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!! 🙂 

Overnight Oats!

I am not a big ‘meal prep’ person.. Mainly because I have no clue what the hell I’m going to want to eat a week ahead of time/I am lazy. Sure, my body would thank me if I put time into planning healthy & filling meals for the whole week. And I bet my gains would skyrocket. But let’s be real here- I’m not ready to commit to such a pre-planned food life. I also am not that concerned with what I’m eating to dedicate to meal prepping every week.. I eat what makes me feel good & give myself ~creative license~ on food otherwise categorized as ‘not-so-good-for-you’.

So, with that being said, overnight oats are the closest I get to a consistent meal prep. They’re great for a grab-and-go breakfast or anytime snack. You can customize them with your preferred add-ins. They take about two minutes to whip up. They’re great!!

*I don’t use exact measurements.. so this may be a little vague, but it’s pretty hard to mess this up 😉

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 parts milk (dairy or non-dairy, I use almond milk)
  • 2 parts dry oats
  • 1 part chia seeds
  • 1 part greek yogurt
  • honey/agave (up to you how sweet you want it)
  • any other spices/add-ins

How To:

Add the yogurt, oats, & milk in a container. I usually use a 2-cup mason jar….Well, I use whatever is clean if I’m being honest.. Mix this trio together.

Pour in your chia seeds & honey. You’ll want to mixture to be liquidy at this point, so add more milk if needed! Throw in anything else you’d like. I added raspberries to my oat concoction today. 

After the mix has a few hrs to absorb the milk & chill (literally- refrigerate it when you’re done), it’s ready! It’ll be thicker after its chilled, that’s normal. 

Since I use random amounts of each ingredient, I don’t exactly have a ‘nutrition facts’for this recipe.. What I do know: Overnight oats are full of protein, fiber, & healthy fats! They’ll keep you going longer than most quick hunger fixes. If you make this for a snack/breakfast, you won’t regret it 🙂 

Enjoy!! 

Almond Chocolate Blondies

I’ve decided to step up my baking game. & my gains game.. To accomplish both, I’m on a mission to incorporate more high-protein baked goods into my life. So here’s my first round of ~protein baking~ that doesn’t involve pancakes!!

*if you are allergic to almonds, this is not the post for you… almonds galore here, people*

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein (or whatever flavor you see fit)
  • 2/3 cup crushed almonds
  • 2/3 cup cashews
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 whole eggs

Steps to Awesomeness:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350, line your baking pan/try of choice with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the coconut oil until it’s soft, or complete liquid.. I did the latter.
  3. Combine melted coconut oil with almond butter & mix away! Simultaneously (not rlly) whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.
  4. Add the eggs and agave to your butter bowl. 
  5. Add almonds to the mix & fold them in until the consistency becomes thicker. Now’s your time to add protein powder if you so choose!
  6. Chop up your chocolate & cashews, mix them into your batter. Now would be a good time to add any additional fillings if you wish to. If the mixture seems too dry, pour a splash of almond milk in.   
  7. Pour your deliciousness into your baking vehicle (???) & set the oven timer to 20 mins. You may need to check them after this time & make sure the middle isn’t still totally raw.
  8. ENJOI!!!! …..once they have cooled down

  
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Macros: 

  • 260 calories
  • 20g fat- 5g saturated, 2g polyunsaturated, 5g monounsaturated
  • 12g carbs- 4g fiber, 5g sugar
  • 10g protein
  • + iron, vitamin B, vitamin E, copper, ribo~flavin~, & LOADS of other vitamins & minerals


     

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!!

A Week of ‘Not Good Enough’

This is a more serious post than those I usually share, but I suppose that comes with the territory of labelling yourself as honest/a real human being…right? SO HERE IT GOES. VULNERABILITY YAY 😀

The past week was a rough one for me. Hormones running wild, motivation at a low point, positive thinking a rare occurrence, interest in doing anything nonexistent. I was down & out of ways to get back up.  

[Obviously this is a much deeper issue than one blog post can possibly cover- but this is my best effort to talk about it based on my own experience..]

Not a single thing about me seemed to be good enough. 

No workout was satisfactory. No outfit I put on could make me feel comfortable in my own skin. No amount of coffee could keep me alert. No ‘victory’ could stop me from feeling like a loser. No promise of making a positive impact was enough to make me look forward to getting out of bed. 

A few fleeting moments of happiness & self love came throughout the week. But they weren’t enough. Nothing was enough. 

All of the advice & practices for wisdom I share with everyone else were just not helping. Or, if I’m being honest, I just didn’t want to put in the effort. 

I was convinced I wasn’t worth the effort to be happy with myself. 

I was convinced I didn’t deserve to love who I am. 

I was convinced all of the progress I’ve made was just not good enough.

I was convinced that the comparisons I was making between myself & other people were important & worth the space in my brain. 

I think we all experience these stretches of negativity & self sabotage fueled by a lull in self-love. Some of us have these experiences more than others. Some of us don’t acknowledge our feelings (me), & then when we do decide to process our feelings it becomes overwhelming & lasts a whole week. We all lose sight of our goals. We all fall out of love with ourselves. We all have bad days (or weeks, maybe even months). 

But I think there’s a positive note behind these valleys of self-hate. Although they suck, & they drain you of your mental enegy, they can be a great opportunity to re-focus. When you come out on the other side of any internal struggle, your desire to fight for yourself is stronger. The goals you have for yourself become clearer when you leave the fog of feeling less than worthy. The love you have for yourself intensifies when you test it with your own negative thoughts. 

After a long week, I know that I am good enough. I am worthy of my own love. I am strong. I am my own person, I make my own progress at my own pace, I have my own standards that may not satisfy other people’s standards, & that’s okay. Do I think I’m free & clear of all bad days & negative self-talk? Hell no!! A healthy relationship with yourself takes just as much work (if not more) than any other relationship. We have to put in effort to develop our own self love.

We all deserve a loving relationship with ourselves. We all deserve to be happy in our own skin. 

You’re good enough. You’re worth positive mental space. Don’t forget it!! ❤

~peace & all good~

A Daily Reminder

We’re all busy people. It’s not unheard of for the day to go right by you & the next thing you know, it’s 9 pm & you can’t even remember if you drank water today. 

So here’s a reminder- a sort of checklist to go through with yourself randomly throughout the day:

  • have you eaten in the last 3 hrs?
  • have you drank any water in the last hr?
  • have you gotten up & moved around? stretched your arms out as wide as they can go?
  • have you taken a deep inhale?
  • have you let go of that inhale with an even deeper exhale?
  • have you looked outside?
  • have you thought something nice about yourself?

All of these seem like really simple things… But I’ve found its the simple things that get away from us. 

Take a few minutes to let go of everything, breath, & recollect yourself & your thoughts. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself! Today & everyday 🙂

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

A few days ago I decided to attempt to squat 205lbs… 

How is this relevant to asking for help? 

Well, I had just squatted a personal best of 195 the day before, along with a lengthy set of deadlifts. My body (especially the lower end) was tired. I’d never broken 200lbs before. But I thought I was ready. 

I did one slow, slightly painful rep. I got back up from under 205 lbs! 😀 

Of course that wasn’t enough…

I stepped up to the bar ready for round two. Stared at myself in the mirror for a while, contemplated if the song I chose was the right song, stared some more… 

I was going to do this. 

‘Not so fast there, pal!’ my brain screeched…. Ok, maybe I’m not going to do this. 

I was offered a spot & hestitantly accepted the offer. Before I even started to squat this person noticed a form issue I had (I wasn’t squaring off my feet) & pointed it out… I fixed my form according to the advice I was given & got myself ready to start (again).

I got all the way parallel, started to come back up, & before I got 3/4 of the way- I panicked. I felt myself inching back down…the opposite of where I needed to go.. So. I called on the help that was there to support me. It was kind of awkward & I felt like I had failed. 

Those negative feelings quickly went away once I realized how hilarious it was that I panicked even though I knew someone was right there to catch me. I didn’t fail. I tried something new; I reached a new one-rep max & I let someone help me when I tried to take it further.

That’s the point of accepting other people’s help- none of us can do everything on our own. We need the support of others at certain moments in our life. Whether that support comes in the weight room, at work, in the grocery store, when a crisis hits; whether it comes from a close friend, or from a complete stranger…it’s never a bad thing to embrace!

There is always going to be someone to help you. You never have to panic about impending doom or failure.

Enjoy the journey my friends. & remember to let a little help in from time to time 🙂

P.S.- I wrote this post at night while trying to sleep & it relieved a significant amount of anxiety that had built up in my mind/body. Not sure why.. Maybe it has something to do with allowing all of you to help me release my thoughts??