Hiking Mt. Beacon for the Hundreth Time

Beacon, NY. 

The golden child of the lower Hudson Valley. 

Everyone’s favourite spot to crowd into on nice days & get a break from city life without social withdrawal.

& the home of Mount Beacon.

Specs

Mt. Beacon is about a 30-45 minute hike up to the top, depending on what your body needs. The uphill climb is consistent, but not extremely steep. 

  

It’s not the most challenging hike in the Hike the Hudson arsenal, but definitely U one of the more populated options. Especially if you’re going on a nice weekend afternoon. 

I like this trail because it’s not too long, but it’s a continuous incline with almost no repreve from the uphill climb. 

Along the path up, there’s also a lot of alternate trails that are a bit more challenging but cut through a lot of the gentle incline…’short cuts’ I guess you could call them..

Once I get to the top I usually walk off the muscle cramps, stretch a bit, & sneak down some rocks to the left of the lookout everyone will be crowding into. 

  

While all the other folks look out on the towns of Beacon & Cold Spring & the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, I prefer to sit & breathe overlooking more trees. 
 [check out GTS Clothing for awesome yoga & hiking wear + use code ‘MADEBYGTS’ at checkout]

ITS SO GREAT TO JUST SIT IN NATURE 😍😩

  

Then there’s the way down… 

Personally once I’m at the top of a hike & have basically recovered, I would prefer to just float back down to the bottom. I hate flailing my way down the side of a mountain. 

The turn around on Mt. Beacon is approx 20 more minutes- depending again on how many breaks your body needs & how your knees are feelin.

Although there’s usually a frik ton of people on the trail, it’s still a hike & it’s still an immersion in nature.

It’s a break from weird small talk.

a break from what’s going on in the world & what people are doing to eachother. 

a break from the worries being dumped on you.

A break that most of us are freakin desperate for,

a breath of fresh air.

Mt. Beacon is the perfect hike to do regularly to soothe your mind, condition your heart muscles, & tone all your muscles that carry you day after day.

Mt. Beacon is the perfect hike for the occasional challenge or reset from life.

Take time for yourself, to treat your body to what it wants.

Get out there & hike!

Green Smoothies

Ah, green foods, smoothies, drinks.. 

The essence of health. 

The purest form of ‘this will either be really good or freakin disgusting’.

In a recent effort to lower my anxiety & up my healthy game, I’ve been making a veggie drink for my breakfast a few times a week. 

I also cut out (caffeinated) coffee. 

It is working- the caffeine withdrawals reallllly weren’t that bad with the green drinks as a ‘replacement’. My anxiety isn’t as wild without the daily coffee. & I lived on coffee, it’s the reason (supposedly) I survived most days. The few days of initial suckiness have been well worth it. 

BUT some of the smoothies/juices I made have come out DISgusting …. like I could not bear to even smell them 😂 I tried to experiment & yiikes. 

So I figured I’d share some of the combos that worked out & tasted swell! 

I’ll use these recipes as a way to ease myself back into writing blog posts for yall 🙈 since I kind of let this little baby of mine fall to the wayside. WOOPS!

FIRST RECIPE!!!!!!

  

A very green one, this combo was as aesthetically pleasing as it was good tasting.

What You’ll Need:

  • handful of spinach & kale
  • handful of collard greens
  • 1 cup(ish) of Dole’s Orange Medley; oranges, sweet potato, mango, & banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk – or liquid of your choice
  • some honey
  • *optional* a scoop of greens or superfood powder

1. Add the ingredients

2. Blend them

3. Drink up!

4. Have a bright & green day ✨🌟

Look out for some more recipes!! 

I’ll only be sharing the good ones….smoothie making can be treacherous, take it from someone with firsthand experience of all that can go wrong HAHA

Loving Yourself is Hard

Self-love. What a loaded topic, my goodness. 

I’ll start with this- I am a firm believer that you do not need to love yourself 24/7 to be deserving of someone else’s love. I think the phrase ‘you have to love yourself before someone else can’ is complete bullshit. Consistent & unfaltering self-love/acceptance is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to achieve, & that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be loved & cared for by others. 

So… How the heck does this relate to fitness?

In my opinion, being active is a strong showing of self-love. Whether you’re exercising to change the way your body looks; exercising to improve how you feel on a daily basis; exercising to build mental & physical strength; or just want to change up your day. You are a fucking rockstar for taking care of yourself. & it’s not always easy!

Some days I hate myself. 

Some days I think I’m a divine goddess.

Some days I’m like ‘yo Leda you’re freakin lit’.

Some days I want to change everything about myself.

& ALL of these ideas about myself influence how (or if) I exercise.

The days where I’m feeling down or not particularly fond of myself- my motivation to exercise is either nowhere to be found, or its there for all the wrong reasons. This can look like feeling ‘not good enough so I need to go workout & burn calories’. It can look like ‘I literally don’t care if I ever lift again’ (which is not true at all….depression flares R liars). It can look like going to the gym & having a shit workout because I hate everything I’m doing.

Days where I feel happy & enjoy who I am- my motivation to workout is usually high, and it’s based more on the idea that exercising is good for me & makes me feel good. These days also help me choose things that come up in life over the gym…because it’s healthy to do that. For me, being a fit person doesn’t mean I can’t live & eat & do things outside of the gym. BALANCE AMIRITE 

I think having balance & putting what my body needs before anything else has made my fitness journey sustainable. It’s enjoyable to be in the gym because I want to be there. I’m there because I love it & it’s good for my physical and mental health. 

Figuring out what makes you feel like you’re dusted in lit sauce is SOOO important! Whether you’re beginning your fitness journey, are a seasoned lifter, or never plan to step foot in a gym ever. If you’re doing things you hate it’ll be even harder to uncover all the love inside of you. 

Try new shit. 

Move your body. 

Discover what makes you feel good.

Working out makes me feel good. So does eating a pint of ice cream. & because I love myself, I allow myself to have both 😉 

Tea Time

Ayy it’s time to learn about different types of tea & what they can do for you!! WOOHOO 

I’ve got a list of about ten (common) teas that you can fall back on when you need some help in life.  & this shit can get confusing so now you’ll know what to reach for when you’re staring at 64 different teas…

Ginger

  • digestion!!!!!! YAY POOPING & NOT FEELING CRAMPY
  • helps with anti-inflammatory needs
  • bonus points if you use it with tumeric

Mint

  • more digestion!!!!!! mint helps in the earlier stages, when your food is still in your belly & may be upsetting it
  • refreshing as heck
  • according to Starbucks- not a real tea (if anyone understand this pls help idgi)

Green

  • better article: what DOESNT green tea do?
  • caffeine, aka energy, but not so much it’ll effect any anxiety or sleeping difficulties
  • free radical exterminator to the extreme 
  • aids in fat burning (if you’re into that)

Raspberry Leaf

  • *men keep reading lolzzzzz im about to mention p*riods!!! haha!* omg why do people do this in articles
  • helps with typical menstruation woes & pain (as if existing isn’t enough pain)
  • antioXidants!! free radical exterminator!!!

Elderberry

  • health. literally. that’s it. 
  • drink this tea in nearly excessive amounts if you’re starting to get sick 

Dandelion Root

  • cleansing!! not the kind that comes with poop tho
  • helps your liver (which works extremely hard btw) detox from all the junk you give it

Ginseng

  • energy boost without caffeine
  • more antioxidants/free radical fighting
  • helps with inflammation from menstruation, bloating, stress (blood pressure increase & water retention)

Passion Flower* (READ THE ASTERICK) 

  • anxietTy- extreme calming effects 
  • promotes relaxing & maybe sleep depending on how anxious you are (can make you groggy the next day)**

Lemon Balm 

  • gives you a calming effect (not as potent as Passion Flower)
  • tastes delicious

This really only a surface read into the world of teas. There are a TON of other teas that can give you lots of great benefits. Being that there are so many, this may be a good place to start if you’re a bit lost. 

Enjoy 🙂

* – be VERY careful with this tea!! It’s a powerful little herb, so it won’t do good things for everyone. Try a small amount at first to see how your mind accustoms itself to the calming effects. Do this by ‘diluting’ the tea- use more water than the brewing instructions call for & don’t let it steep as long. 

** – thank you to my sister KG for sharing this feedback with me & letting me pass along the knowledge

The Secret of Strength

Deadlifts.

That’s the secret..

Deadlifts are the greatest (or worst, depending how you see things) test of full-body strength. They’re not like squats, curls, or bench press where you can cheat a little & get the weight up. If some ounce of your body isn’t strong enough for the weight you’re trying to pull, you aren’t pulling shit.

How-to Video

Deadlifts are typically done with a barbell, but there are tons of variations you can take to accommodate your level of strength or the equipment available to you. Deadlifts can be done with dumbbells, kettlebells, single-leg variations,trap bar deadlifts, & the list goes on and on. No matter what variation you choose, the same form tips apply.

Keep your spine neutral– think table-top from your pelvis to the top of your head.

Move from your hips & start at the ground.

Keep your arms straight rather than pulling the bar up with your arms. Use your arms, upper back, and shoulders to stabilize the bar.

Adjust so the weight works for you – this can mean a change of stance (wide-leg/sumo), adjusting the weight load, or changing the amount of reps performed.

Q: What muscles do deadlifts train?

A: All of them.

Seriously… Hamstrings, glutes, and lower back are the main muscles used. However, your entire spine is called to action to keep itself in a neutral position. Your upper back, core (abs), chest, arms, & shoulders lend themselves to stabilize the bar & your spine. Your ankles and calves help stabilize your stance & keep you in place. Your hands are busy getting fcked up by the bar due to the fact you’re using them to grip the dead weight you’re lifting..

Essentially, deadlifts can make you strong as hell.

Think about it- being able to perform the deadlift means you can lift dead weight. That’s pretty awesome.

Keep up the great work!

Ginger Juice

Greetings earthlings~

I’ve got a quick recipe for some out of this world tea! 

If you need a pick-me-up, your insides are feelin stuck (wink wink), or just want to shed some unwanted energy- this simple concoction will help ya out.

What you’ll need:

  • Ginger (raw root or powdered) 
  • honey
  • lemon juice
  • cinnamon (raw sticks or powdered)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • hot water

Okay so start with boiling your water. While it’s getting steamy grate some ginger (or pour in the powder) over your vessel of choice.

Squeeze half a lemon or a few spoonfuls of juice in; pour a spoonful of Apple cider vinegar. 

Add a dash of cinnamon, or a few sticks, & as much honey as you want!

  
This is perfect to drink in the morning to rev up your organs, or after a big dinner you’re feeling iffy about digesting.

Another perk of this little potion that I don’t have any explanation for is mental clarity. My mind feels clear afterwards. Maybe that’s part of the detoxifying results of the ingredients? Maybe it’s just me fooling myself? Not sure if, but I’m not going to question a good thing.

If you have any variations of this ginger juice, leave them down below!! I’d love to try a new version of an old fav 🙂

Yoga Mat Cleaner

Yoga mats can get heckin disgusting.

It is definitely a good idea to clean your mat every now and again.

But how…..

A lot of popular yogis post fancy DIY formulas for mat cleaners you can ‘make at home’…whose home is yet to be determined. Not my home. I’d have to go on a shopping spree to even find half of the ingredients needed to make these cleaners.

Well I am here to tell you- all you have to do is find some sort of cleansing/anti-bacterial wipes or spray. It is not a complicated ordeal. You just wipe or spray your mat. Do it whenever you feel necessary. That’s it.

These are the wipes I use:  

 
I also use them for my body.. 

This is one of my yoga mats, nice and anti-bacterialized:

   

I have four mats…… One is legit as hell and woven in India. The other three are just different colored variations of this $15 mat I got on Amazon. So… Not sure what the point of this info is.

But anyways, clean your mat (or mats). But don’t feel like it has to be a fancy, exotic ~mat cleansing~ spray.

 

 

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*

Acro Yoga Challenge Experience

So. I follow a lot of 20-something insta-yogis (on Instagram)…Who all seem to be friends with eachother despite the fact that most of them live across the globe from eachother (I can barely maintain friendships with people who live 2 hrs away ??). & who all seem to have perfected the art of looking graceful while doing impossibly difficult yoga poses/vinyasas 🙂 They can effortlessly press into a handstand. Simply float through space. Everything is always bendy & pretzel-like…even the poses & flows they dub as ‘gentle’ or ‘back-to-basics’.

This portrayal of yoga can be really frustrating. Of course there are a lot of yogis who keep it real af on Instagram, but it feels like the norm is this unachievable level of perfection in ones yoga practice. Yoga, in its essence, is imperfect (that’s my own, extremely personalised view). It’s the movement of the human body united with the human mind- how could that ever be perfect?? 

With that being said; my sister & I decided to try one of the yoga challenges hosted by an insta-yogi. It was a five day ~acro yoga~ Soul Sister challenge. How hard could it be??? I do yoga pretty consistently so I can guide us. My sister & I are both pretty strong, we should be able to do the poses right? 

Here’s our experience in the form of photos. (For more pics, search #soulsisteracroyogachallenge on Instagram or find it on my page: @leedle_g)

Day 1: Scorpion Pose on Down Dog

  

Off to a great start!! .. After 20 mins of intermittent hysterical laughing & attempts at the pose, we decided this was good enough 

Day 2: Handstand Backbend on Forward Fold

  
~trap yoga~ 

Day 3: L-Sit Ups 

Seconds after this, my sisters face flew toward the wall as she lost her balance. Obviously more laughter ensued once I made sure she didn’t break her face…

Day 4: Forward Fold + Reverse Forward Fold (???)

  

WE FINALLY GOT CLOSE TO THE ACTUAL POSE ….after about 10 attempts

Day 5: Bow on Wheel

Honestly we did not even attempt this one any further than me getting into wheel pose & my sister pressing on me with her hand. No way in hell was I going to hold her entire body up with my back bent LOL 

What did we learn from this challenge? Yoga is not mean to be perfect. & neither are we! The failures we had day after day trying to squeeze into poses together was a lot of fun, & that’s what counts. Laughing is the BEST ab workout. Trust me on this one… & finally, my favorite truth of all, SOCIAL MEDIA IS A LIAR!!!! Instagram & the likes allow you to put your best face/body/life forward. That doesn’t mean it reflects REAL life. 

So enjoy the things that trip you up, make the most out of silly moments, & stay tru 2 U!! 🙂 

4 Ingredient Vanilla Protein Pancakes

Good morning!! Happy Friday!!! 🙂

This morning I had some extra time before work & decided to make myself a real breakfast.. Vanilla protein pancakes seemed like the perfect way to start my Friday. With just four ingredients & about 30 grams of protein, the real MVP of breakfast is protein pancakes. 

{I’ve posted about these pancakes before, but figured this rendition deserved its own post}

What you’ll need: 

  • one egg
  • one banana
  • one heaping scoop Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Whey Protein
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • *optional* 2 tablespoons ground flax seed

Start by mashing the banana in a bowl- I’ve found a fork works best.

Add the egg & mix until there’s a nice lumpy consistency.. Make sure the yolk is broken & spread throughout the mixture!

Pour your milk. Pour your protein powder. Mix away! (Waiting until you add the protein to mix in the milk makes it much easier to blend) I also added a few spoonfuls of ground flax to keep it movin 😉

Warm up your pan with whatever oil/butter of your choice. I used olive oil- would probably go with something lighter next time. Whatever you use, make sure you use enough to cover the pan so your pancakes don’t stick! 

Pour your batter in & watch the magic happen. ….Ok actually I JUST learned how to flip my pancakes without completely messing them up…so maybe what happens won’t be magical. Either way- your little creations should be ready to eat in about six minutes

  

Add some peanut butter, fruit, chocolate chips, syrup, sprinkles, or whatever else you desire! Enjoy!!