My fitness journey is one that’s had some amazing results all thanks to the people who encouraged me and reminded me that the work I was doing was all for me. Fitness is, and should always be thought of, as a journey and not a destination. Every day I try to eat and workout as best as I can for my overall wellness goals. Rather than to simply try and reach a number on the scale. Each of us has an inner athlete and we all have the potential to tap into them and bring them out.
With the ongoing pandemic, I like everyone else initially embraced lethargy at home. But after getting frustrated with knowing that I was being uber lazy and eating poorly I chose to change it up. I’ve started building beginner workouts for myself while at home and I developed a list of easy healthy recipes I could follow. I’m proud to report that in quarantine I lost almost 10 whole pounds - 7 to be exact! After seeing some amazing comments from friends and questions about how I stay fit in quarantine, I made this post to offer some ideas and inspire you to know it’s never too late to get back on that hot girl summer grind!
Disclaimer - I’m not a registered trainer or nutritionist by any means. The workouts and recipes I made are particular to my body and its needs. These are all ideas, not suggestions. For all posts, the workouts and diet/food recommendations are modified versions of what I’ve been taught by my personal trainer Andrea, from Planet Fitness, and coaches and classes from the high-intensity interval training studio OrangeTheory Fitness. Please be safe and take care of yourself!
Breakfast - Easy Healthy Recipe Protein-Packed Berry Smoothie
My morning is never complete without my protein-packed berry smoothie. I started making smoothies out of convenience and they’ve now become probably my favorite meal! This easy recipe requires the following:
Healthy Snack Idea
A piece of advice I’ve gotten from fitness coaches and readings online is that small, and I mean small, and healthy snacks can actually help you lose weight. Let us think about it, it makes sense. If you only eat three times a day you’re probably intaking more at once than if you had small bites throughout the day. Below is my snack:
keto friendly lunch idea - egg white powerbowl
A major change to my diet that helped me lose weight was through omission rather than any additions. Now, I never condone eating less than you should - we are afraid to snack in this home! While I have not gone full keto, better known as the ketogenic diet, I have lost weight through practicing a carbohydrate diet. Below is not only another healthy breakfast idea but it's a ketomeal that works just as great for lunch too!
The recipe for this egg white keto meal power bowl calls for:
Overall advice to make salads and meals healthier
Another one of my favorite meals is a classic healthy recipe and that is a green chicken salad. I love buying those prepackaged salads that come in the family sizes since it makes preparation so much easier. But watch out for those wontons! Remember that while you may be eating clean those add ons add up the amount of calories and carbs in your diet. I advise you to limit the add ons that come in prepackaged salads. Whether it's croutons, wontons, even berries, either use them gingerly or not at all.
A great tip to keeping your salads healthy is using the cap of your dressing to measure how much you put in. I usually do 1 cap, and my go-to dressing is Newman's Own Lighten Up! Light Balsamic Dressing. Make sure you find a light version.
Consider portioning out your protein by the palm. A good general rule of thumb, or in this case hand, is having a protein the size of the palm of your hand. This is a great way to portion, yet if you’re building or very active add ⅓ more protein.
One last tip is pile up on the veggies! Toss in some bell peppers, red onion, cucumber slices, the more the merrier. Adding in additional vegetables is a win in this case as you will feel fuller longer and get even more great vitamins and minerals in your diet.
I hope you enjoyed this piece with some healthy recipes and meal ideas! I invite you to share this with your friends and on social and let me know if you want more of these kind of posts!
Raise your hand 🖐 or share this post if you too feel burned out by the world. If I'm being honest, it hits me in waves. It's like a cascade of lethargy flows down on me somedays, and on others I feel perky and like I could dance in the rain. Which I should have done when I had the chance because it's now like 100 degrees everyday in L.A.
When I wrote my daily agenda this morning I had a lot of goals. I call them goals because they're things I wanted to do - but didn't do. Writing is my way of materializing goals into the world. And I fell short in trying to remain productive today. But again who hasn't felt like they've been off their A-game lately?
The world we live in, this quarantine life, is draining. Among the concern for our own health, we're concerned for our loved ones, and dozens of other things that impact our quality of life. My job has begun stressing me out, and more than usual. There's been a pressure building to push movies out, get reporters locked down, and lead campaigns even though this is an unprecedented era for entertainment. This morning I lead a call and then grabbed my phone and just sat in my front yard. I had to take a break.
I'm so lucky to not only have a backyard, but a front yard. Having this square of empty space isn't something I ever cared about before. Yet now it's become a space I consider a gift. The hardest thing that I think has lead me to burn out recently is trying to act like "business as usual." However, after being indoors for days at a time, not seeing anyone besides my family, and even being unable to just grab a cup of coffee and sit down, it starts to wind you down.
That being said, I am not complaining about my current situation. I'm blessed to be with my family during quarantine and report that we are all healthy. I'm beyond grateful for my boss keeping me on his team and finding ways to keep our company going. And I'm lucky to be able to drive, even if it's around the block, to just get some fresh air. Today I wrote down three things I was grateful for in my agenda. It's something I haven't done in a while, and I saw that my mood lightened up today. Granted, I was drained by midday from both work and actually taking my grandma and myself to get a drive through test for Covid-19. It was a taxing experience but one I'm so glad we did together. Again, my grandma is one of the most important people in my life and I wish I could do even more to protect her...
When I got home I changed into my workout gear, had a banana, and proceeded to take a nap...Yeah the grind did not happen - yet. Instead of just scrolling on social media I opened up my laptop. I started writing this blog because I felt I had to say something. I had to share that I too feel like I'm not making progress. In fact, sometimes I even think I'm falling behind.
Candidly, I'm scared to weigh myself right now. I'm scared that all the work that's been done in my fitness journey could have unraveled because of this current situation. As nervous as I am, I know that having a number is the only way I can keep myself accountable. Maybe I did gain some weight, maybe I did lose the little bit of muscle I grew, but at least then I know where I am. By knowing my personal data I can motivate myself and remind myself that numbers don't define me, it's the work I do to change them that does.
Maybe I wanted to simply write this as a note to myself to feel okay with not feeling 100 percent okay. But also maybe I wrote it in the hopes that someone else could feel like it's okay to not feel okay. Whatever the reason, I'm glad that I put the fingers to the keyboard. I think we all need to be inspired in isolation - and I hope this post does that for you.
When it finally came time to upload my first ever YouTube video, I was scared of not knowing who or where in the world it would end up. My finger hovered over my mouse until it cramped up. There was no willpower in Will (aka me) to click and let the video go public. I never thought that I’d witness myself write these words…but hey, could you check out my YouTube channel?
The decision to pick up my phone and start recording was haphazard. The inspiration to start a YouTube channel felt rushed. The anxieties in my mind built an obstacle ahead of me that I didn’t overcome. Rather I bulldozed through all of my doubts. The anxiety I'm talking about came from the criticism, mediocrity, and embarrassment that didn't even exist yet. Maybe I was fueled by confidence, or nativity. It could have also been a cocktail of all of these emotions creating a volatile mix that just sparked my creativity. No matter the catalyst, I felt driven in crafting a video to put out into the world.
The video I crafted is titled, “HOW I WAS INVITED TO THE OSCARS TWICE - Answering Instagram Q&A About the Industry.” It’s a project that came into existence over several days. However, while the Instagram polls and writing took days, I only gave myself a weekend for the video. I gave myself only two days to shoot, edit, and upload. For those experienced in visual content creation, I’m sure they’d call me crazy for trying to do so much at once.
This same weekend, I was writing and rewriting my script. It was important that every time I did a new take my answers went deeper. And all this was not even taking into account the care it took in designing a banner or content writing. Why was I putting myself under all this pressure you might ask? Here’s my answer; I felt like if I didn’t start now, then I never would.
“Aren’t you 5 years too late?” “Who do you think you are? A wannabe influencer?” or “What do you know about making videos?” These are all the questions that crawled around my mind before I even hit the record. There’s a quote I live by, that my college mentor granted me, she said, “We are always in our process of becoming.” This quote was the remedy to the anxieties that started to cloud my mind.
This first video would not, and could not, dictate my skills or the opportunities ahead of me. I am at the foot of a new journey. Ahead of me is a chance to grow in my faculties as a storyteller. My passion in life is to understand and practice language and its impact on people. I’ve always loved visual mediums, that’s why I work in entertainment. Even though I think I’m late to the content creator party, who's to say I can’t throw myself one?
When those questions came up I knew how to answer them. “No I’m not too late, I’m finally ready.” Just like in my college days when it came time to rally, I could never show up for pre-party pictures until I felt ready. “I know who I am. I’m a storyteller. I’m a young professional. I’m a Latinx in Hollywood. And I’m an amateur fitness enthusiast.” Knowing oneself is knowing one’s brand. I’m glad that I studied the arts of rhetoric, media, and composition. Understanding my identity and being able to convey that with confidence is powerful.
My last answer to those anxieties is, “I don’t know much about making videos. But I know how to learn.” Because I wanted to make a video with purpose I made sure I researched the form first. I noted some of my favorite YouTubers and I studied their style, the visual grammar, and their delivery. I treated making a video with the same care and respect as when I write a pitch to a reporter. I have to feel confident in my own knowledge of the material to convince someone else of its merit. Through watching videos, and asking friends what topics I should speak on, I felt beyond proud when it came to finally click on, “Public.”
I wanted to write a blog that acted as my director’s statement. Sharing my concerns and the labour it took to make the final product is part of my process. In my life, I’ve been critiqued as someone who only shares my success. I take this comment and I have acknowledged it. Through writing this piece - and in making the content that I’ve recently made, I want to show people my depth. It’s true it’s easier to tell you about that time I waved hi to Meryl Streep, but that moment exists because of the endless hours it took me to research, network, and showcase my talents in the industry.
Whether you know me already or do not, I thank you so much for engaging with my work. As a writer, the greatest joy I get is when I know that someone was impacted by my words. All I can do is share my stories and hope that the impact of my words inspires someone to start their process of becoming…
Gone are the days of team meetings with outsourced coffee and catered lunches. For both students and professionals, we’re now just another square in the Brady Bunch intro sequence.
Candidly, I don’t like video conferences. I think that many of these calls are rich with awkward pauses and constant cacophony. These same issues aren’t unique to video calls, but there’s something about Zoom that just makes conferencing more chaotic.
After spending a few weeks playing around with Zoom with both my team and different clients, I compiled a list of tips and tricks that make for a smoother user experience. Having worked at my college’s IT center for 3 years, trust me when I say it’s not Zoom, it’s you!
1. Don’t Just Double Check, Triple Check Your Zoom Link!
Scheduling truly is one of most tedious things to do with a group. Before switching to Zoom calls, I still endured emails bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball. One of my pet peeves is being one of thirty people in a scheduling email chain. Your inbox pops off as two people duke it out to claim an ideal meeting time. Oh if only I could take myself out of the chain sometimes until it was all over… As annoying as coordination is in any environment, I can’t stress enough to pay attention to the details. Conference call codes and links change like the dates/times being ricocheted over email. I’m embarrassed to admit, but I must, that there’s been a handful of times when I send the wrong link to my team and we’re not in the right Zoom call. That’s why I cannot stress enough that even if there’s been a dozen emails, stay diligent and triple check that link!
2. If You’re Taking Notes Good for You, But Remember to Hit Mute
This mistake happens all the time, especially to my fellow admins; forgetting to hit mute while typing. You’re trying to stay focused during the Zoom call, thus you’re taking notes as you would in any lecture/meeting. And it seems convenient to take notes on your computer during a Zoom call. However, you forget that your Macbook keys sound like a shaken box of Tic Tacs. In every call I’ve joined, there’s always an awkward moment where someone is called out. The moderator politely asks for the individual to mute themselves because they’re typing loudly. You can get a lot of things wrong, we’re only human, but don’t be that one person who gets called out for doing your civic duty of staying busy.
3. Please Please PLEASE Have a Meeting Agenda (or Ask for one)
You can come off as real bold asking for an agenda, but someone’s gotta do it! I admit I sometimes get gutsy and I poke the bear. That bear being the executive leading the meeting. It can be intimidating to ask for a Zoom call agenda. Yet, it’s better to come in with a script than to join a meeting blindly. If you’re a student, then your educator might have a lesson plan. And if you’re a professional there may already be a meeting plan. Whenever I’m in a Zoom meeting I need to know for how long and what’s “the point.” What is the reason that I need to get out of sweats? (Why do I do this? Keep reading!) What are we trying to accomplish? Having a meeting agenda makes the Zoom call all the more focused, and can help you wrangle in people caught up playing with the backgrounds...I literally can’t even get into how annoying that is...like literally I CAN NOT…
4. Trade in the Groutfit for Something Cute, Comfortable, and Classy
In my first Zoom calls, I remember being taken aback seeing my colleagues adorning collegiate hoodies, beanies, and baseball caps. There are people that I frankly couldn’t recognize without their signature styled hair or garments. To a degree it’s been comforting seeing the human side to people on Zoom. Through noticing their styling outside of the office I get a better sense of the person behind the email. As comforting as a Zoom in your sweats, I think that if you’re a professional you can do better. It sucks to admit, but appearances still matter in this world. Considering fashion as a tool of expression, I think that you can present yourself as both professional while remaining comfortable. Of course, if you have to get in a suit do it, own it, sell it!
I’ve opted to trade in my college crewneck for a nice turtleneck paired with some good Lulu bottoms because why not!? I may not opt-in for a full blowout, however I’ll put enough effort to look groomed. That’s my caveat, find a nice top, brush your hair, and smile because you’re on camera!
5. If You MUST Use a Digital Background Please Make It Make Sense
I knew in writing this list I could not, and would not, avoid the topic of Zoom backgrounds. I am unapologetic about being a pop culture fanatic. Despite knowing trending topics like the back of my hand, I recognize that there is a time and a place to show off my fandom. A Zoom meeting is not one of those times. In a recent Zoom meeting I was shocked, quite literally shocked, that someone had a Joe Exotic background on for the entire meeting. It wasn’t an elephant in the digital room because several people all had to comment on the background. Just like my last points about presenting oneself, being organized, and muting the mic, I think that there’s an unspoken etiquette about not being outright distracting. The occasional mic issues I get, having a baby crying the background mmm okay sure, but a TIGER KING background? Sir, you knew what you were doing. Now I love TIGER KING and I’m not sorry about it, but save that for stanTwitter or another call.
6. Be Forward If You Predict a Distraction
Going back to the mention of crying babies or someone slurping on a straw, I think it’s worth giving a heads up if you know you may have distractions. If someone prompted you to jump on a call during your lunch I think you can say, “Hey there, sorry I was just in the middle of lunch.” Or if you’re working at home and things are a bit loud I think it’s okay to say, “Sorry the kids are making noise,” or whomever is making noise. Letting the other person know what to expect is always just a good sign of respect.
7. Don’t Forget the Camera is ALWAYS OnI’m glad to report that I’ve never had this issue! Sadly, I’ve seen a few meetings having awkward moments because someone was either caught texting or leaving the meeting screen. Don’t think that just because you open another window or minimize Zoom that you’re no longer live. That green light atop your screen is your reminder and alert that you’re still on screen. I recently had a minor hiccup happen where I had to leave the meeting, and I handled it lowkey. My computer was running low and battery, and while I went to grab my charger I turned my video off. When I settled back in I resumed video and it was less distracting than if my colleagues had seen me stand up and walk away.
8. Take the Time to Check Your Connection
Now of all the tips I’ve presented this is one where you can let tech take the blame. Having reliable WiFi is truly a luxury that those of us working from home take for granted. I could not imagine the anxiety I’d have if I knew that I could drop out of Zoom meeting any moment. It behooves you test out the WiFi wherever you are to find out where and what devices it works best on. If you know that your internet connection isn’t the most reliable, I think it’s fair to share that and ask for a dial into the Zoom. There’s always a work around to IT issues you just can’t be afraid to ask!
9. Don’t Ask me to join a Zoom Happy Hour…Especially Work Related
This recommendation has less to do with work, but I think has everything to do with etiquette all the same. It’s already quite jarring working from home during this current situation. I sometimes feel like my different all coalesce in what should be my safe haven; home. Again, I’m not at all complaining about work - I truly am grateful to remain employed. I just can’t muster the energy to spend more time on another Zoom call trying to be engaged or preppy when really I just want a break from social interactions. Because yes, emails and calls all count as interaction even when you’re not seeing people. I get trying to build morale, but how about, “Have a great day!” over text?
In continuing the theme of life in this current moment, I think it’s time to acknowledge the simple pleasures of a morning cup of coffee. Whether you take your coffee with cream and sugar, all black, or like me iced, I think many of us have overlooked the joys of our morning brew.
For many, coffee is just something that’s there. Forgettable and unimpressive, it’s the thing we drink without even thinking about it. Now I’m no coffee connoisseur. I’m not here to write about who makes the best coffee, even though we all know Dunkin makes better ice coffee while Starbucks makes the better cold brew. What I want to discuss is how in our new normal everyday tasks can offer harmony instead of balance.
In my experience, I felt like I had to find balance in staying at home. The pressures of work, comfort of home, and anxiety of the ongoing situation constantly raced around my mind. There were times when I felt like I had a grasp on my thoughts. Claiming I struck a balance was only temporary. In trying to focus on remaining productive at work, I was neglecting duties at home and in self-care. But the same was true if I focused on one area, like self-care even, more than the others. I found that the idea of finding balance caused more imbalance.
I recently discovered that I don’t like the ideology of “finding balance.” When you’re looking for this, it means that there are usually opposing forces fighting for dominance. But as people the different fields of our lives, those complexities and responsibilities, are what make us well rounded. Rather than hoping to achieve balance i started to consider how to harmonize the different parts of my life.
Harmonization at its core means adding things together to make a complimentary combination. While it seems like a forever ago, I vividly remember never fully enjoying my morning rituals. I was in a mad dash to power through a morning workout, blast out some emails, and tune into the latest news. In my head, none of the things I was doing seem connected. Even my morning coffee was just something that was there out of habit. The drink was even hot with no decorum at all. Not at all the standard I hold when grabbing something from a chain like Starbucks.
As I started to look for harmony I understood that not all my responsibilities were treated equally and with the same care. There have been more mornings where I decide to just want to sit with my thoughts, catch up with friends and family, or spend another minute really smelling that coffee I’m making. I noticed I wasn’t moving as fast through my to-do list as I used to. How could I? With our current situation, I cannot take these beats of everyday life for granted.
Rather than mindlessly marching into the kitchen, I now stroll there with my phone and computer in hand. As my coffee poured into my cup, I started reading through my emails. Against my first instinct, I wouldn’t start replying immediately. Instead, I first took a minute to appreciate the steam curls that unwound over my ceramic cup. As the radiating heat calmed into steady streams, I also lined up my thoughts. The most urgent emails were addressed promptly. Anything that could wait a minute I marked for later. Because as important as it is for me to remain productive at work I had to also remain productive in my active lifestyle. A part of my identity that is important to me as well.
Whether it was just a stretching session or a brisk walk on the treadmill, I took the time to complete a task that made me feel whole. And instead of clamping my computer closed, I used this time to watch any clips or projects that I had to for work. The different parts of my life weren’t separate and I wasn’t in a competition to balance them out. My worlds were now harmonizing as these different tasks were being addressed together. It wasn’t as anxiety inducing as I once thought. My mind was clear and I truly felt focused on all I was doing. I could, and should, feel like all of these things matter at the same level.
As my personal quarantine calendar has reached the 20s (I started the day CA announced its stay home order) I have started to feel at peace with this new reality. My days aren’t as productive as they used to be, and that’s perfectly okay. Because what matters most during this time is not how many miles I run or the number of emails I send out, it’s the quality of what I do. Thus, taking the time to make my coffee, really taste it, and even serve it over ice, adds a splash of harmony into what is a truly an unprecedented time in my life and of countless others.
I encourage you that next time you make your morning roast take just a minute longer. Grab your favorite mug, think about what flavor of creamer best suits your brew, and ask yourself if you want it piping hot or cool as a cucumber. Maybe even bring it into a space that you normally would not as well. When worlds collide it can be jarring, but if you invite different parts in gradually it can feel enriching. I guarantee that treating every task with care and importance will make you day end more fulfilled.