Hey guys! Today marks one week since being back from vacation, which means my summer shredding series has officially wrapped! I wanted to share with you all what our cross country road trip looked like: the foods, the workouts, and the indulgences.

One can only eat so healthy while on the road without packing a lunchbox of prepped meals. Here are a few snips of some of the on-the-go snacks I had on our drive.

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coconut clusters paired with a iced latte (almond milk and sugar-free vanilla) from Starbucks, kale chips with a sugar-free Monster, hard boiled eggs and a veggie cup (tomatoes and broccoli)

While I was never a big fan of Subway when I was a meat eater, I’ve found that since turning to more of a plant-based diet, I do occasionally enjoy a good veggie sub; fortunately, there are more subway restaurants attached to gas stations than any other on-the-go eatery. Needless to say, Subway was my go-to. I took along a bag of corn tortillas as well, and would eat half of the sub on bread, then toss the bread and opt for tortillas for the other half.

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Finally, after driving 2000 miles, we found our way to the beach.

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I always get asked what I drink when I have a night out. In this case, a day out. Seeing that we were at the beach, I did indulge in a skinny margarita that paired perfectly with my mahi tacos (minus the tortillas and rice). Typically, I only drink vodka and soda or Prosecco, but when at the beach, one must indulge a bit.

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The highlight of our trip to Florida was definitely seeing my bestie. She and I trained together religiously before Wes and I left Florida to head to Korea. She recently began coaching as well, and while I would loved to have taken her class, Florida was all about chilling and celebrating my birthday!

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You can’t really tell by this photo of her and I, but I was swollen like a giant puffer fish. The day before was my birthday, so I ate anything my heart desired! I began the day with biscuits and gravy from IHop, had a mega burrito from Tijuana Flats for lunch, and almost an entire pizza for dinner (not to mention the birthday drinks). Hey, it’s only your birthday once a year, indulge a little!

After Florida, we made our way North to Alabama to see my family. Although it rained literally the entire visit, it was nice to have some down time. My favorite part of visiting home is sitting around the kitchen table with my mom. We will drink coffee and kiki for hours and hours. They finally got to meet Jack, and of course they were obsessed with our little muppet.

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Immediately upon waking our first day in Bama, I found a gym and got a pass for the week. Every morning began with a quick 30:00 workout, followed with 20:00 on the treadmill.

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While we did eat out almost every evening, my cravings for anything salty and processed (after my birthday splurge), had almost completely subsided. I was eager to get back on track. Our first night out, we went to a local diner called “Woodys” with plenty of vegetable options, so I opted for a veggie plate (sweet potato, broccoli, & okra) and side salad. The following morning we went to a breakfast buffet and I did have a little splurge. I had another biscuit and gravy (can you tell this is my favorite breakfast cheat), eggs, grits, and potatoes. Later in the evening we went to Ruby Tuesdays, and since I had a little splurge at breakfast I chose to have a plate of green veggies (broccoli, green beans, & zucchini), along with the salad bar. It’s all about balance when on vacation. You should enjoy those little extras (like the white chocolate Oreos my mom always has waiting for me in the freezer), but integrating healthier choices as well.

After a few days in Bama, we continued north to Indiana to see Wesley’s family. We did have a couple of nights out, and I stuck to vodka and soda for my drink of choice. We ate out for every meal, but thankfully nowadays most restaurants have options that cater to a healthier clientele as well. Sure, I will nibble on chips and salsa when they bring out the appetizer, but I actually enjoy healthy food. People often assume that when I’m eating salad or a plate of fibrous veggies that I am restricting myself, or it cannot possibly be as satisfying as the unhealthier options. No, I truly enjoy the foods I eat, and most of all, I hate the way I feel when I eat greasy, processed foods.

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I didn’t go to the gym while in Indy, but I did manage to go for a run every morning and squeeze in some yoga.

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Throughout our trip I was somewhat stressed regarding the fact that we were driving back cross country, and I had to be back to coaching immediately upon arrival. My sweet husband bought me a plane ticket to fly home so I could have a couple of days to recover before returning to work, which left him driving back cross-country solo (well, Jack was his wingman).

While walking through the airport I was trying to decide what to eat when I stumbled upon the Farmers Fridge. Is this for real? Can I really get a salad loaded with chickpeas, grapes, apples, cashews and avocados from a vending machine, and it be fresh and crisp?! Oh my God, yes please! It was absolutely delish!

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I had a straight flight back to Vegas, and landed just after midnight. And just like that, vacation is over- that’s a wrap. While my physique was nowhere near what it is when competing (nor was that the goal), I was happy with the results from my mini-cut. I think to feel comfortable in a bikini and walk the beach with confidence is any woman’s goal when it comes to summertime.

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Thank you all for following along through this series. So, what’s next? Monday begins a new series! Check back and see what its all about!

 

 

 

 

Hey you all! Happy Thursday! Here I am halfway through the week, so let’s catch up!

I ended last week with a kickball game on Sunday with my F45 fam. Y’all, it was so much fun!! The weather was perfect, and I couldn’t have been in better company. Oh, and my team won (btw).

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This leads me to today’s topic…treating yo-self when summer shredding. I have been asked repeatedly since beginning this series, “Do you have a cheat meal when summer shredding?”

I decided throughout this series that I will allow myself a little treat here and there. Take Sunday for instance, I celebrated with a beer following our game (blue moon for those with inquisitive minds), but my snack plate was full of fruit and raw veggies, and I brought a protein shake in my bag. Fast forward to today, and while grocery shopping after my workout, I bought myself one chocolate covered honeycomb. I kept looking at the bulk section where they have all the yummy extras, and decided, why not. The five minutes it took for me to figure out how to weigh this 30 gram piece of yumminess was worth every second and all .36 cents. I sat in my car with the air conditioning blowing and enjoyed every single bite (well it was a small piece, so it was only two bites), but it was delish!

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Throughout the week I typically have three to five meals a day, which consist mostly of whole, non-processed foods. I stay away from sugar (hence why that honeycomb was so delectable), drink lots of water, and aim for 20-25 grams of fiber.

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I am typically in a fasted state for the first 3-4 hours of the day. There is no reasoning behind this approach, other than I am just not hungry when I wake. I am up at least four days a week no later than 4 am, and usually eat around 8 or 9.

So to wrap up today’s post…
I think its important to remember that having a full on “cheat meal” can stall progress; however, some people plan a cheat meal the last day of the week as a reward, or something to look forward to. While this may work for some, other individuals find that a cheat or treat will send them into full on binge mode and opt to avoid the temptation all together. Bottom line, I think it’s important that each person finds their own approach and what works best for them.

Cheers!

 

Happy Sunday y’all! Here we are approaching the end of summer shredding, week 2!!
In today’s post I want to focus a bit on food balance.

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Above, I have shared a weeks worth of breakfast choices. While each breakfast is a bit different, they all contain almost identical calories and macronutrient totals. I am a creature of habit and could eat the same breakfast almost everyday of my life; however, I find this approach does not work well with clients. People don’t necessarily like change in general, but when it comes to food, most like a variety. This is where macro tracking comes in handy. Take the above for example: you will see some of the photos show clementines (baby oranges), which are mostly made up of carbohydrates, and others do not. On days that I have orange slices, I will not add fruit to my green smoothie, instead I opt for yogurt, almond milk and spinach only. On days that I have avocado which is considered mostly a fat, then I will skip the oil when cooking my peppers or egg whites.

Every meal needs to have a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats. If you are having two slices of bacon, then you should choose egg whites as opposed to whole eggs to pair it with, due to the fat found in the bacon. I love, love, love shredded potatoes (aka hash browns), but I know that potatoes are strictly carbohydrates, so on days that I want to add fruit to my meal (or my smoothie), I will substitute half of my potatoes with riced cauliflower (which contain half the carbs of potatoes). This allows me to hit my suggested macronutrient totals, without going over on my carbohydrates.

I also want to make it clear that not everyone has to follow macros. I haven’t tracked macronutrients consistently in over a year. I am now because of summer shredding, but otherwise I like to eat intuitively. Macro tracking is perfect for individuals that need and appreciate discipline, and have specific goals in mind. For those that are looking to simply live healthier lifestyles and eat a more balanced diet, intuitive eating is absolutely fine. Intuitive eating means listening to your body, eating when you are hungry, and being mindful of what is on your plate- striving for balance. Not all of my clients are macro trackers. For those that track macros, I have them tracking and weighing each and every piece of food that they put in their mouth; where as, my intuitive eaters begin by creating their plates using measuring cups and spoons. After a few weeks they are able to “eyeball” each portion size. This approach allows people to become aware of what they are eating and how to pair foods together to create overall balance, eventually leading to a healthier way of eating.

I challenge you all to be more aware this week of creating balance on your plate.
If you choose whole eggs for your protein, then avoid any other fatty foods (bacon, avocado, cooking oils). If you choose egg whites, then enjoy a couple of slices of bacon, or some avocado, or use cooking oil to sauté your veggies. If you choose a banana then skip the potatoes and opt for riced cauliflower. If you are an on-the-go breakfast type, have a smoothie that includes a balance of each: almond milk with a 1/2 tbsp of nut butter (fats), paired with your carb of choice (any fruit), and a protein- this could be in the form of greek yogurt, liquid egg whites (they are pasteurized you won’t die), or protein powder. While you’re at it, toss in some spinach (a multitude of vitamins and nutrients). The taste is masked by the other ingredients!

Creating a healthier, more balanced lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. It takes small steps that will eventually generate greater health and wellness.

Thanks for continuing to follow along as I share my tips and personal journey throughout 8-weeks of Summer Shredding.

Well y’all, I haven’t done so well keeping up with blogging this new year like I had hoped, but I am excited to share my newest series with you all, “F45’s 8-Week Challenge.”

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We are now coming to the end of week two, so let me catch you all up.
Beginning week one I had my body composition broken down using the In-Body Test. This service was offered by our F-45 gym as part of the challenge; however, your girl here had not had her pedicure and was not about to get bare foot and show off these half painted, runner’s toes! Instead, I made an appointment on the military base and had it completed the next morning. I weighed in at 131.8 pounds with a body fat of 20%. When competing, my off season body fat would usually sit around 17-18%. Although it was a bit higher than what I expected, I’m not terribly disappointed seeing as I haven’t tracked or logged nutrition consistently in over a year.

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My goal throughout the next eight weeks is to attend at a minimum, three F-45 classes while still incorporating three to four days of Olympic Weightlifting and/or Power Lifting and squeezing in at least 15 to 20 minutes a day of yoga and mobility. I typically coach three to four days a week, so I usually go in before coaching and complete the days workout. This allows me to get my workout in and heart rate up which in return, gives me plenty of energy for coaching (also allowing me to burn another 200-300 for each class coached as well).

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The challenge gives guidelines to support members during the 8 week Challenge. The F45 nutrition team provides weekly meal plans with mainstream and vegetarian recipes specific for male and female body compositions. These nutritional guidelines are what you will traditionally see with any “healthy eating” meal plan prescription: lean proteins, whole grains, low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, no sugar and no alcohol. The F-45 8-Week Challenge isn’t a magic pill or prescription. It is an approach to “challenge” each individual to put forth their best effort to reach personal goals.

 

An observation within myself since the challenge began is, cardio improvement. If you aren’t familiar with F-45, the HIIT training is incredibly intense! We do a lot of agility training and explosive movements with extremely short rest periods. Only two weeks into the challenge and I am seeing great improvements in my speed and recovery rates (a tighter waist and glutes are just an added bonus).

As for my menu, not a lot has changed. I typically stick to healthy eating habits all year round (with the exception of my weekly pizza and beer indulgence on Friday evenings). Last week (week 1 of the challenge), I had midterms for school and didn’t adhere 100% to my schedule. I always keep it real with you guys, so I have to report my slip ups as well. I missed a day of training and the same evening, indulged in a bit of late night snacking due to excessive studying. You know what though, its okay! Just like I tell my clients and fellow challengers, “one slip up is not detrimental to your progress, just like one workout doesn’t make you fit”. It’s all about consistency and getting back to the grind.

Having said that, week two has been, LIT!!
This morning’s workout (deemed Hollywood) is our longest workout of the week. On Saturdays, our F-45 classes are 60 minutes long, rather than a typical 45-minute class. We also have a DJ that comes in and keeps the energy high and the class hyped. You can’t even begin to imagine the flow of energy without the experience first hand! We weren’t able to get in a workout before coaching this morning, so instead we hung around after class and got it done.

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Hang around over the next few weeks and see what the challenge brings!!

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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