train smart

What Happened When I Gained 40lbs

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A year ago this week I was wearing a size two. I was the leanest I ever had been. IMG_2241

I was also packing my bags, leaving my ex-husband.

I was also starving.

I was also weighing every green bean and grape that entered my mouth.

I also thought I was fat & hated myself. Yes, in this picture I truly thought I needed to be smaller. My heart hurts as I type this, but what I saw--is not what I know you see when you look at that.

I was starving. I was unhappy. I was starving. I was miserable.

 

A year ago I stumbled upon my new gym home The Human Form. It was by accident, literally. I came here with a friend because she was going to meet a guy who worked there (who I later ended up dating), I was terrified for her that she was going alone so I came with her--what do you mean you're going to an empty gym alone to meet a man from the internet? I ended up landing the internship of a lifetime there and that's now where I do all of my personal training.

My first week there I watched the owners, Stephen and Michelle make smoothies pretty much everyday. I remember it like it was yesterday that they put 1/2 and avocado, 1 whole banana and some other fruit in there. There was also protein and veggies but all I could think about was how in one smoothie, they just consumed almost all of my fat intake for the day and about 3/4 of my carbs.

I was counting my macros and eating 25g of fat + 100g of carbs a day.

It was then, as the people I admired so much--and my boyfriend at the time, drank their smoothies--that I knew something was wrong with me.

Counting my macros was not healthy for me. I saw food in numbers and not for fuel. I was fearful of 5 extra grams of fat per day. Simultaneously I was binging like crazy because I was eating such a limited amount of food. Even with counting my macros, I was going crazy and living an extremely unhealthy life.

I vowed to myself that I would stop counting and start focusing on eating whole foods mindfully.

Having not done that though for 2 years, and just entering a new relationship, I ate. My now ex-boyfriend loved cooking for me, and I loved that he wanted to. It was all insanely healthy but I had been use to eating practically nothing and being hungry 24/7, so when I began to eat meals with him I was not only eating good stuff--I was eating his size portions of good stuff. I knew I was probably eating too much for my body, but for so long all I could think about was my next meal and a this point I no longer knew what enough (truly enough) looked like for my body.

I ate out at restaurants, for the first time in so long. I ate food I loved, I tried new things and eventually I stopped being so afraid of food.

It took me almost a year to come to a place where I know I'm okay without counting.

Last July I weighed a low of 120lbs. In December of this year I tipped the scale at my highest of 158.

That crushed my soul because I knew that while I finally felt truly strong for the first time ever, a lot of that weight came from not honoring my body through food. Which was really hard to swallow for me.

But something else happened.

Part of me wanted to hide because I knew how lean I could be, I knew where I had once been. But as I reflected on that, I realized that I was starting to love my body where it was. Even at 158. In the picture below I was 158, but I had never felt more sexy and confident in my life. That's what most women and competitors say though. "I love my curvy body". Most say it because they know what is happening and they are ashamed. And I was, I fought myself daily to love this body. But when I allowed myself to start letting that love be okay--what happened was magical.

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In the beginning I felt that I could only love myself at 120 because 120 meant abs. I thought that 158 equaled that I was fat, not worthy of love. I based my love with myself on my gravitational pull with the universe.

Something clicked though, I started to be able to grab my butt. I had legs that didn't look like you could break them in half.

I finally, FINALLY realized that beauty, confidence and feeling sexy had nothing to do with abs. That it is OKAY to love your body without it looking like the cover of Oxygen Magazine.

 

So this year I gained 40lbs. I was recovering from an eating disorder that consumed every part of my being. The weight I gained wasn't all healthy, a lot of my old habits came up many times. This 40lbs is made up of learning how to eat for my body, honoring it through eating intuitively, and sometimes it was made up of ED mindset setbacks.

40lbs is a lot, I don't say that with rainbows and butterflies shooting out of my ass. But speaking of ass, I have one now. I have many things now that I choose to break society's version of beautiful and decide I was beautiful on my own.

Now, out of curiosity, I weighed myself and am chillin at 143. I love myself more at 143 than I ever did at 120. Because a number doesn't decide you're confident or beautiful--you decide that.

143 is good. My ED mindset isn't there, I can wake up and eat the foods I love that simultaneously fuel me and leave me feeling good. I can look in the mirror with a deep acceptance and love for my body. I'm actually strong. I can lift heavy shit well. I don't have dark circles under my eyes, I don't run out of energy in my workouts, I'm happy.

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Strong Curves + radical self love VS. weak, extreme hate for my body.

I am beautiful because I decided I was. The freedom and confidence that came with that is earth shatteringly beautiful.

There are still days I feel my self love tank is dipping low, but I know now that self love is a choice and most importantly a journey, not an end goal.

So if you feel like you're struggling with self love because you don't look like a model, I challenge you to be okay with being a bit of a rebel and allowing yourself to decide what your version of beautiful is.

 

With a whole lot of love, shaky fingers and vulnerability,

xoxo

Rachel

 

 

3 Tips To Reach Weight Loss Goals Faster

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It's safe to say everyone wants quick results. I mean who wouldn't want to reach their goals sooner than later? I've narrowed down 3 tips that will help you punch your excuses in the face and reach your goals quicker than normal. Ready? WEIGHTLOSS

 

Tip #1: Pick One Plan

While this may seem obvious to some, a lot of women get distracted and unintentionally self sabotage their progress by jumping from program to program. A few things happen here. One, you see a friend doing something different from you and maybe they are getting killer results. Now you second guess the plan you've chosen and start theirs. Two, you don't give your program enough time. Yes, progress can happen fast. However, if you don't see progress within a week or two it doesn't mean your program isn't working the way it should. This issue stems from our desire of instant gratification. You expect that because you've started a new plan the weight will fall off like melting butter. The truth is you have to give it time.

Bottom Line: If you keep changing programs or starting and stopping you're never fully giving your body the chance to adapt and get going with progress. Sticking  to one thing for at least four weeks will allow you to see the kind of results that you're fully capable of getting by staying consistent.

 

Tip #2: Show Up

Following along with tip #1, it's not enough to simply purchase a program or buy a gym membership. If you have a goal of losing 10lbs and you bought a program and let it sit on your desk, nothing is going to happen. Sadly there hasn't been a way to get a rockin bod through osmosis yet (one can only dream). Simply having good intentions won't do you any good. You must show up everyday to your meals and your workouts. If you're unhappy with your results ask yourself if you've shown up and given 100% to whatever program it is that you're following.

Bottom Line: Results come from consistently showing up and being 100% with your fitness and nutrition. 1/7 days a week won't cut it if you're serious about reaching your goals. By showing up, and staying committed you are guaranteed to get results and maintain them!

 

Tip #3: Love What You Do

I LOVE the way I train!!!! Do you? If you're training in a way that makes you dread your workouts, something needs to change. Don't get me wrong, my workouts kick my butt but I enjoy the movements. I don't enjoy typical bodybuilding workouts, hence why I started and stopped training for my bikini competition FIVE times. Five. That's ridiculous. It's not because I couldn't do the workouts, it's because I got 0 enjoyment out of the way I was training. I hated it. I felt silly because it wasn't natural for me. When you love your workouts or style of training you are so much more likely to show up to your workouts and give them 100% because they aren't seen as chore, resulting in better physical results :)

Bottom Line: When you train in a way you enjoy, you are 100% more likely to stay committed and show up to each workout and give 100% effort which will lead to better and quicker results.

 

Now, go get some killer results!

In Light & Love,

Rachel

Not Reaching Goals Quick Enough? Try This!

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Has your progress stalled? Maybe you aren't reaching goals as fast as you'd like? There honestly could be a few issues at play here but what I see most is this: a severe lack of structure in the programming.

What's that mean? How your program or workouts are structured are more important than you know. Did your trainer evaluate you and take note of where you struggle/areas you are weak? And did they apply those to your program? Or did they throw you into a shit ton of stuff? Does your program directly align with your goals?

Issue #1 Has your workout ever told you to do weighted jumping jacks, one legged bosu ball bicep curls or some other odd sounding move? While these moves don't suck, they have a time and a place and to be honest it's place probably isn't in your workout. Do these things make you sweat? Yes. Will you be burning calories? Yes. Does that mean you're reaching your goals? No.

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Here's the thing, just because you're sweating doesn't mean you're working toward what you want. Want to build a booty? Most likely, air squats, jumping jacks and mountain climbers won't get you there. Your programming should incorporate moves that not only are for you and your fitness level, but that help you achieve the proper booty gains you want.

Issue #2

So maybe your program looks like it's giving you what you want, your legs are sore on leg day so you think everything is great. Let's look closer...

Is this program wearing you into the ground?

If yes, read below:

There's a such thing as TOO MUCH work. A lot of programs have an obscene amount of volume (meaning a lot of reps--of A LOT of exercises) . When I first started coaching I sucked. True words, I'd put all the "leg workouts" in one day, and while this achieved a type of result..it didn't achieve the best result or smartest. You could be doing less..and gaining more definition, sculpting those muscles to get the defined look you want. By training very intentionally, ie: not over training the quads (like most people do) and instead focusing on working both planes of the body (AKA:front and back), this would be hammies and quads (this is just one example), it's result would be much greater and your body would be happy. So while you're working one, the other has more time to recover before you hit it again.

Let me say this, volume isn't always bad. In fact volume can be good. I know, did it just make you say "WTF make up your mind??". Volume when programmed intentionally and not as a massacre to a specific body part is good.

Basically, a little done right--you get you some bad ass freaking results. Compared to tearing your about apart.

Bottom line:

1.) Your program should be customized to you and your very specific goals, as well as the way your body currently moves and functions. This is why jumping into fitness classes causes issues for SO many people. These classes are a "one size fits all" approach, no personalization is taken into count. Your injured? Oh well. You want to sculpt your arms? Tough shit. Make sure what you do, is designed for you.

2. A workout isn't a compilation of 10 moves for a body part you want to fix. Your workout should be very intentionally planed. Does it make sense? Is it directly going to move you forward to your goals? Is it smart? Think about that next time you train!

Sample of bad, unplanned workout:

3x50 air squats 3x50 walking lunges 3x20 alternating jumping lunges 3x20 step ups 3x20 frog jumps

See how heavily quad dominated that workout was? Putting our bodies at a huge imbalance by completely ignoring our posterior chain (AKA:back side) , and you just murdered your quads. While some may think that's a good thing--not so much.

Here's an example of a well planed workout:

3x10 kettlbell swing 3x10 barbell bent over row 3x10 push ups 3x10 inverted row 3x20 seconds foot hand crawl

As you can see this was an upper body focused workout, however I still added swings to get a full body movement in. The swings as we know target every muscle group you have and are a perfect option for "cardio". You'll sweat, work every muscle and as a bonus you're even working your core :) Because we did the bent over row (posterior//back), I wanted to add the push up and inverted row to work the anterior//front side. To finish we did a crawl, why? Engaging every single muscle..hello abs!

Have questions? Let me know! Think you need some programming assistance? Email me at strongchicksrock.rachel@gmail.com .