instagram, however, seems to be the source of all evil (I know that’s harsh, it’s for added drama). 

How many times a day do I scroll through my feed of pictures & think: 

  • ugh, why am I not making progress like that? MUSCLES WHERE R U ???!1!11?
  • I wish I had cute gym clothes 😦
  • LOL he/she looks like a human after working out, pretty sure I usually look like a cave troll
  • man I’m hungry…that looks delicious
  • haha my abs will never exist 
  • y do I work a full time job? I should just get paid to workout all day..
  • wow y am I poor I need more supplements !?!!11! 😦 😦
  • Y AM I SO UGLY UGH PLZ HELP BASED GOD

…. Many a time. It’s a bad habit I’ve developed recently that I’m trying to get rid of.  Why do I care what someone else wears while working out? I’m sure my next meal will also be delicious. I’m making progress, just in my own way!

There’s been a lot of talk about how social media is bad for self confidence/living successfully in reality. Internet stars are coming out & giving the truth behind Internet fame; the rotten things people say, the work that goes into maintaining their image, the way it provides a false picture of what life really is. All of this is relevant. It’s also relevant to think about how much time out of our day we take to compare ourselves to people on a damn screen. & the fact that kids are growing up with these ideas about health & what ‘fit’ looks like, but no one understands the toll it can truly take.. 

If someone feels badly about themselves, their feelings are valid. If someone feels inadequate because they just spent 2 hrs scrolling through pics of people with professional makeup/clothes/photo crews (who don’t mention these professionals in their posts), their feelings are valid. If someone is sick of comparing themselves to others & boycotts social media, you guessed it- VALID FEELINGS. Being bombarded with images of perfection creates a lot of confusion in our brains.. 

Maybe you don’t even exercise, but you follow fitness accounts anyway in hopes you’ll become motivated to start exercising. In reality, the posts from these accounts probably just make you sad because you just don’t want to exercise. It’s okay if you don’t like to workout! Stop trying to convince yourself that you do via social media envy. You’re choosing to reinforce an image of what you wish you were- instead of being happy with the person you actually are.

We all have some level of demons/negative self-talk that happens regardless of these Gram woes.  But it’s important to pay attention to how these images influence the way you think about yourself. When I see a fitness model who looks flawless after a workout I sort of resent the fact that I will never look that good in the gym….ever….because I don’t have a group of people whose job is to make me look great….

Not in a million years will I have a so-called “perfect” body. 

I might never eat clean for a consistent period of time. 

I don’t think I see myself working out in a sports bra anytime soon (never happening). 

I will always eat carbs.

If I ever have abs it will be a miracle. 

I know all of these things, & I’m completely content with that knowledge 98.9% of the time. But that 1.1% feels a lot bigger when I’m looking through Instagram…shiit

So the moral of the story: Remind yourself of what reality is like. Go out & realize that the average person isn’t perfect- even if they appear to be. Most people have rolls when they sit…even if they workout regularly. I can speak for myself & say that I do not look attractive when I work out, nor do all of my gym outfits match/smell pleasant.. 

It’s all good! Our flaws make us who we are!! Everyone has things they want to work on, but that’s why we’re all human.

Here’s a guided meditation for shutting down negative energy. Embrace the funk 🙂

~peace & all good~

My Problem with Cookie Cutter Fitness 

I’m sitting here thinking about what I’m going to eat later & what I’m going to do at the gym.. What clean gym clothes do I even have? Will I be able to convince myself to run today? As I’m contemplating these highly important things, images of what to avoid pop into my head. Why? In order to be fit I can’t eat cookies, but I can try to shove myself into a preconceived box of health similar to the box these forbidden cookies come in??!1?1 ~ugh~

Okay, this might seem like a strange angle to take when looking at exercise… But since starting this blog & my loosely defined ‘fitstagram’ I’ve been realizing the influence of the outside world on my own health choices. 

For instance- I was looking at a weight loss magazine in my house & it suggested to ‘invite your coworkers to do wall push ups with you in your office’. Now that would be strange. My co-workers would probably be like ‘haha okay, or we could just go for a drink….u crazy millennial’. The magazine also gave ideas for office workouts like leg lifts, chair crunches, etc. I mean…it could just suggest to move your body throughout the day, but……

Which brings me to my point: why are we so caught up in these cookie-cutter ideas of what ‘good’ exercise looks like? Exercise can be anything you enjoy that gets your body in motion. It doesn’t need to be exactly 5.3 hours of cardio a week, with 3.6 hours of weight training, plus 17.24 hours of yoga, minus 30 minutes of cardio for every salad you eat, minus 20 minutes of weight training for every pound you lose. Health is not a math problem!!! Feeling good should be the determinative factor in our decisions regarding exercise. 

This is not to say you shouldn’t include both cardio & weight training (& yoga!!) in a balanced exercise routine.. I’m in love with weight lifting & dread cardio, but I’ve found movements I enjoy that get my heart goin. I roller blade more than I run, I do jumping lunges more than I pedal an elliptical, I dance like a wild woman more than I ride a bike… I’m still achieving the main goal (incorporating cardiovascular exercise), but I’m doing it in a way I like. 

If you aren’t a fan of weight training, YouTube has a plethora of strength building workout videos you can browse. Not saying all online workout videos are created equal- but I’m sure there is something you can find that is worthwhile 🙂 

I think it’s really important to give attention to the fact that we shouldn’t do things because we think we have to. Do things because you want to. Step out of the box, or better yet- jump on & around the box! This will definitely make for a happier, healthier, more empowered you!!

Get out there & move!

~peace & all good~