DO // Leg Day

Like most women I have a love and hate for leg days in the gym. A major LOVE because leg day helps us defy gravity and raise our bums off the ground and hate because it leaves us tired for the rest of day and walking out of the gym like a baby gazelle.

Training legs for women is the equivalent to training upper body for men. For most women our body strength is more prominent in our lower body, but we don't the glutes as much as we should. Did you know that the glute is one of the largest muscles on our body and one that doesn't get trained often enough? My coach, Michelle Mein, has me training glutes 3 times a week and I've seen such an incredible improvement on my backside. (who says asian girls can't have a butt)

It's important that when training your booty that you activate your glute muscles. If you haven't checked out my blog post on traveling fit, do it! There are some floor work exercises that can be done prior to training legs that will help fire up those glute muscles to activate them prior to starting any type of lifting. 

Here are some things to keep in mind while trying to build some muscle on that butt!

1. Do NOT fear weights! Strength training with weights has been one of the biggest factors in building the curves I've always wanted. You need to build lean muscle mass onto your body in order to trim to fat and build the tone. Cardio will help you burn fat, but you have to increase muscle mass on your body in order to keep fat off.

2. Do NOT fear the carbs or protein! The right nutrition and macronutrients from the right type of carbs will help fuel your body through your workouts and fuel your muscles. 

3. Train all angles of your glutes. Most women will focus on squats alone. While squats can definitely help build the curves, you can't forget about creating roundness on the sides. Side lunges, curtseys, and sumo squats will help. 

4. Stretch and rest!! Recovery is an integral part of muscle building. This is a part of my fitness journey I'm learning the importance of. Having a tight butt is nice, but in order to help that grow, you gotta stretch, foam roll, and do all the essential things the body needs to continue moving. 

Sorry guys I never have time to record myself working out so I've linked up some of my favorite examples of them to each exercise. 

Start off by doing 3 sets of 15-20 of each exercise. Here's a list of some of my favorite glute exercises:

Add Massy Arias' Plyo Smith Machine Challenge for additional sweat and have fun! 


DO // Just start

By Encarnacion Photography

By Encarnacion Photography

I frequently get messages from people asking me "how to get started" or "what did you do to start?" I wish the answer was just as simple as "Just Start" and in some truths it is.

My fitness journey was a beginning to an end of years of self hate and depression. At 15 I was diagnosed with depression. In my teens I battled days of highs and lows and thoughts of suicide. As an adult I slowly swept a lot of these emotions under the rug as I started to piece my grown up life together. The moment I became a mother nearly 11 years ago, my body image changed. Naturally I gained weight due to my pregnancy, but months of working out and dieting got me no where near to what I was pre-baby. I gained 15lbs of which I couldn't lose. That feeling of failure began the snowball affect that lead me to the start. After my 2nd daughter was born make changes occurred, but health and fitness became the least of my concerns as a married mother of 2. I had a full time career, a business I owned with my husband, and a social/business life I was trying to maintain. The creative lifestyle of a wedding photographer is one that involves tons of food, wedding cake, wine, and lots of cocktail networking events. Needless to say I lost balance and control of my eating and spiraled into an out of shape, overweight version of myself.

Over the years I covered up this depression fairly well, but there were moments I would be hiding in my closet or in bed crying because I hated myself, I was so disappointed in myself. At the time I didn't know why until I was getting ready with my oldest daughter. She complimented me on how pretty I looked and I immediately snapped back at her telling her I was ugly and fat! The look on her face is one I will never forget. I just crushed her world and truth she knew about the one woman who stood for everything she believed in. The pain in her eyes was exactly what I needed to see in order to realize what was driving me to this unhappiness.

It was then when I reached out to someone I knew who hired a fitness coach. Now I've had trainers in the past, but none that gave me nutritional and fitness guidance. Those two things paired together equal the results you want to achieve. There's no magic pill, no quick fix, no 30 day solution. This entire thing was hard work. I have definitely wanted to give up, quit, and run back to some of my old lifestyle. But I knew that in doing that I would again lose a part of me that I was trying to gain, my self-confidence.

The reasons why people start their fitness journey are always different for the person themselves, but often times the why is what sets the motion for how. For me, I took one step, one leap of faith into the unknown. I started not having a weight loss goal, I set no expectation for myself, except that I wanted to be better than I was yesterday and stronger for tomorrow. So with that mindset I just went for it, I continued to go for it, and now I refuse to quit.

You may ask me how to start, my answer may be as simple as "just start."


EAT // Meal Prep services: iCaterE-Light


"Feed your goals. If you eat well you'll feel better. If you feel better you can do more. If you can do more you'll  hit goals." - Whole Foods Market shopping bag

I love prepping my own meals. I enjoy cooking, it's like a therapy session for my soul. But there are times where I am unable to get my Sundays freed up to prep my meals for the week. I'm so thankful for meal prep services like @icaterelight who can deliver healthy prepared meals to help me stay on track through the week. The prices are pretty affordable. After spending a weekend training amazing women at Weekend Warrior FItcamps the last thing I wanted to do is prep my meals. The only thing I wanted to do was spend time with my family since I didn't get the chance to see them all weekend due to this busy schedule. The opportunity and time I was able to spend with my family instead of peeping my meals was priceless. Thanks i-CaterELight for the food and the quality time I spent with the family instead of preparing my food.

Some of the dishes I ordered were Lemon Garlic Shrimp, Simple Flank steak w/purple yams and green beans, Signature Teriyaki Chicken, and Zuccghetti. Check out their menu and all they have to offer here


Lemon Garlic Shrimp


Teriyaki Chicken


Simple Flank Steak, Purple Yams, and green beans.  

DO: Contra Costa 2014

Last July I walked into my first consultation with my fitness coach and told her, "I don't want to compete, its not for me." That quickly became a lie.

My first NPC Bikini fitness competition was an experience I will never forget. I never originally intended to compete, but after losing 20lbs last year I thought, what the hell...Let's see what other goals I can achieve. I ventured onto this fitness goal because I was curious to see how disciplined I could be and how focused I can be. After all, I had to face a lot of my own fears hitting that stage.  And a lot of that scared me. My husband said it best on his Instagram post. I overcame the feelings that I once believed, that I was ugly, that my stretch marks had scarred me for the worst. I climbed a mountain to get onto that stage and there was no turning back.

My division was the Novice B class, which consisted of 35 and under women between the heights of 5'1" - 5'2". I was competing amongst 12 women and I believe I may have been the only mother on that stage in my division. Needless to say I was completely frightened and nervous and there were definitely moments where I wanted to run. I ate and trained intensely for 12 weeks, and I earned the right to be on that stage. So I got on there with my stretch marks and all. I gave it all I had. I was full of fear, the moment my feet hit the stage I completely forgot all the posing I had practiced and all I could remember to do was smile, no matter what.

The bright lights, the judges, the audience, it was all intense and scary.  Thought I barely knew what I was doing, it probably was one of the happiest moments I've had in my life. I was beyond elated at the fact that I did it! I accomplished something I thought I could never in my life do. I chased the unicorn and became one. With determination I turned into these females that I have spent years dreaming of having their physique. Instead of wishing I slowly began believing. I didn't place top 5, but I came home a winner for all that I have overcome, for all my accomplishments. For 10 years I believed my body was doomed because of motherhood and it took me 10 months to get into the best shape of my life. It all started with believing.

I wanted to thank some of the awesome females I met at this show, Tracy, Michelle, Linda, Emmy, and Paula. You guys made my first experience awesome! I came into this experience not knowing what to expect from other competitors, but you guys were so warm and loving. A special thanks goes to Sharra, my long time client and room mate. The laughs were countless and I hope to experience this soon with you again! As I always do, thanks to my coach for pushing me and bringing out the athlete in me. My swolesisters who came to support me at the show, and of course my husband who has always been there loving me no matter what. 

This experience was not only about getting healthier and getting in shape, it was about loving myself enough to try. 

Here are some of the photos from the show.