Friday, February 28, 2014

Fat Tuesday, Here I come!

Fresh Air…Really fresh!

One of the many wonderful things about my job is that I usually have a few hours open right in the middle of the day.  This gives me a chance to catch up on life, but also allows me to get some fresh air! Today I was looking for a mental break, so you know where I headed:

Our own local paradise!
It may not be as photogenic as a Hawaiian Island, but it's food to my soul.

As I set off on my 10 trips up and down the stairs.   I switch up my ritual a bit.  If you remember my earlier post, 99 Problems, Your legs are going to be tired!, you know I have a system.  Today, instead of "letting go" of problems, I assigned my rocks to some of my favorite memories.  I'm not going to list them, because this isn't meant to be a memoir of my life, but just another idea for you to implement for meditation or [like me] a means of survival during cardio.  It was awesome!  I was smiling and laughing the whole time.  No one else was around to witness my craziness, thankfully :).

The Breakthrough

2014 is the year of being fearless, right?  Or embracing fear and using it in a positive way.  One way to help embrace fear is to identify your goal(s) and announce them to the world.  Once it's out there, the level of commitment increases tenfold.  Last year I had very specific and defined physical goals because I was training for Figure Competitions.

Ahhh, the infamous "tan" further accentuated by standing in-between my loving & fair (complected) parents.

I learned a TON through competing and I loved every minute of it.  Even the "hangry" ones.  I continue to stay connected to this industry, but now through a coaching and training perspective.  I may compete again, but for now, I'm ready for my next experiment.

I love submerging myself into experiences so that I can offer better support to my clients.  While my post run endorphins were high, I began brainstorming on how I could best serve my clients through my next experiment.  I have found significant well roundedness and mental clarity in the recent years from Yoga.  Not just through my own personal practice, but the connections I've made with other people and the sense of community it can bring.   I've also learned much about myself through the humility that Yoga can impose.  All of that mental-jazz will come naturally, so I decided to set some specific physical goals with Yoga.  Yes, that is allowed and yes, it's still Yoga.  I do things in 3's, so here we go:

1)  Be able to hold a handstand (unassisted) for 30 seconds.

2) Improve back flexibility (measured by the distance between the heels and fingertips in full wheel).  I am using that as a means to scale my progress.  I will measure my current status tomorrow after yoga :) There are many elements to wheel pose.  I will be focusing on the integrity of all elements.

3) Hold front splits pose (Hanumanasa) in both directions.

Yoga is a personal journey.  You can (and should) create a practice that supports your own needs and supports your own personal health.  I am happy to help you sort out your thoughts (ie:listen) so that you can determine how you can use Yoga to enhance whatever you feel like enhancing.  With that in mind, if you want to work on the items I've listed above (in part or all), you are welcome to join me!  This also compliments our theme for yoga this year.  Tackling some audacious (looking) poses!  Because let's admit it, they look crazy & cool & make us feel like the champions that we are.

But wait, there's more!

No fitness plan is complete without the element of nutrition!  Even when I was competing, while the physical demands were intense, the nourishment even more vital!!!  This one is going to be really tough for me.  I have entirely mixed feelings about what I am committing to.  I am virtually doing the complete opposite of what I did last year.  

I'm going VEGAN…for (at least) 6 weeks.

I have been vegetarian and I've been lacto-ovo, lacto, and pescatarian (favorite so far!), but I've never been completely vegan.  I don't even necessarily think this is the all-around best nutrition plan.  I think that it can be done very healthfully when done properly, but I also think that it can be dangerous when done without proper research and education.  I look at this as an opportunity to learn to create a vegan meal plan that provides all of the important elements of nutrition while still maintaining a lean, healthy body (including hair, skin and nails :).  I also look at it as furthering my education to provide a better service to my clients.  My competition diet was very meat inclusive.  It was designed to give me a very hard, sculpted look.  This vegan plan is going to be all about nourishment (body and mind).  I'm interested to see if I will be able to maintain as much muscle as I normally carry.  I have some great resources available to me.  I also have some great vegan cookbooks that I will use to keep things delicious.  I will share the pros and cons with you along the way.  Please feel free to ask me questions, offer me advice or yell at me if you disagree :)  I can handle it.  I'm going to include this as part of my lent sacrifice, so I will be starting Wednesday.  I might hate this, I might love it.  But I PROMISE, I will be honest about my experience.  Want to do it with me?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Did I Do That?

We've all had that moment, right?

You're making good choices, you're staying active and just when you start to see some results, you polish off a pizza or catch yourself halfway through a pint of Jeni's Ice Cream.

It happens.  So how should you handle it?  I'm striving to be a minimalist, so let me keep this simple.  Here is your 3 step rebound:

1)  Not guilty!! 

Don't put yourself through a guilt trip.  If you are going to indulge, enjoy the treat.  Savor each bite and pay attention to what your are doing.  You really only taste the first several bites, so when it stops being absolutely delicious, push it away and find something else to do.  The Clean Plate Club does not need any more members.

2.)  Get back on track  

Don't wait until the next day or the following monday to the next full moon.  Make your next meal a nutrient dense, food for fuel kind of meal.  Up the water intake right away.  Don't keep the leftovers.

3.)  Work up a sweat!  

While you can't out train a bad diet, you can boost your metabolism by recruiting your muscles to carry you through an endorphin inducing workout.  If you are looking for some inspiration, try this one:

This workout maximizes your caloric burn by increasing your heart rate in between strength moves.  It also recruits many different muscle fibers.  If you complete one round, it totals 80 burpees!  Do as many rounds as your body/mind with allow :)

Balancing Act

Of course, it's best to put nutrient dense, whole foods in your body.  But we all indulge.  Don't beat yourself up about it!

It's all about balance :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lesson Learned!

What doesn't kill you makes you wiser.

This past weekend I celebrated becoming another year wiser.  Now that 33 is history, I thought I should share 3.3 lessons of wisdom I've gained.

1.) Don't let external factors overshadow your internal joy.

I am probably Shawn Achor's number one fan.  If you've never heard of him, allow me to introduce!!
He's author of The Happiness Advantage.

He's also written some other books and speaks publicly about positive psychology.

He is currently holding the spot in my heart for Best TED Talk of all time! If you have a few minutes, you can click below to see what he's about:

I'm kind of a psychology geek, so maybe this doesn't resonate as well with someone who isn't, but my big takeaway from this, is that we create the filter in which we see the world (his words).  It's easy to look in the mirror and pick out a flaw or drive to work and see traffic and grey skies, but it's just as easy and so much more fulfilling to look in the mirror and embrace your favorite feature.  Drive to work and listen to your favorite song or an uplifting audiobook (am I the only one who loves audiobooks?)  But ultimately, as we walk through life, we can be struggling with a challenge that seems so unbearable, but we have the privilege of finding joy every day whether it's amongst chaos or amid complete order.  It's our choice.  Find joy in each day.  

2.) Do IT now! 

Whatever your IT may be, if you wait until tomorrow, you'll wish you'd started yesterday.  When I put off doing something because it's seems like it will take too long or the finish line is no where in sight, I have a few quotes in my back pocket that I go to for motivation.

The first one:  How do you eat an Elephant?

While I've never incorporated elephant in a meal plan I've written for someone, you get the point.  It's a metaphor.

Another favorite is this Earl Nightingale quote:

And anyway, things worth accomplishing are worth persevering through.  I have many other favorites, but you get the point.  Get started, an then don't quit, because you are closer than you think!

3.)  A classic message often reiterated by my mother: Garbage in=Garbage out.  That's really all encompassing Mind, Body & Spirit.

I am more attuned to this lesson than I have ever been.  When I put clean, whole foods in my body, I feel and perform better.  When I surround myself with positive & thoughtful people, I become a better person.  When I read, watch and experience life in a way that is enriching to myself and others, that cycle continues and spreads.  This "Garbage In=Garbage Out" philosophy can be phrased so many ways.  Karma.  Reaping what you so.  What goes around comes around, etc.  It's all connected.

To keep this message fresh in my mind, I keep a simple and effective quote close to my heart.  I picked this one up from an unlikely source, The Sweet Potato Queens.

The lead Queen is full of hilarious advice, but most the powerful words she's uttered are the simplest.


And that falls under every category.
What you put in your mouth.  The words that come out of it.  Who you choose to spend your time with.  What you choose to do with your time.  What you read, write, watch, post, etc.  It's the equivalent of being thoughtful, mindful, respectful, [insert relatable word here].

Lastly, Item #.3

This is Lesson Learned .3 because I think I'm only about 1/3 of the way there on this one.  Balancing Priorities.  I'm not even going to dig into this one right now because it's going to lead into a whole other post (one I'm so excited about, so stay tuned!).  But I will say that this year I really recognized the importance of giving the most important parts of my life the biggest part of my attention.  I still struggle with this.  It's so complicated because often times, those less important factors support the most important factors.  Our lives, like our bodies work together as a system!  Can't wait to improve on this balancing act!

Random Conclusion:

If you made it to the end of this post and you are still reading, you deserve a treat.  So let me finish with a recipe that will change your life!  I shared something similar to this before, but it had some kinks.  I have finally perfected(ish) my cauliflower pizza crust!! I'm really not a specific measurer when I cook, but this should be reasonably accurate.  Note:  I made 3 crusts so that I'd be set for the week.

I took about:
4 cups grated cauliflower
3/4 cup lite mozzarella
3 whole eggs (you can use whites if that's your preference, 5 should be enough)
5 cloves of garlic (I love garlic)
Italian herbs to taste (oregano, basil, 21 seasoning blend from TJ's)
Salt & Pepper

Stir it up and press it into a pan sprayed with extra virgin olive oil.  I used 3 totally random pans.  One was a even skillet and that actually turned out awesome.  If you have 3 8" pans, that would probably work best.

Bake it in the oven at 450° for about 18 min.  Once you take it out, let it cool and top it with your favorite pizza toppings.  Pop it back in the oven for 6-8 minutes or until desired doneness.  Honestly, It's so good, you could eat it with nothing on it and it's fabulous!

My sister said she wouldn't Pin my recipes unless I put the macronutrient breakdown on it, so here you go, Steph :-P 

Serving size: 1/2 of one 8 inch crust (you may consider this a huge portion, but let's be real, no one is eating 1/8 of a crust)

Fat: 5 grams
Protein: 14 grams
Carbs: 14 grams
Fiber: 6 grams

Those calculations are approximate, but should be pretty accurate.  Keep in mind, that's a generous portion :)

One last note:  I learned way more than 3.3 things last year, but I promise I'm trying to keep this brief enough for you to enjoy :)  

Now share with me a powerful lesson that's recently resonated with you!

Monday, February 10, 2014

It's so FLUFFY!!

Pants on Fire

I'm loving this fluffy white paradise that's covering the ground right now.  The combination of weather we have been experiencing has created some beautiful conditions.  This is the first Winter that I've ever seen snow rollers!  And, if you haven't had a chance to get a really close look at the snow, it's so full and fluffy that you can actually see the shape in each snowflake.  It's like heaven had craft time and hand cut each and every one of them!

Am I annoying yet?  Don't answer that.  But, seriously, I do love the snow and I hope to get a little more time to enjoy it.  If you are feeling quite over it, let me give you some hope:

I took a yoga class yesterday.  I was really excited to be able to fully commit to it, mind and body.  When I teach, I do a lot of talking, so I was really prepared to embrace whatever the teacher had to toss at us.  Let me tell you what he tossed: basically, a 6 minute chair pose.  Fun, right?  Whole new meaning to 'pants on fire'.  Right around the time the burn was starting to feel unbearable, the teacher offered this little gem of wisdom:  This pain, it's temporary.  It's not going to last forever.  My automatic afterthought to his words were that when it was over, I'll enjoy how relaxed my legs feel even more and appreciate my ability to endure.  My point, if you've really had it with Winter, just know, it's temporary.  When Spring hits, it will bring you even more bliss than if we would have had a mild Winter or no Winter at all.

What to do until then:

1.)  Use Winter as a time to nurture your body.  Spend your time in the kitchen trying new (healthy) recipes.  Here are my top 3, all time favorite cookbooks.  Notice these aren't "diet" cookbooks, just books that use fresh ingredients that nurture the body:

2.) Increase your metabolism.  While you are sheltering yourself from the outdoors, you may find you've reduced the amount of cardiovascular exercise you do as compared to warner months.  While you shouldn't abandon cardio altogether, you can use this opportunity to add additional lean mass by increasing your strength training sessions.  Having extra muscle will boost metabolism, which will help you shed the excess fat even faster. Refer to this blog post for some exercises you can do with minimal equipment.  There are some strength moves as well as a video clip that will help you get your heart rate up.

3.) Get ready for 5K season!  As stated in #2, you may have gotten off track with your cardiovascular training.  If you have derailed completely, never fear.  If you want to ease back into it, the treadmill is a great way to make manageable and measurable improvements to your running plan so that you are 5K ready by the time the weather breaks.  If you need some guidance on getting started.  Here is an interval workout that you can use as a guideline.  You may need to make adjustments to support your current level.  I intend to share a phase 2 plan that's more advanced once you've had a chance to implement this one.  Give me feedback if you try it:

These smiley faces may are an indicator as to how you may feel throughout the various stages of your workout :)

4.)  I've saved the best for last.  Like the song says "If you can't be with the one you love…".  If you are dreaming of a tropical sunset, but that isn't your reality right now, "Love the one you're with"…meaning, love this weather by embracing with all that you have.  Learn a new snow sport (snowboarding, skiing, cross-country skiing, etc), go sledding, bundle up and lay in the snow like you are lounging on the beach  (just be sure to gear up and be aware of the symptoms of frostbite).  Have a snowball fight, make a snow angel, shovel your neighbors driveway.  When you are done, have a hot drink and enjoy the warmth of your cozy house.  Or, meet a friend at your favorite coffee house and read them my blog :)

One more winter sport to try…my favorite:


Namaste <3