Archive for the 'just life' Category

25
Oct
12

7 TIPS to get sPoOkYfIt in 7 days

i don’t necessarily love halloween. maybe it’s because i don’t dig spending $100 on a silly costume i’ll never wear again. or perhaps it’s because i never have and never will like anything scary. why, i often wonder, do people intentionally scare themselves?  and quite possibly i don’t heart halloween because it’s the beginning of the holiday mayhem that will consistently wreak health-havoc on us. in january everyone is gung-ho goal-getters.  motivation waivers but re-surfaces in april/may pre-bathing suit season and stays fairly high through the end of the summer. and then halloween kicks off the spiral into health-hell with candy galore, and more often than not, sugary-spiked beverages. that slides right into turkey day which has created a culture of “it’s okay, it’s just one day” which then becomes a 4-day stuff-fest that consists of consuming a month’s worth of calories in just one holiday weekend. then christmas, albeit my favorite holiday, brings with it parties packed with food and festivities right up until new years eve where inevitably a majority of the population will imbibe to the point where they wake up on new year’s day with a hangover and a muffin top earned after two-months’ worth of indulgence.  but, i digress.

it’s tough for even the most health-minded individual to stay on track during the holidays. and to some extent, you should enjoy yourself! but my question i want you to ask yourself is, how good will you feel come january 1st with an extra 5-10lbs to show for the “fun” you didn’t want to miss out on?  now, i’m a fun person, if i might say so myself. and yet, i’ve learned how to partake in the festivities (in moderation). so maybe you don’t make substantial strides toward a 6-pack, but the goal is to maintain not gain!

so it’s one week til’ halloween. i have no costume. i have no party plans. and i am absolutely okay with it. but what i do have is a plan to rock this last week til’ halloween to kickstart the holiday season. for me it’s a momentum thing. some people take a slow and steady approach. that’s so not me. i’m all or nothing. black or white. and when i do something, i’m all in.  the way i see the week ahead is kinda like getting a running start into the holiday season. while motivation is high, hit it hard, and when you see quick results, that’s what will keep you going on tough days. you can apply this to halloween or actually any week where you’re craving a “1-week-to-lean” kickstart. i hear all the time: “i have XXX event and i wanna drop 5lbs – what do i do?” ok first of all, keyword here is “healthy,” people. you can’t expect to put 5lbs on over the course of 6 months and lose it in 1-week.  i’m all about (healthy), realistic results. and that said there are TRICKS to trigger your body and mind. while some of these may seem extreme, they are all healthy and actually sustainable. that said, i dare you to try these for one week and tell me how you feel.  consider it an experiment: “what if i committed to this and it actually worked?”  don’t just be a blog-pursuer, be a do-er!

i dare you. 

  1. GO PALEO: maybe it’s not a long-term choice for you, but i can personally attest to the quick results i see in my body when i eliminate grains completely and then slowly add back in oats and quinoa. feeling crazy? step it up a notch and knock-out any dairy and fruit for the week. so your meals are pretty much eggs/meat/protein, healthy fats, and tons of veggies. can’t bear to forgo your fruit? make different choices like opting for berries or grapefruit with your breakfast but getting in those natural sugars in either earlier in the day or right after your workout. not up for ditching grains cold turkey, check out the zone/block plan, but frankly it gets complicated!
  2. FORGO VINO: except for 1 day. say you have a halloween party this saturday. plan on having 2 drinks max and opt for health(ier) options like wine or champagne, light beer, or a [insert liquor here – my fave is blueberry stoli] and soda so you’re not taking in crazy amounts of sugars. but that’s it! for one week, can you hang? i mean if you can’t forgo the adult beverages for a week just to see how your body responds, well you may want to see somebody for that!  trust me, i enjoy my wine, but i also love to see results (more). then at the same time, make it a point to imbibe in some h20…agua…water. (i’m horrible at this FYI, so i’m holding myself accountable to doing this for a week!)
  3. TRICK? NO TREAT: for one-week only, NO dessert. yes, this includes my beloved golden spoon. instead prepare to kill those sugar cravings with pre-made pumpkin protein muffins (make and freeze). lick those salty cravings with my recent obsession: pumpkin seeds. one good-size bag was only 230 calories, 22g fat, and 15g protein, and in all its salty yumminess i was expecting to see sodium out the wazoo, but it was only 20mg. what? the healthy fat and salt combo zapped my craving and filled me up so fast that i only finished half the bag. sweet craving hit around 8pm tonight actually operating on no sleep and (knowing me) not enough water. i literally meandered around target wanting to find just a square of dark chocolate. i put a full-size bar in my basket, went to check out, and all i could think of was that the short-term pleasure wasn’t worth derailing my long-term goal. bam – back it went! what? i impressed myself. me: 1, chocolate: 0.
  4. BURN BABY BURN: scare the you-know-what outta any extra fat you’re packing by breaking a sweat. let me tell you this once-and-for-all: you will not get a 6-pack by doing crunches when those love handles and beer bellies are covering up any muscle you have under there! for 7 days commit to the following: 3 days of 30-45min cardio per day (maybe this is a class, the stepmill, a bike ride, whatever), 3 days of intense 20-25min heart-pumping interval sessions (so sprints, intervals on a machine, or even circuit training), and 1 day of active rest. what? you’re going to move every day? yes. yes you will survive. and yes, you will see results. that active day of rest can be a leisurely walk with the dog or an easy hike, but your body needs to recover. get the details on different types of cardi-OH will work best for your goals.
  5. GO TO FAILURE: 3 sets of 10 at a weight you’ve been doing for the past 3 years will be about as effective as 2 presidential candidates trying to make points over each other so neither one is heard. yes, something’s being said, but nothing’s being accomplished. so step it up. for 7 days i’m giving you permission to fail. and that means your workouts should be so tough that you shouldn’t be able to complete the last set of each exercise. get this guide with my fave 5 moves for each muscle group and plan it out. when really hittin’ the weights i love to just do one body part per session so i can totally focus on exhausting that one muscle group!
  6. BUDDY UP: forward this blog post, tweet it, facebook it, pin it, or whatever else you can do with it and tag a friend with the words “i dare you.” get someone on board, not only to hold each other accountable but to push each other. my workouts have been rather blah for the past um, long time. and working out just the past few weeks with someone has not only stepped up the intensity of my workouts, but it has me excited to hit the gym again. it doesn’t hurt that he’s an amazing trainer and he’s easy to look at, but hey – whatever it takes, right?
  7. WRITE IT ALL DOWN: yes, the creator of fitbook i might be, but first and foremost i’m human so i slip every now and then. and then i found this article stating that food journaling and goal-setting is still highly effective if you do it the “majority” of the time. so miss a day or a few meals? you’re good – just get back on it. but for this week, go a little OCD on your fitbook. i have a rule that i won’t eat my next meal until i’ve written down the last one. sometimes i forget later on and that’s when calorie-creep occurs. so just for 1 week,  write it all down. set your goals, plan your workouts, and even go a step further and plan your meals if you’re really wanting to dial it in. then at the end of the 7 days go back and see how your meals, water-intake, and sleep all affected your workouts and subsequent results.

so start tomorrow – embrace these 7 tips for 7 days and by the time halloween gets here this time next week, you’re be sportin’ a svelte, scary-sexy, slightly leaner self. then we’ll use the motivation behind seeing those results to catapult us into a (healthy) holiday season.

who’s with me? make your commitment in the comments section and i WILL hold you accountable. who’s on board?

cheers to a BOOtiful YOU!
angela

13
Oct
12

losing my italian.

souvenir pounds, that is.

traveling back recently from what my friends refer to as my “eat, pray, love” trip, the process of just getting home was slightly humorous.  the rather indecisive individual that i am, i packed practically anything i might need while trekking to italy via a quick stop for business in the u.k.  heaven forbid i be in italy and not have the perfect outfit and don’t even get me started on how many books i toted along.  was i in the mood to read about bettering my business? or perhaps i might want to be more deep and read a philosophical novel.  or just in case i wanted to stay with the theme of the trip, a travelogue might be necessary.  case in point: overpacked? yes.  so much so that my business colleague in the u.k. declared me “mad” to try and travel through italy with both of my big bags so i did my best to leave the non-essentials with him, which he would give to me on my trip back through london.  good solution – except i had to get back from italy (post-shopping) with just my 1 very bloated bag.

after posing a challenge to my family’s little fiat to just get me to the airport, we squeezed and pushed my bag to get it in the “trunk” (if you can call that little wee thing a trunk!). then we pulled and tugged to get it back out again.  just a few kilos over the limit in florence, i sadly had to leave a bottle of wine with the gate agent to bribe her to let me on.  back to the u.k., trudging through the airport with my 2 over-stuffed bags.   maneuvering corners, balancing bag-on-bag, and wishing i’d splurged to get the new-fangled 4-wheeled suitcase that turns on a dime.

me + my uncle alfredo in the balsamic basement

aside from buying a few gifts for friends and family, okay maybe a lot of gifts for my yet-to-be-born nephew, i didn’t really shop. the  baggage overload culprits were a liter of homemade 30-year-aged acetto balsamico that my uncle makes in his basement, a kilo block of parmeseano he gifted me, and a bottle of brunello di montepulciano.

yes, i was a traveling wine bar.

and that wasn’t all i brought home.  yes, i managed to bring home a couple kilos on my backside as well.  don’t get me wrong, i worked hard for them. every single gelato, glass of vino, bowl of pasta, and full-fat cappuccino were feats i had to conquer to claim those kilos as mine.  and they were so worth it!

and now,  i’m home.  all i have left of italy are my memories, accetto balsamico & parmeseano, my
improved spengtalian (that’s spanish-english-italian), and my hard-earned kilos.  and as much as i love to hold onto things, i’m gonna have to let go of the last one.  it’s not easy. no, in fact its downright hard. regardless of the joy in gaining them, somehow the flavor of the sweet gelato didn’t last long enough to justify what i know i have to do to rid my backside of the extra little jiggle.  i’m running last night and i think to myself, “wow, i don’t believe i’ve felt things shake like that in quite some time!”.  ah, all in good time, it will come off.  and every time i get frustrated with myself, i remind myself that i’m human. that i have to practice what i preach. that just like i tweet on twitter: “you are not a number on the scale!”, i must first believe it and live it. (note: i actually don’t weigh often and actually have no clue how many kilos i earned – i go by how i feel, and well my jeans tell me too.)

3 weeks til the end of october and just 11 weeks til 2013.  i’m dialed in and doing my best. traveling for 6 out of the next 8 weeks is throwing a bit of a wrench in my routine, but it’s no excuse.  in kentucky for the next 5 days, after spending 2 in miami, i proudly packed my pumpkin protein muffins, veggies and hummus, lara bars, and  pre-portioned packs of protein powder.  workouts are challenging when you combine changing time zones, working around others’ schedules, and putting in long workdays too.  but somehow it motivates me to achieve this even more. i’m the kind of person that if you say “you can’t do that”, i’ll show you i can. so my goal is to fit in my 5 workouts a week and eat as clean as possible while traveling through the end of october in my trek to get sPoOkyFIT. then when i am at home, i’ll dial it in like a madwoman so i can greet 2013 sans the souvenirs.

now, off to go explore kentucky on foot for a jog through the city.  i’m wondering if it can be any more entertaining than my friday night happy hour run through miami last night!

ciao for now.
angela

27
Jan
12

nyc: silliness, sippy cups + schlepping in stillettos

silly. silly, silly silly. that was book of mormon, which i thoroughly enjoyed my last night in new york city. those were some much-needed laughs after the day i had!  so with our sippy cups o’wine in hand, my hot date marcia and i settled in for the highly acclaimed broadway show, which was written by the creators of south park (boulder shout out!).  it was pretty amazing to have the show open and see that the star was the actor josh gad from the daily show with john stewart, and the movies ’21’ and ‘love and other drugs’.  he (and the entire cast) of mormon boys were hilarious, amazingly talented, and wildly entertaining. (do you like how i’m reviewing this as though the NY times might pick this up?).  but if could choose a phrase to sum up this show it would be: jaw-droppingly funny.  like some parts were so horrific and wrong that you couldn’t help but laugh, and at the same time have a tiny glimmer of guilt for laughing at all!  a few parts went a little far for this little conservative christian girl from the middle-of-nowhere, but i was absolutely able to appreciate the humor, story line, music, choreography…everything.  there was this man in probably his seventies sitting next to me and the entire time, marcia and i are just watching him and the elder member of the audiences…what was their reaction?  like this so isn’t something i’d take my momma to.  and when we walked out of the theater, still with tears in our eyes from laughing so hard, i must say that i was mighty tempted to peek into the church right across the street and make sure God and i were still cool.  we’re good.

so my last day in the city: this was what i’d been waiting for.  i printed my presentations, slipped on my stilettos, and primped and prepped as i headed off to meet with (hopefully) new retailers.  oh-so-gracefully, i trekked from meeting to meeting with THE 25lb box of fitbooks, product samples, and promo materials, while toting my laptop bag, and rolling my suitcase behind me. classy, right?  the meetings were so close that there was no time to go back to the hotel before heading to the airport, so off i was.

meeting #1:  met with the senior buyer from modell’s, an east-coast sporting goods store with around 147 (and growing) locations. i loved learning that it was family owned & operated and the owner, to this day, is still highly involved in the day-to-day of his business and locations – probably a large part of their success.  outcome: the buyer really liked our line of products, specifically the fitbook, and our live life fit line (coming out soon!) and wants to test it in a few stores. i loved that he said “anyone that comes in our store with any goal would benefit from this product.” my thoughts exactly.  so watch for fitbooks hitting modell’s in times square soon!

meeting (attempts) #2, 3, 4, and 5: with so many companies headquartered in new york city, it would be silly to not at least attempt to get a meeting or at the very least get samples in the hands of important people.  the buyer at equinox will have a sweet little display of 10 fitbooks on her desk tomorrow and a live life fit tank top – my goal: try ’em!  if they sell, call me. (they will…i just know they will!)  then off to barnes & noble, paragon sports, and physique57…samples left with names on them. say little prayers that they land in the right hands!

meeting #5: 2 cabs and 1 train ride later from penn station, we arrive in farmingdale…as in like way outside the city.  but worth the trip for sure, i met with the head buyer at bed, bath & beyond and am happy to report that it couldn’t have gone better.  a previous participant in weight watchers, she immediately saw the value in a product like the fitbook. since we have very similar target customers, she thought it would make a great addition to their counter-top displays at checkout.  hello, prime placement!  outcome: testing fitbooks in 30 locations – and a few up in canada. did you know they have bb&b in canada? well, my fitbookers in canada probably do and will be happy to pick it up there instead of paying for shipping!

another meeting highlight: i was able to meet with the head of PR at soul cycle (my latest obsession – yes, i bought 2 shirts).  my little gift to her: 2 fitbooks with the soul cycle logo on the cover…how sweet would they be with yellow binding?  i then gave her my 2 cents on how  they MUST (not should, but must) open up an orange county studio so i gave her the scoop on the locations i recommended.  i’ll make it my personal mission to get this soulful spinning experience in my ‘hood.

finally, i must share details of my meeting with the fab 4 editors at SELF magazine. not only were they sweet to spend an hour just talking biz and life with me, um…it was hilarious.  mostly because meaghan murphy, the deputy editor is a crack up.  7 months pregnant, she arrives to the meeting tugging at her dress which she realized that morning was a bit shorter than the last time she wore it because the #babybump was hiking it up a bit more.  one of my proudest moments was when she exclaimed that she “swears by fitbook” because she used it to lose 45 lbs from her first baby and that she clung to it like a lifeline.  so obviously i was more than elated to show her  mama2b, our latest little bundle of joy, which will hit shelves next month.  randomly the conversation flipped from one topic to the next, them wanting to know my story behind the company, how i came up with the product, all the way to what we have coming up next.  and then somehow we ended up talking about my um, bra size.  i thought: “what better group of women to ask for a great recommendation for a sports bra than these ladies?”.  so one comment turned to the next and all i’m thinking is, “how am i in a meeting with SELF magazine editors talking about my boobs?”.  slightly entertaining.  meaghan’s advice that i must share: “once you go past c (cup size), you have to divide and conquer.”  as in encapsulation sports bras that “split up the girls” (like lulu’s ta-ta tamer).  ha-larious.

so cabbing a countless number of times, walking city blocks, and trekking by train, 4 days later i’m happy to report that the trip was a success.  even with no time for shopping or (intentionally) getting lost in the city that never sleeps, i  absolutely fell in love with new york city.

angela

24
Jan
12

soul in the city

there’s something quite soulful about being one teeny tiny person in a big, big city.  new york city, that is.  this little country bumpkin (yes, it’s true) finds herself amidst the fast-paced, busy streets, and somehow among the chaos, it’s profoundly, well – for lack of a better word, soulful. [apparently that’s my theme so i’ll just stick with that!]

why, oh why, might you ask, am i here? on business. my once-little fitlosophy is now quite a-buzz with new opportunities and to say i feel blessed that it’s giving me these great opportunities to go and see new places is quite an understatement. 2012 is off to a great start with nyc in january and pittsburgh, detroit, minneapolis, and denver all in february!  so here i am, in the big city, having no clue how to get from one place to the next, but truly embracing just the experience in itself. so much so that it inspired me to, well – blog.

it’s been far too long, and over a wonderful dinner with, quite possibly one of the sweetest individuals i’ve met renee at abc kitchen we discussed just that. being a blogger herself (but a big-time one, not a random throw-my-thoughts-into-the blogosphere blogger like me),  she is the girl-on-the-go for shape.com.  obviously i was thrilled to meet her and we instantaneously hit it off. over a wonderful (local, organic) dinner we nibbled on roasted baby beets with goat cheese, a grilled carrot + avocado salad, and then for entrees we each tried one of the fish specials (red snapper for me, cod for her).  quite possibly the most fantastic (and healthy) meals i’ve ever had, completed with of course a bottle of a bold red wine from spain.  this little firecracker of a blogger had the  most fascinating stories from the line-up of accomplished individuals she has the opportunity to meet through her blog, to her traveling adventures riding horseback in spain for two weeks by herself.  as only two healthy individuals would, we ended the fabulous dinner by packing in our um, antioxidants, by sharing the to-die-for chocolate cake (yes, antioxidants, that makes it sound healthy) and sipping the boldest, best coffee from what i still think are the coolest porcelain mugs i’ve ever seen.

after calling it a night, we ventured out into the rain and she ever so kindly shared a cab with me to ensure i got to my hotel in times square. note to self: know your cross-streets!   happily we will cross paths again…wednesday morning at 6:15am, actually, at soul cycle.  which is how i started my morning off today.

let me just clarify that THIS is how spin should be done. dark room, candle light, loud music, energetic but focused instructor that talks just enough to keep you going but not so much that you wish his mic would blow out. “string” was the spin instructor this morning at the w. 77th location of soul cycle. coming highly recommended, only the hope of an amazing experience could get this little tush out of bed at 5:30am (mind you, that’s 2:30am my time!) to spin.  and amazing it was.

the moment you walk in you’re in this zen-like space, complete with yellow grapefruit-scented soul cycle candles, inspirational quotes on the wall, and soul-cycle branded gear from lululemon + nike that left me wanting to forgo spin altogether just to shop!  being my first time there, they let me borrow spin shoes (mine didn’t make the trek being that i had to squeeze 4 days into 1 carry-on). the sweet girls at the front desk made sure i had my bottle of smartwater because they looked at me as though “you’re gonna need it.”  the attention to detail they take on getting you set up on your bikes is phenomenal – and yet so important if you’re going to ride for 45m non-stop.  all set-up and ready to go…the lights dim, candles flicker, music booms, and off we go.  45m later, sweat-drenched, and water bottle completely empty, i had at last experienced what i believe to be the only way spin should be done. a glutton for punishment? yes, i am.  i’ll be back there tomorrow morning for another dose of soul cycle.

with endorphins kicked in, i opted to take the scenic route back to my hotel – via central park. i proudly navigated my way (ok, with help from sweet brianna from soul cycle) over a few streets and avenues, making a quick pit stop at my beloved starbucks. and  then i saw it: central park.  rewind: my only experience of central park up until this point in my life has been via movies (you’ve got mail) and the episode of friends where phoebe + rachel go running through the park.  so to be walking amidst super tall, gorgeous buildings, which for sure i thought sarah jessica parker might walk out of at any moment, it’s an understatement to say that seeing central park for the first time at sunrise absolutely took my breath away. so from 77th ave, all the way to my hotel on 44th, i clung to my warm cup of coffee, freezing my hiney off but in sheer delight of it all. it was (yes), soulful.  just to be there, among the hustle bustle of new yorkers scattering off to work, parents herding their children onto their buses, runners and walkers treading through central park to start their day, taxis honking and sirens blaring.  for me, somehow among all that choas it was completely peaceful.  a bit reflective. like, how did this little girl (ok, so i’m 32 now…but i’m still only 5’2″ so i can get away with this) from the middle-of-no-where in colorado end up in this big city?  yes of course i’ve lived in california for 11 years now, but there are moments when i just step back in awe of it all. like how some days you are amazed at how days turn into weeks, turns into years…and one day you just realize how your life has unfolded much more beautifully than you could’ve ever expected.

pretty deep just for walking down a dirty street, right?

this is my one day to take in the city before the (welcomed) onslaught of meetings that start tomorrow. fitbooks in tow (hey, i’m here on business right?), i’m headed to equinox headquarters, modell’s sporting goods (who i’m meeting with on thursday), paragon sports (an amazing sport goods store…a candy shop for all things fitness), physique 57…and then maybe barnes & noble.  ya know, we go big.  with an afternoon off, i’m thinking i’ll take a trip down to the financial district, maybe over to soho and, then swing by the chelsea highline.  ooo…and apparently i need to go to eataly which is a local market for fresh breads, pastas, meats, cheeses…buonissimo!

so off to start my day of meandering through the city and ending the night at the highly-recommended sushi restaurant nobu with my friend, marcia, who will be my partner in crime for the rest of the week – well at night at least. then to bed early so i can wake up and rock spin again tomorrow morning!

any recommendations on where i must go? do tell. anyone wanna place bets on the number of times i get lost?  i probably won’t disappoint.

off to take in the city…i’ve only been here 14 hours and already i heart NYC.

angela


11
Sep
11

6 steps to get out of a funk + get on with life

every summer i try to go home to colorado for a week and the timing this year couldn’t have been more perfect. after being in a bit of funk, i decided to escape the rat race to just ‘be’.  there’s nothing like being with family to put life back in perspective.  needless to say, this trip was just what i needed and i thought i’d share a few life lessons if you too ever find yourself in a funk.  

step 1: feel sorry for yourself – briefly.
i fully believe in the value of a good ol’ pity party for a very short period of time – feel sorry for yourself, woe is me, blah blah blah…then get over it and get on with life! so often we’re taught to be strong, act like we’re okay and superficially be happy just so we don’t disturb others in our life. but grieving is a pivotal part of healing from any painful life experience so don’t skip out on this part of the process.  so whether your pity party is over a trivial, short-term disappointment or a major life change – go ahead and be a big baby.  cry, stomp your feet, and vent to those who love you…and then, get on with it.  staying in this place too long not only wears on you and those around you, but can become paralyzing. 

step 2: be thankful.
when all we do is focus on what we don’t have, we limit the joy that life has to offer.  so gain perspective and focus on the things in life that you’re thankful for.  if you look hard enough, you’ll find them.  i’m blessed and i know this, so how horrible would it be to only focus on what i don’t have in life? i have a wonderful, loving family, the best most caring girlfriends, a thriving little company that’s growing rapidly, a cute little beach house that is made complete with my little dog mylo.  just that short list makes me smile. so what do you have in your life to be grateful for?  i’ve started reflecting on this each day i wake up just to put my day in perspective and what a profound difference this one small action makes on the rest of my day.  try it!

step 3: celebrate others…and you.
i shared in my father’s day post about my daddy’s phenomenal success losing 18lbs in 6 months, and he was so darn cute…he called me in august to find out when i was coming home so he could reach the next goal he’d set for himself so he could show off for me. (i’m so much like my daddy – love to make people proud!)  and sure enough he did: not only has he maintained his weight loss and reached his first goal of 180, but his lifestyle has completely changed. while i give him complete credit for doing all the hard work, i stepped back and it was good for me to see the positive change i had on his life. for me, it’s always easy to deflect credit to someone else but i deny myself the joy that i bring to others. this man now packs his veggie & tuna salad the night before work, stashes healthy snacks at his desk, and ALWAYS fits in his workout – no matter what – and (i couldn’t believe my eyes..) he faithfully is logging all his food and workouts in his 3rd fitbook!  we were even in our small town with no gym in sight and he’s on youtube finding this 9-minute workout that was supposed to rock our world. sometimes when i’m in a funk, it’s easier to just say “i’m with family…i can work out when i get home to california” but it’s really my way of just making an excuse (yes, i do this too!).  but my “student” (aka daddy) was now becoming MY coach…he challenged me to the 9-minute workout (which was tough) and then i wanted to show him my 4-exercise circuit just to see what time i could do (yay, PR of 5:28!).  what made me happier than the fact that my own father got ME to workout, was that his life change is due in part to me. and that gives me joy, knowing that i’ve helped give my dad a renewed view on life so he can live a longer, healthier life. (ok, partly selfish on my part – i want him with me forever!)

step 4: shift your focus – to others.
a primary reason for my going home was that my dear, sweet grams had been in the hospital and i wanted time with her and my poppa now that she was feeling better. being with them and giving them all my energy, love, and focus was just as good for me as it was for them.  when all we do is focus on our little world, a funny thing happens – our joy is limited.  when we open up ourselves to giving our time, effort, and love to others, the joy multiplies.  part of my grandma’s recovery is highly focused on losing a little weight and really reining in her nutrition, coupled with daily physical therapy. so i went into nutritional nazi mode and plowed through her cabinets, getting rid of any foods she couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be eating, tossing any foods that had an expiration dating back to 2008 (grams….seriously you never need tuna, jello packets, or craisins ever again…you’re good!), and helping her to create a positive, healthy environment. we made a pretty fruit bowl for the cabinet so it’s her “go-to” and moved all the less-than-healthy (treat) foods to the back of the freezer and fridge so that she sets herself up for success.  my favorite part was going to the store for her, fixing her snacks and meals while i was there and sharing with her how yummy healthy foods can be!  then i took her home a fitbook pink so she can not only log her physical therapy (which her dr. asked her to do anyway) but track her food and her physical reactions that she may/may not have. plus, i told her that just the act of writing down her food results in consuming 500-1000 fewer calories.  she was on board!  in the back of the fitbook i wrote down quick ideas for breakasts, snacks, and lunch/dinner for her based on her dietary restrictions, gave her my go-to recipes, and even gave her the “best” options at each of the restaurants they go to when they eat out.  she’s lost 14lbs in the past few weeks and she wants to continue on this path…and was overjoyed.  but me…well, it made me feel so good because when you turn your focus to helping others, it changes you for the better.

step 5: enjoy the little moments
for me, colorado (especially lamar) moves just a little bit slower.  yes, i work while i’m home and no i don’t completely just escape. but the responsibilities are fewer, my family is there, and fall in colorado has a way of taking your breath away.  i found myself enjoying the smaller things in life…the bunny that was hopping through the grass, the black-eyed susans in bloom (or as my mom calls them, lazy susans), playing a leisurely game of scrabble with my brother & sister-in-law, or just taking in a sunset.  whether it’s escaping for a few moments or a few hours each week, i’ve found that god gives me these times to reflect, gain perspective, and renew my energy.

step 6: re-engage + regain perspective
escaping is nice….but inevitably, the very thing that led to your “funk” will still be waiting for you when you return to.  the key is to go through each of the above steps fully and i promise that you’ll have a different perspective.  as mr. wayne dyer says, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at begin to change.”  so with that renewed perspective, i returned to california thankful for the time i had.  and i was refreshed to take on life and engage fully.  i do this little “funk fighter” series every so often when life gets overwhelming.  and inevitably upon return, i take on my business with an intense new energy, interact with friends and loved ones on a whole new level, and find myself having crazy new energy to take care of myself again.  going to the gym, prepping my food, fixing healthy meals…while it’s second nature to me, sometimes i get burned out too.  but taking this little much-needed, healthy break so i can come back better than before.

in a funk? share your tips to living a full life….even when you don’t feel like it sometimes!
with much love,
angela

19
Jun
11

my daddy: from flabby to fit!

it’s father’s day – and i miss my daddy…for a few reasons:

1)  even though we’re always close at heart, we’re 1700 miles apart. him in colorado, me in california.  so when everyone is celebrating father’s day with their dad, i’m sending his homemade card in advance (see this year’s card on the right!), calling 3 times that day just so he knows i love him, and sending at least one ecard.  sometimes when there are miles in between you literally have to go that extra mile…but then again, when you have a dad like mine – it’s worth it.

2) …and the second reason i miss my daddy especially this father’s day, is well, there’s literally less of him to love.  read on.

last december dad called me one day just to talk to me and tell me how frustrated he was with being a little overweight. and, like all people that i talk to of course i listen, try to provide guidance, but especially with family and friends you have to tread lightly.  people have to really want something for themselves – and while he’d talked to me before, i knew this time was different.  he got to that point that we all get to where he was just done feeling his belly overlap his jeans, tired of the shirt buttons being tight, and having no energy – not to mention his health.  the “wake up call” for him was that his doctor told him that according to his BMI he was “obese”.  you would have never looked at him and thought he was obese – maybe just 20lbs overweight, but according to his BMI – he was.

so just a few weeks later, santa brought dad a black ‘live life fit’ t-shirt (which, i need to send him a large now that the xl is too big!), a fitbook black, and a complete workout + nutrition plan. for his workouts plan i upped his cardio to burn more calories and then integrated strength training, which he wasn’t doing at all.  then every 4 weeks, we’d switch up the plan to keep him challenged mentally & physically.  for his nutrition plan, after extensive questioning on what foods he likes/dislikes, what his cravings are, and what worked with his schedule, i gave him a complete meal plan (plus a grocery shopping list for the momma).  and because my parents do eat out a lot, i gave him a complete list of all the places they eat out and 2 or 3 options of what and how to order at each restaurant.  we never muttered the word “calories”, but  instead focused on portion control, slowing down his eating (“no pre-loading the fork!”), and eating smaller meals more often.  his only requirement was he had to write down everything in his fitbook.  and while i spent about 4-6 hours with him while i was home for the holidays – after the plane left the runway, he was on his own.

over the next 6 months i’d help tweak his workouts, answer any questions he might have about nutrition, switch up his menu when he got bored – but really, he was solo.  i wasn’t there to make him workout.  i wasn’t there to watch what he ate.  once he completed a fitbook, he’d mail it to me…we’d walk through little tweaks he could make to see better results, and off he’d go.  he’d have rough days every now and then, like we all do – but what i saw this time was he was committed to this for the long-term, not just the quick results and give up if he didn’t get instant gratification.  

fast forward to the first weekend in june of this year. i flew home for my cousin’s wedding and when my dad got out of the car at the airport, i literally couldn’t believe my eyes.  he looked so amazing!  (here’s a photo of me with my handsome daddy at the wedding a few weeks ago)  over the next week that i spent with him, i quickly realize that this man had made complete lifestyle changes and that is why he was so successful.  here’s what i saw:

* usually when i go home my mom emails me to ask me what i need from the grocery store – “my food” as they call it because i eat so differently than my parents. they’re not unhealthy by any means but in their world, i take it to a new level.  i listed off what i needed and mom said they already have that stuff – that’s dad’s food now.  all i needed to special order was my “blue milk” as they jokingly refer to my skim milk – and i’ve proudly got them down to 2% from whole!  sure enough – i get home and the fridge is stocked with pre-bagged 4oz grilled chicken breasts, pre-cooked sweet potatoes, bags of spinach…it was heaven to see this change.

* when we had a family dinner at a nearby mexican restaurant, my dad ordered before me and all i had to say was “i’ll have what he’s having”…grilled chicken breast, fajita vegetables, light cheese, & avocado in a whole wheat tortilla.  it was like teaching someone all you know and sitting back watching them take flight!  he was making the good choices, on his own, and barely touching the tortilla chips.  who was this man?

* he’s been obsessed (yes obsessed) with his workouts.  they’re online, free, and they’re new everyday.  it’s called liveexercise.com and i’m in no way associated with them – but of course i find out later that dad sent them an email telling them about fitbook.  of course he did – he’s the man that taught me how to do business!  so this website is free new workouts each day using the bodylastics resistance band system.  so my dad doesn’t have a normal “door jam” in the basement where he works out. so as soon as i get home he wants to show off his rigged up bodylastics system which is some combination of a 2″x4″, metal hooks to anchor and clip his resistance bands, and then of course he tim-taylored the board against the ceiling so it’s solid…..*grunt grunt* (that’s tim taylor from tooltime if you’re not well-versed in this language that frequents communications in our family). 

those lifestyle changes are what need to happen to see results.  so speaking of results, here are the numbers behind my dad’s last 6 months of hard work:

  • lost 18lbs and 9 1/2″ (with 4″ of that coming off his belly – his “trouble” area)
  • went from a snug-fitting size 36 jeans to a lose-fitting size 34
  • lowered his cholesterol by 12 points
  • reduced his blood pressure from 110/78 to 102/64

am i braggin? yes, it’s my blog & i’ll brag if i want to.  i’m beyond proud of my daddy and what he’s accomplished.  he has more energy and is enjoying life more  – a byproduct of feeling your best and reaching goals that you set for yourself.  so of course my conversation with him before i left this last time was how he was going to reward himself – something that everyone seems to forget.  so momma’s taking him shopping this weekend to by him a snazzy new pair of seven jeans – in a size smaller of course.  and his father’s day gift from me: this cool new contraption that i found through my girl kim lyons – a little all-inclusive resistance band system that is inside this case that opens up and is a step so you can integrate cardio into your workout.  it’s called the journey gym and i want dad to have one so when he travels he can take his workout anywhere – much more portable than a 9′ long 2×4!  (p.s. dad – hopefully you receive this in the mail before you’re reading this!!)

so if anything – i hope my dad’s story can inspire you that anyone can reach their goals…you just have to commit to 100%.  don’t say you’re going to try and start eating healthy & working out.  as nike says, just do it.  wishing all you dads out there a happy father’s day – ‘specially mine.  love you daddy – i adore you.

angela
(or as daddy calls me – punkin’)

05
May
11

no butts about it.

it’s 8pm and i so should be prepping for my first-ever board meeting tomorrow.  i’ve still got financials and forecasts to fine-tune, and yet, i decide that now would be a fine time to blog.  there are just things you learn about yourself, and like them or not, you accept them because they work for you.  i’ve learned that writing inspires me – unleashing my creative side is therapeutic and when i’m working on something as tedious as financial statements, my little creative brain craves stimulation.  i also know that i work better under pressure – i always have.  maybe it’s the challenge or quite possibly it’s the adrenaline from the stress that fuels me, but whatever it is, it works.  and lastly, i procrastinate, which works fabulously with point #2.  i absolutely drive myself nuts sometimes, but i always pull through at the last minute. 

and so i blog. 

it was just over 6 weeks ago where i proudly posted about my brilliant butt-busting injury [falling flat on your a**: it happens.].  and just like i’ve learned how my brain ticks when it comes to work, i had the opportunity to learn about myself over the past 6 weeks.  while it was funny at first, it soon became not-so-funny when i realized that not only was i in major pain, but i had to deal with the possibility of the pain not ever going away.  this is coming from someone who’s sprained an ankle a few times – but that’s about it.  and it shouldn’t surprise you that working out and living an active life is a huge part of who i am.  so then it wouldn’t be a stretch to understand how heart-wrenching it was for the doctor to tell me to take FOUR weeks off from working out.  4. quattro…like a whole month. right after the tailbone  tumble i went right back to the gym and pushed through the pain, my doctor of course saying that i made it worse.  lovely.  so i was told no working out, not even long walks – just rest. even upper body workouts were out because they still put a strain on your spine which causes inflammation.  so i thought to myself: “4 weeks…i can do that…i can do anything for 4 weeks.”

the first week i was golden…i decided to cut my whole grains back just a bit but not really change much else. i was juicing in the morning, feeling fabulous all day, and on cloud 9 that i could go a whole week without working out and (mentally) still feel fab.  **UUURRRCHH*  that came to a hard stop at week 2.  and for the next 5 weeks after that it was day-after-day of absolutely no energy, a loss of focus on my goals, lower productivity at work, and i quietly slipped into a slight depression.  this wreaked havoc of course on my nutrition which made it even harder!  here’s how it should work: “i’m not working out so i shall consume less.”  my brain doesn’t work that way.  i get hard on myself and (like i preach all the time) – once i get down on myself, it’s all downhill.  did i chow down on cheetos?  no. not quite.  but i slowly started eating a few processed foods here and there…taking an extra spoon (read: heap) full of peanut butter even when i wasn’t hungry…and just not being mindful of my body at all.  i didn’t feel good…i felt all blubbery and yuck…just 4 weeks of not working out and i started getting soft. ew. am i hard on myself? yes.  but not because i gained any weight (you know my thoughts on using scales to determine your mood).  but i was angry with myself for doing something so stupid that lead me to losing the one thing in my life that makes me feel so great.  so if you can at all relate to anything i’m rambling on about, here’s what i learned over the past 6 weeks.

sometimes it’s ok to lose control
i realized that working out wasn’t just part of my lifestyle, but it became who i was.  it’s the one thing i can control. but then when an injury comes along that takes it away, my little world went into a tailspin. never facing this before, i didn’t deal so well at first.  but in my life i’ve seen that you can find good in all things if you look hard enough.  so by losing control in this area of my life i was able to learn more about who i really am.  i also spent the time that i would usually be at the gym developing stronger personal relationships which i don’t tend to do.  my day is packed from the moment i wake up to the moment i hit the pillow and i never miss a workout. but suddenly having 90m in my day free opened up time for new things. and lastly…i took advantage of the time to let my bodyrest. i didn’t really have a choice, but while i preach the importance of resting your body, i never really do it.  i’m totally a type a, thinks-she’s-in-control-of-everything kinda girl.  do i think god maybe used this time to teach me otherwise? quite possibly.

appreciate what you have
have you ever been so sick that in what feels like your last breaths before you die, you swear you’ll always appreciate being healthy if you can just feel better?  i remember having a nasty bout of food poisoning in italy (yeah, not a great place for that) and feeling so awful that i 1) wanted my mom and 2) vowed never to take my health for granted again.  but i’m human, and after a few weeks you forget about the past and go on about your day and soon take our health for granted again.  for the past 6 weeks i don’t know how many times i thought to myself: “i don’t understand why people who can workout, don’t.”  it makes me a better person: happier, healthier, stronger, more energized, less stressed, motivated…the list goes on.  hopefully this feeling doesn’t go away after a few weeks…but i vowed to myself to never just go through the motions at the gym again or just get through a workout just for the sake of doing it.  i begged to the tailbone gods that if only i could feel better, i would have a renewed appreciation for being healthy + fit.  don’t take even one day of being healthy for granted because we only have today and don’t know how many tomorrows we may get.  as my good friend + trainer jeff norcross said the other day: carpe minutam (sieze the moment).

reach out
1 is absolutely the loneliest number. and if we sulk long enough about our own horrible situation, we become horrible to be around.  i found that reaching out to others who were in similar situations not only brightend their day, but helped me to connect and boost my mood too.  case in point: i saw a girl at the gym working out with a full-on boot up to her knee because she tore ligaments in her ankle.  she told me she’d been told not to workout since january but she was finally hitting the gym, doing what she could with her doctor’s permission.  you could tell that just talking about it made us both feel better.  then there was  avery timely blog post by chalene johnson just the other day on the mental effects of an exercise-limiting injury.  not only is she a celebrity in the fitness world (hello, creator of turbokick, turbojam, turbofire…you name it!) but the fact that she could relate to what i was feeling gave me hope.  and this is like life.  we’re not meant to live it alone – and especially when you’re struggling the most, it’s important to reach out.

face the truth
hopefully i’ve lost most people by now so not too many fitbookers read this.  and if you are one of my loyal readers that somehow lasts through my rambling posts, bless you.  i must say i’m not proud to say that the hardest part of all with being hurt was the realization that the pain may never go away.  the 2nd hardest part was facing each day of not working out.  so guess what i did?  that’s right, i haven’t used my fitbook for 5 weeks (gasp!).  i can’t even remember the last time i didn’t have it with me every where i went!  it’s even MORE important to write down your food when you’re not working out (remember: you consume 500-1000 fewer caloreies!).  but no.  me, miss fitbook herself, couldn’t face writing in her fitbook. and i couldn’t figure out why for a few weeks.  i finally realized that every day i opened it and had to check the “oops i missed it” box for the workout was just one more reminder that i wasn’t working out. facing that truth hurt.  but here’s the beauty in me realizing this: i think i can now understand my fitbookers a lot better.  what it feels like when you just don’t want to face writing down what you ate that day….or that life got you down and you don’t want one more reminder that you didn’t hit the gym.  i can now say “i get it”.  so here’s the thing: i’m making it my personal mission to help you push through those days…to face the truth even when it’s not pretty…and by doing that you’ll learn more about who you are.

so those are my 6-week epiphanies.  even though i’m not 100%, i’m back to working out and couldn’t be happier. i can’t go all-out with my workouts like i did before – not yet anyway.  but i think i see another lesson coming out of this which is for me to learn to live in the grey area of life.  i’m usually all or nothing…and i can’t do all right now and i’ve learned that doing nothing isn’t an option either.  so i’m taking it slow but…i’m back.  it’s forced me to try new things, be a bit more creative, and really listen to my body.  pilates is amazingly therapeutic and my girl erica from core athletica is nursing me back to fitness on the reformer.  i just started boxing at l.a. boxing just doing the boxing (not kickboxing) classes which is intense without putting any pressure on the backside while getting out some aggression.  and i’m hitting the weights too but just being careful to keep my spine neutral (no split squats, lunges, etc.), hold off on any plyometrics for now, and sadly no running (yet). 

most importantly, my doc said: ice.   i found a new use for our fitlosophy sticky notes: this is my reminder on my freezer so i don’t forget!  i’m not saying i loved the last 6 weeks, but i’m grateful for the lessons i learned and look forward to healing fully…slowly but surely.  i absolutely got bucked off, but what i’ve learned in life is that it’s our choice to saddle up and go at it again.

giddy up!
angela




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