Monday, July 30, 2012

Day MADE by Missy

Hopefully tonight you were watching the Olympics...and you were watching when Missy Franklin (at the age of 17) won the gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke. 

I'm fairly certain I haven't seen a more authentic or happy Olympic moment than what was captured during Missy's post-race interview.  All I could do was smile and watch her smile (as I teared up, of course).  I find it ironic that a 17-year-old demonstrated one of the most kind, professional, and positive Olympic interviews I've ever seen.

After watching the race, I came across a quote on my Facebook homepage that was rather relevant to the Olympics and thoughts I've been having about my own life and some of my dreams (cheesy, but true):

"When life gives you something that makes you feel afraid, that’s when life gives you a chance to grow strong and be brave. Nothing is permanent in this crazy world, not even your mistakes, failures, and troubles. If you keep your eyes open and your feet moving forward, you’ll eventually find what you need." Source:



Hey guys, can you please start working out? 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

To love oneself

Olympic inspiration

These two will inspire me for the rest of my life... (Photo Source)

If you know me, you know I LOVE the Olympics.  I love everything about the Olympics.  I can't describe the rush that watching an event gives me (think: the final leg of the women's freestyle relay yesterday).

This weekend I've been consumed by swimming, biking, rowing, and indoor volleyball.  I can't describe how in AWE I am of these athletes.  They have trained for years to be at this event, and (yes, combined with their God-given talents and gene pool) they have pushed their bodies so hard to become to athletes they are today.  Watching their form, hustle, strength, focus, and energy is absolutely insane.  Not to mention they have the most awesome bodies I've ever seen.  Talk about a goal to get more lean muscle mass...

Logan Tom went to the Olympics for the first time (Sydney) at age 19! (Photo Source)

As I watched the women's road race event this morning (with the greatest finish to a bike race I've ever seen by Marianne Vos), I thought "wow...the human body is capable of achieving amazing things."  Lately I've been thinking about how much I actually (do or do not) believe in my ability to accomplish what I want with my fitness goals.  While most of us never are born with the body (and willpower) to become a professional athlete, it is my belief that our bodies are capable of MUCH MORE than we think.

 Note: Missy Franklin is SEVENTEEN years old! (Photo Source)

What is stopping you from accomplishing your goals?  Are you holding back from tackling that 8K you always wanted to?  Getting on a strength training program again?  Losing 10 lbs?  Doing yoga classes?  Trying out a new sport?  Are you scared?  Not feeling the motivation?  Do you believe that you can overcome those barriers and chase after what you want?

Sidebar: You may have heard about the ESPN Bodies issue.  My favorite photo shoot was (of course) with the women's volleyball team (you can watch a behind the scenes video with the players and other featured athletes that's a lot of fun).  I honestly love this issue because it promotes healthy, athletic bodies.  These women are so naturally beautiful!


Thank you, Ryan, for making my weekend so happy...for obvious reasons :) (Photo Source)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The results of gym free living (an important wake up call)

As some of you know, I went on an adventure of "gym free living" starting in early March.   I thought that since I wasn't making the best use of my (then) gym membership that I would do just as well using other options.  I wanted to experiment and see how I'd feel in the end by being more creative with my fitness routine.  My plan was to use various Groupons/deals that I had purchased, to start running again, and hope to get in great shape without the gym. 

The results:

-Yes, I did start using (some of) my deals and have enjoyed them.  I've developed a love for Pilates.  Sassy Fit has pushed my body and helped me gain strength and endurance.
-Yes, I did start running (roughly once a week) and spending more time outside.

-Despite trying new things, I did not feel stronger or in better shape
-Working off of the online deals provided variety but not enough flexibility with my schedule
-I gained about 5 lbs
-I lost muscle mass
-I felt blah and sluggish in general without my morning workouts at the gym


Key finding: having a gym to go to whenever I want (whether it's rain or shine in Seattle!) and working out in the morning is KEY to MY fitness personality and success.  Over the years I have always thrived off of of working out in the morning before work and have felt healthier in general.

Action Taken:
Two weekends ago, I decided to go on a gym search without any expectations.  I searched all the gyms that were closest to my home and mapped out four that were close enough to consider as possibilities.  Convenience is big for me, so I knew that the gym had to be a relatively quick drive from home, and from work.

I had heard about Sound Mind Body gym in Fremont, but never seen the gym.  I decided to just be spontaneous on a Sunday morning and head on over for a tour.  Let me just say that I could NOT have been more impressed!  Sound Mind Body (SMB) is one of the most beautiful gyms I've ever seen.  The location is INCREDIBLE.  It's situated along the water and the Burke Gilman trail.  There are constantly rowers, bikers, and runners passing by as you workout.  All floors have beautiful windows with excellent daylight access and you have the most lovely view (the above picture should sum it up). 

Yes, there's more: SMB has three floors, 3 separate fitness studios (for yoga, group classes, and spinning!) with classes scheduled all day (including in the morning!) with yoga on all week nights.  Their locker rooms are wonderful (hello sauna!) and make you feel at home.  Lastly, SMB has its own full sized gym where basketball and volleyball games go on (my hope to play a few pick up volleyball games). 

Fortunately, SMB was offering a first time membership trial for roughly $30.00 when I stopped by, which I decided to go for (total steal for this quality of a gym).  My plan is to see if it's a good fit for me, and go from there!  As far as a real deal membership goes, it's about $60.00 per month.  For those of you who might be thinking "wow, $60.00 sounds expensive," here are two thoughts: 1) Health is always worth spending money on (if you make use of it).  2) Do you ever go out to dinner with friends?  On average, how much is your meal? 20 bucks? $30?  What about lunch during the week?  Lattes at Starbucks?  What about that $10.00 book from Amazon that is still sitting on your book shelf on in your cart, waiting to be purchased?  Could you go without a few of these "essentials" this month?  If yes, there's your gym membership!

For the past two weeks, I've been working out almost every morning before work.  It simply feels AMAZING.  There is nothing better than starting your day with a workout.  The first action you take is for no one other than yourself.  After my workout I take time to stretch thoroughly and spend several minutes in silence, being present in the moment.  When I leave the gym, I feel stronger, healthier, and so proud of myself for making ME a priority. 

...More later on my Summer Health Challenge results thus far!

What is your fitness personality?  What makes you feel the happiest and healthiest?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Little treats for self (Lululemon PURPLE jacket!)

The other day I treated myself to a new jacket from lululemon.  Let it be known (as I've said before) that I shop at lululemon about once a year.  My total collection is a gym bag, a pink jacket, and now a purple jacket!

I have been working nonstop since March (yes, March) and decided it was time for me to slow down and treat myself to something nice (that's a good reason, right?!) as I also focus more on my health during my Summer Challenge.  This piece is so fun to wear because it encourages me to be active by going for more walks with Lucy and heading to the gym in the morning!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Living in the now

"With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. 
I live now." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, July 16, 2012

What makes your day happy?

It's important that we each know ourselves and the little things that make our day better.  Today is a great example of a stressful day at work turned amazing.  The reason why? Because I did a bunch of things that I was a) inspired to do in the moment, and b) knew would make me happy!

After work I went to sign up for a new (one month trial) gym membership at the most beautiful gym in Fremont (more about that later!) and felt so surrounded by healthy and happy people.  I then got Lucy and went for a walk along the canal.  The sun was shining, boats were going by, and it was about 80 degrees outside.  Cannot put a price on that...

It was such a beautiful evening that after I got home, I headed to the restaurant across the street to enjoy a fresh salad and glass of Chardonnay on the patio while reading The Happiness Project (almost done!).  When I got home, I watched The Bachelorette while working on my exercise schedule.  Wahoo!

What are the little things that bring happiness to your day?  

The simple subtraction of calories!

During the month of July, I've been focusing more on my health - in particular, being mindful of what I'm eating and how much I'm exercising.  Today I started thinking about easy ways I can cut calories, while still enjoying the foods or meals I want. 

In case you aren't familiar, one pound of weight translates to 3,500 calories.  Thus, if you're trying to lose weight, this is an effort to cut around 500 calories per day through a combination of decreased calories and/or increased exercise.

In regard to decreased calories, I was thinking about the last 24 hours of eating, and simple ways I've managed to do so:

-At dinner, I cooked with a small quantity of olive oil compared to my usual amount (75 calories saved)
-Morning coffee (with cream) skipped (30 calories saved)
-At breakfast today, I skipped my usual slice of toast with my meal (150 calories saved)
-At lunch today, I asked for less mayo on my sandwich and skipped cheese (200 calories saved)
-At dinner tonight, I asked for dressing on the side (at least 50 calories saved)


Note: this did not include the walk I went on after work today along the canal (so lovely)...

What are the little ways that you can cut back this week?  Taking the stairs? Skipping chips with your sandwich? Subbing a salad instead of fries?  Go to it!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The concept of self-compassion

Recently I've been thinking a lot about the concept of compassion - to myself.  If there is one main "hurdle" in my gene pool that's prevented me from achieving my goals or living peacefully, it's my tendency to be really hard on myself.  My internal monologue often takes a turn for the worse with a mean spirited, unfair, and unkind quality.  Instead of acknowledging how far I've come or reminding myself that it's okay to not do everything right, I put myself down.  Let me tell you - sometimes it gets plain old MEAN.  Instead of letting go and accepting myself, I take steps back and end up feeling more disappointed than I was to begin with.

Tonight I came across a book on amazon about the concept of "Self-Compassion."  The book description really intrigued me:

The relentless pursuit of high self-esteem has become a virtual religion—and a tyrannical one at that. Our ultracompetitive culture tells us we need to be constantly above average to feel good about ourselves, but there is always someone more attractive, successful, or intelligent than we are. And even when we do manage to grab hold of high self-esteem for a brief moment, we can't seem to keep it. Our sense of self-worth goes up and down like a ping-pong ball, rising and falling in lockstep with our latest success or failure. 

Fortunately, there is an alternative to self-esteem that many experts believe is a better and more effective path to happiness: self-compassion. The research of Dr. Kristin Neff and other leading psychologists indicates that people who are compassionate toward their failings and imperfections experience greater well-being than those who repeatedly judge themselves. The feelings of security and self-worth provided by self-compassion are also highly stable, kicking in precisely when self-esteem falls down. This book powerfully demonstrates why it's so important to be self-compassionate and give yourself the same caring support you'd give to a good friend. (Source)

I think it is so important to be mindful that we do live in a culture that is consumed with the quest for high self-esteem.  It's exhausting and absolutely ridiculous, when you think about it!

I am going to give Self-Compassion a try - both the book and the practice in my daily life...and make a commitment to not beat myself up if it takes some time to learn these skills :).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Surrounding yourself with the right people

“Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts... good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don't hurt. They're not painful. That's not just with somebody you want to marry, but it's with the friends that you choose. It's with the people you surround yourselves with.” (Source)

Truth: I wish I had read this quote (or figured out this life lesson) a long time ago, but needless to say I love this message.  There is something so simple, yet powerful, about good relationships "feeling right."  You have to trust your gut and honor the relationships that feel great.  Thanks, Michelle! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

What motivates you to exercise?


Today I read yet another great article from a fitness e-newsletter I get each month.  It listed 7 motivating factors for exercise.  Despite my recent focus on my health (this Summer), I'll admit that it's been pretty challenging to fit in exercise with my work (and vacation/travel) schedule, and that I'm not as motivated as I'd like to be.  I think that when you hit a bit of a plateau or find yourself in a slump, sometimes it can be overwhelming to get back on track and be consistent. 

Read on for some motivation! 

Reason #1: Health
The long list of health benefits attributed to exercise should be enough motivation for anyone. Physical activity helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. It also helps lower bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, while improving the amount of good cholesterol in your body.

Additionally, exercise strengthens your bones and muscles, lowers your risk of cancer, decreases stress, helps you battle depression, and even improves your sex life.

Reason #2: Making Progress
When it comes to exercise, many people find it helpful to track their progress so they can see where they started and how far they go over time. Seeing improvements reminds you that your hard work is worth the effort. Perhaps you were only able to walk a mile, now you're able to run two! Maybe you weighed in at 250 pounds, and now you're down to 215! Track your progress using a regular journal, phone app, or fitness website. This is a great way to stay motivated and to remind yourself that while you may not notice your progress, you're making progress every day!

Reason #3: Convenience
Many people don't stick with an exercise routine when it becomes inconvenient for them. Whether you face a schedule change or don't have time to drive to the gym, it's important (and possible) to find a time and place that work best for you and your busy lifestyle. Just remember to be flexible! If you're too tired at the end of the day, try waking up a few minutes early to fit in a workout.

Reason #4: Enjoyment
If exercise is a bore for you, find a way to make it fun. Everyone likes doing things they enjoy. You might hate running but enjoy swimming or riding a bike. Perhaps you don't like being alone and would rather be social. So join a team! Or maybe you don't like the idea of driving all the way to the gym, changing out, and exercising with a crowd. Find out when your local gym is least populated, and hit the weights then. Do what's most fun for you and you'll be less likely to stop.

Reason #5: Goal Achievement
If you're just getting started in the world of exercise, a good place to start is by setting goals. How much weight would you like to lose? How far would you like to run? Working towards a goal is a great motivator. However, don't set up for failure by striving after unrealistic goals. Do this and you'll soon feel overwhelmed and give up altogether. To avoid this, set realistic milestones. When you reach them, enjoy your accomplishment and then set new goals to take your good health even further.

Reason #6: Increased Confidence
If you're out of shape or overweight, it can take a lot of courage to start an exercise routine. Remember to be confident in who you are, no matter what size or shape. Don't compare yourself to the skinny, toned figure strutting her stuff through the gym. Keep your eyes on your goal and don't expect perfection after just a week of exercise. Strive to have your best body—not someone else's.

Reason #7: Rewards
Rewards are a great motivator. In fact, much of what you do in life is motivated by a reward of some kind, whether intrinsic or extrinsic. When it comes to exercise, a good reward probably shouldn't be an ice cream sundae, but it may be that new pair of jeans you've been eyeing, or perhaps a night out with friends. Maybe for you, weight loss and lowered blood pressure are reward enough. Just know that your hard work is paying off and deserves to be rewarded.

Phone: (855) FIT-CAMP
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Which of these reasons motivate you the most?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some Gaga fun

The other day my friend Celeste and I enjoyed a bottle of Gaga Blanc (California 2009).  Yep - you heard the name right!  This wine was a great one - an affordable, fun, easy drinking, and refreshing Summer white.  Maybe even something you could just dance with :).

Photo source