“Where do you workout?” * My First Bikini Competion

Recently I was out shopping with a girlfriend and we went to try on a few items.  The girl managing the dressing rooms, gestured for me to hand her the pieces I would be trying on. Then she asked for my name –  I guess that’s a thing everywhere now –

Sidenote: I don’t know how “Engrid” (pronounced ING-grid) sounds like “Andrea” just a pet peeve because that literally happens to me every time I have to introduce myself.

I come out of the changing room to show my friend the maxiskirt I had just tried on.

As I’m standing there waiting, the girl who was managing the dressing rooms asks me “where do you workout?”

As you might imagine, I was a little taken aback. I think she realized it was a bold question and went on to say “Well, cause I can just tell you workout”. I felt flattered but also admired her for being so forward to satisfy her curiosity. I was also unaware that I was such a blatant gym-rat.

This is something I  have started to experience with more frequency and honestly I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to it.  I find it’s difficult to see myself the way that others do.  My mind focuses on what I am most self-conscious about and it convinces me that, that is what everyone else also sees.  I am getting better at recognizing this discrepancy, however just like training in the gym to improve a movement pattern, it takes consistent practice to change this way of thinking and “re-wire” the thought pattern.

Three weeks ago I competed in my first ever NPC Bikini competition.  I have not discussed anything about this on my blog, but I have been posting about it on other social media platforms (mainly my Instagram and Facebook pages). I’ll admit it took a lot of courage for me to put myself out there on those platforms alone. I was worried about other people might think, or what they would say, or that it was weird to do bikini competition.

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It was about three years ago that I went to support a friend who was competing in a show. I remember seeing the girls walking around super tan, heavily made up, looking like fitness magazine cover model’s.  I remember feeling judgmental and thinking I was in the midst of a weird cult. Why would you want to voluntarily put yourself  on a stage to be judged based on your appearance alone? But there was so much more to it, that I did not yet understand.

I have since realized that I need to live my life for myself and no one else. If I wanted to challenge myself to do a bikini competition…  I needed to let go of what people thought and go for it!  I have lIves too much of my life trying to do what I think other people expect of me. Like an uninvited guest at a party – that negative thinking just shows up. But instead of acknowledging the unwanted guest I’ve decided to carry on and enjoy my party. It’s not easy but I’m getting better at listening to my inner voice. Living my life for other people just made me miserable; I was anxious, empty, and exhausted.

Competing in this bikini competition was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life.  The preparation was a journey that helped me overcome a lot of personal fears. I had to let go of  comforting familiar routines.  I find so often, people do what they are comfortable with, because it is what they know and it’s scary to go into the unknown.

Doing something different makes you feel vulnerable, and I am no exception. It was a tremendous learning process to place myself in the position of my clients. I was on the other side of the fence. I always say,  “trainers also new trainers”. So when my trainer  James “Bobo” Eason challenged my habits I experienced the reluctance, the doubt, the uneasiness that goes along with that. He eased me into changing many of my habits. One being my cardio habit. Like many of my female clients I was convinced I had to do long bouts of intense cardio. Of course everyone is different but that is not what my body needed to be doing. I slowly tapered off to shorter, less intense cardio (AKA walking – which blew my mind).

My inner voice felt threatened and asked me things like “What if doing less cardio makes me fat?”

Simultaneously I gradually increased my caloric intake, which also made my old familiar routine feel threatened and uncomfortable. Granted everyone’s prep process is different because we are all unique individuals – but this was what I needed to be doing. I experienced first hand – eating more than I ever had – that my waistline actually shrunk and I was building muscle.

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The photo on the left was when all I did was long duration cardio and light weights/ bodyweight exercises. I also ate what I like to refer to as the clique-what-girls-think-is-healthy-and-will-keep-them-skinny diet. I’m hesitant to even list the foods I was eating back then because I subscribe to the idea that there is no such thing as “BAD” food. Basically I just wasn’t eating enough and enough of the right balance of macro nutrients. I didn’t realize it at the time but by working out the way I was, I was actually inducing stress hormones. As a protective mechanism my body was storing all that it could because I was in such a deficit. In contrast the photo on the right is me eating nearly DOUBLE the amount calories per day, doing HALF the cardio I was before, and doing resistance training 5-6 days per week.

Like I said it was a process but the more I followed what he told me, the better I felt and looked.  Because I respect him my trust in what grew. I knew he had my best interest at heart. So when that noise came in my head, that I realistically knew made absolutely no sense, (but I wanted to listen to it –  because it is familiar and habit)… I would ask myself “Does Bobo really want to make me fat?”. The answer is obviously “no” he doesn’t want that for me! Bobo wasn’t secretly trying to sabotage me.  But my mind  can come up with all kinds of crazy scenarios.  I had to keep grounding myself through Bobo, who kept reassuring me that I was right on track. Although I am a certified personal trainer while I logically and realistically knows the scientific facts, it does not mean I am exempt from having illogical emotional “noise” seep into my mind. I walked away with first place in the novice division of my first ever NPC Bikini Competition. I am incredibly grateful to have experienced this journey it has helped me become a better trainer and learn how to honor myself.

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Liveng Proof Bootcamp @ Lululemon Greenville Showroom | Highlights

Sometimes before I teach a class I feel like I am 12 years old again; I’m nervously standing behind the blocks before a race at a swim meet. I have thought about this moment all week. I have that nervous/excitedness churning feeling in my stomach. And I do a lot of the same things to prep for it. I mull over how I want the workout to flow, scratching out rough ideas on paper, drawing out what equipment goes where.

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And the week leading up to the event I know I’ll need to prep 3-winner giveaway bags AKA me running around town buying things in good-better-best-sets-of-three. At anthropologie the girl at the register noted “I’m guessing this a gift since there are three of everything?”. And at GNC I planted my generously-loaded basket onto the counter to checkout  and  in a do-you-come-here-often-tone the guy goes  “A basket huh? We don’t see many of those” ….Yeah you know, just my regular weeks supply of SUPS;-)

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Bust out a  handwritten-welcome poster. Babe did you print the sign-in & waiver sheets?
Then there’s the creation of a solid spotify playlist for the big day (which you can check out here).

 

I have a new-found respect for people that host events – there are seriously so many details that you need to keep track of for everything to run smoothly. And let’s just say I’m not the most laid-back type…

And I guueeeessssss you could say I’m a bit neurotic when it comes to the day-of. I have to get ready hours before I actually have to be anywhere. I have a whole stretching routine I do. And as you can imagine I’m cray about being “on-time” (which is actually 10-15 mins earlier than real time). Props to my husband for being so tolerant of me when I’m in this zone…thanks babe. But the morning could not have been more perfect. The forecast had said there was supposed to be showers early Saturday morning. But when I woke up – they couldn’t have been more wrote. It was sunny and in the 70s – literally couldn’t have been any better!

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Leading a class is invigorating – for that hour it’s GAME TIME! 100% of my focus is on my people. Watching their form, encouraging them, directing them, making sure they have a good handle on what to do, and above all else making sure they are having fun!

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Sometimes I hear myself saying the most ridiculous things – somehow they make it past my usual filter. For example I was having people plank in a class one time and I had them do glute squeezes while they were planking and I said “pinch your cheeks hard, as if you were trying not to poop” – they all burst out laughing! Their form improved after I gave this cue & they were laughing = win-win in my book!

Quite often after I teach a class I am hit by a wave of “was that good enough?” “was that a challenging enough? fun enough? different enough? class”. As an instructor I have to remind myself that although I am leading – the focus is not on ME – its on each individual listening to me! The class is for them. I am there to give them an amazing workout!

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I think that’s the only way I am able to “perform”. It’s not like I’m 9 years old again playing in a piano recital in front of an entire church full of people (are you seeing a trend? and OMG my palms are sweating just thinking about the anxiety I would get from those recitals! lawd!!!!)… This is of course noise in my own head, but I think we’ve all experienced the “am I enough?” noise before. Am I smart enough? experienced enough? pretty enough? rich enough? funny enough? thin enough? did I do enough? Am I enough?

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And the answer is YES. I am enough. YOU are enough.

I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorites<3

“Wholeheartedness. There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.”
―Brenè Brown

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Outside your Comfort Zone: your target heart rate training zones ;)

I’m always telling you that in order to see results, you have to push yourself to be uncomfortable during your workout. Doing this will speed up your metabolism, and cause signals to be sent to your body that changes need to be made; like becoming stronger and leaner.

To most of you, saying this does the trick, but a lot of you still are looking for a more definitive ‘how hard to push’??

In order to see results, you have to push yourself harder each day. The trick with this is that each time you push (outside your comfort zone), your body repairs and grows back stronger. Which makes you more efficient and effective! So you have to progressively up the ante each time to see the same results 🙂

To measure your output, I look at heart rate. Many of you may know simple ways of obtaining your heart rate, but since everybody is different, I wanted to teach you a method of measuring your own heart rate to determine if you are pushing as hard as you need to be.

This method is called the Karvonen Method, and is fairly simple to calculate:

First off, you’ll need to establish your personal Resting Heart Rate (RHR)

The most accurate measure of your RHR is first thing in the morning before you’ve gotten out of bed! Set an alarm to remind yourself (so you don’t get up first) and measure your heart rate for 15 seconds, then multiply by 4; do this twice for accuracy!

Start by Subtracting 220- Your Age; Then Subtract your RHR

Multiply THIS number by the intensity percentage you are shooting for

Low: 65-75% for early AM workouts (barre/yoga/brisk walking)

Moderate: 80-85% for Resistance Training/Toning/Circuit Training

High: 86-90% for Intervals/Springs/HIIT (or my bootcamp class)

Now add back in your RHR; The resulting number is the heart rate you are shooting for!

Example A 30-Year old is doing her early morning brisk walk, and wants to know where her heart rate should be; her resting heart rate is 68 bpm

220 – 30 = 190

190 – 68 = 122

122 * .65 = 79.3

79.3 + 68 = 147.3!

Her Heart Rate should be at about 147 bpm during her early morning brisk walk!

Pinterest Worthy #fitgirl Closet Wishlist

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1. Lululemon Womens Heathered Herringbone Black Kanto Catch Me 1/2 Zip

2. Lululemon Fleecy Keen Jacket Black Fleece 

3. Lululemon Womens Black Lightweight Winter Fluffin Awesome Vest

4. Lululemon Wunder Under Yoga Pants Hi Rise Mesh Black Shine On Luon

5. Alo Yoga Women’s Coast Legging, Black

6. Lululemon Womens Stripe Heathered Wine Berry Wunder Under Pant

 


Throwback to my collaboration with Greenville’s very own Lululemon Showroom! I was so excited to be able to do this (can you tell from the thumbnail). And I have to say, once you squat in lulu leggings (especially all things high-waisted) you just don’t want anything else – I realize this sounds very #basicB of me but its the honest #truth!

12 Days of Christmas Challenge!

Can you believe Christmas is almost here??!! I love seeing all your check-ins for #12DaysOfXmas! It looks like we are off to a great start! Let’s end 2015 with a bang – bangin body that is! I figured I would save the best for last 🙂

Prepare yourselves because the next 12 days are going to be ahhmazing!! I want your commitment to challenge yourself to stay consistent especially during this crazy-busy time of year!!

Check in everyday once you’ve finished your daily challenge! If you check in for ALL 12 Day’s Of the Christmas Challenge, you will be eligible for a giveaway! (hint hint, lululemon giftcard anyone? among other fun prizes)! So be sure to check-in everyday after you’ve finished! Winner’s will be announced the Dec. 13th!!

Check in on Facebook either:
HERE 

Or if you’re a member of the ‘Liveng Proof Bootcamp: Greenville’
Facebook group you can check in:
 HERE

12 days of christmas bootcamp challenge!

 

 12 days of christmas bootcamp challenge! Just Right Click and select “SAVE LINK AS…”

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My Favorite Things: April!



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My Favorite Things: April

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Anthropologie Ceramic Fruit Basket:
This was a birthday gift from a friend and I’m obsessed with the both the color and the function of this dish!  I LOVE it! Also how pretty does it make the strawberries look? It’s so much prettier than a regular colander. I find myself buying things in the store and getting home and realizing it looked so much better before I bought it. not buyers remorse so much that it’s just like why can’t my whole house just look like anthropologie?

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After Dinner Walks:
The weather has gotten nicer and it stays light long enough now! So after dinner my hubby and Iike to go on a little stroll. It might be just 20 minutes but I like catching up this way and even its just a short walk its a nice habit to get into when the weather starts getting nicer! And its always good to work towards that 10,000 steps a day.

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My Birthday Surprise:
The night before my birthday my husband snuck out of bed after I was asleep and began to inflate balloons with a helium tank he had purchased (didn’t evenknow you could buy those!). Then proceeded to blow up about another 100 balloons to fill our kitchen floor with. I had to wake up early that morning for a training session and was completely surprised! Nothing says birthday more than a ridiculous amount of balloons everywhere!

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Dinner at my Favorite Restaurant in town (The Lazy Goat):
We don’t eat out often but when we do I love to hit up my favorite tapas restaurant! Their Brussels sproats are my favvvvvorite – everytime I have them I literally sit there and close my eyes and savor each flavor! I can never get my Brussels like that at home – so I definitely “ratatouille” each bite 😉

The Fit Cast – Podcasts!
I recently discovered the FitCast and have been crushing episodes while I am on the stairmaster or while I am stretching/mobilizing! It’s all interviews of people within the fitness industry about topics I am uber interested in; strength training, nutrition information, training client advice – I am a nerd when it comes to this stuff! I seriously love it!

The Foam “Sock-Bun”
This thing has been a lifesaver! During the week I wake up between 4 – 5 AM to get to the gym and begin either my bootcamp or training session – so I don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on my hair! This has helped me look somewhat put-together (which is far better than my usual bedhead-frizzy-pony tail).

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Favorite Blogs & Articles/Podcasts:

  • This Blogilates youtube video about body image – seriously brought tears to my eyes!
  • The Fit Cast – Podcasts
  • This CloudyApples youtube video about ‘How to Acheive Fitness Goals’ – love this video and all her entire channel for that matter! She has such a down-to-earn wholehearted approach to life that I am on board with!

Favorite Moments:

  • Having a friend text me a screenshot of one my instagram workouts and telling me that she had done it.
  • Starting a new routine of a super long weekly walk with a friend! The time seriously flies by and we really connect and share about so much. I always feel so close with her after we say goodbye. Its important to me to nurture those relationships I have with someone I connect with! I love how when we are talking – it never feels like there’s enough time – we both just have so much to share. I feel grateful for having someone in my life who is so real and just gets it!
  • Being told by one of my boot campers that her experience with me has been life changing. Seriously – I have the best job in the world!
  • Meeting the owner of a very upscale spa at a networking event and having one of those conversations where you stop noticing anything else in the room! She was a living breathing example of a women who empowers other women! I loved her!
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How To: Weekly Meal Planning & Prep

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  1. The Menu & Grocery List:
    Plan and write down you meals & list: I don’t always do write out all my meals for the week anymore but if you are just starting out this will really help you stay on track! First I sit down and figure out what my 5 meals are (Meal 1: oatmeal, Meal 2: Apple etc…). Then based off this I write out a list of items I’ll need to make each of these meals for the week! If you’re visual like me, try mapping out your meals with my Blank Weekly Meal Planner! Then write out a list of all the items you will need at the store! Having a list will help you stick to your goals, just be sure to avoid going grocery shopping on an empty stomach (that never ends well).

    Here’s grocery list that I made for my Bootcampers back in January!

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  1. Grocery Shopping
    I recently chose to pop in headphones and listen to my own tunes while I was shopping. I was amazed at how tranquil and pleasant it made me feel. If you’re like me and you don’t have the luxury of shopping at Whole Foods every time your produce runs low, you may be doing your shopping in a less enjoyable atmosphere. I find that listening to my own music on spotify makes the experience much more enjoyable!

  1. Do Your Meal Prep Piecemeal:
    I find that it can be pretty overwhelming to go to the grocery store, come home, unpack everything, and then take on the task of prepping! To avoid this I like to split it up. We typically go grocery shopping on Saturday and then prep on Sunday afternoon!IMG_3238
  1. Wash Everything Together!
    I find its easier to wash all the produce I am going to be using to prep my meals in one foul swoop! I like to use Trader Joes Vegetable Wash to get my veggies squeaky clean – especially for those veggies on the ‘dirty dozen list’ (at the very least all my produce gets rinsed with water). I also like using a salad spinner for more than just my leafy greens; it works great for blueberries, chopped leeks, Brussels sprouts, etc.

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    fresh market food haul

  2. Pack it to GO!
    I use glass-lock containers that I purchased at Costco. They came in a variety pack with all different sizes! If you don’t have a membership to Costco I’ve seen similar ones at Bed Bath & Beyond and even Walmart. I also use my ikea plastic Tupperware set too – which I think is a steal at just under $5.

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  1. Make The Time Fly!
    I like to pop in headphones and jam out to upbeat music (seriously who doesn’t dance in their kitchen?)… I’d recommend steering clear of anything too mellow, you want beats that will carry you through! Lately, I’ve been listening to podcasts or audiobooks while I prep! I love this because meal prep is pretty mindless so I feel like I am fully engaged in whatever I’m listening to (which is especially great if you are a multi-tasker like me)! I also like to use this time to practice my standing posture! I’m, a big believer of the “how you play at practice is how you will play in the game” philosophy! I’m trying to be aware of my stance/posture both in and out of the gym. Not only has developing this self-awareness improved my movement while I workout, it just looks better – win-win!👌

If you have any tips and tricks you use to prep your meals – I’d love to hear ’em!

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