Supplements and Standards.

Happy Friday everyone! We made it!! I actually feel like this week flew by since I’m loving my new job. I have 2 clients so far (which is pretty great considering I’ve only been there about a month!) so it’s been so fun designing workouts for their very different goals/needs. 


So I want to talk to you guys a little bit about supplements, and standards (alliteration for the win!) Supplements are NOT necessary to be successful in the gym– they’re supposed to be complimentary to your diet, not your main source of protein, or whatever vitamin/mineral you’re interested in taking. There are SO many companies out there trying to sell you on the idea that you won’t gain muscle or burn fat unless you take their product. Let me tell you… if you HAVE to rely on a product to be successful- you’re doing it wrong. What happens if that product suddenly goes away? Do you still have the tools to be successful? Do you know what foods to eat or what exercises to do? I recently had a company reach out to me about becoming sponsored for their products (whey protein, creatine, pre workout etc) I admit it was super flattering to be considered, and almost blinded me to some of the facts. I won’t say what the company is but after doing some research, I wasn’t thrilled with some of the ingredients they used, but I especially didn’t like how they marketed the products (like you NEEDED them to be successful.) I declined the opportunity. Would being sponsored be cool? Heck yeah! And I’d of course love to be sponsored one day, but this just wasn’t the right fit for me. 


Research what you are going to be putting in your body, don’t just take something because a company has you convinced your going to drop 10 lbs by way of their product. I personally use and trust PEScience products. I currently only use their whey protein (snickerdoodle is seriously amaaaazing) and their Amino IV (bcaa’s.) if you guys have more questions about supplements I would definitely check out their website, or do some google-ing. Keep your standards for yourselves high, you guys.. if you won’t, who will? 

Deadlines.


Well hello everyone! Looks like I (unintentionally) took another little hiatus from this blog of mine. I feel like I keep thinking I have nothing to write about- when really I have TONS to say, but I just let it all sit up in my mind for too long, and then its all overwhelming and I don’t know how to sort through it enough for a blog post that would make sense. Make sense? Ha.

Anywhoo.. I was thinking today that I always have some sort of deadline or goal to work towards… something to count down to. I’ve never really trained harder, or been stricter with my eating for “no reason” (I train pretty hard and try to eat well most of the time regardless..) Whether it’s for a beach volleyball tournament in the summer, or an upcoming half marathon..having a deadline to work towards is something that encourages me and keeps me going on hard days. If I don’t feel like lifting weights, or logging miles- I open up my little countdown app on my phone and see how many days I have until my deadline and it always pushes me to workout harder, or eat a little better. Currently- I’m counting down until my boxing certification at the end of may (1 month and 29 days from now.) It’s an 8-10 hour certification course where I’ll basically be boxing/exercising the entire day, so I definitely want to show up in shape and ready! When I start to feel like my gym routine is getting stale, and/or I’m getting bored (it happens to everyone at some point!) I’ll start looking for my next goal, or what I want to sign up for next!

So my advice to you is to find something to count down to. Sign up for something fun and new. Find a local 5k, or join a sports league. Do something with a deadline to keep you accountable. Find a friend who will join you, whatever it takes. Make fitness fun again!!


Hi, my name is Alexa and I love cheese. No.. but seriously.. Long story short, my sister and I went to a nice dinner downtown with my Dad last night (if you live in or around Naples you HAVE to check out barbatella) and I think I consumed 5lbs of cheese alone. Cheese aside, I also had large amounts of bread, pasta, gelato and wine. Just a casual Thursday night.. Honestly, I haven’t eaten like that in a VERYYY long time. I kind of forgot what it feels like to be so stuffed that you feel sick to your stomach and even walking to your car hurts. I used to eat like that a lot more often when I played volleyball in college- but it never mattered too much because when you factor in 6 hours of volleyball and workouts a day, you can basically eat like an asshole whenever you want. 6 years later though? Not so much.


I got home at 9 (late night for me! haha) and couldn’t sleep at all! I felt like crap, and was super hot. I woke up this morning completely exhausted and craving all things sugar. Its crazy how food can totally affect you like that. What I really want to tell you guys though, is this: ONE bad meal isn’t going to make you fat, just like ONE good meal isn’t going to give you a 6 pack. After your “cheat meal” just move on! Don’t let one bad/large/fattening/sugary meal determine your course of action for the next day. Pick yourself up and move on. Drink a lot of water, eat healthy foods, and don’t feel ANY guilt. Fitness and nutrition is the SUM of the positive choices you make day in and day out, each week, month and year. One bad choice isn’t going to make or break you. And my bad (but extremely delicious) choices last night isn’t going to make or break me. I hope you guys have an amazing weekend!!!

Run.

Happy Sunday! Sundays are always weird… its like it’s still the weekend and I want to relax or do something fun– but there’s so much to do before Monday. Laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, meal prepping… ugh, so what do I do? Sit on the couch, blog and ignore all adult-like things that need to be done. Solid choice.

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(last year^)

This morning I ran the Hooters Half Marathon relay with one of my best friends. We ran it together last year and Harper was only 4 months old.. so to go back this year with her being a ginormous toddler was kind of cool. I always say that I’m not a “runner,” but then I realize that i’ve done 6 half marathons and countless other races.. so I guess thats not too shabby.   I was a little worried though because I haven’t ran for distance in MONTHS! But I actually felt really good during the whole thing! It was the first race i’ve done in a while (or maybe ever…) that felt easy and I actually had fun DURING the race- not just before and after. I totally attribute that to doing 2-3 Orangetheory workouts a week.. it definitely built up my stamina.

I also think a big part of it was my outfit. It sounds kind of silly but I genuinely believe that what you wear (whether its for a race, a regular workout or even out to dinner) plays a huge role. Not only can it make you look good- but it also makes you feel good, and can make or break you in a workout/run. If you’re constantly pulling down your shirt, or pulling up your pants.. thats totally going to get in your head and start messing with you. Good workout gear shouldn’t have to be adjusted at all.. and i’m super thankful to lululemon for letting me try some new stuff for my race today! img_2885

I admit I was SUPER apprehensive about the shorts.. I haven’t put on a pair of spandex shorts since my volleyball career was over.. so to try these spandex guys on was a little weird. Admittedly, i didn’t like them at first. After I walked around the store a little bit, they definitely grew on me enough to give ’em a shot. Thank goodness I did because they were THE BESTTTTTTT!!! I didnt have to fuss or mess with them ONE time during the entire race. My phone stayed in the little side pocket, and was tight enough where it didn’t weigh down my waistband. Truly the best shorts to run in. (Normal running shorts rub me raw and crops are always too hot.. so these are a great solution!) **side note– if you’re shorter, they have a short length.. I’m 5’8″ so the longer ones were better for me** The top was great too! The material has UPF in it so you dont burn on long runs in the Florida heat, and the length was not too long and not too short but kept you cool, and has that super cute lace detail at the bottom! So if you have a local lululemon store definitely check it out! Or click the links here to browse the website!

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Well you guys… I officially finished my first week at my new job. Aaaaaand its amazing. It’s truly incredible what surrounding yourself with like-minded people can do for your attitude. At my old job, it just wasn’t what I wanted to wake up and do every day– and it starts to wear down on you.. at least it did for me. After I got my NASM certification, I started looking around to get a job in the fitness industry and luckily, I did. I’m now working at an incredible fitness center in downtown Naples with other people who are just as into working out and eating right as I am. It’s amazing not being the only one eating prepped food out of a tupperware container, haha oh the little things!

I was driving home from work Friday afternoon and started thinking about how I finally got to where I am now… it’s been YEARS you guys.. like 5 whole years. When I graduated college I had ZERO idea of what I wanted to do. Playing college volleyball was literally my main and only focus during those 4 years so once I graduated I moved up to Jacksonville to live with some friends on the beach. I ended up getting an internship at The HIT Center which is an incredible training facility- and was planning on getting my personal training certification at the end… but, life happens and I ended up having to move home to be with family. I’ve worked several jobs since then.. lululemon for 3 years, a jewelry store, a brief stint in Real Estate (which was the worst everrr.. ) and when I got pregnant with Harper I started working in admin at our local hospital. I’ve ALWAYS felt like I was meant for more than working at a desk doing bull crap jobs for someone else.. and I think the shift for me was getting back in shape after Harper. I realized that luckily for me, I knew all the right things to do/eat to get back to pre-baby weight.. but that not all women/moms have those tools… So I started my women only bootcamp on Saturdays- which TOTALLY inspired me to continue with personal training.

So 5 years later and i’ve basically come full circle. Rather than getting mad at myself because it took me this long to finally be doing what I love.. i’m glad for those years.. They’ve taught me things along the way, I’ve made some of my best friends working those jobs, and they’ve all led me back to where I’m at now. Moral of this-longer-than-I-intended story? Don’t stop working towards what YOU want. Pursue what you’re passionate about.

I don’t think its any secret that athleisure is my jam. 80% of the time I would so much rather throw on cute workout pants and sneakers, than jeans and sandals. I’m a little spoiled though because I worked for lululemon for almost 3 years so my workout-wardrobe is all lululemon stuff that I got with my employee discount. That was almost 3 years ago so a lot of my stuff is starting to get worn out- and i’m looking for new stuff but at a lower price point…but I’m TOTALLY striking out. Any suggestions on brands that look as good as they perform?? Or do I just suck it up and pay for pricey/cute workout gear that I know fits/works well when I sweat?

So I mentioned on my instagram a little while ago that I stopped counting my macros (aka “flexible dieting”) and was just focusing on eating when I’m hungry, and choosing healthy, nutritious foods. I had counted macros on and off for 2 years (started right before my wedding.) For me, tracking macros is something that I believe was initially beneficial for me. I’ve always had a good relationship with food so I never felt the pressure of hitting my numbers 100% of the time, I never got obsessive about it.. but it did help teach me the amount of food that my body needs and also helped teach me about serving sizes/reading labels and looking at the contents of food. I stopped tracking pretty much because after a while, I got a little too flexible, with flexible dieting. I started eating wayyy too many “fun” foods (like doughnuts, bagels and frozen pizza) simply because they fit my macros- not because they were good for me. I felt tired, bloated, my joints hurt more than normal and my skin was dull.


Since i’ve stopped, I’ve absolutely noticed a positive change in my energy levels, my skin and even my performance in the gym. Simple mental changes like noticing if I’m TRULY hungry, or if an emotion is causing me to want food (stress, hormones etc) have made a big difference as well. If you guys are feeling like you’re in a rut with your meals/workout routine, have any questions about flexible dieting/ eating “clean” let me know. I’d love to share more of my personal experiences with you all! Hoping you guys have a great weekend!

Rest.

Who watches This Is Us?? I just started a couple days ago.. is it a give-in that I am going to cry every single episode or does that stop at some point… but holy moly what a great show. If you haven’t started watching it– start. Unless you don’t feel like ugly crying, then definitely do NOT watch it.

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Anyways, this week I’ve had some extra un-planned days off (leaving my old job and starting my new one on Monday) so i’ve been able to workout a lot more, and a lot harder than normal. Which has been amazing but I am SO sore today, so i’m taking a much needed rest day. Rest days are SO important.. not only for the obvious physical recovery but also mental recovery. Your brain needs a break just as much as your muscles. It’s easy to get burnt out, bored, or fall off the wagon completely if you never stop and rest. As much as I’m saying this to you guys- i’m also saying it to myself. It’s hard for me to take rest days. I love exercising so much and it’s been such a HUGE part of my life for so long that not doing some type of workout is weird for me, but I also know that I can push myself too hard and end up hurting myself.

Here’s the workout’s I’ve done this week so far:

MONDAY: Park workout. I took Harper to the park in the morning, set my timer for 20 minutes and just did a bunch of random stuff non-stop (box jumps on a bench, burpees, crunches, lunge jumps, pushups, dips etc) it doesn’t need to be complicated, just keep moving!

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TUESDAY: Orange Theory Fitness workout. If you haven’t tried OTF yet, give it a shot— your first class is free and it’s an awesome workout. You’ll run, row and lift some weights- all while watching your heart rate and how many calories you’re burning compared to everyone else in the class, so if you’re competitive like me, it’s fun to push yourself. I ended up burning close to 600 calories and left a sweaty mess which I love.

WEDNESDAY: Gym workout. I did 6 sets of barbell squats, starting with low weight and going up to my last set of 6×105.  4 sets of hip thrusts with 25lb plate, 3 sets of bulgarian squats with 25lbs, and 6 sets of glute/hamstring curls.

Later in the afternoon Stephen got home from work early so we went for a 2.5 mile run.

THURSDAY: REST DAY

FRIDAY: Planning on doing Orange Theory again!

Hope you guys have gotten in some great workouts so far, but remember to take breaks too 🙂

 

Social Media Realities

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Well everyone… I made it to Sunday alive. Which is actually a pretty big deal if you have seen how sick and crazy my child is/has been. If you haven’t.. then just know Harper’s been battling a pretty nasty cold (congestion, cough, low fever.. the whole 9 yards) for about a week. Also know this about my child; she has some seeeerrious ‘tude and her scream can hit a pitch that only dogs should be able to hear. Well long story short, Stephen was out of town for the weekend so it was just me and my sick, screaming child… all. weekend.long.

Yesterday afternoon the only way that she would take a nap was to sleep on top of me–after relentlessly trying to get her in her bed for about an hour I finally gave in. As she was sleeping I took a couple (okay maybe like 20) pictures of her laying on me. I started to post one of them on instagram and without even thinking, I started to type out “I love these sweet moments with my little girl.” Now.. don’t get me wrong- it’s always sweet to have your child cuddle with you.. but what I realized as I was doing this is that it wasn’t genuine. People would look at that picture and read that caption and they would have NO clue that 10 minutes prior, she was crying, screaming bloody murder, snot running down her face… I was crying, yelling at her to stop screaming, with her snot all over my shirt. And that as she was sleeping on me she was a hot sweaty sticky mess, and all I could focus on was the list of things I could have been doing if she napped in her crib (terrible, but its the truth.)

This just made me realize that social media is truly just a highlight reel of peoples’ lives. And  I totally get it.. we want people to always see us in a good light.. as a great mom, loving wife, in great shape etc…But I guess what i’m trying to get at is to tell you guys: try not to compare your reality to everyone else’s highlight reel. Its so easy to look at someones social media and think that their life is perfect- that their kid never freaks out, that their marriage is perfect, or that they’re genetically blessed with 6 pack abs. Keep in mind that social media is a great platform to PROMOTE yourself in whatever way you choose.. but that what you are seeing isn’t necessarily the full story.

Weekend.

Happy-day-before-Valentines-Day everyone! I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentines Day. Not to be a negative Nancy or anything I just would rather have my husband surprise me with something on a random Tuesday because he thought it would be nice, than on the exact same day that every man feels compelled to do something nice. Also, because for a lot of girls who aren’t dating, or married- they feel bad about themselves.. STOP! Don’t do that! Wherever you are in your life, whether you’re single, dating, married- whatever.. realize that there is going to be ups and downs! There’s highs and lows of being single– just like there are highs and lows of being in a relationship. So just embrace whatever stage you’re in!

This weekend was SO fun.. like one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while. Stephen and I had a blast at the bowling tournament with some of our best friends who we haven’t seen in a while, and then we woke up the next day and took Harper to the zoo. I only worked out once, had fast food twice but give zero craps about it because overall I spent some great quality time with people I love, and that’s what I’m going to focus on. Try not to stress so much about eating a slice of pizza with friends.. because you know what?- Sometimes its not the pizza that makes you gain weight, its the cortisol that you’re body releases because you’re so fricken stressed about eating the pizza… #science. Just kidding…but you get the idea.


I’ve only got about 30 minutes between work and picking up Harper so im going to head to a nearby park and get a quick workout in with no equipment needed.. here’s what I’m gunna do:

7 minutes AMRAP: 20 squats, 10 burpees, 10 lateral walking squats (5each way) 10 lunge jumps (total)

5 rounds, no rest in between: 10 Bulgarian squats each leg, superset with 5 broad jumps

5 rounds no rest in between: 20 low lateral walks (10 down, 10 back) superset with  10 180 degree jumps

5 rounds: 20 toe touches, and 20 leg raises

 

Full day of food.

Fridays…… aren’t they just the best? Yes.. that answer is always yes. The work week is FINALLY over and your weekend can begin! I didn’t have such a great week workout-wise, so I’m super excited to have some time today to get a workout in before I go pick up Harper. We have a lot of fun things planned for this weekend; wine and board game date tonight, a charity bowling tournament tomorrow with our good friends, and possibly taking Harper to a strawberry festival. Cant wait. I fricken love the weekends. I hope you guys are as excited for your weekend as I am for mine!!

Anyways.. a week or so ago I posted everything I ate in a day on my instagram stories, and I (to my surprise) got a lot of positive feedback.. I thought it was going to be kind of annoying.. and if you were annoyed then my bad.. but a couple people messaged me thanking me for meal/snack ideas.. or saying that they didn’t realize how much food I ate (ha.. woops!) and that maybe they aren’t eating enough. So I thought I’d do a blog post about what I ate in a day! This will be for what I had yesterday since today isn’t over yet obviously.

For my first breakfast at 6am (yep.. I have 2, thanks to my early rising toddler) I had 1/4c. egg whites and 1 regular egg, on wheat toast with coconut oil. If you haven’t started using coconut oil on toast instead of butter you just aren’t living yet…img_2112

For my second breakfast at around 9, I usually always have steel cut oatmeal, and put a scoop of protein powder (PEscience snicker doodle is the bomb) cinnamon, chopped pecans, and blueberries.

At around 10:30 I snacked on a couple raspberries.. they’re SOO good right now and I think at Publix they’re 2/$5img_2417

and for lunch at 12:30 I had leftovers that I had quickly prepped on Monday.. just some chicken, quinoa and zucchini.. and I got a salad from my work cafeteria with spinach, feta cheese, and oil and vinegar. After lunch I needed something sweet so I had one piece of this chocolate bar that I found at Whole Foods and its amazing.

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Before my volleyball training at 6 I had this protein bar.. these are my new favorites. The ingredients are all natural and my stomach tolerates it better than some other protein bars.img_2419

After training at 7 I was starving so I went through the Chick Fil A drive through and got the grilled chicken club sandwich. No fries… sad… but true. And that’s it! If this helps even one person with some food ideas then it was worth it to me.