10 things I’ve learned about life through fitness

Many things come to mind when I think of what exploring the health and fitness world has done for me.  My list is simple and pretty self-explanatory.

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  1. Sometimes your life purpose is to simply show up.
  2. Celebrating small victories is essential.
  3. If you’re not having fun it’s not worth it. So make it fun.
  4. Respect food.
  5. My body can do a lot more than I thought it could.
  6. I still have a ways to go.
  7. If you get burnt out, take a break. You will always want to come back for more.
  8. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  9. You will be okay in every situation.
  10. Fitness means different things to different people and I like that.
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How will you Measure your Life?

Currently reading: How will you Measure your Life?

Written by: Clayton M. Christensen

I am quoting pages 48 and 49.

“In our lives and in our careers, whether we are aware of it or not, we are constantly navigating a path by deciding between our deliberate strategies and the unanticipated alternatives that emerge.”

An example of this:  You have declared your major in college and are well on your way to becoming (fill in the blank).  Out of nowhere comes a completely unexpected yet once in a lifetime opportunity to do (fill in the blank).  This is deliberate vs. unanticipated strategies.

“Each approach is vying for our minds and our hearts, making its best case to become our actual strategy.  Neither is inherently better or worse; rather, which you should choose depends on where you are on the journey.”

How do you decide which strategy to choose?

“Your circumstances dictate which approach is best.”

Are you in a job where you feel needed and appreciated? Are you in a relationship where you are fulfilled? Are you at a place in life where you feel accomplished?  If the answer is no it may be time to experiment with other strategies.

The scary thing is that leaving the deliberate strategy to pursue the unanticipated strategy can be risky, scary and full of obstacles.

The outcome may outweigh the risks.  Let’s hope it does!

“What’s important is to get out there and try stuff until you learn where your talents, interests, and priorities begin to pay off. When you find out what really works for you, then it’s time to flip from an emergent (unanticipated) strategy to a deliberate one.”

I mentioned something along the lines of “getting out there” and “trying stuff” in a previous post titled Getting Better.

Can you tell I’m liking this book?  There are so many things that resonate with me.  Ride alongside my relentless pursuit.

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De-stress

Now that Summer is over and I’m back to work finding balance can be even more difficult.  About five years ago when I first started teaching I created a de-stress list for myself.  These were things I could do to relax when I felt like the world around me was spinning.  Not going to lie, the first few years of teaching were extremely challenging.  Things have calmed down for me drastically and I have much less to stress about.  As the years go by I plan on getting better and better at my job to the point where stressful situations will be minimized.  Until then I still refer back to this list once in a while and thought I should share.

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1. Sit for 10 minutes and do nothing.  Just breath.  Listen to the inhale and the exhale.  Focus on nothing.  If your mind begins to wander think of a circle.  Just stare at the circle.  The circle is a calm shape that can bring you back to center.  Sounds silly but it works!

2. Take a bubble bath and drink sparkling water with lemon.  You could even light a candle to make it extra relaxing!

3. Run sprints.  At first this does not sound relaxing but after you get it out of the way you will feel much better.  Start with alternating a 30 second sprint with a 60 second walk.  Increase the sprint time as you can until you reach a 60 second sprint.  After 10 sprints see how you feel.  If you can do 5-10 more do it!

4. Watch your favorite tv show.  Not a show that requires you to think too much, just a simple show that you can watch and forget about everything else for just 30 minutes.

5. Create a to do list.  Just write everything down that is going on in your brain.  Whatever you need to take care of, get it out of your head and on to the paper.  That way you can really focus on one task at a time and not have to worry about remembering ALL the things you have to do.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful.  I would love to hear about any that you have implemented into your life.

Ride alongside my relentless pursuit.

 

15 foods

15 foods I eat on a regular basis and you should too!

1. Grapefruit

If you don’t like the taste at first you will get used to it.  I usually sprinkle a little bit of stevia on it and love to eat them cold.  Really great as an energy source for your first meal.  Make sure to include a protein source with it!

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2. Ground Turkey

Great source of protein and very versatile.  I usually make up a stir fry with tons of green vegetables.  For some people it may be too dry, especially the extra lean version.  If so, use a 1/4 cup of light marinara (even better if you make your own marinara sauce so there is little to no sugar).

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3. Chicken Breast

An amazing lean protein source.  I buy the tenderloins and season them as soon as I get home from the store.  I then place them in a ziplock bag and cook a single serving size in a pan right before I am ready to eat.  I keep the rest in the fridge and let the seasonings marinate.

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4. GG Scandinavian Crispbread

These are a great fiber source.  A little on the pricey side but worth it.  I look at them as a treat with a few sprays of I can’t believe it’s not butter olive oil, a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of stevia.  I then microwave them for about 15 seconds.  You could even use one of the jellies or syrups in item #6 to sweeten them more.

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5. Miracle Noodles

Another great source of fiber.  I like to cook these up with a giant bowl of green vegetables and some tilapia.  Very filling.  Use soy sauce, garlic and coconut oil as a sauce.

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6. Walden Farms Products

These products are not for everyone as they have a distinct taste.  They do have calories so they are not a free food but they are great for when you need a diet friendly sauce.

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7. Avocado

Avocado is a great source of fat.  It keeps my energy levels up all day.  I usually combine it with some green vegetables and chicken.

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8. Greek Yogurt

I prefer the 0% fat greek yogurt.  The others that are sweetened or have fruit on the side are just too high in carbs/sugars.  The greek yogurt can be used in so many ways.  One of my favorites is to sprinkle with stevia, add a dash of cinnamon, a few drops of vanilla extract and 1/2 scoop of whey protein.  Then I will add in a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter.  It’s a great guilt free afternoon treat.

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9. Vegetables

I am a volume eater.  I love to fill up on vegetables.  Not only do they help with digestion, they also contain a ton of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  One of my favorites is Kale, both raw and cooked.

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10. Turkey Pepperoni

This is not considered a “clean food” but it helps when I’m on the go to get in a protein source.  When possible I buy the nitrate free kind from Applegate naturals.  I like to make a salad with both chicken and turkey pepperoni then top it off with a tablespoon or two of walden farms dressing and some salsa.

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11. Whey Protein

I usually make a shake mid day with whey and a fat source.  My favorite shake is 1 scoop double chocolate isopure whey, ice, 1/4 cup water, a couple drops of english toffee stevia and 15 almonds.  Add more water if it’s too thick.

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12. Almonds

One of the best sources of fat!  That’s all there is to say.  So eat them.

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13. Peanut Butter

I don’t eat peanut butter daily but I just had to have it on the list.  I can’t live without it.  If you eat oatmeal in the morning throw in a tablespoon of peanut butter.  Thank me later!

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14. Tilapia

I know many people prefer salmon or tuna.  Not me.  I love the texture of tilapia and how easy it is too chew.  Sometimes chicken and ground turkey can be tough to get down.  I’ve never had a problem with tilapia.  I love to put some coconut oil on it along with some soy sauce and put it in the broiler to get the top crispy.

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15. Coconut Oil

So many benefits in coconut oil.  Not only is it a great fat source it can also be used as a conditioner for your hair and a moisturizer for your body.  

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Getting better

Take a second to sit with the fact that you are ALIVE.  You are breathing.  You are full of life.  There is a life force in you that is allowing you to do whatever it is that you want.  Many perished yesterday but you didn’t.  You have been given another day.  Life can so easily be taken for granted.

As the seconds, minutes, hours and days go by you are given the opportunity to get better.

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Take advantage of it! When I first started on my journey toward a better me I had no idea I would end up here.  I am constantly striving to set and pursue goals for myself.  I believe that as long as effort is put forth something will come to fruition for you.

I like to use an example that I always tell my high school students who are pondering the thought of what to do when they graduate.  My advice, just do something!  Too many people get stuck on the fact that they don’t know what to do, so they do nothing.  That will not help your situation.  Go to school and take a full load of classes, get a job (any job), travel, DO SOMETHING.  You will discover people, places and opportunities that you otherwise would not have.  You will find occupations that you never knew existed.  You will have conversations that you may have never dreamed of.  You must put yourself in uncomfortable situations.  You must put yourself out there so that things will come back to you.

Let me bring this full circle back to my current journey.  I am putting myself out there in hopes of getting better.  I am putting myself in uncomfortable situations to learn and grow.  I decided to take some “fitness” photos to show my body as it is everyday.  Not just my super lean competition look.  That was uncomfortable for me.  But I did it and guess what?  I’m ok, I made it through, I’m still alive!

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I hope that my ever evolving transformation can help inspire others to make healthier choices.  I wish to gain experience and share how I am able to balance things in my own life.  Who knows maybe this will lead me onto a completely different road but it is all in hopes of getting better, becoming a better me.

Ride alongside my relentless pursuit.

I don’t belong here

Wikipeida says “Fake it till you make it” is a common catchphrase that means to imitate confidence so that as the confidence produces success, it will generate real confidence. 

Can I just tell you how many times I have felt like I don’t belong here. Thoughts like: Who am I to start a blog about my health and fitness journey? What is so special about me? There are thousands of fitness people who are much more popular and experienced than me. No one is interested in what I have to say. I feel like I don’t belong here. This is not my thing. Why am I doing this? Why am I taking a selfie of my bicep?

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I’m sure you too have felt those feelings of being misplaced, lost and completely unsure when entering into a new field. But you know what, I’m rolling with it. I have a story to tell, I want to share it and if I am able to affect change in one person, it will be worth it.

I am not some athletic girl who played sports in high school and college. I didn’t run track, darn it I wish did though. I am not genetically blessed. I never had that amazing “high school” body everyone wishes they could have back. My story is different.

Although many of you may think that because I have competed or because I have photographs of myself in great shape that I am a gifted, genetically blessed lifelong athlete. Not true! Every ounce of muscle gained was worked for, every pound of fat lost was toiled over. If I want to get in tip-top shape I work like nobodies business. There is no unplanned cheat meal or little slip up. And if I want to maintain that tip-top shape I have to work even harder. My respect goes out to all those who know what I’m talking about.

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I don’t claim to be a guru or a specialist in this field. If I was an experienced professional I would certainly claim it! This is an ongoing pursuit of mine. This is a journey I must relentlessly pursue, so watch me work!

I can assert that I know more than the general public does about health and fitness. I know how to set protein levels, I know how much and what kind of cardio you should do. I know about supplements and lifting weights. I know how to make a really good guilt free dessert. I know what type of consistency it takes to succeed. I know which carbs are good and which ones are bad. I know what fats to eat and which to avoid. But I wouldn’t know how to get someone ready for a show and I would never claim to unless it were true. With that being said, these are things I can work on and I continue to seek out opportunities for growth.

What I do KNOW are the basic fundamentals of what works and what doesn’t. That is the reason I have created my 30 day reset plan. There is no magic formula but there is a certain set of guidelines that should be followed. If you are feeling completely lost and have no idea where to start, you are not alone. If you are feeling depressed or down about yourself the 30 day plan can support and guide you in pursuing healthier habits.  Please visit 30 day reset plan

I do hope that with my honesty I can inspire and help you ALL to work towards your goals. I am striving to be better and better with each new day. I encourage you to allow yourself to be scared, be uncertain, fake it till you make it! Ride alongside my relentless pursuit!

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Pulling

I have thought about what my first blog post would be for a while now. Over and over I have come back to the same topic: competing.

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If you are reading this I’m sure you have heard something about competing. I think the general public still puts many stereotypes on it. Maybe you have only seen photos. Maybe you are only aware of what it is because you had a friend compete. Or maybe you are a competitor yourself.

First off, I must say competing is extreme. If you really want to look good and you want the chance to place top 5 in your class the last month of your prep is going to suck. The “look” that the judges are looking for requires you do what Christopher Lewis calls “pulling.” Meaning you are trying to get all those last little pockets of fat off your body while preserving as much muscle as possible. Your body doesn’t want to be that lean and it will fight you.

Now I say that the last month will suck for most competitors but there are those few who are genetically gifted and will do cardio once a week, still have carbs in their diet and get extremely lean. But that’s not my experience. And as I have watched competitors on social media I can tell who really is “pulling” and who isn’t by the way they look.

Now if you are just competing for fun and you aren’t about a trophy or looking your absolute best then by all means don’t put yourself through that month of struggle and hardship. If you are okay walking on stage with just a so-so look then go for it.

I remember talking to a girl at my last show that said she wanted to compete. She said she didn’t want to win she just wanted to be somewhere in the middle. As long as she didn’t STAND OUT! I was very surprised at her comment. For me I have to strive to be my absolute best. If I went into a prep with the mindset of being average I would probably walk on stage looking like crap. I have to have the mindset of a winner. Deep into contest prep you have to dig for inner strength and that requires the mindset of a champion.

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I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’ Muhammad Ali

It’s important to be judgment free as a spectator because you don’t know every competitors story. And not everyone does this for trophy or to achieve the look that the judges want.

But I must say, that last month of “pulling” is worth it. To really challenge yourself, set a goal and see how far you can take your mind and body is highly rewarding. Many factors must come into play and the two most important are: support and belief in yourself. You must have support from at least one person. It cannot be done alone. Someone who will give you words of encouragement when you feel like giving up and someone who will celebrate the small victories with you. You also must believe that you are capable of anything. Even if you normally aren’t the type of person who has lots of self-confidence, you must build it up inside yourself while you are prepping. Find inspiration in others, find strength in the ordinary and discover greatness in the obstacles you overcome.

To explain further I would like to use my old roommate, good friend and overall amazing person Bianca who is in medical school as an example. She has to study, study, study (pull, pull, pull) for days, weeks or months leading up to an exam. During that time it is stressful, overwhelming, mentally and physically draining. At times she feels like giving up and she may even allow thoughts of failure to enter her mind. But she pushes through and in the end it’s worth it. All those hours spent preparing, practicing and reviewing make it worth the reward.  She also possesses two of the most important factors: someone who supports her and a strong belief in herself.

“One of the most common reasons so few people are consistently able to achieve meaningful results is that they are unwilling to experience the discomfort associated with relentlessly pursuing a correct perception of reality.” Stuart Brodie

To those who are interested in competing I say do it at least once. Experience everything there is to experience in this sport. The prep, the training, the diet, the posing, the challenges, show day, the post show feelings and much more. Be prepared to give it all you got. If you love it, then you found a new hobby. If you hate it at least you can say you did it.

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