The Pity of Tight Shorts

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the culprits

This past Monday, as some of you might know, the weather here in Portland was just amazing. There were clear blue skies, the sun was shining up high and bright, and there was amazing crisp breeze flowing through the air. Pure bliss!

I had decided that day at work, that it would be a true shame if we spent that amazing afternoon indoors in a gym. So instead, we decided to take the pup for a neighborhood hike. Sounds amazing right? It was, that was until I put on my favorite pair of jean shorts. Well what do you know, those darn leg holes fit tight. Really tight.

It had been little less than a year since I had slipped into them, and now they were tight on me. What a bummer! My high spirits quickly dissipated, and for the rest of the hike all I can think about (and feel) was my tight shorts-which I kept on anyways, hoping they’d loosen up lol

As I was wallowing in self-pity thinking, “I’m NEVER going to eat again for the rest of my life” and “I shouldn’t have eaten those crackers yesterday,” then it finally dawned on me that those shorts fit tight because I am healthy.

Well of course those darn shorts are going to be tight when I dedicate a 1x week leg-day, do 2-3 sessions of HIITs/conditioning work a week, and do plyo work in between weight training sets!! I instantly felt better.

But that also made me realize that I let something so insignificant affect my mood on that beautiful day. Right until I slipped on those stupid pair of shorts, I was feeling great. I didn’t think anything different about my body, I wasn’t self-conscious about myself at all, and I certainly would have never of thought I was going to ‘quit’ eating “forever” (ha!), yet those jean shorts had such an impact on me.
What I’m getting at is that the most important indicator of your happiness shouldn’t be dictated by an inanimate object such as a scale or a pair of smaller jeans (or shorts in my case), but on trying your very best on anything you want. Be satisfied that you have put in your work and trust yourself along the way.

Repeat to yourself what you know about yourself every day. It’s so easy for us to forget all of the positive things we already do, so do yourself a favor and remind yourself every day!

Here’s my example:

I know that I work out hard in every one of my sessions, I know that I eat healthy, I know that I lead a balanced life, I know that body weight is insignificant, I know that cheat meals are ok, I know that I am healthy, I know that I have amazing friends and family, I know that I am loved, I know that I try to be my best every day, I know that I am my own person, I know I try to enjoy the little things in life.

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Top 10 Holiday Fitness and Eating Tips

With the holidays upon us, it is easy to get caught up with the festivities including all of the unhealthy eating involved!

Here is what I think; I think you should enjoy yourself! Yes do so! Do enjoy those high fat, high carb, high sugar treats, but, but, but, but here is the key, do so in moderation. Moderation is crucial; you should strive to at least clean-eating 80% or more of the day.

Here are some my fitness tips for this Holiday season:

  1. Eat a high protein breakfast first thing in the am such as a piece of chicken or beef with a handful of nuts or low-glycemic berries. You need to start the day right.
  2. Get your fish oil in. No questions just do it.
  3. Don’t skip your workouts! If you must skip (note: valid reasons include, snow storm, Armageddon, zombies, or you meet Brad Pitt), replace it on your day off or do a daily double.
  4. Eat your protein first in every meal. The idea is to get full on the healthy/good stuff first.
  5. Choose your desserts wisely. Always choose the organic, gluten free or raw desserts that might be available. Nothing wrong with having a taste of the grocery bought cookies…a taste I said. Have a bite/slice, and throw it away or give it away.
  6. Get your fiber in. Yes, you need that extra help to push out all that food.
  7. Limit your alcohol to red wine. Avoid the sugary stuff. Eat your calories, don’t drink them!
  8. Drink lots of water!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. Alkalize with lemon water and apple cider vinegar.

10. Take some Epsom salt baths. Get rid of some of those toxins that are trapped in your body!

Wish you all a very Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year!

íFelices Fiestas!

Happy Holidays from little Vi

Happy Holidays from little Violet

Will Work Out for Pumpkin Spice

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Ah yes, it’s late September and fall is already in the air! Since I moved to Oregon 5 years ago, fall has been my absolute favorite season. The air is clean and crisp; the leaves are turning into bright shades of reds, oranges and yellows. As you walk through the grocery store and coffee shops, everything has almost magically turned into “pumpkin spiced” things.  There’s pumpkin spice cereal, pumpkin spice yogurt, pumpkin spice lattes, you name it and I can assure you it’s been changed to Pumpkin Spice flavor!

It’s hard not to indulge in these treats from time to time, believe me, I know! After all, life is about enjoying simple pleasures right? Sure! But. ah yes, there is a BUT,…make sure that along with enjoying the occasional cheat snack/meal, you are exercise accordingly. Vigorous exercise will help those keep the temptations at bay or at least help keep your metabolism up and going. Remember what I talked about in the last post? How what you eat can make or break how you perform? Well, it works vice versa as well.

If you exercise hard, you are less inclined to ‘throw away’ the progress you made during your workout. Make it a point to deserve your next cheat snack/meal, say, a pumpkin scone with a latte o pumpkin pancakes?  Work out hard knowing that you’ve got a planned cheat meal/snack to replenish those glycogen stores. Believe me it’ll make it even more pleasurable when you’re eating your cheat meal because you’ll know that you’ve worked hard for it.

Until next time, workout hard, enjoy the weather and enjoy some Pumpkin Spice! I’ll be in the search for some Clean Eating Pumpkin Recipes!

Making the Best of It

It’s been a while now…but I’ve got to confess that it seems that lately everything has gotten in the way for writing in my blog. And by mostly, I mean guilt. Guilt? Yes, read on.

Lately, I’ve felt lack of motivation to workout hard and follow my clean diet 100%. Such lack of motivation made me feel silly for even thinking about writing about fitness stuff. How could I possibly write about workouts and eating clean when I wasn’t doing it myself? The reality is that I was not feeling my best because stress had taken over me.

Feeling this way is of course, a real concern for me. I spent days trying to figure out where I tipped my balance and why I’ve felt so out of whack. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve workout all along, I’d be bored to tears if I didn’t hit the gym, but my drive and intensity were just not there. Then comes the eating part; I’ve snacked on junk food here and there and I’ve had several (many) cheat meals on the weekends that make me feel sluggish and tired the next day.

I don’t mean for this to sound as an excuse, but with a full-time work schedule, there is times, especially August/September and May/June,  where I’m so exhausted when I get home from work, that the last thing I want to do is workout or eat healthy. My brain and body are fatigued.  And, guess what I want when I’m tired? I want to eat! I want EVERY.SINGLE.CARB on available on planet earth. Then after I eat, I want to sleep. The problem is I can’t nap because then I won’t sleep at night-I then dream of work scenarios. Great, just great!

So this is what I’ve figured out, when I don’t eat clean aka when I eat junk food/gluten/trans fats/empty carbs/simple sugars etc. My body goes through a lot of inflammation. So I bloat, I get ‘puffy’–I don’t look like my normal self, so then I become sad because I don’t like the way I look and I definitely don’t like the way I feel. My vanity gets the best of me when my clothes feel tighter and I get a tummy pooching out. I then push myself to get the gym, but once there, I realize that I’ve got no drive because my hormones are altered from the junk foods. I just go through the motions not pushing myself. Once I return home, I find the treats and say to myself, “I eat just one cookie,” which turns out to be that I eat everything I can possibly get my little hands on.  And there you go, just like that; I keep fueling my vicious cycle! I eat poorly, so I consequently, feel and perform poorly. Just think of it as a junk food hang over that takes days to clear out of your system.

Since day 1 of working out, I’ve always kept a workout journal in which I would write down my workout plan for the next couple of weeks. I’d write my weight improvements added number of sets etc. but I stopped writing in it for the past 2-3 months. I figured, I kind of already know what movements I’m doing for the day once I’m at the gym. But with my lack of motivation lately, I have no other choice to go back to logging in my workouts. I’ve noticed that when I write down my workouts. I am better focused, because I’ve got a plan. For example, I struggle to push myself when it comes to arm day. So last week, in an effort to get a good workout, I quickly looked up an old arm workout plan and decided to redo it. Turns out I had a great workout that day! If I see it written, I think of it as a task (blame the Virgo part of me), so I must complete it so I can sort of ‘check it off’ and move on.

My second goal was to get better sleep. I know that I was having irrational cravings and overeating because I was fatigued. And, since I share my home with my love, it would be unfair to completely cut out all of the so called temptation foods from home. So the better solution was to get quality sleep. And how to you get quality sleep, you ask? Cut down on the caffeine. (Gasp) Whaaat?? Ah yes, that is especially hard for me. With work being busy and all, I found myself drinking multiple cups of coffee throughout the day. And even though I can fall asleep with no problem, I had light sleep and vivid dreams (mostly made up work scenarios). So I quit coffee and switched over to non-caffeinated herbal teas. I felt like death. It was all too much for me in a really stressful time, so I decided to drink black tea or half decaf and half regular coffee in the am only. And even though I might feel sluggish mid-day I held strong on not consuming anymore caffeine. This alone has made my sleep has been loads better and I am more focused at work.

Along with dropping my caffeine consumption, I keep a Gratitude Journal, in which I write down 10 things for which I am grateful. It can even be mundane things such as “I’m thankful for this journal” or more meaningful things like “I’m grateful for my family-they always make me feel loved.” I then write down 3 nice things someone did for me today and 3 nice things I did for someone else. Shifting your focus on the positives always helps me relax and consequently, I sleep better and stay asleep.

By addressing my rest, I now feel more energized to workout harder. Keeping my workout journal up-to-date defiantly keeps me accountable for my workout goals. With rest and enough physical activity, my eating habits are loads better; I don’t feel a need to eat every cookie on earth! Although its’ definitely a struggle, every day, I feel more empowered to keep making healthy choices for myself.  I know that everyone, especially me, will have slip an up here and there and that’s ok. The important thing is to acknowledge them and start to make changes. And with that in mind…today I’m going to have an AWESOME Chest and Back day!!!

Awesome Resistance Bands Workout

Bands for you, bands for me

Pick a flavor, any flavor

Let’s talk BANDS, resistance bands that is! They come in bright colors, they’re flexible, they look fun, and you think, “Oy the possibilities are endless with these babies!” You end up buying them, and then you’re like what the heck? how do I use this wiggly thing?

But oh my dears, those wiggly things are a great investment!

Resistance bands are great for toning and overall body strengthening. They allow your muscle fibers to elongate and to stay under tension throughout the concentric, when you shorten the muscle-such as when you curl your bicep, and eccentric movement, lowering movement-bicep curl when arm comes down  to the start position. Thus, it increases your strength. These bands are great for when you travel, are new to exercising, you become a new momma or if you are recovering from a light surgery. They are fairly inexpensive ($10-$20) and a super light weight/non-bulky. These things are muy fantastico!

Colors and their meanings:

Yellow-light resistance

Green-medium resistance

Red-medium to heavy

Blue-heavy resistance

Black–extra heavy resistance

If you are a newbie, I would suggest to start with a yellow. If you need more resistance you can always shorten the straps and that will add more resistance automatically. I suggest to keep rest periods short, very short. I’m talking about 30-60 seconds rest, kind of short. Start with 3 sets and work your way to 4 sets. I normally would suggest to pair up your exercises into super-sets, but because you’d need to set up the bands accordingly to each exercise, that just wouldn’t make too much sense. However, there are 2 exercises that are in a superset format (see Monday/Thurs: D1 and D2, Tuesday/Friday C1 and C2). And that is because the set up of the bands are about the same in both exercises. I recommend visuals to see where to place the bands, so YouTube it up beforehand.

Here is the breakdown:

Monday and Thursday:

A.) Resistance band Squats 12-15 reps x 3 sets, take 4 seconds to lower yourself (eccentric) and 2 seconds to come up (concentric). Rest 45 sec and repeat 2 more times.

B.) Resistance band Standing Good Mornings. ARCH your back a tad then start (NEVER round your back!) 3 seconds folding forward, 1 second retraction to upright. (you def need a video on this one). 8-10 reps x3 sets. Rest 45-60 sec.

C.) Resistance band Deadlift. Same goes here, DO NOT ROUND your back! Arch your back a tad, bring shoulder blades back, then you may begin with 3 seconds lowering, 2 seconds up. 10-12 reps x 3 set. Rest 45-60 seconds.

D1.) Resistance band Shoulder Press 6-8.Focus on holding it under tension. 3 second going up, 3 seconds down, pause 2 seconds at the bottom of the movement, then repeat for 6-8x. Rest 0.

D2.) Resistance band Lateral Raises. Same deal here, shoulders are stabilizers, and strengthen best when under tension. 2 seconds to ascend and 3 seconds to descend. 10-12 reps x 3 sets. Rest 45-60 seconds.

Tuesday/Friday:

A.)Resistance band Bench Press. (Alternative to a bench: Coffee table, exercise ball, floor). 3 sec to lower the band, 1 sec to push up it up. 10-12 reps x 3 sets. Rest 45-60 sec.

B.)Resistance band Rows (seated on floor). 2 seconds to pull, 4 seconds to retract. 12-15 reps x 3 sets, rest 45-60 seconds.

C1.) Resistance band Bicep Curls. Focus on squeezing your bicep at the top portion and slowly lower) 10-12reps x 3 sets. rest 0.
C2.) Resistance band Tricep Extensions 10-12reps x 3 sets. Rest 45 sec.

D.) Resistance band Upright Rows. 10-12reps x 3 sets. Focus on bringing the bands up to your collar-bone and lower within 4 seconds.

Drink a nice cold WHEY protein shake or eat a nice piece of fish/chicken/lean beef with a big ‘ol bowl of veggies right after and feel content!

Happy future workout days ahead! 

Motivation

With the weekend finally here (whoop whoop!)  I’ve  compiled a itty-bitty list of things to reflect on.  Feel free to add to the list and make it your own!

1. It’s never too late to start taking care of your body. Start today!
2. Patience is a virtue. It takes time so see changes in your body. Fat did NOT accumulate overnight, so you can’t expect to go away overnight (it would be great eh?)
3.Eat whole foods and avoid processed foods. It’ll make you feel oh-so-good in the insides. Oh, and you’ll be pooping it up in no time!
4. Keep moving. Even on day’s you take a break from the exercising , stay active. Go for a walk, hike, bike, yoga, Pilates, whatever rocks your boat! The point is to do something that is fun yet active.
5. Drink loads and loads of agua/h20/waterrrrrrr! How else is your body going to flush out toxins out of your body?? Rule of thumb: if your thirsty, you’re dehydrated. So drink up!
6. And finally–Never compare yourself to anyone. You are unique, and the only person you should want to be better than, is YOU. It’s great to have someone to aspire to, but understand that you will never look exactly like that person, you’ll look better, because you’ll be your very own version!… Ok, ok I know that sounds cheesy and all, but trust me, it’s true.

Hope you all have a happy Friday!

p.s. I’m gonna have me some sushi tonight! 😀

most importantly..

most importantly..

Let’s get started…

My intention with this blog is to regurgitate all that I’ve learned since day one. Like most of you all know, I love to workout! Over my fitness career I’ve become a certified trainer, competed at local events and have been featured as an athlete for the Oregon National Physique Committee. I love fitness and only hope to inspire more women into getting into the best shape of their lives. Weight training is no longer a man’s thing ladies!