Monday, March 31, 2014

You know leg day was good when...

Happy Monday! 

Ok so some of you probably groaned at that one. And that is completely OK; I'll let you slide on that one. ;) One thing I realized and started thinking lately (on mondays) is Monday doesn't have to be a bad day just because its the start of a new week. You don't want to be that grumpy person who hates Mondays. It is what you make it and you can make Monday something great if you want to. :)

We had a pretty uneventful weekend, except for Saturday's softball tournament that the hubby played in. Sorry no pictures :( Lately he has had these God-awful shifts (since last Thursday) so both of our schedules are kinda thrown off. He has to work 9 pm to 9 am, until this Saturday-- Yuck! But on the bright side, I got meal prep done, some laundry folded and washed, and other normal weekend things like grocery shopping. 

I also know for a fact, that my glutes/leg day on Saturday night, after the hubby left, was ON POINT. LOL. You know why? Because I am hurting worse than ever today. I knew it when I was walking around yesterday that it may be bad. You know that feeling- the DOMS- that just hints at you the day after..."He he he, I'm coming for you tomorrow...You know what? You won't be able to walk! HA HA!" Or something like that ;) But more like I feel something like this:

There's a good laugh for monday! :) 

But seriously it was great, so I wanted to share it with you! I mostly focused on glutes, but you can't train those without legs too. Hit em hard and heavy!

Here's the routine:
  • Plate Loaded Leg Press (feet together)
    • 1 warm-up set x 12
    • 3 sets x 12
  •  Smith- Single Leg Step-up (on bench)
    • Warning: These are definitely not for the faint at heart!* ;) And a Big 'ole THANK YOU to Taylored Fitness for the idea
    • 3 sets x 10-12 each leg
    • use a moderately heavy weight to get all reps
  • Barbell Squat (feet together/narrow stance)
    • 3 sets x 12
  • Selectorized Glute Kick-back
    • 3 sets x 12
  • Selectorized Abduction - 7 sets total
    • 2 ways
    • Sitting up (see video) x 15
    • SS (immediately do the next set)
    • sitting down x 10
    • Final set - BURN oUt! (drop weight and go until failure)
  • Cable leg extension (leg stiff during these and Don't hunch forward- Back straight!)
    • 1 set diagonal extension (45 degree angle leg raise) 
    • SS
    • 1 set straight back leg raise
    • repeat 2xs
Guess what?! Look no further :) I recorded some of them for you so no worries about looking them up.
Smith - Single Leg Step-up on bench

Narrow Stance Barbell Squat (w/ a selfie duh!)

 Selectorized Abduction Superset

Cable leg extensions (diagonal demonstrated)

So there you go! 

As soon as I slow down here at work (hopefully I'll have a break in the workload soon), I want to finish the (seriously) 5 posts that are pending. Oops, hey I have a lot of ideas :) . So more recipes and workouts to come! In the meantime have an awesome week!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

3 for 1

Hey there you sexy beasts! HAPPY HUMP Day!!!! Or pump day, but hey that comes later! So being fairly new to the "blogger" side of things, I'll probably be trying out lots of new things to see what works, what I like, and what all of you lovely people like too. I have 3 awesome things to share with you today before I hit the grindstone and do some work. This morning I saw Fitness Blondie's post about the Hump Day blog hop, and DUH! I love hump day and the camel so why not share the love?! Go check her out and our great co-host over at The Rant. Both great blogs that I've found recently and definitely like to follow.
The Hump Day Blog Hop
So if you are a fellow blogger, and want to participate
simply add your link on Liz's page (link above) :)
So, this week I made a commitment to myself, well really last week, to start doing cardio regularly and see what happens. Last week, it happened once in the mornings (i think) that was an alright start. I am certainly NOT a morning person sometimes; ok most of the time ;) . Especially when I don't get in bed as early as I need to, in order to get up before 5 am...and that usually happens every week-day night. *sigh* But its ok! Because cardio won't get done unless I get up, so I did. You see, I am just like most people I know, who would rather sleep in past the early alarm than get up and get my sweat on...But man! Does it makes you feel good! And I know that my personal best has to do cardio, or it won't be my best right? Because what would it be if I didn't do things I don't like to better myself...Sacrifices, and learning to like (or tolerate) things that make you uncomfortable or that aren't your favorite. Although, I will say the stairmaster has probably become my favorite cardio machine! I'll have to post what I do one day for you all.

The second awesome thing I have to share with you guys is the killer arms and glutes workout I did last night. Normally I do arms by themselves, but the night before I crushed chest and some triceps, and I missed my second leg day last week, so I made up something new. Plus I have found a LOVE for working out glutes and growing the bootay :) so why not work those some too? So here ya go: 

*I have worked my way up to super-setting a lot of exercises to push myself harder...feel free to adjust this yourself or comment below and I can definitely suggest how to adjust this for difficulty level :) Everyone starts somewhere!*

1. Cable leg extensions
-Straight leg (extend directly behind you) 3 x 15
Superset (SS - do each exercise one after another)
-Straight leg (extend 45 deg angle) 3 x 12
(for these move up in weight after each set)

2. Triple Set 
(do each exercise one after another- all 3- then rest): 
1) Glute Press on assisted pull-up machine 3 x 10-12
2) Selectorized Abduction 3 x 15
3) Selectorized Ab Crunch machine 3 x 15-20 (HEAVY)

3. Dumbbell Curl Underhand grip 3 x 10-12

4.  Cable Pushdown overhand grip 3 x 12
Cable Hammer Curl w/rope 3 x 10

5. Barbell Biceps Curl 21s x 2
-7 straight down to 90 degrees
-7 90 degrees to full curl
-7 full bicep curl
(if you can) SS
Bodyweight triceps dips on bench 2 x 15

6. One-arm Cable biceps curls 3 x 10
Selectorized Triceps Extensions 3 x 10

Needless to say, afterwards I was hangry! And I had to run to the store for the hubby really quick, so dinner also had to be really quick. When you have a crazy schedule, you have to learn to adjust and make things work for you. He was late getting in last night because they are preparing for NTC, and I am always home around 8-830 because of my nightly gym sessions. Sometimes and like today, dinner is in the crockpot waiting on us when we get home. But not last night. So I bring you #3 awesome thing on the list...a new recipe!

I made one of our favorites- a Fajita Medley - which takes all of 20 mins or so start to finish to get together. You can put this in tortillas, tortillas then bake for enchiladas, over a salad, on chips, or whatever makes you happy.  
Here's what you need:
- 1 package super trim beef stew meat
- 1 lean sirloin tip steak (or other lean meat of your choice)
- half an onion
- 1 tbsp coconut oil 
- taco seasoning (homemade or if you don't have that readily available, 
I used Old El Paso - I know I know ;) )
- garlic powder
-other veggies like chopped bell pepper
- Rice or Beans if you're into that
 -salsa and other toppings
So here's what you do:

- Chop the onion and other veggies
- Cut the meat into smaller pieces 
(for stew meat I did this and steak we cut into strips or chunks too)
- Turn the heat on medium to high
- Put the coconut oil into the skillet and melt
-Put everything into the pan

- Sprinkle garlic powder and taco seasoning on top  
(season to taste- we like a lot :) )

- Cook the meat to your liking, we like medium rare, but this cooked until medium. If I had to suggest a time, I would say 10 mins or so, maybe a little longer. Next time I will pay more attention to the clock. The onion should still have a slight crunch, but will not be "too soggy."

- While the meat was finishing up, I heated up this can of beans. Notice how the ingredients are very few. No added anything but a little sea salt, not a whole lot of sodium...I always try (now with exceptions or cases like the taco seasoning, etc. I am human too lol)
- Then after it was done, I cooked my bell pepper. I used a tiny bit of oil and garlic powder. Cooked on the stove for around 3 mins or so. The hubby does not like peppers other than for flavor, so I usually eat it raw or cook them separate for me. 

 I was just in time for the hubs to be home. Perfect timing actually because he walked in the door right as I was finishing everything. I put mine over lettuce, with black beans, the bell pepper, salsa, and Fage greek yogurt (sour cream substitute- not pictured) on top and the hubby had his over Simple Truth Organic Corn Tortilla chips (I was surprised to find that these actually aren't too bad), with shredded cheese, and sour cream. So it was a quick and easy dinner, and a win for both of us! It doesn't have to be super hard or complicated to be healthy, and a lot of times, we use what we have in the house for dinners. Planning ahead or at least having the ingredients at hand will make life a lot easier.

Hope you guys have a great Hump Day! What are some of your favorite go-to recipes? I would love to try them! Comment below or send me a link :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fun-filled Weekend happenings

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Yes it's Monday again :D I'm going to try my best to make this one a great day instead of complaining about it being Monday. I mean it is just another day to make great right? Another chance to live life to the fullest! 

Well I don't know what you guys did but I know I had a pretty eventful weekend this weekend, filled with some travel, good food, and other exciting things. Normally Scotty and I just relax and get in some workouts and grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, you know normal everyday things. It's a time we can just catch up from the week before. But this weekend definitely wasn't normal and un-eventful.

Friday I had my normal evening gym sesh and killed my shoulders with a little bit of posing afterwards. I just got the Polar FT60 last week, and I have to say, I had NO idea I burned that many calories in a normal lifting session! WOW! I know I always do work but man haha.

Saturday morning I was awake pretty early for me, at 6:30, getting up and ready to go meet the girls at the gym on base. The hubs got to sleep in so I know he enjoyed that. We got in a great back workout (I could feel how hard I worked the next day for sure). Sometimes being in another setting makes me push a little harder than normal. Then close to the end our interviewer actually met us and got some action shots of us working out. Normally I would go to our gym by the house on the weekends, but last week I got an invitation to do an interview with some women on post for the paper. I love any chance I get to share my passion with others so of course I accepted. 

From left to right: Kelsey, Angi, Ashley, Traci, and myself.

Collectively, we were able to represent women into fitness on Ft. Riley, and specifically women who have chosen to take their personal fitness goals and journey to the next level and step onto a competitive stage, at some time this year. More importantly, we were able to share our journeys up to this point in our personal fitness, the process as a whole, struggles and celebrations, and our reasons for wanting to reach for an even larger goal, among other things. All of this comes together for us in the hopes of increasing awareness of fitness women and striving to inspire and motivate other women on base. I really am grateful for the opportunity and cannot wait until the article is finished so that I can share it with you all. Probably will follow up with another blog post, but possibly having the opportunity to influence others keeps me going and striving to be the best I can be through fitness and health. I am still beside myself and just plain overjoyed that we were able to contribute to this much bigger picture that we are a part of. 

So after the interview, we all rushed home to refuel (let's face it we were all famished after that time spent in the interview), rest a bit, shower and get ready to head out to Kansas City. We all met and were on our way to Laser Sharp Fitness to meet with the wonderful Liz Kampschroeder for our group posing session. And of course, I wouldn't go anywhere without having food and plenty of water packed and ready.

Necessities: food for the day, water jug, and definitely the Coach purse :)
We made it to the gym and got ready for a little bit of posing...Ok, so a lot actually. Here are a few action shots thanks to the awesome Angi and Traci for getting video and pictures! This was I know a first session for most of us, but I will say the little practice I have put in definitely worked to my advantage! Everyone looked awesome and did a great job though and thanks to our superb coach! I know I worked it because the next morning I woke up and felt like a bus hit me lol (no doubt the killer back workout before this didn't help). Guess people are right when they say this is no joke! Looks like a lot of practice for my speed racer self is in the cards. Gotta love the candid shots right? ;)

Needless to say, we needed to grub afterwards so Angi and I found this great little Thai place and grabbed a bite to eat before we headed home. And boy was it good! Next time I will definitely get some of their soup, but I really think just about anything there would be fantastic!

I will say too, next time I get Thai food, I may not take the leftovers home...Man was it spicy the next day for lunch!  But still very yummy.

On Sunday, I always meal prep. Since I was gone Saturday all day, I didn't grocery shop or make the hubby do it (lucky duck;) ), so Sunday was a busy day for us. Starting with a big breakfast/lunch, then laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, more laundry, then finally work and dinner before hitting the sack! Phew! It was definitely a day that's for sure and sadly no time for the gym. But I am OK with a Sunday rest day sometimes, so this week, that's what it will be!


On the menu for this week, are actually the same things I cook most every week. It is easy for me, no thinking involved, and I like what I eat and don't get tired of it. So score 2 for Rachel! We have boiled eggs, chicken in the crock-pot (I'll post recipe below), baked sweet potatoes, rice (not pictured) tilapia for a few days (lemon pepper and Cajun Creole seasonings), lots of steamed veggies (broccoli, cauliflowers, some carrots - not pictured), pre-packed overnight oats minus the egg whites, and finally Greek yogurt with berries and Ezekiel bread (not pictured). 

The chicken is something that I tried a couple months back, and more of the time than not, this is the way I cook it for meal prep. Sometimes, if I have extra time Saturday or on Sunday, I love to grill it especially when the weather is nice. But this way is simple: 

7-8 whole chicken breasts
1 cup Organic (no salt added) chicken broth
1 cup water
Onion powder (sprinkle on top)
Garlic powder (a bit more, also sprinkle on top)
Ms. Dash Chicken grilling blend (black lid)
McCormick s Kickin' Chicken Seasoning

Put everything in the Crock-pot and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or on low for 8-9 hours. I actually let mine sit overnight on low to absorb the flavors more. And plus because it was not done cooking before I went to bed. Late start, what can I say...But after it cooks, shred with a fork and you can cook on low for an additional 30 mins to an hour if you have the time. Again, I have found that it has more flavor this way.

Cannot wait for the gym tonight since I "rested" yesterday, AND even though I went this morning for cardio; which is somewhat unheard of for me...even Scotty said he was surprised to see me up this morning before he left. I've got some awesome gym swag to sport and a killer session planned! Looks like it's time to eat for this hungry gal! Hope you guys have a great week!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I can eat chocolate...e'ery day!

I hope you guys are having a fantastic HUMP DAY!!!! We are half way to the weekend! Whoop-whoop!

Happier than a camel on HUMP day ;)

I don't know what has happened to me over the past few years. Never in my life have I loved sweets as much as I do now. It's like my taste buds just up and decided the loved that stuff too. Anyone else ever have this problem? All my life, and even to this day, I have loved salty or sour snacks and candies, and dark chocolate the most. But I never had a love for sweets or regular chocolate; things like cakes and cupcakes I still don't care as much for. I know crazy me. Maybe my husband, Scotty, and his love for chocolate is to blame for this conundrum ;) or maybe your taste buds change with age. Who knows? But I know one thing...I sure as heck can't keep it in the house on the regular!

So I came up with this one breakfast recipe that I just can't get tired of. Chocolate PB2 Overnight oats. I swear I eat them every single morning before or on the way to work. And this is coming from a girl who never liked oatmeal until a little under a year ago. I know lots of people do and grew up eating it, but I was one of those that was convinced that I hated it. Seriously. 

I WISH I could take all the credit for this concoction, but I can't. I have to have to give credit where credit is due, and Little B definitely deserves credit for my love of overnight oats, especially the way I am about to tell you to make them. Ever since I found this recipe, I have loved the idea because they are super easy to make the night before and I can get my carbs and protein all in one whack for the next morning. And for this busy bee, mornings are definitely not a time to play around...even though I would kill to have time to cook breakfast every morning, it just isn't a reality when you work an hour away.

Anyways, here is really what you want to hear about: the recipe.

  • 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Quick Oats or Rolled Oats will do
  • 2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2-3 packets truvia, or  other sweetener (1 packet = 2 tsp sugar)
  • 1 cup liquid egg whites
(Keep in mind, that this recipe can be adjusted to fit anyone's macro needs too)
  • Mix everything together in a bowl or cup works too, cover with foil, and refrigerate over night.
When you get up the next morning, wah-lah! Breakfast is done. You can definitely eat them cold, like I LOVE to do in the summer when it is hot out (apple cinnamon is great this way - check out the "overnight oats" link above, or I will post the recipe soon :) ). Or if you want them warmed, you can microwave them for about 35-45 seconds like I have been doing all winter. I will say though, any longer and you may have cooked oatmeal. I personally like to eat mine with a bit more liquid consistency, so you may want to adjust the recipe if you prefer otherwise.

Annnd...if you really want to prep for the week, I came up with an awesome idea the other night. I know I hate anything that takes too long so why not make life easy right? Not that this recipe takes too long, but I am impatient. Let's be honest. So I decided to mix all of the dry ingredients together and put in plastic baggies and throw that in the pantry for the week. And let me tell you, life has been easier knowing its already almost ready to go the night before. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Little me and the Big World of Fitness

Well you see, here's what happened...a, how it all started, if you will. 

*A slight warning for this post only: this may take a few minutes, but bare with me here.*

What had happened was- nah I'm just kidding, but have you ever loved something so much but never knew you did? Well, that's pretty much what happened to me about April of 2013...and for anyone who may already know me personally and is reading this, you will probably be shaking your head at what I am about to say in the next paragraph. And if you are new to my little corner of the blog world, and don't know me, feel free to head on over to the "About Me" tab and get to know me real quick-like.

So, when I find something I am really interested in I get excited, really excited. Now I don't mean your normal person excited, because I am by far not your normal person. I throw myself into it, completely and wholeheartedly. I give it everything I have, not stopping to think, and try to learn everything about that particular thing (that's the inner researcher in me). I try to become the best at it that I can possibly be. Then what, well I LOVE to talk, to anyone for that matter, and love to share what I learn with people. So I think you can see what happened during this whole "health and fitness phase" that I seemed to be going through last year...I wanted to share my new-found knowledge of everything fitness and health with the world!-- all of my facebook friends and your friends, included. But here's the thing...Not everyone is like me. Everyone else probably doesn't like change, probably doesn't want to hear all about what I learned with the level of excitement that I have, definitely doesn't want other people's opinions (especially about how they do things) shoved down their throats, and probably doesn't want to hear about the awesomeness I found in the huge topics that are health, fitness, and working out, all the dang time. I get it. And I understand. Maybe those people will finally get it when or if they see this. Maybe, just maybe, this will light a small fire somewhere in them, so one day they come back to visit. And if not, then hey that's life. You live, and you learn, and you keep on lifting.

So how did I get to this point? 

Why thanks for asking! In April of 2013 (April 1 to be exact. Fitting right? I thought so ;) ), I decided once and for all that I would finally change my habits and actually keep the promise to myself to become the best and fittest version of myself. Just like that.

Ok, let's not kid ourselves, when I started all of this all I wanted to do was get back in shape and have my clothes fitting like they used to. Sounds about right for your average Jane, right? No one goes into these type things saying, "Man, I sure would like to change everything I have ever known and done, spend hours in the gym every day, and eat out of Tupperware the rest of my life!" (lol I kid, I kid!) But seriously, never in my life had I been so out of shape and unhappy with myself before. Yes I was still (by everyone's definition) skinny and had not gained a ton of weight physically. But it was enough to make me really unhappy. My entire life, I had always been skinny. I couldn't ever complain; I could eat whatever I wanted, without having to exercise much at all. (I won't bore you right now with the 'cardio bunny' part of my life). I could still maintain that "skinny" figure that everyone wants for the rest of my life... 
      Summer 2009      Early 2012       September 2012

Right? WRONG! Oh, I couldn't have been more wrong. How could I honestly expect to still be "skinny" and look "toned" while eating fast food and junk all the time? Who was I kidding. It hadn't taken long to catch up with me really after my healthy habits became outweighed by the bad ones. Before we moved in August of 2012, I was "moderately active," attending Zumba classes pretty often, did boxing for a few years in there somewhere, and even weight lifting some off and on in the previous few years; but never with a set routine or purpose (except for the boxing which I loved!) and never 'indefinitely.' And mind you, while also eating whatever I felt like, whenever I felt like it. And I wondered why I never had abs...Who knows, probably over the past few years or more, I had become skinny fat. Here are a few glimpses of myself to help explain this "skinny-fat" concept...I'll spare you the details for another post, but I think you'll get the picture...

Yes I tried to pick a few unflattering pictures of myself, because no I didn't start out like some with a ton of weight to lose. But everyone's journey will be different because we all start from a different place. I started out as what I thought was a really out-of-shape and not "toned" version of me who could no longer fit into some of her clothes; simple as that. We all hear and want this thing called "tone"- myself included. What is this magical thing and where can I get it, right? Well, when you are skinny, like me, and never lift anything heavier than a purse (although mine are pretty heavy), this thing called "toning" won't happen. You actually have to develop the muscles under all that "skinny-fat-ness," or even just plain "skin-n-bones" as my Grandma would've said, that will give your body shape. *GASP* I know! Why didn't I learn this a long time ago?? They do say, "you can't tone what you don't have." Whoever said that, should be making millions.

So then what did I do? Well, the inner me took over and started researching stuff. I wasn't really sure of anything at this point except for a few facts: I definitely needed cardio in my life, I needed to eat better, and I could act like I knew how to lift weights. Then I stumbled across this amazing resource that some of you may know about (if not then get ready because this is awesome!) called And let me tell you, man was I intimidated when I pulled up this page! I definitely remember asking myself, "What the heck are you doing?" a few times while surfing around on the net. But here is the thing: You don't have to be a body builder or muscle-woman to use the resources it has! So I started clicking around on things and before I knew it, I found myself a program to do and created a bodyspace. Now at the time, this is what the plan told me to do so I did, but little did I know that this profile could even track my results and so many more things! You definitely should go see for yourself how awesome their site is, so I will spare you the details (No I am not paid nor endorsed to say this).

Back to the plan...I started Jamie Eason's 12 week Live Fit Trainer in the beginning of April. I actually took the first week and did a few days of only cardio, in the mornings (before work) at our apartment gym, to really get comfortable with working out again. Yes, I was definitely nervous about going into a weight room again, let alone by myself, to do a whole new plan and things I had never seen or done before. But it is alright. And if you are in the place I was: nervous and probably a million other things that come with normal life stressors...It is ok. You can do it and you will succeed, and as a plus, I am here to share what I learned in my experience with all of you! 

I finally got started on the program later that month and went all the way through Week 9 of her trainer. I did the best I could with sticking to the meal plan exactly and getting in every workout. I cut out all sodas and some sweet tea when I started, and haven't had soda much at all since last April; and, surprisingly I rarely drink sweet tea now and don't miss it too much either. Honestly, I re-did multiple weeks throughout the program probably making it way longer than it actually was, because of missed days, etc. But I kept going. I wanted to quit on those weeks where we would be traveling or whatnot, and I missed workouts, but I didn't let myself quit. Here's a quick look at progress in the program (and please no derogatory remarks- to be completely honest, I never in a million years thought I would need "good" first pictures to share with anyone, let alone the world. These will have to do!):

The very beginning. April 2013.
At Week 10 of Live Fit Trainer. End of July 2013.

I made the choice to discontinue the program, before the carb cycling in Weeks 10-12, because I personally felt like I had not gained enough muscle to start a cut. I also was having doubts that I was achieving the best results I could get at the time. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was amazed at how far I had come. Anyone should have been or should be at this point and even before. Going from living off of quick dinners and fast food (most of the time), sodas, and junk, to changing your habits completely and going to the gym for an hour or two 5-6 days of the week...That strong interest I had from the very beginning, had turned into a full-on lifestyle change. Yes my habits changed, but so did my mindset, my priorities, and my life. 

With all that said, I wanted to go further. I felt like I could do better, or that something was missing from the plan I was on. Even further, I wanted to improve even more, see more results, and more muscle definition, and even had the tiny thought in my head about competing one day. So I started asking questions and doing more research...I went to supplement stores like GNC and Nutrition Zone in town and started asking about what I could do to make things better or see better results. I met a new friend at GNC in Manhattan who in turn told me about his trainer in Kansas City. I knew that deep down I was becoming impatient and wanted answers soon, about a lot of things training and nutrition (Like I hadn't gotten enough already right?). Honestly, I thought I was doing everything right- I was eating better, working out all the time, lifting weights, and all that jazz. So I thought, "what can I lose?" and contacted my friend's trainer with my interest. I was able to start working with him so he sent me a custom diet plan to try out and a few tips for how I should be working out...and so the plot thickened. 

Now, I only want to touch on this right now for various reasons, but don't get me wrong...I loved Jamie Eason's plan and think it was an amazing start to my fitness journey, it taught me countless things that I wouldn't have learned otherwise, and honestly, without it I don't know if I would be where I am right now. I seriously doubt it. So I would encourage anyone to try out her plan or to give it a go even if you are a seasoned 'pro.' But...there is one thing that sets what I am doing now apart from plans like that...Customization.

 Unlike the plan on, a trainer is able to personalize your needs in the form of an eating plan, according to your specific goals. That is exactly what I got, and boy did it change my results. Now, the first bit was trial and error for me personally and I have learned a ton along the way that I will have to share with you all eventually. But from July of 2013 to now, I have seen more changes in my body than I know what to do with, a huge increase in strength, and really more of an overall lifestyle change. I never truly grasped the 'diet' before July, and let's face it- diet is 80% of it. If your eating isn't on point, then you won't see all the hard work that you are putting in; and I definitely learned that! So, let me show you what happened after I got my eating on track where it should be...

Slow progress at first, and definitely some 
learning involved, and life in general.
And mind you here was not a very good flex, 
it's a work in progress.
A bit more muscle growth here, from heavier  lifting and changes in intake.
Definitely some noticeable changes between these two. 
Combine all of those efforts and small changes over time, 
and big things can happen. caught me without a smile ;)
And I never thought I would see this day.
            March 8, 2014    
A little practice posing. It was laundry day :)

There you have it! From the very beginning to the day, that I always dreamed about, but never thought I would see. All of those small efforts, combined, have carried me through almost a year of changes that I would have never imagined, both mental and physical. The beginning has been a long and hard road, good times and bad, but I wouldn't trade any of it for the world because of what I have learned and how much I have grown as a person along the way. I know what you're thinking...a year is the beginning? Yeah, it is actually...

Because you see, this "fitness phase" isn't just a phase, like some would think or may have thought; it isn't a fad, or just something I am only interested in even to this day. The small inkling of interest that I had in the beginning grew, and continued to grow. I have spent a ton, I mean A TON, of time researching throughout the past year, both on and off of it. I still do to this day because everything is always updated, and new things are always discovered, causing things to change constantly in the fitness and health community. I guess you can say that in the beginning I developed a never-ending thirst for knowledge, and never could seem to quench it. I still can't. So to some, it may have seemed like I had completely fallen off the horse and become obsessed. I can see that. But what really happened that no one else could see, was the rapid growth of that small inkling that created a desire in me to throw myself into this wholeheartedly and give it everything I had. You know how people tell you, if you do something enough times, for long enough, that it will eventually stick?

They were right. It has become a part of me, my lifestyle, my passion, and something that I am fully, and with everything I have, committed to no matter what. It is really quite simple, actually. When something becomes a part of you, you no longer have to think about wanting to do or acting on that thing any longer; do you think about breathing before you do it? That is the closest analogy I can think of. 

And this passion is something that I never get tired of. Not to say that even the best or the most passionate don't have "off" days too, I mean we are all human and everyone has those days. But when you have a passion for something, you bounce back or you find a way to get back on track no matter what. It almost happens like an instinct for me now because it is a part of who I am. It also is a driving force that motivates me day in and day out to become better than I was the day before. That is a beauty of what we in the big 'ole fit family do: there is Always room for improvement, always new and exciting things to try, a never-ending chance to be successful in what you are doing; and that is just the tip of the iceberg. A very wise man once told me this and ever since it has stuck with me; I still apply this to many areas of my life. And when you have this outlook on life, there isn't anything that you cannot do.

"When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful."

For me, this journey is only beginning. It sounds crazy, but I have so many more hopes and dreams to achieve in the future because of this passion I have found for health and fitness. I am beyond excited to be able to share everything with you, because I truly do love sharing my experience and journey with others. It breathes even more life into me knowing that I could potentially have the ability to change someone's life one day. The only hope I can have in sharing my journey is to one day motivate someone to change their life. I won't lie to you and tell you it will be easy, but worth that is a different story. I could give you a million reasons, quotes, transformations, you name it; to try and convince you that it is worth it. The only person who can decide that for you, is you. Nonetheless, I will be here to share my journey with you.

Thank you for stopping by and hanging with me until the end. I only hope that you come back to visit again soon. I am happy to share with you my journey and experiences along the way, plenty of workouts and recipes, and quite possibly a random thought or crazy story or two thrown in from time to time. Not everything in life is certain, and sometimes it can seem a little crazy. But, there is one thing I know: Every day, I will still be here living and learning, and will never stop lifting.