Need Better Sleep? Meditate

Going to sleep is generally the highlight of my day. 

Yesterday was no exception.. I decided to do a 30 minute workout before work. I worked 8 hrs, talking to people who are going through possibly one of the most difficult times of their lives. Just going through the work day is tiring enough! 

Butt I didn’t stop there ๐Ÿ™‚ I went to the gym with my sister & walked her through an upper body lift…..for 2 hrs… Of course I was tired and hangry after that whole ordeal. Then, just because I felt like I needed to decompress, did some yoga. 

Needless to say- I was wiped tf out. 

Despite how exhausted I was, I got in bed & had an overwhelming feeling of uneasy irritation. Like what? I’m so flippin tired why am I not relaxed? How do I have any energy left to be annoyed?! & at NOTHING?!?!?1!1?1!  

I guess these types of things happen when we’re human.. But I needed to sleep ASAP. So I turned to one of the best discoveries I’ve ever made: ~meditation~. I’m still working on my mental strength & getting into meditations on my own..& last night it seemed like Mission Impossible. Thank you YouTube for guided meditation!!! 

I put headphones in, took a few deep breaths, & played this Guided Meditation for Deep Relaxation. At first I was like ‘ugh this isn’t working’ … ‘STILL NOT RELAXED WTF’. But I’m not kidding, I was sleeping like a fat cat before the 15 minutes was up. 

   Rare photo of me in my true form ๐Ÿ˜‰

I don’t remember falling asleep. I don’t remember a single nightmare. I woke up ready to take on another exhausting day full of rewarding interactions & exercise (maybe I’ll actually take today off, I haven’t decided..)

If you need a little help starting your journey to Dream Land, or just need to chill tf out after a long ass day, definitely give some guided meditations a try. We could all use some more relaxation in our lives!

If you need a laugh/want a translation of what actually goes on in your mind during meditation, check out this Honest Meditation ๐Ÿ™‚

~peace & all good~

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 Outfitย 

Gym attire is a very loaded topic. But don’t worry, I wrote this blog post to answer all of your fit fashion questions ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ….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~

Breaking Bad: Work Habits Edition

Greetings earthlings! This blog post is brought to you by tired mental state & me thinking about ways to save my weary brain..

We’re all (generally speaking) creatures of habit. We love routine, it makes us feel normal. 

Going to work at 9 am is my daily routine. Coming home between 4 & 5 pm is my daily routine. Sitting at my desk talking people through the process of a criminal case is my daily routine. Sitting….for hours… It’s making me go crazy. I love my job, & I don’t want to grow so entrenched in my routine that I start to resent it.

Since I’m finally able to wrap my head around my new routine, it’s time to take ownership of it! I haven’t been doing enough for me. I haven’t been taking my lunch hour or exploring the area around my office. & no one is stopping me from doing these things!! I’m not tied to my desk. I have the freedom to leave or take a break whenever I want…I just haven’t done it. 

So today I decided I’m going to commit to myself. I’m going to change some of the habits that I’ve fallen into during my work day. Not some ‘use the stairs to keep ur waist slim :)’ or ‘leave the carbs at home for more energy lolz’ BS. More like- ‘take care of your mental state during work so you aren’t burned out & agitated when you leave your office’…

Here are my 2 Golden Commandments to myself:

  • I will eat my lunch away from my desk. Yeaaa…. I’m sick of staring at my damn computer screen while I eat. That shit is depressing & makes for mindless food consumption. I like to enjoy my food. I’m going to use the time I spend eating as a refresher. Even if I’m still sitting in my office, I’ll be physically seperated from my desk & that will do wonders for my mind.
  • I will take a walk. Fresh freakin air. What a wonderful thing…that I definitely need more of. I think I’ve been discouraged by the colder weather recently, but I forgot how great even a short walk can make me feel! I’m going to bring some warmth accessories to my office so I can’t be deterred by the crisp or chill- I’ll always be prepared ๐Ÿ™‚

Peace of mind is an extremely important part of being healthy. As I’m sure we all know, it takes a lot more than exercise to create a happy life for your mind & body.. All of my fellow office workers- I hope yall can look at your own daily routine & see if you’re doing enough for you. 

I think this is a reminder from the universe that I need to take care of me. We all need that reminder sometimes.. We fall off track, we get run down by routine. That’s not the focal point though- what is the focus is what we do when we realize we’re not doing the right things for ourselves. 

Refocus. Set new standards for your daily routine. Throw some changes into the mix. Feel good about how you spend your days!!

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  • 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! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

~peace & all good~

My Problem with Cookie Cutter Fitnessย 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 

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~

Why Am I Here? Pt. II

I guess you could say I’ve gotten scatter-brained with my posts.. I kind of lost track of what the purpose of this blog even is. I feel like my posts go from here to there and have not so much connection to each other.. & guys, tbh…this is a literal representation of my current life situation. 

In the past few weeks my workouts were bleh, I was putting minimal effort into what I was eating, & just really struggling to get into the groove of my new routine. I was feeling like I didn’t even want to lift anymore (scared myself a little with that one), I didn’t care if I never ate healthy again. Obviously that didn’t last long because eating like crap means you feel like crap. I realised I needed to check in with myself mentally & physically….I looked at my goals & basically made the move to add more variety to everything & plan better. Personally, planning is crucial because not having set daily activities gives me ~anxieTy~. That’s not to say I didn’t need that time of scattered-ness – I have no regrets at all. {yoloswag}

BUTT this is me just checking in to reassure you all that I’ve refocused & am back on a purposeful path. I know what my goal is: to make fitness & healthy eating accessible to anyone reading this (with the ocassional random post because I just can’t help myself). I know how I want to accomplish it, & I’m okay if I only help one person work toward a healthier, happier life!

Now that I’m thinking about it.. Things like this actually are in line with the reason I started this blog.. It’s definitive proof that I am a normal human being who gets lost & confused at times. It brings me back to my original questions: who am I & why am I here? I think I’m closer to the answer now… 

Even with a goal in mind I can get off-track. But that’s life. Nobody is perfect! So, if you’re with me now or were with me when I had no clue what the heck I was doing writing this blog- welcome!! & congratulations on also being human! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thoughts From An Overly Aware Mind

What is the point?

Does anyone else ever ask themselves that question? Like really… What is the point of anything? Or, dare I ask, what is the point of everything

I literally question the purpose of everything in the world around me. It gets annoying & discouraging. It makes me frustrated with the world. It makes the idea of things ever improving seem hopeless. (I work in the criminal justice system, so I find myself questioning the point of my work ALL the time). It makes me tired sometimes because of the extent of my thought process..

It also gives me satisfaction. It gives me something to work for- if I’m able to identify things I think are wrong I have passion to fuel me. It keeps my mind active (without school that can be relatively difficult believe it or not); with my brain I’ll never become an idle member of the world. My thoughts won’t let me! 

There are times when I would like to turn off my brain, to get some peace, to just have quiet & blindly accept things. But I can’t. That’s not who I am, not how I’m wired at all. & I have recently come to accept that..now the noise in my head doesn’t drive me crazy. I can sit with my thoughts & find peace in the chaos. I’m okay with the fact that I think too much about everything I experience/see/hear. I’m glad I over analyze situations & society & the world I find myself in. It helps me have an awareness most people find annoying…but really I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some may say that I am ~woke~ 

Yes, I feel like an outsider in most situations. It’s hard to find other humans who can truly relate to me/my mind. I feel crazy sometimes. 

BUTT. I will always have a plethora of thoughts to occupy my brain.

So long story short, I am a textbook intellectual introvert…… If that wasn’t screaming at you yet… But I’ll have a more organized post on that in the days to come. 

If you analyze everything around you & within you to the point of mental exhaustion- you’re not alone! It’s something we should embrace rather than suppress. Be at peace with your awareness. Let yourself find a sense of calm from your thoughts. Empower yourself!!

Be well, & remember: everything happens for a reason. 

~peace & all good~