Monthly Archives: October 2013

Q&A

A quick answer to a dear friend who asked about HIIT routines and clean eating.

HIIT routines: I mix things up between INSANITY movements like heisman, high knees, drop kicks, high jump w knee to elbow, typical burpees, etc. with plyo movement like jump lunges, jump squats, box jumps, etc.

Typically I’ll write out or think out a set of exercises, 3-4, and repeat them 3-6 times through as a circuit. For instance:

Jump lunge, High knees, Mountain climbers, Burpees: 30 seconds to a minute of each, break 20-30 seconds between each set of four exercises, 3-6 times through.

You can also do HIIT on the treadmill or elliptical or anywhere that you choose to raise your heart rate at intervals.

——

Clean eating:

The very essential definition of clean eating, TO ME, is not eating foods with additives and preservatives. FOR ME, however, this doesn’t mean frozen food is bad, for instance frozen tilapia or asparagus, even though it affects nutrient absorption.

I choose to eat mostly fruits and lean proteins that are not genetically sourced, and I avoid foods with many ingredients, chemicals, additives, preservatives, food coloring, etc.

Most of my meals look like this:

Baked or boiled chicken OR baked tilapia OR lean ground turkey OR lean ground beef OR other fish

+ veggies such as asparagus, broccoli, spaghetti squash, etc.

+ healthy fat like 1/4 avocado, almonds, tsp pb, etc.

+ sometimes a carbohydrate such as brown rice, rice cakes, quinoa, oats, etc.

I do a slightly modified “IIFYM” routine in the off season, but in general I stick to protein, carb, fat ratios and have a limited amount of fruit, no alcohol, and rarely sugar or any treats. I feel amazing when I don’t, so I keep that to once a week or less.

Hope that helps! ❤

Leave any questions (About anything!) below 🙂

xoxoxo

-sportyspice

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The Cost of Being REAL and Being YOURSELF

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You know you’re old when you start using phrases like “The older I get, the more I realize”, but there it is. You just accept it (and buy denture cream and spanx and start watching reruns of The Cosby Show).

The truth is, however, that the older I get, the more I realize that one of the most unequivocally attractive and stabilizing achievements in life is to be purely and unashamedly ONESELF.

That moment when, as someone who has always spent time concerned for the opinions and input of everyone else, you stop and say “This is what I want, this is who I am, and I am completely happy with both”.

In no way does this mean you are not constantly improving yourself and moving forward, but it does mean that you accept yourself as you are, acknowledge and appreciate both your weaknesses and your strengths, and choose to progress in the security of that self-awareness without great concern for the approval of those around you.

The older I get (just think of the spanx I’m not wearing every time you hear that phrase) the more I recognize my potential and my self-worth, and the more I realize that the one thing worth passing judgment on is the willingness of others to pass judgment on you.

DO YOU. You’ve heard that phrase? DO YOU… and the right people will appreciate you for who you are and accept you as you are.

Spend less time being the person everyone else wants to be themselves, or the person they think you should be. The alleviated stress is incredible, it’s like taking two tons of bricks, a rhino, and my weekly cheat meal off your shoulders. You can breathe, you can straighten up and see more of the world around you, and you progress at an amazingly accelerated pace because of the lightened load.

I’m going to take the time to address some of the negative comments I get regularly so you can see how I do this:

1. Your competitions and your photos are pornographic

A. My first inclination is to be hurt and defensive. In the past I would have explained my way over under sideways and backwards to try to make them see why what I was doing was right or good. But then I realized that I was doing what was right for me, and not necessarily for them, so there was no way to win them over.

B. Now, I simply say “I’m sorry you feel that way. I do not, and this makes me happy. I appreciate your perspective, but I do not share it”. What I used to do in particular was to explain how those involved in this sport would NEVER feel that way, because they know that it is genuinely about muscle tone, improvement, cuts, definition, and fitness. But there are millions of people who will not understand that.

2. This is an unhealthy obsession

A. One good thing to point out is that everyone has something they are SUPER into, even if they are super into doing nothing, or playing video games! This is a HEALTHY obsession. I try to gently remind others that I am not hurting my body, that I feel the best I ever have, and if they continue to press the matter I remind them that what is healthy for me may not be healthy for them.

B. It is also helpful to note that healthy is in many ways a state of mind. I do not constantly compare myself to others, I am not insecure and trying to reach perfection out of insecurity, and I am not doing it for attention (whatever others may choose to believe). My mind is in a very healthy place when I’m training and competing, where for others that may not be the case!

3. Your commitment to working out is selfish, you have a kid

Now THIS one will get me super worked up! I believe in the following:

A. The best thing you can do for your child apart from providing for their basic needs is to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Present a healthy, confident, self-aware individual for them to imitate. Be a parent who is secure in themselves, their body, and their future, and watch how your children benefit from that.

B. Children are masters of imitation. I want to set a healthy lifestyle example for my son from the very beginning, just as I wanted to remove him from an unhealthy situation so he didn’t think that relationships should be the way mine was at the time.

4. What you are doing is immoral or wrong

Again, here is an example of someone else imposing what is right for them onto your life. Unacceptable. I never want to do this to anyone, and no one should want to do this to you. MANY times this is because they are insecure themselves. If they have a difference of opinion with you, they should present that respectfully, and honestly if they have no intimate involvement in your life and a deep knowledge of your character, I believe it isn’t their place to present that to you at all.

5. I’m offended by what you post or say or what I see

This one is simple. Kindly suggest that if they’re offended, they stop following/watching/looking/reading about your pursuits! Pretty easy. They choose what comes in their visual windows, leave that to them. You are not responsible for the negative opinions of others.

 

One of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself in the world is a humble posture with a kick ass attitude. Be confident enough to say THIS IS WHO I AM, but be gracious enough to do it in a mature way, and be humble enough to be open to other perspectives.

However, if you are secure in yourself and at peace with your motives and your goals, BE CONFIDENT.

Wear the sh*t outta who you are, let everyone see it. Don’t be an @sshole, but give the world the privilege of seeing your raw, beautiful, secure, gifted, confident self.

Stop wasting time proving yourself, and start making time count by being yourself.

Quit second guessing who you are.

You owe an explanation to no one; your conscience stands before you and God alone, so let it rest there and SIMPLY BE.

“All our progress is unfolding,

like a flower bud.

You have first an instinct, then an opinion,

then a knowledge as the plant has a root, bud, and fruit.

Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bare Arms and Bearing Arms

Since this is primarily a fitness-related blog, forgive me the pun. I’ll start off with a quick nod to the sports and fitness arenas: my Red Sox are up, and my biceps are killing me from a very heavy bis/chest workout yesterday!

what

Nod over, nerd hat on. This is a moderately intellectual post, so if you’re not into it, go lift.

I very bravely put out a request to my instafam asking for a topic for tonight’s blog post, and while I was expecting something along the lines of “How to Give Great Head” or “The Best Ab Routine” (of course the correlation is rather unclear), instead I received the surprising request to write on a highly controversial topic: Gun Control.

Whoa! Before you either reach for yours or jump down my throat for shooting the word out there (pun totally intentional), listen up.

First, I always start off when addressing controversial topics by saying I UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WILL DIRECTLY INFLUENCE YOUR WORLDVIEW.

This perspective allows me to sympathize with and respect your difference of opinion. Only the insecure are close-minded. It does not, however, mean that I do not hold my own opinions. On everything. No one will tell you I’m not opinionated.

So, guns.

The second amendment protects our right to keep and bear arms (for all of you juice heads out there, this means weapons, and no, not your personal gun show… go flex in a mirror, I know you wanna).

There really isn’t much flexibility here. KEEP means keep. Own, possess; an entitlement to the privilege of purchasing and owning guns. BEAR referring to carrying arms, and by inference, using them for self-defense.

In 1876 and 1939, amendments were passed that essentially limited the type of weapons one could own carry for self-preservation (In other words, Congress decided ain’t nobody needing a bazooka 578928 to get their purse back from a robber).

Here’s where it all gets sticky. First, as history proves, time has only muddied the clarity of our judicial ancestors. Constitutional principles have been amended over and over and challenged repeatedly. (The times they are a-changin’//)

One of the biggest reasons I believe the question of gun control is so hotly debated and the government has seen fit to begin to remove some of the “unquestionable” and “unalienable” rights of the citizens of the U.S. to keep and bear arms is directly related to the increasingly media-centered culture in which we live.

Generation Y is a media-driven culture. We are manipulated by thousands of messages on the reg, particularly through T.V., radio, magazines, movies, PSAs, ads, social media tools… bombarded by a thousand voices, our eyes raped by millions of images manipulating our thought processes and burning into our memories. We unconsciously become the product of our surroundings and are readily influenced by media manipulation.

The likelihood is that in years past there were many unreported or unpublicized shootings. People are unstable, they make unstable decisions. The bad people have always existed, they have just become so much more popular in our sensationalistic-driven media-absorbed culture. The bad guys make headlines, they stand out. Some very weak part of us gravitates towards the dirty, trashy, bitter, dark side of this world, and we eat it up like candy.

We are also a society of mimicry; when figureheads and public personas appeal to something inside of us in any way, we crave what they have and we identify with them.

I would submit that the media attention to mass shootings and the regularly broadcasted infamy of the common criminal has set the stage for mimicry of the worst sort.

Along with all of this publicity then comes an appeal to the evil present inside all of us, and where the social or moral checks and balances have been obliterated for a variety of reasons, mimicry ensues. When it does, the media is on standby to sensationalize it…and so the cycle perpetuates itself.

The perpetual cycle of crime and sensation and publicity creates a response that is deeper and more carnal and more motivational than any other: FEAR.

Very few people have the courage or knowledge base or personal strength to triumph over fear (or perhaps they simply do not know they have it). Fear drives people to insanity; to mayhem and irrational decisions and extremes; and fear, above all, causes chaos. As fear has caused chaos, the government has responded in fear of their own, and has made decisions driven by a desire to appease and to placate, rather than to stand ground on principle.

We have become a media-obsessed, fear-driven culture.

I sympathize with both sides of the gun control argument. On the one, I understand where they are coming from. On the other, I see the strength of those who are proactive and stand ground on their rights; they are not afraid.

I choose to side in the majority of cases with those who go against the tide.

Whatever your stance is on the matter, I think it is always good to examine what drives you to the decisions and opinions you hold. NEVER LET NEGATIVE EMOTIONS BE THE GROUND FOR YOUR DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.

This includes fear. Fear is the most destructive emotion I know of, and I can only pray that its selfish, cringing manipulation does not continue to utterly and subversively pervade our culture and the decisions of our most influential leaders.

xoxoxo

-sportyspice

 

Seek to Inspire Before you Expire

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST INCLUDES MODERATE REFERENCES TO PREGNANCY RELATED TOPICS

OTHER DISCLAIMER: THIS POST ALSO INCLUDES HOT MOMMA PHOTOS

See now? You’re stuck. All you women were like “psh, what? pregnancy? what? i got this”, and all of you guys were like “ew, pregnancy, what? disgusting, not reading”, and then you saw “HOT” and “PHOTOS” and now I’ve got you.

Now that you’re all mine, as a general population, buckle up (okay, so some of you guys are just going to scroll and find the photos and never read a thing… it’s cool).

PREGNANCY is like the four-letter word of the fitness industry. To women it’s the death sentence to their self-esteem, their smooth skin and their halfway decent or all the way sexy stomach. To men it’s the death sentence on their sex life, their sanity, and their S/O’s self esteem (and therefore, their future sex life). It means late-night pineapple runs and early morning hold-her-hair-back-while-she-pukes, and a squirmy squirrely naked needy child with an insecure mother who doesn’t know her body and doesn’t want to touch it, let alone allow you and your man parts within grenade launching distance of it.

But guess what? It doesn’t need to be.

When I found out I was pregnant (I’ll spare you the gory details) my thoughts went as follows:

1. Oh, sh*t.

2. That was fast.

3. My man is going to kill me.

4. I’m gonna get fat.

5. I just had coffee.

I proceeded to cry and then call my sister, and then guess what the next thing I did was? I ate 423 donut holes.

No. I googled information about exercise while pregnant, found out the general concept is “if you were doing it before and it didn’t hurt, you can keep doing it” and went for a 6 mile run.

Yup.

I proceeded to work out aggressively my whole pregnancy. I lifted moderately, did plenty of cardio, ate healthy (with an occasional treat), swam, biked, ran, jumped, practiced bikram/hot yoga, you name it. Every time I went in, the baby was great and I was even better.

I gained a total of 17 lbs and lost 3 the last trimester, and the last week I swam a mile a day since my knees and feet hurt. I had a healthy delivery and an awesome baby boy, and the day after I was back to pre-preggo weight…

but not pre-preggo me.

I lost myself. My whole pregnancy I felt sexy and strong, and my man was all leggo-my-preggo to everyone else and super into me; I had porn star boobs out of nowhere and and the sex drive of a rhino on crack. It was awesome.

Post pregnancy, my body felt foreign to me. My curves were different; I had hips, boobs, more junk in my trunk, and I felt like a machine. All you do is feed your child and change diapers and stress out for several months. You go into zombie mode, and you lose yourself.

Here I am at 8 months pregnant:

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2 weeks postpartum:

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5 months postpartum:

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7 months postpartum:

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and 13 months postpartum (this past week, at my first show – I’m the one second from the middle on the right):

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So hey you. Yea, you (you gentlemen may want to stop reading now, or you may like to keep reading so you can use this to empower someone you care about, or to log away for future reference).

You, hiding in your sweatpants from a world that wants to see if you’ve got a celebrity body along with your three kids, or your one kid, or your no kids and your miserable self image.

You, thinking “yes, but that’s not possible for me”.

You, wondering how this happens.

You, wishing your S/O had the drive and ambition to get their body back, too. Or wishing you did.

You, filling your own head with lies, listening to negativity, choosing to believe that it’s not possible, or you can’t, or you won’t, or you don’t have the willpower, or the resources, or the stamina, or the support system.

Get off your butt, make some small choices, step forward, believe, start moving.

I would never have thought this was possible. Someone said “that’s crazy progress in only a year”. You know what I was thinking? I could’ve been in way better shape much sooner if I’d had the knowledge base (a.k.a. started lifting and been on a healthy meal plan rather than being a cardio bunny and hardly eating post baby).

You can do this, you can start today. If this isn’t for you, you can help someone else do this.

You deserve this. Mommas in particular, I want to talk to you: dispose of the lies that say your investment into yourself – your mental, physical, emotional wellbeing – is selfish. If your children consume you, you will not be a good mother. You not only deserve the time to yourself, you deserve to be everything you can be for them, and that includes confident and beautiful. You deserve to rediscover yourself, to absolutely LOVE your body, to feel like a bombshell AND a mom. YOU DESERVE THIS. I know you want it. Get after it.

If you have questions and comments, post them below, and go hit up my Instagram for more daily inspiration: http://www.instagram.com/sportyspice87.

This was MY journey, and it’s not over yet. I am “finding myself” more and more every day. I know who I am and love who I am 10 million times more post-baby than I ever did before.

You can, too!

Join me!

xoxoxo

-sportyspice

jbon

Get Stronger, Not Skinnier

When I was about 14 I was at least 20-30 lb overweight, and had no muscle to speak of. I was obsessed with skittles and snack food and I hardly ever worked out.

Enter mom, my savior. Being a nurse and active and healthy herself, she FORCED me to run/walk with her several days a week. I cried, screamed, yelled “I hate you” (yes, I really did)… for months.

And then one day, I got up and went for a run.

ALL BY MYSELF.

And the monster was born.

After that I swung rapidly to the other extreme: I became a calorie-counting FREAK, I ran further and further. I was approximately running between 8 and 15 miles a DAY at least 5-6 days a week.

One evening, I excitedly came to my mom and proudly informed her that I had only eaten 470 calories all day, and had run 9.2 miles on said calories.

Oops.

My mom helped me (I was about 17 by then) to study up on some nutrition guidelines and exercise science, and my love of fitness was born.

Still, while eating more/healthier foods I continued to count calories like it was my JOB and made sure to do 1-2 hours of cardio daily, sometimes 3.

I was (needless to say) quite thin, and had very little muscle mass. At 5’6″, my lowest weight between 16-18 was 104 pounds.

Eventually my mom became so concerned about my obsession with health and being “fit” that she pushed me to see a nutritionist. This was where I learned more about body image, BMI, and the idea that our perception of ourselves and our bodies (particularly true of women) is distorted regularly by both our own eyes and by the lens we view ourselves through: the airbrushed, anorexia-ridden, photoshopped lens that characterized modern glam, fashion, and even fitness.

My nutritionist upped my calorie intake by at LEAST 800 calories a day if not more (I was working out aggressively and eating around 12-1500 a day at the time). The only way I could manage to get my stomach to handle all of the extra calories was to spoon almond butter out of a freaking jar. I began to put on weight, but not in ways I liked. I needed to gain some, but I wanted to remain toned.

Thankfully the next year I participated in my very first nutrition and health science class during my freshman year. I learned so much about muscle, how to burn fat, the complications involved with calorie deficits and metabolism, and so much more. I was finally informed, and that class lit a fire under my “skinny-fat” little ass.

Since that time, about 5 years ago, I became certified as a group ex and spinning instructor and a NASM personal trainer. As my fitness journey has progressed, and as Ive learned more and more, the strangest thing has happened…

This cardio FREAK, who was paranoid about calories and making sure I burned off as MUCH as possible, has become an interval-training, kettlebell-loving, pro-weight-lifting, HITT junkie. And I’ve never felt better about my body.

Eating clean is different than counting calories. Getting stronger is greater than getting skinnier. Working harder is better than working longer.

and MUSCLE. BURNS. FAT.

I laugh now when I think of my poor, tiny little self, paranoid about curves, afraid to lift weights for fear of “bulking up”. I laugh when I think about my goals: to be “thin”, to “get smaller” or to “weigh less”. Weak, simple-minded goals.

Muscle weighs more than fat. Muscle burns fat. Lifting weights builds muscle. The majority of women couldn’t “bulk up” if they tried. Dieting is for dummies. Healthy choices are a lifestyle.

Getting stronger, fitter, faster, better, tighter, more confident > than anything that skinny bitch in the gym so many years ago thought she could achieve.

Thank God for moms who care, for almond butter, for interval training, for a changing image of women in the world. For strength more and more being acceptable, good, valued, admired. Thank God for kettlebells, chin up bars, hand weights, bikram yoga, spartan races. Challenges, challenges, challenges.

A better, stronger, healthier generation of gym rat. Functional movement exercises. Barefoot running and outdoor boot camps.

And thank God for Elmo, without whom none of my workouts would be possible.