Crossfit Coach/Athlete-Bikini Competitor-Triathlete-Adventure Racer-Blogger/tiffanymmull.com

Hey everyone! It seems as if I have been away from you all for forever! School has been incredibly hectic with exams and assessments, but I had to make some time this morning to share a recent food journey with you all.

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If you follow my food log on Instagram (tiffanydietetics), you have probably noticed that my meals include a lot of greens and fibrous veggies…this is nothing new. What has changed as of recent however, my protein sources. As of June 5th (my 36th birthday), I made the decision to cut out all meat from my diet with the exception of eggs. Although Veganism and Vegetarian diets are more popular now than ever, I know there are many of my fellow bodybuilding friends out there that are saying, “What the hell for?”

I made this decision after completing an assessment for school regarding the effects of a Vegan diet on muscle building. Not only was the information completely opposite of everything I thought I knew, but study after study in my opinion, showed a vegetarian diet to be the healthiest nutritional approach of all.

I would assume this transition would be hard for a lot people, but I can say in all honesty  I haven’t had any struggles. I traded red meat and pork about a year ago for turkey and chicken, so I didn’t have those cravings to worry about. Becoming bored with eggs was a concern in the beginning, but that was never an issue either.

The main highlight of this trial for me has been the loads of energy. Granted, I have since been reverse dieting to increase my overall caloric intake for winter gains, but I noticed the energy increase immediately.

So, were there any downsides? There was something that I found to be really odd and random, and I will say that it almost made me pull the plug on the Vegetarian trial and call it a day…Cellulite!!! What?! Ok, slow down. Don’t let this be a determining factor if you are considering the Vegan road. Let me explain. When I decided to take on this journey I was mid-way through my summer shredding program, which meant a lower carb intake than usual. I knew that once changing to a vegetarian approach I would have to switch up my macros, which automatically meant an increase in carbohydrates to make up for the decrease in protein. Because I had been in a deficit, my carbohydrate intake was around 160 grams per day. When I made the switch, I increased those carbs immediately to 200 grams per day. For someone like myself that doesn’t eat a lot of processed foods to reach 200 grams a day, is a lot when you’ve been in a deficit; therefor, this meant adding in more grains. Don’t get me wrong, I love oats and brown rice, and these are staples in my diet year round; however, when Im doing a cut, I had rather fill my belly with loads of fibrous veggies. Well, keep in mind, I had been doing a cut for about 10 weeks, so my body hadn’t been accustomed to all the grains I was now packing in to make up for the carb increase.  Am I saying that grains give you cellulite?! NO! I am saying that carbohydrates absorb water. When the body is not familiar with something, and then you throw something at it, out of the norm, it’s going to respond negatively. Just like most females, I hold any excess fat in my hips and butt.  I manage to keep excess fat at bay, and stay relatively lean year round, which keeps cellulite to a minimum, but we all have a dimple here and there. But man, oh man…one week in and I was stressing. I felt heavy  and fluffy, and a bit dimply all over. I was ready to call it quits. The best comparison I can give is that feeling when you have had way too much Chinese food and the next day you feel like a puffer fish. Thats how I felt for an entire week. Basically, the increase in carbs was causing me to retain loads of water, and my body wasn’t accustomed to that. To fix the problem, I simply increased my water intake. Although it sounds counter-active, an increase in water will keep you from retaining water, so that was my approach. I also coupled the increased water intake with an am HIIT session everyday for the following week, which forced me to sweat, A lot.

Week one was a hurdle, but by week two I felt great. I stuck to my Ovo-Vegetarian approach for just over 15-weeks. Week 16, I gorged on sushi with my fellow foodies following the Olympia. I have had chicken twice since my Vegetarian food journey, and have since cut it back out as well.

As of now, I will continue my vegetarian journey. Feel free to follow along as I share my thoughts on this approach to nutrition.

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Fit Fam, happy monday! I wanted to share an exciting experience with you all from this past weekend, the 2018 Mr. Olympia!

I received a message a couple of months back from one of my girlfriends that I competed with in Korea; she is head of sales for Gorilla Wear in the United States and asked if I would like to come help out with their booth for the Mr. Olympia 2018. If you have been around the bodybuilding scene for a descent amount of time, then you are familiar with the brand, Gorilla Wear. GW is based out of the Netherlands and has been a staple apparel brand in the bodybuilding industry since 1982. GW is sold in 48 countries and house some of the most notorious athletes in the bodybuilding community: Dennis “big bad” Wolf, William Bonac, “Big Ramy,” Dennis James, Kevin Osazee, Patricia Alamo, Catharina Wahl, and Valeria Ammirato, just to name a few.

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When my girlfriend approached me with this opportunity, I was beyond ecstatic to say the least. Little did I know, not only would I be in the same venue with the biggest names in the fitness industry, I would have the chance to talk with these individuals and hug the people that I have admired and followed for so long!

It all began bright and early on Wednesday morning. I was up at 4 am to get in a quick bout of cardio before heading to the Las Vegas Convention Center to begin set up for the “O.” I met my team there at 8:00 am, scooped up my all access, fast-pass badge and we went to work. To see the convention center on day 1, and then again on day 4 is like day and night. I can say that I now fully understand all of the work that goes into such an extravagant event.

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Wednesday and Thursday were long and tiring, but the build up to the weekend kept us eager and excited. Friday morning I was up at 5am and getting ready for the day! I arrived at the venue at 8am, and while walking to the front entrance I see a familiar face, Michelle MacDonald. I have admired this woman for years, and if you check out her Instagram you will see why. Any woman that can hold a physique such as hers at any age is an incredible feat, but even more impressive, Michelle is 47 years old! I was in a bit of a hurry because of traffic on the way in, so I didn’t get to stop and fangirl. However, once arriving at our booth, another member of my Korean team was there as well, and I told her who I just passed on my way in; she grabbed my hand, walked me three booths over and introduced me to her old coaches wife, Michelle! The expo still had about 30 minutes before the doors opened to the public, so both being die hard foodies, we gabbed about recipes and nutrition. Can you all imagine?!  It was truly a surreal moment for me, and exhibited promise for an amazing weekend ahead.

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Friday afternoon, I had the chance to walk around for a bit while scarfing down a protein bar. I got about three booths down and realized I didn’t have my phone, which meant no camera. I turned around to go back to get it, and thought to myself, “you will have more of these moments, just enjoy this moment.” And that’s what I did. I walked around and was able to see what I had only seen on social media and just enjoyed being part of such a spectacular event.

Friday evening when wrapping up, I walked over to the booth directly behind us and said hello to the beautiful Cass Martin. I have followed Cass for a long time, and it was such a pleasure to say hello and to see that she was just as sweet in person as she always appears to be.

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Friday night the Gorilla team went for sushi. After a good 10 platters or so (have you seen bodybuilders eat), we called it a night. Saturday morning I was up once again at 5am to get the final day of the Olympia rolling. Saturday was just as busy and exciting as Friday. I got the chance to meet the rest of the GW athletes, as well as many other Olympia competitors.

Overall, this weekend was so incredible! To be a part of something within a community that I am so passionate about was extremely cool, to say the least. Most of all, this weekend allowed me to spend time with my old teammates who became family so many years ago. Almost five years later, and we are all still grinding and chasing our dreams and following our passions in this incredible industry.

Thank you Gorilla Wear for having me and allowing me to be part of this amazing Olympia weekend!!

Hey fit fam! I wanted to share with you all a highlight of my week last week.
I was having my morning coffee last Sunday and began scrolling through IG. I had a message in my inbox from a client; it was a photo of the scale, and in between her bare feet read, 144. This day marked 30 weeks that she had been following my customized training and nutrition program, and this marked exactly a 30-pound weight loss.

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When you see that as a reader it looks great on paper, right?! Thirty pounds in 30 weeks for a female in the 35+ age range is perfect; that’s a pound a week! It’s enticing and seems doable, you think to yourself, “I can do that!”

What I’m going to tell you is the same thing I tell everyone when they begin a training program; yes, it is very doable because it’s based on science. Is it easy, no. The reasons it isn’t easy however isn’t because of the reasons you would think. Most everyone can agree that working out is the easy part and diet is the hard part. While I think this is true as well, I believe a lack of patience is most peoples primary detriment.

Take my client above for instance. If she lost a single pound the first week, another the second, another pound the third and this was a continuous pattern that she knew to expect every week, that in my opinion seems fairly promising. Unfortunately, that isn’t how it works. You may begin a new training/nutrition program and the first week lose 5-pounds merely because you aren’t eating sodium filled processed foods everyday. While this is exciting and a great feat in itself, these numbers aren’t typically realistic over consecutive weeks. In fact, some weeks you may show no weight loss at all. This is when people lose their patience. “You mean I have followed my menu and workouts to a T and haven’t even lost a pound this week.” Yes, it sucks! It absolutely sucks to step on the scale one day and read 132, and the very next day weigh 133. How in the world does this happen?! It’s defined as homeostasis and electrolyte balance, it’s called being a human!

My client above didn’t throw in the towel at 15-weeks when the scale didn’t show a loss, or at 21 weeks when once again, nothing on the scale. Instead, she emailed me and said she was going to stay off of the scale and only weigh in every two weeks along with her bi-weekly measurement updates. This made me so happy! I check in with my clients every week. Each week they fill out a questionnaire regarding their menu, workouts, how they feel and so on. I have them weigh in once a week (the morning of their check-in), and every two weeks I request measurements. When she said she wanted to weigh in bi-weekly this showed me that she was no longer relying solely on the scale to determine her progression, which ultimately shows me she has found her “fitness and wellness lifestyle.

I have said it over and over, verbatim …slow and steady progress trumps fast fat loss any day. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you must commit to a healthy “lifestyle.” If you weigh yourself every single morning, you can guarantee that at least three days out of the week you will begin your day with doubt and uncertainty. Why would anyone want to do this to themselves? More importantly, why would you let a scale determine a moment of unhappiness in your life.

It’s ok to occasionally get discouraged, once again, we’re human; however, one must learn to control emotions of discouragement and not overeat and dive head first into a pattern of binging when these feelings come into play. One must realize that every week will not be a rewarding week on the scale. Every week you will not be motivated. You may slip up and eat two too-many cookies on your treat day, but the main thing is to remain patient and consistent.  If you are consistent with a program science will prevail, but you must have the patience while waiting on the bigger picture. 

 

 

Hey fit-fam. I hope everyone got to enjoy an extended weekend for Labor Day!

First off, I cannot believe that it is already September! What is even more unbelievable is that we have been living in Las Vegas for 9-months now! I have to say that I do absolutely love it here.

You guys know that I love to hike, so we spent our Labor Day at Red Rocks. We chose to tackle a shorter trail than usual because there was a good bit of thunder rumbling around when we began, and we had already spotted rain in the distance on our drive in. We decided on the Calico Tanks Trail; it is ranked as a moderate trail, mainly because of its terrain. The rain never came and the overcast made for a perfect low 90’s temperature. It was a beautiful hike. I also have to plug in here that it is normally $15 per vehicle for a pass through Red Rock’s scenic drive, but a military I.D. gets you in for free!!

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Earlier in the weekend we met up with a couple of friends for a day of Top Golf at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on the strip. I had never been to TG before and had no idea what to expect, and was excited to see that it was basically just a gigantic driving range. I haven’t picked up a golf club since way back in my Hooters days, and even then let’s just say my par score wasn’t a factor when playing for charity. I did manage to score second to highest on the last game, but I attribute most of that to my girl Maddie that filled in for me during a bathroom break.


We hit pause for a lunch break and I had the sugar cane shrimp lettuce wraps. This was my first form of seafood other than Sashimi in 12-weeks; while the flavor was spot on, the texture of crustaceans has always been a bit of an issue for me. They held me over though throughout our golf game, until we headed to dinner at Las Vegas’s Tacos and beer.

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Our friends are regulars at Tacos and Beer and swear by the street tacos, so it was a must try. I had the pineapple and black bean tacos, and they did not disappoint! To beat it all, they were only $3.50 each!

 

To finish off the weekend, we checked out The Tipsy Robot which is located in the Miracle Mile Shops of downtown. When you hear of a robot bartender, one gets a bit intrigued. Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s not that great. It is literally a robot arm that mixes a drink. There is no flare, no interaction, and no discount for a water. Your girl ordered a soda water with a lime and it was $7.00, redic! This is absolutely fine for the Las Vegas tourist that is willing to pay money for the “non-traditional Vegas experience,” but definitely not a spot for the local resident. Either way, we checked it off our things to see list, and now on to the next.

 
I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend and have an amazing week ahead!

Good morning guys! I am going to jump right into this post because I am super stoked to share this new blog series with you all! I invite you to follow along over the next six weeks as I attack Las Vegas’s  Camp Rhino  6-Week Challenge.

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I should probably begin by stating my reasons for joining this challenge. You guys know that since being back in the states I have been working out in our home gym with a few random drop-ins around town. Most of all, I wanted to find a place that I could be surrounded by like-minded individuals, and it was a priority to find a gym that offered variety. After scoping out a few different places, I stumbled upon Camp Rhino. Camp Rhino not only offers CrossFit, but has multiple boot-camp locations across town (indoors & outdoors), and to top it off, obstacle training. I read into the 6–week challenge and was convinced to join when I realized I had the potential to earn my money back. To join the challenge costs $300. If you attend a total of 24 classes, meet all nutritional requirements and strive for daily improvements, you get every penny back. This was incredible incentive!

I attended the initial athlete’s meeting at the beginning of the week and was accompanied by a room full of eager and motivated individuals. There were people that had previously battled cancer, men that were powerlifters but joined the challenge to support their wives, competitive athletes, and people like me, simply looking for a new gym to call home.

Tuesday morning (day 1),  I woke and logged my stats. This was the first time that I have been on the scale since my initial “summer-shredding” weigh in. I began my cut (before the challenge) at 143 pounds and dropped to where I currently sit at 137 pounds.
Starting Measurements:
• Weight 137#
• Chest 36″
• Waist 28″
• Hips 33.5″
• Glutes: 39″

Once I established my starting point, I laced up my Nanos and to the gym I went. This was the first CrossFit class that I have attended since leaving Italy at the end of last year & it felt incredible! Days 1 & 2 complete!!

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Now, fast forward three weeks….This week marks the halfway point and I am feeling great! So what is the challenge providing me that was lacking in my previous training program? This is easy,  more intensity. As I mentioned before, Rhino does offer boot camp, obstacle training and mobility classes, but my focus has been on CrossFit. I still begin my mornings as I have for months now, with a pilates/yoga/core session at home, and then I head to CrossFit. I try to maintain this routine at a minimum of four days a week, and two days a week I focus strictly on  isolation training at home in place of going to CrossFit.

As for my diet, my food choices relatively remain the same all year round; however, since beginning this program I have replaced my weekly “treat meal” with just an increased calorie consumption of the foods I already eat (the camp-rhino program allows for a weekly cheat, this is a personal choice). If you follow my personal food log on IG (tiffany dietetics), you will see that I consume primarily whole foods. My top carbohydrate sources are whole grains, fruits and vegetables, with higher-glycemic foods structured around my workouts. I avoid saturated fat and trans fats as much as possible, and I use olive oil 99% of the time when sautéing veggies. I incorporate nuts and seeds at least 3-4x a week and typically include one small avocado a day. As for protein, I have gradually converted to a plant based diet with the exception of egg whites and the occasional raw sushi roll (this has been a gradual transition since the beginning of this year for a nutritional study. I will share my reasons behind this decision in a separate post).

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So what about my stats? As of this morning, I have lost 3 pounds and a total of 4 inches, which is awesome considering my primary purpose for this program has been to find a new gym to call home; so, tighter abs and glutes are just an added bonus!

That’s just it you all, I wish I could stress the importance of a healthy, well-balanced diet! If you adhere to healthy eating habits and couple that with a few days of intensity within your training, you are guaranteed to yield results.

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Now here it is, 6-weeks later and I have completed Camp Rhinos 6-Week Challenge!!!!!
I had my final check-in Wednesday afternoon and earned 100% of my money back! If you recall from my first post introducing the challenge, the total cost of the challenge was $300. To earn back your money one must meet the nutrition recommendations, attend 24 classes, and track and log progress stats for 6-weeks.

I reached my lowest weight of the challenge earlier in the week at 131.8 pounds; I chalk this up to the fact that I failed to meet my water intake and woke up a bit dehydrated.  I weighed myself the morning of my final check-in at 133.5 pounds and that was the final weight logged. Overall, I showed a weight loss of 4-pounds and a total decrease of 6-inches. Most importantly, I found a new gym to call home. I collected my $300 dollars and rolled it over to pay for the following two months.

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My plan is to continue with my cut for a few more weeks until Olympia weekend (look for me at the Gorilla Wear booth!) I did allow for a night out this weekend with some friends and indulged with a few gin and tonics and had a veggie loaded thin crust pizza on Saturday night, but this morning it was back to the grind.

Good morning you all. I believe my last blog entry was an introduction to my interpretation of “wellness” a couple of weeks back. Today I want to address questions that I often get asked regarding flexible dieting versus a diet constructed of whole foods.

Take the picture below for example: both options provide 500 calories. So if you look at it scientifically, no matter the food choice, 500 calories is 500 calories. A calorie is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius; therefor, no matter where the calories come from, a calorie is still a calorie.  

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So what does flexible dieting mean? Flexible dieting is just as its name depicts. As long as your macros (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) fit within the totals that are prescribed for your diet (whether it be for weight gain or weight loss), then you will yield results. 

A diet that is constructed of whole foods means that the individual chooses foods that are non-processed and in there most natural state. The same goes for this approach, as long as your macros (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) fit within the totals that are prescribed for your diet (whether it be for weight gain or weight loss), then you will yield results.

So if both styles yield the same results when it comes to fat loss (or gain), then what is the best approach, or the correct approach to a strategic diet. I will share with you all my personal opinion of each approach and the reasoning behind my choices.

To begin, I want to address my thoughts on flexible dieting. Flexible dieting is an approach to eating that allows you to eat any food you want as long as you can fit it into your prescribed totals. I personally find that this approach works great for a variety of people: those that are new to dieting, those with an untrained palate, individuals that like to incorporate “treat meals,” and the list goes on. Most individuals are familiar with a typical American diet. Americans tend to consume a lot of high-sodium, high-fat, processed foods. If you take an individual such as this and remove all of the foods that they currently consume and replace them with broiled fish and broccoli, the chances of them sticking to this unfamiliarity is slim. If the individual can still consume their usual Tuesday evening Tyson chicken nuggets with the only change being to bake them in the oven and trade in the traditional ranch dipping sauce for a healthier yogurt based dressing, they will be more apt to follow a plan.

How many times have you heard someone say, or have even said yourself, “I don’t like vegetables,” often followed with admission of having never tried it, or haven’t tried it since the initial taste (years prior). If I gave this person a menu constructed mainly of fibrous veggies, then he/she would probably do one of two things: one, he/she would totally skimp on the veggies all together not meeting their totals for the day, or second, he/she goes on a binger three days in because their body is craving everything it’s not allowing for.

I think for someone to dive head first into a new eating pattern and replace everything they are familiar with is a disaster waiting to happen. The flexible approach can be a great introduction to healthier eating patterns, not only for those new to calorie (macro) tracking, but can be extremely beneficial for those that suffer from an unhealthy relationship with food. 

What about the “whole foods” approach to nutrition? Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed, meaning they have no additives or preservatives. This menu consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Most often than not, you will find those who adhere to a whole foods approach are thoroughly interested in the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) of each food just as well. The idea of a whole foods diet is for improving health and preventing disease. Heavily processed foods are full of refined flours and processed sugars often replacing the numerous beneficial Photochemicals and Antioxidants. 

You have heard “you are what you eat?” Well, if you aren’t getting enough micronutrients (those vitamins and minerals that prevent certain cancers), then what are you eating? Often the most recent fad-diet online is what people believe to be truth, and unfortunately this information is usually incorrect.

 

Here’s what it comes down to, and its pretty simple really. Everything in life is about balance. We are human and one of our primary pleasures in life is food. If you find yourself consuming more processed foods than whole foods, make certain that you are choosing options low in fat and fortified with essential nutrients. Also, try slowly implementing vegetables into your meals to familiarize (or introduce) your palate to new flavors. If you aren’t consuming 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day with two of those being greens, then it is wise to consider supplementing with a multi-vitamin (women over the age of 30 should consider adding an additional calcium supplement paired with Vitamin D).

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A healthy diet is one that helps to maintain or improve overall health. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be seduced by the occasional piece of  chocolate cake.

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Good morning guys! It seems as if the sporadic blog upload continues. Since talking with you all last I had a birthday, here’s to 36!!

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I spent many days leading up to my birthday reminiscing birthdays of past. The last five birthdays were either spent prepping for a show, or reversing out from a show. Competing was such a major part of my life. For many years, it was the primary center of my life. It was a great experience, it allowed me to meet a lot of people and it taught me stringent discipline- but somewhere over the last year there was a shift.

When I began my fitness journey so many years ago, my intention was to become stronger, fitter and happier. I became stronger, a lot stronger. I became fitter and I became happier- but, sometime, somewhere along that road I allowed the aesthetics of fitness to drive me rather than the dimensions of wellness. Do you know what I mean by that? Let me explain. When I first entered the world of weightlifting my primary focus  was the weight on the barbell, not my weight on the scale. I noticed immediate changes in my physique as a result of training, not because of restrictive eating and endless amounts of cardio.

As time continued, training became a chore and my diet was solely for fat loss, as opposed to eating foods because they had certain antioxidants that battle cancer, or because they were optimal for recovery. I was training merely to chase a certain physique. Don’t get me wrong, a nice set of Glutes and abs will always be a major motivator, but loving your body through the process is just as important. 

Achieving optimal wellness means achieving your fullest potential in the following dimensions: physical, social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and environmental. Wellness is becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, following a strategic meal plan, or looking good naked; it is a dynamic process of change and growth.

At some point we all get sidetracked and deviate from our path, and sometimes we may not even know our path- Either way it’s OK. Adjusting our visions are just part of growth and improving. It’s important to rememberer to occasionally take a moment, reevaluate your goals and check your path. 

Perhaps I sound like a new-age hipster, but I recently introduced new techniques into my daily routine that I feel are contributing greatly to creating personal renewal, and finding harmony. We are all worthy of the best care possible.

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If you are interested in the dimensions of wellness, I have given you my personal interpretation of each below:

Physical Wellness: Improving physical wellness means a number of things to me. This means focusing not only on maintaining, but improving physical health through resistance training, flexibility and mobility, and improving cardiovascular output. Physical wellness not only means exercise but it means adhering to a healthy diet, consuming responsible amounts of alcohol, abstaining from tobacco and all substances that forge depression, anxiety, or disease.

Social Wellness: Reaching optimal social wellness means that you are fulfilling interpersonal relationships. These are relationships with family and friends, as well as everyday people you meet in society. To enhance social health you must be willing to communicate with others. You must be reliable, honest and most of all, acquire the ability to listen attentively with an open mind and a closed mouth.

Intellectual Wellness: Mental stimulation is a major component to intellectual health. We should continuously strive to stimulate our thought process; it can mean finding ways to be creative, developing good study skills, practicing time management, challenge yourself to see all sides of an issue. Everyday is an opportunity to learn new concepts and expand our knowledge. 

Emotional Wellness: The greatest component of emotional health is the ability to not only control our behavior, but to better understand it. This means taking time to look at ourselves and acknowledge why we feel certain emotions; learning to recognize what brings on feelings of anger, stress, anxiety, or sadness, and those of hope, love, joy and happiness. Once you know what brings on these feelings, you are more equipped to dictate your emotional wellbeing. 

Spiritual Wellness: This is finding peace in knowing that you provide a purpose for existence. A person may find spiritual contentment through organized religion, volunteering, mediation, hiking; whatever fulfills your spirit and creates harmony in your life.

Environmental Wellness: We cannot always determine our environment. There are threats from our surroundings that can play a hazardous role in our everyday lives: people’s negativity, pollution, infectious diseases, crime, and the list goes on. This means taking time to do all of the extra little things that can add up to make a big difference: caring about your skin enough to apply SPF, wash your hands after public interactions, make an appointment at the doctor if you feel something isn’t right, get regular check-ups, and for God’s sake make time to floss. Minimizing the negative effects of environmental hazards is a major contributor to wellness. 

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Good morning and happy Memorial Day! I hope you guys are getting to enjoy an extra down day from work today!

We spent our weekend hiking at Red Rock. Since moving here, anytime I mention the word ‘hiking’ to anyone, Red Rock always seems to be a headlining suggestion. Red rock Canyon (Las Vegas, NV), offers 26 hiking trails that range from beginner 1.1 mile trails, to more advanced, unpredictable terrains.

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We began by stopping in at the visitor center to purchase our pass for the day; for a 1-day pass per vehicle, it cost $15. On our next visit, I plan to purchase the yearly pass which is $30, and Wes being active duty military will receive a free yearly pass!

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The scenic drive through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is 13 miles long. Every couple of miles offers scenic stops and a variety of trailheads.

We began our trek at the top of the White Rock Loop Trail, and ventured off down the Keystone Thrust Trail. According to Red Rock Canyon LV, this Thrust dates back 65 million years to when the Pacific and North American continental plates got into a shoving match. The conflict pushed up the Sierra Nevada mountains to the west. The same force pushed the deep limestone layers up and over the sand dunes in what is now Red Rock Canyon.

 

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After our hike, I circled the trails that we tackled and dated it on the map that we picked up at the visitor center, and thought to myself, “there must be an easier way to track trails that we’ve trekked” (say that 3X). I noticed when looking through our photos that REI.com was on one of the trail markers. If you have ever participated in anything outdoors or searched #hiking or #adventure on Instagram, then you are familiar with REI.

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I searched for “hiking trails” on the REI website which led me to The Hiking Project. I typed in Las Vegas, NV and the trails surrounding us are nearly endless! The desktop version was nice because it allowed for statewide maps and it also let you hone in on specific trails, which included the degree of difficulty, elevation, and estimated duration.

I also downloaded the Hiking Project App that provides detailed information on trails near you, including GPS route info. I created a customized user profile with interactive features. I tagged myself in at the location, as well as, pinned my very first trail!

 

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If you are a Las Vegas local looking for adventure, or simply visiting, I suggest hiking the rolling trails of Red Rock Canyon.

I also recommend downloading The Hiking Project App, or visiting their web address to participate in interactive forums, read informative blog posts and stay up to date on newly discovered trails!

Happy Hiking!!

 

Hey Guys! Happy Saturday!

I was super stoked to get home this afternoon and begin this blog! It has been two weeks since I have chatted with you guys, and I’ve missed ya 😘.

As I continue to shake things up with my cardio, I want to share one of my all time favorite “active-rest” day activities, that I have incorporated the last two weeks, hiking.

Hiking is a minimalist sport; it requires a descent pair of shoes, and if venturing out on longer adventures, a camelback or perhaps a fanny-pack (and who doesn’t appreciate a good fanny pack 😉). It’s one of those activities that relatively anyone, at any fitness level can benefit from. You don’t need to go hard-core rugged to reap the many benefits of hiking.

Last weekend, Wes and I decided to explore the terrain of Lone Mountain. This rocky butte is a steep, and isolated mountain (hence its name), in NW Las Vegas just inside the Interstate-215. From our house to the base of the mountain is (not even) a ten minute drive. We parked on the Northwest side, and little did we know that the trail we needed to get to was opposite of the direction we headed. When we got to the trail that heads to the top, we realized we had already hiked the perimeter of the entire mountain, which was about 3 miles. With plans to have dinner with a friend later in the evening, we decided to call it a day, and save the uphill climb for trip #2.

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Fast forward to this morning; we headed out to hike to the top. We left the house around 9am, and it was a perfect 75 degrees. While I would rate the hike last week as a beginner trail, I would rate today’s climb as moderate, due to the rocky terrain, loose gravel and incline; however, the climb to the top was relatively quick. The view was incredible! (shared on my IG story: tiffanymitchellmull)

I get distracted by all of the cacti everywhere 🌵
The hike today was definitely more intense, but when comparing the calories burned to the ground distance covered (shown below), it is obvious that an individual will benefit greatly from either level of intensity.

 

Walking on flat terrain allows you to move continuously with little effort, where as, hiking a rugged terrain forces greater work on the internal stabilizer muscles, which ultimately knocks out a lot of that energy transfer. Hiking of course isn’t without its own risks, but personally, I find it not only to be a great cardiovascular exercise, but excellent for mental clarity.

 

Navigating through this world is truly amazing 🌵☀️ Go for a hike.

Good morning fit fam 🧡
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On my way to the salon today, I detoured across the street into Orange Theory Fitness. As I have mentioned a few times over the last couple of weeks, my motivation for summer shredding has been lacking a bit. I credit this to the fact, this is the first summer in 5 years that I don’t plan on stepping on stage. You guys know that this is my lifestyle. Whether it be bikini season, or I am bundled up in a down jacket, I am still in the gym 5 to 6 days a week, still incorporating cardio, but….I need a change. After doing some research about Orange Theory Fitness, I was intrigued.  The “theory” behind Orange Theory seems to be scientifically based, and this science nerd is all about the whys, hows and facts behind everything. All of us fitness enthusiasts know that interval training in comparison to steady state cardio burns more calories post workout, and that is why HIIT training is so incredible!!

So, after two weeks and two workouts at two different locations, I can share my thoughts on the “theory.”

My first OT experience was shared with two of my girlfriends, Kaitlyn and Kelly. We all three headed in to OT last week with a water bottle and no expectations. We arrived about 15 minutes early to fill out any needed waivers or paperwork. The first initial impression was, welcoming. The girl working the front desk was friendly, energetic and eager to offer assistance (but not in an overpowering, annoying way). People continued to trickle in, but with only 5 minutes to spare before class starting, we had no idea what we were going to be doing. The instructor was nowhere in sight. The front desk girl apologized for the instructor’s tardiness and took us into the gym area. We were instructed to take our pick of either a rower or a treadmill (not really knowing why). I never felt uncomfortable (but only) because I am familiar with the unfamiliar when it comes to training (thanks to many years of coaching and CrossFit). I tried my best to guide Kaitlyn and Kelly (who were a bit unfamiliar), through rowing techniques during the warmup. After a hundred meters or so, the instructor arrived. She apologized and jumped in. I will say that the guidance started off a little rocky. She was using the microphone to call out commands to the class, but not being familiar with any of their terms or “lingo,” I just rowed with intensity and assumed if I was screwing up royally I would be called out. We continued to row with uncertainty and when we heard “switch” yelled out, we just went with the flow of the others. After the warm up, we were instructed to partner up. I told Kelly and Kaitlyn that I would fly solo and try to find a regular member and they could pair together. I paired up with another female and the workout consisted of rounds for time of treadmill sprints, rowing sprints, and dumbbell work. After 60 minutes I was a sweaty, red-faced mess. Class ended and the instructor approached us with apologies for being late, and poor presentation of the class introduction. We assured her that our workout was great, and her tardiness was not the determining factor of our impression. After class, we were back up front to talk memberships. I chose the basic package of one session a week. This would allow me to get in 60:00 of HIIT training a week. This means all of my HIIT training for the week is taken care of in 1 class!!! This is worth $59 alone, but when I told the girl behind the desk that I would sign up if she threw in the heart rate monitor ($69) for free, and she said “OK”, I was sold!!!


*Class pricing varies by region, so it’s worth giving your local studio a call to find out the exact cost of a membership or class. Your first class at any OTF is free; after that, the studio’s packages start at $59 and can go up to about $200 for an unlimited plan. The average price for a drop-in class for nonmembers is $28, with a few select locations costing slightly higher than this.

Now, fast-forward another week and I came back for round 2, except this time at a new location. Last week I visited an OT next to the salon, but because I flew solo this week, I decided to go first thing in the morning to a location 10 minutes from home.

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Yesterday’s class was endurance based, meaning that we ran…a lot. We began on the treadmill with a base pace for 5 minutes, followed with a 10 minute push pace and 1-minute recovery- then, a 5 minute push pace, a 2 minute all out pace, 1-minute recovery and ending with a 1-minute all out, give it everything you got race to the end 💦.

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After running, we hopped on the rowers for intervals mixed with dumbbell work. After 60 minutes, my body was spent and my lungs were on fire (I loved it).

What I find to be most successful about the OT approach is the use of the heart rate monitor. I began wearing a heart rate monitor years ago when I began training for my first triathlon, and have worn one ever since when it comes to aerobic and endurance training. Keeping a monitor on your heart rate allows you to you see when you’re crushing your cardio, as well as when you’re not actually working as hard as you think you are (this is usually the case). Your heart rate shows you exactly where you are, and where you need to be, and this method of training allows continual improvements.

A big screen hanging above the cardio equipment continuously displays your name, heart rate, percentage of max exertion, calories burned and “splat points” (how often your heart rate is in the “orange zone”).

Below is an analyzation of each color:

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  1. Grey Zone (50-60% Maximum Heart Rate) – This is the safest, most comfortable zone, consisting of very light activity.
  2. Blue Zone (61-70% Maximum Heart Rate) – This zone is specifically geared for warm up and cool down exercises. You are merely preparing your body and mind for high intensity interval training, but you haven’t unleashed the burn just yet.
  3. Green Zone (71-83% Maximum Heart Rate) – In this zone, you have reached a challenging but doable pace. This is what Orangetheory categorizes as “Base Pace,” a pace that you can maintain for 20-30 total minutes. Your body starts to burn fat and carbohydrates evenly.
  4. Orange Zone (84-91% Maximum Heart Rate) – This is where the magic happens and where you achieve “EPOC” (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) – what we call the “Orange Effect / Afterburn.” The goal is to accumulate 12 minutes or more in this zone within a 60-minute period to achieve the maximum caloric burn up to 36 hours AFTER your workout is completed.
  5. Red Zone (92-100% Maximum Heart Rate) – This zone happens organically and may be achieved during ‘All Out’ efforts when you’re emptying the tank and using every ounce of energy left in your body. You don’t need to set an All Out pace for more than 1 minute at a time to experience maximum results.

This “zone” approach definitely gives you continuous motivation. I know personally, each time I looked up, if I wasn’t in the correct zone, I would fight until I reached it (this meant digging deep a few times).

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Once the hour was over I felt, accomplished. I took a quick snip of the board to log my totals on the way out the door, but I was informed by an OT staff member that my stats would be emailed to me within minutes (which was pretty great!)

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Within minutes I received an inbox with my heart rate and zone summary 🧡.

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My overall opinion of OT summed up in one word, effective. I personally will not use OT as my only form of exercise- I am first and foremost a weightlifter. Olympic weightlifting and compound lifts are my jam, but when it comes to shredding, cardio is a must, and this approach, I feel personally is the best for optimal results. Interval training is hands down the best method of cardio when it comes to getting the most “bang for your buck.” What I mean by this is…you can spend an hour on the eliptical and burn 500 calories doing steady state cardio, or you can spend an hour doing high intensity interval training (HIIT), burning 500 calories, plus causing excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), also known as the “afterburn.” This causes a stimulated metabolism and increased energy for hours post-workout.

 

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Continue to follow along as I share my experiences while exploring the  versatility of fitness. By expanding and diversifying my routine, I hope to find new elements that will continue to target any weaknesses within my training.