Month: March 2014

Attitude Transformation

You want to know about a wonderful thing that happens when you dedicate yourself to doing something healthy? Not only do you see physical results but you gain emotional results! I had the pleasure of being an integral part in the production of my husband’s band’s album release show this weekend at John Ascuaga’s Nugget. The Novelists performed with help from opener Tyler Stafford and in collaboration with a local aerial arts group, The Siren Society. The event was attended by nearly 600 people, and was a roaring success.

Why is this important do you ask, well let me explain a magical thing that happened to me because of this highly public event. Since I have been so busy with school and work, I have been in social hibernation, meaning that I’ve been out of my “scene” for a while, and many of my friends haven’t seen me since I started my transformation challenge. The onslaught of compliments that I was receiving in response to my weight-loss achievements was almost too much to handle!!! If I needed any more proof of how great I looked I would have gotten it tattooed on my forehead! Instead here’s a picture of a rock star (the guy in the red pants) and his wife! I felt like I had to one-up his trouser awesomeness and wore sequin pants! Also pictured are the truly talented photographer Shannon Balazs, and amazing artist Bryce Chisholm who provided the artwork for the Album.

I was feeling positive already, but as groups of friends came up to give me hugs, cat calls and overall praise I couldn’t help but feel even more positive. I felt like the Grinch in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, “My heart grew 3 sizes that day”. I had dozens of instances where I knew that all my hard work was paying off. Guess what else happened?!? I was nice to everyone, even in a very stressful situation. I had more patience and kindness than I have in a long time, and was feeling like a new person.

Getting noticed for my hard work this weekend has fueled my inspiration to keep going. I can’t wait to work harder at sculpting my body and mind, because I am now a firm believer in having the ability to control your life. I am no longer giving up on things that I want, and I am no longer allowing things that don’t serve me in my life.

So get out there!!! Start doing what you’ve been meaning to do! I love feeling inspired, since inspiration leads to dedication and dedication gets results! How do you get inspired? I personally buy a pair of sequin pants and go to a rock show, you should try it sometime 😉


Muscle Egg, A Product Review

Today ladies and gents I’m here to review a really rad protein product that I have been using since the start of round 1 of boot camp. It’s called Muscle Egg and as you probably guessed by its name that it is egg based. Yes, I drink mint brownie flavored egg whites every day, mmmm sounds appetizing doesn’t it? Yes, I’ll admit, I was incredibly skeptical at first, and a little worried about the texture and taste of flavored egg whites. Let me tell you dear friends it’s not as bad as you’d think and it actually tastes pretty delicious, similar to an Andes mint (at least that’s what I tell myself ).

So what on earth possessed me to even try this product? First, it came highly recommended by both the trainer, Heather, at boot camp and my fitspiration, Cecilia. Another reason for slurping down cups of egg whites was after reading the nutrition facts I soon understood that this product was nutritionally superior, and more cost effective than the other protein supplements I had been taking, namely Muscle Milk. Here’s a quick comparison of the nutrition information of Chocolate Muscle Milk (10 oz) and Mint Brownie Muscle Egg (8 oz).

The muscle egg product is better for several reasons, it is fat free, has lower sugar, carbs and overall has a simpler ingredient list. For $40 for a 2 gallon jug I’m set for several weeks. Muscle milk is still reasonably priced but I was turned off by things in the ingredient list I couldn’t pronounce.

As an added bonus, muscle egg-sperts 😉 have come up with some super cool recipe ideas if you’re not keen on drinking egg whites. I personally like making crepe-like pancakes with chocolate muscle egg and bananas.

Let me know what you think about this crazy eggy drink and if you’d be brave enough to try it!

Half Way There & The Results Are In!

I’m pleased to announce that I not only finished my 5 week boot camp class, but in doing so I lost 10 pounds and 21.5 inches overall!!! This really drove home the point that your weight on the scale is only one way to measure your success, where taking before and after measurements are a better gauge of how your body is transforming. I’m not quite ready to post flabby half-naked before and after pictures of myself on the internet, so I’ll try to illustrate as best I can in words. I don’t feel as “squishy” as I used to, my clothes fit a lot looser, I can see and feel muscles coming back to life, and I notice that my overall behaviors have changed. Instead of taking the elevator I take the stairs, when my coworkers bring in doughnuts I eat a piece of fruit, I find my lazy ways fading as quickly as my extra weight. I truly feel like I am transforming as a person.

I’m making big plans in order to get big results. I am looking forward to the next set of results from the second 5 week session of boot camp which started this past Tuesday. I know what to expect now, and am completely dedicated to getting fit and healthy, you could say I’m addicted. I aim to push myself harder than before, in order to obtain even better results than last time!

I will be upping my game plan by adding in a couple of cardio sessions each week to help me prepare for my first ever 5K, The Color Run on June 28th! Wish me luck! I am also refining my diet in order to make my body an efficient fat-burning, muscle-building machine. By making new goals after achieving one like completing boot camp, I am re-dedicating myself to living a healthier lifestyle. Many leadership and self-help gurus have suggested time and time again that you must make goals, write them down, and check in on their progress. When you have completed a goal, it is time to set some new ones since we are a constant work in progress.

I used to think that I would be easy to check a goal off my list, since I live to check things off lists, and just be happy with that accomplishment. I now know that once you have forward momentum, there is a drive now embedded deep inside that desires to keep going. I’m not saying I don’t have my days or moments of weakness and laziness, I’m saying that I am working very hard to eradicate those traits from my character.

So, I added another goal to my list. If any of you seasoned 5k-ers out there have any advice on how to break into running would you leave me a comment below? Thanks in advance!

A Weight Loss Dilemma: What To Do When Your Pants Don’t Fit

It was inevitable, the day would soon come when my favorite pair of jeans no longer fit. I’ll confess, I bought this pair of jeans knowing full well that they would only be worn for a short amount of time, because I was determined to change my life for the better. My old favorites soon turned into my “fat pants”, too baggy in the butt area, no longer tight at the thighs, and falling off my waist even though I had cinched my belt tightly around it. I felt sad and proud at the same time. It felt like I was finally coming to grips with saying goodbye to my former self. Like many things that are changing in my life, I am noticing more and more of the old “stuff” I have to let go to make room for the new and improved “stuff”.

So what’s a girl to do with all this “stuff”? For starters, letting go of things that no longer serve you or your purpose well is a necessity! Holding on only makes transformation harder. Constantly remind yourself of your goals, and be at peace with finding a new home for your old treasures. I find the best scenario to be what my husband and I call the “jean rental program”. A super cool second hand store in town called Plato’s Closet will give you cash or store credit for your used clothes. So what we’ve been doing is trading in our too big clothes for ones that fit with little to no cost out of pocket! It’s a win-win, out with the old, in with the “new to you”, and your old stuff has the opportunity to find a new home.

Other options for getting rid of your old stuff are numerous:

  • Donate it to charity
  • Donate it to second hand stores
  • Post about it on Facebook, see if any friends are in need
  • Repurpose old stuff into costumes
  • If it’s really special have it altered/tailored

At the end of the day I can’t wait to go get a “new” pair of jeans that fit my new body better. I don’t want to hold on to any remnant of my unhealthy self. My transformation is a constantly evolving process, and things that no longer suit me are going to be left behind. I’m on to healthier and better things, and purging my closet happens to be one step in the right direction.

With the official start of Spring being March 21st, what are your plans for “spring cleaning”? Are you holding on to things that no longer serve you or its purpose? I challenge you to get rid of those things that have been cluttering your space that you have been too afraid to part with. I promise you’ll feel so much better once you do!

Drink Up

Water, agua, H2O, the stuff most of your body (~60%) and most of the world is made of. We have been told for a long time that we need to consume 8, 8oz glasses of water a day to replenish our bodies supply for this “essential nutrient”. It turns out that this is more of a guideline, and not a requirement based on scientific evidence. The new school of thought is to actually observe the way your body is acting and reacting. If you workout and sweat, you need to replenish lost fluids. If it’s extra hot outside, drink more water. If your pee is neon yellow, DRINK MORE WATER! It’s a pretty simple idea really, but I can understand why guidelines are put in place, a rule of thumb about water consumption is sometimes easier for people to follow.

So what happens to your body exactly when you don’t drink enough water?

  1. Dehydration. Symptoms include dry mouth, headache, lethargy, dizziness, inability to concentrate, lack of strength.
  2. Cramps after working out. You deplete your body’s electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, through sweat when working out. Sodium and potassium are the basic conductors for most functions in your body. When these levels are low, cellular communication misfires or fails giving you muscle spasms or cramps.
  3. Coma then Death. Water is a main component of blood volume, and as you become more and more dehydrated your blood volume decreases, making your heart work harder to deliver oxygen to your body. Soon you go into a coma, and die 😦

Can you drink too much water?

Simply put, yes. A condition known as hyponatremia, is the imbalance of sodium to water. When you drink too much water, which is a pretty hard thing to do, you are essentially diluting your sodium levels causing a myriad of symptoms found here. A few years ago, several people were care-flighted out of Burning Man for hyponatremia. They had been so concerned with becoming dehydrated that they overcompensated, and ended up with an equally serious medical condition.

It all comes down to some basic body intuition. When you are thirsty, drink some water, if you’re not, don’t. If you have a headache or are feeling sluggish, drink some water. There is a school of thought that believes that you can cure most diseases with just water. It’s pretty interesting and you can read about it at Won’t you join me in a toast to spring break and good health and drink a big glass of whisky…oops I meant water. Cheers!

My Love Hate Relationship With Plyometrics

Uggh, the first thought that comes to mind when you say “burpee”.

If you ask “The Ripped Dude”, Obi Obadike, why you should include plyometrics into your workouts he’ll tell you that the combination of muscle groups used helps develop coordination, balance, and endurance. They also keeps your body guessing and strengthens fast-twitch muscle fibers. In my experience, doing plyometrics for 15 minutes does a better job of keeping your heart rate up than running on the treadmill for an hour.

Let me count the ways I love thee…

  • Plyometrics are great for people with a short attention span…squirrel!
  • There are countless combinations and variations for all ability levels
  • You can perform most of them without any equipment
  • They make you feel like even “white girls can jump”
  • You begin to see immediate results in strength and endurance
  • They make you feel like a 3rd grader again playing hopscotch of death
  • You feel like you ran a marathon in 15 minutes

Let me tell you why I HATE plyometrics

  • They make you look like a fish out of water, flopping around gasping for breath
  • You get up close and personal with the ground, sometimes at a high speed
  • You find it very difficult to peel yourself off the ground once you’ve encountered it
  • You feel like maybe “white girls can’t jump” afterall
  • You feel like you ran a marathon in 15 minutes

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” Theodore Roosevelt

Here’s a short video on the 44 best Plyometric moves

Give some of these exercises a try during your next workout, and see if you don’t really like the results.

It’s The Little Wins That Lead To Big Change

I started week 5 of my challenge feeling a little discouraged. I let my weekly weigh-in put me in a bad mood. As I stood on the scale staring down at my feet to read the digital numbers, I started smoldering thinking “what do you mean I’ve only lost half a pound this week!” I let a few little numbers represent something negative rather than seeing what they were truly indicative of, change. Change in my body composition, change in my eating habits, change in motivation to get myself moving again. It showed that I was transforming fat into muscle, that I was losing inches and that the pounds didn’t matter.

I consulted Heather, the owner and trainer of the boot camp gym I go to about my discouragement. Her reassuring words of kindness and her history of helping people transform their bodies put me at ease. It went something like this, “don’t worry about the number on the scale, I can already see results in your body and the inches you’ve lost! In my experience the first few weeks you are shrinking the space that the fat cells take up and morphing them into muscle tissue, that’s why you lose inches faster than pounds most of the time. Don’t worry the pounds will come off, just be patient.” As you read from my last blog I talked about my inability to do anything in moderation, I think impatience is a facet of putting too much on your plate. Let’s say I’m not very patient, I want it NOW!

I think many people are discouraged when they step on the scale after starting a new diet and exercise program. Mark Sisson, one of my favorite bloggers writes an amazing blog on why you may not be losing weight. You can find it here. He lists 17 reasons and also encourages patience and ways to fine tune your diet and workout. I’ll be looking into fine tuning my diet this week to see if I have any added success, even though I feel like I have been very dedicated, with no cave in to cravings.

In the spirit of some really good advice, I’m going to try and be patient. I’m going to continue to be dedicated to my course and allow the time needed to complete my goal in a healthy and self-loving manner. I’m going to rejoice in the little wins like tightening my belt a notch, and being able to climb the stairs without being out of breath. I’m going to be grateful that acquaintances that haven’t seen me in a while notice that I’ve changed shape. I’m not going to let numbers on the scale signify my value or importance, rather I’m going to let it be one way to measure my success, and not my failings.

With my “win” for the week I am going to celebrate the little things each day. What do you do to stay motivated when you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle? I drink some green tea and snuggle my dog. Leave a comment and let me know what you do! Also you can follow me on Twitter @julesackerson


A Quick Checkup: Transformation Challenge 1/3 Complete!

Hi everyone, I hope this lovely weather we’ve been having has allowed for some outside play time. I spent the weekend getting my backyard ready for the summer. You know what else I’ve been getting ready for the summer? You guessed it, my body! 😉  I’m 1/3 of the way through my twelve week challenge, and the results are already coming in strong! Dedication to my diet and workout have started to show some great results, while changing my outlook on life toward the positive has made my mental health better than ever. I feel happy, and joyous about conquering the challenges in front of me, and am gaining a lot of positive momentum. My family and friends have all noticed a difference both in my physical and mental health, even if I am exhausted most of the time.

On the topic of exhaustion, I realized that I am very much fundamentally different from the person I am named after, my grandmother, Nana, as we all called her. Julia Rose Fry (maiden name Cataldo) was a tiny, feisty Northern Italian who had a famous saying, “everything in moderation”. I am not the type of person to do anything in moderation. If I set my mind to something, it’s likely that I will set my mind to several “somethings” simultaneously. I think it comes from being a highly motivated kid/teenager. I was always in martial arts usually coupled with another sport, plus band and honors classes. My dad raised all of us believing that the only way to be successful and to get what you wanted out of life was to work harder than anyone else was willing to. You had to set yourself apart, be faster, stronger, braver, smarter. He taught me that anything was possible, I just had to go out and fight for it. So I did, quite literally, after winning several gold medals in the Silver State games for Taekwondo, I graduated high school 3rd in my class and with 32 college credits. I always had a full plate, and a knack for finishing it all.

Fast forward 10 years, and we’re here. I’m finding that my old tenacity is still present as a building block of my person. I took on the challenge of working full time, while taking 3 master’s classes, plus dedicating 3 days a week to a very intense boot camp class at 6 am. All while restructuring my diet completely, and performing an overhaul on my mental health striving for some closure and peace for the major loss I suffered in losing my brother almost 7 years ago.

No wonder I’m tired! But, it is all possible if you set your mind to it. I read an amazing blog today on how you can actually achieve what you want to accomplish by using Parkinson’s Law. In a nutshell, Parkinson’s Law is “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” meaning that if you give an unspecific allotment of time to complete something, it will take up all the time. The blog gives a good list of suggestions for giving your day more structure and deadlines to force you to work smarter, not harder. Not that hard work doesn’t pay off, it’s the fact that we spend so much time not focused on the task at hand that we force ourselves to cram and crunch at the last minute.

I feel like the processes we go through to complete a task are different from processing an emotional reaction. I would be interested in learning if there is a way to make processing emotional hardships more efficient, or if there is no use in trying to speed up a process that is on its own timeline.

What do you think? Should things like grieving be pushed through so we can get on with the rest of our lives, or should we allow it to run its course? Leave a comment below with your experiences and opinion of managing emotions efficiently.