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.
The new group of friends I was hanging with enhanced my confidence so much. My friends introduced me to the holy grail of alcoholic beverages with the White Claw. With only 100 calories and like 0 carbs this was the universe’s will telling me to get into shape! Let it be known that Lauren Kane introduced me to these endless fun. The spring good times just kept rolling and one of our group’s highlights was sharing tips and tricks into getting our bodies right for #CatamaranSeason. Which by the way we created, trademarked, and could never be copied. I saw my friends jogging, eating greens all the time, and snacking on chips that were chips but like also weren’t… I just remember that as I tried different workouts or just tried to commit to going to the gym I wasn’t hiding it from my friends like I used to avoid the subject at all.
My time in England had made me confident in my skin because here I met people who liked me for me. Kind of like what the spring offered me, my semester abroad was my clean slate. I gave myself permission to talk about my insecurities, not hide behind humor, and be open about what I liked and didn’t like. Granted, I thought I’d never see these friends again, but thank God I didn’t ghost them! During my time abroad I had started to cook for myself, since in the UK there are no dining halls, and being active regularly. One of my favorite past times was taking the First Bus to the Norwich Castle Mall and roaming around, with no goal or destination in mind. This same sense of drifting is what helped me walk into the gym at school and not say no. I was always down to go anywhere and that included taking a spin class, signing up for CrossFit, or hell even entertaining my friend Pippa’s idea of joining rugby for like 0.2 seconds.
As my walls came down I started to let my friends in and teach me what they knew about fitness. My friend Will, I swear we became friends since we have the same name, taught me what he learned from his personal trainer. I started to build a basic routine and felt good about knowing a little bit of what I was doing. I felt a difference in my body for sure. But nothing inspired me more than when it was that famed day for our boat and I noticed that my board shorts were a bit looser. My shorts weren’t falling off my hips, but I felt that for once I was actually doing something and my body was responding. I promised myself that when summer came I would get a gym membership, shoutout to my friend Ailyn who really got me to get over my fears of the gym.
Since the summer of 2018 , I started watching workout vids, following influencers, and investing into getting the right gear for this fitness journey of mine. I don’t remember the moment when I realized I had started this journey, it all kind of just started to line up. And that’s how I feel about signing up for this race. I never thought of signing up for a marathon because I thought it was something I maybe wasn’t ready to do. But this is why I surround myself who see my potential, because my personal trainer knew this was not impossible.
After graduating from school in May, I moved back home and one of the first big boy things I did was find a gym and commit to personal training. Luckily, Planet Fitness came in clutch! There was a gym by my house and I started taking classes with the trainer slowly. Now those first workouts kicked my ass! I would feel winded during our warm up, like girl all we were doing was jumping jacks, some burpees, and high knees how was I dying?! Well this pain was the reason I knew I was doing the right thing. Every time I reset during a set or was told to stop to fix my breathing was building me up. The weekly class became two a week, then three, then four, then starting Orange Theory, and then mixing in heavy weight and resistance. My trainer noticed me getting stronger and looking better, I truly felt like I was glowing because my family and friends noticed our work paying off. I’d learned to trust the pain in the process thanks to my trainer, and when she presented the 5k to me I didn’t immediately say no. She was presenting me with a new fitness goal to reach. I was game!
Here’s an interesting note, the week before the 5K I was in Arkansas. Because I was on a work trip, I didn’t really have the time or resources to squeeze in much of a workout besides some push ups or crunches at night. I tried to watch my eating, but with parties every night I did enjoy a good vodka soda and southern fried food copiously. After arriving on Tuesday night, I signed up for an OTF class for Wednesday and booked a training session on Thursday and Friday. I had no idea how my body would respond to the shock of getting back into the grind, but I had to get back into it if I wanted to do this 5k the best that I could.
I guess I got lucky, because my OTF workout was all cardio. And when I mean ALL cardio I mean we ONLY used TREADMILLS and ROWERS. Someone could have picked me up and squeezed me and sweat would have poured out as if I was a little sponge. My trainer was running the 5K with myself, her daughter, and another gym member, and so we focused on getting in some good leg workouts. She knew I was stagnant most of my trip. However, she let me know that this was her first ever 5K to and that we were doing this for ourselves. Knowing that we were a team of novices excited me. Even though I woke up at like 5:00am to make a smoothie and get in my pre workout, I was energized this morning.
At 8:10am the call was made for all the 5k runners to line up. Someone nearby asked her friend Are you nervous? Her friend shrugged and said Kinda, I guess. If she had asked me, I would’ve said Same. I was not nervous to run, nor was I super eager to either. I was in the zone and could only think about keeping my pace. As the rope was cut the only voice that mattered was Rita Ora’s as the first song on my 5K DAY playlist was “Anywhere.” For most of the race, the gang stood together. Yet, a mile into the run we came across a steep hill. I shuffled beside my trainer and she noticed my steady breathing. You got a personal goal you gotta go reach it. She waved her hand forward and smiled. Just like her goal was to not let this hill beat her, mine was to not stop. I nodded and smiled and took off to keep my heart rate up. I looked forward, popped in my other AirPod and zoned back into the race.
My legs were pumping forward and my breath was steady, I looked briefly at my phone and could not believe that I was 2.9 miles in! The morning was still very cool and I felt my body radiating warmth. My hat gave me some shade and as I made it up the last hill I finally saw the sun breaking. The first few rays of light hit the path in front of me and it seemed like all the runners followed this illuminated path to the finish line. I took one last deep breath and pushed the earth away from me as I saw the finish line and the timer. Under 35, under 35, under 35.... that's what I kept telling myself.
I was really feeling it because when I crossed the finish line I felt something cold touch my hand and I was broken out of a trance. One of the volunteers handed me my medal and congratulated me for finishing. I was panting, but you know damn well I had to put it on and record this moment. I had finished a 5K. I didn't care about winning, didn't care about who had the cutest outfit, all I cared about is that I had done something else that I never thought I could do before. When my trainer found me she said I made it in 35:30 not bad for my first time, but look at you! I saw you get there before me! She was proud of me and I was too. We had a big group hug and I didn't care about comparing times or anything. I was just happy that just how I started my fitness journey trusting strangers turned friends that here I was with a new group that would continue to inspire me to say thank u, next wellness milestone.
Last semester, a magical moment happened when I was added inducted into a friend group we call "310 & Friends." It's a group, it's a family, full of support, laughs, and craziness that I love. While some of our group members are gone from campus, they are still in our hearts and free to contribute to the hilarious group chat where we spew any and all thoughts we generate. Today, someone tossed around the idea of going to the gym as a group. I initially did not want to go because of the grotesque weather, it was raining, but also because the only other times I have been in the gym have been when I had dance related things. Yes I do dance, but I don't do it well. I try.
"310" is full of amazing people who act as each others cheer leaders and so I felt encouraged and welcome to enter a space I scarcely explore. I was at Saga, our dining hall, and as my phone displayed 6:57pm I knew I had to start getting ready. I briefly went with some friends as they got their club pictures taken, but when 7:30 was on the screen I decided to head home.
I wasn't sure what to wear because I knew I would sweat, but it was also hella cold outside. I decided that joggers, a cute sweater, and my unnecessary tumbler would suffice.
We met up and went up a hill, then down a very long, long, long, long, long set of stairs before we made it to the football field. From there, avoided puddles we made our way to the gym where we lined up and swiped in.
Near the track there are shelves. We all piled, wrapped, and hid our jackets in the same manner we do when we go to parties and it's freezing like hell. See, a college education is more than just about the letter grades.
I made my way into the room full of the equipment, that's what I'll call it equipment. I won't even pretend to know what those machines are called or do. All I know is that these machines make people hot and that's why we're here.
For sure, the first thing I did was ask Lauren to record me on the bike so I could fulfill my dream of being in Ariana Grande's squad in the "Side to Side" music video.
After half an hour, that I didn't even feel pass, we moved upstairs to an empty room. We found a speaker and of course put on a bumping playlist that got us feeling physical. By the way, the songs included: Beyonce ft. Nicki Minaj "Flawless Remix", Cascada "Every time We Touch", and Meghan Trainor "Me Too."
From stretching, to dancing, and even random things with sticks and balls, we busted a sweat. When Allie panted to catch her breath and then say, "It's 9 everybody let's go," I was surprised. I could not tell that an hour had passed by.
The point of this post is that in the new year I had made a goal to improve my wellness, and here is the start to that. Whether you go alone, or with a squad, going to the gym can be fun! It's all about having a great mindset, proper hydration, a cute outfit, and a hot playlist.
In honor of Valentine's Day I wanted to write about someone who deserves the most love today; yourself. Today is a day all about giving attention to others, but you cannot forgot to give yourself some love too!
On Valentine's Day I write people letters and this is my form of showing them my adoration. Some people buy flowers, boxes of candy, and others invest in obscenely big bears, but I prefer a card above all else. It may seem like a cheap move but really it's not. Writing a card means I invested time, thought, and work into your gift. I'll even send carefully crafted texts with a tastefully paired emoji. I'm digressing, the reason I'm writing this article is because on the day of love not only do we forget to love ourself but we also forget to love who we are.
It's no secret that popular media has many problems in representing what our society really looks like. From whitewashing casts, to ignoring queer bodies, and even photoshopping models to unattainable proportions, our media crafts a fantasy realm we will never belong to. I will be the first to admit, my body ody ody isn't the best. In fact, some would say it's the worst it can get. But I have decided that people who say comments like this or judge people based off superficial elements are people I do not want to associate myself with. On the day of love, or any day in general, you should be surrounded by people who adore you inside and out.
I set a few goals for myself in 2017, and one of these goals was improving my wellness. I understand the concept of body envy, and I admit to have had it before. I know what it's like watching TV or movies and feeling embraced that I don't look like the stars. I know the feeling of wanting that outfit from GQ but not finding it in my size. All these things take a toll on your self esteem, but if you know what you're worth then these things don't matter. The reason for wanting to improve my wellness is not because of superficial reasons like wanting to attract people or go all over Instagram. I want to be healthy so I can be healthy.
I think that whatever you do should be only for you. The only person who will ever care the most about you is you. Love yourself above all else. Do what makes you happy.
I am honestly blessed to have friends who love me for being the petty-foul-mouthed-mess that I am. These are friends who I would never want to replace and they are friends who will always be my Valentine! I am okay with not being romantically involved with anyone right now because I am focusing on me. If you have a Valentine's date than I am so happy for you!
This is a really random post but it's something I wanted to share! Today and every other day love yourself for being you! Love your hair, your skin, your eyes, your mind, and all of you. And even if the big screen or glossy pages encourage you not to, love your shape, because round is shape.