fitness journey

Embracing Your Body, Embracing Movement with lululemon

My thoughts on Embracing Your Body…

Lately I’ve been finding myself in conversations surrounding self acceptance and body positivity and what that all really boils down to. It’s lead to such amazing and interesting conversations. There’s either a strong sentiment of empowerment or a hidden whisper of complacency and I feel like it can dance on a very thin line, if we allow it to. The hardest struggle that women face these days is knowing and whole heartedly accepting that they can very well love their bodies no matter what shape its in and empower themselves to change their lives should they choose to. Self acceptance is truly about having the freedom to love yourself how you want to love yourself. 

Body positivity can ebb and flow. One day you might feel 100% in love with yourself and the next you might not be having the best conversations with yourself. I want you to know that’s OK! Give yourself a whole lot of grace, self forgiveness, and let go of the restrictive mindset that’s keeping you from moving forward. You’ve got all that you need within yourself. 

What’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn? That since day one, she’s already had everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not.
— Rupi Kaur

Thoughts on Embracing Movement: 

Have you ever once had this dogmatic conversation with yourself around what it means or looks like to be “fit”? For years I had this perspective on what it meant to be “fit”, but always desired to have some sort of healthy and active lifestyle. Reframing the conversation with myself has been a day to day challenge, but one that I always feel empowered to overcome. 

These days I’ve had the challenge of finding what forms of movement I enjoy between yoga, high intensity circuit training, or weightlifting. The challenge is partially due to making sure that I don’t injury my shoulder any further, which that in itself has given me more of a mental workout than anything. Just like how body positivity can ebb and flow from day to day, so does that inner strength when you feel like you were your most optimal condition at one point and are no longer that due to unfortunate circumstances. After having some moments of what I like to refer to as fitness commitment issues I’ve come to really learn that although I like circuit training programs like BBG, I much prefer lifting weights and getting out doors on a track for some sprints and plyometric training. It’s just the way my body loves to embrace movement. For the past few months I’ve resisted it because I felt like I was getting bored, but after spending a two weeks to get back into the swing of things I realized its just my jam. 

lululemon invited me in for a personalized fit session to try their brand new Enlite Bra, specifically designed for high impact workouts. Perfect for my love for plyometrics and sprints. The personalized fit session was such a treat to experience when shopping for the right sports bra because just like any bra you want to make sure that its comfortable and is everything you need for the type of workout you love. 

I love this bra because it comes in conforms perfectly to your shape and body, streamlined without bulk fabrics or hardware, and the fabric is just like butter the skin making it comfortable for all day wear. My favorite part is that it offers the high support without the feeling of compressing the girls which can leave you feeling like you're suffocating. 

My other lululemon loves: 

This post was sponsored by lululemon, however all thoughts are 100% my own. 

photography by Encarnacion Photography

A little struggle never hurt nobody

Part of me should just leave my blog blank because I feel that the title tells it all. The past few months have been a bit of a struggle and readjustment with all the priorities in life that I've been juggling: motherhood, marriage, career, fitness, and blogging. It's so easy for us to say "HELL YES!" to everything that comes along the way because these things bring us joy in different ways.

But I'm here to admit that by saying YES to all the things, I broke my own cardinal rule of making sure I had my fitness and health a NUMBER 1 priority before others. Some of the examples of the rules I broke are:

  1. Not looking at work emails before a workout. 
  2. Not reserving a weekend in the month free to unplug, unwind, and spend it with the family.
  3. Saying yes to too many social networking events and gatherings. 
  4. Staying up WAAAAY past my bedtime. 
  5. Eating way too many treats and sipping on a little too many cocktails. 

It took this weekend to take a step back at it all to remind myself what was really my priority about this journey in the first place? MY HEALTH AND FITNESS. I spent well over two months trying to reprioritize my jigsaw puzzle called "balanced living" to see if I could find new ways to fuel my passion and the truth is I stopped fueling the things that make me truly happy and make me feel really centered which was waking up at 5AM to get my workout in before work, prepping every single meal I brought to work and while out and about, and spending my free time with my family. Don't get me wrong I love all the relationships and experiences that I've had over the past 2 months and I wouldn't change one second of it. But the relationship I was having with myself was suffering and control of it all was almost slipping out of my hands. 

This past 4th of July weekend I spent the time unplugging as much as I could from my phone and if you follow me on IG, then you'll notice that I've been a little quiet on the forefront about my daily ramblings. Mostly because work has been incredibly busy and I've been in and out of back to back meetings needing to focus more of my headspace with work rather than play. It felt really amazing to slip into my little Oasis called home. We didn't have any exciting events planned, photo sessions or weddings booked, and for one weekend this summer we found ourselves without an agenda. And it felt so incredibly amazing. 

Most people know me as a woman who keeps it authentic and real as a much as possible. Juggling my world isn't easy. It's down right difficult at times and there are seasons where my stress levels and sleeping patterns are so messed up because of all the the things on my plate I like to pile on. But like the title of this blog says, "a little struggle never hurt nobody" it truly does allow you to grow a little further, stretch a little higher, and learn more about what you are capable of doing each and every day. 

After this little reality gut check and a whole lot of conversations with my husband about working out and health priorities. I spent my 4th of July working out A LOT. I got all my weight training given to me by my fitness coach done, BBG, and cardio in because I placed it as the number 1 priority of the weekend. The hubs even took his first Soul Cycle class with me and my BBG sisters. All in all it was an incredible weekend and the biggest lesson learned is sometimes we have to get a little derailed from our path to know and understand how important it was to be on it in the first place. 

3 ways to overcome insecurity

We all experience insecurity and it hits us as every stage in life.

Around this time of year for the past two years I would normally be finishing up my last few weeks of competition prep. Normally these preps have an all or nothing mindset and world that surrounds it. I still have many friends and acquaintances who are currently “leaning out” for shows or photoshoots. I’ll see their progress on social media or them at the gym and feel slightly jealous because I want to look like that too and that I had before also.

A serious case of FOMO hit:  It felt like I was missing out.  It felt like because they were lean, I was fat. It felt like giving up. It felt like I was less than.  It felt like I wasn’t relevant anymore. 

For a brief moment I was feeling insecure and unworthy.

Here’s the thing I had to remember, being super lean and 10-12% of body fat (which I was this at my very leanest) meant that I would have to go back onto an intense diet and that for the past two years I was trying to maintain this stage lean physique all year round which is near impossible to do with my current work/life demands.

The past week I had to take a step back and dive into the truth of my insecurity, which sometimes can be very hard to do. 

I had to remember what competition prep looked like for me at the time I was on it. Which was more time spent doing cardio, saying ‘no' to a lot more social gatherings with friends, and making my competition prep a higher priority than my family time. 

I had to remind myself of my goals: to become a healthier and happier version of myself, to find balance and sustainability with an active lifestyle, and to be a great example of a modern day mother to my daughters.

I had to remove myself from someone else’s experience and progress by focusing on my experience and journey. So that I can continue to build the confidence in mine.  

Through my own experience I know a sustainable weight loss or lifestyle is going to benefit you more in the long run. It will give you tools to navigate and practice building the confidence and knowledge you need to make the right choices in your day to day life. Diets or workouts that are designed as fast fixes will only result in the potential of gaining it all back again. 

So here are the things you have to remember when insecurity of #morningabs or #abcheck photos hit the internet: 

- do a quick self exam on your confidence, goals, and the approach of your process regardless of what others are doing. 

- ask yourself why are you feeling this way? What is the trigger that pushed this emotion of insecurity or jealously? what are you telling yourself that is making you believe that you are not good enough? 

- Fitness looks different on every body. No two experiences will ever be the same. Success comes in different forms. We have to define our own meaning of success, worthiness, and beauty. And once you’ve done that pursue it relentlessly.

I'd love to know what do you do in times like these? How do you get back on track? 

 

 

Finding motivation as a parent

They say that you will never know the love of a parent until you become one yourself. 11 years into my motherhood career, I've come to embrace every bit of that truth!

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Did you know that when I was a young naive lady, I said to myself "I'm not getting married till 30. I'm not having kids until I'm 35! I'm traveling the world, moving back to NYC, and becoming a national educator for Bumble and Bumble." None of that happened. And it wasn't because I couldn't make it happen, my life was redirected by becoming a parent. Funny enough when I found out I was pregnant a friend commented "you're the last person I thought would have a family." I responded with "So did I!" But there I was, about to become a mother at 21!

Becoming a parent has taught me so much about life: learning patience under circumstances that are out of your control,  understanding the value of time, and accepting that some moments won't always be perfect. These are just some of the few.

Lately, I've had a number of emails from women asking me how do I manage to stay motivated with fitness. Motivation just like ambition and drive is as personal as your choice of shoes, you gotta find something that suits you best. What pushes me is becoming like my parents and not becoming like them at the same time.

My parents didn't always put their health and fitness first, they put their kids first by working hard and showing me what it meant to pour hard work in. However I saw the stresses their life brought them and all the accomplishments. They didn't have much to give us, but they were both incredible examples to me of two people pushing hard to create a life they could share with their kids.

My two daughters and husband are the biggest motivations in my life especially in my fitness journey. I wanted to be able to grow old healthy and having the energy to run after my grandkids. (many many years from now) When Olivia was 2, right before I committed myself to healthier habits, I was out of breath, I felt heavy, and I had no energy to take her to the park.

It wasn't a life I wanted, never one I had imagined.  I want to travel and have outdoor adventures when my husband and I get old! But if my stamina wasn't there to run after a 2 year old at the park, what would it be like backpacking in Europe at 50.

Making goals like losing 15lbs, getting into a dress for a reunion, or looking hot in a bikini are amazing goals, to each their own! But most of these listed goals are time bound for an event. If you want to make lifestyle changes you have to dig a little past the surface level and ask yourself: What are you trying to change? How far are you willing to give?

Lifestyle changes to go from not working out to working out 5 days a week is a tremendous change and takes commitment, hard work, and determination! It's not impossible and it can and will happen if you pursue it. But your motivation has to be one that is strong enough to carry you through the process and its important to remind yourself that this is a journey and not a race. You're not doing it for anyone else, but your self. And if you're a mother, you're doing it for your family so that you can be a leading example of a woman who can.

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DO // Traveling Fit

I have wanderlust. We all love to travel. Everybody travels whether its for business, pleasure, vacation, or soul searching. Breaking out of our environment is one way to refresh the mind and soul, find creativity and a sense of rest. 

One of the biggest challenges with traveling is getting thrown on our normal routine. If you’re like me, a gym rat, all of a sudden you’re not around your favorite equipment or machines. If you run around your neighborhood, you have to find a new path to follow. Or if you meal prep like I do, then you’re out of a kitchen, all your favorite spices, and even a fridge. The worst thing about traveling is catching a good night’s sleep in a bed that’s not your own.

No matter how much we love spontaneity and change, we are all creatures of habit and nothing is worse than feeling derailed in a routine you’re comfortable with. In the course of my lifestyle change I’ve managed to pick up little tips and tricks that work well for me and I hope that this helps too.

1. Do your research. If you’re someone who has control of booking your travel and like certain amenities like a gym or fitness studio like yoga or cycling spend some time searching the area you’re traveling in. Book a hotel or AirBnB property that is located close enough to a facility in your gym network or a fitness studio you’re willing to try out. Most studios in major cities will have a first time visit free so that helps to save you some extra spending cash for shopping! If you’re lucky enough to find a hotel with a gym, take a look at the pictures online and see what equipment they have that’s close to some of the things you’re used to. 

2. Prepare your meals. Whether you’re jumping on a plane or road tripping, make some meals that are easy for you to take with you. Pack a small cooler or large cooler if you’re road tripping and fill it up with fresh fruit, vegetables, greek yogurt, or your meal prepped meals. When traveling local I like to prepare all my meals that I’ll need for the days I’m out of town and leave myself one or two cheat meals depending on whether or not I’m prepping for a competition. When I’m traveling for a long trip such as our family vacation to Hawaii in 4 weeks, I’ll be packing my food scale and measuring cups (in case the vacation rental we booked doesn’t have these), and one and a half days worth of meals prepped for my travel day. I like to head over to my favorite nutrition supplement store, Active Nutrition, to pick up samples of protein powder that I can bring with me on my trip. If they are out of my favorite I pack several scoops in a ziplock bag to keep the packing containers to a minimum. 

3. Make smarter choices while dining out. I know its easy to get excited when checking out new restaurants, I’m a big time foodie myself and love going on food adventures! But if you know you’ll be indulging on your trip and needing to eat out more often than you’d ideally like, take a look at the menu, and make some alternative choices and swaps. When eating I like to eat local, organic, and seasonal if possible. These choices give me piece of mind when trying to nourish myself with the most nutrient dense foods. When reviewing a menu of a restaurant that is new to me, I first look at all the grilled, baked, or pan seared options. Stick to fish, chicken breast, and lean steak if possible. Stay away from fried menu items, skip the appetizers, and heavily sauced or high carb pasta dishes. Make sure your meals are balanced and if the carb options aren’t the best, ask to see if you can swap it out for grilled veggies, baked carbs, or any other healthier alternatives they may have. Most restaurants place a butter finish on top of their proteins for flavor and yummy goodness, but dairy can also cause bloating and overconsumption will begin to affect weight gain, ask if you can have your meal dairy free.

4. Pack some workout clothes, shoes, and any equipment you can use without the gym! My BootyBands, jumprope, and  blue tooth headphones are a part of my suitcase essentials. These are items I can’t live without especially when I know I can get a workout in no matter where I’m at. My iPhone is a great tool for me when it come it comes to working out. The two apps that are helpful for me while traveling fit are: Interval Timer and Yoga Studio, my new found love.

 

  • Interval Timer allows me to set up specific HIIT training and customize sessions based on what I like. I have three different ones current for my needs: 30 min HIIT which includes 1 minute high and 30 seconds on low, a 5 minute plank HIIT with 1 minute high and 15 seconds low, and a 10 set of 1 minute high and 30 seconds low. You can create as many as you likebased on your own training needs.
  • Yoga Studio has become an app that I’ve recently favored. My chiropractor has been telling me for the past 2 months that tI really need to spend more time stretching and give my body enough rest for recovery. Yoga has been a new found love for me and really helps me to center my mind. I’m hoping that I can stay consistent with it and I’m finding that this app has really helped me with that. 
  • The X Bands Booty Bands are perfect for adding some resistance to your workouts, each band is specifically designed with enough resistance. The entire set comes with 5 bands and my favorite are red, orange, purple, and I’m slowly working up to the blue ones. I love that they don’t take up much room in a suitcase or gym bag and that they bring on the sweat to any plyometrics workout. 

5. Get creative! Just because you don’t have a gym or your normal running path doesn’t mean you can’t take in the sights of the area you are in and make due.

Here’s one of my go-to travel workouts that I love.

HIIT Cardio Session

warm up with 5 sets of 1 minute jump rope

4 sets of 25 each

Burpees

Ice Skaters

Air Squats w/bands

Frog Hops

Box Jumps (find a park bench or tree trunks) or do tuck jumps instead

Lateral Lunges

Regular Back lunges

Fire Hydrants (25 on each leg)

Resitance Kick backs (25 each)

Isolated leg raises (25 each leg)

Hope you guys enjoy! Namaste Fit!

Ice Skaters   // Start on one side and jump laterally to the side while keeping your back foot elevated above the ground as controlled as possible. Repeat 25 times each leg.

Ice Skaters // Start on one side and jump laterally to the side while keeping your back foot elevated above the ground as controlled as possible. Repeat 25 times each leg.

Air Squats w/ Booty Bands

Air Squats w/ Booty Bands

Frog Leaps w/ Booty Bands //   Start in a low squat position and explode up into a hop like a frog, land softly and explode into your starting position.

Frog Leaps w/ Booty Bands // Start in a low squat position and explode up into a hop like a frog, land softly and explode into your starting position.

Lateral Side Lunge and Regular Lunge w/ the Booty Bands

Lateral Side Lunge and Regular Lunge w/ the Booty Bands

Resistance Bands Kickbacks (25 each leg) //   Start on the floor place bands comfortable above the knee on one leg and around the ankle on the stationary leg. Point your toes up on your first leg and kick back to the sky. 

Resistance Bands Kickbacks (25 each leg) // Start on the floor place bands comfortable above the knee on one leg and around the ankle on the stationary leg. Point your toes up on your first leg and kick back to the sky. 

Isolated Leg Raises (25 each leg) //    Start with knees on the floor, bend one knee at a 90 degree angle and place bands around the ankles, extend your first leg and lift up isolating your glute muscles and working on stabilization. 

Isolated Leg Raises (25 each leg) //  Start with knees on the floor, bend one knee at a 90 degree angle and place bands around the ankles, extend your first leg and lift up isolating your glute muscles and working on stabilization. 

Fire Hydrants (25 each leg) //   Get on the floor in table top position, place the bands around the knees and lift one leg laterally to your side, raise parallel to the ground and slowly release down.

Fire Hydrants (25 each leg) // Get on the floor in table top position, place the bands around the knees and lift one leg laterally to your side, raise parallel to the ground and slowly release down.

I finished up my workout this past Sunday's with some stretching using the Beginner Stretches Collection in the Yoga Studio App, a perfect 10 minute stretch I'll be incorporating after all my workouts. 

Yoga Studio App

Yoga Studio App