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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Let’s Celebrate: International Self Care Day

In honor of International Self Care Day I am taking care of my soul the best way I know how. I haven’t felt quite like myself in months. My business partner and I had a video chat yesterday and as I opened up to her and we quickly realized what was missing for me. As I sat down on the train this morning ideas started pouring out of me and I realized that I haven’t written a “headspace” article in so long or really any blogs AT ALL! 

I won’t lie, for a writer, I suck at sticking to weekly blog posts. Why? I create content every single day for my social media. I create content to mentor my coaching team and in my wellness groups. I create lesson plans & writing activities for my classroom. I often justify not sitting down to write because I know I can’t spread myself too thin and I need to keep the main thing the main thing. I need to focus on tasks that push my business forward.

But I when I discuss mental health, self-care, self-love, and doing what you love- I am immediately drawn back to my words. If you are a writer you understand. If you are a dancer you understand. If you feel called to any creative expression, you understand. Simply put, when I don’t write, I don’t feel like myself. When I don’t feel like myself sometimes I don’t write. Sometimes the very thing that seems the most difficult is exactly what you need.

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WCW: Ashley Katchadourian

It’s March and what do you know I made you wait all month for this #WCW too. The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Ashley.

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Ashley and I met at an event in Sydney, Australia called Rad Livin. I found this event on Instagram and decided to go by myself even though I didn’t know anyone. Ashley had the same calling (except she came all the way from California!) Luckily I saw this pretty brunette sitting by herself and decided it would be a good seat. We instantly bonded over being American and then figured out we had a lot in common. We spent the whole day together at the festival and everyone thought we came together. Luckily, thanks to the power of social media we stayed in touch and eventually Ashley moved back to Sydney. I have seen Ashley transform from talking about her dream life the first time we met to actually living which is pretty fricken amazing to witness. Thanks, Ashley for all you create in this world. Thanks for your young, hungry, hustle mentality and being someone I can always bounce ideas off of. I’ll let her take it from here.

  1. What do you think makes a woman worth “crushing” over?

A woman living passionately doing what she loves.

  1. What do you do for a living? What is the most challenging part about it?

The most challenging part about what I do for a living is explaining what I do for a living. Simply put, I am a content creator. Right now, I’m the community manager and do video for festival called #RadLivin, an annual festival held in Sydney, Australia created to inspire people to do what they love now. Additionally, since I graduated university, I have oscillated working for my family business, which is how I finance everything I’ve done for the last 3 years. I am currently in the application process for a video gig in Manhattan, NYC.

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We Can Do Hard Things: Week 8

Week 8 Operation Obsessed (1)

I can’t believe phase two is over. Honestly, it has been much more exciting of an experience than I thought it would be. I have never committed to something for this amount of time before and although I am very consistent without this type of intense program, this has taken my discipline to a whole new level. Here is my latest vlog recapping the past two months.

I have worked SO HARD for the past 52 days– I’m not sure how many of you have been following my whole journey but I took on a BRAND NEW 80 day workout & nutrition program. It’s no joke but I feel stronger than I ever have and I feel so proud of the discipline I have cultivated. What have I learned so far about health & really about life?

1. GOING ALL IN is the only way to GO! You gotta say I’m gonna do this NO MATTER WHAT if you want to do anything. 2. FOOD FEAR IS REAL. I am eating SO MUCH (of the right things)  and I am loosing inches and getting the body I’ve always wanted.
3. Discipline creates freedom. It’s much harder for me to NOT follow a plan. I love having a plan.
4. Alcohol is not so great. Being without it for 52 days (minus ONE SINGULAR  pint of Guinness in Ireland) has been AWESOME.
5. Your progress might be slow. It might look different than everyone else but if you are making progress DON’T STOP.
6. Our body and mind are so closely intertwined it’s SCARY! My mind is stronger than it’s ever been because my body is.
7. Celebrating victories doesn’t have to be with food- there are so many other ways to celebrate.
8. Self care is critical. YOUR HEALTH SHOULD BE YOUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.
9. Doing what you said you would do feels damn good.
10. YOU CAN DO IT TOO

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Oh, We’re Halfway There: Week 7

Week 7 Operation Obsessed

I can’t believe I am writing this half way through our 13 weeks. Halfway doesn’t even seem that far but seriously the time has flown and I have grown leaps and bounds, mentally, physically and emotionally.  Here is a my vlog recap to get you up to speed! 

Honestly, I’ve found it hard to write and take photos every single week. I’m not sure why but mentally I’ve been in a place where I don’t feel like much is happening in my body day to day. I feel like my results aren’t “worthy” of sharing because I didn’t have 20 or 30 pounds to lose. It’s scary to put yourself out there when you know how hard you are working and people discredit, criticize or dismiss your hard work. But honestly, I know how much work I have put in. I know the level of commitment I’ve kept and how hard I’ve been pushing every single workout. Everyday I show up. I’ve been feeling fabulous. I’ve been following the plan. And my confidence and self love is through the roof. That alone is reason enough to celebrate.  If you do want more of that behind the scenes make sure you join me on Instagram. Instastories  is a slice of daily workout moves and recipe ideas (you want them follow me there @ensusiasm)

The creator of this program said that Phase 2 is designed for “building” and I am lifting heavy weights and eating a lot of food. To be totally transparent with you I felt like I wasn’t seeing progress anymore and I was feeling a bit “fluffy” or feared that I was hitting a plateau. I felt like I was working so hard but maybe it wasn’t worth it? Then I saw my progress pictures.

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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.

Stronger: Week 2

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Week 2 has come and gone and I am feeling an extremely positive energy this Monday. Watch my vlog and soak up some of those good vibes. The second week is typically harder because the newness wears off. The workouts are just as hard but they aren’t brand new so it’s easier to think about the reasons why you want to give up rather than the reasons you want to push harder.

I finished my workout this morning and I took my progress pictures and I was in awe by what I saw. In just 14 days I see a change in my body and spirit. I feel empowered. I feel disciplined. I feel confident.  I feel like I want to shout from the mountain tops. Movement. Whole foods.  Community & Support- THAT’S ALL YOU NEED. It doesnt’t mean that it is easy but it does mean that it’s simple. The recipe for success with your health and fitness is pretty simple but the mental journey is what sometimes makes it complicated.

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WCW: Veronica Drayton

2018’s first WCW is an extra special one. The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.
Meet Veronica. 
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I met Veronica when my very first #WCW of the series, Hollie, invited me to The Goddess Group picnic in Sydney. Not only did I get to spend time with the founder of the Goddess Group, Melissa Ambrosini, but I also got to meet all of the wonderful women who had been attending the groups.
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Veronica and I got along right away because of those North American vibes! I was drawn to her beautiful tattoos and her kind but very commanding personality. We were the last people at the picnic and took the bus and train together so we had the maximum time to chat. Anyone who can willingly talk as much as I can instantly gets brownie points in my book. We connected on many levels and I remember getting off the train and thinking, “I really like that girl. I hope we become friends.”  Unfortunately I met Veronica shortly before I had to leave Sydney but I got the opportunity to attend one of her Detox Your Life workshops and she sparked a new love for essential oils in me and strengthened my love for meditation. Luckily after I left Sydney, we have remained in close contact with social media and the interwebs.

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A Slice of England: Beyond London

 

I came to England for the first time in August to meet my partner’s family and travel in Europe for the summer. My partner and I decided to stay longer term and I’m hoping to make it my home now(after a few months of sorting out my visa.) Many people think London as soon as you say England, but just like New York is much bigger than New York City– England is much more diverse than London. London is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but newsflash to my American peeps..  I don’t live in London. I am definitely not an expert on England and I still have tons of places I want to visit but I am going to share with you the gems I’ve discovered since living in Southern England for the last four months! When you plan your trip to England– explore a bit more and see what else this historical and adorable country has to offer.

Glastonbury– This was my first stop when I came to England because it’s my partner’s hometown. It is most famous these days for the huge Glastonbury music festival so most people know the name but haven’t been there when there aren’t 100,000 others lined up in tents raving for five days.

The town itself tiny- it’s colorful, charming and very spiritual. The history runs very deep.The streets are lined with crystal shops, vegan and vegetarian cafes and hippie clothing stores. Right in the center of the town are the Glastonbury Abbey ruins– a former monastery from the 7th century that was burned down in 1184. Christian legends claim the abbey was founded in the 1st century by Joseph of Arimathea.  Another famous landmark in Glastonbury is the Tor. You can see the giant hill with Saint Michael’s roofless tower from miles away. It is said to be a very spiritual location linked to many myths about King Arthur and has a lot of other lasting mythological and spiritual associations. The hike up is steep but the view at the top is incredible.

 

Some of my favorite spots: The Chalice Well, Rainbow Cafe, Red Brick Building– morning yoga classes, brunch at the Boca Bar(which also turns into an amazing night out- think silent discos, live local music and art gallery & bubbles type events) and simply wandering down the high street peeking in all the crystal, book and charity shops and people watching– you will not be disappointed as the fairies, witches and quirky attire is plentiful.

Bath– I fell completely in love with England when I step foot in Bath. It is the definition of a quaint English town with so much character- it almost doesn’t even look real. When I first arrived in England everything looked miniature to me. The houses, cars, buildings, roads. When my partner’s mom picked us up from the airport(we were exhausted traveling from New Zealand) I woke up in a panic in the back seat because I thought we were driving down a one way street! I couldn’t believe how narrow the roads were, and that wasn’t even the worst of them!

Bath is most well known for its natural hot springs. There is a large museum at the site of the original Roman-era Baths with many ancient artifacts, statues and temples. They have audio guides you can get more detail and it’s easily accessible for museum goers like me. I definitely want to see it but I don’t want to spend 2 hours at each exhibit. Quick and dirty is my approach for museums.

Some of my favorite spots:  the Botanical Garden and Royal Victoria Park, a picnic in front of the iconic Royal Crescent, Kennet and Avon Canal and just walking around exploring the amazing architecture, shops and cafes throughout the city. We only had a day there and I felt like we saw a lot but if you have more than one day there are many art galleries, fashion museums, history museums I have on my list for next time.

Bristol– This place is turning into the coolest city and county in South West England. While in England I have lived 30 minutes outside of Bristol(in a quriky little beach town called Weston-Super- Mare)  so I have been there quite a few times and everytime I discover something new to love about it. It has a bigger city feel but there are so many unique areas along the Bristol Harbour and adorable spots like Clifton. The arts are a plenty, the food is delicious and there is always something going on. I’m no expert but these are the places I have enjoyed so far

Clifton Suspension Bridge– In August right when I arrived we went to Bristol for the popular annual Balloon fiesta- bought a little picnic and climbed the hill to Clifton Observatory which has an incredible view of the bridge and the city! Unfortunately the windy weather lead to the balloons being cancelled but the view itself was magical!

Brunch spots– I’ve brunched a few times in Clifton. Proper brunch menus with avocado toast, eggs benny, and my personal fav shakshuka. Primose Cafe and Bistro on Boyce Ave has outdoor seating and very affordable brunch prices. The Crafty Egg was a cozy spot my friend introduced me to with an epic shakshuka and serious good vibes. The Grain Barge is an awesome converted barge that offers delicious brunch, pub grub, drinks and awesome views.

The Crafty Egg

Some of my favorite spots: people watching Queen Square, Arnolfini- an international arts center I saw the Grayson Perry exhibition, Street art- the birthplace of Banksy Bristol has tons of his work and many others scattered about the city. If you want to see more here’s an awesome guide.  Seasonal favorite was the German Christmas Market ( in November-December) and shopping/grabbing drinks along the harbor anytime of year.

Those are the main places I’ve frequented- but I’ve made awesome day trips to Wells, Burnham on the Sea, Sand Bay, Cheddar Gorge, Lyme Regis Beach,West Bay, Totness and Bantham Beach. All pictured below & worth checking out!

The most exciting part is this is only a tiny sliver of this beautiful country and I haven’t even explored the rest of U.K. yet. When you book your trip to England consider making your stay in London a bit shorter and get out there and explore. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Cheers mate. Happy travels! xxx

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