You Are Worth It!

Today, January 31, is #BellLetsTalk day. This has become a yearly campaign that helps raise money for Mental Health Initiatives in Canada. $.05 is raised every time that hashtag is shared on twitter, the photo frame is added on Facebook, the SnapChat filter is used, and their social media video is viewed. Get going and share the hell out of that hashtag on social media. This is a great initiative that gets the conversations starting about the impact of Mental Health issues and will hopefully end the stigma that surrounds the topic. Mental Health is absolute key to being able to live a healthy and fit life. Today I just wanted to address the area that always seems to be ignored or wanted to be pushed under the rug.

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Mental Health issues effect millions of people all around the world. It is a dark topic that many people do not talk about because they feel ashamed or scared. They are scared that people will think they are weak or people will tell them to suck it up or man up (both of those are unacceptable words of advice who is feeling down). We need to end the Stigma surrounding Mental Health Issues and encourage people to talk about what they are going through. Lets get a conversation going and help those in need.

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For those of you who are struggling, you are not alone. It is okay to not be okay. Your feelings are valid and you should not be ashamed to feel down, scared, depressed, anxious or any other of the thousands of emotions that you may be feeling. Things will get better, I promise.

Personally, I’ve been dealing with varying degrees of depressions and anxieties since my dad passed away three years ago. My dad was and is my role model and shaped who am I today. I miss him everyday, but I know that every day is an opportunity to continue on his legacy and show people the type of person he was. I’ve felt lost, sad, angry, and scared. I’ve felt like I was just coasting through routines without any joy. I’ve had that cloudy feeling and that feeling as if you’re watching yourself from outside your body. I’ve dealt with panic attacks and crippling anxiety. It’s been a long, tough, daily battle. All that being said, I’m in a great place right now and finally feel like I have everything under control. The ONLY reason I am at a good place in life is because of the help of a strong support system of friends and family. It took me a long time to talk and open up about my feelings because I had those stigmas mentioned above. I was afraid to admit I needed help because of that societal pressure to be strong and push those feelings away. Once I started talking with my family, friends, and therapist, I was really able to get a handle over these feelings and process through them.

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Talking to someone about these feelings that are so personal is extremely tough. People will continue to close themselves off until we end this stigma surrounding mental health. They will put on a false smile. They will say they are okay. They will want to keep to themselves, so if you notice someone is down on themselves or having a rough go of it lately, offer a helping hand. Simply letting them know that they are worth it and you are thinking of them can help ease their mind. Let them know that what they are feeling is okay. Offer them an ear and just listen. Let them talk and show them that you will not judge them. People will process through their own pain and feelings in their own time. Try to not rush them through it. Simply being present and offering to listen and not try to fix them, will help in so many ways.

If you are experiencing any feelings of anxiety or depression, please know that it is okay to talk to someone. Reach out to a loved one or a close friend and let them know you need someone to listen.

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Fitness Hack: Boost Your Metabolism

Have you ever wondered how somebody can eat junk food all day every day and not gain a pound? Or how you can eat healthy a majority of the time but still cannot lose weight or fat? Yeah…me too. I remember being in college and watching my roommate eat Kit-Kats and Oreos and not gain a pound, but when I would eat that I would put on a least a few pounds. The reason behind this is pretty complex and there is a lot of science behind it, but simply put it comes down to ones metabolic rate. Some people just burn more calories than other people. Whether it’s from activity levels, height, weight, or just genetics. Knowing your base metabolic rate is key when it comes to trying to improve your fitness (lose weight, put on muscle, etc).

Overview

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Eat Clean, Train Dirty

Lately, I’ve been hitting the workouts hard. Improving my speed in my runs, increasing my weight training and trying out new body weight routines. Now this is all fine and dandy, but in order to see results you’ve got to pair the training sessions with consistent clean eating. Focus on eating for a purpose. Check out this quick and easy clean eating dinner I whipped up tonight in 30 minutes:


Ingredients:

  • Frozen Chicken Tenderloins
  • Asparagus (trimmed/chopped)
  • Green and Red Peppers (sliced)

Directions:

  • Bake chicken tenderloins at 375F for 15 minutes
  • Flip chicken and add vegetables to baking tray
  • Finish baking everything together at 375F for another 15 minutes or until the chicken’s temperature reaches at least 170F (I always tend to slightly over cook my chicken to insure there is no risk of food poisoning. Rather have it a little dry  and some salsa or dipping sauces than risk getting sick)

Midweek Motivation

Here is a little motivation to help get you through your midweek workout:

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No matter what, there will be struggles in all aspects of life. Do not give up or give in. Keep fighting and the progress and success will come!

Core Workout: Bring Sally Up Challenge

I’m always on the hunt for new workouts and challenges to help break up the monotony of my training. Recently, I came across the Bring Sally Up Challenge. Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards from the TV series, Arrow, posted some videos on their social media pages of them attempting it during their training for the show. It’s a crazy, intense finishing workout and I just had to give it a try!

Workout:

The concept of the workout is inspired by the song “Flower” by Moby. If you’ve ever seen the movie Gone in 60 Seconds, then you will instantly recognize the song. It’s a catchy song that is very easy to workout to, but the reason this song influenced this workout is because of the lyrics. The song is 3:26 and the following lyrics are repeated 30x in that span:

Bring Sally up and bring Sally down
Lift and squat, gotta tear the ground

For this workout, we are doing Plank-To-Pikes using a TRX band (example below). The idea being that you hold the plank for the duration of the song. When the lyric “Sally up” plays, you go up into a pike. When the lyric “Sally down” plays, you return to the plank position. As you can imagine, this workout will kick your butt. It’s a full body workout that will make your shoulders and core scream. I made it 1:25 into the song on my first attempt before I had to stop. My goal will be to complete the challenge by the end of February.

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TRX Plank-To-Pike

Variations/Alternatives: 

Here are a few different variations and alternatives if you can’t use a TRX Band, don’t like Pikes, or want to workout different areas of the body:

  • If you don’t have a TRX Band, use a yoga ball instead. It will work the same as a TRX Replacement.
  • Push-ups – Hold the push-up position and follow the lyrics. Go down and hold the pushup with “Sally down” and return to push up position with “Sally up.”
  • Squats – Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, sit into a squat with “Sally down” and return to standing position with “Sally up.”
  • Sit-ups – This one would be the easiest in my mind. Sit up and hold when “Sally up” plays and then back to rest with “Sally down.” If you are just starting out, I would recommend this one as a base and then move up to the other options.

Good luck and hope you enjoy!

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, not only because it gives you the fuel and energy you need to get through the morning, but because it sets the tone for how you will eat the rest of the day. For me, I need to have something packed with protein that will keep me full until lunch. This way I do not reach that point of feeling starved and eat way too much at lunch.

My go to breakfast is super easy and I make them when I meal prep for the week. They are Scrambled Egg Muffins and are so easy to make that someone like me, who doesn’t bake, can make without any effort. I’ll make a muffin tin full of them and they will last all week. Simply just grab a few and heat them up for a minute and you are all set. Below is my go to recipe:

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Charity Miles

What’s Your Why? – One of the many questions you will get from friends, family and strangers when you are going through your fitness journey is “Why are doing this?” The journey to a fit and healthy life is different for everyone, which is why I try to give positive feedback, advice and encouragement to everyone I can. We all have different stories and are in different places along to this journey. I thought today that I would share what my “Why” is  that helps motivate me from day-to-day.

My main motivation to be healthy and fit comes from my Dad. Years back he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and when we were researching how to beat this particular type of cancer we found that healthy living, eating natural and clean food while exercising regularly, was the best way to prevent this cancer from forming. From that day forward, I promised myself that I would take care of my body and help motivate my dad to do the same. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago after battling and beating the cancer multiple times over the years. Over that time I developed a healthy lifestyle for myself and I’m motivated to keep that going and helping others as much as possible. I’ll be the first one to tell you that it is not easy staying on track with health and fitness. The temptations of Beer and Wings during sporting events and Netflix binge watching sessions are VERY real and I’ll fall into those routines from time to time. And that is okay. One key to healthy living is moderation.

One of the ways I keep my health and fitness motivation going is by using the App, Charity Miles. This app is awesome and I’ve been using it for years now (this is not a paid advertisement). I personally love giving back to my community as much as possible. Charity Miles let you give back to a cause that you care about by simply running an app in the background of your phone when you run, walk of bike. You will be doing all of those things when getting into a healthy lifestyle, so why not use the app for a great cause. Personally, I’ve logged 561 miles over 100 runs with Charity Miles. For every mile you run, they donate $.25 to a charity that you picked. This means by simply running and having the app tracking my distance, I’ve raised $140.25 for Stand Up to Cancer. Now imagine if we can get as all the runners, walkers and bikers out there to use this app. How much good could be done by simply using an app.

Here are just a few of the charities that are available to pick from on the app:

  • Stand Up To Cancer
  • Save The Children
  • Operation Smile
  • ASPCA
  • ALS Association
  • Feeding America
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Special Olympics

If you are a runner, biker or even just walk your dogs after work, How would you feel about pitching in to help others in need by simply carrying around your phone with the app logging your miles?

Core Workout For Runners

Last year I finished my first full marathon. It was definitely a test of the mind and body, but I was able to finish within a respectable time. I’ll probably run another full marathon in the near future but for this year, I’m going to back to my middle distances. Next races for me will be a 5K and then a half marathon in two months. I know I can easily run those distance at respectable times. So training wont be the issue. My goal for these two races will be to improve on my time. Below is a core workout I’ve used in the past that will shed weight in the midsection and in your running pace:

Core Workout To Improve Race Time

1) Planks with Alternating Leg Lifts

3-5 Sets of 1-3 Minute Planks

2) Pike Crunch

3-5 Sets of 20-25 Reps

3) Russian Twists (with or without added weights)

3-5 Sets of 40-45 Reps