Are You Making These 4 Post-Workout Mistakes?

In the last four years, learning about the gym has been a tremendous learning curve. Lots of information I was given in high school about health and fitness was wrong. Growing up I also thought the “fad diets” were what worked. Looking back, like you saw in last week’s post Stop losing Pounds and Focus on Inches, I found out that I was completely misinformed. It’s the same with the gym and exercise though. There are a lot of ways in which to reform your body, and the things that work for me may or may not work for you and your body… BUT there are a couple universal things that each of us have to remember to do in order to reach our goals.

People tend to think you have to eat less instead of eat properly; others think you have to spend 2-3 hours in the gym a day for 6-7 nights a week in order to build muscle. I’m here to tell you RIGHT NOW that isn’t true!

Are you sabotaging yourself?

Regardless of the amount of time you spend between the four walls of a gym, you will NOT see any results if you don’t make the correct choices after you’re finished. Below, I’ve compiled my top four post – workout mistakes I’ve not only been guilty of myself, but that I see in those around me every day.

Mistake 1: You Skip the Cool Down

Taking the time to let your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal levels cuts your risk of injury.

Look, if it’s cardio and you’re pumping your heart out, you don’t want to shock your system any more than you already are and abruptly halt. I’ve become dizzy and it’s made working out a negative experience while it should be a positive one. Cooling down allows your blood to circulate properly, supplying your system with oxygen and nutrients, and helps muscle recovery. It helps gradually push the lactic acid and other unwanted substances out of the muscles, reducing soreness.

Mistake 2: You Don’t Stretch

Stretching helps to reorganize your body to a natural position and posture. Walk out of the gym without paying attention to areas that are overly tight, and you may pay the price later on with increased soreness and stiffness. Performing some stretches post-workout can help reduce the baby giraffe walk after leg day – which, let’s face it, less soreness isn't just more pleasant for you—it also means you're likely to hit the gym again sooner. Win-win!

Use Wacces Yoga Strap Stretch Restore Multi-Grip Fitness Pilates Stretching Belt Multicolor (Blue) (pictured right), or you can prefer to simply stop by the blue mats on your way out of the gym and use your own discretion. I love these bands for deepening the stretches in certain positions.

Mistake 3: Your Snack Game is Weak

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They say that estrogen levels in women tend to protect the loss of stored energy, decreasing the metabolism to keep the energy sustained from your food intake. “When resources (calories) are scarce, the body prioritizes essential functions (like respiration, and regulating body temperature and blood pressure) over things like rebuilding muscle tissue. Inadequate food intake makes it nearly impossible to increase muscle strength or size, and the energy deficit can seriously weaken your power in training sessions in general.” Basically, the less you eat, the more your body preserves and the more your functional systems shut down.

Protein helps replace the amino acids used during cardio, such as a significant run, or helps fatigued muscles repair themselves after weightlifting in the gym. Under eating sabotages recovery because it helps your muscles repair themselves after your workout. Period.

Mistake 4: You Can’t Quit the Booze

Sorry, but a beer after your 5k doesn't count as a post-workout snack.

Drinking causes ANY and all Fat or Sugar burning to cease. Your metabolism goes the opposite of what we all want – it flips the fat storing switch to the ‘on’ position, as well as the liver and muscles not being able to store sugars as glycerin for later. For any ladies using hormonal contraceptives – and I JUST found this out – issues with alcohol and your plateau are correlational. It’s said that supplementing with B6 should be a daily requirement.

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Look, I get it. I actually just participated in a Pub Run on Friday... (pictured)

They're fun and social and get you motivated if you're into that kind of thing. But they are solely FUN and are NOT conducive towards your fitness goals in the slightest.

Drinking alcohol immediately after (or during) a workout slows muscle recovery, dehydrates your body, and increases your risk of blood clots. It's best to only drink water for at least 30 minutes afterward—and then you can hit the bar if you'd like. 

So that's the basics on why it's not working for you - if it's not! You need to cut the booze, stretch, cool down and eat right. But, hopefully, you already are doing all of those things.

Stop Losing Pounds and Focus on Inches

I've officially lost 3% body fat since I started the Motivationchella (that's now just motivation for life lol), as of last Monday! Overall, that's 7% since the beginning (yeah it's been four years)! It's been a long road of watching the scale dip up and down, but I'm excited that I'm focusing more now on the measurements rather than the number.

My coworkers and I have had this exact conversation before. I've told them that my original goal was to break 200 back when I began this whole thing, and immediately they wanted to share the facts that I already know to be true: It doesn't matter what the scale says!

Wait, What do you mean?

Five pounds of Fat versus 5 pounds of muscle (I don't own this image)

Five pounds of Fat versus 5 pounds of muscle (I don't own this image)

Yep. You read that right. The scale doesn't matter! Our bodies are obviously going to differ among different people, BUT the composition of fat and muscle are very different. Yes, a pound of muscle is the same weight as a pound of fat, but they don't LOOK the same when you compare them - one is larger in size (see left).

“I need to lose _pounds before_”

It’s a common thing among women, to watch the scale and either feel motivated by it going down or to feel just the opposite if it climbs a single ounce. What we have to remember during our journey, Piggie Posse, is that our relationship to our bodies is important. Yes, the scale reads out your relation to gravity and is usually a good gauge of your progress for WEIGHT loss, what it is NOT is a good instrument for measuring what we’re all trying to achieve here: FAT loss. Simply measuring with the scale will not tell you what kind of things your body has done in recent weeks; if the scale hasn’t budged, its OKAY! Livestrong.com says:

Measuring inches lost shows the visible effects of weight loss… better than looking at pounds alone. Because muscle is more dense than fat, a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat… A 135-pound woman with 20 percent body fat weighs the same as a 135-pound woman with 14 percent body fat, for example, but the woman with less body fat will have smaller measurements, and she'll look more fit.”

Whenever I say the word ‘displacement’ – this is what I mean. You’ll lose the inches by dropping fat, and gain some muscle which is why the scale hasn’t moved much. Tracking your measurements all over will help you see where it is you’re gaining the muscle as well as losing fat and you can target those areas, specifically. If you strictly focus on the scale, you’re more likely to commit to drastic measures in order to achieve your goals, as well. You should be losing a pound to two a week, as a good guideline. Anything faster than that will do detriment to muscle growth.

Eating whole unprocessed foods like I mentioned in 3 Secrets of Clean Eating that Everyone Misses, (lean proteins, fruits and vegetables) will nourish your cells, support your muscles, and help you feel content as you work toward your goal. When you have more muscle mass, you lose fat, your metabolism increases and foods you eat burn quickly - the cycle continues.

3 Secrets of Clean Eating that Everyone Misses

So last week, I told you Why Your Diet Doesn’t Work, and all of the factors involved in changing your lifestyle versus the ‘quick fix’ of a fad diet. I wanted to delve deeper into that subject, as I’ve stated many times before, it’s not what you think it’s going to be.

First and foremost, I want to rectify a misconception of what "Clean Eating" might be - this IS NOT 'Paleo' or Whole30. There are similarities between them, but it doesn't exclude grains, legumes (beans, nuts, peas, etc), dairy products, natural sugars, sea salt or oils like the other diets do. You don't have to go raw, you don't have to go vegan or vegetarian. Depending on who you are, it really depends on what you prefer to eat in eating clean... You CAN go organic to avoid certain things, but don't have to. You CAN eat red meat, but if you prefer not to, you can choose which lean protein you prefer (like chicken or fish).

I posted a photo on Instagram about meal prepping that I thought was accurate for how I began my journey. I started four years ago while choosing what I thought would work - the points system diet. This meant (to me) that I could eat as crappy as I wanted, as long as I only ate 24 points a day.

Those misconceptions about eating within my portions, and the mindset I had all the times before this attempt to lose weight, were VERY misguided, looking back. I thought I could eat anything within a certain point allotment, and make progress! I was wrong, and I'm here to help anyone who will listen.

Are you a Victim of your Own Kitchen?

Sometimes, fast food salads are worse than the cheeseburger options when it comes to nutritional value simply because of what they include (i.e. THE DRESSING). There are a ton of misinterpretations when it comes to valuing the plate in front of you the 'correct' way, and you can tell the difference in your body and energy levels once you get it right.

1.       Cut out as much processed food as possible

I mentioned that personally, I began eating things that weren’t processed or altered from their natural states (for the most part) including junk foods - chips, bread, cereals, any microwaveable meals, or sodas. This includes what I used to think were the healthier options, like Jamba Juice smoothies or acai bowls in large size, and even salads from any fast food chain. It’s more about being mindful of the content of what you’re ingesting versus, say, thinking you’re eating healthy by eating broccoli (great job!) but slathering it with half a jar of liquid cheese (BAD! but...I’ve been there)!

You have to clear out your cabinets of all temptation. At least, that’s what I did. It’s easier on those individuals without families, or those who have the same goals as their roommates/partner/living situation, mostly because you’re not faced with it daily or have poor choices readily available to you.

Like I said in How To Boost Your Metabolism, you have to eat healthy fats – this non-fat diet crap is misleading. Lean proteins, raw fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.

2.       Toss the Sugar!

Most of the items you eat nowadays with "low" or "non-fat" have sugars and other additives to it to make up for the label nonfat. Please READ YOUR LABELS. They're allowed to deceive you on the front packaging of the item you're buying, but if you read the back, they legally are not allowed to lie about what is in the product. 

The only sugar you need will come from eating whole fruits since these are coupled with fiber, protein, and fat to help lessen the effects on your insulin levels. I mean whole fruits, too - not the kind in the little cups with juice in them in the can aisle of the grocery store, but fruits you cut/peeled/prepared yourself and found in the produce section. Not even the pre-cut sold in containers! If you didn’t do it yourself, it’s not beneficial to your waistline OR your wallet (no wonder whole foods is so pricey)!

FACT: The American Heart Association recommends no more than roughly 6 teaspoons per day for women and about 9 for men. The average American gets about 4 times that - 28 teaspoons per day.

It's also in more than just sodas and desserts—keep an eye on sugars added to healthier foods like yogurt (choose plain), tomato sauce and cereal. Look for foods without sugar as one of the main ingredients (top three). If you're unsure how to accomplish this, check out my post on How to Cut Out Sugar.

3.       Watch your Sodium Intake

Just like with sugar, most of us are getting far more sodium than we should.

The Institute of Medicine recommends capping sodium at 2,300 milligrams daily, about one teaspoon of salt.

Watching how much food that goes into your body that has been processed will help you reduce both sugar and sodium intake as well, as they usually contain more than homemade versions. I flavor all of my dishes with herbs and spices – some from my own herb garden. Instead of garlic salt, I prefer garlic powder or simply minced garlic. Sea salt or coarse salt is better for you in terms of sodium intake compared to table salt.

What You CAN Eat

  • Six small meals a day (3 meals & 3 snacks)
  • Lean protein (Turkey, Salmon, Skinless Chicken, etc)
  • Complex carbohydrates (Oats, Quinoa, Sweet Potato)
  • Healthy fats (EVOO, Avocado, GF butter)
  • Fruits and vegetables 
  • Properly portioned foods (depends on your weight and physical activity levels)
  • Half your body weight in ounces of water DAILY

    What to AVOID:

    • Over processed foods, (white flour & sugar)
    • Artificial sweetener (SweetN'Low, Equal, Nutrasweet - STEVIA/TRUVIA IS OKAY in small amounts
    • Sugary drinks (soda & juice)
    • Alcohol (Check out my post about this HERE)
    • Chemical additives (food dyes & sodium nitrite)
    • Preservatives
    • Artificial foods (cheese slices)
    • Saturated fats and trans fats

    Fill up on premium!

    You have to go into this knowing that you're changing your lifestyle and way you cook and prepare your nourishment... You have to think of your body like a car, your stomach like a fuel tank, and your food as your gasoline. You're no longer allowing your little putt-putt car to accept sludge - fill that bitch up with PREMIUM and watch the performance enhancement as you drive.

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    Why Your 'Diet' Doesn't Work

    I know this may shock some of you, but DIETS don't work. As Taryn Brumfit states in "Embrace", you shouldn't trust anything that begins with the word "DIE".

    Society seems to like shoving diets down our throats in magazines and commercials, suggesting we need to look a certain way. I say that mostly because as a whole, we all glorify those images and body types that we find ideal, and instead of looking and appreciate what we have, we strive for 'better'. It’s simply a marketing gimmick made by the 60-billion-dollar diet industry, made to make you feel bad about yourself and meant to get you to buy their product or whatever service they’re trying to sell you. It’s clever, but it’s unreal - Happiness and contentment with one's body isn't good for business economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? It's become sort of a rebellious concept to be content, calm, or happy with our "non-upgraded", messy existence... 

    Like I’ve said before:

    DIETS. DON’T. WORK

    We’ve known it since the sixties, but we still ‘diet’ which results in “nearly all dieters (90-95%) [regaining] the weight they lost within one to five years” (Fitness for Weight loss). So - Toss the diet! It’s about persistence and a change of lifestyle that fosters healthy habits long term.

    Not eating carbs for six weeks will OF COURSE help me lose weight, but the minute I start eating carbs again, it will come back. I plan on keeping the weight I lose – I’d never like to find it again!

    As I have been telling the same co-worker who tries to get me to indulge in ice cream, if you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you simply aren’t hungry and DEFINITELY don’t need ice cream. Why we “want what we want” in terms of our diets and eating habits fascinates me; As do cravings. A girlfriend of mine responded to her children over a debate about pizza and candy for dinner one night with “You’re going to eat this broccoli because it’s good for you. It’s not your birthday - Not every meal is supposed to be a party in your mouth.” So, Jaycie, why can’t I just go on a diet?

    Results are Short Lived

    Short term goals are great to have – they keep us accountable, however it doesn’t foster a maintainable change long term. You need to mentally change how you look at food. If you see it as fuel for your body, and have a relationship with the food you ingest, then you will succeed. It’s not about how you look – it’s about how you feel. I know people who have starved themselves for a couple weeks, only eating just enough to not pass out. Sure, you can fit into the next pant size down, but that’s not a sustainable method for longer than the duration of that particular method.

    Diets focus on the things you can have and the things you can’t, not why you choose Del Taco and soda over homemade chicken and broccoli or why you go back for seconds when you’re already full; not to mention why you would eat mindlessly in front of the television/computer/tablet/smartphone. Yeah, sometimes it’s easier and I struggle with that too, but that’s the bigger picture, not “how can I lose X lbs.in X days?”

    Diets are Stressful

    Everything about the word evokes negative energy. When you think about all the things you’re restricted to or the deadline you’ve set for yourself, it creates tension in the back of our minds and food should be enjoyable to a point, and when our stress rises, so do the chemicals in the brain that weakens our body’s burning potential – our metabolism slows and nurtures the exact opposite environment for weight loss.

    We have to learn to enjoy what we’re eating, and create a happy relationship with food. My friend Jeannette (who was also in my post about How Bon Affair Can Help Your Diet a while back) wrote a whole article about her relationship with food and the life associated with being a Community Supported Agriculture Coordinator for The Abundant Table, and did so beautifully:

    “Growing up in Los Angeles of all places, it's neigh impossible to escape the city without swallowing an overtly negative tone to the daily ritual of eating. Bodies are rated according to their numerical value and food consumed is reduced to caloric intake, or perhaps "good" or "bad" polyunsaturated fats. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about these things until a few years ago, when I decided not to. One of the many benefits of an intimate connection with the food that is destined for your body is the realization that food, and particularly the vegetables that come from these Camarillo fields, are wonderfully complex, fascinating organisms that are so much more than the number of heat units that they break down into.” ~ Jeannette Ban, The Abundant Table, Jan. 2017 Newsletter

    She continues on and concludes with the fact that we all have things about our outward appearance we wish sometimes we could change or enhance, but that regardless of our thoughts about our outsides, our insides are magically vibrant, breathing and digesting – doing what it was made to do.

    So, Jaycie, what do I do??

    I recently have been talking to a friend about her decision to take her eating habits to the next level, and get back into a routine favorable to thinning out and becoming healthy. We discussed what is and isn’t conducive to that goal, and I gave her a meal plan to follow that would allow her to enjoy food as well as stick to a change in lifestyle. That’s what this is – a lifestyle change, not a temporary or quick fix (like I said in How to Stay Mindful this Independence Day, last year). Personally, I started with eating things that weren’t processed (any food that has been altered from its natural state in some way, either for safety reasons or convenience). Processed foods include chips, bread, cereals, any microwaveable meals, or sodas.

    The best and only way to lose weight for good?

    Make small, gradual, and realistic changes to your exercise and eating habits over time and continue to enjoy the food you’re ingesting. It’s fuel.

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    Not Just Half Crazy Anymore...

    Last Thursday as I was creating social media content for work, I googled road closures for our lovely Strawberry Festival in Oxnard and found this - The Flying Pig Marathon.

    Well. I've officially lost my damn mind

    If you would've told my ten year old self that one day I'd enjoy running, she wouldn't have EVER believed you. Five years ago, I wouldn't envision signing up for a 5k. I never wanted to run a half marathon that took up more than 2 hours of my life hitting the pavement. And... Normally, I'd have laughed in your face if you asked me if I'd like to run TWENTY-SIX miles in a row, but this one felt like it was MADE for me, and why would I travel over 2,000 miles just to complete a half marathon I know I could do here in California? It didn't seem worthwhile to just stay with what felt safe.

    That's a theme with my life lately... Safety. Since things fell apart, I'd been trying to find any sort of control or balance in my life; trying to stay within a comfort zone after so much trauma and upset. Life keeps pulling me away from stasis, and I just want to have a little normal in my routine. Instead of embracing this wall of change, I'm usually fighting it at every curve and making my life harder than it needs to be. As if it's screaming "Do you want to make progress? Then do something DIFFERENT than you've been doing, and you'll get results!" but I keep needing to re-learn the same lesson over and over. So, let's do ALL the things different then (clearly with the red hair)! 

    Like you've read in the last couple weeks, I've been trying new things and "getting my heal on", so to speak, but if there's anything I want more in my life right now it's security. The last two years have been nothing but walking around on eggshells to please others, and I need to have the reigns in my own grasp finally, rather than in anyone else's... again - that was my own doing by allowing it and not reassessing proper boundaries.

    1st Half Jumping on the finish line PR: Finish Time - 2:50:53

    1st Half
    Jumping on the finish line
    PR: Finish Time - 2:50:53

    Costume Party Half Marathon San Diego June 2014

    Costume Party Half Marathon San Diego
    June 2014

    OC Half Marathon, Costa Mesa May 2015

    OC Half Marathon, Costa Mesa
    May 2015

    4th Half PR: Finish Time Actual 2:28:09

    4th Half
    PR: Finish Time
    Actual 2:28:09

    The point? I want safety and security, but I also want to push myself and get better than what I used to be... What better way to do that then to do something I've always done, but just do it for longer?? I've run ten 5k's, one 10k, four Half Marathons, done one Pixie Dust Challenge (10k on Saturday, Half on Sunday = 19.3 miles) & finished the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (39.3 miles in two days). So...

    my half-crazy Soaring behind signed up for the flying pig marathon.The FULL one. In Ohio.

    WHAT. DID. I. GET. MYSELF. INTO?

    Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Santa Barbara September 2014

    Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Santa Barbara
    September 2014

    I may have bitten off more than I can chew, to be honest. However, I'm willing to put in the work for over a year to just be able to say I finished it. I'm definitely going into it with zero expectations of making any specific time or whatnot - the whole thing will be an automatic personal record. I've walked this distance before, back when I did the 2014 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, but this is going to be a little different. That was walking, with the pace of two teammates, and in a very hilly Santa Barbara, California. Those teammates would also probably not speak well my attitude... quite frankly, how much of a WEENIE I was.

    Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Santa Barbara September 2014

    Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Santa Barbara
    September 2014

    The Color Run, Ventura The run that started it all October 2013

    The Color Run, Ventura
    The run that started it all
    October 2013

    I complained a lot, and I'm not proud of it. Everything hurt, and I felt like I was dying. I'd only ever run ONE half marathon at that point in my journey, and I didn't realize I was developing plantar fasciitis. This marathon is going to be something else. I've run MANY distances since 2014, and am a lot lighter than I was. Not to mention, I have experience and work in an Athletics department with many people who are well-trained in recovery and sports medicine to draw knowledge from.

    I was talking to my cousin about it recently, and he says that we naturally apply meaning to things that don't necessarily have to mean anything at all simply to have something to hold onto; in my case: a haircut, a festival camping trip, a flight out of state for a coincidentally named marathon. I saw his point, but why not draw meaning from things? That's the point of life, right?

    Training for my halves in May Hollywood 10k, April 2015

    Training for my halves in May
    Hollywood 10k, April 2015

    To attribute, reflect and grow from experiences that may or may not end up important? I think it's important to remind yourself what you're capable of, and that pushing yourself can be invigorating - to which he agreed. I think I have enough time to truly prepare since it isn't until next May.

    Now, I just have to buy all the gear to get going... UGH. Anyone want to buy me a pair of ASICS ? These were my favorite: ASICS Gel Nimbus 15, the hot pink and mint color. I think I bought four pair and they're all worn... Anyway!

    If any of you have tips you'd like to share or pieces of advice upon reflection of your own running experiences, feel free to share them in the comments!

    My Secret Weapon in the Gym

    Alright, Piggie Posse – I told you over a month ago that I’d give you my secret, so here it is!

    It’s taken me a minute to feel okay about being this real with you, but I’ve been nothing but that since the beginning, and I’m not about to start lying to you or faking these things just to get by.

    If she dyed her hair after the relationship, y'all not getting back together. New hair, new life, new boo.png

    ANYWAY!I asked my co-worker (who trains clients privately on the side) to light a fire under my rear end to help me get my desert festival body ready by the end of April (like I told you a couple weeks ago in Operation Motivation-Chella), and that he did! 

    Not only did he give my sad, recently-single and depressed behind a swift kick in the tail at the beginning of March, he gave me a distraction; something to look forward to! It gave me a purpose again; it gave the nose-diving Soaring Swine a much-needed gust of wind. I definitely hadn’t been feeling right in the feels, and neither had my routine.

    Backstory: I’m the type of girl that when her heart gets broken, she goes to either extreme side of the coping spectrum. I either eat nothing and sleep all day, or I eat everything in sight and cry until I’m too exhausted to do anything else. Unfortunately for my waistline, it was the latter this time around. I’d spent my entire month off away from you guys feeling sorry for myself (rightfully so, if you knew what happened), and I had to give myself something to do to make it better again. SO, I asked my recently dubbed trainer what he could help me do to help. I utilized the weight room and the gym facilities, decided to dye my hair red and am taking my life back. You can fall apart, but you can’t unpack and live there, right??

    For the last nine weeks I've been honing in on my diet and for the last seven, my co-worker has given me a strict weightlifting plan. I’ve posted the basics of what we do here.

    All of these exercises are from the second micro-cycle we worked on during the immediate weeks leading up to the festival.

    This week, the days after I came back from the desert, were those strictly for cardio and mild exercises. I can only assume he's incorporating the periodization philosophy.

    Basically, it's a systematic variation in training in specificity, intensity and volume
    AAAAAND...

    "Periodization is defined as the “long-term cyclic structuring of training and practice to maximize performance to coincide with important competitions."A Simple Guide To Periodization For Strength Training

    Here are my results from the last 2.5 months:

    I’ve felt lighter, both physically and emotionally, and it’s given me a sense of my old self, prior to the last two years of constant walking on eggshells and anxiety. I haven’t had to take a Xanax the ENTIRE time I’ve been doing this program. Total inches off????

    15.5"!!!

    For anyone who knew me, I would get anxiety over the smallest upset – be it with platonic or my romantic relationships. I would be derailed by the slightest of confrontation and out of commission until all was resolved, and I think it had something to do with those I chose to surround myself with (not to mention my lack of physical exercise to the degree I once was at before).

    I went from being active five days a week prior to November 2015, to maybe once or twice a week and at maybe 70% of what I was used to… I’d completely stopped running regularly too. I’m grateful to be back to my old Personal Record in running pace! So that’s my takeaway from this.

    Now, DO NOT get me wrong; I’m definitely not pointing a finger of blame on anyone other than myself for allowing my fitness motivation to slack. My mind was simply focused on other things, ones that I believed to be priorities. Now, come to find, those priorities were one sided and now I can focus on being what I'd always originally wanted - to be healthy both physically AND emotionally. I haven't had to take a Xanax since February!

    It takes great amounts of therapy, long conversations with *trusted* girlfriends and over ten hours a week of the gym to feel good again, as well as time – HOWEVER – environment plays a huge role, and in making absolutely NO room for anything other than positivity in my life for the last three months has been the BIGGEST BREATH OF FRESH AIR.

    There have been minor hiccups in diet, but as shown in my progress chart above, it's been working! Having a plan helps and having something to look forward to with baby milestones... I not only feel fantastic about my progress, physically & emotionally, but I've been finding out that I'm a pretty tough cookie both in the gym and out of it.

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    3 Ways to Rejuvenate your Routine

    I was just thinking to myself this morning how BADLY I didn’t want to eat the banana that I brought to work. A lot of what people think is difficult about this journey is the gym – which, YES it can be daunting and trying and physically challenging – but it’s NOT the steepest hill to climb. It’s the mind control over what goes in your mouth that I still to this day find difficult to control all the time. In my post How to Lose Weight…, I said that it’s 80% diet and 20% gym, and consistency is truly the main ingredient.

    At my desk, when faced with the browning banana or the easy $4 breakfast burrito at the café, I found myself more often than not giving in to what was easiest instead of what helped me achieve my goals. I know I could have it and still fit it into my daily allotment of calories/carbs etc, but it’s the sheer fact that I don’t have control over my urges that irritated me most.

    My co-worker constantly comes into my office suggesting we go get ice cream from the campus bookstore, or offers me free Swedish Fish (which, let's face it, those are easy to turn down since I don’t particularly like them). BUT when I’m starving and practically chained to my desk over the a deadline, I know that I’m easily swayed. And so does he, unfortunately. 

    What I’ve started doing is packing my mini fridge and desk drawer closest to me with healthier options, like fruit or oatmeal packets and leaving my purse/wallet out of reach across in the opposite filing cabinet.

    Whatever works, am I right?

    I’ve been in a daze slightly coming back to work from my Healthy-Chella mini music vacation, and my motivation has lessened since I don’t have my Goal-chella (eh, eh??)  to prepare for anymore, and I haven’t narrowed down “what’s next”… So, what IS next, Jaycie?? I need another end goal to perk myself back up!

    So, what are my favorite ways to jump start my motivation? I've given a couple here below:

    1.       Watch someone else do their work out
    Okay, I know it sounds lazy, but I’m serious!! I find new trends and new moves to add to my workouts simply by watching the girls I follow on Instagram or YouTube. I learned a few things in the beginning of my journey that way when I was too embarrassed to ask the trainers and staff members at the gym. Also, I found myself leaving the gym with women crushes - or women I wanted to look like or match in strength.

    2.       Switch it up!
    Take a class in between your weeks on and off whatever you’re currently doing. Sometimes when I get too into lifting or too into running, I find that taking a dance class, like Zumba or step class makes the world of difference. Try out Yoga! Take a walk around the park at dusk with a friend – anything!

    3.       Pin. The. Crap. Outta. Everything.
    The best way for me to stay motivated is to see the goal in sight – or to have a milestone event to prepare for (Clearly, I had Motivation-Chella…) I like to pin photos of delicious looking meals or of women I want to be just as strong as, sweating, with determined and encouraging words in the forefront. What’s your favorite??

    That’s just the mentality behind it though… You are the one who has to get up and keep moving! Make it happen! Are you going to get the abs you want solely by diet alone? NO. Exercise alone? NO – it’s the combination of the two, and you have a reason for doing this –

    WHAT IS YOURS?

    Healthy-Chella

    Man! What a weekend!

    I definitely needed an extra couple of days for recuperation...

    I have to say without a doubt, that was my favorite experience of this particular festival. I was mindful, kept myself open to new experiences, and it was filled with positive energy. Not to sound too cliché, but finding yourself in the midst of a sea of 100,000 people is enlightening (I was SOBER for that part, I promise)! Well, alright, maybe I had some sangria…

    BUT there ARE ways to enjoy these festivals without putting chemicals and terrible nutrients into your body. I camped with two of my girlfriends from college, and have to say they were way more prepared than I was, and that is saying something! These girls brought way more than I’ve ever brought before in terms of groceries, and it fared rather well the entire trip as far as refrigeration.

    Sydney brought her yeti cooler, stacked with vegetables and sandwich making tools, while Jeannine ensured we had plenty of java the whole weekend (side note, Jeannine and I met while we worked at Starbucks back in 2007). Not only did these girls help keep me caffeinated, they made sure we had healthy snacks along with a deliciously seasoned hunk of carne asada for dinner one of the nights.

    Day One, Friday

    We enjoyed walking around the campground in the morning. We walked towards the shopping vendors and bought some items while waiting for our food orders. I've bought breakfast burritos in previous years, but I wanted to get something with a little more value. The girls got delicious Acai bowls, while I got myself a fried egg with salsa and cheese from a food truck further down the lane. I went in a little earlier than the girls did, and after all the walking we'd done (20,158 steps!) I figured a little mac and cheese was worth it...

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    Day Two, Saturday

    I brought a veggie platter to enjoy in an attempt to eat better and not buy all the vendor fattening food. We popped that bad boy open and got down on some broccoli, baby tomatoes, celery and carrots. Sydney made the most delicious Sangria with peaches, orange slices and strawberries. We enjoyed turkey sandwiches/wraps and later that evening and made the carne asada for dinner in between shows.

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    Day Three, Sunday

    Sunday was too hot to truly function prior to 4pm, so we stayed hydrated with NUUN, water and taking turns dunking our heads in a bucket full of cool ice water. I think our chicken and shrimp paella dinner we split was only the second meal that I purchased inside the venue aside from water and beer... Which, given the steps over the course of the weekend, we could afford some delicious Spanish rice. A little left over carne after the festival was shut down for the night, some more turkey breast and broccoli... Good eats!

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    It's definitely possible to be mindful of your intake and to ensure that you're successful even while on the go or in a different environment - one that may scream "EAT ME" at the nearest most convenient food vendor... I thought it was going to be difficult, what with an ice chest and lack of proper refrigeration... but my girlfriends helped and surprise, surprise, we didn't do too poorly! 

    AND it was a friggin' blast!

    I'd not camped this way in previous years, so it was a whole new experience.  Normally, I would sleep in my tent then walk to get a breakfast burrito instead of making healthier choices. Coupled with walking over 66,615 steps or TWENTY NINE miles in three days, I think the three of us did rather well. That and we enjoyed tons of laughter, great music, and the best company we've ever experienced at this particular festival in our three years attending.

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    Operation: Motivation-chella

    There's all this buzz in the music world right now about #Coachella. I couldn't be more excited about it, myself.

    This will be the first time I've attended a festival as a single lady, so it should be interesting and the best time ever with my girlfriends. I leave tomorrow morning for the weekend, and have been seriously preparing for it for the last month and a half, both mentally and OF COURSE physically.

    I asked my co-worker who trains clients privately to give me a regimen and to kick my butt in gear and to get my #CoachellaBodyReady! Not only has he gotten my butt back into gear and the swing of my old routine, he's been motivating me and training me for free! He must know me well, as he's only charging me if I MISS a scheduled workout! NOT a bad deal, if I do say so myself.

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    For the last six weeks I've been honing in on my diet and for the last four, my coworker has given me a strict weightlifting plan. I'll be posting that next week, so stay tuned, Piggie Posse! Here are my results from the last 6 weeks...

    Me, feeling ABSO-FAB after yesterday's heavy lifting session

    Me, feeling ABSO-FAB after yesterday's heavy lifting session

    45 days, 3 phases and one goal, my diet has consisted of hard-boiled eggs, egg whites, turkey, chicken breast, ANYthing spicy, and tons of avocado (HELL yes!) while I've kept to mostly cruciferous vegetables as my carbs. For all three phases, I TRIED to cut as much alcohol as possible, but that truly only worked for one week at a time. I'm a HUGE lover of wine, so that was the hardest part.

    As shown in my progress chart above, it's worked! I not only feel fantastic, I've lost a total of 5 lbs, and 9.5 inches all over my body in various places. The winner? My hips - AKA my jeans fit better!!

    If you want to know details about how I did it in the gym - check out my next post. But, since I still have to pack up and get ready for the weekend, I'll have to give that to you next week when I get back! 

    Until then!

    An Open Letter to... Myself

    I set myself up for vulnerability a lot - Just like I’m doing right now

    As long as I can remember, my mother has always told me not to put my business out there for others to be able to use the information against me at a different point in time. Lately, I’ve heard that from more than just her. Even though it has set me back more than it’s helped me out, burning me when I trust the wrong person or people, I still think it’s one of my biggest strengths and most valuable qualities I own. There’s something to being truly raw and real with people that at times it can come off as remarkably strong or “too much”.

    Cici from The Crimson Kiss on Instagram has some really in depth and whimsical posts, and it hit me hard and right in the feels. I read a quote the other day that really resonated with this feeling:

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    Sometimes I feel like an idiot

    for telling most of my secrets to the world, but other times I feel like that’s something about me that makes me “real”; I walk away from a situation or from a relationship (platonic or romantic) knowing I was genuine and that I held nothing back. I know that when I do something, whatever it may be, I put all of my effort into it; 100%. That’s the thing I’ve taken away from my recent personal experiences. It’s not that I’m not enough, and it isn’t that I didn’t try my hardest – it’s that I stepped up to the plate, I gave my all; I just was a reminder that what he was doing wasn’t up to par, and that I’m sure didn’t feel good from his perspective. It truly was easier for him to leave than to admit that maybe he’d gotten comfortable and stopped trying.

    To the women who have gone through this before me, I acknowledge you…

    For allowing them all of your time and attention, even when they were only available to you when it was convenient to them. Having undying hope is what makes you beautiful, and trusting. You gave yourself completely, despite all the signs that told you it wouldn't work out. You held on to the tiny parts and few reasons why it actually could. I commend you for having the strength to love someone who couldn’t love you the way you deserved to be loved, but loved you the way they knew how. You loved the wrong person, but that’s okay… all it did was reflect complete bravery on your part.

    That said, the gym is exactly the best relationship I’ve ever had.

    It’s the only thing in my life that truly gives me back what effort I put into it. The same with my nutrition and eating habits. You have to really be open and honest with yourself if you’re ever going to make progress, and I think that’s why I started this blog a year ago. Stepping out of my vulnerability bubble, understanding that I am putting myself out there to be ridiculed by the wrong people and possibly be made a fool… and still doing it anyway because that’s me being true to myself regardless of what anyone else thinks. I'm grateful for my little Soaring Society, for you all have let me be me when I write about my journey.

    You'd think the lifting would be the heaviest weight to carry, but sometimes it's not. 

    My (*gulp*) ex-boyfriend told me that I try so hard to do the right thing, and gauge all other reactions and perspectives of those around me, so much so that I lose sight of the main picture and end up making things worse; that I try “too hard”. So that’s where this stems from – my want and need to be seen as real and genuine by myself.

    So this one post isn’t for anyone else

    I’m writing this one for me.

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