Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Remodel

Love Fit Life is Remodelling

It's been about 3 weeks now since Love Fit Life was born, and I couldn't be happier! Reaching and maintaining an overall healthy and fit lifestyle is something I personally have to think about and work towards everyday. As you have also probably learned, I like the big picture. Nothing drives me crazier than hearing people say being healthy and fit is ONLY about one thing or another...exercise or eating right or this one super awesome supplement and the list goes on. That is not true. Period, no questions about it. If you want overall success, I think you have to strive for OVERALL SUCCESS.

After some serious thought and consideration, it's been decided to change the format of Love Fit Life. I love structure, but too much structure can make us feel trapped... am I right? Don't you worry though, there will be some important concepts that will remain, like addressing all aspects of the big picture, for instance.

So, I want and need your help! I want to know what specific aspects of the big picture fit life you want to see, hear about, work on, etc... Are you struggling with fitness, eating right, inner peace, mental/physical/emotional well-being, de-stressing, motivation, tracking your progress, staying fit while maintaining a social life, passing the plateau, finding balance with family/friends/etc, something else or lots of other topics?? We're all in this together, so the more feedback I get, the better!

Providing Feedback is EASY:
Leave a Comment (link is below)
Facebook Me (link is on the right)
(or Call/Text Me if you already have my number...but no I will not be providing that information on the world wide web haha) 

As Ace Ventura would say, "Spank you Helpy Helperton!" 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tasty Thursday - Target Practice

On this Tasty Thursday, my mind is wandering... I keep catching myself thinking about the short term satisfaction of a cookie rather than staying focused on my long term success and goals. Don't worry, I keep telling myself, this is normal. However, I also keep reminding myself that personal re-training is a critical part of obtaining and keeping a fit life. In order to stop looking and feeling like a piece of crap, changes need to be made. I understand that. I also understand that making changes that actually stick is more mental than anything else. If someone is eating well and getting exercise but continues to think like someone who doesn't work out and eats three times as much as they should everyday, they're definitely going to go back to that lifestyle at some point. So, what do I need to do to think like a healthy and fit person, I keep wondering? Well, I've been hearing more and more about this concept of re-training your brain, and honestly, I am totally on board. By giving ourselves new tools to use and concentrating on shifting our approach and overall mindset, we are much more likely to notice positive lifelong changes. I don't know about you folks, but I certainly need some help re-training my brain when it comes to food.... So, instead of our normal Tasty Thursday segments today, we're going to explore some resources for re-training and overall healthy eating: 

Fuel Target System
I recently found an article in Marie Claire that hit home for me because it really stays in line with my preferred ingredient based eating. In the article, Bob Seebohar's Fuel Target System is introduced. He explains that "eating right and feeling your best are all about seeing the big picture - which happens to look like a target..."

Ring 1 (Bullseye!)
Lean Proteins & Healthy Fats
salmon, tofu, chicken, eggs, walnuts, olive oil, etc...

Ring 2
Whole Fruits & Vegetables
watermelon, bananas, pomegranates, oranges, broccoli, kale, spinach, arugula, beets, etc...

Ring 3
Whole Grains & Healthy Starches
quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, etc...

Outside the Rings...
alcohol, refined-sugar and refined-flour products (like chocolate chip cookies, Twinkies, white bread, etc...), processed foods, sweets, most other junk food, etc...

Thanks, Bob and Marie Claire... I like the idea of "target" consumption!

Hunger vs Appetite

Eating when I'm not actually HUNGRY happens more frequently than I would like. For me, I feel like distinguishing between hunger and appetite and actually eating or not eating accordingly will be required for ultimate fit life success. Don't lie (to yourself), you're probably in a very similar position. It's ok, let's all admit it and overcome it together :) Next time you reach for a snack or start to engage in mindless eating... ask yourself some of these questions:

Am I hungry?
Am I bored?
Have I had a glass of water?

Here's more to check out too...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weigh in Wednesday

As previously discussed, Coachella is coming and I'm spending the next 2 weeks getting into tip-top shape. Accordingly, I thought it would be fun to wait and see the outcome together! No peeking....

Plus, patience is a very important part of a fit life, so I'm really just helping you in more ways than you realize. You're welcome :)

Accountability Check Point
Wow, it's Wednesday already? Time sure does fly by when you're balancing life's everyday madness with paying attention to eating right and exercising! Let's check out my shortcomings and successes this week...

Thank you, 4-8-12 for keeping me going. This week was one of many cravings and I was constantly tested to stay on track. As you learned yesterday in Tricks and Tips Tuesday - Goal Getter Gear, I don't always succeed, but that's part of the process, my friends. After that rough craving caving day last Friday, I had to add something extra to my 4-8-12. That something extra turned out to be a semi hidden fist pump (semi hidden because I usually have to do it in public places). Yes, you read correctly, I am now doing a semi hidden fist pump in addition to repeating "4-8-12" when really bad cravings come my way. Yesterday, that went something like this: 
I'm walking to another part of the office where I need to pass the candy jar to access. I pause as I pass the candy jar, thinking about how tasty a Kit Kat or Crunch bar mini might taste. "No," I say to myself. "But maybe just oneeee..." the devil inside responds. "No, seriously Rachel... 4-8-12, don't give in," my better self bites back without giving up. "No, just 1...or 2...or 3 will be fine..." the devil says in one last attempt but then "NO!" fist pump commences and I proudly say to myself "4-8-12 and I can't grab candy if my hands are fist pumping... TAKE THAT!" The end result? Success, obviously.

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” 
― Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love

Oh the joys of activity incorporated into our daily lives... I like it, don't you?? This week, I had a blast focusing on the little extra activity additions to my days - I strengthened my core as I drove around town, I purposely parked on a higher level of the parking structure so I could walk up and down more stairs, and my favorite of all, I took a 4 hour walk with my amazing Mom over the weekend. We wanted to chat and catch up, so instead of just sitting around an eating table of sorts, we tied up our tennis shoes and hit the pavement. We caught up, tackled more hills than either of us expected, felt accomplished, and both of us are feeling the calf burn because of it! That's an all around WIN if you ask me!

Fired up the kitchen several times this week, and I think it's important to note that NOT everything worked out so well. I used to avoid experimentation because I was scared I wouldn't like something, I didn't want to waste my precious groceries, and understandably, I didn't want to be forced to eat something gross. For me, all that came of that mindset was boredom and a challenging time sticking to my goals. Now, I never hesitate to try something new, whether it's something I'm cooking, something I'm eating out, or something someone else has made. What's my new favorite meal you're wondering? I already told you during the last Tasty Thursday, silly goose.

Less words, more action is a constant challenge - I think for most of us. I've been doing well in this area, but there's always room for improvement (of course). This week, I'm most proud of myself for finally getting to Cardio Barre Hollywood and using the 1st of 10 classes that I got as an amazing LivingSocial deal a little while ago. I've done barre workouts before but this was unlike anything I've tried and it felt great! The instructor was fantastic (which is a BIG deal for me), the environment was fun and welcoming, my buns are still on fire and I was very pleased to see men in the class to tone up with the ladies... Love Love Love!

The Will Power Workout
A lot of the success I have achieved as well as the success that lies ahead is thanks to will power. In the past, will power was something I didn't have much of... or, I didn't think I had much of it. Little did I know, will power is something you always have, and it's just a matter of how strong or weak it is.

Every week, I work on my willpower. 
Every week, I give in to temptation. 
Every week, I refuse to give up.
Everyday, I commit to making progress.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tricks and Tips Tuesday - Goal Getter Gear

DIY (Do It Yourself) Fit Life Manual

As I started becoming more and more interested in health, fitness, eating right and overall balance, I quickly realized that I needed to start keeping and organizing the information and resources I was finding. Thus, I created my very own fit life manual. I dug out my 3 hole punch from when I was in school and went to the 99 cent store (because this girl is on a budget) to grab a binder and dividers - voila, my fit life manual kit was complete. From there, every time I read something in a magazine, online, in a book, etc... I added it to my binder under one of the following tabs:

:: General Advice, Tricks & Tips ::
:: Exercises & Prepared Workouts ::
:: Eat Right ::
:: De-Stress, Yoga, Stretching, Meditation ::

Now, every time I need or want a new workout, meal inspiration, de-stressing tools, motivation in general, etc... I know exactly where to go. Not only that, but the space on my bookshelves that used to be full of old magazines and random printed stuff that I never looked at is now a few easy to use binders!

Experience - Record - Remember

I just recently started what I like to call "Experience - Record - Remember" in an attempt to keep myself in check and on track. When I do something like a new workout or totally over indulge, I pull out my phone and take notes. As lame as it may sound, it's working. Here's the best example I have so far...

Last Friday I had a "BAD" fit life day... no exercise, donuts for breakfast, taco feast for lunch, and (really good) Himalayan food for dinner (an excessive amount, might I add) accompanied with lots of wine. Needless to say, I felt extremely yucky! While I'm all about avoiding extremes and finding balance, I was disappointed in myself for practicing so little self control. So, I sat there feeling absolutely terrible, stomach rumbling, eyes drooping, and realized I had reached my tipping point. I grabbed my phone and took the following notes:

! Craving Caving !
I feel...
too full
my tummy grumbling and unhappy with me
disappointed that I didn't practice more self control
eye droooooping
unable to focus
like my pants are too tight
my feet swelling... seriously, what is going on? my heels barely even fit...
I want...
to remember this feeling
to practice more self control when tempted in the future
to enjoy food and life without reaching this point
to consistently live and love my fit life

Literally, that is exactly what my note in my iPhone notepad says, and I can honestly tell you it's working. In the past few days since then, I've pulled out this note every time a craving struck and I was able to work through it. Try it sometime and be your own goal getter!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Motive Me Monday - Be a GOAL GETTER!

Need motivation? I find there's no better way to get motivated than to set a goal and GET IT! Accordingly, Love Fit Life is doing a 5K!

Stop Talking; Start Doing. 
Here's all the info:

PADRES 5K Run/Walk in Honor of the Courage & Spirit of Children with Cancer and their Families

Ok, but what is a 5K exactly?
A 5K is 3.1 miles that you can walk or run (or a combination of both), depending on your preference

Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 8:30 a.m. 
(arrival time between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.)

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA

How Much?
Registration to participate is $25 and additional donations are always welcome and encouraged

Join The Team!
1. Go to:
2. Click "REGISTER"
3. Click "I Agree" to the Waiver/Agreement
4. Select "Join a Team" & when the selection menu appears below, select Love Fit Life
5. Complete the Personal Information Page & pay your $25 registration fee (plus any additional donation you wish to make)
6. Start walking/running because Sunday, June 24, 2012 will be here before you know it!
7. Pat yourself on the back for committing to a fit life and supporting PADRES Contra El Cancer along the way
8. Invite all your family and friends to join too - the more the merrier and you definitely don't want to miss this party!

 Have an excuse already lined up? I thought you might! So, here's an E & O.I. (Excuse & Overcome It) list provided for your convenience:

E: I don't live near Pasadena/I can't do that race...
O.I.: No problemo! Check out these websites for more races and train along with us anyway!,7151,s6-239-283-284-0-0-0-0-0,00.html

E: I don't even know where to begin to train for something like that...
O.I.: Don't worry, I didn't either when I did my first 5K. I started by running at least a little bit 3-4 times a week. At first, at least a little bit meant just around the block. As I progressed, I ran based on time and slowly increased my time until I was able to run for 25-30 minutes straight. On race day, the crowd and my adrenaline did a lot more of the work than I thought! I finished in 30 minutes and could not have been happier!

E: I can't afford registration...
O.I.: Talk to your family, friends, and co-workers to sponsor you! One way to pitch it is to have people sponsor you per mile - "Hey, I'm walking/running in a 5K to prioritize a fit life for myself and support children with cancer and their families - what do you say to sponsoring my 1st mile with a $5-$10 donation?" We are running to support a great cause and since it's only $25 you can easily get 1 or more people to help you cover the cost.

E: I'm not a morning person...
O.I. Part 1: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!
O.I. Part 2: Get over it.

E: I have kids/a family that I can't just leave for an hour or two on a Sunday morning...
O.I.: Great news! You are the best possible role model for your kids and family! Lead by example and show them that living a healthy and fit life is crucial for so many reasons, AND that it can be done as a family. Not only that, but EVERYONE IS WELCOME! Got a bun in a oven? You should definitely be walking so that you're ready for delivery day. Got a little one running around? Pop them in the stroller and walk/run while pushing or if they're old enough to walk, walk as a group! Got a significant other/spouse that's not on board? Tell them that you're prioritizing yourself and your health and they can make their own breakfast that morning!

E: I don't/can't/won't run...
O.I.: No prob Bob... as we've already mentioned, you can WALK! We already have walkers confirmed too so you won't be alone!

E: I don't have time to walk/run or do something like this on a Sunday...
O.I. Part 1: Just replace walking/running for some of the time you spend everyday being unhealthy, unhappy, stressed, tired, and worrying about how your life will be shorter because you don't take care of yourself. Oh, did I say that out loud? Yes I did. Oh, you didn't want to hear that? The truth hurts.
O.I. Part 2: You will have walked or run your way to a completed 5K by 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning - You'll probably call all your friends to brag about your accomplishment and they won't even be up yet! You'll probably have a meeting or event to go to that day and you'll have tons of time to kill before it even starts! You'll probably get home before your family or roommates even wake up!

E: I'm injured and physically unable to walk or run...
O.I.: We want a fit life community... that means being together, being happy in positive company and not leaving anyone behind. Let's brainstorm a way to get you across the finish line! We want everyone there, no matter what.

E: I can't actually set a goal and get it because then I'll break my just talking about it cycle and I'm scared of change...
O.I.: Don't worry, I was there too once! Trust me and everyone else who has ever broken that cycle - YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT ONE BIT...EVER!

As David Banner would say, "WORK THEM HIPS, RUN GIRL..." 
As Love Fit Life would say, "WORK THEM HIPS, WALK/RUN BOYS & GIRLS" 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Prep for Success - Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I seem to be caught in a crazy busy few weeks lately, and since most students have midterms and finals on the horizon, I know I can't be the only one. Luckily, I got to spend the weekend with my wonderful mother on a mommy-daughter romantic getaway - we took a 4 hour walk through lots of hills, practiced new yoga poses, slept more than we usually would, and discussed lots of meditation ideas and concepts. Needless to say, it was just what we both needed to quickly re-boot and jump in head first to another busy week. While everyone doesn't have the luxury of doing what I did this weekend, it is important that you find time to relax and re-boot; find your special retreat, whether it's the 5 or 10 minutes you have before your spouse and kids wake up/after bedtime, the temporary study break you have to walk around and clear your head, the night you say "no" to going out to the bar so you can spend the night locked up in your room reading, etc... We can talk and talk and talk about how busy/stressed/crazy we and our lives are and how much we hate it, but talk is cheap - make a change if you want to see a difference, period.

...This week, I want to focus on MY actions and actually separating them from my words... 

Plan It - DO IT!

This week, I've planned more specific workouts than I usually do on my calendar and I have every intention of following through with them. Typically, I don't do this because it hasn't turned out well for me - even though most workout and fitness advise I read and hear says that planning specifics will increase your chances of success. I'm even going to share my planned schedule for the week in an attempt to keep myself more accountable:
Monday: Cardio Barre Hollywood class (from a LivingSocial deal I have) 
Tuesday: (Choose One) Spinning class or Zumba class
Wednesday: Gym day - 30 min HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) & Weight Training
Thursday: Swimming
Friday: Kickboxing Class
Saturday: Run @ Rose Bowl (Pasadena)
Sunday: Rest & Restorative Yoga class

Be Worry Free

Some things are within my control, but most things are not. This week, I want move past simply recognizing what I can and cannot change, and move towards a point of letting go. If something is worrying me or if someone is annoying me or if the end of the world is nearing, I will acknowledge the situation and feelings that arise but then take a deep breath and move on.

Camera Ready Year Round

Staying consistent with my health and fitness goals will help me maintain confidence and feel camera ready all year round. I like this :) Yes, I can talk about consistency and plans for living a fit life, but follow through is required to be successful.

The Everyday Beauty

There's way too much peace and beauty in the world that I don't acknowledge because my tunnel vision takes over. With (what seems like) a million things to do everyday, it's easy to let the world pass by without noticing. This week I want to stop and smell the roses, see the everyday beauty that's right beneath my nose or above my head, and appreciate my surroundings. 

Your week starts now.
Act better, live stronger, and remember to stop and smell the roses!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fun Time Friday

CoacHELL(Y)A coming...

Coachella is coming – in 20 days to be exact. After a lot of back and forth and not really caring to go but then realizing I did really want to go and then not getting a ticket and then maybe having a ticket and then not having a ticket again and finally confirming and getting a ticket this week, I am beyond excited. I love music, I love hanging and lounging outside, I love the group of INCREDIBLY FABULOUS women I’m going with, and I love being adventurous and trying new things… thus, CoacHELL(Y)A = perfect amazing yes please right now. As a realistic planner type though, this means a lot is going on in my head. Coachella is several days of being in extremely hot temperatures, longer than usual entertainment and excitement, travelling, and so much more. Accordingly, this fit life lover is going in eyes wide open and fully prepared for whatever comes my way!

The Hot Bod Factor
Yes, I am revving up my workout engine for the next 2 weeks in preparation to prance around looking and feeling beautiful, toned and confident. What's my plan, you're wondering? Well, you know me... I don't like to commit to specific workouts on exact days of the week but I can tell you that I'm focusing on 30-60 minutes of exercise 4-6 days per week that will include a variety of classes, cardio and weight training. 

Healthy, Hydrated & Ready to Rumble
Staying hydrated is a BIG one for me. I get dehydrated really easily so I need to keep that in mind and hydrate very well (pre-Coachella and throughout) so I'm in tip-top shape for spending several days in the hot sun while dancing my heart out! Some other big focus areas for me are making sure I'm eating right, paying attention to what I’m feeding my body and when (aka: listening to my body), taking my vitamins, and getting enough sleep - giving these items enough attention will help ensure that I'll be strong, healthy, amped and ready!

Mind Over Matter
More often than not, success comes down to mind over matter (I think). I'm thinking positive thoughts, remembering to squeeze in my meditation sessions to keep my mind clear and ready, and practicing having fun while pacing myself to have a stellar time!

Penny Pinching
Now that I'm OFFICIALLY going to Coachella, I have to pay even closer attention to penny pinching for a bit. However, I always find times when penny pinching is required to be very advantageous for my fit life because I go out eating/drinking less often, I focus more on free exercise methods (often outdoors which is wonderful), and I spend more time planning and reflecting on my fit life progress. 

...20 days and counting...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tasty Thursday

Go To Meal of the Moment

My co-worker Claudia Rodriguez and I are always trying to figure out new and exciting meals for lunch. Since we're restricted in terms of time and only have a small counter and a microwave for prepping, we have to be creative and semi frill-less. Not only that, but as a Vegetarian, Claudia has really gotten me into trying alternative sources of protein and nutrients than what I've always used to - love that! This week, we wanted to make something that utilized the black beans and lentils that we already had in the refrigerator, and thought maybe a play on taco salad would be exciting. To our delight, it turned out WONDERFULLY and we were both BEYOND excited to keep telling each other how amazing it was in between mouthfuls....

The Bomb Bag
In a large ziplock bag we combined:
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup black beans
1 oz shredded carrots
3 sliced Persian (mini) cucumbers
1/2 cup shredded cheese (3 cheese mix)
Salt & Pepper
(we really wanted avocado too but they were hard as rocks at the store)

From there, we shook it like a salt shaker, split the contents between 2 large plates (paper plates because we like to be fancy), and doused our yummy creation in lots of lime. Our creative baggie meal came out to 330 calories per serving and I'm definitely making it again!

Check Please!

Not everyone can make their own meals as much as preferred, which is why Love Fit Life is starting the Check Please series! Since eating out is a challenging area for me, I'm always searching for tricks, advice, and methods for keeping my cool at restaurants, bars, fast food joints, etc... Here's some things I'm focusing on right now:

- Take control and plan ahead as much as possible. Have you ever had that conversation that goes something like...
"Where should we go eat?"
"I don't know, where do you want to go"
"Hmm, I don't know either, do you have anywhere in mind?"
"No, dude, I'm just hungry..."
Yah, me too! In my experience, these conversations often lead me to eating somewhere with more unhealthy choices than healthy ones. So, I started taking control. I began making a list in my phone of all the good options around the area (and other areas that I go out to eat depending on where friends are). This way, when the "I don't know" conversation starts, I can say (for example), "Let's go to Tender Greens, it's pretty new in the area and has really good salads, sandwiches, soup, etc.." CHA-CHING! Success. 

Can't control where you're going? When I'm in that position, I always try to look up the menu online ahead of time and get a handle on the scene. For example, I was going out to dinner with a friend this week in Downtown LA and we wanted to try Nickel Diner because we've heard great things and it was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (LOVE THAT SHOW!) - Not going to lie, I was a little worried because diner food does not usually mesh a healthy lifestyle. So, I jumped on my iPhone on the way there and saw that they had a tasty looking veggie sandwich that I could get. As it turned out, we split a yummy chicken club style sandwich and both got side salads, but I was ready just in case she got all crazy triple burger and fries on me. 

Realistically speaking, most places don't have incredibly healthy options, so you have to be as prepared and flexible as possible. There was an episode of Thintervention with Jackie Warner (on Bravo) that really spoke to me on this topic (I really wanted to find the clip but couldn't - sad face). This is how it goes - celebrity trainer Jackie Warner is working with a group of people to change their lifestyles and help them lose weight. After a successful few weeks (or months? I can't remember to be honest), everyone in the group is doing great and making healthy choices and positive changes. Jackie takes everyone out to dinner to celebrate and announces that she's going to order a bunch of food for them to share - they're all smiles and can't wait. Jackie is tricky though and she orders pretty much all unhealthy food! Everyone is PISSED to say the least. One guy claims it's like "throwing cocaine at a drug addict." The lesson that Jackie teaches them (and viewers) is an incredibly real and important one - unhealthy food will always be around. What are you going to do when you walk into a party/restaurant gathering and you're starving? You will NOT always be in a position where you can control the food in front of you, and you have to be ready for that. Take the fried crust off the chicken strips, remove the top portion of the buns (or the whole bun) off the hamburgers or sliders, look for the healthy options hidden in the mix like ahi tuna and the items that are steamed or grilled versus fried or sauteed. You can do it!

Weigh in Wednesday

I'm fighting...
self consciousness
and most of all - I'm fighting FOR ME.

Accountability Check Point
Welcome back to another Weigh in Wednesday. I'm so excited for my Accountability Check Point this week because I have good/great/wonderful things to report! Having a week of prep work that plays out well really gets me going... It helps motivate me to keep up the good work and spend a few minutes each week planning ahead. Let's check it out, shall we?

Thought about it and worked it out all week long! One thing I honed in on was how successful I am when I switch up "self-controlled" workouts like  going to the gym or running and include classes like kickboxing, zumba, barre, etc... I pushed myself to get to a kickboxing class at my favorite spot Classic Kickboxing in Pasadena, CA this week and even though I was tired and felt a bit weaker than usual, it was PERFECT and just what I needed to get going. I also spent time thinking about and addressing my tendency to munch while working at the office all day - by filling my lunch cooler with healthy snacks, I allowed myself to snack all day without feeling guilty... plus, smaller, more frequent meals are great for your metabolism! 

The candy jar and I are still having issues... chocolate is just something I always want and nothing else quite does the trick when I'm craving it. However, I've been doing a great job of telling myself "NO" more than usual! In light of avoiding extremes and being realistic about gradual changes in the right direction, I'm very pleased about my increased ability to say "NO" even though I still downed a little too much chocolate.

Splish Splashed this week and LOVED IT! THANK YOU, Lira brothers for being my mentors and holding my hand while walking into the extremely intimidating pool area. Yes, like most things I do for the first time, I was oddly nervous. However, also like most things I do for the first time, my butterflies were released as soon as I jumped in (apparently, they can't swim). It was exciting to get a different type of workout than I'm used to and the unusual feeling of overall exhaustion that following my swim session was refreshing. My new goal is to get my gills wet at least once a week - STOKED! 

As you know, Kumbaya was the name of the game this week. Yes, I did stretch a lot more than usual and I'm very proud of myself for that. No, I haven't been to a yoga class in about 2 weeks and I'm very sad about that. My body feels better when stretching, my performance increases, and at the end of it all, it's really just a few extra minutes! 

As discussed, I wanted to take a ride with the good ol' Quinoa this week. Oh and did it?! YES, yes I did. I started the week by making a batch of Quinoa (1 cup of Quinoa cooked in 2 cups chicken stock) and just let it cook while I was running around the house getting things done. I popped it in a tupperware and dove in on several different occasions for a 1/4 or 1/2 cup to add to my meal(s). I did on one occasion try to get adventurous by making an egg white, quinoa, zucchini and cheese wrap that tasted absolutely awful - but its OK! All my other meals were delicious and I'm planning on batch #2 asap! 

Crunching Numbers
I routinely get into a (bad) habit of playing the numbers game. On a walk with my sister (and Personal Trainer and CEO of Fit for Expecting), Jennifer Barker, this week, we discussed the importance of focusing on overall health and performance rather than numbers. Unfortunately, those great Special K ads are not real and scales don't show you things like "JOY" or "CONFIDENCE" when you step on. So, here's to putting my calculator down and moving forward accordingly.

:: Subtracting ::
(1) Paying too close attention to numbers like weight and calorie counting!
(2) Being too hard on myself when the numbers don't add up (or subtract) the way I want or planned.

:: Adding ::
(1) More focus on how I look, feel, perform, and retain success!
(2) More understanding that being strong and fit will often result in a higher number on the scale than I think.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tricks and Tips Tuesday

30 Day Habit Builder

On my last birthday, December 22, 2011, I realized something very important - I was NEVER going to reach and keep my fit life goals if I continued making excuses and skipping out on being consistently active. Until that day, I had worked out and been a lot healthier than ever before, but I continued to dislike exercise and more often than not, it felt like a chore. So, in light of the new year just around the corner and an overwhelming desire to actually DO something to improve, I decided to make a change... I did not make a New Year's Resolution, I made a 30 Day Habit Builder pact with myself. Going off the idea that it takes 30 days to break a habit, I made a commitment to CREATE a habit of being active and exercising. I spent 30 days straight getting at least 30 minutes of exercise every single day - whether I liked it or not, whether I wanted to or not, whether it was convenient or not, whether the weather was nice or not, period, the end, suck it up princess no one ever drowned in sweat (as one of the best UC Irvine Kappa Alpha Theta football shirts once said). Yes, I even did it on the one incredibly memorable day during that period when I was too hungover to think I would even survive in any position other than a tight little ball on the floor - however, I DID listen to my body (and pain) and chose a nice long walk and yoga instead of something crazy and intense.

Since my 30 Day Habit Builder began, my view of exercise and feelings about its effects have completely changed. Since my 30 Day Habit Builder concluded, I have had no problem exercising 3-6 days a week, without fail (even when I was on vacation). I like it, I crave it, it makes me feel better, it makes me relax, it helps me focus, it helps me sleep, it's something I wish I had done sooner.

Tomorrow is a new day - will you add the 30 Day Habit Builder to your bag of tricks and start creating a healthy new habit, or look back and wish you had?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Motivate Me Monday

Here's to reaching that point when...

... you feel the burn, and you don't want to stop.

... you say "no, thank you" to the french fries offered your way because you legitimately don't want any.

... you can't remember the last time you were sick.

... you choose a good workout over the couch after a long day.

... your response to stress is taking a few minutes to breathe and meditate instead of reaching for a drink.

What's Your Tipping Point?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Prep for Success - Back to Basics

Happy Sunday all you fit life lovers out there! I hope you're having a splendid weekend and recovering nicely from a fun filled St. Patty's Day. 

This week, I want to head back to the basics. I want to focus on rebuilding and maintaining my foundation of a fit life. I find that I need to constantly remind myself of these fit life basics so that I don't get too far off track when the road twists and turns. I encourage you to think about your own fit life basics and how consistently you adhere to them...


I believe that many changes can and do happen overnight, but they are not actually recognized or acknowledged until much later. Since I'm also the type that gets incredibly impatient, I especially love this reminder to give things time. Moreover, this gives me a fun little mental saying to use - my will power and self control grows stronger when I have something to say to myself. Don't quite understand what that means?  Ok... for me, that means that next time I'm passing the snack area at work and I want to reach for a delicious looking cookie or piece of candy, I'll say "...4...8...12..." to myself, and it will help me remember that every choice I make impacts my long term goals.

Be Happy

It's so easy to get caught up in the busy back and forth of daily life. Stopping, getting a grip, and chilling out are HUGE fit life basics for me. For me, this also means spending time reflecting on what exactly makes ME happy. Being surrounded by friends, family, peers, media and popular culture can make it challenging to pick out what YOU enjoy as opposed to what others do. Need an example? Recently, I came to realize that I enjoy reading... but only for short periods of time. Some of my active reader friends don't quite understand and often ask why I choose to put my book down after only 10 minutes even though I love it so much... because homie, that's just what I like to do and it makes me happy.

Act Daily

Guess what? You don't have to go to the gym everyday to be active and in shape! I love reminding myself to be active in my daily life - take the stairs, park the car a little farther away for an extra walk, focus on pulling in and strengthening your core while sitting in the car, stretch and move around while sitting for long periods of time, clean the house for a surprisingly good workout, dance instead of standing around at the bar, plant or tend to a garden, and my favorite, laugh more!

Fire & Re-Fire Up the Kitchen

Eating out is a good way to NOT lead a fit life. Yes, I do eat out (I'm no perfect fitness or health guru), but I prefer to hit the grocery store and make my own meals. However, I find that I have to constantly fire and re-fire up the kitchen to incorporate new ingredients and meals or I'll get bored and start eating out more. Since I've been eating a lot of the same thing(s) lately, this week I'm making a point of trying something new to get me and my kitchen going!

Less Words, More Action

That is all.

Enjoy your week of foundation creation, reflection, and positive progression!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spotlight Saturday

Changing Lanes & Balance Amidst Chaos

The fact that you'll constantly change lanes in life is a given, and finding balance amidst the chaos is challenging, to say the least. Life is always unpredictable and as we transition from children to life after grade school and beyond, we often find ourselves struggling to adjust, let alone lead a fit life. I have finally reached a point where I'm committed to being healthy, balanced and in shape regardless of the situation or current stage of life that I'm in. Yes, that can be and often is very challenging, but that just means dedication and hard work are required. For me, just doing it (as Nike would say) and believing in myself has worked wonders and continues to lead me in the right direction - I'm not always successful and I don't always accomplish what I want, but I keep trying and that's what counts. 

It's easy to get caught up thinking you're too busy or too tired or too poor or too fill in the blank to maintain consistency when it comes to eating right and being active. The funny thing is though, life in general started becoming so much easier and more enjoyable when I pushed those things aside and put a fit life at the top of my priority list. Even though I'm still quite young, I've been in many of the various "life lanes" and I fully understand the challenging that come along with them - I've been a student, a full time worker, a commuter, a long term girlfriend, a lost soul searching for purpose, a follower, a leader, and much more. In most of these "life lanes" though, I've found that being busy is what makes it so hard to stick with a fit life. Accordingly, I started doing a workout that I can do in 10 minute segments... when I'm really busy, I can do 10 minutes here and there throughout the day to piece together a 20-40 minute workout, or when I have more time available I can do a few segments back to back. The best part is, even when I change lanes (for instance, going from a student to a full time worker bee, from a local to a commuter, from a single individual to in a relationship or vice-versa, etc...) my quickie workout segment routine is always there to have my back. Check it out and try it for yourself!

Rachel's Minute to Win It
(10 Minute Workout Segment)

1 minute jumping jacks
1 minute jump rope (imaginary if you don't have one)
1 minute squats
30 second high knees
1 minute sumo squats
30 second butt kicks
(5 minutes already done!)
30 second plank
30 second bicycle crunches
30 second reverse crunches
1 minute jumping jacks
1 minute punches 
(I prefer to do what I call dip punches: dip to the left like your dodging a punch and punch with your right arm then dip to the right and punch with your left arm and continue going back and forth)
1 minute jump rope (imaginary if you don't have one)
30 second plank
(10 minutes - you did it!)

- Do 2-4 sets at various times throughout the day if you're extra busy or do them back to back for a once a day workout
- Exchange certain exercises for others if you prefer - tailor it to your needs and preferences
- If you don't want to be glued to a timer, time yourself the first time through each exercise to figure out exactly how many reps you do in the 1 minute or 30 second time frame. That way, you can just count reps when it's not convenient to time yourself. However, if you do this, remember to maintain the same speed when you do it so that you're not going to fast and therefore doing it in less time.
- STRETCH when you're done and BREATHE through the pain!

...also check out...