How I am Making the Tone it Up Bikini Series My Own

 

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This year I’ve finally decided to participate in the Tone It Up Bikini Series: an 8 week fitness challenge hosted by the founders of Tone It Up, Karena & Katrina. It’s a big step for me because I’ve never successfully completed a fitness challenge before.

Some challenges had way too many rules, other’s didn’t speak to me, but other times I just I didn’t believe in myself. Not too long ago, I was still working on improving my relationship with food & exercise. Whoa, I think that’s the first time I’m ever mentioning that online. That’s a big deal for me.

I’d find myself obsessing over my food & body much more than I’d like. I’d compare myself to others far too much and spent too much time criticizing my own flaws. I was aware of my somewhat “unhealthy mindset” and I knew a fitness challenge may make me focus more on the superficial than I should.

It’s taken me a lot of trial and error to get to where I am now but I am at the point where I feel comfortable and happy with my relationship with fitness. I’m ready to give this challenge a shot.

I’m someone who marches to the beat of their own drum so I don’t think I’d be successful if I tried to follow all the rules of the challenge. For example, I’m not exactly following the TIU meals on their nutrition plan nor I am doing all of the TIU workouts. They do, however, serve as helpful guidelines.

Everyone has different goals for the Bikini Series but here are my top 3 I’d like to achieve:

My Goals:

  1. Successfully complete my first challenge. Really all I want is to keep my motivation going for 8 weeks. And I want to make sure I continuously love and accept myself the way I am the entire way through it. One week down already!
  2. Become a morning person: my goal is to wake up by 6:30 at least 4 times a week to either get in a morning workout (aka “Booty Call”) or to take time to write for my blog. Two of those four days I teach, so it’s really only 2 more days I need to get motivated for.
  3. Prep my meals. I’m lucky to be fed both breakfast and lunch at work so I really only need to prepare one healthy snack and dinner for each day. I easily get stressed/overwhelmed by cooking and I want this challenge to make my life easier! I’ll definitely be using the meal plan for inspiration.

I know I wouldn’t be sticking to this challenge without my accountability groups. I’m part of two group threads with other women who are participating in this challenge. We don’t only talk about working out, but literally everything and anything in life. Everyone is so supportive and kind. I’m a bit introverted so I was scared I’d be overwhelmed but it is quite nice I must say :).

Okay that’s all I have to say about the Bikini Series now. I feel even more accountable sharing this online.

Do you have any questions about it? Shall I do another update in a few weeks? Are you doing it as well? Let me know in the comments below!

Santa Cruz Half Marathon

Hi!

I’m back to the blog. Honestly after this race I felt like I lost my motivation and discipline and needed sometime to get back to my routine. I’ve also been traveling these past few weekends so it was hard to make time for blogging with my 9-5, teaching, and life in general!

Anyways, race recap blog posts hold a special place in my heart. I started writing these posts back in college and it’s always so fun for me to look back at them years later and relive the race experience. I feel like they are posts I write for myself more than anyone else but hopefully you still find them entertaining ☺.

I usually recap the race by breaking it down into mile chunks but honestly I didn’t feel too differently in mile 3 than I did at mile 10! So instead, I’ll focus on three key factors of the race: mind, body, and nutrition.

MIND:

I was genuinely so excited about the Santa Cruz Half Marathon. It was a great excuse for a one-day getaway to a beach town with my parents and my boyfriend and I was excited for a chance to run another race after my IT band injury last year.

I didn’t experience the normal anxiety and nerves I usually do with half marathons and I think there are a couple of reasons for that. Number one, I’ve done a few half marathons by now so I know what to expect at a race; two, I didn’t put too much pressure on myself for a finishing time. Yes I knew I wanted a sub 2 hour final time but if I didn’t achieve it I knew there would be more races.

BODY:

Training was relatively short at eight weeks but it was consistent. I ran three times a week and paired my runs with strength training and POP Pilates training. I feel like core strength and lower body strength made a huge difference in a running. Thanks to Fleet Feet SF’s training program, my runs were a mix of hill training, speed work, and challenging long runs!

NUTRITION:

This was my first half marathon after I started to work with a nutritionist and my diet change helped a lot with my energy levels. In the past I’d feel tired and uncomfortable after long runs and I think it’s because I’d refuel with food that didn’t sit well with my stomach. This time around I had more control of my energy level.

THE OUTCOME:

I PRed at a time of 1:52*!! I shaved off 10 minutes my last PR: part of the difference is due to the fact that SC is far less hilly than SF, but I also think the mind, body, and nutrition prep did wonders.

I felt like a million bucks right after the race but a couple of days later I felt like I lost all discipline. I think I need a new goal again ☺.

*1:52 is my approximated time because for some silly reason the race ended at 12.7 miles…I had so much more energy left in me I wish it kept on going! I added 5 minutes to my official time of 1:47:18 to get my PR time.

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Five Tips for Workout Motivation

five easy tips on how to find motivation for working out.

In a perfect world, working out should be as easy as other routine activities like brushing your teeth, showering, eating etc. But we all know it’s not that easy, even though physical activity is as important as clean teeth (if not more!).

You know when I find it the hardest to be motivated? When you’re coming back to working out after a while, whether it be weeks or years. You feel like your first workout back has to be the best one ever – but that’s totally not true. You just have to do something!

I struggled with workout motivation for years and still occasionally do…you know sometimes that fear sets in. But think I’ve finally found a happy balance and I definitely didn’t find that motivation alone. The tips below have helped me stay motivated and hopefully they help you too.

1. Stop being a Perfectionist

Let’s say you haven’t worked out for three months but want to get back into running as You make a plan to run 4 miles the next day but when tomorrow comes, you are afraid you won’t be able to do it so you postpone it.

Then, the next day comes around and you still don’t get to running because you don’t have the time for a full 4 miles. But why not just start with one mile? Or why don’t you even make it a point to get outside for 15-20 minutes to see what happens?

I feel like we get so caught up with the “perfect” plan that we can let it intimidate us to a point where we do nothing. 

2. Set Realistic, Achievable Goals

We all have our own reasons to why we workout: to lose weight, to feel happier, to run faster. However, sometimes when we are dragging our butts to the gym, we lose sight on why we are there in the first place.

Shannon Arens, the general manager of our health & wellness program at work wrote a great post on how to choose “S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound)” goals.

For example, I’m most motivated to workout when I’m training for a race. I feel truly committed andI also love competing against myself and aiming to beat my personal record. A great example of a SMART goal for me would be “set a PR for my half-marathons by running a sub 2:00 time at the Santa Cruz half on April 9th.”

I personally steer away from goals in physical appearance because I think it could lead to an unhealthy obsession with the scale and vanity metrics. So maybe getting ready for bikini season is a great motivation for some people, but I don’t think it’s a goal that’s leads to longer-term commitment to working out.

3. Find an accountability partner

I wish I was better at morning workouts (well I am kind of getting better now that I teach POP Pilates twice a week at 7 AM) but if I don’t have a reason to be up, I normally end up snoozing my alarm. However, if I am meeting a friend for a run in the morning or taking a class someone, I never snooze for fear of disappointing my friend! Working out with someone not only is fun, but also provides accountability.

4. Keep it Social

This point ties in well to the one above: working out shouldn’t necessarily feel like a chore. Try rock-climbing, dancing, or hiking with friends. My roommate and I sometimes go to hip-hop together at uforia studios and it’s so much fun!

With all of our busy lives, it’s hard to find time to do everything, so why not make it easier by combining social time and fitness into one?

5. Join an online community

There are many great online fitness communities where you can like-minded individuals who are trying to make health & wellness a priority. A few well-known fitness communities include POP Pilates, Tone it Up, and Kayla Itsines BBG. There are always different challenges to partake in and you’ll find plenty of other women on the way to motivate you!

I know I’ve only touched on a few ways to stay motivated to work out so I’d love to hear from you what you do to bring back that determination!

Pin it for Later!
five easy tips on how to find motivation for working out.

five easy tips on how to find motivation for working out.

uforia Studios Review: The Coolest Fitness Studio in Nob Hill

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You want to know what brings me back to the same fitness classes over and over again? Good music. Music seriously make my workouts 100X and it’s half of the reason I’m obsessed with SoulCycle, POP Pilates, and uforia Studios.

You all have heard of Soul, you know I’m certified in POP Pilates, but have you heard of uforia Studios? Uforia has two locations, one in Palo Alto & one in San Francisco, and they offer three kinds of classes: Revolutions (spin), GRIT (high-intensity strength training), and Hip-Hop Club. What ties these classes together is that all of them are to the beat of the music.

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My roommate Vrinda took me to my first Hip-Hop Club class, my friend Monya took me to my first Revolutions class at Uforia, and my former-roommate, Jessica, now works at uforia! Major community feels :).

What keeps me coming back are the hip-hop classes, even though I’m a terrible hip-hop dancer (I feel so badass but look so ridiculous!). I still enjoy these classes because everyone there is welcoming, non-judgmental, and there to have a good time. The instructors are amazing and all of the songs are on point.

I’d love for you guys to experience this studio with me so I’m partnering uforia Studios to give my readers a free class with the code citrusgold. You can use it at the Nob Hill location or Palo Alto and towards any of their classes ($25 value).

Also, I’m organizing a meet-up at the Nob Hill studio on December 2nd for the 6PM hip-hop class. Use the code above to join the class for free!

Yay can’t wait to embarrass myself ;). 

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Uforia offer three kinds of classes: Revolutions (spin), GRIT (high-intensity strength training), and Hip-Hop Club and they all have amazing music!

My Health Story

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I’ve met and spoke with a lot of health & fitness bloggers and I learned that many have a story to share. Today I thought I’d share my story on why I’ve become so invested in my health and well-being. There’s so much to say but hopefully this post starts unfolding some of the layers.

Everyone has different reasons to why they start their health journey: to lose weight, to recover from a sickness, to become stronger, etc. My journey really began about four years ago when I came back from studying abroad and didn’t recognize who I was anymore.

The unrecognizable version of myself was the by-product of unhealthy life choices and an unfortunate stomach bug that has permanently altered my digestive system. To this day I am still trying to figure out what foods are safe and what lifestyle is best suited for me.

But let me rewind even further and start from the beginning:

Growing up I was fortunate to be active, happy, and healthy. In high school I was a swimmer and I really didn’t have to worry about my weight or what I ate because my metabolic rate was off the walls with all that working out. There was a time where I could eat six eggo waffles in a sitting and I’d feel perfectly fine afterwards.

Once I got busier with studying and left for college, my health was no longer a priority. I actually was close to being underweight from the stress so I knew started to incorporate more physical activity into my lifestyle. My mom was a great influence for me back then (she still is now) and she introduced me to yoga and convinced me to run my first 5K! Still at this point, my health was something I’d take for granted.

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My biggest turning point came after studying abroad my third year in college. I remember vividly, the moment when I realized I needed to make a drastic change.

After being abroad for six months I was excited to come back home to California, back to family and back to familiarity. When I arrived home, I ran up the stairs to my room to drop off my luggage and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I was shocked by the person staring back at me.

“What has happened to me” were the first thoughts in my mind after really looking at myself for the first time in half a year. I had gained weight, lost confidence, and didn’t recognize the person looking back at me. I wanted to undo the damage ASAP.

Four years ago, I decided to make a change. I began focusing on what I eat, started lifting weights and tried out different fitness classes. I ran my first 10K, my first half-marathon and then, many more races have followed.

I think there is never an end to one’s health journey. For me, a lot has changed since that summer after junior and my perception of “health” has changed quite a bit over time. I’m still learning what’s right for me but by focusing more on my well-being, I’ve slowly been able to reclaim my happiness and confidence.

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Raw Turmeric Latte (Vegan)

Hi friends!

It feels good to finally get back to the blog! I took a long hiatus while traveling these past couple of weeks and I’m so ready to be back. Today, I’ll be sharing a a raw turmeric milk recipe :D.

raw-turmeric-milk-vegan

I originally shared this recipe on Brown Girl Magazine but I also want to share a version of the same recipe here under a different name.

This raw turmeric milk tastes just like thandai (a traditional indian beverage) but it’s way more healthy! I was inspired to create this recipe after trying the turmeric milk at Project Juice. I was obsessed with it immediately but I knew I could recreate it at a much lower cost (FYI I talk about my thoughts on the turmeric milk trend here).

Ingredients:

1 cup of almonds, soaked overnight
4 cups of water
5 medjool dates
2-3 cardamom pods, ground
1 tsp of turmeric powder
½ tsp of cinnamon
Dash of black pepper
Pinch of saffron

Instructions:

    1. Place your almonds in a large bowl and fill it with water. Soak them overnight to allow them to sprout. I’ve read that this helps neutralize phytic acid and helps release an enzyme that helps with digestion.
    2. The next morning add your almonds and about a cup of water to your blender and start pulsing. I like to add the water a little at a time to gauge the creaminess of the milk.
    3. Blend the rest of the ingredients while slowly adding more water.
    4. Strain the mixture using a cheese cloth or nut milk bag over a large pot or bowl.
    5. Pour the milk back into the blender to help serve.
    6. Add some ice & garnish with crushed cardamom and a pinch of saffron!

turmeric-milk-blended

You can use the leftover almond meal to make a lighter version of the thandai by adding it back to the blender with more water. Or you can use it to top off your oatmeal, add it to a dessert, or like me, eat it plain.

The turmeric milk should stay good for up to a week refrigerated! It’s so good you have to try it out!

turmeric-latte

raw turmeric latte made with homemade almond milk. Sweetened with dates