Some of my unconventional reasons to Get Fit

First things first… I created a NEW fanpage! I decided to keep my photography fanpage separate and created a Sensual Appeal Blog fanpage that will deal only with food, health, wellness, and fitness related posts. So PLEASE like it if you have a Facebook, that would mean a lot to me 🙂

So getting healthy and getting in shape is a pretty common occurance and goal among people. And we all know the basic reasons for it: so I can look better and be happier with my body. I decided to take a look at this a bit more and break up some of the reasons for getting healthy and fit into a more unconventional goals (some of them) but then some regular goals. Either way, there wasn’t a whole lot of thinking going on here, but just stuff that sometimes goes through my head relating to getting fit and in shape but I just never actually wrote them out before. So here goes:

  • So that everyday I wake up feeling happy and excited to workout.
  • To no longer have any sick/lazy/blah days.
  • To live till I’m 100 years old.
  • To start craving exercise like some people crave chocolate.
  • So people are able to tell right off the bat that I work out and have muscle in my body.
  • To inspire others to get healthy and active, that anything is possible.
  • Do a silhouette photoshoot with ME as the model.
  • To be considered as the “fit girl” in the group, instead of the “chubby” or “average” girl.
  • Not have to be embarrassed to go to the beach/pool and gladly take all of the layers of clothing off while stunning everyone around by the amazing body that you have.
  • So I can get a fitness instructor certification for boxing/pilates/yoga.
  • Do the P90x program again but this time giving it my all. And get a free shirt for completing it 😉
  • Finish Insanity DVDs and get the Insanity shirt.
  • Wear crop top shirts so I can show my belly button ring and tattoos.
  • Wear short shorts without being afraid my thighs will jiggle as I walk.
  • Be able to wear a shirt like this or this when working out without feeling weird. (photo of Powercakes)
  • Be able to sing “Sexy and I know it” out loud without feeling like people are looking at you like “Yeah, okay, I’m SURE you workout….” Which also goes along with wearing a shirt like this.
  • Go to the gym during rush times and do chin ups and tricep dips with ease, as it shocks the men in the weights section.
  • Get gorgeous shoulders so I am able to wear tube tops/dresses.
  • Be one of those girls at music festivals. As much as they annoy me, they also make me jealous of their bodies. Shit, I’d show it off too if I had a body like that! And I was still young. And drunk.
  • Go to a Health/Fitness Blogger Retreat and be eager to do all the crazy workouts because I know I won’t be dead afterwards.

10 tips to push HARDER during a workout

First of all, last night I did my FIRST outdoor run in 2 years! Yes, I did it. It was very short – I set my route to be only a mile and a half because I had no idea how well I would do. I’ve been toying with the idea of running (well, jogging) outside for a while but I’ve been scared. Scared that I wouldn’t do well. That I would fail, and it sucks having to deal with failure. I kept putting it off. But finally, yesterday, I thought to myself – what the heck, just do it! It’s short!

Photo: The Guardian

I LOVED the jog. I didn’t jog the whole way through, but I walked a lot less than I thought I would! The weather was perfect, it was just warm enough with a nice breeze and it was 9pm so that there weren’t that many people outside but still enough so that I didn’t feel unsafe running downtown. I finished sooner than I expected and I wanted to keep going and going! It felt so good. So liberating. I missed this. I really, really did. I’m planning on adding more slow cardio outdoors like this more often. I need to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather we have before it’s gone! Next slow recreational workout to tackle, swimming…

Photo: Spikes + Heels

My workouts have been intense lately. And you know what, I freaking LOVE it. I liked doing the ChaLEAN extreme program but I didn’t necessarily get excited about the workouts. I am starting week 4 of Curvalicious and I have to say I am actually excited and totally looking forward to my workouts. Like, I get giddy and excited inside when it’s nighttime because I know I get to wake up in the morning and go work out. Work that body! Yeah! I love working hard and pushing hard. I have been trying to push as hard as I can (but not beyond my limits) and not cheating during the workouts. I decided to share some of the things that have been helping me get through the workouts lately.

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Causes of exercise-induced nausea and how to avoid it

So yesterday was shoulders and back weight training day. I did that in the morning because I do my planned workouts as soon as I wake up so that they are out of the way and I am set and ready for the rest of the day. My week 1 of Curvalicious program will conclude tomorrow with a rest day, on which I originally planned to do a slow cardio day. However, tomorrow is looking swamped and I like to do my cardio in the afternoons, usually. So I decided to add the slow cardio to yesterday. Not a big deal, cause I’ve done two a days multiple times in my life. This story doesn’t end badly, but something occurred that usually doesn’t — I got pretty nauseous.

Source: HouseCallMD

I did a slow/moderate cardio on an elliptical for 30 minutes on the interval mode with down interval being on incline 1 and resistance 4 (I think?) and the high interval is incline 8 or 10 (I don’t remember) and resistance still 4. Not a hard workout. I do it because it’s easy and I am able to just read my book in peace while moving and getting that calorie burn. I didn’t work too hard so I was still able to read the book. Afterwards, I did a tabata workout. I felt good. I was exhausted though. I went home and I got really nauseous. I almost thought I was going to throw up. I didn’t, thankfully. I ate a post-workout meal (egg, egg whites, and veggies) and I felt fine after that.

I asked on Twitter whether it’s good or bad to feel nauseous after exercise. Some people I’ve seen say that it’s great and that means you are working hard. I can’t imagine it be too good though. So I was confused. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any answers from my followers (sad face). Here are some of my thoughts on why I might have felt sick:

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Marvelous in my Monday #3 + Beachbody ChaLean Extreme Review

Hello friends, happy marvelous Monday to you all! Thank you for the beautiful Katie for hosting MIMM 🙂

It’s marvelous to have been catching up with my friends I haven’t talked to in a while. I saw a lot of friends over the past few weeks that I’ve missed and I’m happy that this summer is proving to be super fun, eventful, and beautiful (in terms of weather). This weeke was also Pride Week 2012 and my friend and I went over to the Boystown neighborhood in Chicago to support our gay friends. We didn’t stay at the parade long and went straight to Wrigleyville for some day partying which I’ve missed so much.

This song is marvelous and I’ve been lovin’ it the past 2 months and I’m still not over it. I absolutely suck at genre-naming but I guess I’ve totally shifted towards the whole chill indie music over the past year. I used to listen to house all the time and now the only time I really listen to house is when I’m working at the club. On my own, I’m like this chill machine that listens to the calmest music. Strangely, Jango thinks that City and Colour is similar to some crazy rock songs and my City and Colour station is randomly intertwined with screamo, crazy indie hip hop, and then chill indie. It’s one confusing station. I have to click the thumbs down button quite a bit when I listen to it, haha.

Another marvelous thing that has happened recently is that I’ve completed the ChaLEAN Extreme programSo I think it’s a perfect opportunity to talk about how marvelous this program was and what my overall opinions of it were. Personally, I loved this program. I love Chalean Johnson – she rocks! She is very motivational and not throughout the whole 5 months was she annoying or boring. Never have I thought to myself “Oh God, Chelean, just SHUT UP already.” Nope. Which says a lot considering she’s been the first person I’d see every day (almost) for the past 5 months.

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Taking control of health & fitness with LifeBook event

I have a strong online presence and I am very active on Twitter and Facebook, as you guys might have noticed. I also follow a number of fitness and health professionals (not to mention fellow bloggers, but I think that’s a duh). Recently one of the local fitness pros I follow, Andrea Metcalf, tweeted about a complimentary event happening in Chicago which is a workshop to take control over our health and fitness. It was a LifeBook event, which I’ve never heard about before but I was curious to check it out. Might as well, it’s a FREE 3 hour workshop, I’d be silly not to take advantage of an opportunity like that, when I had nothing better to do that evening anyway.

To tell you the truth I was kind of nervous about attending. The event page didn’t provide very much information and left everything pretty open and vague. I was actually kind of afraid this would be kind of like a brainwashing event to make them join a cult. Haha don’t laugh but I’m gonna be honest here! I’ve probably watched and read too many books and movies about this kind of thing, haha. But no, it was not a cult gathering, thankfully. The event promised the following: “You’ll gain immense clarity on what true vitality is, why it matters and how it’s created. You’ll examine your beliefs about your health, define exactly how you want your body to look and feel, and outline what you need to do to achieve the levels of vitality you’ve always wanted.” 

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Marvelous in My Monday #1: Fitbit Love

One of my favorite bloggers, Katie, over at Healthy Diva Eats came up with a brand new weekly link up – Marvelous in my Monday – where bloggers share their marvelous happenings. Mondays makes this weekly post not only an alliteration, it also combats the “Monday Blahs” that some people might go through. I personally don’t go through those because Mondays are my off days and I love them hehe 😛

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, you might have seen me tweet this picture:

Besides the new Maxim, I was super excited because I finally got the FitBit Ultra! I sold some college books back and I thought the price (after the Amazon sellback money I got) was enough for me to pay to get it. I was super excited. I’ll have a fuller report on it once I use it longer, cause I’ve only been using it two days so far. But wow, is this little gadget motivating?! Seriously.

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Pre-Workout Eats and Perfect Fuel Chocolates

Although I mostly do my workouts right as I wake up in the morning, I do designate some times when I workout later in the day. Usually, that includes zumba classes, boxing classes, or yoga. Sometimes I sprinkle in some other classes for variety. But yeah, most of the time I do my afternoon/evening workouts as fitness classes because that’s really the only time the good ones are offered (unfortunately). But for those times, I always wonder – how can I prep myself up beforehand? So I decided to do some research.

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  • 2 hours before cardiovascular training or strength training- eat a meal consiting of complex carbohydrates- e.g. fiber, whole wheat, vegatables and also include protein (nutrient balance is crucial) this increases glucose levels that can be used for our workout and essential for maximal strength- muscle endurance is more efficient when supplied with preworkout fuel.
  • Don’t overeat before exercise as it can make you feel sluggish rather than energized. It can also lead to an upset stomach and cramping.
  • Not eating before exercising can also have undesirable consequences. Low blood sugar levels can cause us to feel weak, faint or tired, and it may also affect our mental ability, reducing reaction times.
  • If you’re having a small snack, depending on the content, eat around 1/2-1 hour before exercise. This snack should include fast-digesting (high glycemic index) carbohydrates and very little fat (which digests slowly), so that you digest the meal quickly and the fuel is available during your exercise session. Good ideas are: fruit, certain energy bars, pre-workout supplements, fruit smoothies, etc. Try not to go for any ingredients which digest slowly such as whole wheat or anything which contains a high fiber content. The snack should be easily and quickly digestable to give you the proper quick energy you need for the workout.
  • Drink plenty of fluids during the day, as well as during and after exercise.
  • Some sources recommend caffeine as well, however I avoid caffeine, therefore this tip will not work for me.

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Are you exercising too much? Prevent overtraining.

This is the question I’ve been asking myself the past few days. I guess, since I AM asking it, the answer is yes. I haven’t had a rest day in 2 weeks. I have been pushing hard and going strong since summer is coming and I’m feeling very motivated.

Chalean Extreme has a following schedule: Weight training day; Rest; Weight Training day; cardio Intervals that work muscle endurance with small weights + abs; weight training day; short cardio + short yoga; rest.
I have been adding some stuff into the equation, however. I sometimes add an additional cardio session in the evening on weight training days (zumba or treadmill – nothing intense cause I’m not a big cardio person) and my rest days have been hour & half yoga days.

Woman passed out on an exercise bike.

While I feel amazing usually, yesterday I woke up extremely exhausted.The day before I didn’t do as well during weight training as I usually do and then yesterday my cardio intervals was tougher than it usually is and I almost didn’t even want to finish the abs workout. In addition, my whole body is super sore and achy – I am so tired. Exhausted. Unmotivated. I guess that’s why I decided to look if this is what overtraining feels like.

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My first time doing Hot Yoga

Last night was my first time doing hot yoga! I was so so so excited, it’s been on my to-do list for a few months now and finally on Wednesday during regular yoga class, my instructor said she is doing a “first class free” on Friday. Naturally, my hand sprung up to learn more information and I signed me and my boyfriend up. He hasn’t done any yoga before but he’s been wanting to try hot yoga with me so I figured he wouldn’t be against it.

First things first, what is Hot Yoga? 

You’re gonna laugh at this but the first time I heard the words and saw a billboard for it, my mind went to sex. No I’m not a perv. I just thought it’s some kind of hot (aka sexy) yoga that incorporates tantric movements. Well, it’s nothing like that. Hot Yoga is actually yoga done in a heated room – 95 degrees F or higher. The heat allows the muscles to relax and you are able to take deeper stretches, not to mention sweat off the toxins. Most of the classes run 90 minutes and incorporate yin and yang – flowing movements that build up strength and end with calm prolonged holding of the poses. This class started out with seated, then went on to doing 50 minutes standing up, and the last 30 minutes were left for sitting and laying down stretches.

What did I think of my first Hot Yoga session? It was freaking amazing. I’ll admit, at first it was pretty hard, but after 45 minutes or so I found it to go more smoothly and it was much more relaxing. My boyfriend thought the complete opposite – he started out thinking it was pretty easy and then turned super difficult. Everyone’s body is different though so everyone will have different opinions of the practice. What we did agree on, however, is how great we felt afterwards. We both absolutely loved the practice. It felt rejuvenating. My body felt so clean from the inside. We sweated so much but that’s part of the beauty in it – you can really tell how your body is working and I sure love seeing my body sweat – there is no better instant reinforcement that you’re doing a good job. That, and a better looking body, of course.

Will I do hot yoga again? Absolutely. In fact, I’m planning on another session as soon as next week. I can’t believe I waited this long to make this step and experience hot yoga. While I like regular yoga and will continue to practice that as well, I definitely think hot yoga will stay in my schedule and on my mind for years to come.

Why I’m choosing to start over my workout plan

I have been doing Beachbody’s workout plan, Chalean Extreme, for a while now. Actually, according to the schedule, I should be on week 2 of month 3, which is extremely close to the finish line (the plan is 3 months long). Why am I choosing to start over the program completely then, if I’m so close? After much thought, there are reasons I think are relevant to my decision and will help me in the long run.

I got sick at the end of month 1 and ended up not exercising for a few days because of that. The cold did not stop me and I continued the plan as scheduled when I was able again. Only about 3 days were lost, so I did not find this to be troubling. They say “don’t give up”. The mentality says that life always gets in the way and you are bond to miss a workout or two, so just continue the plan. So I did. However, then at the end of month 2, I got sick AGAIN. This time the cold was the nastiest I have ever experienced and I was unable to exercise for about a week and a half because of chest congestion. At first I thought this was fine and I could go back to where I left off. I kept going with month 3. However, then Spring Break happened and I went home to the suburbs to my parents’ house. I forgot the DVDs at my apartment. This forced me to not be able to follow the program for another week. I did some light exercise that I could at home, but I was especially unmotivated after the illness, so I guess you could say my workouts were not very intense. Anyway, I feel like I lost a lot of strength and endurance over this hiatus.

Being so close to the finish line and having such a big road block in the way, I feel like continuing is just not right. I will not end up at the end of month 3 where I should be. I will not feel proud of my achievements because there are not many achievements that are visible. I am definitely stronger than I was at the beginning of month 1. I have lost some weight. But these are small improvements and I feel like I should expect better changes. These changes will not happen over a course of 2 weeks till the program ends.

I am starting over and going hard this time. I’m at a better start line and I think this will help me get through the program. Also the tips I learned from my previous post about increasing exercise effectiveness will help me do a better job during the workouts. I am ready fr change! In 3 months time, I will be satisfied. I won’t back down!

No days off this time around. Go hard or go home!

If you’ve ever been on an exercise program, what would you have done differently this time around? Avoid skipping workouts? Exercising with more intensity? Not quitting? If you’ve done everything top-notch, how were your results?