Fit Latina in the Making: Make Good Choices

Now that I find myself with plenty of free time (albeit forced upon me), I realized I had no more excuses when it came to reaching my fitness goals. I took a little time off from training directly with Ray but that was because I ended up taking some time away from Chicago to regroup and refocus (which increased our time difference).

I’ll go in to more detail of my crazy fitness/family-time adventure to Los Angeles in a later post because there is a lot to share! I have several funny stories and pictures from my week in the City of Angels, and it’s all Josephine’s fault! It was a wonderful escape, and I’m so very lucky to have an incredible friend that knew what I needed before I even had time to wallow in any sort of self-pity. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I want to focus on what has been a recurring theme lately. Many friends have recently commented on my eating when we go out together. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m not any sort of scripted diet, but I guess I have learned to make better choices overall. As a foodie, eating out is a part of my friend experiences and I can either let it crush my fitness my goals or make some alterations.

What does that actually look like?

  • Focus on proteins and vegetables.
  • Eat a small salad when possible as an appetizer – something with little to no dressing (or ask for it on the side).
  • Fresh fruit is a yummy treat.
  • Have a deliciously rich creamy (whole milk) cappuccino when everyone else is having dessert because it’s more filling and rich.

I’ve also learned that I shouldn’t deny myself a taste of the fatty/sugary goodness that is ordered in a group setting!

When I know there is a dish I looooove (and one of my friends get it), I’ll ask for a bite. That one bite gives my brain as much satisfaction as eating the whole serving used to in the past. It also allows me to be in the moment with my friends and not have them worry about whether they should be ordering something that might be too tempting for me.

Avoiding temptation isn’t what’s making me reach my goals – it’s understanding why a different choice will help me achieve my goals faster.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even realize I’m making these choices anymore. They are just a part of the way I eat now.  I realized this the other day when I sat down with a friend at a cafe in DC recently and she said, “I need to eat more like you.” I paused and looked at what she meant. I had purchased a fruit cup to enjoy as an afternoon snack and she had indulged in a cookie.

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Now please hear this – neither choice was better or worse.

My choice was just the better one for my current goals and it made my friend evaluate her goals (and how my choice might have been a better one for her too that day). Because trust me…there will be many days in the future where I will have the cookie too!

Fitness tip of the day: Know what your goals are and make good choices!

 

Fit Latina in the Making: When Life Hands you Lemons

It’s been an interesting past couple of weeks in my household, and I was honestly at a loss for words. A little over two weeks ago, I received the unwelcome news that my position was being eliminated and was laid off. If you know me well, you know that I loved what I was doing so it was difficult news to receive, and I’m still trying to work things out as I do a little soul searching for what’s next.

Thankfully, I have a few distractions in my life that are helping me keep a healthy focus and fueling me with energy to embark on my new professional adventure.  Because let’s face it…at this point in time, if you haven’t been laid off once in your career, then you haven’t been pushed by fate to keep driving and learning professionally. There is a silver lining in every dark cloud.

I thought I was done going out of my comfort zone when I agreed to work with Ray, but I guess this journey is a part of my training ground for life. I giggle now because the weight loss journey still feels like the most difficult commitment I have had to make.  So am I worried about finding what’s next? Not too much (yet).  I’m more nervous about finding the perfect next phase so I’m going to try and take my time.

For now, let’s continue to push me out of my comfort zone and stay on track with my fitness goals!

I’m super lucky to have friends that have immediately reached out to make sure I’m not freaking out, and have helped me unwind from the shock. There’s been a lot of crazy adventures and it’s too much to post all at once, but I promise you there are fitness stories to share! And I’ll start sharing them this week!

The most important update I can give is where I am on my crazy bet with Ray to convert him in to a voter this election period.

Our ultimate deadline is November 1st and I have a target weight loss goal of 42 pounds.

Am I close? Yes

I reached 35 pounds five days ago, and I’ve lost a few more pounds since then.  I’m going to need to buckle down these next couple of days, but I promise you…

THIS IS HAPPENING.

The year that the Chicago Cubs go to the World Series is the year Ray Peleckas will vote! Both of these events will be EPIC and LIFE CHANGING….fate has made it so!

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It’s also the first time at the Art Institute of Chicago lions are wearing Cubs gear!

 

Fit Latina in the Making: First Goal Status Update

I was traveling this weekend and didn’t get to post a very important update!

I’ve realized this past month, that there are a lot more people reading this little blog than I ever thought.  I’ve had people asking me (and asking Ray) if I was going to reach my first goal on October 1st of losing 30 pounds.

I’ve even learned from Ray that some of his other clients are asking him how I’m reaching my targets so quickly? First – let’s keep this real. I have a lot of weight to lose and years of a very sedentary lifestyle. What I’m doing now is making changes happen quickly so my rate of loss isn’t abnormal…it’s just a reflection of how changing my diet and exercise schedule is affecting my health. I’m sure to plateau eventually.  For now, I’ll take this downward weight spiral!

So did I reach my first goal?

The weekend of travel had me super nervous because Ray was being a stickler about the date. I had to send a picture of the scale’s reading on October 1st. I’m used to weighing myself in the mornings in the comfort of my own home and like many people probably do…with very little clothes on!  I mean, let’s be honest here…every pound counts right? So I sure as heck take the clothes off to weigh myself every morning.

I knew the hotel room probably wouldn’t have a scale, so it meant I was going to have to weigh myself in the hotel gym. I obviously didn’t want to get kicked out for indecent exposure, so I was going to have to do this fully clothed.  Would I reach my goal? I was still almost 4 pounds away as of Monday and had had a few plateaus lately so I was nervous.

I spent all week getting very serious about food and limiting my calories. I was going to reach this target. If it meant going a little more extreme, than so be it. I was not about to lose this bet and was going to stop any sort of little indulging.

On September 30th, I got up early and forced myself to go to the gym at the hotel. I stepped on the scale fully clothed and prayed as I moved the bar to see if I was close to my goal. What did the scale say? EXACTLY 30 pounds gone…which meant I was probably beyond my target based on how I was weighing myself at home. So you know I was super motivated to get my workout done that morning, and I did it with a huge smile on my face!

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The biggest challenge came that night- the day before my goal day!

I was invited to a reception in DC where I would know the majority of the people. We were celebrating our part in helping President Obama getting elected and that meant champagne and hors d’oeuvres would be a given, and a late night of celebratory drinks would continue in to the next morning.  I was going to have to make some conscious decisions about what I put in my body that night.

I ate zero carbs all day and pre-gamed with a protein bar before the event. I knew that I had limited my calories that day, so I let myself indulge in one glass of champagne at the party, but then I kept to zero carb options and told myself that it didn’t matter how late I would be out…I would be working out the next morning.

After strolling in at 3:30am, my body was screaming in pain as I rolled out of bed to go to the hotel gym. I was dehydrated and exhausted but I had to see if I had reached my goal despite the evening’s shenanigans. I was confident the morning before, but I had butterflies in my stomach as I stepped on the scale.

Imagine the look on my face when the scale said I was 2.5-3 pounds lighter!

32 pounds gone on October 1st?  WHAT?!

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I didn’t want to scare you all with a color version of this picture….the dark circles under my eyes and leftover make-up from the night before were quite scary. Ha!

So you know that means…

Ray will be registering to vote this week! 

We both celebrated the progress all day through various text messages, and I took my final day in DC to indulge in a few things.  I had some ice cream (kiddie size) from a fancy gourmet shop AND I had popcorn at the movie theater where we killed some time before out late flight out.

So on to the next phase….42 pounds must be gone by November 1st in order to get Ray to cast his first vote. I won’t be telling him whom to vote for, but I do hope he does his homework and votes in what he believes in. I’m happy to provide resources on why I think he should align his votes with mine…but I won’t judge him for not doing so (at least not too much!).

 

Fit Latina in the Making: Voter Registration Deadline

We are officially in the home stretch!  One week left to reach my 30 pound target that makes a miracle happen – having Ray submit his information to become a registered voter.

How far away am I from that goal?  THREE POUNDS.

Normally I wouldn’t be nervous about reaching this number, but I’ve had a roller coaster two weeks where I’ll gain two pounds and then lose it back again from one day to the next. Thankfully, the overall trend is still down, but when I’m THIS close to our date…it makes me a little nervous to have this shaky downhill spiral.

But it’s go time and I mean business!

So I’m going to put a laser focus on this week and crush these last three pounds. Thankfully, Ray was in Chicago for the second time and pretty much left me in a state of sheer exhaustion.  I think my arms are broken today – seriously!

However, despite his major fault of not taking civic engagement seriously, I can tell he really wants me to win this crazy bet.  So let’s give him a little heat because he should be voting, but also some kudos for not trying to sabotage me so he can win.

Ray gives off this super tough exterior, but he’s a big ole softy and I love it. He knows how to have fun but can be really intense about his work (hence his success and that of his clients).  The scary intensity has not come my way yet as I haven’t done anything to make him use it against me – thank goodness! Instead, I get trainer mode Ray and then this silliness when we aren’t training:

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This man is wearing my poncho because the restaurant was freezing – ha!

But let’s talk progress.  Obviously, the scale is showing me that the work I’m putting in and the better eating is making a huge difference for my weight, but what about my actual fitness level?

I’ve definitely gotten stronger.

I’ve doubled my dumbbell weight and now find the 5 pounds seem like nothing…until I have to use them for 50 reps. However, it does feel good to be completing reps with the heavier weight when I know I could have never done that two months ago.

My form is also getting better.

I’m more flexible…I can easily do toe touches…I can hold planks longer.  I mean look at this squat!

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And my confidence in my physical appearance is growing. I see the changes, and I really like what’s happening. I’m even starting to not get annoyed when I see pics or videos of me working out.  What?!

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I feel good and apparently it’s showing in everything I do. People tell me I look happier and that I have a glow about me now. And you know what? I’m not only happy, I’m proud of myself!

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And don’t forget to register to vote!  The registration deadline is quickly approaching!  You can do that here.

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Fit Latina in the Making: Side Lunge Leg Raises (Yowsers!)

I knew it was only a matter of time before I found another exercise that I could equate with the burpee.  It’s a move I saw Ray film for a future month’s session of Bodyburn. I can’t even remember what it’s called because as he’s describing how he wants me to set up, I exclaimed: “Are we doing that one exercise I saw you do?!”

He just smirked back at me and shook his head affirming that I was about to do a round of these awful exercises.  When done in superhuman form, they look like this:

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Let’s just say my leg NEVER made it as high as Ray’s, and I slowed down as I pushed through to complete all 40 reps per leg.  But just like everything else we do, I completed all 80 of these side lunge leg raises (what I’m calling this evil move) and was a bit shocked that I was able to do it.

The best part was the fitness realization I had in between sets. 

I would sit back on my knees to rest up my legs, and I realized I wasn’t in any sort of pain. In the past, I used to feel a lot of strain if I sat on my knees like that. It was not a position I could sit in long, let alone get up and move around easily after spending some time in that position.  Apparently, that issue is now gone (like a few others in my life) and that helps fuel my motivation to keep going at this.

 

 

Fit Latina in the Making: “OMG. Aren’t you the Girl from Chicago?”

This weekend, I had the painful pleasure of taking my first trip out to Boston to work out at the Club with Ray and his team. They rebranded and refurbished the studio so I had quite the introduction to what a Bodyburn session is truly like. Let’s just say this, I don’t normally like classes, but I can definitely see the appeal of this place. The atmosphere and energy of the participants and instructors was not like something I had ever experienced.

First – the instructors are insane. They are fun, their bodies are sick and they know how to encourage you when you feel you can’t do one second more. I mean, look at this crazy bunch of beautiful people!

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I arrived on Friday and was immediately put to work. Yup, I somehow became the weekend’s unpaid intern – ha! I helped put the finishing touches on a few things and had the chance to finally meet the team. I haven’t laughed this hard in quite some time.  I was immediately at ease, welcomed with lots of hugs and knew that I had to set aside any nerves about my first class the next day.

So there I am watching as the first class comes in. I was scoping out everyone’s fitness level visually and starting to psych myself out about having to stand next to people who I perceived to be more fit for an entire class. But I’m from the Midwest, so I often smile at people to acknowledge them when I make eye contact. Imagine my surprise when one of those persons gets this strange look on their face and immediately comes up to me saying:

“Oh my God.  You’re her, right?  The girl from the blog?  From Chicago?”

I burst in to a huge smile and laughed as I affirmed that it was in fact me. This happened SEVERAL times the entire weekend and never stopped surprising me. These complete strangers were reading my blog and following my story.  What?!

I heard words of encouragement and learned that some of them had started back up at the gym because of my story. To say that I was humbled is an understatement. I’m just trying to make healthy changes in my life and have decided to share my journey because it keeps me accountable. I didn’t expect to truly be inspiring others – especially people who had never met me!

So I quickly told myself to put the nerves away and anxiously watched the first class wrap up.  There was a DJ blasting tunes for the Bodyburn class and my best friend was going to follow me from station to station (she was going to be my “buddy” but had hurt her back the day before and needed to rest). Once my class officially started, I didn’t have a chance to even stress about whether or not I could keep up with my classmates. There was new equipment and frequent changes from cardio to strength. I just had to focus and keep moving.

And I did it.  Every single exercise.

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Was it hard?  Yes!  My body started to remind me very quickly that these were new exercises and that my muscles were not used to it but I was able to do almost all of it without a ton of modification. There were two machines that I had a little trouble with and one of the push up exercises had to be done on my knees, but I didn’t stop moving. I was a hot, sweaty, exhausted but happy mess at the end of class.

Do I think I would have been able to do this class a month ago?  Yes. How do I know this? I saw that there were various fitness levels in each session and the instructors were there to help anyone that needed a little help. I even had the honor of seeing an 80 year old woman show up to take the class cold turkey.

She kicked ass and I watched in pure amazement.

I remember smiling and thinking that I would like to be her in 40 years and that means I just need to keep at this.

But first…I’m really hoping some of my skype sessions turn in to the dance party I witnessed this weekend because I couldn’t stop laughing at Ray dancing away as he watched his team run the show and the class participants getting the work done. You could tell he was proud of what was happening and he deserved to be that happy. It was an incredible weekend and a sign of the fun that will follow. And no…I’m not saying working out is fun. I’m just saying the Bodyburn by Ray is a fun place 🙂

And of course I had to put my crafty skills to use for this first trip out east by making myself a custom shirt to wear. I’ll keep practicing my Baaaahston accent while I continue with the workouts.

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