Should I start running again?

Two weeks ago, in a moment of confusion, I chugged my pre workout, laced up my running shoes, searched for 20 minutes for my ever elusive iPhone compatible headphones and then I hit the pavement for a run.

I used to run every single day of my life.

I was on the cross country team in middle school and I realized very quickly that while I wasn’t particularly talented at sports I was fast and I had a natural endurance for distance running.

I started writing this blog with intentions of just telling the story of getting back into running last month with my random solo mid week 10k and I ended up writing 4,000 words about my journey from non-athlete child to the new girl at private school who went to basketball practice to make friends and stayed with it because of the deep love for that sense of belonging on a team. Then I went from cross country team runner to all season lacrosse athlete in high school, gym bunny and runner at University and in graduate school when I was burning the candle from both ends, I discovered Insanity, the at home workout program that serendipitously lead me into my future career as an online health & lifestyle coach. I’m still processing how this story flowed so freely out of me and how much it is all linked together. But I’ll save that for another day, I just want to tell you about this run.

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Why you should TRY being a “Morning Workout person”

I wish I could workout in the morning like you.” I hear this ALL the time. I ain’t Superwoman and I’m definitely not NATURALLY a morning person. Homegirl STRUGGLES… just ask my boyfriend. I help support and align clients every single month with workout programs and nutrition plans. In our private fit-fam community we discuss the importance of scheduling your workout like an important meeting you have with someone else and STICKING TO IT. Personally, I find the BEST way to stick to a workout routine is to do it early in the morning. No, it doesn’t work for everyone but I think you should at least consider. Here’s why and how!

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Photography by: @thebrandingphotographer

WHY DO IT IN THE MORNING?

You immediately feel successful– Just like experts say making your bed in the morning is a habit that gives you an immediate  feeling of accomplishment, think about banging out 30-45 mins of an intense workout! You feel like a rockstar! That mindset is definitely going to benefit the rest of your day.

You’re in a better mood– Endorphins people. It’s no joke. It’s science. Working out has an “immediate positive benefit for your brain- increasing your mood and your concentration” Don’t  believe me? Take it from Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist and watch her epic TED talk about how exercise actually changes our brain. Why save that for after work when you’re just headed home to cook dinner & chill? Get those good vibes flowing in the morning!  

You don’t dread it all day– If I miss my morning workout for some reason, I know that I am going to spend the work day thinking about how I need to get my workout in. Maybe that’s just me? But I’ve talked to many friends and clients who agree. If you don’t do it in the morning it’s at the back of your head all day AND you are way more likely to skip it because things come up after work.. Happy hour, appointments, social activities, tending to your child/fur child/ husband/partner etc. For me, if I don’t do it in the morning it doesn’t get done!

More energy-Even though I need to wake up earlier to workout, I can tell a dramatic difference in my energy levels when I sleep in and don’t workout. I have more energy when I wake up earlier, sweat in my living room and then jump in the shower. If I go straight to work I feel frazzled and groggy in the morning and definitely not bouncing around my classroom like I am after crushing a 6 am workout.

Now the more important question…

HOW do I become a morning workout person?

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How to get the Perfect Body

I didn’t start my fitness journey to lose weight. I’ve never had an eating disorder. I’ve never felt like I had a true voice in the fitness community because of these two factors. That might sound dramatic to you, but if you’re in the fitness industry you know these are commonly the catalyst for change.

So if you’ve come here looking for the perfect body… SPOILER ALERT. It doesn’t exist. Our bodies are amorphous.

My body is pretty freakin’ incredible (SO IS YOURS.) But I’m 28 now, my metabolism ain’t what it used to be,  I get hungover from one glass of wine, the nail lady asks me if I want to wax my lip (ummm.. I don’t think I need to?) and here I am owning the shit out of being a millennial 20 something- with an online side hustle, an equal love for fitness and spirituality, a bad case of wanderlust and a not so traditional journey to a healthy life.

I am proud of my body. I have always had a pretty healthy relationship with my body but I definitely went through a phase in college with the thinner the better mentality. I restricted calories and did boat loads of cardio and thought that’s exactly what it meant to be healthy. I felt like I got judged for being “naturally skinny” and I was definitely influenced by the culture of criticism that women that age have regarding their body. I also abused my body with typical college antics, heavy drinking and late night pizza fests. I didn’t have a good sleep routine or really know why my exercise was such an important component of my life. 

Today I am proud of who I am. Yes, I can say openly that means I am proud of what I look like but mostly I am proud of what I feel like. This has not been an easy journey. No I didn’t want to lose weight but I did need to rework my relationship with food, exercise, alcohol and drugs and most importantly my mental health. This year I did the hardest 13 week workout program I have ever done and  I shared every step of the journey. Afterward I felt a bit of burn-out and started to question why I started this journey and what level of discipline and commitment I felt was the most suitable for my overall health and happiness. I think we should ALL constantly question ourselves in a few ways. Why am I doing this? Is it making me happy? Am I getting results? Am I enjoying my life? 

In June I was gifted an incredible secret location branding photoshoot by a fellow entrepreneur I met in an online blogging community. When I did this photoshoot I was not at my leanest and meanest. It was on the tail end of the 4 months I spent in limbo in America waiting for my visa for the U.K. to be approved.I traveled for 6 weeks straight. I celebrated life. I drank cocktails and ate donuts and I definitely had more than my fair share of treat meals. I won’t lie to you, I went from the physical best shape of my life after the 3 month intense program to a serious “YOLO” period (as I lovingly call it.)

When I got the pictures back I started to pick out flaws and “softer bits.” Man..I used to have muscle there! I’ve had better abs. I just look the same I’m not making gains. Even though I love myself. Even though I know that my physical aesthetic has nothing to do with my actual health and strength and happiness. It is deeply ingrained in us to criticize our perception of our appearance and compare it to our former selves, our #bodygoals or just imaginary ideals we have constructed.  

But I quickly stopped and I looked at the strength. The confidence. The lack of makeup. The light in my eyes. It is not my goal or desire to be “stage ready” 365 days a year. It’s not my goal to ever be stage ready. These pictures have captured me doing things I love, being free from what I think I “should” look like for a photoshoot. And please don’t get offended, telling me I look great or you don’t see it. The point is we ALL see the flaws in ourselves that no one else would dream of picking out. We may start to pick them out but we also have the power to stop those thoughts dead in their tracks.

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It’s All Over: The Final Obsession

FINAL WEEK Operation Obsessed (1)

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to finish the saga that was the 80 Day Obsession journey. In the last two months my world has been turned upside down and my blog definitely went to the back burner. But I’m here to reflect and finish out the Operation Obsessed journey with all of you.

80 fricken days of dedication went into this. I learned so much about myself, my strength and the power of sticking to a program…no.matter.what. It was a wild ride, 3 countries, 5 cities, a lot of vegetables… but I.DID.IT. No clue how many inches or pounds lost… those things don’t matter to me. I know,I know. How could she dedicate so much time and effort to this and not even care about the numbers? Well, I like to practice what I preach.  I gained strength, health & confidence in myself & journey. I learned how to totally let go of any misconceptions about how much I “could” or “should” eat. When you are working your body like an athlete you need to be fueling it like an athlete, and that means A LOT of food. The last three weeks were much harder than I anticipated. I found myself feeling “over it.” My visa situation was unraveling and I was so stressed. I cried a lot. I was working a full time nanny position and working my business. I was trying to hold it all together and I just wanted to give up. But I didn’t. Discipline and HAVING A SUPPORT SYSTEM, a PLAN, A GOAL- led me through even when all I wanted to do was chug bottles of wine and house boxes of donuts.

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Rolling with the Punches: Week 4 & 5

Week 4-5 Operation Obsessed

Rolling with the punches, baby. I am back!! Although I may have gotten behind on my blog posts I certainly haven’t with actually following my program! I decided after it was Saturday of week 4 that I was just going to combine Week 4 & 5.  I mean this is my blog, after all 😉 The amount of change that has happened in the last two weeks is pretty intense. After I left Ireland I went to NYC to stay with one of my best friends from high school. My travel back to NYC was long but I prepped enough food to stay on track with timed nutrition even in the airport and airplane. Did you know you can bring your own food in? I feel like a lot of people don’t know this!   As soon as I arrived in NYC I got the dreaded news that my bag didn’t make it on the connecting flight and was still stuck in Norway. So my friend picked me up with no luggage. Luckily I kept my sliders, loops and laptop in my carry on and some extra workout clothes. Preparation is key. 

The next morning we went grocery shopping and my bestie couldn’t believe that was actually what I ate. But once I started prepping for him and showing him how often you can eat when you eat clean, he wasn’t complaining too much! He was a trooper and even completed a couple 80 Day Obsession workouts with me.

I had multiple social events in NYC but I kept my self control and only had a few bites of dessert and indulged a little at the Art of Food Event my bestie invited me to in NYC. It was basically all the best restaurants in the Upper East Side coming together and offering a sample dish for you to taste. Luckily the portions were small and the dishes were quite healthy. I refrained from drinking even though everything was free!

Despite my luggage being lost I just focused on the things I could control, like my workouts, my meal plan and my attitude. I had no idea how I could stick to this very strenuous program while being in 4 different cities and drastically changing my current reality and home but honestly, it all starts with mindset. If you become a “victim” in the situation of course you aren’t going to stay on track. I was in NYC for the first time in 6 months- do you know how badly I wanted to eat EVERYTHING especially pizza and bagels? But I knew that they would be there when I returned and I was committed to trying my personal best despite the circumstance.  I was not the victim. I was the caption of my ship despite the stormy seas. Week 4 ended on a high note getting my luggage back and feeling immense pride for sticking to my schedule and completing the first phase of three in the program. 

Week 5 is the first week of Phase 2 and we got 6 new- more advanced and challenging workouts. I started again in a new place, this time moving in temporarily to stay with my brother and his family for the next few months while my visa for England is sorted out. Again, on the first day I headed to the grocery store( THEY HAVE ALDI HERE- YAY) , explained to them I would need a bit more room in the fridge than a normal guest (LOL SORRY GUYS) and got down to business. Since I will be sharing the fridge with a busy family of four I decided to do bulk meal prep and just keep all the veggies in one, meat in another and carbs in another. This way I can easily plate up my meals but I won’t disturb order too much.

Not only was it a change in location but a change in schedule as I took on a few part time nannying gigs while I’m here and will be helping out with my niece and nephew too! Everyday I do my workout in the living room and a lot of days I have those little eyes watching. They ask me questions about my superfood shake, they ask questions about the workouts, the food, everything and I love to plant little healthy seeds from their crazy fitness coach auntie.

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In Phase 2 the new workouts have been hard– but in a good way. I also bumped up to Plan C in the meal plans and have been lifting heavier weights. The amount of food I am eating y’all– it’s unbelievable. To be honest I feel like I saw less progress in Week 5 as compared to the other weeks but I think my body needs to get used to the increase in calories. These weekly progress photos aren’t necessarily to show epic change just to document the process! 

Overall, I am feeling so proud of myself and ready to crush the rest of this program. I have come this far and stuck to it despite so many temptations and “reasons” to cheat. Despite two countries and 4 cities. I didn’t think it was possible. Like I said it hasn’t been perfect but it’s been damn near close for me. Rolling with the punches, indeed.

New Year, New You: Balance is a lie  

Some days I amaze myself, other days I eat hummus with a spoon and no pants. It’s all about that balance, right?

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Wrong. What if I told you balance is a lie. It’s a false ideology that you are never going to achieve and actually may cause you more heartache than inspiration. Well, that’s dramatic. But parts of it really ring true so let me help you shift your perspective a bit.

I wrote this blog post last night and I woke up early sat on my couch with my essential oils and my crystals and pressed play on the Calm app for my meditation as I do almost every morning. Each day has a theme and today’s was “Sharpening your Saw” I always wrack my brain for what it could mean  and then it’s always better than I expected. Oddly enough(you’ll laugh when you read the rest of this blog) the meditation was about balance. But the sharpening of the saw analogy is one I must share.

A woodcutter who was very busy cutting wood started with a very sharp saw. The more he cuts the more dull the blade becomes and the less efficient he is cutting wood. But he worries about stopping the process to sharpen the blade because he already has so much cutting to do. Little does he know stopping will actually maximize his efficiency and improve the process overall. She equated this to our self care practices. Often times we believe we don’t have time to exercise, meditate, go for walks or take a nice bubble bath. But stopping to “sharpen our saw” doesn’t waste time, it in fact allows us to have more energy for all our other responsibilities and relationships. It might seem like you are using your energy selfishly for self-care but truly it is the most beneficial thing we can tilt our time and energy into. Listening to this was eye-opening and reinforced the concept I am about to share with you.

About a year ago I read an article, by my beautiful and talented friend  Hollie, about tilting. I understood this concept for myself but I never knew it had a name. Hollie explained, “Tilting prioritises making choices each day depending on what is going on in that moment.”

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How to Stay Fit on the Road

 

Are you passionate about traveling and living a healthy lifestyle? Maybe you aren’t necessarily passionate about healthy living but you know you need it. That’s okay too. When traveling for work, play or anything in between- it tends be to struggle to get workouts in and eat healthy. Many friends of mine complain that they often gain lots of weight when they are traveling and come home feeling bloated, run down and exhausted. Alcohol is often a part of traveling to new places and indulging in the local cuisine so how can you enjoy your trip and still stick to the healthy habits you’ve been working so hard to create?

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First and foremost, like anything else in life-it  starts with the belief that you can in fact do it. If you write off every single weekend trip, vacation and work trip before you even start of course you aren’t going to follow through once you are on the road. If it is important to you, you need to believe that it’s possible(because I promise you it is), plan ahead and accept progress not perfection.

In 12 days my boyfriend and I are packing up our lives here in Australia(maybe we should have already started) and heading to Bali for a holiday. If you follow my blog or social media you know that we aren’t leaving by choice but due to visa complications. We have nicknamed Bali our “deported holiday”  and then we intend to move to New Zealand on a working holiday visa until we can sort out a new visa to come back to Australia.

My boyfriend and I are both very passionate about health and fitness and have spent the past year really making it a lifestyle and not a vicious cycle of backwards and forwards! Both of us have been working extremely hard on our nutrition and our training and it’s a bit intimidating to head out into the unknown.

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Luckily, I know what to do. I have the belief I can do it. I have the tools to stay on track. I have a loving relationship with my body, food and adventure. I will never miss out on life for the sake of 3% body fat or a few pounds. I actually have no idea how much I weigh and I don’t care. I don’t expect perfection but I know I want to feel strong, healthy and happy when our vacation is over.

I care about treating my body well, nourishing it with quality foods and treating it sometimes too because let’s be real, I love food. Going backwards or stopping all together on my fitness journey is something I did FOR YEARS. I backpacked through South East Asia and Australia in 2014 and I definitely got off track and ended my trips feeling really shitty. The crazy part is I was still implementing some of these and didn’t even give up completely. But not this time. I’m going to share my plan and my tips so that you can take on your next adventure with the right attitude and not feel like you missed out on a thing.

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Let’s Talk Transformations

It’s not Tuesday, but my headspace is all about transformations. In the social media universe #transformationtuesday has become a beloved hashtag of fitness fanatics, entrepreneurs and motivators. Every Tuesday my Instagram is filled with tons of before and afters. Of course, our eyes are attracted to the photos and usually they are discussing a new fitness program, nutrition plan or diet they have been following. But usually, when you read the caption you find that there is so much more that happens when you shift your lifestyle and take control of your life.

My Transformation Tuesday this week was a little different and I shared a very raw but what I thought was evident story about myself. When you are constantly sharing your journey you forget not everyone has followed along the whole time. I forget that I meet new people both in person and on social media almost every single day. I forget that with all of the growing I am doing I am changing a lot more than I realize each day. I spoke about my internal transformation and the freedom I have gained from leaving behind my “party girl” lifestyle and diving deep into my writing, traveling and healthy lifestyle. If you have known me for a while this transformation might be more apparent to you but I realized it may not be something I have necessarily opened up about. Based on the response to that post and the countless personal messages I received about I feel as if I should elaborate a bit because it seems to me like this is a topic that many women my age and people in general connect to.

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Let me start out by saying, this is absolutely not a post to claim I am a “forever changed person” and I will never drink or party a day in my life. I mean, Cabernet Sauvignon will always be a part of my vocabulary. I fully appreciate a good espresso martini. I can drink crisp ciders in the sunshine. And, yes I will still get down on the dance floor when presented with one. But from a girl who was voted “Life of the party” in high school and started drinking as a young teen, to a crazy sorority girl in college…to who I am now-I feel I have made leaps and bounds with my habits and quite honestly my desires have changed. I used to feel free when I was out dancing, drinking, going to clubs, bars, house parties, and anywhere in between. I went to WVU for heaven’s sake, WE KNOW HOW TO PARTY! I do not regret one second of those memories (or lack thereof) but I have realized that is simply not what lights me up any more. And I don’t know if it was ever truly lighting me up or just helping me escape.

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