Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What's Down-Right Ridiculous about #FitFam

After I read Greatist's article by fitness expert on "The Brutally Honest Body Image Lesson that Should Be Taught in School," I felt convicted of some of the points she makes about identifying the reasons for working out. Are you training to look better and/or feel better? And do you enjoy your training or do you dread it? These are questions that need to be revisited periodically if you've joined the #fitfam.
This is a photo from the "Greatist" article mentioned above.
When I began training for my first fitness competition, I started tracking my progress via Instagram (IG). Immediately, my feed was filled with #eatclean #traindirty #getupandgrind #meatheads. I fell in love. But, one of the lessons I've learned (and many times over again), is that too much of this kind of  messaging we see, read and post can become less "inspiring" and more misguiding.

Do the photos you see and the captions you read help you with your daily grind? Do they inspire you to work harder in the gym or educate you on how to eat healthier? 

What you'll see on my Instagram profile
Many of them probably do, and to that — more power to ya! But if you see an image or read a message that makes you feel bad about your body, then the person who posted it is probably not looking to inspire anyone, but is probably trying to fuel their own tank by getting some kind of positive feedback.

I often go through my feeds and unfollow so-called "experts" or "coaches" who don't post resources that can help me and my homies on our health and fitness journey. If you know what I'm talking about, then why the heck are you letting that crap fill your feed? ... Or worse, fill your head!

That being said, here are my top tips for for setting apart your fitness journey from the #haters and #selfies out there.

Be the Best YOU that You Can Be

This is an idea that must be renewed every. single. day. Literally, I wake up and ask God to remind me to thank my body for supporting me in all of the torturous activities I do. I also ask God to purify my motives for working out and instilling discipline in my nutrition.

When I think of my fitness goals, I have to be careful to remember that my ultimate goal is to glorify the Lord with my body. Any goals to reshape my body can get so convoluted by the messages sent to me via social media, magazines, and my own critical chatter box that I lose sight of why I train my body in the first place.

You will never be at peace with your body if you're too busy trying to change it.

I need to be sure I'm not trying to change my body to be like anyone else's but just be the best ME I can be. I'm pretty sure I will never have that perfect hour-glass shape with a 8-inch difference between my waist and butt. And maybe the best fitness plan for you doesn't entail super-heavy-crossfit-style lifting, but rather a combination of aerobic conditioning and body weight movements, like a little of this, a little of that, etc. Whatever it is, own it and do it!

Set Smaller, Achievable Goals

One of the biggest challenges I see for my clients in personal training versus group training is the lack of accountability available between me and the client. I can only call, encourage, text, email and push a person so long. To these people who have trouble sticking with a fitness/nutrition program, I advise setting specific, measurable goals.

Instead of thinking, "I want to get stronger and feel leaner," think "I want to be able to do 20 pushups in a row without stopping." 

Here are some ideas for goals:

  • To fit into a certain size of clothing
  • To gain/lose inches
  • To lose body fat percentage
  • To be able to do a specific exercise for a specific amount of reps/time
  • To be able to run/walk a specific distance in a specific amount of time
  • To be able to lift a specific amount of weight
  • To be able to cook a specific amount of meals on my own
  • To eat at home a specific amount of times per week
  • To bring my lunch to work a specific amount of times per week

Stop Following Social Media Stars

Is it just me or does everyone and their dog on Instagram (IG) claim to be some kind of expert, guru, competitor, professional, etc.? I have to be careful here because I understand IG is one of the most influential spheres for those in the #fitfam. Many are just trying to share their story and what's worked for them. I'm one of them! My passion may have turned into my career, but I have to constantly edit myself on IG to make sure whatever I'm posting has the potential to help someone else or serve as some sort of valuable resource for one looking to get fit from the inside out.

Too many people on IG are posting selfies in their undies and hashtagging it #discipline or even worse, including some kind of inspirational caption that has absolutely nothing to do with the aforementioned, borderline soft porn. 

Some of the photos on my Instagram
When it comes to messages like that on social media (and traditional media), my advice is to remove it from your line of vision. Don't entertain that kind of messaging by liking or commenting. In fact, the best thing to do is de-follow these "friends." Unfortunately, these kinds of people are probably more insecure than any of us.

The best thing to do is surround yourself with people and messaging that give you either practical instruction or sincere inspiration, and pray for those who don't. 

Other tips for sticking to your #grind and finding your place in the #fitfam:

  • Track your progress with pics and measurements
  • Appoint people to keep you accountable
  • Record your reps/sets/weights/distances/speeds/etc in a journal or on your phone
  • Join a group fitness class or atmosphere
  • Plan your meals for the week and prepare meats in bulk
  • Schedule your cheat meals or "flexible moments" around events or parties
  • Focus on what you can eat instead of what you can't eat
  • Focus on strengthening your spirit, soul and body in every workout
If you or someone you know struggles with negative self-talk or wants to make the steps necessary to get healthier, click on the tabs above for more information about my services or the gyms where I coach. If you have questions, don't hesitate to email me. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Classes in November!

November is the beginning of many days of feasting. Fight back that food with an extra workout or two. See the calendar below to catch me coaching at Orangetheory, Cypress Waters or Granite.

Classes held at Cypress Waters will now be $5 per class, and you can pick up your fitness class punch pass, paying for all four classes this month ahead of time if you prefer, on the first day of class, Nov. 4.

Note that Cypress Waters' classes are labeled "Butts & Guts Boot Camp," but the class format will be TBD according to the participant demand. Potential classes may be Yoga with a Twist and/or Kickboxing. 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rest for the Weary (My Week of Vacation)

The digital "dings" and cyber "swooshes" have resumed on both my cell phone and iPad. My vacation must be over. But, it's not all pouts and tears, because I can honestly say I'm ready to be home. 


In the past, I've taken a day or two of rest after a competition or a photo shoot, but it's been more than two years since I've taken three or more consecutive days of rest. The last vacation we went on was skiing, and I didn't allow myself any breaks from a competition-prep diet, so I'm not counting that. 

It took me weeks to mentally prepare for all-inclusive buffets, swim-up bars and all-night discotecas. I wanted to be beside my husband every step of the way on vacation, not two steps ahead of him hitting the gym before he wakes up - like I usually do. 


And I was! I totally slept in, just about every day. I ordered piƱa coladas and room service. I ate some crap... Like fried, greasy crap. I ate lean protein and vegetables the majority of the time, just because the food variety was crazy-good, and I could still eat clean, delicious meals. But, that didn't mean I had to play it safe for everything. 

I feel like by day 4, my mind had finally relaxed. Up till then, I was analyzing every reflection of myself in the mirror, comparing myself with every Latino beauty queen strutting the sand and tallying every mimosa or French fry that touched my lips. I think it took four days of purposeful indulgence and relaxation for me to run low on the negative energy that had consumed my mind - the stuff way in the back that I cover up with task lists, jobs to work and goals to meet.

Despite all of my progress, both physical and spiritual, I found out I still struggle with low self-confidence.

When I first started shows and bodybuilding, I made the typical muscular gains and then got "shredded," and I felt pretty good about myself - better than I'd felt in years! And I think part of me thought, "I did it. I've overcome the battle of a poor self-image." 


Now, I'm sure that the battle never ends. The Lord's presence in me just gets stronger, and the devil's just gets weaker.

I would totally recommend taking a week-long hiatus to anyone in the fitness industry who struggles with overtraining, anxiety or deeply-rooted perfectionism. It took me a long time to truly detach, and I think somewhere like an all-inclusive resort in Mexico is a fabulous way to do it. You don't have price tickets to talk you out of purchasing a drink or meal, and you've paid for everything up front, so you feel like you need to get your money's worth. 

We traveled to the Hard Rock Cancun, which was freaking awesome. They treated everyone like rock stars. We got our nails "did," we got a mud massage, we got a private jacuzzi, and we got access to unlimited drinks, bars, clubs, restaurants, beaches, and pools. We also got access to a stellar gym, sauna and steam room, in which we trained three days, but only for about 30 minutes each time (I promise). 


I'll definitely miss Cancun, but it's truly a pleasure to be coming home now (I'm writing this on the plane). My hope is to approach every class, session, workout, meal and encounter with others with a renewed mind, one that says, "You truly are a rock star."

If you or someone you know struggles with negative self-talk or wants to make the steps necessary to get healthier, click on the tabs above for more information about my services or the gyms where I coach. If you have questions, don't hesitate to email me. Thanks!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

October Class Schedule with Team A.M.Fit

Catch me if you can in October! There are lots of opportunities to join Team A.M.Fit this month, whether it's at Orangetheory Fitness in Coppell, Granite Park in Plano or Cypress Waters in Dallas. More information on my schedule and classes can be seen on the calendar below or from inquiries sent to me via email.

Please review the calendar below to view October classes before emailing me. I look forward to seeing new faces in class this month!


Getting a Grip on Grace

One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is the weakness of their wrists when they start lifting weights. 

"Hold on, I need to rest my wrist for a sec," they say. "My grip keeps giving out."


I know this feeling all too well. I encourage them to try to hold it for one more rep, often watching them end the set with a flick of the dumbbells and a gasp of air as they drop the weights on the floor. One of the hurdles to making progress in the gym is strengthening your grip on the dumbbells, so that you strengthen the muscle group(s) you're training.

I'll often give an empathetic nod to my clients like "Ya, I know what it feels like to have your grip give out before your legs do during lunges ..." or some other exercise like that. So, what do you do?

I can't help but relate this weak grip we have on dumbbells to the grip we have on understanding God's grace for us as his children. If we only knew how strong we could be if we relied on his capabilities instead of our own. His power is limitless, and his mercies renew every day. The grace he so freely offers us is truly amazing.

Why do I feel the need to have to plan every little thing and complete every little mundane task on my to-do list in order to feel accomplished? Why do I still struggle with relying on my own power and strength to try to complete my God-ordained calling?

In Pastor Morris' Amazing Grace series, he describes grace as the unmerited, undeserved, unearned gift from God. No matter how hard we work in this life, we will never do anything good enough to receive his grace. If we ever attained anything at the level of "good enough," then his grace wouldn't be so amazing.

I feel like most of us know how good God is, but we just need to be reminded of the grace he shows us in the little moments of life that we tend to think, "It's okay, God. I got this one," — as if God needs our help.

I may be able to work on my strength training and lift a heavy dumbbell every now and then, but I can't carry this burden called life. That's why I have to wake up every day and lay all my anxieties down at the foot of the cross. It's a humbling process, let me tell you — especially for those of us who tend to be performance-driven.

My hope is that my journey inspires just one person to change their mind about Jesus and the price he paid to bring us to a place where we can receive God's grace. Even if it's someone just watching me post scrumptious food porn on Instagram or 20-minute workouts on Youtube. Whatever vessel God uses is good enough for me.

If you or someone you know struggles with receiving grace in the area of health or fitness, don't hesitate to email me or check out the list of services I provide. Don't forget about my latest online health plan, the Fearless and Fit program. I appreciate every like, share, pin and tweet. Blessings!




Thursday, September 4, 2014

New Schedule for September

Now, there are even more classes for you to attend at locations like Orangetheory Fitness, Granite Park and the Neighborhood of Cypress Waters. Some are free and some require a reservation. See which ones you can attend by clicking my schedule below.



Check out the new additions to Sundays at the Neighborhood of Cypress Waters. These classes are free for this month, and are on a trial basis, so if you're eager for a free, fun workout, come join us by the pool deck. Bring a friend and put in a good work, so we can continue the classes here.

For more information about Team A.M.Fit and other services, please click on the tabs at the top of the website and/or email me with your questions. Thanks!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Girls Who Lift

We've all seen the cute tanks sporting the gym lingo like "Strong is the New Skinny," or "I <3 Squats," or maybe even, "Bench, please" (I have that one.). Whether it's on Facebook or Instagram, squat-worthy booties are gracing the screens, promoting weight lifting for women. Obviously, it's totally hip for girls to lift weights now.

Two of my clients are now best friends after working out together.
Part of me truly loves the extra attention gymrats like me have been getting lately. Everyone wants to know how to get healthier, and how to get stronger. Women, especially, are getting sick of spending hours on the elliptical every day and are picking up a pair of dumbbells instead. It makes my heart happy.

But, the other part of me is a little soured on the fact that every time I meet with a new client, my thoughts about girl-on-girl conflict are confirmed. It's worse than it's ever been.

So many of my clients have shared with me that the minute they start to change habits that have to do with their personal fitness and nutrition, they start receiving criticism from some wannabe, misunderstood, turn-up-my-nose, Negative Nancy at work or school or next door.

"So, why are you eating that again? Do you think you're fat? Wait, what is that you're eating?"

The rebellious part of my flesh that sticks up for the underdog wants to tell those Nancies to back off and mind their own business. Thank God I have Jesus!

But really, why do we girls have to cut each other down so easily? Myself included, why is it that our womanly-human nature defaults to "OMG, Becky, look at her butt. It is so big"?

This girl is a perfect example of someone who has transformed her life despite criticism.
Girls who lift each other up are the only successful ones in the gym. Those are the girls who not only lift weights, but they also lift people up by going out of their way to encourage others, especially those who don't deserve it.

In Ephesians 4:31-32, Paul says to "put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ."

Ladies, let's shut our mouths unless we have something nice to say. Let's use our mouths to speak life into one another. Let's face it. As much as I try, I will never look like, speak like, move like, dance like, eat like, workout like, anyone else but ME. We are not in competition with each other. We are our own competition, and all we can do is better ourselves. It's just a lot easier when we're all on the same team, helping a sister out, instead of trying to stealthily trip each other along the way.

If you or someone you know is a victim of "Girls Who Don't Lift" and want to join the "Girls Who Lift" club, holla at ya girl. Team A.M.Fit is an avid supporter of "Girls Who Lift," and we do things together. For more information about my services, please don't hesitate to email me or find more information on my Facebook page or Instagram

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nutrition 101 and Go-Pro Balls

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of teaching two nutrition clinics to members of Orangetheory Fitness Coppell. While I learned that half an hour was not near enough time to talk about all the facets of healthy eating and properly fueling your body, I did get to share some valuable information with people who are genuinely interested in creating healthy habits.

One of my long-time clients and dear friends came with me and shared her testimony on how intuitive eating and whole foods have changed her body and life. I also spent some time in "show and tell" mode with several of my favorite food items from home.





I have to say that the best part was getting to share a delicious and easy-to-make treat with members. My Go-Pro Balls are a simple way to consume enough protein before and after workouts, and are especially good for people who need a quick snack in between point A and point B.


I made these particular balls two different ways, one recipe has more fiber and carbs, while the other has slightly more fat but more protein. One is pumpkin peanut butter and one is chocolate peanut butter. Both are freaking delicious!

Each ball has less than 30 calories, but if I was to make them just for myself, I'd make them a little bigger so that you'd only need to eat one and not want to eat 14.

Go-Pro Balls

Ingredients:

  • 4 scoops protein powder
  • 3 cups oats (dry)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or 4 tbsp powdered peanut butter + 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 can pure pumpkin
  • 2-3 tbsp honey (optional)
  • stevia to taste (optional)
  • Sprinkle of sugar-free chocolate chips (optional)


Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until the batter becomes sticky. 
  2. Roll into 1-inch balls and line on tray to refrigerate for 1 hour. 
  3. (Makes 36-48 balls)

Friday, August 1, 2014

New Schedule for August

We're into the last days of summer, which makes me very sad! Those old folks weren't lying when they said life gets faster the older you get. ... And that's why we work out ... so we can feel good even when we're old!

That being said, I hope you can catch me in one of my classes. Check out my schedule below, and let me know if you're interested in scheduling a free consultation for nutrition or fitness. Remember, you can find a list of my services on the tabs above.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Base, Push, All Out!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)."

At Orangetheory Fitness, we coach students in a wide range of fitness levels. One thing that stays the same no matter if you're a walker, jogger or runner is that each student moves among three different paces on the treadmill: base, push and all out.

While each person's base pace may be different, the move to the next level follows the same parameters. In unison, each member takes the plunge from their comfort zone and each does so with the same dreadful gasp, hoping they may whip their legs back and forth quick enough to keep the tread underneath their feet.

No matter if it's your first OTF workout or your 100th, you won't be able to get a good grasp on how you did in the workout if you don't commit to a base pace and stay there throughout the 60 minutes.
After suffering through several OTF workouts and coaching them, I've concluded that this entire concept correlates with our spiritual walk. We must be on beat with the Holy Spirit and set our pace to His pace in order to see any progress over time.
If you haven't had your own Orangetheory experience, the following OTF principles may help you understand the correlation.

On the treadmill, everyone chooses whether they will walk on an incline (PW), jog (J) or run (R). From there, we coach you through three paces:

1. Base: The lowest speed/incline level that you set for yourself — something you can maintain for about 20-30 minutes. You should be at about 71-83 percent of your max heart rate (75% effort).

2. Push: About 1-2 mph faster than your base pace (J/R) or 4-9 percent incline (PW). This pace feels uncomfortable. You should be at about 80-91 percent of your max heart rate (85-90% effort).

3. All Out: At least 2 mph faster than your base pace (J/R) or 10-15 percent incline (PW). This feels like hell. You should be death-glaring your coach and visualizing scraping their eyeballs out. Oh, maybe that's just me ... Excuse me (100% effort).
"You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess (Deuteronomy 5:33)."
The Lord calls us to invite His Spirit to walk with us every day. We have to choose to be on his level and strive to imitate Christ by demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit. We have to choose our pace in life, and if we choose God's pace, he guarantees blessing.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10)."
When I get on that treadmill, I fight the urge to decrease my pace and constantly challenge myself to bump it up a little more each time. I'm inspired not only by a desire to improve my physical fitness and physique, but also because I believe there's a peace and joy that develops after suffering. It's more than just a relief that it's over, but it's an awareness that because I am free in Christ, I can be joyful in all circumstances.

So, next time you're on the treadmill next to me and I'm screaming or glaring or fatiguing, remind me to "Bump it up," and I'll do the same for you!

To book your free first class at Orangetheory Fitness Coppell, call 214-300-9983. Tell them you're a part of Team A.M.Fit and they will let you know when I'm teaching. For more information on A.M.Fit services, browse the tabs above or email me your inquiry. 

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