Make it Happen Monday

Good morning and HELLO MONDAY!

It’s another week and I’m ready to get pumped! I have to be honest, Sunday ended on a bit of a more mellow note. I sometimes have these moments where I feel like everything is so out of my control that I don’t know why I push so hard.

But then I remember – just because there are many – and I mean MANY things that I can’t control, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go after the handful of things that I can. I have agency. I have power. I have a choice. And I’m going for it.

 

“The time for just wishing has passed – the time for doing is now”

Push yourself today!

Why you need to pursue your goals for YOU

Beginning any new challenge in life is so exciting. Motivation is at its peak, the fire inside you is burning. The people around you are your cheerleaders, they support and encourage you. Heck! Some might even join you on whatever it is you are venturing into. Excitement is brimming!

But, as time goes on, motivation changes from a steady stream to more of an ebb and flow. The challenge becomes increasingly difficult. Doubts seep in. Your family and friends aren’t there to support you like they were before. Heck, maybe some are so jealous of how far you’ve come that they begin to even sabotage you.

You start to get discouraged. Your heart sinks. This isn’t what you thought it would be.

So what now?

Go back to why you took on this journey in the first place. I hope at the top of the list you find the most important reason of all: YOU.

That desire is one thing that CANT change on your journey: YOU. Money, family, friends, motivation… It all comes and goes.

And it’s not “sad”, it’s just life.

It’s something I’ve come to expect on any new venture.

When I encounter this leg of the race, I try and channel the energy and remember what brought me to take it on in the first place.

My dreams, my goals, showing myself what I can do. It matters to me, and I hope it matters to you.

That’s what you have to fall back on, your love for yourself and your own self-empowerment.

No matter what new exciting thing you have taken on, stay positive! Stick with it! Believe in yourself that YOU have the capacity to see it through!

Delaying Gratification for the Win

Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in two directions? Like there are two different sides of you, that want distinctly different things? One side says chicken, the other side says cheesecake. One side says productive day, the other side say Netflix day. One side says reading by candle light, the other side says too many martinis on a Tuesday.

We all have these internal struggles and debates with ourselves, some of which are so under the radar that we aren’t even conscious of them. We’re all working towards being happy, but what is happy? Is it the chicken or the cheesecake?

These are just examples that illustrate what this internal struggle is often really about: immediate versus delayed gratification. It’s that primitive sense of ‘want, want right now’ versus ‘wait, work, fulfill my true desires’.

Immediate gratification is just what it sounds like: that immediate feeling of satisfaction. Unfortunately, it comes with a price. The satisfaction ‘high’ doesn’t last. When you’re too busy responding to tempting stimulus without thinking, this often gets in the way of your long term goals. Why? Because your not thinking long term. Your thinking short term. You’re thinking right now.

You have to put off what you want now in order to achieve what you want in the long run.

This is so much easier to preach than practice. We promise ourselves that we’ll get physically healthy, eat well, save money, get organized, but yet we act in ways that are counterproductive to our goals because of this. Realize that you are getting in your own way. Realize that you have the power to change this.

Here are some tips to delay gratification when working towards those long term goals:

  1. Stay away from tempting environments. If your goal is to save money, stay away from the mall. If you want to eat well, don’t accept the invite for dinner and drinks at Boston Pizza with your friends. You don’t just have to turn these options down. Actively engage in the situation and pick options that are going to be more beneficial to your plan!
  2. Keep a reminder of your goal. It could be a dream board, it could be the background on your phone, but constantly remind yourself why you’re making these sacrifices. Our WHY drives us, it’s the meaning behind everything we do, so you want to keep that in check!
  3. Learn to say no. To yourself and to others. Saying no isn’t supposed to be awkward, it’s supposed to be empowering. In your mind this isn’t as easy as “I don’t want it”. Maybe you do want it. But you say NO and make a conscious, powerful, selfish (yes that’s okay) decision for yourself.

If you can nail this, you not only have a better chance of reaching those goals, but reaching them SOONER.

Eliminate the effect of those road blocks. Delay what you want now for what you need later, and set yourself free from those distractions.

Happy goal setting!

How to Build your Butt!

The women in my family are blessed with great bum genetics. But last year, after going through some stressful and unfortunate circumstances, I was down to 102 lbs and struggling. Truthfully, I didn’t want anybody checking out my backside; I was ashamed because I felt like I was simply wasting away. I wanted to gain weight, but I wanted to do it the healthy way.

For the last year and a half, I have been determined to be the best I can be; mind, body, and soul. And butt. Here are my tips for building a bigger, better butt!

My butt progress, approximately one year between photos 

SQUATS are obviously monumentally important if this is your goal. The big thing here is proper form and squeeze at the top. Go below parallel. Be consistent with your squats, and try to increase weight every couple of weeks. The heavier the squat, the bigger your butt will grow to compensate and support you.

GLUTE BRIDGES are my all-time favorite booty exercise. Again, don’t forget to squeeze at the top! I do these with my back against some kind of support, usually a bench. Throw a barbell across your hips and thrust! Aim for 8-10 reps, 4 sets.

CLAMSHELL EXERCISE really helped me shape those side glutes. This link explains proper form. I’ve actually never used a band; I typically place a plate weight on my outer knee during the reps; increase the weight and you increase the difficulty of this exercise!

I truly dislike LUNGES, but I can’t give them up because man do they work. What’s great about lunges is you can do them anywhere. I grab a couple of 10lb Dumbbells for each hand during my lunges. On the days when I want to focus more on my quads, I do raptor lunges, which are lunges with a shorter stride.

Stuck with it! Progress will happen slowly but surely. I can’t wait to compare pictures another year from now!

Cheers!

The Number One Reason WHY Your Dreams are NOT Coming True

I’ve always been drawn to understanding people. What I’m really interested in is what drives people, what motivates them. What makes us different? What separates the people who are just going through the motions in life from those who are consciously being and growing? Why are some people successful, and some aren’t?

Believing in yourself is a big player here. Unless you truly believe that your goal is attainable, you won’t even try. Why would you? No one in their right mind would put effort into something they were sure wasn’t going to work. The thing is, we are always so “sure” without being sure. We are quick to dismiss ourselves as not good enough, or even quicker to dismiss it as a problem with our “situation”. We blame the external world, we feel held back, we say “I would do it but…”.

 

 

This is where the truth comes out. There is something at play here that is much bigger than just believing. Before we can believe, we have to let go of the fear that holds us back. Fear of failing, fear of falling, fear that it won’t work out. Fear is paralyzing.

Take a moment to think about something you wish you would have done but were too afraid.

Think about what would have happened if you had done it.

I can’t even begin to list the amazing things I would have done in life if I hadn’t let fear hold me back. I would have jumped at every opportunity that came along! Instead, I shied away. I was a “can’t” person.

Sometimes my “can’ts” were about me. I’m not skilled enough, I’m not capable, it will never work out. I blamed anything else. I don’t have enough support, it’s not the right time, this is a stupid idea. It’s all garbage. I was afraid. I was worried that it wouldn’t work out and I would look like a fool.

More than that, I was worried that it would.

 

Most people are so committed to being comfortable that the idea of actually being successful makes us uneasy. What if it does work out? What if I do make it? What if my relationship/new business/academic venture/travel plans actually work out?

We never expect for good things to happen to us, but we always expect the bad. When the bad comes, we say “that’s life”. When the good comes, we say “this isn’t meant for me” and we run.

Don’t be afraid. If by chance you fail, it means you’re trying, your playing the game. The only way to win the game is to play. Failure is not the opposite of success, but rather a part of the journey towards it.

Plus, I really think if you try, you just might surprise yourself.

I think you can do it; that thing that you are so afraid of.

And don’t say you aren’t scared, you are scared. It’s scary.

The majority of people make decisions based on fear every single day. It’s normal, but it doesn’t mean it’s right. Stop holding yourself back from that thing that is meant and waiting for you.

You deserve happiness and you deserve success. You are worthy. There is nothing to be afraid of but fear itself.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” – Marianne Williamson

June 2015 Check-in

Hey Everyone!

It’s time for my very first mid-month check-in! Being that this is the first month, my check in is a little late. Future check-ins will be as close to the 15th as possible. Nevertheless, here it is!

IMG_4849 (2)Improvements: Obliques are looking solid, upper body is getting thicker.

Current Focus: On my legs, which have been very stubborn to grow! Focusing on quad growth and booty gains.

Eating: Following the 80/20 rule and taking the 20 part very seriously. Donuts are a part of my balanced lifestyle. Lack of proper prepping has lead me to drink one too many protein shakes, and actual food is always preferred. Will step up my snack game and include those in my next food prep!

Feeling like: I’m not at my leanest and meanest, but I feel good. I leave for a week vacation in Mexico tomorrow and although I love the idea of having ripped abs in my bathing suit, I also like the idea of maintaining the strength that I have. Food= growth, and growing is more important right now. I can say for sure that this is the happiest I have ever been with my body. But I also know what it’s capable of, and I can’t wait to take it further. I especially cannot wait to see leg comparison pics a couple of months down the road.

Personal Training: A Recount of my Experience

I chugged my redbull and squeezed the can with my hand, lazily tossing it into the garbage can outside the gym. I was arriving to meet with my trainer for the first time. When I got in, we said a quick hello and he lead me into a back office. I evaluated him from my chair across the desk from him. He asked me questions about my fitness goals and current routines. I kept thinking about how young he was. I wondered what someone with such limited experience could possibly teach me. I was also nervous as hell. Anxiety-ridden, exhausted from a long day of work, going through a horrific breakup, and that redbull I just crushed was not helping me.

He checked my heart rate. It was apparently not good. He said “I don’t know if we can start today”. “You don’t understand, this is why I am here today. I’m just going through a rough time… and I need to do this”, I said shaking. He took the bait. Our first workout together was nothing mind-blowingly phenomenal, but I felt that he would be able to teach me some things that would take me further than I could go on my own at this point. At the end, we sat on the mats stretching out. He asked if I wanted to move forward in training with him. My response was to ask him he if wanted to train me. “I’m emotional”, I warned “and some days I’m going to come in here going crazy and you are going to have to deal with that”. That’s honestly where I was at the time – feeling lost and truly, kind of unstable. With cool confidence he assured me he could handle it.

What I didn’t know is that he didn’t actually mean he could handle it. What he meant was that he wasn’t going to take it. There were countless sessions to come where I would show up all emotional, and my trainer would simply say that he didn’t want to hear it, and that I was there to work. For some of you, this might sound cruel. For me, it was a technique that actually worked. It changed the way I worked out in the gym. It forced me to live in a different place in my mind during my workouts. It made me realize that no matter what craziness I had going on in my life, that the gym could be a place of solace.

Over time I began to realize that although our personalities were opposite, they were also complimentary. I was a whiner, complainer, excuse maker. But my trainer never let me say “I can’t”. He taught me that I needed to give up a certain amount of control in my life and I had to accept that. I couldn’t change other people or have control over every situation, but I have control over myself. Because I realized that I have control over myself, I was able to do things I never thought I physically or mentally could before.

He surprised me because for a young guy, because he really had a great knowledge-base, enthusiasm, and passion for what he was doing. He didn’t just tell me what to do, he told me why I was doing it. He pushed me hard in the gym and the results showed. He held me accountable for what I said I would do, but always gave me the credit for the work I did. I’m not saying he was perfect and never pissed me off. I’m not saying that he didn’t work me out so hard that I cried (because he did – haha). I’m saying that he helped me get results. Those results gave me confidence; I realized that if I really set my mind to something and worked hard, I could make it real.

When my training ended it was so anticlimactic. I was expecting some big, monumental, life-changing workout followed by a screen shot of that one single tear dropping from my eye as I left the gym. But it was just like any other ordinary workout. This is, of course, because that was only just the beginning. Over the next couple months my own passion and enthusiasm would send me on a journey of pursuing new skills and knowledge that would allow me to take my fitness routine to the next level.

One of my big goals in training was to be able to do pull-ups. I was naive when I started; I didn’t realize how much was going to be involved in making this happen. So, this wasn’t something I was able to accomplish during my training. But just because that phase was over didn’t mean I was going to quit; I kept working on it. A couple of months later, my trainer saw me at the pull-up bar. I saw him at a distance, and with a smile on my face I jumped and made six pull-ups look easy. He came over and congratulated me on my success, and I said “you don’t know how hard I’ve worked for this” ; his response was “yes I do”.

Well, I guess he was right.

 

IMG_5971 (2)

My before and after training comparison.

 

I would recommend training to any gym newbie if it is a financial possibility. I learned a lot, not only about working out but also about myself. It was a huge confidence boost and now I don’t think twice about joining the big boys on the heavy end of the dumbells. I really lucked out because I had a trainer who I was able to level with; someone who I wasn’t afraid to fail and fall in front of. So if you are going to find a trainer, find one that is complimentary to you who will make it their purpose to pull you out of your comfort zone and make you WORK. It was an investment I won’t ever regret.

MOTIVATION: A Tool in your Wellness Toolbox.

 

Motivation is a kind of inspiration. It is the thing that gets you going, that pushes you to make plans towards your future dreams and goals. Finally getting motivated and feeling that excitement is a wonderful rush – a surge of determination comes over you to make your dreams a reality.

But unfortunately… that’s it. Motivation alone can’t get you where you want to go.

I remember 1.5 years ago, scrolling through Instagram, looking through all of these pictures of beautiful fit people and thinking “I’m unhappy. I’ve had it. This is what I want now”. In that moment, I was extraordinarily motivated and pumped up to move towards it. I am proud to say that I feel I have been successful. But I’m not where I am today because of that moment.

Motivation is a tool you use to start. Use it! Use it to create the HABIT that is going to carry you through to your goal. When you start a new journey and you are excited about it, you lay the foundation for how you are going to get there. I do not wake up super motivated every day to workout and eat well. In all honesty, that desire comes and goes. But when I was super motivated, I got so used to doing these things that they have become almost automatic; I don’t think about it anymore. You manage and tweak the changes required to your lifestyle to meet your goals while you are motivated and inspired, and you keep going not because you are super pumped about it all the time, but because it is simply what you do.

I’m not saying that motivation is only something that you experience in the beginning; like I said, it comes and goes. We all need a little push here and there. Be creative. Look up quotes, look up people who inspire you, surround yourself with people who make you want to be better. Work until your idols become your rivals. Do whatever it takes to light that fire under you whenever you need it, and let your habit and routine do the rest in carrying you through.

 

Still struggling with the motivation part? Find more here.