What I’ve Been Up To

It’s been a while since I’ve been an every-day-blogger, and for now, it’s what is working for me. There may be a day when daily blogging is back in my life, but for now I’m on the when-I-feel-like-it train.

I thought I’d pop in for now and let you know what I’m up to these days, so here goes!

Workouts

-Still doin’ it! It’s crazy to think that 9.5 years ago, I stepped into Lifts for the first time and started this crazy, wonderful adventure. I’ve been consistently working out since then and I plan on never stopping.

-My focus has finally shifted to powerlifting. It was something I’d been eyeing for the last 1.5 years and I had started gearing my workouts towards that style, but I finally bit the bullet and started training at a powerlifting gym this past January. I LOVE IT. Not only do I love the fact that I’m getting stronger, but the vibe of a powerlifting gym is just so much different than a regular gym. The focus is very little about aesthetics and very much about strength. You get a break from those who are there “to be seen” and instead get to lift weights with a bunch of like-minded people that also want to be strong AF. It’s quite wonderful. (I still do tons of glute work too, in case you were worried ;-))

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Food

-I’m eating what I want and being mindful of it. I’ve never been happier. I’m not focused on losing weight, I’m in control, and I’m happy with my body. Could I afford to lose 10-15 lbs to be leaner? Sure thing. But it’s not my focus right now. I’m simply focused on eating to fuel my workouts and also enjoying life.

Travel

-I’ve been gone almost every weekend this year! Multiple trips to AZ to see family, Seattle, Park City, Dana Point, and Maui. I’m headed to Kansas City at the end of this month for a strength training seminar and then to Big Bear at the end of June. I guess you could say I’ve got the travel bug!

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Work

-I’m still training clients at 2 different gyms, teaching a weekly boot camp, and working as a business consultant to gyms. The balance is great and I’m so happy that I’m able to work hard and play hard too!

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Oscar

-This is always the first question I’m asked by family and friends. “How’s Oscar?” He is definitely the star of the show and he loves every minute of it. This dog makes my life better. He’s the best friend I could ever ask for.

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That’s what’s going on with me! Tell me what’s up with you! Traveling? Working out? I want to hear about it, so comment below!

3 Things You Must Do to Reach Your Fitness Goals

I sat down here to write, knowing I felt like writing, and found myself with nothing to write about. Cool story, right?

But I also know that once I get going, sometimes the words just start flowing.

And as I started writing that, I instantly saw the relationship of that statement as it relates to exercise.

The fact that sometimes you are a little unsure, not in the mood, or flat out dreading a workout. But if you just start, maybe you’ll get into the zone and end up with a kick ass swole session under your belt.

it reminded me of why it is so important to push yourself to do something, even when you’re feeling unmotivated (and boy is this something I needed to remind myself of, but that’s another story for another day).

The #1 question I’m asked (and it’s almost on a daily basis) is how I find the motivation to workout consistently. Friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, random people at the grocery store, even fellow gym-goers are curious as to what I have that they don’t.

The answer is going to surprise you, I think. But first, let me fill you in on a few things about myself (and many other fitness “freaks”) that you may not know.

3 Misconceptions about the “Fitness Freak”

  • Working out consistently does not come from motivation. Yes, you read that right. I haven’t worked out consistently for 9.5 years because I was motivated. I’ve worked out for 9.5 years consistently because I made that choice. Don’t get me wrong, I find a lot of joy and fulfillment from working out. I have always been a bit competitive and have always been an athlete. One of my biggest fears is losing my athletic abilities. It’s the reason I not only lift weights, but find other ways to stay active as well. I also see how well working out translates into how I carry my personal and professional life. I see what getting stronger physically does to my mental wellbeing (it’s life-changing, btw). HOWEVER, if I only worked out when I was motivated, I guarantee that my workouts would be all over the place and extremely INCONSISTENT. Motivation is wavering. Sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low, and it usually doesn’t stay for very long. It’s unreliable and while you can take advantage of it while it’s visiting, you shouldn’t let it be your crutch or your reason.

 

  • You don’t have to love everything you do. As I stated above, I do love working out. But that doesn’t mean that I love everything I do to stay fit. There are plenty of exercises that I’d happily trade in permanently, but often times it is the exercises that you wish to do least, that you probably should be doing more. It’s fun to do things we’re good at. It’s not as fun to do things that we struggle with, so it makes sense that we all have exercises we hate. While exercise should generally be enjoyable and you should like what you do, be aware that there will be pieces of what you do that you may not always enjoy.

 

  • Piggy backing on the above statement, sometimes you will start to love the things you previously disliked. I used to despise chin ups and bench press. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t very good at either of them. But I also knew that I wanted to get better at both exercises, so I just did them. Low and behold, I now LOVE both of them A LOT. You don’t have to start out loving something to potentially start loving it. So hang in there, keep practicing the things you’re weak at, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn to love them.

3 Things You Must Do to Reach Your Fitness Goals

The 3 previous statements bring me to the answer you were looking for earlier in this post. The question of “what do I (and other fitness “freaks”) have that you don’t?”…

The answer is: NOTHING. 

Mentally, I don’t have any magic tools that you don’t have. As much as we all like to think we are “unique”, we’re also kind of the fucking same guys. Sure, we have unique qualities, but at the end of the day, we’re the same damn breed. (And before you tell me I have more time, I have the same 24 hours that you do. We choose the way we spend them.)

Now that we know we have the same tools to work with, it’s important to look at what will make us successful in our endeavors, whether fitness and health related or not.

  1. The goal has to be stronger than your excuses. If it’s not very important to you to be fit, it will probably be hard for you to choose hitting the gym over crushing an entire season of New Girl on a Tuesday night. Finding the reason WHY you want to be fit is crucial. Maybe it’s because you just want to look better naked (totally valid goal). Maybe you know that your family has a history of obesity-related health issues. The fact that you don’t want to be put onto 4 different medications in your mid-30’s. The bottom line is, if you don’t have a WHY, you will likely not be able to push yourself to make the time and effort to consistently exercise.
  2. Just like your muscles, mental strength must be exercised. Just as the current habits we have were learned, we can retrain ourselves to forge new habits. This doesn’t come easily, and requires us to practice. For example, if you’re used to getting home from work each day and sitting on the couch for the rest of the night, it won’t be easy to just start going to the gym after work instead. You may be able to get by with some motivation for a few days, but once that wears off (and it almost always does, hence my advice to NOT rely on motivation), you’ll want to go right back to sitting on the couch after work. These are the times that you have to exercise your brain. These are the times you have to fight the urge to sit on the couch, and just go to the gym anyways. Over time, your habits will change and it will get easier and easier.
  3. You have to be ok with NOT BEING PERFECT. This one is really difficult, but likely the most important. We love to beat ourselves up when we fuck up. We love to throw in the towel when things don’t go perfectly. We love to sabotage ourselves further when we’ve gotten off track even in the slightest bit. And what we REALLY need to understand is that we will never be perfect. We will fuck up, fail, derail, and make the wrong choice. It is not an if, it is a when. Being OKAY with that fact, is what will actually keep you ON TRACK with your goals. It sounds a bit ass backwards, but it’s actually the truth. It doesn’t give you a pass to skip the gym and eat like crap and then just throw your hands up and say “eh, i’m not perfect”, but it DOES give you permission to pep talk yourself and say “i fucked up, but i am not a fuck up. I got off track, but I will not stay off track. I fell down, but I will get back up”.

At the end of the day, consistency wins the race. It’s funny, because we like to think that the extremes are what get us from point A to point B. It couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the small steps that actually move us forward. It’s the acceptance that not everything will be perfect. It’s the fact that some days we won’t have time for our hour long weight lifting workout and instead, we’ll have 15 minutes in our living room to move. It’s the days you end up at a pizza joint with friends and decide to just eat 1 slice of pizza instead of eating 7 slices and writing off the day as an entire failure. THAT is how we reach our goals. THAT is how we get the things we’ve always wanted. We accept what is, and we do the best we can with it. 

Questions

1. Tell me, what is your goal and what stands in your way the most?

2. Do you push yourself to workout/eat well even when you don’t want to? Or do you give in to what you want to do at that moment?

My Fitness Journey: 9 Years of Ups and Downs Part 3

In my last post, I left off with my recovery from a bad relationship with food and my elimination of steady state cardio. It was something I knew I needed to do for a long time, but it didn’t make it easy. While it was difficult mentally, it was made a bit easier by the fact that I almost effortlessly lost 10lbs in the first 2 months of putting focus on weight training, doing very little cardio, and eating foods I wanted to eat without feeling guilt.

Slowly but surely, my goals started to change towards getting stronger and the emphasis on “losing weight” was dwindling.

Throughout the rest of 2013 and into 2014, I started to really remember why I got into this in the first place and started to remember my roots. I was taught how to lift weights first and foremost, and that was what I loved most.

I continued counting calories throughout all of these years. At some point, I switched from Sparkpeople over to My Fitness Pal, but I’m 99% sure that there isn’t a day in the last 9 years that my food isn’t tracked somewhere. Impressive? maybe. Scary? Definitely. It’s a sign that my relationship with food could still be improved.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve been really comfortable with my body and even though I’m not the lean bikini-competitor girl I once was, I’ve actually grown to love the body I do have, added body fat and all.

But still, there is a part of me that has wanted redemption. A part of me that wants to say a giant FUCK YOU to my eating disorder and to show it that I’m better than that, stronger than that, and can get lean WITHOUT losing my mind. It’s a me vs. me that I haven’t quite figured out yet, but also haven’t given up on.

I’ve tried a few times and have seen some success, but ultimately have failed. I’m actually not embarrassed to admit that, it just shows that I still have work to do when it comes to my relationship with food and my mindset.

I’ve worked with great coaches (Sohee and Erik) that have each taught me some valuable lessons, but ultimately, a coach can’t do the work for you. I’m a personal trainer and know this first-hand. I can’t make my clients take action, work hard, show up, etc. I can only guide them. The coaches I’ve had helped me as best as they could and I did see results and made progress with each of them. BUT, there has always been a fear in me that by heading down the road to fat loss, that I’ll end up in the same position I was in back in 2009. It’s, what I believe, has subconsciously held me back and made me self-sabotage my efforts.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about it over the last few months as I’ve tried to figure myself out and this is what I do know:

-I’ve been able to maintain my weight more or less for the last few years at a weight/look that I am comfortable with

-I’ve been able to lose fat, but haven’t really been able to keep it off (that’s the self-sabotage)

-I’ve gotten stronger and have continued to kick ass in the gym

-I’ve been paying entirely too much attention to what I eat

Did that last one make your head turn? Every article you read asks that you pay attention to what you eat. But this is what has really been striking me as of late. I’ve been tracking my food intake for 9 years and while that can be a great tool for some, I realize that I also have ZERO clue about what my body needs WITHOUT looking to see how much protein/carbs/fat/calories I’ve had for the day. I don’t pay attention to hunger cues very much other than when I’m hungry, I check to see how much i can eat without going over my numbers.

I’ve come to the realization that by tracking everything I put in my body, I’ve become completely obsessive. I could probably tell you how many calories are in almost any serving of food you present to me. I know HOW to eat, yet I rely on calculators. Exclusively.

I think tracking was a great thing for me for a long time, and in the future it may be a great tool for me again, but for now? I think it’s time for me to break up with My Fitness Pal.

I think I need to take a leap of faith and start learning to eat based on my hunger cues and what my body needs, as opposed to choosing to eat based on what the numbers are telling me. This may sound counterintuitive to some, but I believe it is a necessary step in my journey.

There is a good chance that in doing this, I’ll gain weight initially because I won’t really know how much I’m eating. At the same time, I do believe that over time, I’ve been doing this long enough (and know how to properly put meals together to fuel my training) that I think it will benefit me in the long run. I think it will be the key to me putting all this shit behind me FOR GOOD.

It’s a giant unknown, but is something I’ve pondered a lot in the recent months. It’s scary and that may sound silly to some, but it’s been my security blanket for 9 years. I think it’s time to pay attention to my body, and not my data.

It was a good run My Fitness Pal…and Spark People? Thank you for your help over the years, but it’s time. It’s time for me to give up the trackers for a while. Maybe I’ll be back to them, but for the next few months, they’ve gotta go.

FAREWELL TRACKERS

*I appreciate all of you that read through all 3 parts of this. It was a lot and definitely wasn’t easy to write. It’s a tough subject for me, but at the same time, if I can help even one person, it’s worth it. I believe going through that is part of what makes me a great personal trainer and coach to others. I’ve been there, I understand the struggle, and I’ve (mostly) gotten away from it. I’m not perfect, I haven’t solved everything, but I’ve been through quite a bit and have helped others in their journey as well. Please feel free to reach out to me (or someone) if you need help. You can e-mail me at fitlizzio@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post. 

My Fitness Journey: 9 Years of Ups and Downs Part 2

I left you all in part 1 with the day I competed in July 2009. I was more than ready and felt great. I looked great too. After my show, my coaches all told me how impressed they were. They said I nailed my peak week and looking incredible on stage. Mind you, this was only the 2nd NPC Bikini show, so it wasn’t a huge thing like it is today. I think there were 7 people in my height class and maybe 30-40 total competing in bikini that day. Not many people were doing this and social media wasn’t really “poppin'” at the time. I’m pretty sure i was still on myspace….

This was my myspace profile pic at the time..don’t judge me haha

And we're off!

Anyways, this is where things got bad. Up to this point, I had been fighting off my poor relationship with food. I had kept it at bay because I knew I had to compete. Once I was off the stage, I lost control. I had scheduled a photo shoot for the day after my show with Bret’s brother Joel (who is an amazing photographer). I binged right before the photo shoot and tried throwing up so that I could suck it in enough for our photos (I don’t think I succeeded by the way). I was super lean, so a lot of food actually just made my veins pop a lot, but it was the start of a very long spiral down a shitty, shitty road.

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(a photo from the shoot)

I had planned on competing in another competition 5 weeks after my first show, but with Fitness America this time (a different federation). A lot of the ladies that I’d been posing with were doing it, so I wanted to do it with them. I had become close with many of them and it just sounded really fun.few pics. more to come

I binged 1x/week leading up to that show and couldn’t really control it. It showed on stage. I placed 5th and was told afterwards that they’d like to see me a little bit leaner for next time. I knew I didn’t look my best (although I’d argue that was the best my butt has EVER looked haha).

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I had qualified for Nationals at my first show and was planning on doing a national show in October or November, but from here on out, I just couldn’t get myself together. And so started what would be the most miserable couple years of my life. Battling an eating disorder.

I gained about 25-30 lbs in a short time, and felt awful. It’s a funny thing that happens. You get used to seeing yourself so lean, that only a few pounds makes you feel HUGE. The cycle becomes this: you binge, you’re REALLY bloated since you don’t normally eat like that and your body isn’t used to it, you wake up the next day 10 lbs heavier (water weight mostly) and just feel like you look awful (and let’s face it, you look like shit because you’re holding so much water). You vow to not eat all day and you mostly don’t. You perform at least an hour of cardio to “work it off” and then in just a few days, you do it again. Before you know it, the scale is TRULY going up and you’re depressed about it so then it starts again. It’s a cycle of binge, restrict, binge, restrict, and it is VERY common in the competition world. I know so many that dealt with the same issues, although at the time, I thought I was the only one and was very quiet about it. There weren’t a bunch of articles about the issues, and nobody talked about it. I was completely ashamed and watched as my friends stepped on stage. I wrote out my goals, started telling people I was “x” weeks out, and kept trying to get myself together. Eventually I started telling people I was bulking. That was a lie. I wasn’t bulking, I was just not comfortable telling people I had an eating disorder. That I couldn’t eat 1 cookie without eating the whole box. That I couldn’t enjoy any food that I didn’t know EXACTLY what was in it. It was embarrassing and I just wanted to hide from it all (even though it was very apparent something was wrong).

I remember my sister’s wedding. I looked awful. I look at those photos now and it doesn’t even look like me.

makeup(getting ready for the wedding…this is one of the “good” ones)

I remember standing in my dad’s kitchen and him asking “are you gaining weight?” I freaked out and responded “I DONT KNOW DAD” and stomped out.

The thing is, when you get in really good shape, people start telling you how much they look up to you. How they wish they could be like you. How they wish they had the determination that you have. And it feels really, really good. So when you start to unravel, you feel like you’ve not only let yourself down, but everyone else too. Everyone starts to expect that you’re the one that’s going to be eating healthy all the time, working out, and looking awesome. At least that’s what it FEELS like they expect. Whether they do or not, I’m not sure. I can tell you that I not only felt pressure from myself, but pressure from my peers that looked up to me. My family that had complimented my successes. My friends that couldn’t believe I would bring my own fish and veggies on the boat with me to the lake.

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I moved to Los Angeles in May 2011 and the disordered eating continued. It wasn’t until late 2012 that I finally started getting a handle on it. I finally decided that I was going to be OK with who I was, no matter how i looked. This was me and I could either continue to dwell on the past, or I could start anew. I knew that I had to allow myself to eat what I wanted in order to rid myself of the “guilt” I had from eating “forbidden” foods.

At first it wasn’t pretty, but over time, the glamour of a cookie wasn’t really that glamorous anymore. I could eat 1 cookie and be fine with it. I didn’t need to eat the entire bag of chips. I could eat a subway sandwich and not feel like I was a giant loser. In the past, I had not allowed myself to eat ANY of that stuff in the presence of others. I felt like i had an image to uphold, so this was a big step for me.

Over time, I was able to create a healthier relationship with food. I found that most of the time, I actually LIKED eating healthy foods. I ate junk when I wanted it, but it actually wasn’t that often. I finally felt like a normal person again.

I followed that up with giving up cardio. That was another piece that I knew needed to go. In the past, if I didn’t stand on the elliptical or treadmill for at least 30 minutes a day, I felt off. It was useless, and yet that tiny little bit of sweat I drew up made me feel OK so that I could move on with my day. Cardio came before weight training at that point and I knew that needed to change.

Oddly enough, as my relationship with food changed for the better and my physical activity decreased, I actually started losing weight. I dropped 10 lbs in about 2 months and finally started looking like ME again….

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Part 3 is up next…

My Fitness Journey: 9 Years of Ups & Downs Part 1

Hello friends!

It’s been a while, but I believe that this blog has grown up with me, and that means it has changed quite a bit from what it was in 2008! I’ll be turning 28 in just 8 days and life is busy. Daily blogging just isn’t what I want to be doing right now in my life, and I’d rather have great content than just content. This blog houses almost 7 years of posts (on and off) and documents so much of my fitness journey. From the days of competing all the way until now with my focus mainly being hitting PRs. I’m so thankful for this outlet and hope that at some point, it’s been helpful to you as well.

I want to discuss something today that I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last few months. If you are sensitive to food-related or eating disorder topics, I suggest skipping this post.

Let’s start from the beginning: 2007

It was August 2007 when I started working out for real. I had played sports my whole life and briefly had a personal trainer when I was in high school (thanks mom!), but I was not really committed and probably only went a handful of times. I count the start of my journey as the day I walked into Bret‘s gym and worked out for the first time. Up to that point, I had eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was thin most of my life and because I was so active, the plethora of junk food and fast food never really settled into my body. I did start to notice that changing a little bit when I was 19 and wasn’t active at all anymore, which is why I decided to do something about it. I didn’t start dieting then, but Bret and Jordan (my coaches at Lifts) encouraged me to start making better food choices. I vividly remember sitting in the lounge at Lifts eating turkey and grapes after my workout almost every day. (Maybe that’s where my love for grapes started).

I eventually started incorporating cardio into my life (because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do when you worked out) and then started counting calories. I was using Spark People (a food tracking website) at the time to track my food intake. I didn’t pay any attention to the types of foods I was eating other than I tried to eat healthy food most of the time and my goal was to keep my calories around 1800 each day. I ate a lot of Kashi heart to heart, fruit, frozen dinners, and other low-calorie foods on the market. I lost about 10lbs in a short time and I was skinny. I believe I was about 132 lbs at this point and didn’t have much muscle. (I’m 5’7)

I remember the summer of 2008 is when I started having some issues with food and was slightly battling the urge to binge eat. It wasn’t a huge problem at the time, but I do remember being obsessive over my weight and body. I gained back the 10 lbs I had lost over about 6 months and I remember going into Lifts and we would all joke about the fact that I was now closer to 140 lbs. “EEK” was the term we used. It didn’t really bother me that much, but over time I started to feel out of control with my eating. (side note before anyone thinks this wasn’t cool: the coaches and clients at Lift were like family to me, so we all constantly gave each other a hard time about stuff..it was all in good fun and i gave it right back)

Towards the end of 2008 I had had enough. I had been reading articles on bodybuilding.com for long enough and had started to see that they were introducing a Bikini division in the NPC (a bodybuilding federation). The first show was going to be in March and while I wanted to do that, I knew it wasn’t enough time so I decided to prepare for the next show in July 2009. A few days before 2009 began, I swore off binge eating, jumped right into clean eating, which meant nothing artificial, lots of chicken, egg whites, sweet potatoes, vegetables, fruit, oatmeal, and brown rice. For the first several months, I felt really damn good and it was actually pretty easy to follow. I didn’t follow a set meal plan, but instead made sure I had protein at each meal with a complex carb and a veggie. I included fats a few times per day and kept my calories at around 1800-2200 each day (via Sparkpeople lol). I didn’t have any urges to binge, I was just on a roll. I was working out several hours per day and was finding that I was so motivated and seeing results so quickly, that eating clean became really easy for me. It all became easy actually. I was boxing 2 hours per week, doing cardio 5-6 hours per week, and lifting weights 5-6 hours per week. I wasn’t restricting too much with food on a caloric level, but I was restricting food choices a LOT. (I wouldn’t add salt to anything, I wouldn’t eat ketchup, I wouldn’t use spray oil on my pans, etc.)

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Eventually, as with anything, it became harder to stick to. I was getting super lean (see above) and was planning to compete in July, but I had done so well with training and eating (and being 21 years old with a fast metabolism) that I was ready to compete by May-ish. This gave me some lee-way and I started incorporating a 1x/week cheat day. I would get up early every Saturday, go to Sprouts or Whole Foods, buy “healthy” junk food and eat about 2000-3000 calories over a 2-3 hour period. Then I wouldn’t eat for the rest of the day and I’d keep myself busy hanging by the pool or with friends. Still, at this point, things were manageable.

I competed in July 2009, placed 2nd, looked amazing, and then all hell broke loose….

Lizzy compete 21

-To be Continued…

Snowed In Workout

Good morning peeps! In case you’re curious about the title of this post, I am currently NOT snowed in. In fact, it’s been about 75 and sunny here the last few days, but I’ll stop there before someone throws a tomato at me. 😀 (but before you do, there’s a workout at the end of this post that you can do anywhere with ZERO equipment..woot!)

BUT FIRST…let me talk about me haha.

Random Tidbits

-I started training at a powerlifting gym near LAX (Game Time Strength) and it is awe.some. It’s nice to be in an environment like that (I love the old school garage gym feel) and the people there are super cool.

Here’s a video of me doing Bench Press with 105×10 with 3 boards. I’m working my way up and hope to hit a 135lb bench press in the near future!

-In other news, we have our very last Rockstar Fitness™ Boot Camp at Six:02 this Sunday! It’s been such a fun month with these people and I love seeing new faces every week! After this weekend, we’ll be back at IRON Santa Monica every Saturday at 10am.

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-I recently started looking into Masters programs. I guess I’ve been out of school long enough to not remember how much it sucks haha. I’ve been finding that I want to learn more about psychology and more specifically, the dynamics of organizations in regards to psychology. I still have a lot to do before this actually starts (the GRE is 1st on my list, followed by actually applying to schools!), but I’m excited to do this. It wasn’t something I EVER planned on doing, but yet, here I am. Life is funny like that, huh?

-I’m headed to MAUI next week!!! WOOHOO! My awesome boss is taking our team on the trip of a lifetime, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never been to any part of Hawaii, so this will be a whole new experience (if you have any advice on things to do, send them my way)!

-This is also random, but it is on my mind constantly and I can’t stress it enough. For anyone that believes lifting weights and getting exercise is just about the body…oh, how wrong you are. I would actually argue that the affects it has on your life OUTSIDE of the gym is far greater than in the gym. You cannot cheat, you cannot have someone do it for you, you cannot become better without putting in the work, and the list goes on. It builds patience, dedication, character, humbleness, and accountability. It builds the mind, really. Sure, it builds your muscles too, but I’d say that’s just a side effect compared to the impact it has on your life in general.

Snowed In Workout

While I may not be in the snow, I know so many of you are! I actually did this workout yesterday morning while my dog ran around the park, so I thought I’d share since I didn’t need any equipment aside from a tabata timer (I just used an app on my phone…there are plenty to choose from, any of them will be fine).

snowedin

January Full Body Workout + Focus

Hey frannnnds. What up?

I just got back to LA from a super quick trip to AZ for my nephew’s 1st birthday. Both of my nephews are growing up so quickly. It’s pretty insane. Every time I see them (which is about every other month), they’ve grown and have progressed so much! It’s so much fun!

We drove to Phoenix on Friday and got in somewhat late. Because of this, my body felt tight and cramped up. 6 hours in a car will do that to ya! So I woke up early on Saturday and hit the gym for a full body workout to help make me feel human again. It totally worked and also made me pretty sore! Here’s the workout:

full body workout

(Take a screenshot and bring it to the gym with you if you decide to try it. As always, check with a doc before starting any new exercise program and always listen to your body. It knows what’s up!)

Focus for the Week

I’ve started putting a focus into each week to organize myself a bit further. My planner is my ride-or-die, but I also found that it’s nice to make 1 or 2 big goals for the week that I can focus on that don’t have to do with work or “things I need to get done”. This focus doesn’t have to be on tasks, it can just be thoughts or actions that you want to follow for that week. This week’s focus: what matter’s most. Let me explain.

I find myself thinking about things that don’t matter FARRRR too often. Things I either can’t control or that literally don’t affect my life whatsoever. I think we all do this to some extent, and social media is definitely a trigger. You see someone’s photo on Instagram of that person doing something cool and you may get feelings of jealousy or start to look at your own life and pick out things you don’t like. I do it and then I catch myself and realize: nope, this doesn’t matter at all. So I’m focusing on what matters MOST. My family, my friends, my job, my goals, and of course, Oscar. 🙂 If I start thinking about things outside of this, my plan is to remove those thoughts immediately. It’s not worth my time and it certainly doesn’t matter.

Hope your Monday is off to a fantastic start! Catch ya later.

 

Workouts + Rockstar Fitness Bootcamp + Cool Quote

Hey! Thanks for the awesome feedback on yesterday’s post. I’m happy to be back.

I’ll admit, getting back into “real-life” mode after so much time off has been a little difficult, but I’m also glad the holidays are over.

It’s been raining here in LA today (think apocalypse), so aside from training my clients this morning, I’m trying to stay indoors until it’s time to workout.

I believe an update on the workout front is due!

-I’ve been hitting it really hard and am loving the results of the work I’m putting in.

-I hit a 305×5 PR on hip thrusts last week (video below)

-I’m sitting at around 165/170×3 for back squats.

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-Deadlifts have been about 205×5 for multiple sets.

-I hit a 100×5 bench press for 2 sets last week for another PR.

Focusing on getting strong has been such a game-changer for me. It’s a change I made over a year ago, but it’s really made a difference in how I view my workouts and myself. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care what I looked like. Of course, I still do. But I’m much more forgiving these days. I appreciate what my body does for me and I love the new muscles I’ve added. That trumps my focus on aesthetics ten-fold. (And as a bonus I can get away with eating a lot more and still maintaining my weight)

Rockstar Fitness bootcamp is back for the new year and we’re kicking it off with a month-long series at Six:02 Santa Monica! Our first class was this past Sunday and it was SO much fun!

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Cool Quote

I was debating a purchase with my mom and my brother the other day and my mom told me a quote her grandfather used to say. It resonated with me and I wanted to share it because it applies to so many aspects in life:

“$10 won’t make me poor. $10 won’t make me rich”

In terms of fitness and health, one workout won’t make you fit, one meal won’t make you fat and vice versa.

Your consistent habits will ultimately shape what your life looks like.

I thought this was pretty cool, so I wanted to share it with you guys.

I’ll be back Thursday with a fun workout for you guys! Hint: BOOTY

-lizzy

Q of the Day

What is your #1 reason you workout?

25+25

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 1.58.13 PMI suppose I owe an explanation as to why I’ve been so quiet the last few months. I wish I had something super exciting to say, but the truth is, I just needed a break. The last year or so has been extremely trying and I finally hit a burnout point. Working multiple jobs + doing freelance + keeping up the blog + working out + making time for friends and family…..while I knew it would catch up to me, I didn’t actually know how much it was affecting me until I let some of it go. It was quite incredible, actually. Here I thought I had just grown into a grumpy 27 year old that had a piss poor outlook on life, when in reality, I had just ground myself into nothing and then wondered where my happiness went.

Let me back up a few steps. At the end of October, I left a job that was not really serving me anymore. In turn, I wasn’t really serving it either. It all ended on good terms, it was just time for me to go. What happened in the week after that was completely unexpected. The clouds above my head started to fade, I found interest in things I had lost interest for, I felt the urge to talk to my friends and family of whom I’d somewhat neglected since spending time on the phone meant giving more of myself…and I had nothing left to give. Suddenly, I felt like ME again. The me I hadn’t seen or heard from in 2 years. What I learned the first week of November will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Because of this and because of the year ending/new year beginning, I figured this was as good a time as any to sum up what I’ve learned so far this year, and also put some of my goals out there for 2016. I’m not a New Year’s resolution type person at all…I set goals throughout the year, so a new year doesn’t really mean I need to suddenly change my path, however it is a great time to reflect and adjust goals, so that’s what I plan on doing.

25 Things I learned in 2015

  1. Save some money, but not all of it. Over the last few years, I became a supersaver. I was like a squirrel and spent my money on food and…well that’s about it. This past year, I’ve traveled more than in years past and realized that it’s so, so worth it. We are not promised tomorrow, and while I still save my money, I also spend it on traveling to see friends, family, and places.
  2. Don’t neglect your friends. Especially the ones that have been there forever. This one was a tough pill to swallow. I didn’t realize how awful of a friend I had been until I was able to pull my head out of the clouds and see it. Sure, I knew I wasn’t being friend of the year, but I didn’t realize just how secluded I’d become until those clouds cleared. Thankfully I’m able to make up for some lost time, but this was a harsh reality to face. I love my friends, and some of them have been around since I was a child. We have spent our whole lives together. How lucky am I to have people like that in my life? Never will I take that for granted again.
  3. Work is overrated. This doesn’t mean I don’t love what I do either. It means that if you bury yourself in work constantly, you miss out on a lot. Sometimes, there is a need to be buried, but let it be temporary. Don’t make the mistake I did and bury yourself so deeply that you are rarely seen out of that hole. Life is about more than just working, even if you love what you do. Friends, family, experiences…that’s what life is truly about.
  4. Don’t waste time caring about things that don’t matter. Oh, if I could take back the efforts and emotions I put into things that didn’t matter in the end. I am a very emotional person (and no, that doesn’t mean I just sit around crying all the time). It means that I’m highly driven by emotion. I care deeply about everything I do, sometimes to a fault. I tend to put my heart and soul into matters that may not be worth it. Ask yourself this: will this matter in 1 month? 1 year? 5 years? This has helped me to decide whether or not I should put my efforts into something or not. It’s not easy, but it does help.
  5. Pay to have someone else do it. I think this is definitely something that you start to learn in your mid-late 20’s. I’ve always been very self-sufficient and a DIY type of person. But sometimes it really isn’t worth the hassle or my time. I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s better to pay someone to do things you don’t like to do. Cleaning and organizing are at the top of my list. 😉
  6. You get what you pay for. In addition to the above, I’m super frugal and used to always buy the cheapest thing I could find to get the job done. What I found is that I have a lot of crappy shit that breaks. Not. Worth. It. You truly do get what you pay for, and spending a few extra bucks is totally worth it at times.
  7. Don’t try to change people. This is something you hear a lot, but then you actually start to realize what it means. People may try to change for you, but it won’t work. Unless it comes from them, it’s temporary. Let people be who they are. If who they are isn’t something you want to be around, that is your decision to step away. Trying to change them will not work.
  8. Eat the unhealthy, rich desserts when you want to. I spent years trying to healthify everything and/or staying away from high-calorie foods completely, especially desserts. But I’ve learned that when it’s worth it, having the real thing is the best choice. Gone are the days of me skipping pie at Thanksgiving or saying no to dessert at every meal. This doesn’t mean I’m just spending my days eating desserts, but when I want it, I have it. I haven’t gained a single pound because of it, either.
  9. Give. I donated more money, time, and things this year than ever before. It felt wonderful and I’m glad others were able to benefit. If we all gave a little bit more, this planet would have a lot less hate, I’m sure of it.
  10. Yoga isn’t so bad. Ha, this one is something I thought I’d NEVER say. I started taking yoga in October and have been going 2-4x/week ever since. Here’s what I figured out. I hated yoga so much before because I saw it as a workout. It is NOT the way I like to workout. It still isn’t. But when I started looking at it as a way to support my workouts, I started to love it. It stretches me out, challenges me in different ways, it clears up my mind and helps me focus, I can do more pushups than ever before, my abs are strong AF, it makes lifting weights feel better, and since I take a 6am class, I feel fresh and ready for the day by 7am. Yoga, you win.
  11. Don’t dictate what others spend their money on. This is something I learned via a Facebook post from a fitness professional. I’ve always been the person that says I won’t give a homeless person money, because I’m afraid they’ll spend it on drugs or alcohol and I don’t want to enable that habit. Instead, I’ll give them food, etc. But when I read what this person wrote, it completely changed my mind. Here’s the jist of what she said: ‘Sure, they might go buy heroin or whiskey with it right away, but i’m not the person that has to live on the streets begging for money. I also would never want someone to tell me how to spend my money, so why would I do it to them?’ It was so eye-opening to me. It’s true…regardless of what they’ll spend the money on, look at the life they’re living. I am thankful that I am not in their shoes and if I have some money to give, then I’ll give it. They can spend it on whatever they want, just like me.
  12. Don’t be a bully. Many people are bullies without even realizing it. It doesn’t only mean that you call people names or make fun of them, bullying can come in the form of using scare tactics and threats. Like when the AT&T employee won’t do what you want them to and you threaten to call their manager, report them, and cancel your service. Ask yourself, are they truly doing something wrong? Or are they just doing their job? Either way, there are better ways to handle that situation. You can bully them into you getting your way, OR you can be a better human and use honey. Be nice to people, be understanding of them and their situation (who knows what kind of day they’re having), and handle things accordingly.
  13. Don’t chase the money. Oh how I’ve done this too many times, and oh how it’s served me poorly each time. Money is great and unfortunately, very necessary. But if you do something simply for the money, you will not be happy. Guaranteed. Don’t believe me? Try it and see.
  14. Money doesn’t matter if you don’t have the time to do anything. There was a time where my bank account was really full and I couldn’t do anything with it but buy ‘stuff’. Stuff doesn’t make me happy, traveling does. Traveling meant I had to coordinate with 4 different jobs to be able to step away and have my responsibilities covered. There was just simply no time to actually enjoy the fruits of my labor and it sucked. I’ve since learned and was able to travel to 5 different states in 2015.
  15. We can learn a lot from dogs. Their ability to love you unconditionally, always be by your side, be happy to see you even if you were only gone for 30 seconds, and to watch them enjoy the simple things in life is really amazing. If only people could stop and smell the roses a bit more. We need cell phones, ipads, laptops, tvs, and often all at the same time in order to be entertained. A dog just wants to sleep, eat, play, and snuggle.
  16. Talk about stuff. Sure, it’s easier to just push it all down and move on, but talking about issues is usually the better option. Try to stay calm, express your feelings and thoughts, let the other person do the same, and try to understand each other. Most people go into an argument wanting people to understand THEM, switch it up. It makes a world of difference.
  17. Life isn’t the fairy tale you imagined. Often times, we want to change where we live, what we do, who we’re with, and all because we’ve decided “this isn’t the life I imagined I’d have”. Well, you’re probably right. And it never will be. Sure, you can manifest what you want to include in your life, and it definitely doesn’t mean you won’t be happy, but understand that there will be boring times, ugly times, annoying times, and times you just want to get away from it all. That doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong spot, it’s just the part they leave out in movies and books.
  18. Give someone an inch, they’ll take a foot. I used to believe that if you helped someone out, they’d be appreciative. Wrong. They’ll take that and want more. It’s sad and hard to believe, but 9 times out of 10, that’s the case. I also don’t want to grow into a selfish person, so having boundaries is really important. Give what you’re comfortable giving, and when/if that person asks for the foot, stand your ground.
  19. Being strong is cooler than weighing a certain amount. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, feeling strong is one of the coolest things in the world. Who cares what the scale says? Focus on getting stronger, getting more reps in, and feeling awesome. You’ll be surprised at what happens to not only your confidence, but your body too.
  20. There’s not much a good workout can’t solve. Sure, it might be temporary, but when it’s just you and the weights, world problems can be quieted, if only for just a few moments. Take your stress to the gym, it’s a good place to let out your frustrations.
  21. Stop being so hard on yourself. I was the QUEEN of pushing myself to the limits and then beating myself up when everything didn’t happen exactly as it should. That’s the type A in me. All or nothing, perfect or shitty. I’ve since learned to not give a shit quite as much. If things don’t go exactly as planned, I shake it off and move forward. It’s been so freeing and made me a much happier person.
  22. You don’t have to know what you want out of life. I always felt so behind and messed up because I wasn’t (and am still not) sure what I want to do with my life. I’m actually totally okay with that. There’s no rule in the book of life that says you MUST know what you want to do. I have a lot of interests, a lot of skills, things that make me happy, things I’d rather not do. I’ve put a life together that encompasses a lot of that. Is it perfect? Nope. Is it what I want to do forever? Not sure. But is it making me happy now and shaping me? Yup. And that’s all it needs to do right now.
  23. Not knowing what you want doesn’t make you any less of a person than someone who DOES. This was one I had to learn in a really harsh way. I have literally had people act like their job/passion was superior to what I did because they KNEW it was what they wanted their entire life. They would even tell me that. You know what I have to say to that? Congratulations to you. That makes you no better than I. You do you, I’ll do me. Oh, and fuck off. 😀
  24. Make time to watch funny videos on the internet. I have very mixed feelings about the internet. Anyone that knows me knows that while I use the shit out of them, if there was a big red button that said “KILL THE INTERNET FOREVER” I’d push it without even thinking about it. I miss the simpler times and all of this technology, while good in ways, is more of an annoyance to me. Yeah, I’m THAT kind of person. With that said, the internet is here to stay, and so are videos of dogs acting like humans as well as hilarious people like Matt Bellassai. For that I say, thank you internet.
  25. Deleting Facebook from your phone is life-changing. You don’t have to do it forever, but do it for 1 week every now and then. You can still check it when you’re at a computer, but you’d be surprised at how much LESS you stare at your phone when you don’t have social media in the palm of your hands.

25 Things I’d like to do in 2016

  1. Travel More. So far I’ve got Hawaii, Big Bear and Utah on the books. I’d like to add Portland, Baltimore, and New York to that soon as well as another trip to Chicago!
  2. Do Less. I started doing this in October and plan to continue to make it a priority. In this situation, less is so, so much more.
  3. Stress Less. Stress is oddly enough something that we do have control over. It’s not EASY to control, but it is doable. I plan to work on stressing less as much as possible.
  4. Spend more time with friends. I’m already taking an active role in this and will continue to spend more and more time with my friends.
  5. Spend more time with family. Same as above.
  6. Try new hikes. I hiked way less in 2015 than any years before. It’s a hassle to drive through LA traffic to get to a hike, so I need to plan it better to avoid said traffic. I’d like to hit up my favorite trails + add some new ones to my list this year.
  7. Care Less. There’s a lot of stuff that I can’t control. I’m focused on caring about it less, and just living more. I’ll leave the caring to myself, my friends, my family, and my dog.
  8. Give more. More charity, more of my time. I want to do something at least every quarter, but likely much more than that.
  9. Get strong AF. This is ongoing, but getting strong is fun. I want to just get as strong as possible (safely, of course).
  10. Don’t overextend myself. I’m the queen of saying yes to everything and then being completely exhausted by it. I’m going to think things through a bit more and say yes more mindfully.
  11. Say yes more. While this may seem to contradict the above, sometimes I turn things down because it seems like a hassle or I’m tired or lazy or whatever. Often times, they are super cool experiences that I should totally say yes to. I plan on saying “yes” to more of those things in 2016.
  12. Spend more time near the ocean. I live next to the beach and only go there every few weeks or sometimes even less than that. (Typical Californian) I’d like to go at least 1x per week, whether it’s to swim, walk, roller blade, or just sit.
  13. Plan an international vacation. It may not actually happen in 2016, but I’d like to plan and book a trip to Europe this year. I want to see sooo many places, but Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Hungary top my list.
  14. Snowboard. I haven’t snowboarded in 4 years. I am going to go at least 3x this year dammit!!!! 😀
  15. Move. I want to live in a house. Apartment living has gotten old. Location TBD.
  16. Go to nice dinners more often. This is something I was never into, and I’m still not really big on it. I don’t like fancy food (just give me a burger!), but it is nice to treat yo’self every now and then.
  17. Blog more. I love writing. It is therapeutic, fun, allows me to reach and help others, and something that makes me happy. I shall do more of it.
  18. Be less messy. I tend to leave shit all over the place. I should put stuff away more often.
  19. Get rid of things I don’t use/need. I loveeeeee to keep everythinggggggg. I have shirts from high school that still fit me, but that I’ll never wear again. Because of that, I keep them thinking, “what if I want to wear this one day”. I have got to get rid of clothes, shoes, and other random things I’ve kept over the years that I’ll never miss. Like Nike, JUST DO IT. (this one’s gonna be hard)
  20. Learn how to cook more things. I have my teeny, tiny library of things I can cook and I think that since I’m almost 28, it’s time for me to expand that a bit.
  21. Take more down time. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, I want to do more sitting, or walking outside and just BEING.
  22. Use my phone less. I stare at it way too much. It’s going to take work, but i’m going to make a conscious effort to stare at it less. Especially while I’m just waiting in line or whatever. I don’t need to be staring at my phone. I can just wait in line and do what I’m there to do. Wait. Know what I mean?
  23. Simplify. This kind of goes with the above statements, but I want to downsize, simplify, get rid of anything that I don’t need or isn’t serving me. This also includes non-tangible things like thoughts and old baggage. I want it all gone.
  24. Pamper myself more. I always skip the pedicures and massages because while it sounds nice, I think “i could use that money on something else”. I think that’s a good way of thinking most of the time, but sometimes, I just need to get my damn toes did. Na’ mean?
  25. Enjoy life. It’s actually a really beautiful thing and I am very lucky to have what I have, be what I am, know who I know, and have these opportunities. I’m healthy, happy, young and sometimes I just have to remind myself of that. Life is good.

Question of the Day

1.  What is one thing you learned from 2015?

2. What is one thing you’d like to do/not do in 2016?

Swanson Health Products: Review (& discount!!)

While I was given a gift card by Swanson Vitamins to use in their online store, all opinions expressed are my own.

I was recently contacted by Swanson Vitamins and asked if I wanted to try out some of their products. If you’re not familiar, Swanson Vitamins is an online store that carries ALLLLLLL kinds of health products! From healthy snacks to supplements to beauty products! It was funny, because I had been looking around on their website just a few days before they contacted me. It’s like they knew!! 😀

swanson-health-products

Anyways, I gladly accepted seeing that they had such a HUGE variety of items in their store and hello, I had already been eyeing their site just days before. Fate, people!

It took me a while to peruse the site because there were so many things I wanted. I probably could have EASILY spent hundreds of dollars without thinking about it. Since I didn’t want to break the bank, I decided on the following items:

Kay’s Natural Protein Cookie Bites – Cinnamon Almond

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These were awesome!!! They came in a snack size pack and were delicious! I tried them both on their own and as a cereal with some almond milk. They tasted great and I loved that they were packed with 12g Protein in each serving.

Kameda Baked Frosted Rice Snacks – Maple

ricesnacks

These were a little too good! Haha. This was the perfect snack for when I wanted something a little sweet after a meal. It definitely didn’t feel me up, but it was just 50 calories for 2 little cakes and they were really, really tasty!

Quest Nutrition Protein Chips (Cheddar & Sour Cream and Sour Cream & Onion flavors)

questproteinchips

I’ve had these before and while I won’t tell you they taste just like regular chips, for a chip that doesn’t really have any carbs, they’re great! Unfortunately, these were crushed during shipping, but the customer service at Swanson’s was bar none, and they took care of it the same day for me. Love when companies are on top of their stuff like that.

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard – Chocolate Malt

onchocmalt

I saved this for last because it was my favorite purchase of all! This protein powder might be the best tasting protein powder I’ve ever had (and trust me, I’ve tried a LOT of protein powders over the years…that could be a post in itself lol)! It really tastes like a chocolate malt! I’ve been blending ice, almond milk, and protein powder together (that’s it!) and it is so, so good!

The best part of all of this was the ease at which I ordered my items. The website is super easy to navigate, the check-out process is super simple, and my items came within just a few days. Even when I had a problem, customer service was quick to respond and take care of my problem instantly. They also offer free shipping on orders over $50, which is great (and trust me, it’s easy to find $50 worth of stuff you probably already use on the daily).

It gets even better! Right now you can also save 15% on any order over $75! (15% off + free shipping = SCORE). Use this link to start finding your favorites!

Hope you guys enjoy! I’ll be back to more regular blogging soon. I am also starting a VLog, and the first episode should be up in the next few days. 🙂

-Lizzy

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