To start- this journey of transformation was multitudinous. I gained insight and knowledge. My self-love and gratitude grew. I got stronger. I committed- full unwavering dedication like never before to fitness gains. And hello- I grew a peach.
SO a little background. If you know me then you know that I teach yoga. I practice yoga at studios and at home with YogaGlo and My Yoga Works online. You also probably know that I over all eat pretty well as I love to provide recipes of smoothies, green juices, superfood lattes and protein packed meals along with some of my favorite dishes like zoodles. So YUM! Something else about me is that I love connecting with many people through social media to find inspiration, new practices, new recipes and more mindful and healthy ways of living- physically, mentally and emotionally.
Finding inspiration came from many sources. It started with a challenge i was asked to participate in. Thats actually how I met Sophie Jaffe (@sophie_.affe) and her company Philosophie. Through Sophie, I met Rachelle Tratt (@theneshamaproject) with whom I have now shared two different retreat experiences , nourishing my soul. I met Tiffany Acevedo (@nourishedbykale) at this years retreat and love all of her food inspiration. I follow Lee (@leefromamerica) and Jeannette (@shutthekaleup) and constantly am inspired by their real and raw vulnerability and approach to inner growth. Well, that and FOOD. Most of the other accounts I browsed were yoga accounts and although so many of them were fantastically inspiring, I just felt I needed a more broad inspiration pool of movement and perspective to bring into my growth adventure. So, i decided to branch outwards. I dont know if any of you also follow some of those bigger weight training and fitness accounts, like Kelsy Wells, Alexia Clark, Becca Sills or Karina Elle, and Madalin Giorgtta but i decided to take a journey into that realm to see what i could apply to my practice, and to be honest, i wanted to grow my booty.
Maybe i watched a little too much Kardashians last summer and lingered on Jen Selter's Insta page too long, but I was like I want that peach. So yes- this recent initial motivation started of out of vanity. But dont most fitness journeys start from the desire to get healthier physically ? I mean half of the yoga students i talk to say they started for the physical aspect. Many fitness gurus seem to have a similar experience. They wanted to get into shape. So i feel like whatever the platform, more often than not, our journeys start out of something more surface level and then develop and grow from there. Because I have been practicing a nourish my soul approach for many years, I already have connected with my needs and my emotions. I am more in tune with listening to my body and with honoring my feelings. However- as always, I am looking to grow and bloom and progress forward into a better version that I previously was. And there is always room for growth. Even in the booty.
SO lets begin with my goals.
-get stronger (physical + mental)⠀
-add another platform of yoga ⠀
-NOT diet + LOVE my meals ⠀
(AKA create a plan of longevity)⠀
-increase stamina ⠀
-commit to a workout + follow through til the end⠀
1. Get STRONGER
I wanted to become stronger. As with anything, when you constantly do something over and over a plateau is reached. And this is applicable to not only physical movement, but also with growth in the heart and mind spaces. We constantly need forward movement- progression-growth or we become stagnant. It becomes easy to be a certain way- to move a certain way and then we get comfortable with that ease. We've mastered it and that feels good. Who wants to step out of comfort?
Well, i decided that in order to continue developing as a human, as a mom, as a student, as an athlete I needed to let go of my comfort and do something difficult. Weight training has always frightened the poop out of me. Its intimidating going into a gym with all these people lifting heavy weights, moving about machinery like perfectionists. I mean I didnt know what machine was what let alone how to use the damn thing. So I made the excuse that I couldnt get a gym membership. It didnt matter what the excuse was- financial, time, ability, kids, work, family- they all say the same thing- i just couldnt do it. So, I decided to change that. I bought a gym guide by Madalin Giorgetta back in September last year so that i could start training. Why did i pick her? She was real. She made me laugh. She talks alot about what is real and what is not and that was refreshing. She shows her flaws and debunks Instagram's perfection. And yes she posts butt shot after butt shot but it doesnt bother me because thats what she sells. Plus i had been following her for like EVER and watched her fitness growth ad honestly was amazed by it and her perspective. I took note of the kind of information she provided and the way she explained it all and it just clicked.
So with this purchase this is what i was able to do- Learn the machines. Learn what super sets were. Learn what drop sets were. Learn about progressive overload. Learn about the muscles. Learn about macros. Intermittent fasting. Meal Prep. Protein Powders. Recipes. And so on. Back when i purchased from her, it actually was a tailored one on one 8 week guide customized just for me and my goals. Now she has available a gym guide and a home based guide that is a 12 week program. You work it according to your schedule, needs, and strength. So in September last year, I additionally bought the 12 week gym guide even though I didnt actually fully commit to doing it until about 7 weeks ago. (the guide also comes with an online group where thousands of girls who have purchased the guide can go online and show transformation photos, find inspiration and motivation, ask questions about the exercises, about body image, eating, meal planning and anything under the moon that will help support you along your journey.)
I read up on the machines before hand so that i could walk in and at least know what i was looking for, how to use it and feel like i wouldnt appear as a deer in the headlights. This helped alot with feeling comfortable in the gym. Music also helped. It made, and still makes me forget there are other people in there that might be staring. But after going to the gym these past few months i have realized that no one is really looking at you because all they are doing is looking at themselves. And that is SO the truth. So boom. Confidence gained just like that.
Well this is a topic for a different post but I will touch on it here. We must love ourselves. We must learn to see the beauty in our flaws. And this isnt easy to master. But it can be done with PRACTICE. There are small ways that we can begin to shift our perspective and our attitude. From I cant to I can. From its hard to I got this. From hating our butt to thanking it. "Thank you booty for enduring hours of being smooshed while sitting watching Kardashians, squeezing into tight jeans, getting fallen upon throughout life and so on. I joke about it, but im serious. When we can change the way we see something, especially if its something that will likely not change, we begin to shift our universe. We become lighter and brighter and operate at a higher frequency. And believe it or not, this shift has the power to actually change the unchangeable.
Have you heard of that experiment with water and rice? Dr. Emoto Masuro conducted a month long experiment using the power of words. Watch the video here. Basically the theory is that the energy you transmit has monumental power to transform. When you talk with love and compassion and adoration, you witness beautiful transformation otherwise thought impossible. And quite conversely, when we look at ourselves with loathing and dismay, we harden and wither and perform in just the way our words perceived we would. POWER OF WORDS people. It changes everything.
EXAMPLE- I have hip dips. I almost laugh as I write this now because i didnt even know what the heck a hip dip was. Thank you Instagram. But come to find- its a genetic bone structural makeup of a pelvis that causes a small indentation in the side of the hip area. No wonder it wouldnt grow. Its not a muscle. Anyway- someone asked if hip dips could be reduced visibly. My answer was something along these lines. Hip dips are genetic. There are certain exercises that perhaps can build muscle in the legs and glutes to help enhance the area so they are not as prominent but it not absolute. What I did was change my attitude about them. Instead of focusing on them as negative- I began talking to my pelvis and my glutes and my muscles thanking them for birthing my babies, for carrying my body and just began telling them i loved them. It sounds so silly to talk to your body but seriously, it helped manifest a positive perspective about my body. So, yes I think after exercising for 7 weeks that they are less noticeable. However, honestly I dont know if thats because they are actually less noticeable physically from working out or if they are less noticeable because i changed my attitude about them and notice them less. OR is it a rice mystery and they physically have changed because they are loved more. Who knows. The point is that our mental space has everything to do with how we transform and shift and grow.
End rambling here.
2. ADD ANOTHER PLATFORM OF YOGA
Yoga has been trademarked for so long with flexibility and contortionist postures that some deem only sadists would attempt. Kidding but seriously- it has a rep of being only for the flexible. Add in your OM chants in seated position (insert image of Jim Carey in When Nature Calls) and BOOM you've painted a picture of yoga. Obviously im kidding but for so long there has been this definition and generalization of what yoga is and what it looks like. But to me, yoga is many things. It can be any movement in any platform that weaves mindfulness and intention into it. We dont just practice yoga, we become yoga. Its a way of life. Its bettering ourselves. Its finding inner peace and self love. Its shifting within. Yoga is in our relationships. The way we talk to ourselves and others. Its appears in the kind of food we eat and the products we use. Its in our actions and reactions too, right? Yoga is everywhere and in all things. So i wanted to add another form of movement into my practice. Sure, its weight training but to me its mindful movement birthed from intention. Its about creating inner inquiry so that i can properly assess my needs and adequately honor and apply intention and presence through practice. Its about coming out the other end a better version of myself than when i walked in. And that my friends, is what yoga is to me thus enter weight training.
3. NOT DIET + LOVE MY MEALS
I didnt want to diet. I know how that ends. And its never happily ever after. I actually dont think i have every really dieted. EVER. I have done a cleanse here or there but knowing myself, and my lack for self control and long term commitment I have never gone farther than a few days doing something when it comes to food. I know full hand dieting and I are not compatible. So I set out on a journey listening to the needs of my body while also taking into consideration my goals and planned from there.
I previously posted about macros so I already understood what i needed to eat. I just actually had to put it into practice. I think when we deprive ourselves of foods we enjoy we begin creating a negative relationship with food. Cravings begin to grow and build and eventually the dam always breaks. It isnt a matter of IF, its a matter of when. I believe that we should be able to eat what we want in moderation which is why i really like the macros tracking. It allows for me to log food, even my peanut butter cup and know where i stand for the rest of the day and what i need to eat in order to hit my macro percentages. These percentages will look different for everyone depending on their individual goals, but more or less its about pre-planning so that we can hit our percentages and eat healthily. I want to enjoy the food i eat, not dread meal time so I incorporate my favorite foods in moderation. I also pre-plan my daily meals so that I am not left at the end of the day scratching my head about what to eat and what not to eat. It shouldn't be stressful. It should be enjoyable and easy. I use myfitnesspal to log my meals and the best part about it is the bar code option. Almost everything you eat has a bar code that is already pre logged in myfitnesspal so you dont need to log anything manually. Its literally magic.
Over time with use, I have learned what foods have what percentages of macros and it has made meal planning much easier. Preparing the day before best as possible ensures i stay within my macros and also to not feel extra hungry or stressed about what to make myself because its already tied up with a pretty little bow awaiting preparation. Best advice is to just be patient with yourself. Its a learning process. And allow yourself to eat things that you like even if they arnt ideal. Log it and see where you can make it up later in the day. You want to plan for longevity. Create a lifestyle that will last, not a fad that will fade.
4. INCREASE STAMINA
Not only did i want to get stronger, I also wanted to help increase my stamina. Being more active and mindful of my movements and of my food consumption, naturally I felt better. I had increased energy and eventually my desires changed. So because I created a routine to work out more, it changed how I ate which overall changed how I felt. I dont really do cardio or HIIT too often. I get a good sweat in with yoga but I dont go to the gym to work my endurance. It naturally increased because I was overall treating my body better simply because I was practicing mindfulness. Also, every time I go to the gym, I get stronger, which in turn increases my stamina which affects how i eat and treat my body. So it really is all very synonymous. Everything relates to one another.
5. GAIN MUSCLE
I always wondered for years why I would workout and not gain muscle. Well, I had trained my body for a very long time to store insulin and fat because I wasn't eating enough to support the calories I was burning so in order to have enough fuel to keep going my body was using the muscle i was trying to build in order to energize. This result was certainly opposite of what I was trying to do. And i had not one clue about it. No one really explained anything to me about why i still had fat in cetain areas and why i wasnt growing any muscle. Sure, I was stronger but there wasnt really any real transformation happening because I wasnt doing anything right. And my mental state about all of this just left me frustrated rather than patient and understanding. Fueling your body with proper nutrients, water intake and even adding supplements is so important. Another reason why i LOVE myfitnesspal. It allows me to see what I need to be doing daily in order to attain my goals. Gaining muscle requires a lot different approach than losing weight.
Gaining muscle also will make the scales increase. So honestly i dont currently know what I weigh. I know that 7 months ago I weighed about 109-110. I also know when i did my free body scan with golds gym about 3 weeks ago i weighed in at 124. But i am not concerned with weight. Muscle is heavier than fat so naturally gaining muscle will cause me to gain weight on the scales. However, its healthy weight and I have a healthy mindset when approaching the matter of weight. My clothes also fit differently because I am gaining muscle. So although my clothes are all still the same, I am seeing that my waist is smaller in my jean shorts, yet the legs feel tighter. Again- something I am happy about because I have a healthy relationship with how i see my gains. So please assess your position on your goals mentally and emotionally first before you begin so that you can go in with plan built for longevity and founded from love.
The question of gaining muscle and losing weight at the same time comes down to this: you may be able to do a little of both at the same time, but the golden rule is you will either lose weight or you will gain muscle and bulk a little. Meaning with muscle gains, comes a little bit of fat percentage increase. They relate to one another. So, you can first have a goal to cut by increasing cardio and losing fat reserves. Then once your ideal body fat percentage is reached, modify your goal to bulk so that you gain muscle. This will also keep you more lean in certain areas as well by cutting first and then bulking after. But please understand its typically one or the other at a time.
WHAT I EAT RIGHT NOW
I eat lots of protein- about 100g and also a good amount of carbs- about 65-70g with about 40g of healthy fats. I take supplements like collagen protein and other whey protein powders in addition to my normal diet. I also add hemp heart and oats to my smoothies for added carbs and healthy fats. I use coconut oil to cook and I eat energy fat balls. I use keto recipes for these because they are so delicious and can e made however i want them to taste. PERFECTION. I dont eat alot of dairy because it makes my tummy hurt. This transtion about 18 months ago was hard. Almond milk tasted like poop compared to regular milk. BUT now its the other way around. Its delicious. And i love it , especially when it is home made. I do like greek yogurt every once in awhile with berries and kitchfix granola. I dont eat any wheat or gluten products because I have an allergy (honestly this knowledge has saved my tummy.) but i sure miss bread and rea pasta. No substitute no matter how good is the same. I enjoy dishes like sauteed vegetables, zoodles, adaptogen protein lattes, smoothies and green juices, GF protein waffles, lentils, pad thai, coconut chicken curry with rice noodles, and lots of fish and rice. I also eat meat. Yes- I eat for my blood type. And i dont believe that there is a right or wrong way to eat when you listen to your body. What i do think is wrong, is anyone telling anyone else what is right or wrong. Vegan or Vegetarian or Carnivore. Be kind and graceful with your words and opinions. You should never make anyone feel small because their choices do not align with yours. I also truly enjoy toast with avocado, nuts and toasted chickpeas.ANd i think i said earlier, peanut butter cups are my favorite. Jasons are divine but i really love making my own. I like anything hearty, home-cooked, simple fillingto keep me satisfied and full.
I eventually decided that I couldnt complain about anything if i wasnt willing to commit to change. And man, change is NOT easy. It takes time and dedication. It takes will power and steadfastness. You cannot commit to something half way, the one foot in, one foot out approach, because that unwavering part in your heart will always win. It will always talk you out of it, and maybe not right away but eventually it will defeat any will you had. Committing is a full time job, especially at first. Once a routine has been set, it then becomes easier execute. Its more habitual. It ingrains into our blood and bones and finally becomes a lifestyle. I think the reason I waited so long after purchasing the guide to get started was because I wanted to take time to really set intentions for my training. I wanted to manifest the right frame of mind that leads with love and grace. That is patient and kind. I wanted to ensure I had my heart right so that I didnt walk into this commitment with "baggage." I took time to love myself and praise my body and all that it has done for me. All that still DOES for me daily. I wanted to take time to fall in love with each little imperfection until I truly saw its beauty. Once i saw my self love affirmations as actual TRUTHS, that is when I walked into a gym, purchased a membership and committed to at least 2-3 dys a week. I started with this and by week 3 I wanted to go 4 days. And by week I wanted to go 5 days. Some days I cant make it because of life but I still get in what I can with what I have when I can at home using all sorts of make-shift weights and adjustments because I am committed. I sometimes have kids crawling on me during glute pumpers, sometimes i dead lift with my baby. Sometimes i use my coffee table as a step up. Sometimes I take the kids to the beach and squat and plank and move all about in the sand. This is because there was transformation first and foremost within. So change your mind, change your life.
I think transformation is so important. But not just the external transformations. Sure those are wonderful to see and inspiring for goal setting. But the true transformation happens on the inside. Its how we change our perspective and attitude about ourselves. When we wake up every morning and say, Hey YOU, I love you. Hey fingers, thanks for typing this entire damn blog today. Hey butt, thanks for catching me when i fall. Hey tatas, I love YOU. You may not sit where i remember you being 3 kids ago but damn have you seen ho strong and smart and magical they are? Hey scar on my belly. Thanks for sticking with me through 2 c-sections. I fucking love you! Hey feet- you sure trip alot you clumsy fools but holy cow you have carried me millions upon millions of steps and i am so grateful for you. These statements ignite something inside of us that sparks a new way of LIFE. It reignites passion and purpose and when you have that- what every intentional movement you apply to it will unfold exponentially in miraculous ways.
Power of Love. Power of intention.
IT. IS. EVERYTHING.