#TransformationTuesday of Sorts

My last blog post was about being strong, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Since writing that post, I have really reflected on where I am currently in my life, and how that compares to the person I used to be.

I’ve written before about my fitness journey, how my life changed since I became a Beachbody coach 2.5 years ago, and how I’ve grown throughout the process. But I don’t really talk much about the person I was even before then.

Growing up, I remember being very shy. I was a smart, quiet girl who had good grades in school without needing to study, but had very few friends. I had no idea how to talk to kids my age and often felt like an outcast. I was the very definition of a “painfully shy” child. Assignments that required speaking in front of the class made me turn beet red and sweat buckets. I came very close to having a panic attack in college when I had to give my first speech.

Even into young adulthood, I continued being socially awkward. I wanted friends, and I had a few who were close to me, but I was never comfortable in new situations or when meeting new people. My self-esteem was so low that when one boy gave me attention, I wasn’t sure whether to grab on for dear life or run far away. I married my high school sweetheart and had my daughter fairly young. When our marriage went sour, I had an extremely difficult time getting out of the relationship. I struggled with anxiety and depression, and didn’t see value within myself. I was an emotional wreck without the strength I needed to pick myself up and move toward a more positive place. I hit rock bottom. I tried to take my own life because I truly felt that my daughter would be better off without me. Luckily, I failed.

I went to therapy for a year, and felt like I had some strength and control of my life. I moved on, dated a string of men, and tried to find someone to be my “other half.” I needed attention and needed to feel like I was loved and wanted. While I knew that I needed to be mentally well on my own, I still couldn’t stand to be alone. Eventually, I met my second husband and we got married. I was jealous, anxious, and untrusting of him… mostly due to my own insecurities. I never felt pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, or good enough. I ended up in therapy again, and tried to really practice the healthy thinking that I knew I needed. But it was always a struggle to keep my mind in a positive place.

Then I found Beachbody, and my life slowly changed.

Today, I stayed at home while my kids were in school. I practice a new PiYo workout because I am teaching fitness classes in two separate gyms on Thursday. I created a video to share on social media of me – in my perfectly imperfect body – doing a portion of a workout. I supported my online challengers and lead my team of coaches. I applied to be a contributor to a running blog as a guest writer. Sure there was a tiny voice that said I may not be good enough and I may not be the type of writer they are looking for…but I applied anyway. Just a few days ago I broadcasted my first ever Periscope — seriously?! Live video!! Of a workout! What if I messed up, what if I did it wrong… and in the end…so what. What if I didn’t?

Posting videos of myself online, teaching fitness classes in 4 gyms/studios, flying to LA to be filmed for a P90X workout, training for a bikini competition, being an entrepreneur and running my own coaching business, applying to be an ambassador for a local marathon (and being selected!), and continually taking risks in my life… These are things that make me emotional when I really think about what I’m doing right now. This was NOT the type of person I was, and isn’t even CLOSE to the type of person I ever thought I would be. There are times I get scared, times I get nervous and sweaty and red in the face, and times I get the urge to crawl under the blankets and hide because I am afraid.

And then I look at how far I’ve come, and I hold my head up, and run straight forward into my future. Because I am strong and I am worth it.

fly

I am STRONG

Yes, I am strong. I didn’t always feel that way, but after starting my fitness journey I have become stronger than I ever thought I could be.

I can run. I can lift weights. I can deal with heartache and divorce. I can start my life over. I can do adult things with an adult attitude. I can raise two amazing kids by myself. I can walk away from the comfort and safety of my teaching career and be my own boss. I can love myself for who I am. All of these things make me STRONG.

strength overcome

Today I am embarking on a 4 week challenge with BOSU and Sweat Pink to prove to the world that I am #BOSUSTRONG. I will squat, mountain climb, plank, push-up, lunge,  run  and lift  my way to a stronger and healthier body.  And I will encourage my family and all of my Phoenix Fitness Challengers to join me on this fun journey because we are one big, happy #FitFamily.

Being #BOSUStrong is not just about movement, sweat, or even owning a BOSU, its about being a leader, an inspiration to others, and sharing my own fitness journey with others. The 5 things that make be #BOSUStrong are:

  • My strong desire to help others change their own lives.
  • My ability to keep pushing forward even when it gets difficult and I want to quit.
  • My love for teaching and educating others on how to be a better version of themselves.
  • My healthy attitude and positivity.
  • And my kids and my challengers who remind me daily that they are watching me.

So I want to know – are you #BOSUStrong? Copy and paste the above, fill in the bold/underlined parts to make it your own, and then tag me in it and share with your friends! Let’s all be #BOSUSTRONG.

Be strong in everything you do.

Be strong in everything you do.

Freekeh with Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, and Garlic

So this happened last night.

I got some swiss chard in our CSA share this week, and it is one vegetable I haven’t cooked before. Of course I went to Pinterest to see what to do with it, and it seemed that most recipes called for it to be sauteed or wilted and served with other veggies for flavor. So that’s what I did!

It’s kind of pretty, right?

So I washed the swiss chard, and removed the leaves from the stems. I chopped the stems into small pieces and roughly chopped the leaves as I would kale or collard greens.

I decided to use my last bag of freekeh with this dish, because it’s what I had on hand. You could easily substitute rice, quinoa, or couscous and have a very similar recipe.

I sauteed the chopped stems and onions in some olive oil first, then added some jarred tomatoes we got from a previous CSA share. Fresh tomatoes would work as well – about 2 or 3 if they are small or Roma tomato size. Just dice them up and toss them in!

After the tomatoes are warm and the stems and onions are softened, add in the garlic and swiss chard leaves. Cook until garlic is fragrant and leaves are wilted. Then serve over a bed of freekeh and eat!

This is a super yummy meal with plenty of protein and slow-digesting carbs, not to mention the nutrition from the veggies! You can play around with the ingredients and add some extra veggies like mushrooms, zucchini, or carrots, or maybe add different spices. If you do, please leave a comment and let me know how it tastes!  

Here’s the recipe for your viewing (and cooking) pleasure.

Swiss Chard Recipe card

Summer Vanilla Shakeology

I wasn’t really sure what to name this recipe, but it seems like a great drink for summertime – so there you go!

For this recipe, I used:

  • One container of coconut water
  • Half a banana
  • Half of a watermelon Chobani  yogurt (you could use the full cup)
  • Vanilla Shakeology
  • Ice

I blended it all up with some ice – DONE! It was pretty tasty!


A friend recommended a similar recipe, but she added fresh mint leaves before blending. I didn’t have any fresh mint — and I checked by biting some of the herbs I had in my fridge. Definitely NOT mint leaves. Yuck.

If you try this one, I’d love to hear what you think! Drop a comment or send me a message on Facebook. Enjoy!

Even Coaches Struggle…

We all fall off the wagon from time to time. A cheat meal here, an extra drink or two there, a skipped workout… but sometimes… it’s more than that.

It's real, y'all.

It’s real, y’all.

I have been struggling lately and I’ve had a pretty hard time dealing with it. I have plenty to be thankful for – a healthy body, an extensive workout DVD collection (haha), equipment and a gym membership, live classes I can teach, a family that supports me, nutritious food in my kitchen. And yet, I struggle.

I get frustrated with a workout when I feel like my body isn’t strong enough. When my brain tells me it doesn’t want to stick to my meal plan, I get a “f*** it” attitude and I just want to eat junk. Changes at the gym don’t happen in one day, and our eyes tend to focus on the negative parts of our bodies instead of the positive progress. So I justify my choices and I tell myself one day won’t matter. One skipped workout or one day of eating what I want won’t affect me.

Thank God for spandex, or I'd be naked.

Thank God for spandex, or I’d be naked.

My hip injury was a huge mental setback for me, and I have a shoulder injury from last summer that still acts up. I feel weak when I can’t squat or bench the reps/weight I want to or when a workout is really hard. I get mad and walk out of the gym when cardio leaves me gasping for air. I feel like my body is failing me. I want to be strong and I want to work hard and it’s just frustrating when my body isn’t able to do what my mind wants it to.

I sometimes feel restricted by my meal plans. I want freedom to enjoy foods and drinks I love but they don’t fit my goals and I don’t like it. It sounds childish to even type this out, but I’m just being honest with myself. Sometimes I just want Doritos and 3 beers and half a pizza because it tastes SO GOOD and I get angry that I can’t have it. Sometimes I feel disgust at the thought of eating more meat or drinking a protein shake. I’d rather eat a bunch of fruit and nuts and veggies. I don’t want to do the workout that is planned for the day; I want to do what I WANT to do. Period.

These are all things I poured out to my coach – yes, this coach has a coach too – because I need her help, and I can only get help from her when I’m honest. Honest with her…but more importantly, honest with myself. She challenged me to think of some positives in my life. Things I’m proud of in my fitness life. Things that motivate me. Short and long term goals that I REALLY want to focus on right now. A daily affirmation that I will tell myself and BELIEVE when I say it.

strong

It may not seem like much, but thinking about the questions she asked and really reaching inside myself to answer them helped me. Rethinking my goals, realizing what motivates me and acknowledging the GOOD and POSITIVE things I’ve accomplished… they were things I knew already but things that my mind didn’t want to think about. I was focusing on the negative and giving too much power to what I did wrong or what I couldn’t do, and not allowing myself to be proud of what I did well and what I CAN do.

All of that. Love yourself.

All of that. Love yourself.

I am so thankful I have my coach, my boyfriend, my friends and family, my coach family, and my challengers to keep me grounded and motivated. Without their support, I would let my brain take over. And while I have a very smart brain haha, it doesn’t always think what it should. But for now…for tonight…it’s back on track.


Amanda

CHALLENGE MAD LIB!

NEW-SPA-badge

I’m joining prAna and Sweat Pink for a super fun, #7daystretch #liveinprana challenge – it starts today (Monday, August 24th) and ends at the end of the week (Sunday, August 30th). Join in on the fun – answering daily prompts – or if you’d prefer to lurk, you can follow along on FitApproach or through the hashtags: #liveinprana #7daystretch #sweatpink!

We’ll be talking about how we (the community) embrace a prAna lifestyle (#liveinprana) and are challenging ourselves to stretch a little deeper, farther and more mindfully for 7 whole days (the #7daystretch). And we’re not just stretching our bodies so you don’t have to be pretzel to join in, we’re also stretching our minds and souls!

I’d love for you Leigh [person] and Brandy [person] and Allyson [person] to join me for this fun challenge. Complete the fun mad-lib below and let’s get this PARTY started!

We’re nearing the end of August and even though the summer is coming to an end, I’m super excited about the Fall because I love to dress in snuggly clothes.  In fact, my very favorite thing about Fall is leggings. I can imagine myself wearing the Moto leggings while I snuggle on the couch drinking a PSL because it just feels like Fall!

If I had one goal for the Fall, it would be to hike the Incline in less than 1 hour because I want to beat my PR from last year. To achieve it, I know I will need to increase my cardio in preparation. And of course I want to look great doing it so I have the Vinyasa hoodie on my wish-list…..

I think I like this color!

I think I like this color!

What are you most excited about for Fall?


Amanda

Bulu Box Review and 50% off Coupon Code!

I love subscriptions. Really, I do. I have to force myself to not subscribe to magazines or other monthly periodicals because I never actually sit down and read them. I had a makeup subscription once (ok, twice) but cancelled it because I wasn’t using all the samples that I got each month.

I also love fitness. And I do love to eat nutritious foods. So a subscription box that comes with samples and products that are geared toward health, nutrition, and weight loss is a box that I can settle into a long-term relationship with.

I got my first Bulu Box full of goodies, and couldn’t wait to try them out. Once my 6 year old son saw that I had energy gummies in my box, he couldn’t wait to try them out either. ((Don’t worry — I kept them out of his reach. That kid doesn’t need any more energy!))

bulubox

My box came with samples of aforementioned Movit Energy Gummies, Simple Being Simple Diet capsules for weight loss, RUNA Tea, Earth’s Care Anti-Itch Cream, and Fusion Jerky (lemon pepper flavor). I have tried all of the products so far, except for the anti-itch cream, and I really like them all! I’m actually drinking my guayusa tea right now.

All you need is love... and tea.

All you need is love… and tea.

For only $10 per box, I would say this subscription is a pretty sweet deal. The bag of jerky itself is about $7 per bag, and that stuff is so good…so good that I finished the whole bag before I could even start writing my blog. Whomp whomp. I need to get more!

I definitely recommend trying out the Bulu Box. I will be getting a subscription myself, just so I can try new, fun, healthy products each month! There are two options – the “original” box or the “weight loss” box. You choose your box depending on your personal goals, then choose if you want a 1-, 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscription. Getting 12 months is the best deal, as the price drops from $10 per box to only $9.17 per box!

Or, if you’re a commitment-phobe…I have another deal for you. Use code SWEATPINK for 50% off a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription. That’s only $5 per box! You can’t beat that!!

Want more info on what’s in my Bulu Box? Check out my review video on YouTube! #LoveBulu

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Bulu Box. All opinions are my own. 

Counting down the last of the #1millionminutes…

As a Sweat Pink ambassador, I have been dedicated this summer to participating in the 1 million minutes challenge — to see if we can combine efforts to sweat for a total of one million minutes of movement!

When the 1 million minutes challenge started, I set out to achieve 2,000 minutes of activity. And I crushed that goal by grunting and sweating my way to 2,500 minutes!! BOOM, baby!!

Some of my minutes were spent sweating with my man, Shaun T!!

Some of my minutes were spent sweating with my man, Shaun T!!

The best part of this challenge for me was that it was extra motivation to get up and move every day. I probably spent the most time tracking my minutes while I was getting in that cardio with Arien. 😉

I love sweating with my sweetie. <3

I love sweating with my sweetie. ❤

I was excited to see so many Sweat Pink’ers joining in on the challenge and breaking a sweat with yoga, weights, and so many other modes of exercise — which made me want to try new things!

I’m sad that it’s the last week but also excited that prAna is our sponsor because I’m coveting the Holly dress and going to instagram my little heart out in hopes to win!

I think this dress would be great for me - and I can show off my arms. ;)

I think this dress would be great for me – and I can show off my arms. 😉

Plus, I’ll need the Quinn Chakara top (so I can look SUPER cute) to help me get through my Fall goals which are to build as much muscle as I can in preparation for my first bikini competition next year!!

It's so much easier to exercise when you look cute.

It’s so much easier to exercise when you look cute.

What will YOU be wearing as you live in prAna?? 😉

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by prAna. All opinions are my own. I appreciate you supporting the brands that support Phoenix Fitness, Fit Approach and the Sweat Pink community! ❤

Why Do You Gain Weight When You Start Exercising?

A challenger messaged me yesterday, concerned because she was doing all the right things (exercise, water, nutrition), yet she noticed she had gained weight. Obviously, when you’re trying so hard to LOSE weight, it’s very frustrating to see the scale go up!!

the-scale-lies

I spent a lot of time trying to find a comprehensive article for reasons you will see weight gain when exercising, but none of the ones I found made me happy. So here are the reasons I am sharing:

1. Water weight. When you exercise to the point that your body gets sore, the soreness is from micro tears in your muscles (those are a good thing!). Your body has to repair those muscles, which is how you get stronger, and the muscles hold water while doing so. In the beginning, you can hold a LOT of water while your body is trying to figure out what you are doing. The scale doesn’t discriminate between fat weight or water weight, it just knows you weigh more. Keep pushing and your body will eventually flush it out.

2. Stress. Your body may not be used to the changes you are making in exercise and/or diet, and it doesn’t know what to do about it. So again, it may hold on to water or calories/fat while it’s trying to decide what’s going on. As you continue with your program, it realizes you aren’t trying to kill yourself, and it lets out a sigh of relief along with the water and calories it was holding onto.

3. Glycogen storage. When you start an aerobic program (CIZE or running or whatever), your muscles get better at storing fuel, which is what glycogen is. You can store it in your muscles and your liver. For every gram of glycogen stored, your body also stores 3 grams of water. Yet another instance of water retention, but don’t fret! The better your body can store glycogen as fuel, the less it will need to store fat.

4. Food. When we exercise more, we burn more calories, and our bodies naturally try to find homeostasis/balance. It has somewhat of a comfort zone. If you’re burning extra calories, your body is going to want you to get those calories back somehow. You may be eating back more calories that what you’ve burned off, without realizing it. They only way to know for sure is to measure and track EVERY SINGLE THING YOU EAT.

Conversely, it is possible to eat too FEW calories for your body to be able to properly burn fat. If you eat less than what your body needs to function each day, it basically over-stresses your body and it stores every calorie you give it, because it is preparing for starvation. Eat healthy foods, eat often, and fuel your body.

5. You’re just a girl. Really. Most of us (if not all of us) in here are girls, and we know that our weight can fluctuate greatly from day to day. We bloat, thanks to hormones, and that can make our pants not fit or the scale increase. Not much we can do about this one except know that it’s normal.

So….here is what I suggest after saying all of that…

Focus more on inches and photos and how you feel. Is the scale being stupid but your pants are fitting better? Do you see more muscle definition in your arms or legs? Do you have more energy and a more positive feeling each day? Do you enjoy what you’re doing? If so, forget that silly scale!! That number isn’t as important as any of these other things.

If you just need to see your weight change, and you prefer that type of measurement, try either of these methods instead:

— Weigh yourself at the same time every single day. Yes, EVERY DAY. Right after you wake up and use the bathroom, naked. Write it down. Your weight can change from day to day, but you should be able to see an overall trend going down. I am actually 2 pounds heavier today than I was yesterday, but I know I ate salty foods last night ((and I need to poop)). And my period is due basically any day now, so that isn’t helping either.

— Weigh yourself only once per week. Again, first thing in the morning after using the bathroom, and no clothes. Write it down every week.

If you see your weight increasing by 5 pounds or more after about 2 weeks of consistent exercise and eating well, there may be another issue. It could be what you’re eating or how you’re eating, or there could be a health concern.


Coach Amanda

scale

Freekeh Jambalaya Recipe – and Giveaway!

Going with the original tonight. I'll try the rosemary sage another time.

Going with the original tonight. I’ll try the rosemary sage another time.

Yesterday I posted about freekeh, a cracked whole grain that I had planned to try in a new recipe tonight. I was pretty excited to see a rice alternative that would help me meet my fiber and protein needs for the day. One serving of freekeh has 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber — not too shabby!!

Protein for dem gainzzz.

Protein for dem gainzzz.

I decided that jambalaya would be our dinner for tonight, so I went with the original flavor. I got all of my ingredients together and started cooking. It was sort of a “cheat” recipe since jambalaya is one of those meals where you can just throw everything into a pot and walk away until it’s done.

Or maybe it was a “smart” recipe. Hah. #busymomproblems

Anyway, the jambalaya turned out great! The texture of the freekeh is just slightly more firm than rice, not in a bad way. I think this is more rice-like than quinoa, and would probably make a good substitute for rice, especially in stews or other one-pot dishes. Especially for fitness peeps like me who are really conscious about how they use their calories each day — I mean really! Look at the macros per serving! (The recipe makes six VERY nice sized servings.) **Sorry to my friends with gluten sensitivities – this is a wheat product so it isn’t gluten free.

Freekeh Jambalaya Recipe Card

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 4.50.27 PM

If you aren’t a fan of jambalaya, you can head over to the Freekeh Foods website and check out all of their recipe ideas! I think we will try the Mexican freekeh chili next.

So…. do YOU want to try some freekeh for FREE(keh)? I’m having a giveaway so one lucky reader can win! Here’s what you have to do:

1. Like my fitness page on Facebook.
2. Like Freekeh Foods on Facebook.
3. Follow @bephoenixfit on Instagram.
4. Follow @freekehfoods on Instagram.
5. Follow @ask1980 on Twitter (that’s me!).
6. Follow @freekehfoods on Twitter.
7. Tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #LoveFreekeh #Freekeh and mention me @ask1980 in your tweet.
8. Comment here that you’ve completed the six steps above, tell me what flavor you’d like to try (original, rosemary sage, or tamari), and you’re in!!

A winner will be chosen at random on August 22, 2015 so you have a little over two weeks to enter! So go ahead and get freekeh with it!!

**US Residents only, please.

freekeh foods flavors