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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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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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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

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Wanna Get Big… Eat Carbs

Yes! I want to get big you say, but carbs will make me fat! Well not necessarily. When my trainer told me that my carbs were going to increase by 100g I said the same thing. I was totally scared and afraid of what would happen to my body. Well, guess what, the only thing that happened is happiness. Carbs make me smile and my muscles love them. “Well don’t they turn into fat”? that’s what you’re thinking right? The function of carbohydrates are to increase insulin and the increase in insulin leads to fat storage, but wait, insulin is not the exact reason why you store. It is the imbalance of energy vs. fuel that does.

So yes, if you sit around and eat a excess amount of carbs then your body is going to store them nicely in your fat cells. Per uptodate.com, a medical site commonly used by doctors, your carbs should be approximately 50% of your caloric intake. Strange right, yea I thought so too after being mentally conditioned by previous trainers to keep them below 100g instead of the 180g I’m currently on. Another great thing is carbs increase your GAINZ.

The increase in insulin actually drives amino acids into your muscles which leads to muscle growth via protein synthesis. Awesome right! I know. Let’s not forget energy. Carbs equal glucose, glucose equals fuel, which means you have more energy to optimize physical performance. Thus meaning a productive day in the gym. No carbs, no glucose, decrease performance means that you’re not getting BIG.

When it comes to competition prep, off season is the best time to get big. Slowly increase your carbs to aid in muscle growth. It is not until active prep that you need to worry about carb depletion as a tool to shred down and if you’ve managed your macros properly in off season you won’t need to deplete as much. Even while on prep my carb intake is higher than most. Good off season leads to a good prep. As you can now see carbs are your friend, so eat them.

Stay driven All

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Don’t Just Prep for 10 seconds Pre For life

You might read the title and think hmmm… What does she mean by that. Well, I have been competing for 3 years now and have changed trainers a few times. What I have noticed is that everyone has the same goal, but different ways of achieving it. If you are interested in competing you have to ask your self, “How do I want to prep and what type of health do I want after prep”.

Now that you have decided that you want a healthy prep that ensures a healthy life after the competition (Yes… you do want a healthy life after competition) it’s time to think about diet.  This is where things get a little interesting. Many people use the “Bro” method of dieting, If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), and even some competitors are vegan. Yes vegan, and I’ve seen some killer vegan competitors. The biggest mistake about the whole meal prep is choosing unqualifed individuals to write meal plans for you. You can eat fruits and a variety of vegetables while on prep. Don’t let anyone say you can’t.

When you go long periods without certain fruits and veggies guess what??? You can end up malnourished and who want dull teeth or no teeth. Eat your fruits and veggies please. Not to mention your body will be craving all the vitamins and minerals you are lacking and drive you to bing.  Again, killing all your hard work in the gym.

Moral of the story… diet is the key to getting that win. You can train all you want, but you can’t get that winning physique unless you are on a diet that is right for you. Make sure your trainer is also certified to provide you with a balance diet and most of all you need to take ownership of your health. A few seconds of stage time is not worth years of trying to fix your organs and metabolism.

Stay Driven All

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Fitness and PA School

College in its self is a difficult task… Especially as an adult. Not everyone can do college right after High school. Some people might not be ready, can’t afford it or maybe they just  missed too many deadlines. I can say in my case it was a combination of them all. Luckily I was blessed with the opportunity to get in to the military’s Interservice Physician Assistant Program attending the University of Nebraska. Let me tell you… It’s PA school on steroids.

You get your Bachelor in Science in sixteen months of death by powerpoint. Days are long and every fifty minutes you get about ten minutes to stretch your legs. Some days it’s a toss up between stretching your legs, taking a nap, or studying for the next test. Test days you mostly crash on breaks because, for most, getting up at two in the morning to cram equals a passing grade. When you walk across the stage and look back the last sixteen months you wonder how you made it because you don’t even remember what happened the last year of your life. All you remember is medical terms, conditions and disturbing pictures, but you’re happy to be on your way to the Masters part of the program.

Yay! you think when you realize its no more death by power point, but wait… Now it’s patient care. I’m not foreign to patient care, but it’s different when you have someone staring at you, judging your every word. This person has the power to make or break your rotation and all you can think about is surviving. At some point in time you get comfortable with your preceptor, but now it’s onto the next section. Working, studying, writing, researching and presentations is now what you must do. Feeling tired and maybe a little burnt out? Not yet lady you have to a family and goals.

It might sound like a nightmare, but at the end of it all you stand tall and proud knowing that you were resilient enough to battle through it all. Carving out time for school, kids and training. While in this program I trained for three competitions, went pro while getting my Bachelors degree, did my pro debut, and parented solo (hubby was deployed) while getting my Masters. Was it hard? HECK YES! But like I always say… If I can YOU CAN!

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Kids & The Gym

“How do you do it”, is the question people ask me the most. I have to be honest with you. It is not easy. April 2016 my Husband got orders to go to Cali and I was left behind in San Antonio to finish school. I was getting my Bachelorette in Science in a sixteen month time period. So, pretty much my life consisted of around the clock studying. Competing and training was my only outlet and we did the best we could flying me between Cali and Texas for family time.

Now I’m completing my Masters in Physician Assistant Studies in twelve months. My husband is deployed which places all task on my shoulders. It is always hard enough to balance kids, house and work, but on top of that trying to maintain my own hobbies. I stressed, I cried and felt like I was at my wits end. At one point I felt like I had to give up training, but then “Preparation” was the goal.

Learning to stay ahead is key. You have to prep, prep, prep. Meal prep, Day prep, night prep, and gym prep. I knew that if I had a long day ahead of me then the night before I needed to prep all my meals, my clothes, their clothes, their gym meals and snacks. Yes, some days I was fatigue after work, but that changes after you get a little pre workout in while the weeples eat. That’s how you get to the gym, but what about the house and studying?

We all hates the house work after a long day, but tackle the most needed task for the night. Wash dishes as you cook…. Wipe the table while you clean up dinner and train your self to do a little every night before going to bed. I handle studying the same way. Preparation right! If you set a time for baths, bed, cleaning, and studying you will find balancing it all is not that chaotic. Kids are pretty durable and if you as mom stick to the plan they will as well. Remember If I can you can!

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Bodybuilding Bikini Competitor

There is nothing easy about being anything in the title. We all know that being a parent is a whole new adventure in it’s self.

Before I started the sport when I heard the word bikini competition I could only think about the girls gone wild type and definitely have never been about that life. But, I was so wrong.

I followed varies women for natural hair inspiration and became intrigued by one vloggers bodybuilding journey. Here I was a mom of two with my youngest being 1 and me still carrying baby fat topping the scale at 150 lbs. a light went off and I said, “that’s it, I’m doing it… I’m losing this weight.”

My first trainer just so happened to be a bikini competitor and was competing at a national level. She showed no mercy and if she hadn’t I would have never made it this far. Now, I train with Mind Body and Fuel and let me tell you… they have a interesting way of training. Let’s say you will get the job done. But what I love about them is the family type atmosphere. I have met some amazing women.

That is the greatest thing about the sport period. You meet some amazing women… from all walks of life, in all areas of fitness, with a different journey to the stage. Some do it for the win and some for personal reasons, but it definitely was easy for each one of us.

Yes, we have the most body fat percentage of the sport, ok, and we do girly stuff, but we still bust our arse ( yes arse). 5-6 days a week working out for that 10 seconds or slight more on stage to showcase your hard work. Not to mention all the glits and glam, cost of the suit, and not being able to shower after the tan. Everyone knows what happens when you don’t shower right… Thank goodness it’s only for a day and the keep it extremely cold in the building.

But I love it. The competition is within my self. Pushing my self to be better than I was the last show. My weeples looking up to me telling me their proud of me. Knowing that I’m their example. I do it for that. I do it for the amazing friendships you gain along the way, I do it for the after show meal… If I can you can

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Wives and Mothers

Many times we get so preoccupied with providing for our immediate family that we let our own needs suffer. It is a difficult task to balance each hour of the day. When you wake you rush to get the kids up, dressed and cook breakfast. For some you also have the task of helping the husband as well. Some women then rush of to work crunching ever minute they have and praying that they get there on time to hold onto their position in this male dominated world. Then you have the women that finally get everyone out the door only to turn around and start their daily house tasks, errands, grocery shopping and more.

Its not a secret that as women we wear so many faces and have to be masters at juggling. Life is a circus and we survive it with a smile and pretty face, but deep inside many of us feel lost. You feel as if you don’t know your self any longer and find unhappiness with just being the “mom” or “wife’.

What we don’t see most of the time is that along the way it is little things that we do to make out selves happy. Little hobbies we have created throughout the years that bring us joy and in all honesty we just haven’t had the time to focus on the pearls.

I am here to tell you it is ok to be selfish enough to explore your pearls. Skip switching those clothes to the dryer to cultivate yourself. Be a few minutes late to work kissing you weeps goodbye and don’t worry about your image at the job. Yes, we carry a lot of stress, but so have all the mothers and wives before us and you know what… They did it!!! Don’t think that just because you choose the selfless life you can’t have a little moments of selfishness. You must to keep your sanity. So, love your self, pamper your self, leave that mess on the floor. No one is going to die from it and go explore your pearls. If I can you can!

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In The Begining

So this begins my journey of blogging. I use to sit back and wonder why would anyone blog, but the funny thing is we all blog through Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites we use. Fact is many people ask me about my journey into the fitness lifestyle as well as how I manage serving my country, motherhood, competing soaping, school and all the other things that I do.

ONE DAY AT A TIME!!! 

Just keep going and never give up. The biggest part of being successful at juggling all tasks and goals is organization. Followed by a positive attitude. One quote that has always stayed with me is, “Your attitude determines your altitude”. Stay driven!