What Do I Stand For?

In this transitional period of my life, it’s so important to have a strong foundation with clear values, goals and morals. This morning I had a big AHA moment — I realized I’m lacking clarity.

What are my goals? What are my passions? What do I stand for? 

To be honest, I’ve been neglecting a lot of these lately — things that make me feel good, things that bring passion into my life. Honestly, I haven’t been too nice to my body or myself. Because I lacked clarity, I felt for a while like I was aimlessly wandering day-by-day with no purpose, no set goal, no vision of what I know deep down in my heart to be correct.

So, in the grander scheme of things, here’s what I stand for:

Nutrition  Whole foods: In a perfect world, my diet would consist of all fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Maybe a morning green juice with ingredients fresh from my garden. By “whole foods,” I mean I do my best to make sure the food I put in my mouth has one or two ingredients (i.e. apple, brown rice, turkey, avocado, etc.) I thrive on foods that are minimally processed and I notice an improvement in both my mental and physical abilities when I eat them.

Exercise — Strength training: Although I teach group exercise classes (boot camp, BodyWorks, yoga and sometimes cycle), I try to spend the rest of my time in the gym strength training. Strength training for me incorporates various circuits, because I believe in the importance of functional strength. Being able to lift 9,000 pounds is great, but to me it means nothing if you can’t run at least a few miles or have any capacity for cardiovascular activity. Also, in terms of fat loss and long-term results, I’ve found a mixture of high intensity interval training (HIIT — sprints or other exercises with hard working periods and periods of rest) and strength training works best for me. Less is more here — no need to spend hours in the gym to get results.

Lifestyle: In order to balance hormones and counterbalance my hypothyroidism, I need to remember the importance of SLEEP, rest and recovery. Allowing my body to rest from strenuous workouts is key to improving my time in the gym. It also allows this lifestyle to be one that I’m able to maintain throughout my life. I rarely drink alcohol anymore (maybe a few drinks here or there); I strive to drink 1-2 gallons of water daily; and I take vitamins daily to fill the gaps in my nutrition.

Religion: I believe in the power of long, restorative walks and meditation. Through prayer and communication with my God, I’m able to recognize that I’m fully and wholly loved, and perfectly made just as I am. I’ve realized my worth in relationships and to myself through Christ. I attend church on a weekly basis and just joined a Bible study with a group of women whom I already feel such a strong connection with. More than anything, my spirituality fills me up, makes me whole, and helps me realize that I am good enough.

Relationships: As I stated above, through Christ I’ve realized the importance of not settling for any old thing that comes along. I’m working on building myself and the foundation for my life now, so when I’m ready, I’ll be the best I can be for someone else. I genuinely believe that relationships (friendships, family, intimate) are the foundation of life. Without love, we will never truly be satisfied. Love is worth more than any materialistic thing in this world.

Work: I take pride in my talents and abilities. I’m very self-motivated and give 100% to everything I do. This is a blessing and a curse, because I tend to wear myself out by taking on too much. However, I wouldn’t trade my discipline and dedication to my work, studies or fitness for anything. I can’t wait for the day that I’m able to speak, eat, breathe, sleep and portray my passion and love for health and fitness to the world.

Side note: these are arranged without order to importance in my life.

I’d love to go into further detail about each of these topics in upcoming posts, simply because I could talk for hours about each. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own mind that I forget to share what I believe to be basic information that could be SO beneficial to those who are just starting out on their own health and fitness journey!

I’ll leave you with what I posted on my Facebook this morning:

We are all a work in progress. No matter how much someone seems like they have it all together, we all are struggling in one way or another. That’s the beauty of life, though. We’re all in this journey together and it’s important to help each other out — giving someone a word of encouragement, a shoulder to lean on, a soul to confide in… Even when someone doesn’t admit they need the help. Without the darkness we wouldn’t see the light; without the rain we wouldn’t appreciate sunshine. Keep pushing. This life is beautiful and fleeting, and so, so worth living to the fullest.

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Gym ADD… Help!

Recently I’ve been feeling way less than motivated in the gym. Over the summer I’ve pretty much been winging it and making up my workouts as I went along. I knew what body parts I’d be working that day, but I made up the actual workout as I went along. 

 
This worked up until about two weeks ago when I hurt my back after falling down the stairs. I had to “go easy” on myself, which I don’t really handle well. I think I only rested that day and never let my back fully recover. Therefore all of my workouts have been subpar for fear of further injuring myself (instead of just taking a few days off to make sure it heals properly.)
 
As I’m typing this, I know the answer to my question: take a few days off. Luckily I will be road tripping back home next week so I will have some down time to heal!
 
I’m interested to know what you guys do when you’re in a workout slump. Are there any structured workout plans you recommend? Any suggestions to help me motivate myself are greatly appreciated 🙂 

Starting Off On The Right Foot

 

I woke up rather early this morning to complete a workout before I started my day. I completed a chest and triceps circuit which took me about 45 minutes to complete. Then, I came home to my favorite part of the morning: oatmeal and eggs 😛

Totally kidding…. maybe. While I do love a great post-workout breakfast, there are a few things that make me smile in the morning.

1. Peace and quiet

My morning is my “me” time — I blog, drink my cup of coffee, get organized for the day. Waking up before everyone else gives me time to gather my thoughts and relax before my usual jam-packed days.

2. Waking up to family

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This right here’s my mama (que country accent.) I’ve recently moved back home since I’ll be in Chicago all summer and have someone subleasing my room at school. My absolute favorite thing in the world is having a cup of coffee and talking with this beautiful woman first thing in the mornin’. She’s great, I tell ya.

3. A great workout

To say I love starting my day with a workout would be an understatement. I love working out in the morning because it gives me so much energy and puts me in such a great mood for the rest of the day. No one likes a grumpy girl (especially this one!)

4. Reminding myself what I’m thankful for

I always start the day with a prayer. I thank God for allowing me to wake up and live another day of my life and have the opportunity to make Him proud. Whenever I’m stressed out during the day (going to school, finding time to plan meals/work out, etc.), I always remind myself that these are blessings. I’m blessed that I have the opportunity to go to school and study. While I’m waiting in traffic, I remember I’m blessed to have a car to drive. I have a great family to come home to. Counting my blessings makes for one happy, happy gal, especially if it’s done in the morning :-).

What’s your favorite way to start the day? Do you have any morning rituals? 

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

fear

We’re all scared of something: public speaking, relationships, intimacy, trying something new, saying how we feel. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being afraid — it’s human nature. However, when we let fear prevent us from reaching our full potential, that’s where we have a problem.

Today, I encourage you to do one thing that scares you. Have you been avoiding a conversation with someone because you’re scared they won’t react the way you want them to? Scared to make a phone call that has the potential to change your career path and ultimately your life? Feel the fear and do it anyway. 

With and only in the presence of fear comes growth. We become stronger people when we force ourselves into situations that would normally make us uncomfortable. We often hype things up in our mind and make them seem worse than they really are, only coming out to say, “Wow, that wasn’t so bad after all!” Putting yourself out there makes all the difference in the world. Say what you feel. Take the risk. With risk comes opportunity.

Who knows if that opportunity could change your life.