Unplanned Rest Day: How do I Deal?

Today was a HUGE step in the right direction for me! Here’s the story:

I was house sitting this weekend and didn’t get much sleep, plus I’ve been working out on top of it all. On Monday, I could barely see straight and ended up taking a SIX HOUR NAP in the middle of the afternoon (red flag #1). So, Tuesday rolls around. I woke up feeling slightly refreshed, but knew I had a workout on the books.

Here’s where the change in my mindset comes in:

Old me would’ve said: “Just push through it. You don’t need to rest. You’re going to blow up into a Beluga whale if you don’t go to the gym.” (lol)


Balanced Julie said: “You need to realize that you’re probably doing too much. When even the THOUGHT of working out sounds miserable, and you can’t imagine gathering the strength to push through a workout, PLEASE give your body rest!”

I started noticing myself slipping into old habits of overexercising and being addicted to exercise, which I wrote about here.

As you know, overexercising is in my nature. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because I’m a 100% kind of person (in everything!) With food, I’m either eating ALL THE THINGS or not eating enough. With exercising, I’m trying to do my own workouts on top of teaching classes, when in real life my classes should suffice (two total body weights classes and a boot camp, currently) with maybe a day or two of cardio or targeted weight training added in.

Sometimes we just need to listen to our bodies and give them rest when we need rest. Am I going to gain 40 lbs. if I don’t workout for one day? No. Two days? No. Three? No. You get the point.

It’s all about balance and quieting that voice in your head that tells you that you absolutely NEED to be working out, when your body is telling you absolutely NOT! More change actually happens when our bodies are resting and repairing themselves, along with many other key points:

  • Our muscles build themselves through rest! We NEED IT in order to see the changes we want. Alternatively, if we’re overexercising, we can actually reach a plateau in terms of progress. No rest = no repair = no results.
  • The body adapts to the stress that training requires. Weight training especially is stress on the body, so just as we need rest from stress mentally, we need rest from physical stress as well.
  • Overtraining can lead to exhaustion; trouble sleeping; lack of motivation to do ANYTHING, especially going to the gym; and in some cases, lack of menstruation in women (amenorrhea).

So, today I will be doing nothing that involves any kind of activity.

restdayAnd I am starting to be OK with that 🙂 

Of Possible Interest:


Making Decisions + Chest and Abs Workout

Hi friends!

I have a great chest and abs work out on the books today, but before I get into that, I wanted to share a little conversation my dad and I had last night.

He diagnosed me with “paralysis by analysis.” In other words, I think about things WAY. TOO. MUCH. And he’s right. I sit there and weigh the pros of cons of literally EVERYTHING and it almost paralyzes me from making decisions. I always knew I was indecisive, but didn’t really know why. I think it was sort of an “AHA” moment for me — sometimes I need to just stop thinking and start doing. If not now, when?

Speaking of doing, here’s the work out that I have on the agenda for today! It’s day 2 of my 12-week fat loss plan and I’m super excited for today’s workout. I must admit, ladies, there are lots of “perks” that come along with training the chest, if you know what I’m saying 😉


One thing I love about this plan is that I have my workouts planned out before I head into the gym, so all I have to do is show up and do it. NO THINKING REQUIRED. Yay!

I’d also like to share some things that are making me super happy lately: my girlfriends :-)! We had an absolute blast at the Winter Park Art Festival this past weekend. I tell ya, I appreciate art SO much more now that I’m older. Drag me to any art show between the ages of 5-18 and you can guarantee I was either napping, “too cool,” or pretending to be disinterested. Not anymore! Here are some highlights:

IMG_0492 IMG_0482 IMG_0480 IMG_0474 IMG_0471 IMG_0465 IMG_0464 IMG_0461 IMG_0459


Short and Speedy Shoulder Workout

As you all know, I’m a HUGE fan of strength training. Today I discovered the gym I go to has a location near my work and needless to say, I had to try it out! And it’s a fancier version of my home club, complete with a juice bar and all. Ooh la la 😉

Side note: I bought Beats by Dre this past weekend!

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One word: unbelievable — as in you’d never believe that such amazing sound was capable of coming out of headphones! Yes, I wear them at work, too. 🙂 

After borrowing Beats from one of my friends while he was away in the Keys this past weekend, I was finally able to understand why everyone RAVES about them. They cost a pretty penny but I swear to you, they are motivation in themselves to go to the gym. I completely zone out and focus on nothing but my workout and the music.

Although it’s a rather superficial motivator, sometimes I think we need new workout gear (clothes, accessories, iPods, etc.) to pump us up! Treat yoself, right? Needless to say, the Beats were my driving factor for trying out the new gym today and completing this short and speedy shoulder workout. 

This shoulder workout was nice and short — proof that you can still get a great workout in a short period of time! With a warm up and a few light stretches following my work out, I clocked in at just over 30 minutes at the gym.


I adapted this workout from Jamie Eason’s Live Fit 12-week strength training program, which is a great tool for beginners starting their weightlifting journey.

To be honest, I would’ve been LOST in the weight room without bodybuilding.com when I first started out. And really…. I was still lost in the beginning. Word of advice: watch instructional videos before going to the gym and trying something new! My friend and I laughed so hard one day because we printed out the workout, wrote down the weights we were able to do and we were SO proud because it seemed like a lot. Come to find out we did the WRONG exercise because we didn’t watch the instructional videos. Lesson learned! 

What’s your favorite body part to train? Least favorite? 

Ironically, my least favorite body part to train is shoulders because they are my weakest body part. I LOVE training legs! [See two of my favorite leg workouts here and here!]

Do I Eat Before a Workout? Plus an Awesome Leg Workout

Howdy, howdy! It’s Friday, y’all! 

What’s going on in your fitness world? 

If you’re craving a great leg workout, I have the perfect thing to sculpt your legs and leave ya nice and sweaty. This is brought to you by my friend, Shelby. She’s an aspiring Physical Therapist and creates some totally awesome workouts. We have similar interests in strength training and a healthy, balanced approach to eating. Follow her on Instagram at @shelbsvan for some great workout and meal ideas! 

This morning started with this fabulous leg workout at the lovely 5 a.m. hour:

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(Don’t worry, this was screen shotted from a few days ago before I gave up social media for Lent :-P.) 

So now the question I get asked pretty often: Should I eat before an early workout?

There have been so many mixed reviews on this topic. Some people say it’s better to workout on an empty stomach to burn more stored fat; others say you’re breaking down your muscles if you workout on an empty stomach.

The answer? Do what works for you. Working out at 5 a.m. leaves little time for me to eat beforehand, and honestly I’m not that hungry. Plus, I have to wait an hour after waking up to eat in the morning because I take thyroid medication.

So, generally speaking, I don’t eat before a morning workout. However, I do notice a slight lack in strength and endurance. If I need a little something or know I have a tough workout scheduled for the day, I’ll drink a protein shake (chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder is my favorite! I can’t drink whey because it’s hard for me to digest, so this one is Vegan and made from brown rice protein.) 

I also will never, ever workout in the morning without Spark. I’ve tried many different Advocare products and this one is by far my FAVORITE. It tastes delicious (I can’t stand any kind of powder that tastes chalky) and it gives me the extra energy boost I need for an early morning workout. I also take it before I teach my afternoon classes, since I tend to be dragging after work and need some extra motivation to get to the gym. It’s a miracle worker, I tell ya!!

So again, do what works for you. I know some people who get sick if they eat before they workout. I know others that can’t workout without eating. As always, doing what’s effective for you will get you results in the long run. And remember to fuel your body with a hearty mixture of protein and carbs after your workout —  don’t be afraid to eat!



Teaching My First Boot Camp Class

Yep, that’s me!


Today was my first time ever teaching a group exercise class! I subbed for an instructor at one of the gyms in my area at a bright dark and early 5:45 a.m. I was a bit apprehensive about the turnout since the class time was so early, but luckily I had an enthusiastic class that was more than ready to sweat!

During training I received basic instruction about the format of the class and I worked with what I knew! I started by demonstrating each of the exercises at the stations, followed by a 5 minute warm up. We jogged around the room and then it was time to start.

We completed the circuit twice before meeting in the middle for all-together fun. We did two exercises back and forth across the room: shuffles and Frankenstein walks. Everyone grabbed a drink and headed back to their original stations to complete one more round. We ended up finishing in just under an hour!


I wanted to make the experience personal, so I hopped from station to station to complete exercises with the class. Everyone was SO awesome and I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience! To say I love this job is quite the understatement. I am so blessed!

Now it’s time to leave my baby Cocoa and head to school. I’m hoping to catch up on blog reading at some point today.. Life is nuts right now!

[Of Possible Interest:]

Boot Camp Workouts via Women’s Health
Boot Camp Workout: Is it right for you? via Mayo Clinic
Outdoor Boot Camp Workout via FITNESS

A Year Ago Today I Was…

While it’s important to strive for goals and keep your eyes fixed ahead of you, it never hurts to look back and reminisce on how far you’ve come.

With my 22nd birthday approaching at the end of this month, I got to thinking about how great this year has been for me. I’m growing and molding into the woman I hope to become. I’m growing stronger, physically and mentally, with each day that passes.

A year ago today I was…

  • Training for my first half marathon


The not-so-glamorous side of half marathons 😉 

  • In a relationship
  • Toying around with the idea of starting a blog (but was too concerned with what others would think about it)
  • Working at a news station and LOVING it!


  • A vegetarian (say whaaaat?!)
  • Happy-ish but had major body image/food issues.


My focus is primarly on strength training. When I was training for my half marathon from August-December of 2012, I neglected strength training. I had that “soft” cardio look with no definition. I didn’t really “lose weight,” but that wasn’t my goal to begin with. I just wanted to accomplish something I never thought in a million years I’d be able to do, and I did! Crossing the finish line was one of the most memorable moments in my life thus far.

However, I’m SO, SO happy my focus is now primarlily on weight training. I’ve seen results like never before. I weigh less than I did even in high school (again, I only know this because I went to the doctor and I truly believe that the number on the scale does NOT define me)


I know I was never “fat” and that’s not the point I’m trying to make. Left was eating around 1,200 calories just doing cardio (and binging because I was depriving myself). Right is now, eating intuitively and enjoying myself (ice cream, please) and doing strength training 5 days a week with cardio incorporated. I weigh 15 pounds less now.

I’m at a much happier place mentally. I’ve settled my food and body image issues.  I’m not scared to eat over 1,200 calories/day. I fuel my body with what it needs. I’m stronger physically, too, which rocks 🙂

I am singleeeee. To some this may be a negative thing. To me, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. OK, that’s a little exaggerated. Of course break ups suck, but we didn’t end on bad terms and there are no hard feelings (at least on my part). I’ve grown SO, so much as an individual and I don’t think I would’ve been able to with an outside influence.

I am a full-flegged MEAT EATER. I became a vegetarian in January of this year as part of a “cleanse.” I initially planned on being a vegetarian for a week, but it ended up being 4 months. Long story short, I became vitamin deficient and ate so much dairy (greek yogurt, cheese) that I became lactose intolerant. I was also eating tofu as a main source of protein, which caused my thyroid gland to become enlarged. My doctor pretty much told me that if I didn’t start eating meat, I’d run the risk of never being able to have kids because my hormones were so out-of-whack. Needless to say I left and ate shrimp that weekend. And haven’t stopped since. Note: If you are vegetarian, more power to you! That’s great and this is not to diss you. I tried it and it didn’t work for me, but everyone is different 🙂

I am a stronger Christian. My relationship with my Father has grown immensely over the year. I’m able to give up my anxiety and constant worrying to Him daily and He takes good care of me! I’ve become a much nicer person and WAY less angry. I try to display my faith and beliefs through my actions, rather than sounding preachy or trying to force religion on anyone because we all know how uncomfortable that can get.

I grew a pair and started my blog. For the longest time I toyed around with the idea of starting a blog. I was too scared of being judged honestly (and I couldn’t think of a name to save my life). This blog’s name actually originated from a Tumblr I started a few years ago that was just me rambling about what I ate that day or reposting links to fitness articles. I am so, so glad I put my fears aside and started this blog… You all are a HUGE reason I’m so happy today!

Overall, I am happier! I can honestly say that today, October 4, I am much happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I wake up each day truly EXCITED to live. I’ve come so far in the past year alone and I can’t wait to continue this journey to becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be.

I’m so happy I’m able to share my life with you all 🙂 Thanks for listening, friends.

Am I Addicted to Exercise?

For some, it’s hard to get into the gym. For others, it’s hard to stay out.

I once fell at the former end of the spectrum. I now fall at the latter.

I tend to have an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to the gym and it isn’t necessarily healthy. Going to the gym is a great way to release endorphins, increase energy and brain focus, and just feel awesome overall.

I mean really…. this is what I feel like leaving the gym.


But where does exercising for enjoyment cross the line into an unhealthy exercise addiction?

Those that have been reading the blog for a while know that I’ve pretty much settled my issues with food (FINALLY) and I’m becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin with each day that passes. However, what was once an obsession with food (or lack thereof) has now become an obsession with the gym.

Here’s where the lightbulb went off.

Last week was a constant cycle of not sleeping enough –> eating more because my body was looking for calories for energy –> feeling the need to exercise more because I “ate more than I should.” Sounds kind of disordered, doesn’t it?

I’ve gone through cycles with exercise addiction. I used to refrain from going out with friends because I didn’t want to “drink” my calories. Obviously this shouldn’t be a regular thing, but a little fun never hurt anyone. I would also stay in while my friends were going out if I had an early morning workout planned. Again, this is great! But in ten years will I remember that 7 a.m. spin class or the night I spent laughing with my girlfriends over wine at dinner?
I would bet on the latter. 

How did I know my exercise habits turned into an addiction?

Last week in particular:

  • I was exhausted.
  • I continued to exercise despite having knee pain.
  • I lost interest in working out.
  • I was merely going through the motions of my workouts without actually enjoying them.
  • Hello, mood swings. One minute I was laughing and the next I was crying, literally. Remember that “funk” I was in last week? Yep.

In the past:

  • I felt guilty when I missed a workout.
  • I missed a night out with the girls because I didn’t want to be too tired for tomorrow’s workout.
  • I thought I would magically wake up 15 pounds heavier if I missed a day.
  • I would constantly be thinking about exercise: reading about it, doing it, planning my next workout. It took over my life.
  • I developed anxiety problems stemming from my food and exercise addiction.
  • It would throw me off if I had to eat or exercise outside of my regular routine.

I’m proud of myself, in all honesty. One year ago, I wasn’t able to look at my life from an outsider’s perspective like I am today. I’m learning to take notice of my addictions and weaknesses before they officially take over my life.

So, whats on the agenda? Am I going to completely give up exercise?

Of course not! But I am going to listen to my body and my heart. I’m not going to push my body through pain just because I had a workout planned for the day. I’m not going to pass up a night out with my friends because it will throw me off my gym schedule.

As always, life is about BALANCE. I need to take care of myself, first and foremost. In the grander scheme of things, there is NO reason I need to be spending six days a week in the gym if I’m not enjoying it. I’m not training for anything specific, I’m not trying to be the next up and coming bikini model… I’m just a regular Jane Doe trying to live a healthy, balanced life while helping others do the same.

Everything in moderation, including exercise! 

[Of Possible Interest:]

A Doctor’s Advice on Identifying Exercise Addiction Symptoms via FitSugar
When Training Backfires: Hard Work That’s Too Hard via NYTimes
12 Signs You’re Overtraining via Men’s Fitness <– More than just physical symptoms. Insomnia & depression are included!