Let Go

fall

Let go. Let go of your past. Let go of your anger. Let go of your anxiety. Let your worries float free.

You’ve got to let go to move on. The reason we fail in life is because we are holding onto something that is bringing us down. Would you stay tied to an anchor if it was drowning you?

If you don’t let go of something that is taking up your life, you won’t have room for anything fresh and new.

Cravings, emotions, and attachments can anchor you to that sugary donut, white bread, and want to eat. A love lost, death, departure, and uncertainty can anchor you to not want to eat.

They are making you depressed and pushing you further down into the deep, dark ocean of emotion where you can’t breathe. The past life you lived, the habits that consumed you, and the present issues that are circling in your brain are keeping your mind and body from becoming healthy.

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Personal Tidbit.  The idea of a perfect body has always been the anchor drowning my ability to have ultimate wellness. The obsession started around age 14 when we all go through that awkward pubescent stage of life. I was in a very rough patch. My parents were going through a divorce that was going on 4 years, I didn’t have a place to call home, and I needed control. The only thing I could control was my diet. I decided I didn’t like everything I was forced to endure, so I stopped the one thing I could: eating.

After many years of nutrition courses, vegetarianism, veganism, and health-nuttiness, I still have issues of wanting the perfect level of health, the perfect body (which is constantly changing), and the perfect life. It’s not healthy, and I try to break this obsession with more health.

My way of dealing and coping with it is to eat the utmost perfect diet: organic, low-fat, full of antioxidants, plant-based, etc. And to be a personal trainer: obligated to having a muscular physique, toned abs, and perfect skin. I’m working on accepting the body I have and letting go of the perfect anchor.

We all have our own issues we need to let go. I have mine, you have yours. But we can’t let them destroy us. We can’t let them drown us.

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We must choose to let go of them. It’s no easy feat. It may be a lifelong battle. All we can do is work on letting go: one day at a time, one emotion, one memory, one loss, just one at a time. We can do rituals to make ourselves well, like yoga, meditation, and self-love. We can take medications to block out those obsessive thoughts, but that won’t make our body any healthier. In the end, we must realize, breakthrough, and let go. Untie yourself from the anchor drowning you. 

Pump

Get pumped. Get huge. Look vascular. Bulk up. Bulge out. Get ripped. Gain libido. Unmatched muscle fullness. Get swollen. Jack3d. Explode. C4. Cellucor. Detonate. Supplement. Depth. Massive. 

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Being the best personal trainer means knowing all the factors that influence someone’s health decisions. I need to be on top of the new packaged foods, commercials, studies, popular supplements, workout DVDS, diet trends, energy drinks, and everything else that hits the market claiming to increase your health. I will test it myself, read others’ reviews, or research the science of the claim. As I traverse my journey to building muscle, I became curious about the supplements that claim to give you pump. I wondered, “What is this pump? Is it real or false? Will it help me get bigger, faster? Does it work on women? Why are only men on the packaging and marketing?”

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What’s the Deal? Recently made pre-workout supplements that claim to give you pump contain a form of nitric oxide called Arginine Nitrate, or NO3. This lab-made chemical dilates your veins and blood vessels, allows more blood flow, and gives your veins a visible inflated appearance. This is known as pump. This is what they are selling. But what got me interested was the claim to increase strength by simply downing a watermelon or cherry flavored kool-aid as seen here:

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Notice the claim for strength.

I wondered, “If a supplement gives you access to pumped veins before even working out, will it improve your workout? Will it really improve your strength?”

Is it Legit? Turns out, no. Pump is solely an appearance thing. The actual vascularity has no direct relation to strength.

Everyone who takes them will tell you they get a boost of energy and feel stronger. This is due to the amount of caffeine and sugar in them, which will let you run faster and work harder, so that later you are stronger. Having fresh oxygen and hydration in your blood will let you work harder without fatigue. This is true. The false part is that the “pumped up veins” gives you strength.

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Fact: The only way to get faster and stronger is to run more and lift heavier.

Supplements themselves do not give you strength, speed, or agility. It is the energy they provide, in carbs, caffeine, and available ATP, that will help you workout longer, push harder, and recover faster. But you know what? Really good organic nutrition that is timed correctly can do the same thing.

Personally, I use things like yerba mate, kombucha, ginseng, ginger, matcha, and other organically found nutrients. I’m not a fan of the synthetic lab-made materials in these supplements, but that’s my individual stance. Plus, the one time I tried a sample of Jack3d, I practically had a panic attack.  Below are the nutrients in the pre-workout fuel I take sometimes. It can be found here.

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How do I get strong without these powders?
You need to push your muscles past the limit they are used to being pushed. If you normally use 10lb dumbbells, you will need to work up to 12’s and then 15’s. This is your strength increasing.

Personally, it has taken me a while to get up to 20lb dumbbells. But once you realize you can do 3 reps, 4, 5, and then 8, you did it! You used a heavier weight and your muscles will respond to that challenge. They will recover by building more muscle fibers so that next time the weight won’t feel so heavy. If you can do more than 12 reps with the weight you are currently using, increase the pounds. 

Bottom Line: Those who take supplements but make no changes in the way they train and eat will not see any improvements. Lifting weights 5-6 times a week will increase muscle and strength, not a supplement. Supplements can help give you energy and reduce fatigue, and so can food. 

A triathlete who got this way on organic nutrition:


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Building Your Own Rome

rom
Rome wasn’t built in a day.

As a personal trainer and lifestyle coach, I have to deal with a lot of set backs. We’re human. We fail. We get back up and try again. This post is about going for your ultimate goal and not letting anything stand in your way. You need to build your Rome, no matter what bridges you must cross or burn. Whatever your Rome may be: losing weight, winning a show, landing a big job, getting a raise, or publishing a novel; You can do it.

Now, of course not everything works out. Let’s not fill ourselves with false hope. Let’s fill ourselves with real commitment, dedication, and control. Challenge yourself to go beyond that tiny comfort zone and do something different. Try something new. If your blueprint for Rome isn’t working, draw up a new plan.

This is not as easy as it seems.  As I write this to you, I write this to myself as well. I’m working on my very own Rome, and it is one hell of a project.  Life isn’t easy, but when it comes down to making huge decisions, you have to remember the end goal. 

When you remember your finished project, you’ll be able to make the right choices to build it. Put things into perspective. It’s easy to lose perspective. It’s not simple to step outside of your current life and analyze it as if it were a picture in a frame. Pick out the “what’s wrong with this picture” parts. Remember that game? Two pictures side by side. One has 15 things wrong in it. Draw up your life in your mind. Pick out those upside down hats, backwards faces, and torn shirts. Get them out of there. Re-arrange your picture so that it’s pretty and organized.

It may hurt a bit. It may hurt a lot. Actually let’s be honest…Emotionally, physically, and mentally, it will hurt. No pain, no gain, right?

No matter what you are doing remember this:

  • Commit
    • Commit yourself to your Rome. Make a plan of action and follow through the steps. If you have a setback, realign and forge ahead.
  • Control
    • Have control of yourself. Use your will power. Control each situation so that it is the best to build your Rome.
  • Challenge
    • This is the difficult one. You must challenge your current life, thoughts, emotions, and physical being to be something better, different, and successful. To challenge yourself means tackling that thing you fear. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

Credit to Dr. Sal Maddi for teaching me the laws of hardiness and the 3 C’s. 

Chia Jam & A Mini Meatball Sandwich

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Mini Meatball Sandwich

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I made up a tiny snack/meal last night and was so impressed with the look and taste, I had to capture and share it. This mini-meatless-meatball sandwich is full of protein, on sprouted toast, easy to make, and delicious. Below you see my process of making Chia Jam. It’s a simple and easy recipe (Difficult is not my style).  I recycled a ginger jar, so save your old jam/mustard/condiment jars! They work great for things like this. Recipes below!

Mini Meatless Meatball Sandy For One 

1 slice ezekial bread, toasted, quartered
6 meatless meatballs
1 sandwich sliced pickle
2 tbsp baby lettuces
1 tbsp reduced-fat veganaise
Black Pepper
Mustard, for dipping

 

  1. Microwave the meatballs for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, toast your piece of bread. 
  2. Cut the bread into 4 pieces, to make two small “buns.”
  3. Spread all with veganaise and spice up as you like. I used black pepper. 
  4. Cut the pickle into two, and place half on each bottom bun.
  5. Place the lettuce on top. 
  6. Then 1 meatball. 
  7. Smash the top down a little bit. 
  8. This will make two mini sandwiches. Dip the last 4 meatballs in mustard.

Nutrition Facts include all 6 meatballs.
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And onto the jam!

You can see from the photos exactly how easy this is.

Chia Jam 

1 3/4 C Frozen Berries of choice (if fresh, omit microwave process)
1/4 C Chia Seeds
Juice of half a lemon 
1 tbsp of Agave/Maple Syrup/Fruit Juice

  1. Microwave/defrost berries. 
  2. Blend until smooth, or however chunky you like your jam.
  3. Stir in chia seeds, sweetener of choice, and lemon juice.
  4. Place into jar or tupperware. Refrigerate over night.
  5. Enjoy like regular jam!

I really love this on toast, bananas, or Almond Butter and Chia Jam sandys. 🙂 Sandy is officially my nickname for sandwiches now. Forget “sammy” I like Sandy.  This is not for those who like “jelly.” Unless you use blueberries, it will have plenty of “crunch” or texture because of all the seeds. The chia seeds get smooth, but the raspberries and strawberries have seeds. I like it. And most jam lovers do. But jelly-lovers, beware!

VitaminShoppe Gift Card Giveaway! 2 Winners!

I’ve got good news! I’m officially partnering up with:

Vitamin Shoppe! 

VitaminShoppe is an amazing company in USA and Canada that helps people achieve their ultimate needs for health and wellness. With over 500 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico, they can fulfill anyone’s possible demand. I started shopping at VitaminShoppe when I needed extra greens in my diet. Hello Wheat Grass! Have you ever been to one? What’d you go in for? 

 Since we are now officially connected, I will be hosting product reviews, giveaways, and posts regarding their holistic, sports nutrition, and organic products. I’m plant-based so I won’t host any animal products, so keep a lookout for ultimately healthy products! I will provide you with full-fledge honest opinions and results of whatever I encounter. So get ready for some fun reviews. I won’t let you down! I’m not getting paid per post, but am happy to try out products, give reviews, and promote a great company. Experience and knowledge are key in any industry, so I thank VitaminShoppe for giving me this opportunity to promote and educate the masses on health and health products. Cheers!

The Giveaway

The Prizes: Two $25 Gift Cards

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 TWO WINNERS! ENTER NOW! 

How To Enter:

  1. Like My Facebook Business Page
  2. Follow Me On Twitter
  3. Follow VitaminShoppe on Twitter
  4. Follow this Blog
  5. Comment below telling me one way how you are bettering yourself through mind, body, or soul.
  6. Be sure to include in your comment that you did the first 4 steps! I will be checking each one!
  7. Enter with a super easy form by clicking here! 

CONTEST ENDS FEBRUARY 14TH.WINNER ANNOUNCED DURING WEEK AFTER!  

 

Perk Up: Chest + Back Routine

Don't be Intimidated By These Machines.
Don’t be Intimidated By These Machines

Smith Bench

  1. Chest Press, Flat
    1. Reps 8, Sets 5 
  2. Chest Press, Incline
    1. Reps 8, Sets 5 

Move bench to front of system. Grab 20lb weight, or heavy as you can curl.
Remove weights. Place smith bar as low as you can do push-ups. For Pull-ups, place bar about belly button height. Get underneath bar. Do a reverse plank, holding abs up tight, and pull yourself up.

Perform all exercises back to back, quickly as possible.

  • Sets: 5
  • Push-ups, Wide
    • 12
  • Pull-ups, Wide
    • 12 
  • One-Arm DB Chest Press
    • 8, ES
  • Goblet Squats
    • 12
  • Bench or Bar Triceps Dips
    • 8

Cable Machine

  • Sets 3
  • Squat + Neutral Grip Row
    • 12
  • Lat Pull Down
    • 12 
  • Triceps Pull Down
    • 12 
  • Sets 5
  • Lunge + Row, right
  • Lunge + Row, left
  • Lat Pull Down, + 5lbs
    • 8
  • Triceps Pull Down
  • Oblique Turns+HoldReps
    • 8 Each side, Hold last one straight out as long as possible

Fat Burning Finishers*

  • 1-2 Miles, sprints + jogs
  • Dead lift + Belly Button Row
    • 8 reps, 2 sets
  • Barbell Cleans 
  • Reverse Crunch + Hold (Standing Ab/Dips Tower)
  • Straight Leg Hold

*These are high intensity exercises to burn through that last bit of energy you have at the end of a planned workout. You have already emptied your glycogen (sugar) stores, and so these last bit of exercises are using pure fat for energy. They are important if you are looking to get cut, ripped, or lose that extra 5 lbs. And if you have more than 5lbs to lose, you sure will get that fat burning faster and more efficiently with these finishers. FINISH STRONG!  

How Did You Get Here?

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As I was watching Biggest Loser last night, seeing the morbidly obese contestants step onto the scale, it makes me think. It makes me angry. It makes me sad. And wonder:

How could they do this to themselves? How could they not see what was happening to their bodies? Did they care? Do they want to live a long life? Are they happy? After gaining 10lbs, how come they didn’t stop? 20lbs? 50lbs? How come they didn’t see what it was doing to their bodies, lives, and esteem? What was going through their head as they chugged that soda, munched that cheeseburger, downed that milkshake, or ate all that food? How did they feel after sitting on their ass, day after day, after day? Did they own a scale? Did anyone tell them to change? Did anyone try to help them? Why? Why not?

As a fitness trainer, and self-obsessed body improving perfectionist, I notice every tiny change. I notice a dimple, a wrinkle, a jiggle, a heavy feeling, a light feeling, a sad feeling…I notice every tiny little thing, unless of course it’s positive. So when I improve, it takes me weeks to see. At least 8-12 weeks before I notice a tighter muscle. A smaller tummy. A cheekbone. A change for the better. Some may call it body-dysmorphic disorder. I just call it perfectionism. I always believe we can be better. Stronger. Faster. Tighter.

That doesn’t mean I skip sushi or pizza. That doesn’t mean I don’t accidentally eat 12 cookies in 10 minutes. That doesn’t mean I am perfect in diet and fitness. But I make attempts. Very strong, embedded mentally, attempts. I read labels. Every label. I count calories (mentally). I eat slowly. I don’t party. I eat/use organic products.  I lift heavy. I run hard. And I move often. I constantly believe in improvement. I want to learn something new every day. I want to be inspired. try.

What goes through your head? How did you get there? Did you notice the negatives or the positives? What makes you tick? What makes you stop? What makes you give up, lie down, and roll over? What makes you crawl into a hole? What makes you pop out of bed with enthusiasm? When you find these things out, you’ll be able to better yourself. You’ll be able to become that girl/guy you’ve always wanted.

Get Better.

You’re overweight because of something in your head, not your body. Your body can work. It can lift. It can lose weight. Even if you have an injury, you can work through it. You can work past it. Eat less if you move less. Eat more if you move more. Make your body work for you. But this means getting your head in the right place. It has to be dedicated. It has to be determined. It has to be for you because of you. You can’t depend on anyone else, or anything else to give you the body you want. Your workout buddy can’t make it? So what. Workout at home. Stop making excuses. And figure out what you really want. You already know. So just be honest with yourself. Tell the truth. Stop living in an illusion. And wake up. It’s going to be scary. It’s going to be saddening. But you know what? It’s going to change you for the better, forever.

Thriving Forward In The Kitchen

Clean Food from a Non-Chef, Non-Photographer

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I’ve always wanted to try zucchini pasta. I finally dished out the surprisingly low amount for one of these. You can see the awesome veggie-pasta maker above. The Thrive Forward program been reminding me to eat more raw, fresh foods. It has inspired me to use my Vitamix daily, boil some quinoa, and eat less wheat. I haven’t started sprouting yet, but I do have my own organic herb garden growing! The pasta above is mostly raw, minus the silken tofu. I was searching for an oil-free pesto because I try and follow the Forks Over Knives philosophy of not eating oils, or keeping them to a minimum. I actually looked at a few vegan pestos and then made up my own. (Recipe below.)

Oil-Free Avocado Pesto & Raw Zucchini Pasta
Recipe

1 avocado, small and ripe
1 oz basil (1 pack)
1 cup parsley
1/2 cup silken tofu
dab of ground garlic (mine is in a squeezy tube)
juice of 1/4 lemon
sprinkle of sea salt
sprinkle of vegan parmesan, optional 

One zucchini
1) Place all ingredients, except the zucchini, in a Vitamix or Food Processor. Leave on for 5-10 minutes, stirring down sides as needed. I used the Vitamix stirring tool to keep things going. If it’s not moving, add more lemon juice.
2) As it is churning around on low, turn your zucchini into pasta. If you don’t have the pasta machine, use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips.
3) Stir it all together and eat… or cover and refrigerate for dinner, or lunch the next day. Enjoy!
The entire bowl of pasta is under 300 calories! I’m proud of this recipe and it is all clean and organic! =D
Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 9.00.57 PM*The calories include all of the ingredients listed, including the zucchini.*

Soon after, I went on to making these cookies.

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I need to start using my expensive camera. :/ Dang blurry phone pics!

Personally, my boyfriend and I wouldn’t call these cookies. They are more like little bundles of yumminess, but not a cookie. They are gluten-free and don’t contain any flour. You could honestly eat the dough for breakfast or dessert, without even cooking it. It’s great, but not a typical “cookie” dough form. I bought some coconut flour on sale today, so maybe my next cookie dough will look/taste more like a wheat cookie.

The main ingredient in these “cookies” is quinoa. Freshly-cooked plain quinoa, quinoa flakes, and bananas make up the bulk of this dough. It truly is guilt-free. Look at the Nutrition Facts. I measured each cookie out with a tablespoon measuring spoon.

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Kettle Bell Cardio

I love getting new fitness toys. My most recent addition to my gym bag has been a 25lb Bob Harper Countoured Kettle Bell. I love it! It’s so much fun to use, gives an amazing strength-cardio workout, and can be shared with my boyfriend (who is like 10x stronger and still gets a good workout with this thing!).

Ta-Dah
Ta-Dah

I’ve been scouring the net for fun moves, watching the Bob Harper DVD that came with it, and doing my own combinations to get use out of this gorgeous piece of equipment. I’ve designed a simple workout for you that will blast calories, build muscle, and make you smile.

Here you go!

Warm Up
2 Minutes Dynamic Stretches:
Knee Pulls, Arm Circles Both Ways, Huggers, Reachers, Twists, Kicks. (Do your faves to warm your muscles.)

Work Out

20 Kettle Bell Swings
12 High Pulls
12 Decline Push-ups
12 Triceps Dips 

5 Halos Left
5 Halos Right 

20 Kettle Bell Swings 
15 Squat + High Pulls
10 Decline Push-Ups 
15 Front Squats (holding KB) 

Dead lifts
8 High Pulls 
8 Dead lift–>High Pulls

10 Oblique Reach Left Hand 
10 Oblique Reach Right Hand
10 Sumo Squats–>Calf Raise

Plank until you Fall
Side Plank until Failure, left
Side Plank until Failure, right

10 KettleBell Swings

Hydrate!

Note: This workout took me 20 minutes to complete. If you still have energy, do a second round! 

3-Ingredient Protein Hot Cocoa

Performance Cocoa
Performance Cocoa
Tomorrow: Frozen Hot Chocolate

First of all I want to say, whenever I see a recipe that has less than 5 ingredients, I click on it. No matter what they are, I’m like, “Only 3!?! I can do that!” I’m no chef by any standard. I hardly measure anything  and I truly suck at baking 95% of the time. Tonight was a lucky one when I made this concoction.

I was getting bored with mixing my protein powder with cold water and drinking it as if it couldn’t taste good. I knew it tasted well, but underestimated its ability to become a star. Tonight, it became a shining one.

I saw a post about hot cocoa with soy whip by Kathy Patalsky  on twitter and thought, “Mmm that sounds yummy.” And since I’m not cool and dandy with a stock of soy whip or one of these, I figured I would turn my protein powder into a hot cocoa. I have raw cacao powder next to all my Vega and smoothie stuff so my hot cocoa was just asking to be made. Here is the simple 3 minute post-workout delicious drink you will never turn down.

Recipe

1 Big mug of Unsweetened Almond Milk, Vanilla (12 oz)
1 Scoop Vega Performance Protein, Vanilla
2 tsp Raw Cacao Powder
Stevia, to taste (a good sprinkle) 

Place all ingredients in a mug and stir. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir again. Enjoy!

With 28 grams of branched-chain amino acid protein, only 9 complex carbs, and a hot chocolate delicious taste to warm you up, this cocoa really can’t be beat. Why have it any other way?

Frozen Hot Chocolate: Freeze the prepared drink in an ice cube tray, throw it in the blender with a 1/2 frozen banana. Add extra almond milk (about 1-2 cups) to get the frozen ice and banana to move! Use your Vitamix or high powered blender and stirring tool.

This frozen hot chocolate seriously tastes and looks  like chocolate ice cream! But so healthy. (If you don’t have a Vitamix, it will be more of an Icy milk.)

hot cocoa info

More Info On Nutritional Timing: http://vegasport.com/en/timing
More Info On Vega Sport Line: http://vegasport.com/en/system