Living fit and loving every minute.

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Fitting in Fitness – Making YOU a Priority

When I started blogging, I did it with the intention of posting at least once a week. It seemed a totally realistic goal. It’s only a few hours out of my week doing something that I enjoy.We all start with good intentions, but, as with so many other things in life, things often get in the way. Work stress, commitments to friends and family, chores and errands, sleep (remember sleep? That thing you’re supposed to spend 8 hours doing every night?). commuting, and everything else that makes up our days end up consuming so much of our time that we tend to push back other things that are important to us and make us happy. My blog has been my pushed-aside priority for the past few weeks. Raise your hand if fitness has been yours.

When we’re stressed out and busy, exercising and eating well is usually one of the first things on our list of priorities to fall by the wayside. Who has time to dedicate to fitness when you’ve running around all day, taking care of things at work, shuffling kids around, making dinner, returning phone calls, etc? Life has gotten so fast-paced, and it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle. But how can you expect to give your very best to everything else in your life when you give yourself nothing? The best output requires good input, and the best input you can give yourself is health – eating well, working your body, and getting enough rest. (Remember, it’s easier than you might think).

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Be Grateful for the Journey

Finally recovered from my mid-summer cold and have been pumped to be back in the gym! My first few days back, I experienced what most people who take some time off from working out discover when they try to get back into their normal routines – progress can be lost surprisingly quickly! When you’re mentally prepared to kick ass during your workout after being confined to your bed for a week, it can be so discouraging to reach failure with fewer reps and less weight than you’re used to, or have to stop halfway through a cardio routine that you normally breeze through. You think about how long it took you to get to that level of fitness before your workout hiatus, and worry that it will take just as long (or maybe even longer!) to get to that point again. That can be enough to make some people give up, take another week off, turn to comfort food or some other vice to soothe their disappointment and anxiety. Luckily, those who stick it out and focus on their exercise and nutrition come to find that you can actually gain it back pretty fast if you’re consistent, you push yourself, and you don’t give up!

Exercise is both a physical and mental activity. Quite often, your brain gives up long before your body does. When your body is recovering and rebuilding its strength, don’t let your brain psych you out. You may not be at the level you want to be yet, but every minute you spend working toward your goal is a minute well spent. Don’t let yourself be discouraged by what lies ahead or behind – instead pay attention to the moment you’re in. Focus on the task, the set, the road, the day in front of you, and do your very best in that moment. (more…)

Staying On Track When You Can’t Work Out

This week I got hit with a nasty summer cold (aren’t those the worst?!). Sitting around doing nothing while I’m laying sick in bed makes me incredibly restless. I can’t go to work, I can’t work out, I barely have enough energy to drag myself to the kitchen and make a cup of tea. During times like this when I’m out of commission, whether it’s due to an illness or an injury, it’s hard to stay in a good headspace about maintaining my fitness. I feel guilty that I haven’t been to the gym all week and when I’ve been able to eat, it hasn’t always been the complete, well-balanced meals that I’m used to. Other people I know have felt this way while they were recovering from an injury (knee injuries, shoulder injuries, back injuries – they can keep you out of commission for several weeks!). So what can you do to stay on track when your body needs a break? Here are some suggestions: (more…)

The Power of a Workout Buddy

There are a few key factors that contribute to the success of any lifestyle change. One of them is MOTIVATION. In order to commit to and stick to a long term goal, you have to be properly motivated. That’s what will keep you going when the going gets tough. Another one is EDUCATION. You can have all the best intentions in the world, but if you don’t know what steps to take to make your goals a reality, you won’t get very far. Hopefully this blog can be a resource for you to continue expanding your knowledge of how to go about achieving your health & fitness goals. A third key factor, and the one that this post is going to focus on, is SUPPORT. Nothing great is ever achieved alone. Even though no one but you can do the work it takes to change your life, having a support system to cheer you on and hold you accountable can be a huge advantage. In my experience, when you’re trying to live a healthy & active lifestyle, the most authentic & powerful support comes from your workout buddy.

Photo credit: bulubox.com

Photo credit: bulubox.com

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Cardio is a Beautiful Thing

Cardio is one of the most essential building blocks to health & fitness. In addition to enhancing cardiovascular and respiratory efficiency, it burns fat, boosts metabolism, reduces stress, and is a catalyst for the ever-sacred workout-induced endorphin rush. Yay cardio!

Even better yet is that cardio comes in many different forms: running, swimming, dancing, Zumba, cycling, rollerblading, hiking, and team sports, just to name a few. This variety is wonderful not only because it can prevent us from getting bored of the same old routine day in and day out, but it can also enhance the quality of our overall training program. A combination of low-, medium-, and high-intensity cardiovascular training (in addition to strength & flexibility training) is an ideal foundation for getting fit with exercise.

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Sample High-Intensity Interval Workout!

Looking for a quick cardio fix? Do you have 10 minutes? Try this high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout for a quick boost!

  • 0:00-1:30m        Jumping Jacks
  • 1:30-2:00m        Rest
  • 2:00-3:30m        Mountain Climbers
  • 3:30-4:00m        Rest
  • 4:00-5:30m        High Knees
  • 5:30-6:00m        Rest
  • 6:00-7:30m        Burpees
  • 7:30-8:00m        Rest
  • 8:00-9:30m        Squat Jumps
  • 9:30-10:00m      Rest

Extra credit – keep track of how many of each exercise you do, then try to beat your record next time! You can do it!!!

What is your “Why?” and Other Thoughts on Motivation

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Imagine you’re 15 miles in to your first-ever marathon, wondering what it was that ever possessed you to subject yourself to such a tortuously long race. Or maybe you’ve just been sweating it out hard on the treadmill for 20 minutes and the ‘stop’ button is seductively staring you down. Imagine you’re 2 sets in to your 3-set workout, thinking about dropping your weight to about half of what you should be lifting, or ditching the last set altogether to finish up early. In those moments, when you feel your resolve slipping away and nothing sounds better than giving into the temptation to stop or slow down or give up, you find yourself asking “why?” Why am I doing this? Why should I keep going? Why not go easy on myself? Why not give up?

It’s nearly impossible to achieve any goal without having proper motivation. Our reasons for living a fit life are as diverse as we are, and in times of doubt and temptation and weakness, it’s important to know what your “why” is. Whether it’s to rock your bikini on the beach this summer, to cross the finish line at a race you’ve always wanted to participate in, to play with your kids without having to stop and catch your breath, or maybe to add a few more years to your lifespan, your “why” is what will keep you focused on your way to achieving your goals. It’s what will make you turn those moments when you feel like giving up into the moments when you push yourself the hardest. (more…)

Let’s Be Honest: It’s Not Easy, But It’s Easier Than You May Think

On this journey to achieving health & happiness, I always want to be honest with you. Let me begin by honestly admitting that this blog won’t always be a constant source of motivation and positivity that will instantly inspire you to throw out your junk food, stock up on organic meats and produce, and make you enjoy kicking your ass at early morning workouts. Because, honestly, it’s not that easy. It’s one thing to say it’s easy, but anyone who’s tried drastically altering their lifestyle knows that it isn’t true. Especially not for people like me who love chocolate and wine and sleeping in late and could spend an entire day on the couch watching every episode of Friends back-to-back without feeling the urge to hit the gym. Honestly.

In my experience, living a fit life can be hard. It takes time and effort and sacrifice and commitment and patience. It can be hard to take the time on the weekend to plan, shop for and prep your meals for the week. It can be hard to push yourself during your daily workout when all you want to do is sleep, and it can be hard to choose cardio power hour over happy hour at the end of a grueling week. And it can be really hard to stick with it when you’ve been working so hard and still aren’t seeing the results you want. It’s hard to stay focused and sometimes, trying really sucks. I know this. All I’m saying is that it’s worth it. With the right mindset and motivation, it can get easier.

If you get only one (or 3) thing(s) out this blog, let it be that 1) you’re not alone, 2) that you don’t have to be perfect, and 3) that living a fit life – as annoying and inconvenient as it may sometimes be – is entirely worth the hassle. Honestly. (more…)

Journeys Begin with a Single Step

All my life, I’ve been reluctantly labeled a perfectionist. This drive to achieve unrealistic heights of perfection has led me to some of the greatest accomplishments of my life: earning my Bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University, graduating ahead of schedule (with honors), landing a great job in my desired field at an amazing company right out of college, marrying my high school sweetheart, traveling to new places around the world, building a great life and making a name for myself in a budding new career. It’s also ushered me into some of the darkest moments of my existence thus far: battling depression and anxiety for most of my adult life, and struggling with body image and eating disorders in my late teens and early twenties.

The past several years have become an unfinished ‘coming of age’ tale as I guide myself to let go of my unattainable idea of perfection and accept myself for who and what I am – flaws and failures included. Throughout this journey, I’ve learned to distinguish between what I can and cannot control, to pay attention to what makes me feel good about myself, and to be proactive about living the life that I want for me.

Like most people, the most fundamental thing I want for my life is to be happy and healthy. Luckily, I’ve discovered that these two things often go hand in hand. There are plenty of things in this world that we can’t control. What we can do is make a commitment to ourselves to choose to live a fit life, and to be grateful for the infinite benefits that a healthy and active lifestyle affords us.

This blog is a testament to my commitment to love my fit life. My hope is that it inspires others to make a commitment to their health & fitness, and practice daily gratitude for the life they create for themselves. It’s not about trying to do every single thing perfectly, but rather doing what you can every day to live fit, and to love your fit life.