Friday, October 30, 2015

Catching Up

Well. It is hard to believe that it's been so many months since I've been on here! Where do I even begin on describing the twists and turns my fitness journey has taken? Sadly, between starting back college, dating, and the typical time-consuming things in a day, I have veered off track. There are no excuses for it, however. As I've said many times before, if you get yourself into a rut, a few days of skipping out may turn into a few months before you even know what's happened. I hope you all have had better success with your healthy lifestyles and that you're having a great Halloween weekend!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

So You've Gotten Out of the Habit

It feels like it's been months since I've been on here! The last few weeks have been crazy, and on top of neglecting this blog, I've been neglecting my fitness routine as well-- with the exception of the last few days. That's why the topic of this post is so appropo for me.

So... You've gotten out of the habit of working out. Gasp! The horror! How on earth are you going to get back into it?

This isn't a totally uncovered area on this blog, so if I get a little repetitious of a few of my other posts, please forgive me. Let's get started.

You really do not feel like it. C'mon, you've just gotten off from work, gotten in from the hot sun, been out all day long with friends, etc. You're tired and really do not feel like doing anything except planting your butt on the couch. Believe me, I have been there everyday of my life. So here's what I did:

1. I thought about it when I woke up.
2. I thought about it when I drove to work.
3. I had a hearty lunch in preparation of working out later.
4. I thought about it when I drove home.
5. I tried to talk myself out of it and fall asleep on the couch.
6. I forced myself to do 50 squats.

That's all I did for my first day of getting back into it.

The next day, I thought about what I was wanting to target. So I did 5 minutes of core, 5 minutes of back-strengthening yoga, and 2 minutes of cardio. That's about 12 minutes of exercise. Not so bad, right?

Just try to increase the time you spend by a few minutes each day. Get back to it! Have fun with it!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Athletic vs. Fit

When I see someone who is really fit, I immediately think, "Wow, she (or he) must be athletic." Because I'm tall, people tend to assume that I'm a basketball player, volleyball player, track athlete, etc. However, if they ever have the misfortune of seeing me attempting to play any sport, they quickly realize that I am uncoordinated. I'll meander for a second and tell you a slightly entertaining story. A few days ago, one of the kids that goes to the summer camp that I work as a counselor for looked over and saw me supervising as the kids played basketball. He came over to me and said, "Hey Ash-a-leigh [every kid I work with adds an extra syllable to my name for some reason], come shoot some with me." I make no bones about it, I'm not athletic. I told him that I wasn't any good, and he responded by taking hold of my arm and pulling me out onto the court with a "I'll teach you!" Five minutes and three epic failed shots later, I made one basket. One of the male counselors that I work with was practically rolling in the floor laughing at my sad attempts, but I left that kid feeling pretty accomplished, having made one shot and all. So let's make a distinction here: if you are athletic, you can be fit; if you're fit, you can be athletic. But, they are not mutually inclusive. So, if you see someone who is fit, try not to immediately make the assumption that they are also athletic. Likewise, if you see someone who you wouldn't consider to be fit, try not to assume that they aren't athletic. Some of the most athletic people I know don't look fit in the least. I hope this post doesn't seem pointless; it was just something that has been on my mind. Hope you all are having a great week!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

When You Just Don't Feel Like It

I started my new job a few weeks ago. As a summer camp counselor, I am pretty much exhausted by the time I get home at night, what with kids always wanting to play and the hot sun beating down. So, how do you get a good workout in once you get off from work?

Protein! Protein throughout the day will keep you going. I bought some mixed nuts that have a lot of protein in them and snack on them throughout the day, which is important for two reasons. The first is that it keeps my energy up; the second is that in order for your stomach to maintain its calorie-burning capacity, your body can't go without food for more than three hours. You hear that, my weight-loss people? You can continue to eat and lose weight! Win-win, no? However, I highly recommend snacking on nuts, string cheese (only 50 calories and packed with protein), a protein bar, or another healthy alternative. Eating a candy bar probably isn't going to do it for you (sorry).

Get plenty of sleep! Duh, you say. With a good night's sleep, you can tackle your day and a workout after.

Breakfast. Eat a hardy breakfast. I drive an hour to get to work, and believe me, having time for anything other than remembering pants is a miracle. Sometimes I only have time for a lowfat greek yogurt, some of my mixed nuts (I'm slightly obsessed), coffee, and maybe a banana. If you don't have time for a four-course breakfast, that's okay. Just have something to keep you going.

Drink plenty of water! Shoot for nine cups a day. If you're the kind of person who really doesn't like having a lot of water, you can buy something to flavor it or just pace yourself. Have a glass every hour for eight or nine hours.

Think about it. On your drive home, think about what you'd like to do for the rest of the day. If working out isn't a top priority, do one thing you really want to do, then push everything else back behind your workout. For instance, on my drive home (like I said, I have a ton of time) I'll think about how good planting my butt on the couch and watching The Simpsons for a mind-numbing four hours sounds. Usually dinner is on my mind as well and definitely a shower to wash a day's worth of grime off my body. The Internet also calls my name and I think about my Instagram, my Pinterest, and this blog, along with a ton of fitness sites I peruse often. Once I get home, I'll eat dinner, workout, then relax to some crude humor, take a shower, and do everything else that I need or want to do. Find a place and time to squeeze in that workout!

Just do it. After you think about it, stop. Clear your head and just get into it. Even if you're exhausted, you'll feel better after you move your body and sweat a little (or a lot). So... Just do it!

However, if there's a day that you feel like you just cannot make yourself workout, don't feel down about taking a rest day. If you still don't feel up to it the next day, try to do something, even if it's a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood or backyard. Try not to skip more than two days in a row--it makes it so hard to get back into it! I hope you all found this helpful!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Workout Apps

When it comes to working out, I like switching it up. I feel like after a while of doing the same exercises, the muscles that are worked are so used to that range of motion that it isn't as effective; to combat this, I use various exercises to target different muscles. As such, I have tried several different fitness apps. I'll discuss a couple here.

  1. Sworkit- I downloaded this app yesterday and went through several of their exercises. Once the app is launched, the screen is split into four categories: Strength, Cardio, Yoga, and Stretching. I started out my workout with Cardio, selecting Light Warm Up Cardio for five minutes. Don't be fooled; "Light Warm Up" is not a walk in a park but a series of fast-paced exercises designed to get your heart pumping. By the end of it, I was pretty sweaty. I then went to the Strength category and chose to work with Core Strength for another five minutes. Their exercises are fairly challenging but not ridiculously hardcore. With the ability to chose how long you wanted to spend in each given area, the customization was really nice. Also, the app is free and without very many limitations from the paid version. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of launching into a workout app and getting into it only for a little window to pop up saying that to continue I'd need to pay for the full version. I mean, I understand why app developers do that, but... There are a ton of workout apps out there that are free.
  2. Nike Training- Probably my least favorite part of this app is having to download the workouts. Other than that, I do like it as it gives a variety of "goals" such as "Get Lean," "Get Toned," "Get Strong," and "Get Focused." I think it's safe to say that most people exercise with different intents as to what they want out of their workout (beyond of course the universal goal of being healthy). I also really like the workout suggestions that appear as soon the app opens; the particular workout that is being suggested tells you what it's for, how long it takes, and how many are participating in it. I'm not sure about you, but I like knowing that others are sweating it out too. This app also gives you the option of creating your own 4-week program, and as an example, I chose Get Toned at Beginner level with Running to build endurance. For the first week, it gives me five days of exercises, including a 30 minute workout, a 3-mile run, a 45 minute workout, another 3 mile run, and finishing up with a 15 minute workout. If you're someone who needs consistency, I highly recommend this app (and particularly the program feature of this app) to you. 
And that's all I've got for you at the moment! Do you have any workout apps that you really like? What are the benefits/pitfalls of these apps in your opinion? Feel free to comment your thoughts! I hope you're all feeling awesome and ready to kick some butt in your own fitness routines! As for me, I'm off to "Swork" Out! [Excuse the silly pun]

Monday, May 25, 2015

Escaping the Rut

I seem to have fallen into a rut lately. Blame it on the night studying for exams, prepping for a new job, summer.... It really doesn't matter what caused it; what does matter is how to get out of it. So, how do you get out of a hole that was so insidious that you never saw it forming beneath your feet? 

Allow me to explain what happens to me when I 'fall into a rut.' 

  1. I feel tired and restless.
  2. I don't want to work out.
  3. My insecurities creep up on me tenfold.
  4. Eating becomes an afterthought. I don't eat too little or too much, but find myself feeling sluggish as if anything in my stomach is weighing me down [weird, I know].
  5. My emotions either are out of hand or nonexistent.
  6. Overall, I feel terrible.

Here's the main problem with these [excuse the term] symptoms: if I feel bad, feel tired, don't feel like working out, then I don't do anything. When I don't do anything, I feel worse. It's a cycle, and a very bad one if I don't break out of it. So back to the question I posed earlier: how do I fix it?

Exercising is honestly the best remedy for everything almost anything you can think of [if you're realistic]. I am not a health professional, but from personal experience, I can attest to the fact that exercising during the day gives you a better night's sleep, a healthier appetite, a better view of yourself, a more balanced emotional state, and a more positive outlook on life. So why have I not exercised 'lately'? Refer to symptom #2. So working out is the answer (for me anyway) and yet one of the problems is that I don't want to. How do you make yourself motivate yourself to work out? 

  1. Use a little fitness inspiration. I've cautioned against overusing Pinterest and other sources of "fitspo" but a little isn't so bad.
  2. Buy put on workout gear. I strike through 'buy' because while discussing this topic with my sister, she made the valid point that she certainly wouldn't buy workout clothes that she doesn't feel like wearing. Put them on and get to it, as she would say.
  3. Set goals/deadlines and use a reward system. You should work out for the ultimate goal of being healthy, but at the same time, treating yourself to something special after a rigorous workout session isn't a terrible idea.
  4. Get outside. Toss around a baseball, jump rope, chase some birds, just do something to get your heart pumping and your sebaceous glands secreting!
  5. Do a little soul searching. Figure out what started your slump and try to work through it or get past it. Sometimes it just takes a little time to heal your wounds, whatever they may be. But in the meantime, try to stay healthy.
I'll definitely be using some of these techniques. It's good to also use your support system as well [my sister in times like these bears the majority of my complaints and insecurities, and she does it mostly like a champ]. Sending love from the hole I'm climbing out of! Hope everyone is having a wonderful Memorial Day and enjoying the ever-approaching summer.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fit Versus Skinny: The Battle of Societal Pressures

This isn't a completely uncovered topic on here, but I often come back to it. I mean, all you have to do is take a look around at our society. Let me ask you something however: What are the benefits of being fit? I chatter about "living a fit and healthy lifestyle" without truly discussing how why it's important, and that's an oversight on my part. Hopefully I can remedy that now. First, let's discuss the benefits of being skinny.
Benefits? You say, staring at your computer/tablet/cell phone. What benefits?
1. Typically you look pretty good in clothes. Out of clothes? Let's not talk about that.
2. Your grocery bill isn't very large.
3. You feel accomplished that while others have to "work" at maintaining a slim physique, you do it without much fuss.
4. While others agonize over being "too fat," you can relax knowing you'll never be one of those girls.
Societal pressures have given birth to concepts like the one above.

Lies. Particularly #4. This is coming from personal experience, but I feel pretty confident in saying that if you are or ever have been someone who has to stay skinny, you're never satisfied. Oh, you're a size four? Too fat, you're taking up too much space. Size two? Um, hello, zero is the new size two. This line of thinking is not healthy. I do not, do not, support this thinking.

Let's talk about the benefits of being fit.
1. You typically look great in clothes, but out of clothes? Major bonus!
2. Your grocery bill usually is bigger (healthy food isn't cheap), but your body will thank you.
3. You feel accomplished every time you look in the mirror. You remember where you started, see where you are, and set goals of where you want to be.
4. Being "too fat" isn't really a concern. Being healthy, feeling and sleeping well, staying positive, and wondering whether you can increase your reps by ten today are your main concerns.

I have been a "skinny girl," and I am working hard to become a "fit girl." One of the greatest benefits of adopting a fit and healthy lifestyle is looking feeling amazing. Believe me, my confidence took a major boost as well.  I have slept better, had more energy, and been much happier in the last few months than I ever have been before. I hope everyone is feeling great! I'm sending much love to you all.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

To Have [or Not to Have]: Thigh Gap

Can we just take a second and discuss the infamous "thigh gap"? The obsession and disgust for a thigh gap is nearly equally present in today's society; you see such negative posts as

This compilation of negative posts does a pretty good job of illustrating my point. For a lot of people, achieving a "thigh gap" is not as simple as a few plie squats-- so many think that they must skip meals and lose weight. It isn't healthy to starve yourself, no matter how you paint it to yourself, your friends, or to the world. If you're truly hung up on having a thigh gap, focus on slimming down in a healthy way. Work out, eat well, and if you end up with an overall healthy body with a little gap between your thighs, then great for you. But if you don't, don't be discouraged! A thigh gap doesn't make or break you in any way. Smile at your thighs, whether they touch or whether they don't. If your body, mind, and spirit are healthy, there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Now, on the flip-side... For the people who are completely disgusted with the idea of a "thigh gap," try to keep an open mind. I agree that obsessing over having a thigh gap is unhealthy, but just because someone does have a little thigh gap doesn't mean they are unhealthy. I work out, I eat as well as I possibly can, and with the way I am made, I have a "thigh gap." My [twin] sister also has a thigh gap. I can promise you that a "thigh gap" does not make you disgusting or un-sexy, whether you have one or you don't.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sometimes It's Best Not to "Model" Yourself After Others

Okay, I may be opening a can of worms with this post, but this has been on my mind lately. I follow a lot of models and various fashion icons on Instagram... I adore the fashion world. Anyway, I came across an unfamiliar pretty face and started following her... Romee Strijd. Now, don't get me wrong, I think Romee is gorgeous, but...

It's not her extreme slenderness that bothers me. It's the reaction people have to her... On Instagram, I've read comments such as "I need to stop eating ice cream" and "Body goals!" and other such things. Again, this post is not meant to slam her or anyone else. But at the same time, her body shape is not a realistic "body goal" (in my opinion), and it frightens me to think of the ways people may try in order to make themselves look like her. Upon googling her measurements, I found that she is 31-23-33 and 5'10". She is so, so narrow and believe me, to go from virtually any weight to a weight needed to look like her is not only unrealistic but unhealthy. And again, these are my opinions and you are more than welcome to disagree. Regardless, this is where I stand: please do not base how you would like to look on girls like this. Again, she is beautiful and I am not saying anything against her, but she is unique, as are each of you, and as a unique, beautiful human being, please please be realistic about yourself and don't get hung up on looking like her. You can be healthy and fantastic and you. I truly hope I haven't offended anyone, but I needed to get it off my chest. Thank you for stopping by and as always, I hope you are all feeling amazing and having a great week.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


I realize that my muscle is not terribly impressive.... But that's kind of the point, isn't it? It's more than I had yesterday and less than I'll have tomorrow. Progress-- whether small or huge-- is something to embrace whole-heartily and nothing to be scoffed at.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Motivation [Or the How-To's]

While talking to a friend about fitness, she asked me how I stay motivated. That's not an easy question to give a straight answer to, so instead of saying anything, I just sent her a link to my blog. As I have said before, I find it extremely important to find people who support you. My sister forms my rock when it comes to fitness to everything; she listens to my doubts, my complaints, my deepest insecurities and always rebuts my claims of inadequacy. This blog acts as another source of motivation; I push myself harder in the hopes that I can inspire others to adopt a better healthier lifestyle. But if you're looking for a source of motivation, look no further than yourself. Take pictures of yourself (selfie it up--no shame) every day, every week, or once a month-- however often you feel comfortable or remember to do it. By having these visual "aids," you motivate yourself with the desire to reach the results you want to see in yourself. I'll take a moment to caution against using Pinterest as a mode of "motivation" as while there are plentiful "fitspo" pins (refer back to my post about the feminine fitness image), spending hours scrolling through these pictures pale in comparison to the progress you could have made using that time on your own body. Even so, spending a few minutes looking at these pins to motivate you isn't a completely terrible practice; just don't spend hours doing it. Sending my love and appreciation to you for stopping by! Please take a second to leave a comment on your thoughts about motivation... It would be much appreciated!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Let's Be Reasonable....

I have decided to start a series of reasons to work out. All the pictures will be of me personally (please don't think I'm vain) but hopefully will also help everyone see the results you can start seeing with consistent exercise. Sending much love to you all!

Friday: Back, Arms, and Inner Thighs

Intensity: 4 out of 5

Back: same
Arms: same
Inner thighs: same

So with this post, I'm almost caught up (thank goodness). While I was doing my arm exercises last night, I noticed that I was curving my wrists as I was doing my rows. I couldn't figure out why I was doing that at first, but I decided to try heavier weights, and that fixed my technique error. If you ever feel like an arm exercise is either too easy or not right somehow, I recommend trying a slightly heavier weight. Sometimes that's all it takes! As always, have a great weekend!

Thursday: Abs, Butt, and Yoga

Intensity: 3 out of 5

Abs: same as before
Butt: same as before
Yoga: same as before

You may have noticed that I didn't schedule a rest day for this week. With the workouts I have been doing, I didn't want to take a break. However, rest days are important, especially after rigorous exercises. Even if you plan on working out everyday, you can always assess how you're feeling and decide to take that day as a rest day. Just get back to it the next day!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Back, Arms, and HIIT

Intensity: 4 out of 5

Back: Same as Monday's

Arms: Same as Monday's

Elbow plank

  • 10 seconds hold, 20 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, 20 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds hold, 30 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds hold, 60 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, 30 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, 20 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, 10 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, DONE
An important note: you're probably aware of this already, but be really cognizant of your breathing throughout your workout. As I learned the hard way, improper breathing can make a workout not only uncomfortable but also bring it to a dead halt, if not an unsatisfying end. I should probably also remind you to not overdo it; if you ever feel like a particular exercise is too strenuous or hurts, stop. The best thing to do (in my opinion) is to learn your limitations and build your exercise routine around them. You may find that in time what once was a limitation is no longer an issue. But no matter what, please be smart about your fitness. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Abs, Legs, and Inner Thighs

Intensity: 3 out of 5

Abs: same as on Sunday

40 reps (each leg)

  • Forward leg lift
  • Reverse leg lift (arabesque)
  • Plie (first position)
  • Plie (second position)
  • Hamstring press (attitude position)
  • Runner's lunge (as a good stretch at the end)
Inner Thighs:
2 sets of 15 reps
  • Deep squat
  • Slide side lunge
  • Wide stance squat
  • Scissor raises
  • Lying leg lift
  • Thrust and squeeze

I'm really sorry that I've managed to get behind on my days! I'll try to post twice so that I can catch up in the next day or two... The leg exercises are difficult and will make you feel a little like a ballerina (or a wannabe ballerina if you're not very good at ballet, like me), but they really work and you'll feel them. The inner thighs are probably to most difficult to target in my opinion... Anyway, I'll get off of here and do my workout for today. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Back, Arms, and Yoga

This was yesterday's workout... I'm sorry that I didn't post it then.

Intensity: 3 out of 5

2 sets of 15 reps

  • Mountain climbers
  • Straight triceps kickback
  • Jump rope (45 secs)
  • Bent-over fly
  • Compass jumping jacks (45 secs)
  • Modified pull down
2 sets of 15 reps
  • Bent-over dumbbell rows
  • Chest-fly hand-off
  • Shoulder cycles
  • Overhead tricep extensions
  • Half-kneeling bicep curls
30 secs/pose
  • Child's pose
  • Downward facing dog
  • Warrior II
  • Plank pose
  • Fierce pose
  • Tree pose
  • Garland pose
  • Boat pose
  • Bridge pose
  • Half-lord of the fishes

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Abs, Butt, and HIIT-- Oh My!

Intensity of the entire workout: 4 out of 5 (5 being pretty intense).

For abs:
3 sets of 15 reps

  • Squat and Reach
  • Push-up Rotation
  • V-Sits
  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Reverse Crunch
For butt:
3 sets of 15 reps
  • Roundhouse
  • Tree Arabesque
  • Slide Sculptor
  • Demi Plie
  • Deep squat
5 rounds
  • 20 seconds of high knees
  • 20 seconds of squats
  • 20 seconds of basic burpees

When I have more time, I'll describe how to do some of these exercises, maybe with some photo references. Until then.... Have a fantastic week!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Little Personal Insight

Up to this point, I've been basically just musing about the mechanics of a healthy lifestyle. For this week, I'm going to change it up a little. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to (try my best to) post every day as to my personal workout routine. I'll go ahead and just give a brief schedule of what I'm doing this week.

Sunday- Abs, butt, and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Monday- Back, arms, and yoga
Tuesday- Abs, legs, and inner thighs
Wednesday- Back, arms, and HIIT
Thursday- Abs, butt, and yoga
Friday- Back, arms, and inner thighs
Saturday- Abs, legs, and HIIT

I just made this schedule, and it's definitely subject to change. There may be some running thrown in, but since it is supposed to rain, I'm leaving it off for now. Thank you all for visiting my page, and I hope your weekend is great! I'm excited to get started tomorrow!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Gym

This will probably just be me babbling, so you've been warned. I've been thinking a lot about the gym lately. The gym (I'm not entirely sure why) always sends a feeling of unease down my spine. I suppose the thought of other people seeing me working out makes me uncomfortable. Besides, I always imagine gyms to be full of men. What I have failed to see in these silly thoughts, however, is that if you're at a gym, you probably don't have much time to look around and watch other people working out. Also, if you're at the gym, it's because you also want to improve your body, which is why I'm there anyway. So, what's the big deal? If I look ridiculous or wear out more quickly than I'd like, the chance of someone saying anything or even noticing is minuscule. However, I like working out in my home because I find it more convenient, despite only living two minutes from a gym (oops). What are your thoughts on the gym? Do you prefer working out at home or in a gym?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dear Fitness Journal....

Here's an idea (although not altogether completely original): keep a fitness journal. I'm not talking about counting calories or forming nutrition guides or anything like that in it, though. Instead, buy a cheap (or fancy, up to you) journal, notebook, or whatever you feel like spending the money on, and use it as your fitness buddy. Write down how you're feeling, whether you're having doubts, inspirational quotes or thoughts that motivate you. Jot down healthy recipes that you want to try and leave room to make comments or adjustments whenever you do try it. Play with exercise plans and routines, sketch out a rough weekly schedule and just have fun with it. I'm constantly trying new things, such as new yoga poses or new exercises to target more specific areas of my body, and with a fitness journal, keeping up with these things would be one hundred times easier. It would also make a great reference for use later; you can flip back and see what you've tried, what's worked, and what hasn't, and perfect a workout plan that works best for you. Fitness isn't something that has to be set in stone; you shouldn't be constricted to a workout video or the same exercises at the gym. If that's what works for you, then that's great. Still, it's nice to be creative with your fitness routine. Try it and please let me know how it goes for you!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Beautiful Mind

I've talked a lot about keeping the body healthy. However, keeping your mind healthy is just as important, if not more important. Because, while you only get one body, you also will only ever be you (unless you've got a multi-personality disorder or something). I digress. So, how do you keep your mind healthy? I am someone who has to feel sharp-- it's just who I am. When I'm sluggish or feeling "off," it really bothers me. The number one thing that I rely heavily on (besides for coffee) is sleep. If I get less than six hours of sleep, I'm an absolute mess. And, as I'm sure I've said before, sleep sometimes isn't a priority with college. Regardless, I have no energy without much sleep, my brain feels like it's in shock, and I typically feel down. If you're someone who doesn't get much sleep and spend a lot of time feeling the way I just described, you may want to look into something to help. I'm not a doctor (obviously), but from personal experience, my personality actually changed with more sleep. I have found yoga to be an excellent way of clearing my mind before bed and a cleanser for any bad energy I may be feeling. Another thing that (I think) is conducive to a healthy mind is eating healthy. As I'm not an over-eater by any stretch of the imagination, I can only talk from the perspective of an under-eater. I don't talk a lot about some of my past bad habits, but I will always speak out against any form of an eating disorder. So anyway, if I didn't eat much food, I would get these awful migraines. I felt tired and "off" a lot of the time, and I always had trouble with awful moods creeping up on me. Since I've started eating properly and focusing on a fit and healthy lifestyle, I rarely get headaches, my thoughts are quicker and more "sharp," and I sleep better. In all honesty, I feel like a different person. Still, like I've also said before, I still have days where I struggle, but I have come a long way from the person I used to be. However, the focus of this post and this blog is not to chart my recovery (I really don't like that term) from my past bad habits but to focus on the present and future, and hopefully help you in some way, too. If you have a few minutes, please leave a comment on how you keep your mind healthy. I absolutely love hearing about other people's thoughts and opinions! I hope you all have a very beautiful Saturday and enjoy the weekend.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Feminine "Fitness" Image

The feminine "fitness" image-- you know the one I'm talking about: washboard abs, moderately muscular legs with a considerable "thigh gap," large breasts, long hair.... The fitness side of Pinterest is rife with these women. Underneath (I'm guilty of it too) is typically some comment about it being "fitness goals!" or "the perfect body!" Which is nice and all, but honestly, unrealistic (for the most part). Of course, if you're one of those people who epitomize the feminine fitness image, I'm jealous. Because even though I'm tall and relatively thin, I couldn't be all of those things. Even if I got the washboard abs, muscular legs, and long hair, I won't have the large breasts, unless by a miracle or a few thousand dollars. My point here is that it's okay if you don't look like those woman. You are your own brand of beautiful. You have your own line of fitness. You only have one body, and it's the one you're in right now, and fantasizing about looking like or being someone else will honestly not help. Instead, focus on how you want your own body to look. Be comfortable in your own skin, and if you aren't, then instead of feeling down or discouraged, use that as your motivation. Your body truly is a temple!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Progress? Let's Hope!

So here's the deal... I have noodle arms. However, I'm hoping with time that that will change. I'm already starting to see a difference (maybe I'm delusional or overly optimistic) and I believe that by eating right, exercising consistently and lifting weights (I'm a beginner, so I'm using 8 lb weights— you're welcome to tease), I'll get there. I hope everyone is having a fantastic Wednesday! I'll be back on here a little later, but I was just wanting to share while I was thinking about it!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Strive for Better—I Beg You

So if you're reading this, I'll warn you now that I'm about to rant. I was on Instagram (add me if you feel like it, I'm ashleighanndye) and perusing various fitness users. I came across the hashtag 'anorexic' in one of the comments and I opened it. I think all the blood drained out of my face. Are there really that many hurting people? I try not to pass judgment on anyone, but I couldn't keep the tears out of my eyes. I don't look at these people with disgust. I just feel sad. I wish they could understand that living a healthy lifestyle, working out, getting involved with other people looking to do the same would make all the difference in the world. Believe me, I've had my issues with weight and still struggle with it to this day, but since I've come to the realization I just stated, I have become so much happier and healthier. So I'm begging anyone who will listen, if you know someone, or are yourself, struggling with anorexia, bulimia, etc., get help. Reach out to people who can help. 

A Speedy Breakfast Idea... Omelette in under Five Minutes!

I don't know about you, but I really don't have time to have breakfast every morning. Sometimes I wolf down a quick breakfast bar or Pop-Tart, but I don't know if that really constitutes as a healthy meal to start the day. However, I have recently discovered the power of the microwave and a few simple ingredients in a mug. So which sounds better to you: a Pop-Tart or an omelette?

Here's what you need:

Olive oil or cooking spray
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. shredded cheese (whatever you have on hand)
1 Tbsp. salsa
1 Tbsp. meat (ham, turkey.. whatever you want or none if you're feeling vegetarian)
Pinch of salt (and pepper if you're into that)

Here's what you do:

  1. Coat a mug with either olive oil or cooking spray
  2. Add the two eggs to the mug, breaking the yolks and mixing to a constant consistency with a fork
  3. Add the salsa, shredded cheese, and salt
  4. Cube the meat and add it as well
  5. Mix well with the fork and cook in the microwave on high for one minute
  6. Remove the mug (careful, it may be really hot), take your fork and break apart the egg that's formed on top and mix well with the remaining egg mixture in the bottom of the mug
  7. Put the mug back into the microwave and give it another minute.
And there you go! An omelette (of sorts) in under five minutes! I found the basis for this idea on Pinterest (of course...) and tweaked it a little. I hope this is helpful!

Have other ideas for a speedy breakfast? Leave them in a comment below!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Antagonist of Your Fitness Routine

How easy it is to feel discouraged. In my opinion, that is one of the main reasons people don't stick with a fitness lifestyle; you work hard to look and feel better and sometimes you don't see results as quickly as you would like. The thing is, if you give up, metaphorically (or literally, I don't judge you) throw your hands up in defeat, you'll never see results. You are better off today, tomorrow, and many years down the road if you work through those weeks, months, or even years it may take you to start seeing results. You can do this, even if you look in the mirror and feel your body looks no different despite your efforts. You can do this, even if your brain is telling you it's pointless. You can do this because no matter if everyone thinks you can't, if you tell yourself that you can, you can do it. And you know, one day in the not so distant future, you're going to look in the mirror and notice how your body's changed, and you will feel proud of what you have accomplished and so happy that you didn't give up. Work hard and bask in knowing every day you are getting closer to the body you want. I hope you all are having a great April Fool's Day! Always feel free to leave any comments you may have or take a few minutes to talk about your own fitness journey! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Everyone Starts From Somewhere

So, this is where my health and fitness journey begins. This picture was taken today after roughly two weeks of consistent exercise and healthy eating habits. I only hope that progress will continue to be made and seen! 
   **I'm about 5'10" and 124 lbs

"Counting Calories"--Useful Practice or Pointless Endeavor?

Today was the first time I have ever "counted calories," and I must say, it was a little depressing. I mean, I've never really been the kind of person who obsesses over whether I am following the serving size or if the calories I'm consuming are large in number or small. It's just not me. But regardless, I tried it today and I was surprised by the little things: that a glass of cranberry juice (16 oz glass) added up to 280 calories or that the serving size for raisins (1/4 cup) accounted for 120 calories. Naturally I had more than just cranberry juice and raisins for lunch, but I think you get the point. So now I pose the question: just how important is it to "count calories"? Is it a necessity for someone who isn't trying to lose weight? But honestly, if you have a little extra time on your hands one day soon, try counting your calories; you may be as surprised as I was.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Healthy— What is it?

Merriam-Webster defines being healthy as "enjoying health and vigor of body, mind, or spirit :  well." Well. That sounds nice and all, but how does that apply to my life? My definition of being healthy is something along the lines of eating right, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and not being sick. Obviously. I have been taught by my parents the value of moderation, the importance of staying active, and the necessity of getting a full eight hours of sleep, but c'mon, who has time for all of that? I'm lucky to get seven hours of sleep, workout three days a week, and eat the appropriate amount of food in a day's time. For me, being healthy doesn't have a definitive definition because in this world, few things are definite. So what's your definition of healthy?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

In the Beginning....

As a college student, getting to sleep before 1 AM and remembering to grab a bite to eat for lunch can be difficult at times.  Sometimes I get so caught up in studying or rushing around trying to get everything done that a healthy lifestyle takes a backseat. My name is Ashleigh and I'm hoping to begin a chronicle of my journey to a fit and healthy lifestyle, and I'm inviting you along for the ride. I'll have to sign off for now because I have class, but I'll be back soon to get started. Namaste!