40 before 40 update

So at the beginning of my 39th year, I decided to start a list of 40 things I wanted to accomplish before my 40th. I never made a full list and was planning to add to it throughout the year.

40 goals is more than I can process, and I was starting to throw things on there just to fill a slot. So, I’ve decided to stick to one goal. A goal that I have needed to tackle for most of my life.


My goal for my 40th birthday is to lose a minimum of 40 pounds. I’ve NEVER lost that much weight in my life, so that achievement alone will be monumental. I’ve got a lot more than 40 to lose, but this is just step one on the overall fitness plan.

So instead of 40 before 40….I’m all about 40 for 40, and I’m already almost 1/4 of the way to go.  I’ve got this!


Fit Latina in the Making: I Hate Burpees

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they love burpees. I doesn’t matter the fitness level. There is a collective disdain for this stupid move.


And if your trainer moves from the modified burpee (using a chair) to the easier version of the actual burpees (meaning walking the feet out)…than the HATRED for the burpee really comes out.

I found myself getting angry that this stupid exercise existed.  

I apparently started to get pretty quiet and nervously laughing as I had to go down to the floor for more reps. Inside my head, I was saying every imaginable curse word on the planet. I think Ray has ESP because he started saying: “This is our baseline. One day these are goinna be nuthin for you!”

What?  You’re crazy!

I’ve watched every athletic person I know struggle with burpees, so don’t lie to me.

These are always going to suck.

I’ve already seen Ray modify this move in his Five a Day Free workouts for you “fit” people.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as one-legged burpees!  Good god. I couldn’t even try to imagine making that move any harder than it already is, but apparently you can.

But I will say this about these painful mornings and workouts….they’re working.

I stepped on the scale this morning, and I’m already down 8.5 pounds from the first day I started “talking” to Ray which was July 12th.

The guidance and daily targeted but short workouts are working. I’m not as sore as I was week one, and my body is getting used to getting up and moving first thing in the morning. I’m also doing a lot more cooking at home and meal prep.

Food is going to be a big part of reaching my target, so we’re going slow there and making subtle changes that will ultimately have a high impact. I’ve mostly stopped the drive-thru breakfast and dinners. I still sometimes stop for a coffee, but that’s nothing calorie-wise compared to my previous pairing of it with a breakfast sandwich or donut (that I knew were AWFUL).

When I cook, I always lose weight and I always eat healthier. It really does help me to plan my meals and snacks so I need to keep it up. I’ve also gotten in to a good groove on my water intake so that my muscles get the hydration necessary to repair quicker and have less caffeine overall.

These are all good changes, and they are all manageable.

Fit Latina in the Making: Let’s Talk Nutrition


Eleven days of daily workouts.

This is already a record, but I’m going to continue crushing it. I’m finally at the point where the soreness is manageable (which I never imagined happening) and I feel weird not starting my day with a workout.  Whom have I become?

But what about my target….40 pounds by January 9th? Well, the wedding weekend I just had added a few pounds back, so as of Monday morning, I was only down 2 pounds.  Only 2?! It’s still 2 pounds less –  I should be celebrating!  It’s down and NOT up!  Silver lining is key here.  I know that as I get closer to my first target, there are going to be weeks where I won’t lose anything or I’ll gain some weight.  That’s normal!

I honestly thought Ray would be disappointed with the 2 pound loss, but he wasn’t.

He knew I had the wedding. When we chatted about what was the worst thing I ate that weekend – my answer was half a piece of cake and a glass of champagne.  I’m human and things like this will come up. You don’t stop living.  You just need to make an effort to have a little less than your previous standard.

My changes? I skipped wine with my dinner and passed on the mashed potatoes that came with my entree. I’m sure if I had gone all in and chugged away at wine, I would have been back at my start weight or higher.  But I wasn’t, and that felt good. it reminded me that I can still have fun and reach my target.

However, it’s time to really start looking at my nutrition. We’re getting used to the daily movement, but now it’s time to get a little serious on the other elephant in the room – my poor eating.

I’ve restarted logging my daily meals on myfitnesspal. It’s really interesting to see how many calories are in things you think are relatively healthy.  It’s also fascinating to wrap your head around carb totals and what that does to your weight fluctuations.

But let’s be honest, why does the best stuff have to have such high carb totals – the sweetest fruits and the most delicious desserts.  Why can’t a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie have high protein and low fat content?  And before you try to send me recipes for one…you know that healthy version doesn’t taste anything like the one I dream about when I think about a favorite treat.


But my reminder tonight is: Everything in moderation!

I can still have a cookie…just not one every day.

Fit Latina in the Making: When you’re Forced to Change Plans

This morning, I had a work emergency and therefore had to cancel my skype with Ray. I was actually a little bummed out to not work out in the morning.


What I am enjoying is feeling like I’ve accomplished something for me first thing in the morning. Normally, I’d be checking and responding to work email because I get up way earlier than I need to leave for work. Thankfully, I really enjoy what I do for a living so that’s never felt like a chore.

But you know what surprised me most this morning?  It was Ray’s response.

I’ve worked with other trainers in the past who would get mad if I had to bail at the last minute. Trust me, no one hates wasting other’s time more than I do…but life happens and you have to be flexible.  I found some trainers were just not flexible and made me feel bad for prioritizing my career or family.

That obviously didn’t work for me and we parted ways. I take pride in my integrity and dependability, and I’ve chosen to work in fields where the “work” is about improving the lives of others.  So yes, sometimes the work will have to come first.

Ray didn’t even flinch.

I think I’ve proven that I’m really in this, so he adjusted his plan and suggested I do a workout at home by myself.

This is the point where the past Nubia would have said she worked out and taken a day off. But I told myself I wouldn’t lie on this journey, and I wouldn’t quit.  I’m sure there are going to be days where I am going to be too sick or exhausted to work out…and it’s going to be okay.

Today was not one of those days…I needed to get this done.

And so I did.

Me, my yoga mat, and my timer worked through the arm strengthening exercises and THEY SUCKED!

The best part of not skyping? Wearing as little clothing as I liked to be fully comfortable as I kicked my own butt.  Ha!


Habits I Want to Adopt

I don’t have anything mind blowing to share about today’s workout with Ray.

Was it mediocre? No!  

Was it hard? Yes!

I may be jinxing myself right now, but this week’s leg day was nowhere near as bad as the first week. Sure my ankle was screaming by the end and throughout the workday, but I was able to actually move. i could get up and down from my seat without much wincing. I’m not sure why that’s the case. I was still dying during the workout so I almost expected to be hobbling by mid-afternoon.

I only have two potential explanations for this: my body is actually getting stronger after the initial shock of the beginning and/or I’m finally well hydrated and benefiting from the protective aspects of having enough H2O to help my body heal.

So it got me thinking….what are some other habits I would really like to adopt?

  1. Regularly drink 8-10 glasses of water, at minimum. I love my diet coke treats and morning coffee, but I would often then just not drink anything else. Drinking all this water has changed the way my skin looks and my body feels.
  2. Food prep on the weekends to minimize the overthinking and under-delivering that happens during the week. I’m a great cook – I just need to plan for it and get to work in the kitchen.
  3. Increase my daily steps. The 30 minute workout is great, but I still have a pretty sedentary work and lifestyle. I need to create a plan to get me moving more throughout the day. Averaging 5000 steps/day is not cutting it for me.
  4. Consider eating out a treat as opposed to something I can do out of laziness. This will not only save me money, but it will spare me so many unnecessary calories.
  5. Increase my sleep to 7-8 hours/night. I currently sleep about 5-6 hours and many people are shocked to hear that it’s that low. I’m not generally exhausted so it hasn’t been an issue, but sleeping more can’t hurt!
  6. Consider my daily workouts just part of the day. Right now, they feel like a necessary chore, but I’d like to one day be at a point where it’s what I do to start my day (doesn’t mean I have to like it!).

What are some other habits I should think about?  Would love to hear your thoughts!


All I Want is a Cookie

I somehow managed to roll out of bed to work out this morning. After yesterday’s wedding in what felt like the Sahara Desert, I was convinced that the dehydrated state of my body (despite chugging water all day yesterday) would make today’s workout with Ray incredibly difficult.

The workout was difficult, but not any more than any other day.  So I’ll take that.  The extreme soreness from last week seems to have dissipated but that just might mean that we’ve concentrated on muscles I do currently use so they are stronger.  Only time will tell but I’ll keep praying to whatever God that will answer if we can eliminate extreme soreness.

What I will confess is that today….today all I wanted was a Cookie.

I have a about 3 different packs of those specialty Oreos sitting on top of my fridge. I bought them when I was expecting friends for a craft day as a munchie, but we had so much food that day that most were left.  Today, they were taunting me as I grabbed healthier options throughout the day.

I’m not a HUGE snacker at home because I normally don’t have that kind of stuff in my house.  Purposely?  No not at all.  I work at a place where snacks are readily available so I often get my fulfillment there and just grocery shop for essentials at home. I spend so much time at work, that stocking up my fridge and pantry is not something I focus on. I shop when I need stuff.

Well today…today I really wanted a cookie.

I had some wedding cake last night, so I’m trying to understand why my brain is in serious craving mode.  I’m not hungry…so this is clearly my brain trying to convince me it’s okay to have an Oreo tonight. I even went so far as to read the calories in a suggested serving size. OMG! I don’t think I’ve ever looked at that and realized how much of a waste of calories there were in a serving, let alone how much people normally eat.  It’s a bit insane.

But why tonight?  It’s been a week, and I’ve done pretty well. I like food and I am a pretty damn good cook, so I can make anything taste good without adding many calories. But why is my body screaming for the sugar?

Well, I think my body is trying to tell me that it’s missing it’s source of comfort.  This has to be a psychological response because I’m not hungry but yet I want it. When I’m stressed or exhausted, I guess I do sometimes eat my feelings (or drink them – ha!).

I’m really exhausted today and still actively trying to re-hydrate from yesterday. I even took a 3 hour nap today – which I never do!  Maybe this myth of I get enough sleep is just that – a myth. Or maybe this upswing in activity is expending more energy, and I’m not fueling my body correctly with proper nourishment or sleep.

So rather than grab a cookie, I decided to focus on documenting my first week in my fitness planner. I decided to focus on the artsy side of my brain because that often helps me kill time. Laying out the week helped me see that I really need to plan some better snack options. I’ll have to do some research on quick and easy snacks to help me curb these unnecessary cravings.


I’m also going to be better about taking my vitamins.  I’m a girl who has low vit D, b12 and iron (slightly anemic). Iron levels also obviously take a big dip once a month if you’re a gal of a certain age, so maybe this exhaustion is primarily nutrition based.

So it’s time to focus on some recharging of the body nutrient wise and maybe also increasing my normal 5-6 hours of sleep.

I don’t have time to be tired!  I’ve got things to do damnit!


Fit Latina in the Making: It’s Been a Hahd Week!

Well it’s officially day 5…and I have managed to fit in 5 workouts so far with one more on the way this afternoon because I won’t have time tomorrow.

When is the last time I worked out 5 days in a row?  NEVER!

It’s been a hahd ride ( I can totally hear Ray saying that), but it hasn’t been impossible. I’m doing this, and I honestly can’t believe it.  Even with a semi-busted ankle, I’m getting through this little by little. We’re being smaht and we’re working hahd.

Sure my body aches every morning (I’m totally buying stock in Advil some day), but once I get moving, it gets better.

Are there moves we attempt and then need to modify because I’m not there yet?  Yup.

Is that a little blow to my ego? Double yup!

But Ray finds something new that works and puts me to work. There is no time to overthink and wallow in my own bruised ego…he focuses me on more moving and sweating. I don’t even have time to process the disappointment that would have probably made me not come back or keep going.

Sometimes I think his modified moves are easy because I’m all confident doing the first couple of reps, but then it hits you. All of a sudden you start moving slower, your heart rate starts pumping and you sweat like crazy. So while I may have felt a little discouraged by having to modify his initial “easy” moves, I quickly realize that he is still kicking my ass.

It’s been a fun week,and NO it’s not because I like working out. I still hate working out.

Ray is making this fun, he’s reasonable and he’s pushing me. Posting about this journey has been unreal. I’ve heard from people that I haven’t connected to in ages, and the candor with which they have shared their own weight and workout struggles is humbling. I’m apparently motivating others to start their day one again (even if this the 100th day one) and that pushes me to stay on the course. If I’ve learned anything this week is that you have to treat each day like a new day one and just try.

Because let’s be honest…the aches suck…they REALLY, REALLY suck!

Maybe I’ll treat myself to a massage next week. Hmmmm…wouldn’t that be a great end of the week treat?!

body aches

Fit Latina in the Making: Help me Support Some Incredible Families

So today I’m adding one more incentive to my fitness journey, and I’m hoping you’ll join in too. You see, one of the things I am most proud of is my professional career. I made a conscious decision years ago to focus on bettering my community- geographical and cultural. I’ve worked in the non-profit sector since 2002, and I have never once pursued a for-profit position.

Do I have anything against the for-profit sector.  Of course not!  There are so many incredible corporate partners and foundations that help nonprofits provide services to the population they serve through donations of time and money. It’s simply incredible to have seen the paradigm shift from when I first started working. To have large corporations setting aside VTO (volunteer time off) so their employees can do something they love is just the coolest thing to be a part of when hosting them at my work.

So what do I do? I’m a proud proud member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. I started as a volunteer almost 20 years ago while still in college, but I joined the staff in 2012. It’s been the most challenging (emotionally and intellectually) position I’ve had and absolutely the most rewarding. I don’t think I’ve ever been more happy professionally.

But why?

Well if you’ve never been to a Ronald McDonald House, then let this be your first introduction. With almost 400 Houses around the world, Ronald McDonald Houses strive to do two main things: keeping families together and keeping them close to the hospital where their child is receiving treatment. RMH provides them a ‘home away from home’ while they seek out the best care for their child. Some of our families are with us short-term and some are with us a lifetime.

So how will I marry this fitness journey with the medical journey of our families?

I’ve had several wake up calls to remind me of how lucky I am to be “healthy.” I’ve lost friends to terrible illnesses and have others who are battling diabetes and other auto immune diseases.  Me? I’m a fatty with bad ankles.  Not the worse thing in the world when you look at the potential of what my body could be doing today if my genetics played out differently. I’ve been lucky, and I’ve taken it for granted.

My RMH kiddos don’t have a choice, and my friends don’t have a choice.  I have CHOICES and TOOLS to help me get in the best shape of my life. This year, I finally also have the DRIVE.  It’s go time!


I’m in this to win it and I have the best supportive team and friends ever to make this happen!

I have an initial goal of losing 40 pounds by my 40th birthday. Well, when I stepped on the scale yesterday, I realized my pace is going much faster than it ever has because I’m finally doing all the right things.  So I WILL HIT this target in my 39th year of life.

39 years of being healthy that I have taken for granted!

My kiddos at RMH have fought so much harder than I ever have, so I thank them for giving me the strength and humor from which to push through the soreness. It’s nothing compared to what they battle each and every day.

So how can you help?

We are currently raising funds to refurbish one of our older Houses (we have 5 in the Chicagoland area), and it is the House that first introduced me to this beautiful work I get to be part of every day.

I have a personal fundraising goal of $2500 but I would like to quickly surpass that goal just as I’ll do with my initial 40 pound weight-loss target. I’m already close to reaching a 10 pound loss and it’s only been 1.5 weeks since I first spoke with Ray (and 4 days of actual workouts).

I will crush this fitness journey…can you help me crush my fundraising goal too? Your donation would not only show your belief in my drive but it will also support the thousands of families who need us most during the most challenging times of their lives.

So if my journey isn’t enough for you…how about a picture of one of the families you would be helping today by making a donation here?


Last day of CHEMO!!!!

Also, let me be completely transparent.  I’d like to earn my title back as top individual fundraiser from my colleague Ben who crushed me last year and is currently light-years ahead of me! Can I count on you to help me crush him?!  Know that this is a friendly but heated competition we have done for the past of couple of years. I love my Benny but I hate losing to him.

Fit Latina in the Making: Working Smaht

I know you’ll be in as much shock as I am.

Today was day one, and I didn’t die.

I decided I needed my workout outfit to give me some good karma. I found a Breast Cancer Awareness shirt this weekend at Macy’s that I knew I had to have the moment I laid eyes on it.

You see, I made a promise to my friend Deyla that I would start to take care of me. She lost her battle to breast cancer a little over two years ago and she fought hard.  She fought against the availability of options but never stopped trying.  So here I am, with everything laid at my feet, and I still had trouble saying yes to this opportunity.  The shirt was a good reminder to get out of my head and focus on my heart.


In all seriousness, I wasn’t sure how training via Skype would work, or if I would like it. I can’t say I “like” it (because I still don’t enjoy a workout), but I do love the convenience of doing this at home and Ray is pretty clear about what he wants me to do. In turn, I apparently take direction well so it seems to be a match made in heaven.

So was I still nervous as I saw skype start ringing?  Heck yea I was!

Well, I didn’t have much time focus on the nerves because we quickly became a comedy sketch as my laptop camera wouldn’t work, and he disconnected his computer when we finally connected via my mini iPad. (We’re both showing our age when it comes to technological competency!)

The mini iPad isn’t ideal, but it works. He can see me, and I can see him, and so we got to business. I had this idea that he would be killing me today…that I would be scolded…and that he would be unreasonable on my capabilities.

But none of that happened!

Was he honest about how my weight is affecting certain moves – yes, of course. However, he never explained anything in a condescending way. It was just a matter of fact and something we would tackle as a team.

And then he introduced me to the damn squat.


WHO KNEW there was a wrong way and a right way to execute a squat? I was feeling all kinds of confident when he asked me to do my version first. I had my back straight, and I came down at a decent tempo. But boy did I know that my knees were going to feel this if we did a lot of reps.

Well, he took a look at my form and then taught me how to do them better.

Do you know I’ve actually seen others use this form and thought they were doing it wrong?! Little did I know that they were saving their knees and backs by using proper form.  AMAZING difference.

Was it still hard?  YOU BET!

But did we work SMAHT (I have to try not to giggle at the Boston accent)?  Yup.  No injuries is one of our goals.

But what is the 1st goal?

Lose 40 pounds by my 40th Birthday (January 9th).

When I gave him this target weight goal, he got quiet. I thought he was going to tell me I was crazy. Imagine my surprise when he said that if I gave 50% effort, I’d reach that target. However, if I gave him more than my 50%, I would blow that number out of the water.

What?! I’ve never lost that kind of weight.  EVER!

Do I think this will be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. ABSOLUTELY.

Do I think that I’m in good hands?  Yup.  I made a SMAHT choice 🙂




Fit Latina in the Making: I’m Being Ridiculous

I apologize for missing a post yesterday.  Comcast had an outage in my area so I wasn’t able to log on all day. Unfortunately, the outage didn’t happen tomorrow on day one with Ray so I’m going to have to proceed with day one of the workouts!

My last post talked about how I’m getting nervous. Well, I didn’t know what nervous even felt like until tonight. The minute I got confirmation about what time we’re meeting and what I needed to prepare for my first  workout, my stomach plummeted. I have to admit that I’m actually a bit scared.

The craziest thing about all of this is that I’m not generally a scaredy cat.  I have this general belief that failure teaches you something about yourself.  However, when it comes to all items related to fitness, I feel almost paralyzed.

Will my trainer think I suck?

Will I embarrass myself?

Will my trainer judge my tight workout clothes (i.e. judge my body)?

Maybe this paralyzing fear is due to the fact that I’ve already failed for so long. I don’t want the confirmation that I couldn’t do something on my own. I’m an independent gal who prides herself in not “needing” others to accomplish her goals. But really, I’ve always had help to achieve things (teachers, mentors, friends, etc.) so what makes me feel like I need to do this on my own?

I’m being COMPLETELY irrational and I know it! I know I’m not the most obese person in the world and probably much more capable than many people who are starting a fitness journey. However, I can’t get out of my head tonight. I’m pretty sure I’ll be tossing and turning all night until I officially face my demons in the morning.

I’m hoping that getting through day one will make these jitters disappear (or at least help lessen them significantly).

I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t be afraid of something that I haven’t tried, let alone something that can’t actually hurt me.

I’m so used to being competent at most things that it’s messing with me mentally that I haven’t been able to get this one thing right, and that I’ll have someone “judging” me this time around (like all of you reading this post).

Epiphany #2: I’m afraid to fail….again.