Look Ma, I'm Skating!! Circa 1983 Today I come to you with a heavy heart, yet hopeful spirit. In the fog of being selected for a new executive position, training clients and battling familial issues, very little time is afforded for blogging these days.
This excerpt isn't about meal plans, exercise routines or consistency. Rather, the highlight is based upon the "I will do it when I'm not so busy" mentality that we have all demonstrated in regard to health & wellness routine check-ups. Understandable, we're overworked, stressed and attempt to squeeze every minute from the fleeting day.
Bottom Line Up Front: If YOU aren't healthy, everything else will fall by the wayside.
Don't believe me? Has a really bad cold or flu every knocked you on your backside? Exactly how much 'stuff' was accomplished during that timeframe? My guess is, little to none. Why? Because if the machine isn't working properly, the entire system suffers.
Did you know that according to the American Cancer Society, "half of all men and one-third of all women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetimes." However, "the sooner a cancer is found and treated, the better the chances are for living for many years." Cancer screening, in itself, is one of several reasons why annual check-ups are essential.
October 2013 my Mother visited her physician with concerns regarding weight loss.
March 2014 she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, Stage 4.
July 2014 my greatest motivator passed away at the young age of 65.
Always the consummate "go-getter," she rarely made time to truly examine her health and wellness. If nothing else, please learn from our experience.
For years, I have fueled the philosophy that nutrition and fitness are key to living better, healthier lives. Today, I realize that the combination of annual check-ups AND nutrition/fitness are the golden nuggets! Don't put it off, don't wait until tomorrow, make an appointment with your doctor and get your annual exam TODAY!
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I know that you came here looking for the answer.. The magic formula.. Something that makes sense, or that you've never heard before. Well, I am going to say this gently. From start to finish, it takes less than sixty minutes to cook (and package) meals for Sunday through Wednesday. When Wednesday arrives, it will take less than sixty minutes to cook (and package) meals for Thursday through Saturday. That's it. There is no sorcery, I'm not a fan of the occult. I can't have Chuck Norris do it for you and your Mom probably isn't up for it either, sorry.. but not sorry.
Now, are there great apps that will track your macro-nutrient intake throughout the day? Absolutely. But, how many times have you starved yourself for the first half of the day and pigged out during the evening in an honest attempt to 'make up for' a deficiency in protein, carbs or calories? IF YOU DON'T TAKE THE TIME TO PREPARE, YOU WILL FAIL. As my eighth grade religion teacher would say, "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail." Sixty minutes, twice per week. Can you do it? Better yet, WILL you do it? Because I KNOW that you can...
How do I do it? That's a fair question. I hired a personal chef. I kid, I kid! Honestly, I crank up Pandora, get lost in thought and boil this, weigh that and steam something else. It's a beautiful medley, if ya' ask me. The cell phone is turned off and I am lost in creativity. Meal prep is far from applying for a MENSA membership, ANYONE can do it. I repeat, ANYONE can do it; and if you're reading this article, you are plenty capable.
So, I imagine your next question sounds something like, "But, I don't know what to cook." Noted, that is a valid concern and also a point where things get a little tricky. I've seen this situation unfold one of three ways:
Option 1: Hill wants to lose weight. Hill follows a popular fad diet advertised on the internet and sheds the desired pounds. Hill cannot live longer than 3-4 weeks on said diet and returns to normal eating habits, eventually gaining the weight back (plus additional pounds). Or worse, loses the bulk of his lean muscle mass, while gaining fat.
Option 2: Billy wants to lose fat and gain muscle. Billy is familiar with nutrients/meal planning, and decides to create a menu. Billy experiments and wastes decades of his life consuming bland chicken breast fillets and falling into traps that could have been easily avoided. Where is Billy now? Fat and angry with a well founded chicken aversion.
Option 3: Megan wants to tone up. Megan hires a nutritionist but maintains her normal workout regimen. The nutritionist devises a menu that will target her problem areas, in addition to offering meals THAT MEGAN CAN LIVE WITH. FOREVER. She learns how her body responds to certain foods, reaches her goal and incorporates those habits into a fitness lifestyle --> AS IN 'FOR LIFE.'
Are you Hill, Billy or Megan? Be honest.
With that being said, don't be a HillBilly. Meal preparation begins with properly managing your time and having the knowledge to understand WHAT needs to be prepared. It's that simple. Are you ready to change your life?
Until next time...
Alright, so how are you? Seriously. As my nana would often say, "tell me something good." How are those resolutions coming along? Are you hanging tough like NKOTB or 'got that old thing back,' like Sammie? In other words, old habits die hard, and if you've fallen back into the old way of doing things, it isn't too late. Simply press the reset button and start again tomorrow. It's THAT easy.
Before pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete, let's get down to the nitty gritty and discover WHY you're having problems with remaining consistent. Is your daily schedule realistic? Wait.. Do you even HAVE a daily schedule? Look, I know that it takes a special person (and all of 15 minutes) to create a schedule, but trust me, it is well worth the effort. In fact, I have maintained a daily schedule for as long as I can remember. Why? Because it holds me accountable while enforcing prioritization and supreme focus. With that being said, what's your excuse?
Let's break it down...
Is your schedule realistic? Are you spending too much time, "finishing things up" at work? Trust me, it can wait until tomorrow (your health cannot). Do you need to set an alarm on your phone as a reminder for meal times? Are you too tired to hit the gym after work, but stay up late watching Sons of Anarchy of Netflix? *shameful admission* Okay, okay. The point that I'm attempting to make is... IT'S TIME TO TAKE THOSE RESOLUTIONS OFF OF THE BACK BURNER AND TURN THINGS UP A NOTCH.
Hmmm.. Let's set a few goals:
1. Cheat on your boyfriend, not your diet. Joking people, jusssst kidding. For the next 14 days, commit to rocking your diet and workouts exactly as planned. No cheating.
2. Place the weight scale in the back of your closet (alongside those skinny jeans) for 14 days.
3. Create a schedule. I don't care if its listed on a post-it note or full blown excel sheet; just make it realistic and tape it in an area that you cannot avoid (i.e., bathroom mirror, refrigerator, front door). Check out my color-coded beauty below. I would be so lost without her!! Don't worry about making it pretty, JUST GET IT DONE.
That's it. Simple enough, right? Remember, a dream doesn't reach 'goal status' until its written on paper, staring you in the face and asking, "Do you have what it takes to conquer me?"
Your resolutions are still there to be seized.. This isn't the time to retreat, its time to reload!!
So... how are those resolutions coming along? No, seriously, are you doing the dang thing and going hard? I should hope so! After all, this is only one-two-three- TWELVE days into 2014!! We have a long way to go!! For those of you who decided to reserve a seat on the workout wagon after a long hiatus, remember to start slow and gradually acclimate back into the swing of things. There are few situations worse than having the motivation but lacking the physical ability as a result of injury or overuse syndrome.
Alright, so, we've discussed it time and time again, but it continues to resurface... STRUCTURE. Until you've decided to actually sit down and place daily activities in order IN ADDITION TO workouts and meal preparation, 'getting fit' may always be out of reach! Is planning to the very last minute necessary? No, it isn't. I'll let you in on a little secret.... THAT'S HOW VIRGOS OPERATE. WE PLAN. However, YOUR plan is just that... YOURS. Own it and stick to it! When things run smoothly and you're accountable, reward yourself. When things don't go as planned, get back on track the next day. It's as simple as that. CREATE A WRITTEN PLAN FOR THE WEEK, and take it one day at a time.
Alright, so.. enough of that... Let's talk about a few of my favorite things, if that's okay with you :o) Right now, I'm loving the Neato XV Signature Pro! Why? Umm, because who has time to vacuum/sweep floors in 2014?!? *Looks around* Not Me! That's Who!! This little bugger has cuddled up next to my heart and I treasure him dearly. What a total time saver! Plus, one of the cooler features is the ability to schedule cleaning at the discretion of the user. Oh, and unlike its competitors, he doesn't bump into furniture or scratch the surface of objects while cleaning *high five* Need the Groupon discount code? Email me and I'll send it to you. Boom!
I've saved the best for last.... Home grocery delivery!!!! Safeway offers customers a service that has changed my life forevermore. Now, if you enjoy being amongst the droves of fellow grocery shoppers, this probably won't be your cup of skinny latte. However, there is NOTHING like going online, choosing groceries for the week and having them delivered directly to your doorstep. The entire process takes 10 minutes, and I've managed to add an extra 2-4 hours to my week, not including travel time. Gotta love that!! No, seriously. How much time is spent driving to the market, standing in those stadium long checkout lines, loading up the groceries and returning home? Hmm... think about it..
I would love to hear about YOUR favorite gadgets or organizational techniques. Shoot me an email and we can share it with our community.
Until next time...
You know, everyone always asks, "What do you do during the holidays?" as if I'm suppose to morph into a completely different being 12 days before Christmas. *strange look* Umm. *looks at self in full body mirror* I'm no different than you, right?! I enjoy the festivities, continue off season meal/workout prep and am never more than 8 weeks from being ready to walk onto that stage!
The Food: Really, is there an INCREDIBLE difference from that which is available for consumption throughout the year? I don't think so. C'mon, man. With all the office parties, coworker birthdays, promotion parties, Thirsty Thursdays, etc. etc., the lure of consuming junk on a daily basis is about as common as checking email. So, what makes Christmas worse? It's ONLY one day... That's right, O-N-E. If you've maintained a consistent nutritional and workout regimen, then I can guarantee that this one day will not send you over the edge. Trust me. The key is moderation, moderation and moderation.
The Alcohol: Now, this is where things get a bit tricky. I've been known to indulge in the occasional adult beverage every now and again. However, alcohol has such a nasty aesthetic effect on my physique that it has become more of a pain than pleasure. Yuck! I'm not a big fan of water retention in the most unsightly places (i.e., my glutes and hammies). But, the BIG KAHUNA is the early morning dehydration and lack of quality sleep that often accompanies two or more drinks. If you're going to have a few cocktails (and by 'a few,' I'm suggesting two or less) set a goal of consuming 1-2 glasses of water between each bevvie.
Skipping Workouts: I know, I know.. You're being pulled every which way... shopping, parties, cleaning, organizing, baking, yadda, yadda. I get it. But, this is NOT the time to fall off the wagon and begin omitting workouts! Instead, consider implementing a full body regimen for 3-4 weeks, which will reduce gym time (30-45 mins) and make your life a bit less hectic. If you've been kicking ass and taking names all year, a change in routine will prove both refreshing and highly functional. However, one thing that I strongly caution against is omitting cardiovascular activities from your daily routine. DO NOT SKIP OUT ON YOUR AEROBIC WORKOUT, whether it's elliptical training, running, Stairmaster, or cycling. Your heart will love you long time.
Whoomp, there it is! *smile* Oh, one last thing.. Please, please, please don't get bent out of shape over a few 'holiday pounds,' making friends and family despise you! Adding 3-5 pounds to your frame during the holiday season is a realistic goal that will allow you to enjoy the festivities without becoming the food police. No one likes the food police :o(
Signing off from the Nation's Capitol....
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
Welcome boys and girls... Whooo! So much to do, so little time :o) This week has been a complete blur. Actually, it's been two weeks since the competition, right? Yep. I believe so.
Okay, before we get too deep in convo, I just wanted to say that it's VERY rare that God allows us to actually witness cool things that are brewing behind the scenes. For example, how often do YOU get to see something 'paid forward?' While assessing a client's body fat the other day, I was completely thrilled by..... Watching my coworker stroll out of spin class!!!!! What? Okay, maybe you didn't hear me.. This isn't an avid cyclist, or someone who even attended the class on a regular basis (well, EVER)... UNTIL, the Spin Class Promotion Party!!!!!!! (see previous blog). NOW HE'S KICKING *$% AND TAKING NAMES!!!!!! How cool is that?!?! I was compelled to take a pic (see above) because you're SUCH a non-believer!! Geesh!! ;o) Shout out to my fellow "O," Capt Collado!! GET IT INNN!!!!
Next, let's switch gears a bit and discuss the aftermath of the show. These are all of the things that only competitors know, and hopefully NO ONE will find out that I'm telling you...*raises index finger to puckered lips*
1. I am swollen like nobody's business! This is the FIRST day that my piglets don't look like little sausages = water retention :o(
2. Contrary to popular belief, I've been easing back into cardio and weight training. Yes, it's been quite a challenge, but we only have one body and it deserves a break. Remember, over-training is a cardinal sin that often results in injury and lack of growth.
3. Attempting to 'eat off the grid' lasted all of two days. Unlike past shows, I had no desire to pig out and eat a bunch of junk. Wait.. does that mean that these taste buds are evolving? Hmmm.. Instead, I was back on the ole' maintenance meal plan by day #3. It feels so good buying colorful groceries. Yummmmmy!
4. Competing has NEVER felt this awesome! Having an opportunity to sit and reflect upon the months of preparation leading into the contest was completely rewarding. Taking home the #1 trophy was simply icing on the cake.
School has concluded for a week or so, and it's time to transition back into the real world. I'm ready. Being home for that little blurb was long enough to provide a vivid reminder as to why I love America. 10 days and counting....
By the way, if you liked the bling, my suit or even the photographs, shoot an email and I will happily provide the merchant info.Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this journey with me.. Now, it's YOUR turn!!!
Until next time..
1st Place: Women's Open Bodybuilding
"2013 Fall Classic Natural"
Camp Humphreys, Korea
Meet my Osan Family!!!
18 Jun '13: 187lbs, 13.07% Body Fat 28 Sep '13: 156lbs, 5.9% Body Fat
THAT JUST HAPPENED! *Ricky Bobby Voice* Wowsa! Umm, Wow. I'm sitting here wondering exactly how I should word this blog. Actually, I should probably be asleep, considering the fact that I have to work tonight. Hmm.. I may ride this high for another day or so, then, it's back to the drawing board. Wait a minute, I'M TAKING TWO DAYS OFF.. NO CARDIO, NO WEIGHTS, NO MEAL PLAN. I know that two days doesn't seem like a lot of time, but trust me, it's a LIFETIME for me. Everything is so sweet, too greasy, overly salty or makes my tummy ache :o( Although that box (shared) of TBA chicken *thanks Chris & Alecia* was OFF THE HINGES last night!!!!!! Maybe it was the sauce, perhaps it was the company.. Either way, I know that yesterday was the 'good times.' You know, those days where you look back and say, 'Mannnn, THAT was an awesome time.' Luckily, I have enough awareness to realize that, and cherished EVERY moment.
Warning: The following excerpt details backstage activities at the competition. If you're susceptible to boredom, please STOP reading this blog now.
First and foremost, THE COMMUNITY CENTER WAS PACKED!!!!! Naturally, one would expect that at an Army base. I mean, c'mon.. Army folks don't play! Although.... the Men's Open winner WAS Air Force. I'm just sayin' I'mmmm just sayin' ;o) Regardless, the judges were spectacular, and no, I'm not just saying that because I won. Geesh! C'mon mannn. Although, holding those damn poses for 30 seconds seemed a bit excessive.. SMH (shaking my head). Really? Do you know how hard it is to maintain a relaxed pose for 30 seconds?!?!? My body was shakin' like a salt shaka' by the 20 second mark. Anyway, the DJ was awesome and the crowd was RIDICULOUS!!!!
I know that competitors always say, "Everyone was so friendly backstage," but don't believe them. No one EVER tells the truth about what happens behind those curtains. There's only one thing that everyone wants to see more than a fight... A CAT FIGHT. Let me tell you.. I don't know if it was the fact that we were all military or what, but there was SUCH a family atmosphere behind the scenes. Competitive, yes. Spiteful, no. I have NEVER participated, assisted or attended a show that embodied such a comradely spirit. I guess there was a certain level of respect amongst us, sorta like, "Yep, you deploy, too. Yep, you have a full time profession. Yep, you're away from family. Yep, I know it isn't easy. Yep, I know exactly what you're going through. Yep, we are one." Sharing the journey makes it SO much more rewarding...
Which leads me to the next highlight of the competition ---> MY OSAN FAMILY!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness!!!!!!!! Did you guys see the pics above? There are a few people missing like Swag & Hut, Mo, Lew, Kim and Em. They made signs!!!! They made signs!!!!! And if I heard Hardaway say, "I see you Slaise," ONE MORE TIME while onstage ;o) hahahahahahaha *AWESOME* I had so much support, which was COMPLETELY humbling. These are the people who had to deal with my crab apple, low carbohydrate mood swings. These are the people with whom I declined social gatherings for the past 4 months (in order to stick to the regimented workout/meal plan schedule). These are the people who were forced to smell my stinky fish. These are the people who awakened at 0500 to spin with me as I promoted to Captain. Through ALL of that, and hours and hours of hearing my complaints, they loved me enough to come out and cheer as I earned the trophy for 51st Medical Operations Squadron :o) Meeeeeeeed Grouuuuuuuup!!!!!!
I even have a special place in my heart for friends and family who watched my transformation; either as cardio buddies or good telephone/FaceTime friends. Yes, I often complete an hour of cardio on the elliptical while using FaceTime. *You can borrow that one*
Lastly, even though I hired a professional photog (Master of Hart Photography), please enjoy the backstage iPhone pics until there is an opportunity to post the stage photos later.
The Bottom Line: Each and every day, I knew that there were 24 hours that had to be utilized in the most productive manner. 12 hour work shift, 7 hours of sleep, 2 hours of cardio, 1 hour of weight training, 1 hour of meal prep. Do the math. My schedule didn't leave much time for ANYTHING 'other' than train, eat, sleep, work and repeat. For 4 long months I stuck to the plan, because win, lose or draw, my will to win will NEVER be questioned. Have you asked yourself, "What are my goals and what the heck am I doing to achieve them?" I don't care if you want to be a Master Chef or a Doctor! The bottom line is.. there are 24 hours that have to be utilized in the most productive manner. Don't wait for it to come to you - - Chase The Day!
Note to self... ONLY FLY SPACE-A WHEN TIME IS NOT OF THE ESSENCE!!! But, seriously, when is time NOT a priority? Maybe retirement.
Annnnnnnnnnd cue the intro music *game show melody plays in the background* So, my good people (or "peeps" as my Mom would say), I'm back from a week long trip to the greatest state in the US --> O-H-I-O!!! It was EVERYTHING that I thought it would be :o) Well, a little TOO much, if you're asking (but you didn't ask, huh?). Thanks to Westwood Fitness Center, I was able to workout like a true meat head, and loved every bit of it, including the run down cardio equipment. I felt like an extra in a Rocky movie, well... kinda-sorta. Regardless, a renewed sense of... hmm... peacefulness has surfaced as a result; which is all that anyone could ever hope for, right?
That's right.. S-E-V-E-N days! Wait, before I continue.. Can we discuss the free meals that were provided during the SPACE-A flight?! Now, please don't misunderstand.. FREE is FREE, I get it. Also, a direct flight which would typically cost $700+ with a commercial airline was $29 with the SPACE-A crew. But, er, uh, you KNOW how I am about nutrition, you guys KNOW this. And, I'm always searching for better options, right? Well, I was really bothered by the lunches provided throughout the flight (see above). Naturally, my meals were packed and rhett-to-go, but that wasn't the case for hundreds of people traveling that morning.
Look, I'm not a siddity girl.. at all. With a ton of brothers and an Army background, how could I be anything other than down to Earth?! Regardless, living a healthy lifestyle means making the right nutritional choices. If those options aren't available, even the best of us (including me) fall victim to consuming j-u-n-k.
Maybe I need to do something about this.... *stops typing and ponders the possibilities* If you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly!!!!
Do you have any suggestions?
Alright folks, there are 7 days remaining until show time. The bling, tanner, bikini bite, make-up, yadda-yadda-yadda are in the building.
I AM PREPARED TO PRESENT THE BEST POSSIBLE PACKAGE ONSTAGE!!!
They say good things come in 3's right? Wait. Or is it bad things come in 3's. Can someone provide clarification about that, because, well, we are approaching 3 WEEKS OUT as of Sunday, 08 Sept!!! *Eeeek* My, my, my.. this past week has been an absolute marathon.
First, my colleagues (who are the most awesomest - yes, "most awesomest" group in the world --> be jealous) joined me for the Promotion Party Spin Challenge followed by an intimate ceremony, and it was unbelievably cool. Hands down, the best day of my tour, thus far. I opted to forgo the cake, ice cream and pizza in exchange for an hour long spin class. They showed up and showed out for my promotion!!
I heart my peeps!!!!
This period begins a semi-integration back into the States, and I am so nervous. Why? Maybe it's the idea of actually driving a vehicle, not having curfew, not wearing a uniform or being able to grocery shop after 7pm. Going home is always sticky because there are so many people to visit and not enough hours in the day. I mean, there are still two hours of cardio and one hour of weight training that must be accomplished daily. Not to mention an hour of food prep and at least seven hours of sleep. So, just counting training and food prep alone, that's twenty-eight hours weekly... more than a part-time job!!!!! I guess it's all for the love of the sport!!! Right?
Hmm.. So what lessons did I learn this week?
Sometimes, you have to step outside the box and shake things up a bit in order to get your point across. I had NO desire to host a traditional promotion ceremony and couldn't have asked for a better turnout. Don't ever force your will on others; rather, gently persuade them. THIS is always challenging for me, but.. I'm learning. You would be surprised by the overwhelming power of true camaraderie. Surrounding myself with people who were willing to sweat, moan and groan for an hour sealed a bond of friendship that I will never forget. The human spirit is such a wonderful entity. Self explanatory.
Can you tell I've been reading "Lincoln on Leadership," written by Donald Phillips. *smile
Awww, another rough week down! 5 more to go!! Well, technically, the week isn't over just yet, but.. you get the point.
I'm not one for chit-chatter *she considers the true irony of the previous statement considering the current blog entry* so I'll get straight to the point of this small blip on the radar of Madinah's world...
Friday @ 2300hrs (11pm): Roughly an hour into my cardio session, and about 40% into "Lean In," on my mini, I felt an excitement that is difficult to describe. Could it have been the low carbs? Perhaps. Was it a runner's high, or better yet, an elliptical high? Maybe. Regardless where it came from or what it was, I wanted to tap someone on the shoulder and share the feeling... At that VERY moment, I glanced around the cardio room and realized that there was no one there. Not a soldier, not an airman, not a meathead, not even a janitor. Don't believe me? See above pic.
People ask... "How do you do it?" or say things like "I wish I could get motivated to..." I've even been accused of having 3WP (white woman willpower), which is referencing the crazy motivated soccer moms who push strollers while walking 35mph with not an ounce of fat on 'em. Okay, I'll take that ;o) even though I'm sans stroller/mommyhood and, um, caramel.
*staying focused* The point that I'm attempting to share is... In order to accomplish extraordinary things, you must be willing to prepare yourself in an extraordinary fashion. No one wants to be average, but very few are willing to sacrifice to be above average. It isn't something that 'they' have; YOU have it, too! The only difference is, when the going gets tough, 'they' are willing to dig deep and push through... what do YOU do? Be honest.
Alright, I have a genogram to complete for my Health Assessment course, so it's time to wrap things up here. But, before departing, I would like to leave you with an excerpt that I found worthy of a red (indicative of the utmost importance) highlight earlier. Fortunately, those long, drawn out cardio sessions afford an opportunity to read roughly one book per week and I've fallen in love with my latest discovery, "Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will to Lead," written by Sheryl Sandberg.
Imagine that a career is like a marathon-a long, grueling, and ultimately rewarding endeavor. Now imagine a marathon where both men and women arrive at the starting line equally fit and trained. The gun goes off. The men and women run side by side. The male marathoners are routinely cheered on: "Lookin' strong! On your way!" But the female runner hears a different message. "You know you don't have to do this!" the crowd shouts. Or "Good start-but you probably won't want to finish." The farther the marathoners run, the louder the cries grow for the men: "Keep going! You've got this!" But the women hear more and more doubts about their efforts. External voices, and often their own internal voice, repeatedly question their decision to keep running. The voices can even grow hostile. As the women struggle to endure the rigors of the race, spectators shout, "Why are you running when your children need you at home?"
If a female marathoner can ignore the shouts of the crowd and get past the tough middle of the race, she will often hit her stride.
I'm willing to bet that you haven't even hit your stride yet.