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Skewed Reality

66A05B2E-60E7-4A85-9EB8-AA58DF695D64For the first time in years I put down my phone and am sitting outside. I took two weeks off from work to rest and recover. While on leave I started to  analyze how often my own family used electronics. Everyone that was old enough to have some sort of social media account was thumbing away and the younger ones were given some sort of electronic device to keep them quiet. I thought to myself, “what have we become.”

This lead me to analyze the world around me. Every where we go 90% of individuals are thumbing away. Sitting in their car or at a restaurant with others but so focused on the life someone in their phone is living instead of living their own life. Not only is this saddening, but it has become dangerously addictive. I say dangerous because though social media is a great way to network, keep In touch with family, connect to others around the world and promote creativity, it creates a world of fantasy. There are five big beaming red flags and I’m sure many more exist, but below are the cons that stood out to me.

1. Time Guzzler

Have you ever been adulting and a social media notification pops up and distracts you? After about an hour or two of thumbing away life you realize that you forgot what it was you NEEDED to take care of or you brain farted all together that you were doing something other than looking at social media. This use to happen to me on a regular basis. I’d need to send a email or make a phone call and it would take me 30-40 minutes because I had gotten trapped thumbing through other people’s lives. Learn to dedicate time to the things you need to take care or and when all important matters are done then give social media a little attention, not all of it.

2. Sunshine and Arse Glitter

This is what most individuals on social media post about. A large amount of people have learned that positive quotes, soft clean pretty photoshopped pictures, fantasy vacations, and bare skin gets you the most likes. The reality is in order for you to live, you have to be working and no one wants to post the pictures of themselves in the thick of life, raggedy or hardworking. That is considered the not so glamorous part of life. Honestly, that is where the beauty if life is. In the reality of a stretch mark, fat rolls, a mole, a freckle or messy sleep hair. Understand that social media is a highlight of someone’s life and might even be scripted for entertainment.

3. Consolation Prize

At one point in time I had my post pre-set. I was told in order to be successful you had to first post three times a day one week, then five times the next week, and then ten times. In all honesty, who the heck has time for all that when you are living a real life. I mean for goodness sake! Life does not hinge on whether or not you have 10K+ followers on social media. Your health definitely doesn’t care either. Cancer does not give a two cents about how influential you are on social media. Not everyone is going to be famous. the consolation prize is isolation, money wasted (to me money is time), and arthritis of the thumb from scrolling hours watching other people’s lives or constantly getting on just to see how many likes you’ve gotten from a new post.

4. Mental Deterioration

Now, there are several socialist that promote positive messages and use their platform to build others up. But no matter how positive a feed can be there will always be individuals out there who develop anxiety and depression just from watching the positivity and success of others. This happens for a variety of reasons. Others success can make someone feel behind. A fit body can make someone feel ashamed of their own bodies. At unhappy times in a person’s life the fantasy world of social media can give the impression that everyone else in the world is happy except them. This is far from the truth. There is storm and sunshine in everyone’s life. You’d be surprised to know that the majority of people on social media aren’t living happily ever after. Life is always a work in progress no matter what stage you are at, so don’t let the fantasy of social media make you feel inadequate. We all are in the working phase. 

5. Technological Aging

We are living in two different worlds. One world was created for us. In this world we feel the breeze, touch flowers, taste a good meal and witness in the flesh the laughter of our loved ones. We relish in the moment of life. Every ounce of time given is used to do something other than thumbing. The other world is a work we in a way create with the help of others. A world where you can be just as happy, angry or sad as you want to be. Where if you want abs you can just photoshop them on. In this parallel world you can be a successful traveler, fitness model, model, entrepreneur, CEO, yogi, spiritualist, or just be successful at showing off your body parts. That reminds me of what my mother always said, “What Mother Nature gives you, Father Time will take away.” Regardless if it is tasteful or tasteless. No matter if children are your biggest followers or not. The list of what you can be in Cyber World goes on and on.

The Question Is…

Do you prefer reality or fantasy? To experience something organic or artificial? We all make this choice everyday when we wake up, roll over and grab the phone to check our timelines. You don’t have to choose between one or the other but my hope is that you will start to become more aware of the time given to each with the understanding of what matters to your life. As for me, when I take my last breath it will be my family and memories of the life I’ve lived in reality that will matter most to me. As always, stay driven and if I can, you can.

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10 Things That Slow Your Gainz

Progress is a powerful motivator in anyone’s journey. With fitness there are so many ways to track your progression. Some people track there weight lost, do progress photos or measure themselves. Regardless of the way you do it you get some type of gratification from your results. That is, until you plateau or regress.

Normally you can tweak a few things and get the ball back rolling. That is if you can figure out why you hit the brick wall in the first place.

There are 10 reasons that I’ve learned that might hurt your progression:

1. Diet

Fad diets normally can not be sustained. You can’t live off a juice diet and changing up what you eat just for the purpose of losing weight rapidly won’t give you life long results. You have to make a conscious decision to change your eating for LIFE. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good time out or dessert ever again, it just means that now you will control when you over indulge on them. Meaning reducing how many times you eat out or enjoying a dessert one or two days out of the week verse everyday. Another thing you can do is find substitutions for ingredients that are not filled with fat and carbs. Eighty percent of your success with your health and fitness goals rely on you committing to your diet.

2. Lack of Sleep

You Need at least 8 hours of sleep

Sleep is a powerful thing. Eight hours of sleep is the recommendation. Why is it important for your Heath and fitness? Because lack of sleep increases your cortisol levels. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands during stress. This hormone decreases metabolism and leads to increased fat. So, not only is lack of sleep not good for your mental health but it is bad on your physical health as well.

3. Inconsistency

You can not, I repeat, can not expect to see results when you are not consistent with your diet and workout regimen. Notice that it takes you months to get really good weight loss going, but only about a couple of days to ruin it. Every time you take an extended break off your regimen you set yourself back a few weeks. So, be consistent about starting a workout and maintaining the workout. That means for life! What you do to lose the weight, you must continue to do to keep the weight off.

4. Repetitive Workouts

The body is smarter than you give it credit for. When we first start a workout it is hard, you barely make it through it, and you hurt like heck days after it. The next time you do the workout it’s a little easier and the body hurts less. Eventually, you can do the workout with ease and have no sore days. This means your body has adapted to the workout. This workout is no longer working towards getting you those maximal gains, because your smart bod has figured out a way to repair and prepare. Your body is now stronger than the workout, which means it’s time for you to select a new regimen.

5. No Strength Training

Most of us know how to run and do a variety of cardio oriented activities but we forget about building muscle. Muscle is what you really want to have to maximize calorie burn. While doing cardio you only burn calories during the act. When strength training you burn calories for days which means more calories burnt. Not only that, but strength training helps you build muscle which then leads to an increase in metabolism.

6. Slacking on Your Workout

I was so guilty of this at the beginning of my health and fitness journey. Then one day I realized that if I slacked on my training the only person I am hurting is myself. You can have a personal trainer or a group of motivated friends, but if you don’t have self motivation then you will not reach your goals.

7. Living Sedentary

You Need at least 8 hours of sleep-2

If you’re sitting long periods of time or laying around all day your body sees no need to burn calories. Standing instead of sitting burns more calories. You can always get up and just walk around you house or job. You can also take the time to do a little light walking for lunch or use  the “smoke” breaks as a way to get up and get moving.

 

 

8. Not Eating Enough

Calories are the first thing to go when wanting to lose weight. It is not recommended to eat under 1000 calories a day. What you will do is put your body in starvation mode and shut down your metabolism. Plus, when you drop macros into the poverty levels you don’t have the fuel you need to effectively complete your workouts. Your body will then store fat instead of burn it.

9. Cheating On Yourself

So maybe you have a diet and workout plan, but you pick at everyone else’s food around you. In your mind you are just eating little bites here and there, but if you add those bites up at the end of the day you will notice that it actually adds onto your calories or has dramatically increased your fat macros.

10. EXCUSES!

You-Need-at-least-8-hours-of-sleep-3This is by far the biggest reason why people don’t reach their fitness goal. It is the reason why many don’t reach goals period. I have heard the “I don’t have time” excuse, the “I just can’t eat right” excuse, or the “I’m always tired” excuse. In order to achieve any goal you have to get rid of excuses. You have to decide that success is worth more than television, sitting around surfing the web or sleeping excessively.  Sometimes making this choice leads to either life or death in some cases. So, choose life. Get out there and make things happen, because If I can you Can.

Stay Driven

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Keeping Them Active

Kids today are less active than they were when I was growing up. I remember being outside all day and not even interested in sitting in front of a television. Video games were pretty popular back then, but parents still got their kids outdoors.

With the new games and interest in technology it is so important to take the time getting active with your children. Parents work hard on their day job and get home just in time to say “how was your day”, make dinner, do homework and get ready for the next day. We send them to school with the hopes that teachers will teach them how to be good productive members of society, but that is not the teachers job. We, the parents, are responsible for that lesson. That means you only have Saturday and Sunday to really incorporate family time.

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I normally hear a lot of families doing movie night, game night or eating out. Some families just sit at home and everyone does their own thing. Well, how about establishing a family workout night or day! There are a ton of sports and activities you can do as a family.

The Weeples and I like to do a track day. We go to the track and do circuits, or I do while they play, or I teach them running form, baton hand offs, proper stretching and how to warm up. As a parent we have to remember we are the first exposure of the world to our children and a lot of what they will carry with them through life is what we teach them.

If you teach your Weeples a sedentary lifestyle then more than likely that is what they will mimic until they get the knowledge and drive to want to change. If you spend the time at home exposing them to a variety of foods, teaching them to eat healthy, to be active, positive and take care of their mental and physical wellbeing they will definitely be ready for life’s challenges. Set your Weeples up for success and not failure. Remember, they are watching you.

Stay Driven

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At Home Circuits

Career, relationships, kids or just life in general can make getting to the gym difficult. I started my journey in the gym and felt I had to go there to accomplish my workout goals. Well, not really.Party Faces

You can do your workouts at home! “Starting an at home gym is so expensive” is what a co-worker said to me. Yes! gym equipment can be pricey, but if you buy items as you need them one at a time you will have a little gym in no time. Does it have to be a nice garage gym with a treadmill or bike? No, you can use your driveway, neighborhood or local track to get a quick cardio session in. If you don’t have time to do those then circuit training is the way to go.
With circuit training you can structure your workout to keep the heart elevated while doing strength training in just a matter of 30-45 min. I literally get up in the morning and do my circuits while preparing the kids clothes for school. If you’re a night owl you can fit in a circuit after putting the kid to bed. Either way quick circuit training keeps you moving towards your goals.

Over the last year I had been buying a kettlebell here and dumbbell there. I even bought a barbell just to make it easier to workout at home. Last week I realized I had just enough equipment to not depend on the gym to get in a decent workout.

So, I tell you this, when you look at how much you have to buy to set up a at home gym it can be discouraging. Instead think about what you can get right now. Set short goals, for example, commit to buying one pair of dumbbells every pay period or every other pay period. Before you know it, you too will have a nice little home gym.

Remember, If I can, you can!
Stay Driven `

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Life Happens

First of all this post is long over due and an update is needed. So, June 9th I graduated with my Masters in Physician Assistant Studies. Finishing school is a great accomplishment no matter who you are, but I didn’t get the chance to enjoy it like I should have. Two weeks prior I walked the stage in my first and last body building competition of the year.

You caught that right? First and last?  This year was my first year stepping on a NPC stage since 2015 and in all honesty, I wasn’t read. It wasn’t so much physically, but mentally. I was exhausted from training, studying, taking test and preparing my self to move from one coast to another. I was determined to see this commitment through and felt as if I would be a failure for backing out. I forced my self through prep and onto the stage to place eighth out of about sixteen women. I left feeling like I had the worse show of my life and soon realized due to my PCS (Permanent Change of Station) I wouldn’t have time to redeem my self.

What I didn’t realize is that this was just the beginning. After graduating I had to quickly hit the road for a twenty four plus hour drive to Maryland. Once I arrived the house and school hunting began. Let me tell you… Finding a home and decent school for your family under pressure is not a joke. I lived in a hotel for about a month and just when I felt like I was being sucked down a black hole things started to change, starting with passing the PANCE test for my Physician Assistant certification.

Soon after getting the results for my cert I got notified my kids were accepted to my first choice for school, I moved in to a  spacious home, my leadership allowed me to in-process with my children since I didn’t have child care and I re-estalished my workout routine after gaining a nice fourteen pounds. The stress started to slowly diminish and I found my self thankful.

I was thankful for the peace of mind I had, my children’s health and my tenacity to overcome all these lemons thrown my way. I made pink lemonade! I also had time to think back on my show and realized that at my age with children it is such an accomplishment to even stand on stage next to young childless women and place even eighth. Not to mention I looked pretty darn good.

Sometimes when you feel like life is happening and not happening in a good way just hang in there. Everyday is a new day, with a new day comes change and things fall apart so that better things can come together.

Stay Driven 💋

 

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Bricks

Very few people like obstacles, especially if they hinder progression. They get you frustrated, lengthen your timeline and change your goals up a bit. It’s all in the way you embrace the obstacles.

Do you remember the saying “glass half full”? Well I do. I used to be a glass half empty person that was driven by my vision and could see nothing beyond it. You know where a mindset like that gets you? It makes you stressed and frustrated.  Yes things can get done that way, but it’s so much harder on the mind.

Life isn’t about planning to precision and hitting every target on the mark. Sometimes you have to focus on the 25 meter target and let all others sit for a while. The beauty about life is you have options, can organize priorities and things are forever changing.

What if we had to make a decision about our future without the choice to make things right and had to just take what ever happened? What if that first choice caused stress, was wrong or lead to some bad outcomes. Yeah no, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in that life either. The beauty of struggle is being able to choose a different route.

When you hit the brick wall ask your self is there  a way around, through or over. Then think back about how you got to the brick wall and understand why so that you can prevent it from happening again. Then develop your plan.

Nothing gets better or progresses without a solid plan of action. No soldier goes into battle randomly without a strategy, because that is a sure way to fail. Always take the time to know what you’re up against, what you’re fight for and the value of it all. Without knowing these things you loose your way.

Stay Driven 💋

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CAULIFOWER CRUST

 

I gave this adventure a A+. Cauliflower has become a favorite with those trying to avoid eating too much bread. Pizza is one of my favorite foods, so, I had to do some research and figure out how to substitute the crust so that I can have a carb friendly pizza. Well, the buzz caught me and I found myself on amazon. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so I made a tasty breakfast pizza. On my low carb days my fat grams are higher, which allow me to enjoy a higher fat meal. It was definitely delicious and macro friendly. I recommend you try it!

brekpizza

Bake Pizza crust at 375-385 (depending on oven) for 6 minutes then flip crust and cook for another 6 minutes (total cook time 12 minutes). Once crust is baked you will then layer (in this order) spinach, egg whites, turkey sausage, turkey bacon and sprinkle a little cheese on top. Repeat the layer once more and place pizza back in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle the syrup on top and enjoy (optional, if you cut out the syrup remove 13g of carbs from total macros).

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Protein Packed Treats

One thing that deters a person from prepping is the thoughts that you will lack satisfaction and interesting food choices. Day in and day out you’re eating that plain “Brody Diet” and feeling like the shred down is so far away. The next thing you know you’re angry, or should I say Hangry, for no reason at all. You turn into the she hulk and everyone in your path feels your wrath. Stop… Your prep is all wrong!

Lesson number 1, not one prep is the same. You will find some trainers trying to force you to do the same prep as another client they had and yes it might get the job done, but at the end of the day you might’ve had a horrible experience with it. Well, what you need to do is take control of your meal planning and research just a little bit more about what your body needs/ likes to get the results you want.

I have been competing for 3 years now and if I had, had someone save me from the “Brody Diet” lovers earlier, things would’ve been much more enjoyable. What did I do? I got tired of eating the same old foods over and over again. It had to be some other way to get more protein out of my breads and other enjoyable treats. So, I began experimenting and I can’t tell you how good it feels to be on prep.

It actually takes no extra time just a little more research. You don’t have to be the best chef in the world either. The only two things I’ve added to a recipe is Vita Wheat Gluten and Protein powder and like magic more protein added in carbs I already eat, which means less meat. If your trying to compete and transition to a vegan or vegetarian diet this is definitely helpful. Also, learning what other foods are protein packed, such as peas, broccoli and beans (the magical fruit, the more you eat…), will also help with protein intake. Get outside of that prep box and into your kitchen? Get you some Red Mills Vita Wheat Gluten and protein pack your foods.

mytreats

Blueberry Banana Protein Breakfast Bread (Center)

1 package of Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin Mix

1 Package of Betty Cocker Banana Nut Muffin Mix

1/2 Cup of Red Mills Vita Wheat Gluten

35g of Chocolate Protein Powder

1 cup of Water

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients first then add your water and stir. Lightly flour your baking pan then pour mixture into it. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Eat it with fruit or eggs in the morning or as a mid meal snack. Simple, easy and you don’t have to be a Chef to get it done. Now, Enjoy!!!

 

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Fear Of Self

Many times we find ourselves being our own worst enemy. What does that mean? Well, have you ever started something or thought of something and decided not to see it through because you FEARED or DOUBTED it would be successful?

Of course, we all have. You are not alone. Everyday tons of people hinder their own success or progress. You fear the unknown and start to doubt your self then before you know it you flake out of goals.

What makes your flaking out easier are excuses. I don’t have time… It’s just too hard… I don’t know how? These type of questions are self doubt. What most fail to realize is it is ok to doubt and have fear. It’s a natural feeling when embarking on a big journey, but what you must never do is surrender to the action of giving up. What’s worse than giving up is not evening trying because you have already blindly decided you will fail. It’s all in your head. Failure is allowing fear to hinder you from trying. You have to have a little faith in your self.

At the end of the day if you can’t be your biggest supporter, if you can’t be dedicated to you, if you can’t take your hand and stand with you through your fears and self doubt how can you ask someone else to? You can’t! So, it’s time to fight fears and self doubt. Your own attitude will determine your altitude.

Stay Driven 💋

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Tempeh Protein Balls

So, I tried a few different recipes and realized simple is better. What I learned is you must look at the ingredients to make sure they appeal to your taste. I finally decided to pull out my basic ingredients and seasoned as I like. Made a yummy low carb/fat entree.

 

tempehballs

How to:

227g of Tempeh Light Life

30g Vita Wheat Gluten

1/8 cup red onions

1 tbsp of Garlic

10g bell pepper (any color you like)

Salt (to your liking)

1/4-1/2 cup of water

*makes approximately 9-10 balls

Directions:

In a small food processor, blend dry ingredients to mix them well. Slice your other ingredients and add them to dry mix. Take your water and add 1/4 then blend your mixture once more. Slowly add water until you have a dough like consistency then use a spoon to scoop mixture. Using your hands roll the scoop into a ball and place on parchment paper. Bake for 20 min at 375ºF. Remove let cool and enjoy. You can dip them in a tasty sauce or add rice, pasta or gravy to them as well.

 

 

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Food For Thought

Truth be told, the majority of people eat for satisfaction and entertainment not for survival. In all honesty, more than half of us consume portion sizes that are way too large for us. After eating a large satisfying meal we then stretch out to let it “digest” and few soon after fall asleep. Well, guess what, your body just breaks that large meal down and stores it. That in it’s self is another topic. The biggest question is why do we feel the need to intake more than needed?

Well it’s a learned behavior. Many families will sit around and enjoy large portions of food together. I grew up in a family with the saying of, “you can’t leave the table until your plate is cleaned.” Bingo! The learned behavior… As a parent have you ever thought about what the accurate portion size for a child is? I didn’t until I started to break the learned behavior in regards to my own diet.

We pass down this bad habit of over eating and therefore pass down diseases that are related to poor diet habits. Even if you have a hard time breaking those bad habits with your own diet you can start to teach your kids how to eat the right portion size for them. Decondition your self from thinking they have to clean their plates and teach them how to stop overindulging past the warning sign your body gives when you are full.

Everyone has a required daily caloric intake and I urge you to speak to your health care provider about yours and your children’s. One happy meal is more than half of some kids daily requirement. For young kids this means obesity and early cardiovascular disease. We usually associate heart disease with being older or obese, but children as young as 10 years old are showing plaque build up in their arteries. What does that mean… We are feeding our young nation to death.

Time to feed them to life!

Stay Driven

 

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Macro Breakdown

Men and women both approach me and ask what they can do to reach their desired weight. I’ll usually ask them what type of exercise they’re doing and it ranges from some to none. At times, I even have very active individuals approach, but their problem is definition. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t out train a bad diet?”

Diet combined with strength training gets you that tone look. The majority will be inspired by the muscular bodies in a magazine or at the gym and want that look, but they don’t want to spend money on a trainer. The truth is you don’t have to spend money on a trainer or dietitian. What you do have to be is active in your search for knowledge. How do you get that tight ripped body?

The journey to lean is different for each individual. You can go and research the latest diets and choose one that fits your liking, but at the end of the day you need balance. When individuals seek me out the first thing I ask is, “What is your diet like?” Most have no clue and have just been eating whatever quick meal they can get without any thought as to what they are actually feeding their bodies. After a few minutes of conversation they realize that not only have they been eating way too many calories, but they have no idea what they’ve been eating. Macros are a good way to monitor that.

A lot of people feel like it is just too hard to take the time to calculate your macros when in reality it is very simple. All it takes is a little extra time in the beginning to get comfortable doing it and then boom! You get results. Go figure right…

We all know that in order to gain 1 pound of fat you have to consume 3500 calories. By cutting 500 calories from your diet each day you should lose 1 pound per week. The key is knowing how many calories you should be eating a day. There are a ton of calorie counters you can google to find this out, but if you have been living off a very high calorie diet or even not eating enough then a gradual change is what you need. Just don’t jump into it cold turkey; Give your body time to adjust. First start out with tracking your meals and calculate your current macros. Once you know how many calories you’ve been taking in and what your macros are you can start adjust those fats and carbs.

Carbohydrates should make up 50% of your diet, protein 10-35%, and Fats 20-35%. Now, if you are bodybuilding, your protein will more than likely be high and fats lower, but if you are at this point you should know how to adjust macros or have a coach/dietitian/trainer. I’m a fan of the IIFYM diet and I will often share this method. Everyone I have shared it with sees results, plus you get to eat what you want. So, don’t be intimidated by macro calculating; it’s simple and tasty too.

 

Stay Driven