Posts Tagged With: workout

Fitness Friday week 5 – Get up, stand up!

It’s been 4 weeks! You knew it was coming, another transformation photo! Even if you don’t think there’s a difference, I still encourage you to snap the pic. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see a change but over time it’s apparent. Pregnancy is the perfect example. I never wanted to take the growing belly selfies, but with a gentle push from friends I did and I’m so thankful! Looking back at those weekly shots in the post The Most Selfies I’ve Ever Taken, I now see the progressive changes that I wasn’t recognizing on my own.

If the reason you don’t want to take another photo is that you haven’t been putting forth much effort, then great, let this be a fire under you hiney to get back to it!

This week we’re going to talk about posture.

When your ankles, hips, shoulders, and head are lined up comfortably one above the other, your posture is correct. Your knees should not be locked, but slightly bent and your feet should be shoulder width apart.

I found this clever image that helps identify where you might be falling, or standing rather.

Why is posture so important? If you ask any chiropractor or physical therapist, they’d say “good posture means good health”. It allows your joints to work properly without unnecessary pressure where it doesn’t belong. It maintains muscular strength in the areas that decrease pressure on nerves. The list goes on including simply looking better… healthy and alive!

I’ve been amazed at the difference I’ve felt when focusing on my stance. I did it this past week and I’m actually sore from it! A good ache of course, soreness from contracting muscles to keep my spine straight, especially between my shoulder blades. After being pregnant and now a new mom, I found myself slouching as if I was still carrying pounds of baby in front of me.

It’s harder than it sounds to keep conscious of your posture. Most of you have probably corrected your posture while reading this and a good majority of you will forget about it before the end of this post.

This week I challenge you to be fully aware of your body, head to toe. When you’re cooking, working at a desk, holding your baby, standing in line at the store and even sleeping!

So how we’d do with last weeks challenge? No processed sugar was to be consumed and hopefully forgotten about… ha… ha… ha. I give myself a B+ considering effort, environment and temptations declined. The Sunday after I posted the challenge, we went to a “Candyland” birthday party. What’s funny, is nothing there was my favorite kind of sugar. It wasn’t like there was a Rice Krispie treat cake or chocolate covered nuts, however I still found myself being tempted by the flavors that were offered. I admit I nibbled here and there and regretted every bite that wasn’t worth it, which was all of them! Lesson learned.

Moving on.

This week is all about the food prep. No matter what diet you’re on or nutritional plan you follow, being prepared is always helpful. The number one thing I hear when this topic is brought up is time. It’s time consuming to get out the tubberware, chopping block and utensils to dice up your fruit and veggies. And who has spare minutes to cook up your protein and separate it all for the week? You do.

When you want something bad enough, you make it happen!

I personally enjoy it, I guess you could call it my kitchen therapy. I pour a glass of wine, pull my hair back and turn on my favorite music (or if I really want to nerd out, I’ll turn on a health documentary or cooking show). Then I lay out all of my ingredients and all of the storage containers and prep away! I intended on doing this and snapping all the pics from my own kitchen, but then I woke up and it was today, Friday. For the sake of all you that love visuals, me included, here are some beautiful examples I found.

If you’re not up for organizing full meals, start with just preparing a few containers of cleaned cut fruit and veggies. Something you can reach for in a hurry or in a “must snack now!” moment. If you open my fridge you’ll usually find celery sticks, sliced cucumber, other veggies and cleaned fruit ready to be eaten. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone into the fridge with major mind hungry (meaning in my head and not in my gut) ready to devour the first thing I saw. Due to convenience, I’d just grab a veggie bag with maybe some hummus, mashed avocado or bean dip.

What if you don’t eat all of your prepped veggies before they start to turn bad? Throw them in a skillet and you’ve got dinner with rice, roll them up in butterleaf and now you have lettuce wraps, toss them in a little oil and roast them at 400 until they’re crispy.. oh so good! My recent favorite trick is to throw them in a blender after being cooked (in anyway) with some seasoning and nut milk. Heat and eat like soup or dip with crackers. Yum!

This weeks homework:

1. Every moment you consciously think of your posture, fix it! Did you already forget?

2. Make time for one session of treating yourself to stocking the fridge with prepared fresh food. You’re worth it!

3. Take the next transition photo. Deep breath, you can do it!

4. Remember that fun little workout we recorded on week one? Do it again and see if there’s any improvement in your numbers.

Set a timer for 1 minute and count how many pushups you can do. Then again for squats and burpees. Even if you do 4 and the rest for 30 seconds and do 4 more, just keep attempting for the entire 2 minutes. Write it down and store away with that glorious photo you just took.

Wrapping up our lifestyle changes so far:

1. Use the stairs every chance you get!

2. Stick to the single serving amount or less.

3. Play with pop-cycle sticks and actually use them!

4. Consume products that are closest to their original state!

5. Avoid artificial sweeteners found in most sugar free products.

6. Walk as much as you can at every opportunity!

7. Clean out your system of sugar, stick with fruit!

8. Pick 3 workouts a week and give it all you got!

9. Food Prep! Make it easier to make better choices.

10. Keep you posture in mind. Good posture, good health!

Categories: Edibles!, Fitness, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Fitness week 4 – Carmel fluffa mocha Frapajazz

We’re heading into our 4th week! By now you should be feeling a difference, even if it’s in your head, a shift is always a boost of encouragement… and if you’re just now joining us, welcome!

I’ve been successful at the walking and stair climbs! Our little girl has been growing and becoming more aware of when moms not around so last week I thought, meh, why not take her with me? So at 5am I strapped her in and up we went! Below is the view from the top, that’s something to work for! The selfies are us before and after the climb, clearly she really wore herself out being my workout partner!

This week I challenge you to 3 separate workouts, none of these require a gym, tons of time or much of anything besides a little effort and some motivation. Click here to see your options on the workout page of Self.com. There’s an uncountable amount of choices that range in difficulty and the time needed to complete them. So pick 3 (and actually do them) within the next 6 days! I brought my phone to our little local gym and followed one of the workouts (that I could actually achieve with my kangaroo holding on). Although it’s adorable, I didn’t push myself to the max… next time I’ll leave her with daddy.

Last week I brought up the not-so-secret health risks of Aspartame with the promise to do more research on other competitive artificial sweeteners. After scanning dozens of websites ranging from claimed scientific facts to general public opinions, I fell upon a blogger that said it best. Wellnessmomma has hundreds of health related articles but this one was spot on.

One of her bullet points really struck home with me because I know I’m guilty of falling into the “trick”. She stated, “Studies found that ingesting artificial sweeteners can interfere with the signal loop and can cause over eating. One study found that (in rats) eating foods or drinks that are sweet but contain no calories tricks the brain into thinking that they should keep eating”. Even if you’re consciously aware of this, it doesn’t stop the chemical reaction in your brain. Over time, your natural ability to taste real sugar and know when enough is enough slowly diminishes. Scary but true.

I once did 30 days with no sugar and minimal salt. Limiting myself to only vegetables, beans, grains and nuts with small portions of fruit. By the end of that month, celery was salty to me and a mango was barely edible due to sweetness. I finally understood the people I’ve always been jealous of… those who could have one bite of chocolate and call it good for dessert…. you know the ones, “I don’t really have a sweet tooth” blah blah blah (eyes rolling here).

I’ve come to the conclusion that if you want something sweet, eat the real stuff in moderation. Why not enjoy the pure richness of a true treat rather the gut filling large quantity of a fake one. A scoop of authentic gelato verses a mixing bowl of sugar free ice cream or a piece of your favorite dark chocolate verses an entire sugar free candy-bar. You get it, so try it!

This week in the nutrition department, I’m going to wrap up the whole sugar/sweetener debate. Personally I’d rather take on the calories from a sweet bite of real food, than challenge my body to the chemically modified, questionable ingredients with the risk of long term illness and side effects. However if you must inch over into the world of sweetness, here’s a simple chart to help your decision.

As a whole, let’s challenge ourselves to simply avoid the sweets all together. Can we survive one week of what it was like before advertised junk even existed? My Grams told me of the days when honey on a biscuit was a rare treat, when you saved your only piece of bubble gum for a special occasion and lemonade was made with lemons, not sugar water!

Imagine what a Carmel fluffa mocha Frapajazz would taste like after drinking straight black coffee for a week!? So this week is fruit, that’s all folks. Are you up for the challenge? I am! I just lied to you. I’m not up for it. Honestly I could go for a homemade cookie and chocolate almond milk as I write this. But if I did everything I wanted to, who knows where my world would be! So, it’s on… let’s do it. Fruit will be my only sugar until we meet again.

This weeks homework:

1. Choose 3 workouts from the link here and dig in!

2. Give your taste buds and organs a break, avoid sugar for 7 days!

Wrapping up our lifestyle changes so far:

1. Use the stairs every chance you get!

2. Stick to the single serving amount or less.

3. Play with pop-cycle sticks and actually use them!

4. Consume products that are closest to their original state!

5. Avoid artificial sweeteners found in most sugar free products.

6. Walk as much as you can at every opportunity!

7. Clean out your system of sugar, stick with fruit!

8. Pick 3 workouts a week and give it all you got!

Categories: Fitness, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fitness Friday #3 – Dirty Sugar Free

This week starts with a confession. My name is Erika, and I love gum. I have chewed this tasty delight as long as I can remember. I can especially recall an increase in my gum chewing once I started on the “health kick” 10 years ago. If I thought I was hungry when it wasn’t time to eat, after each meal instead of dessert, long car rides where snacking is too easy, at the movie theater where treats are too tempting, at the gym, on a run… the list goes on. Why is this a confession and not a suggestion?

Let’s investigate.

Gum gets it addictive sweet flavor from one of two things, sugar or artificial sweetener. So if you choose the “real” sugar brand like Chiclets or Double Bubble, not only are you asking for cavities (my mom used to work in the dental field, can you tell?) but calories! The average piece of bubble gum has 20 calories, 5 carbs and all 5 of those carbs comes from 5 grams of sugar. Not a horrible choice if you’re used to inhaling a few cookies after lunch, however if you generally stay away from dessert and choose to have a few (or dozen) pieces of gum a day, you’re looking at consuming an extra meal without even swallowing a piece of food! Yikes!

If you choose the ever so popular “sugar free gum” which is 99% of the options you see at gas stations, you’re looking at ingesting a pretty powerful ingredient known to have side effects that most Americans complain about. I properly introduce you to Phenylalanine, the chemical making up 50% of Aspartame which we’ve all heard about.

Check this out…

If you google top side effects from Aspartame and then search for the most common symptoms Americans report, they’re almost identical!

-Headaches/Migraines

-Fatigue

-Inflammation

-Abdominal discomfort

-Insomnia

-Depression

-Anxiety

-Weight gain

Did you see the last one? Weight gain! I suppose that’s one reason I chose this for our topic besides the general (frightening) health risks included. How can a Diet Coke or piece of gum prevent wight loss? Of course, it takes more than a drink to pack on the pounds, but consistent intake of this chemical seems to be proven to mess with more than just our taste buds.

My challenge for is this week is to avoid anything with Aspartame, Phenylalanine, Equal or NutraSweet… None. Zilch. Nada! This will be hard for me since I thoroughly enjoy my gum, but I’m curious to see if I can feel a difference in a quick 7 days.

Some of you little researchers out there (myself included) might be asking, what about Splenda, Stevia, Xylitol and all the others? Challenge accepted! Next week I’ll have further info and my personal opinion. This would be another hard one for me since I consume flavored protein shakes daily and we know powdered vegetables don’t taste like chocolate without some additional sweet lovin’.

Physical challenge! We’ve hit the stairs and picked up sticks, this week we’re bringing it back to the basics, walking! When you park at the store, don’t do laps looking for the closest spot, park far away and embrace the extra calorie burnage! Shoots, if you’re really feeling it, pick up the pace and speed walk! See if you can get your heart rate up before reaching the entrance. Have a friend that lives nearby? Walk to meet in the middle and enjoy a conversation that doesn’t include a “like” button or emojis. If you don’t live close enough, meet at a coffee shop then stroll from there, no excuses.

This weeks homework:

1. Take an update photo. Are you excited about this or dreading it!?

2. Keep reading the labels before opening the box!

3. Walk. Then walk some more and then a little more!

Wrapping up our lifestyle changes so far:

1. Use the stairs every chance you get!

2. Stick to the single serving amount or less.

3. Play with pop-cycle sticks and actually use them!

4. Consume products that are closest to their original state!

5. Avoid artificial sweeteners found in most sugar free products.

6. Walk as much as you can at every opportunity!

Categories: Edibles!, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Friday fitness – week 2! Pickin’ up sticks

How’d the stairs treat ya… better yet, how did you treat the stairs? Hopefully it got your heart rate up and your legs a little wobbly. More than anything, I would love to know that it kick started the fitness wheel for you and now it’s rolling!

This week I’m introducing one of my favorite tricks to sneak in a few extra moments that burns calories and maintains strength. Like any other activity, it only works if you do it!

I used pop-cycle sticks, you can find these in the art section of any store that has an art section. Note: I don’t suggest going to the freezer aisle and buying a jumbo pack of fudge-cycles to eat and save the sticks, it made me sick.

Feel free to change the number amount of each movement to better suit your fitness level.

There’s 2 ways I find this little dandy works best for me.

1. On a day off around the house or while you’re getting ready for work, set a timer for every 30 (or 15 or 45) minutes. Every time it sounds, grab a stick or 3 and have at it! This dilutes the overwhelming task and doesn’t consume your entire morning or evening.

2. Set a timer for 30 minutes (or 15 or an hour) and plow through as many sticks as you can!

Another idea (that I rarely do but love it when I do) is to partner up! Find a friend and take turns pulling sticks. A bit more entertaining when you’re either wishing for an easy one or watching your partner endure a hard one!

Write this down and prop it up next to your stick jar!

-“everyone works out when they want to, determined people do it even when they don’t want to!

Last week we practiced portion control by being more aware of the nutrition facts and quantity suggested per serving. Continuing on that track, this week start by looking at the ingredients. If there are more than 6 ingredients or anything you can’t pronounce (properly) then don’t even waste your time with the serving size… just put it back and find something else.

Let’s try keeping our food intake as close to its natural state as possible. If you’re in a hurry and starving at a gas station, reach for the bag of nuts or fruit verses the yogurt covered pretzels, “baked” chips or trail mix. Sure those options sound healthier than a Butterfinger, but look at the ingredients, it can be so deceiving!

This weeks homework:

1. Create your collection of sticks with a variety of workouts and use them!

2. Read the ingredients before looking at the nutrition facts. Less is more!

Wrapping up our lifestyle changes so far:

1. Use the stairs every chance you get!

2. Stick to the single serving amount or less.

3. Play with pop-cycle sticks and actually use them!

4. Consume products that are closest to their original state!

Have you taken your original starting picture? I hope so because next week we take another one!

I’ll have to admit this past week has been a struggle for me with family in town and a thousand mile road trip to see more family! Here’s a sneak preview of the love Shanti has been surrounded with! Next post, family adventures!

Categories: Edibles!, Fitness, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First “Friday Fitness” post!

JOIN ME! I’ll be posting every Friday on our journey to a healthier state of mind, body and reaching personal best! There’ll be realistic weekly goals to challenge ourselves with and tools to help accomplish them! I’ll be sharing my voyage with recipes, workout ideas, struggles, successes and (the dreaded) transitional before/after photos.

It’s time. I’ve previously shared about my journey through the health and fitness world primarily through posts about healthy food choices and workouts while traveling. Some of my favorite memories bring me back to a race in Barbados , yoga in Panama, Paddle boarding and a hike in Tobago, and amazing treks of Machu Picchu. These were all incredible times during my peak in fitness and now I’ve come full circle back into a wonderful world of new challenges. Let me quickly explain from the beginning.

I was born a lovable 8 lb ball of happiness and sprouted into a round head balanced on top of a set of thighs.

Fast forward through the adolescent years and I developed into the “healthy” or “big boned” cousin (a term used to describe chunky kids who aren’t built to be naturally thin). Although some thoughts would cross my mind after comments made, I never really concerned myself with the issue. I liked food, especially ice cream, as well as playing outside, giggling with my friends and making a mess with art and crafts. I was a kid.

Teenage years brought boys, school challenges and a variety of other things to distract me from self-image issues. Even though I’d still compare my body to other girls (who didn’t?!) it was nothing of extreme or enough to break my focus of surviving the teen years of school. It’s hard enough just being human with new hormones stuck in a few buildings with a thousand other irrational, emotionally driven pre-adult creatures.

Between 18-21 I truly didn’t feel the shift (captured in the first 3 photos from the collage below). It was like I had the opposite body image than most girls. I was gorgeous! I was also gaining a solid 15 pounds a year without even realizing it. 45 pounds heavier than healthy, I began to take a closer a look at this human suit I had to carry around. It wasn’t so much of how I looked in a swimsuit or what guys would like, as much as it was me needing to change my habits. I had watched a majority of my family members yo-yo diet my entire life and I wasn’t about to follow in their footsteps.

I started to slowly lose weight due to small diet changes and a walk every morning, it felt amazing! This was all done slowly and properly in regards to mainstream options. No diet pills, no eating disorders, no obsessive physical training, just a transition in lifestyle.

Once I achieved a consistent routine, my body settled into its comfort zone, “it’s” comfort zone, not mine. This is when I went to the local gym and spent a portion of my savings to get a trainer. “Teach me everything!”… and so they did. I dove in head first to the length of dedication that Zack, best coach ever, finally suggested I branch out on my own as I’ve exceeded the need for his assistance. And so I did.

Here’s a glimpse at the 40lb transition. Going from 30% fat to 18%

My new life was amazing! I felt unstoppable and ready to take on the world. Ironically, in my own little way, that’s what I did. This is when herhappytrails.com began and my big blue backpack took flight for the first time.

During the 6 year journey around the world my body naturally transformed according to my current behavior. I ranged from super strong while trekking parts of South America I shriveled down to nothing while recovering from a parasite in Malaysia , fluffed back up in Europe during the pints-o-beer at Oktoberfest then lost it all once landing in Japan. Needless to say, I returned to the states and the weight just seemed to fall into place. Some “places” I didn’t enjoy, but it was all necessary.

During my tiny days, my female cycle had completely vanished and I was told by several doctors (both western and homeopathic) that the chances of me ever carrying a child full term, let alone getting pregnant, was slim to none. For 8 years I held this belief with me. To be honest, it didn’t really bother me. I was single, traveling the world, loving life and had no time for things such as marriage and babies.

Enter Matt Stone.

I met my husband on a trip back to the states while visiting my mom. If you’ve been following the blog, you’ve seen that journey unfold. The reason I bring it up is because during this time, I started to involuntarily put on (necessary) fat that produced more estrogen. It started my cycle back up! It was like my body knew what was ahead.

This all brings me to the point of this entire post. First comes love, then comes marriage , then comes baby in the baby carriage! I hope at least half of you have chanted that on a playground somewhere.I was going to be the cutest, most fit and active prego I could be, I’m sure like most of us dream of being, that was until I was put on bed rest. After denial, refusal and my own little pity party, my world switched focus from selfish body image choices to health and protection of me and our unborn baby. No running, no working out, not even a walk beyond the mailbox. I’m still amazed I kept my sanity while losing strength and gaining cushion.

Now we have the little light of our lives and the current reason (excuse) I have adorable love handles with squishy arms to match. No more bedrest! Of course I wouldn’t trade my post prego body for the beautiful addition to our family and bla bla bla… but let’s be real, this fluff has has got to go (as well as this robe I’ve been living in!)

Confession: I’m using this blog and your attention to hold myself accountable while hopefully inspiring one, two or a hundred of you to do the same. If it’s the last 5 pounds you’re after, the first 50 or simply the ability to finally run without sounding like an excited pug, I truly hope you’ll find some encouragement here. I plan to be real, raw and transparent through it all. So authentic that I’m not even going to post a present pic today. So there. Na-ner Na-ner.

Lets ease into this week with your first challenge, JOIN ME! See that cute little button that says “follow” on the bottom of the screen? All you have to do is enter your email… no payments, no rights to your first born, no advertisements, just an address that can be notified when a new post has been published. Then you can comment, ask questions and help me pleasantly plow through this chapter of life. I thank you in advance!

Categories: Baby Talk, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

9 Rounds of glorious sweaty smiles

I’d like to start this post out by acknowledging that although my opinion on nutrition and fitness changes as life presents new chapters, I still try to maintain a well rounded lifestyle.  If it be a new workout, a fresh cooking idea or some crazy cleanse, I generally tend to try anything just for the adventure of it.

For those of you that haven’t seen me through my stages of exploring health, here’s an extreme difference (and never shared before) variations in my fitness.
  

Putting the equally important side of “diet” aside, I’m going to focus on an energetic workout that has added a new element to my routine.

9Round is a specialized program dedicated to providing a unique, fun and challenging workout that guarantees results. It combines “old school boxing” and traditional kickboxing with interval cardiovascular and strength training. You’d think with only 9 rounds that you would get bored of the cylce, but day to day, I rarely did the same thing twice. New, fresh and heart pumping! 
  

Things I love about it:
1. It’s 30 minutes! You arrive, wrap your hands and start your workout. Since they have a bell controlling your rotation, you’re guaranteed 9 rounds of incredible challenges with 30 seconds between each set. Side note, the 30 seconds is not a resting period… Oh no… They call out a fun (ha, ha, ha) element of activity for you to sweat through. Examples: squat jumps, push ups, plank hold, sprints or my personal favorite plank jacks. What’s that? Hold a plank and jump your feet apart and together.
  
2. Class time? Nonsense. During opening hours, you show up when you want and start as soon as the next 3 min bell rings. 30 minutes later, you’re out the door! 
3. You have the option to go around as many times as your little body can endure. 9 rounds and you’re still a champ? Go again!
  
  
4. The beats! We all know music can enhance the mood and increase the vibe, so they let it rock… or hip hop, or old school R&B, funk or classic jams!

5.The coaches are what I consider to be motivational. They set the bar higher than you desire, then applaud you when you exceed it. Fierce, gentle and supportive are the words that come to mind when I think of my 9rounds family.

The top before/after shot is the owner of the 9 Rounds in Folsom, California. Victoria continuously encourages all of her members with an enthusiastic energy that is undeniable… and who wouldn’t want to workout harder for a coach with arms like that!?
  

Don’t live near Folsom? No need to fear, they’re everywhere! Check out the main website at www.9round.com   for other locations and more detail about this superstar program.
Dear Victoria and friends that I call my coaches, you’re unforgettable smiles and welcoming support has made an impression on my daily routine.  Although I’ll be away for some time, I will definitely incorporate your workouts within my fitness from abroad. Cheers to you and your life changing attitude!

Sincerely,
(Appropriately nicknamed)
Free Spirit 



 

Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 challenges for 365 days

Starting off the new year always seems to be an appropriate time to set goals. Large, short term, serious or funny…. Why not? I chose 3 different resolutions to suggest to you. Take ’em or leave ’em, but check it out!

#1- FITNESS
We all know working out can be a struggle. If it be making time for it, finding the drive for it or simply getting it done. The reason I’m sharing this next idea is because it’s easy (woohoo!) and it involves music which generally stimulates the body anyway.

The challenge: do a non-stop workout for an entire song. There’s several different ways you can approach this. Maybe choose just one movement and do it until the song is over, for example push ups. Move your hands close then far, elbows in then out… Just keep pushing until the song ends. Another option would be a variety of movements in sequence. Example 20 push ups, 30 squats, 50 crunches, etc.

Care not to create your own routine? You can always search my fitness page for ideas, a great example would be the workout in El Salvador. Need more? Allow Google to help out. Simply search “3 minute workouts” and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of creative burners!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3168.jpg

#2- FINANCES
This is a popular program that has been pinned all over the place and there’s a good reason why! What will you do with $1,378.00?
A. Find a jar, bucket, box, can, bag, bottle… Pretty much anything that can hold your currency.
B. Decorate it! Or not…. But if you have the time, I say grab a friend, a beverage of choice and get lost in glitter glue and markers.
C. Drop the funds! Instead of putting a random amount of your change in, make a purposeful donation to yourself and watch the balance grow! It’s suggested to start with $1 and add to the amount weekly.

Did you get a chunk of funds from the holiday season? Reverse it then! Do you often get caught with your hand in the cookie jar? Skip the jar and go to the bank instead! Check out this site for the pro’s and con’s of both options.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3160.jpg

#3 FUN
Take a picture a day, that’s it! No, not a selfie with your bestie every morning. Find animals, traffic, strangers, buildings, landscape, signs… Then at the end of the year, recap 365 days of random photos. Here are a few of my favorites from the years!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3194.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/pa214328.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3203.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3189.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3193.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3201.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3198.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3190.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3184.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/p4200159.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3202.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/img_3204.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c19/30878795/files/2015/01/pa214350.jpg

Happy: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
New: not existing before; made, introduced, or now for the first time.
Year: the time taken by a planet to make one revolution around the sun – 365 days.

Categories: Art, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canoa – a rainy sunrise to a clear sunset!

I was so amped to start my morning off with an amazing workout after scouting out a course yesterday. Well, the “sunrise” brought rain and just for a moment I debated my on my plans. What? It’s just water, let’s do this!

Goal: A warmup run to a strengthening set and ending with a yoga stretching session.

The jog is through the park and leads me towards the water. Apparently not many people were up for a mud run, so I had the whole road to myself.

20130407-092035.jpg

20130407-092041.jpg

20130407-092058.jpg

20130407-092108.jpg

20130407-092115.jpg

Time for some muscle building! A simple pull up bar and bench is all I need. This has got to be my favorite bench press that I’ve ever come across!

20130407-092431.jpg

20130407-092441.jpg

20130407-092447.jpg

After the upper body workout I head towards the sand for a jog to fire up the legs… and a quick (overcast) handstand photo!

20130407-092737.jpg

20130407-101656.jpg

I start to tune in on my breathing as I prepare for my yoga on the beach!

20130407-093458.jpg

Turns out it’s not in rain or shine (enter sad and slightly pouty face here).

20130407-093528.jpg

Oh well, the sun is starting to smile so now I’ll show you the brighter side of Canoa!

20130407-101800.jpg

With this town being popular within the surf community, there are several hotels and hostels that line the streets and beach. I actually think there are more hostels than there are restaurants or cafe’s.

20130407-094055.jpg

20130407-094130.jpg

20130407-094137.jpg

20130407-094301.jpg

20130407-094317.jpg

Here are some street sights that caught my eye!

20130407-094413.jpg

20130407-094458.jpg

20130407-094511.jpg

20130407-094526.jpg

20130407-094537.jpg

Notice this structure is a ceviche restaurant on the left, a mini market in the middle and a home to the right. It’s very typical here for families to live and work from the same building.

20130407-094856.jpg

Once you reach the water, you’ve got your pick amongst little food vendors, jewelry shops or typical bar shacks.

20130407-094953.jpg

20130407-095006.jpg

20130407-095030.jpg

20130407-095102.jpg

20130407-095115.jpg

20130407-095125.jpg

20130407-095137.jpg

As I was finishing up my walk I met this group of surf instructors and bartenders. No English was spoken, so this connection was based off of my broken Spanish and a constant game of charades.

20130407-100325.jpg

The daylight starts to dim and I treat myself to a sunset. Notice the complimentary snack is popcorn and plantain chips, classic!

20130407-100447.jpg

20130407-100514.jpg

20130407-100627.jpg

The night brings more energy with new friends! She’s from Spain and he’s Peruvian (two of my favorite countries) and now they live in Ecuador. With a sincere invite, they encourage me to visit them in the popular beach town of Montañita. We shall see mis amigos!

20130407-100913.jpg

20130407-100951.jpg

Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy and healthy with sandy toes!

We’ve all heard the famous words, “Exercise releases endorphins”. These are natural hormones that flood the body with a feel-good energy that releases stress and uplifts your mood… and I love it!

I headed down to the complimentary gym of the condo to get my heart rate up and release those amazing endorphins.
Although small, I appreciated the cleanliness as I observed what tools I had to work with. They had a few treadmills, two seated bikes and a set of free weights all stored in a compact room with a magnificent view.

20130115-140643.jpg

20130115-140752.jpg

As I peddled away during my warm up, it hit me… wham! I’m sitting in a tiny room with florescent lighting, and a window that happened to be showing me a much bigger, brighter, and fabulous gym… We call it the beach!

I stopped the bike and headed towards mom to see if she was up for a workout in the sand. The gym was on the 4th floor, our place sat on the 20th and if you know me well, you know this was an invite for a stair climb. Ready set go!

20130115-141510.jpg

20130115-141525.jpg

Once reaching mom, 2 minutes and 18 seconds later (I timed my stair climb each attempt in order to motivate a quick pace) we agreed that a beach visit would be the perfect ending to this vibrant day.

Fitness time! I’m going to break this down into some basic thoughts for a proper beach workout.

Let’s start with some rules. First off, check your surroundings to make sure you don’t put yourself or any others in danger. That appears easy today!

20130115-142022.jpg

20130115-142028.jpg

Next, scan the sand for any seashells that can later be made into jewelry (that I’ll be taking abroad to gift, trade or donate).

20130115-142204.jpg

Bring liquids to keep hydrated (preferably in self designed cups).

20130115-142252.jpg

20130115-142259.jpg

Be aware of seagulls and/or any other flying creature that could view your head as a target.

20130115-142343.jpg

Time to get the heart rate up! I spy I tiny bird that wants to play tag, so I sneak up…

20130115-142438.jpg

…and the chase begins! He won.

20130115-142544.jpg

20130115-142553.jpg

20130115-142559.jpg

I take a breather to practice some press handstand moves. These are much harder for me than it appears!

20130115-142644.jpg

20130115-142651.jpg

20130115-142657.jpg

20130115-142704.jpg

Back to increasing the heart rate… Tuck jumps and running in place are two great ways to do so while triggering different muscles.

20130115-143300.jpg

20130115-143305.jpg

20130115-143313.jpg

I then attempted to play with the waves. I chase them, they get me. I dodge them, they get me.

20130115-143644.jpg

20130115-143448.jpg

20130115-143440.jpg

20130115-143745.jpg

Now everyone STOP! Its time for the dance portion of this work out.

20130115-143831.jpg

20130115-143838.jpg

20130115-143850.jpg

20130115-143856.jpg

20130115-143902.jpg

Followed by a quick photo shoot requested by the photographer (my proud mom of course).

20130115-144008.jpg

20130115-144120.jpg

20130115-144126.jpg

20130115-144140.jpg

A peaceful stretch after the energetic fun seems to align the mind and body to a calm sense of completion.

20130115-144242.jpg

20130115-144252.jpg

20130115-144258.jpg

20130115-144334.jpg

The final task is sharing the sunset with your best friend. Taking each breath in appreciation for your health and happiness while having full gratitude for whats in front of you. I cheers with a smile to living in the now.

20130115-144418.jpg

20130115-144441.jpg

Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Monkey business in Malaysia

Still floating on my cloud-o-joy from the previous day, I reconnected with Brian. He’s the energetic owner of the Green Forest Cafe.

20121030-203757.jpg

I had mentioned my craving for more mental stimulation and active movement. Before I knew it, he closed up shop and set the day ahead full of fun surprises.

Activity #1
A beautiful walk up one of Penang’s hill that brought jungle, ponds, monkeys, trees, orchids, and more!

20121030-203922.jpg

20121030-203931.jpg

20121030-203940.jpg

20121030-203945.jpg

20121030-204006.jpg

20121030-204020.jpg

20121030-204137.jpg

20121030-204144.jpg

A fun sitting pose after finding a great spot for the handstand picture… and a great head stand from Brian too! Did I mention it’s his 43rd birthday today? Happy birthday friend!

20121030-204638.jpg

20121030-204651.jpg

20121030-204737.jpg

Activity #2
We headed to an outdoor public park that provides a range of free options for all ages.

20121030-204246.jpg

20121030-204252.jpg

20121030-204315.jpg

20121030-204323.jpg

20121030-204335.jpg

A skate park next to a set of graffiti walls. Seriously! Instead of discouraging local artist, they provide a clean canvas and a viewing site.

20121030-204408.jpg

20121030-204423.jpg

20121030-204428.jpg

20121030-204440.jpg

These are rocks imbedded into the ground that you walk laps on for foot reflexology. With the different shapes, sizes and sharpness, each stone stimulates points on the bottom of your feet that are supposed to activate nerve points to naturally break up acid build up and rid of body ailments.

20121030-204926.jpg

20121030-204933.jpg

20121030-204940.jpg

20121030-204947.jpg

20121030-204956.jpg

Activity #3
Aerobics in the park! Free instruction for the community to come out and get their heart rate up. This should be offered in every city! The music ranged from authentic Indian beats to North American country, Bon Jovi to gangster rap and my personal favorite of the day… Old school R&B funk!

20121030-205044.jpg

20121030-205057.jpg

20121030-205106.jpg

Towards the end, the instructor called Brian and I up to the stage to lead the cool down. I didn’t realize I was with a “popular one”, the crowd loved him!

20121030-205156.jpg

20121030-205205.jpg

Activity #4
After all the muscle and mind excitement we head for dinner and a show. This center provides vegetarian meals including rice, egg, tofu, curry sauces, vegetables, pancake breads, and more. Mango milk tea or water with your meal and the only price they ask is a contribution that you feel is necessary.

20121030-205300.jpg

20121030-205310.jpg

20121030-205316.jpg

The show? A set of traditional music, dance and performance by the locals. If you can imagine the brilliant sounds that mirror the colors and facial expressions of these magnificent people… I’m sure you can understand why tears would often peak from my eyes.

20121030-205355.jpg

20121030-205405.jpg

20121030-205430.jpg

20121030-205440.jpg

20121030-205447.jpg

20121030-205454.jpg

Three favorite special effects photos of the day! The first is a pond in the jungle followed by a monkey on a telephone wire. The third is looking back at Brian’s cafe from a balcony.

20121030-205644.jpg

20121030-205653.jpg

20121030-205708.jpg

This sign was at the park. Simply posted and well put.

20121030-205829.jpg

Categories: Edibles!, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.