Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Death by Beth

Today I'm going to step out of the ugly comfort zone and try a new workout class at work. 

Since I work at a sports and fitness company, the average classes are taught by some of the best instructors in the area - so "at work" doesn't make it any easier like you'd imagine.

Today I'm trying a class called 'Sculpt' but more widely known by the fit people who take it as "Death by Beth".

Fun right?


Three months ago I thought it was a huge leap of faith to get my non-graceful self into Zumba / Group Groove dance classes and find some rhythm in my hips. It's going to be another story to get in a room next to people who do burpees for fun (like Brooke) and probably all go for 7 mile runs as a shake-out after the class.

Since I'm on the epic quest to find my soulmate workout, I feel like it's important to sample as many new fitness endeavors as I can!

If I can get it done while I'm on the clock at work then I'm a happy girl.

A few things that will help me prepare for battle:

:: Pack an outfit I feel comfortable in.

Look good, feel good. I've always lived my this motto and have always known that confidence is my secret weapon.

:: Drink plenty of water in the morning.

Hydrate for success. Keep me accountable (with Kay) by using #100ouncesADay on twitter or instagram.

:: No morning coffee.

It dehydrates me and it makes me have the nervous potties. Not a good combo.

:: Invite people!! 

Seriously, I won't chicken out if I'm meeting a partner there.

:: Move to the FRONT of the class. 

It can be scary but it's the best thing to do if you're a beginner so that you can see everything the instructor is doing. Also, you're closer to the mirror so you can evaluate if you're doing the moves right.

:: Not worry about what everyone else is doing.

Go at my own place and not worry about this guy:

If you don't hear from me Thursday you know that I was a victim of 'Death by Beth'. 

Or maybe I just couldn't lift my arms to the keyboard to type. You'll just have to wait and see.

I'm going to say these are confessions just so I can link up!

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Interrupting Insecurities

If you're coming over here from JumpingJE - cool, you're ahead of the curve.

If you're here just because you love the wisdom I muster up on Tuesdays, read below:

I know that there's something wrong with my priorities when yesterday (on a day off from work) I almost skimmed over a beautiful piece of writing because at first glance it looked "too long". 

"Too long" because it only had one photo and no gifs. "Too long" because it wasn't a list and it wasn't the usual shit-show I like to entertain myself with in this carefree blog world. "Too long" because it wasn't a weekend recap.

The real tragedy was that I skimmed the first few sentences and went to the bottom where I could enter my comment and was going to say something like "Lady, you're going to look amazing in your wedding dress!".

I don't know what stopped me from hitting the "post comment" button but I'm glad I did - because I would have missed out on a beautifully vulnerable girl sharing her beautifully vulnerable story.

So, if you have a few minutes to spare today - first read what I read yesterday - then you're allowed to continue on.

The inspiration for my words, like Caitlin's, comes from trying on a piece of clothing.

A bathing suit.

Not only did I try on a bathing suit that I bought in high school this weekend, I did something terrifying...

I posted the photo of myself in said bathing suit to the i n t e r n e t.


It was "show your progress" day in a private fitness group I run on Facebook and time to show my results over the past three weeks. When I took the "after" photo and placed it side by side with the "before" photo, I saw the results. The results I was proud of. The results that told me I'm on the right path. The results I can feel when I put my pants on and that I can feel in my newfound energy. (Not results that a scale would have told me, by the way.)

But those results still didn't feel "good enough".

My insecurities immediately looked past the girl who had a more defined waist and looked straight to the girl who still felt like her hips were too big. The girl who has strong and beautiful arms could only see the tasteful side-boob which she perceived as the dreaded spill-over. The girl who gets complimented on her legs/quads could only see the "knee fat" that is obviously impossible to spot reduce.

The negative voice in my head crippled me.

The thought of posting the photo (to a private group) made me feel like a failure.

A failure because I looked better than I did three weeks ago? A failure because I'm not where I want to be yet? A failure because I let my mind interrupt the happy feels I should have been experiencing?

What crippled me further was the thought of what I would do when I actually have to wear this bathing suit out in public - this bathing suit that proved I haven't gone bikini shopping since high school. This proof that made me realize that high school is the last time I was in a pool in a bikini rather than wearing a sports bra / running shorts combo because I "forgot to pack my suit" or "didn't want to get my hair wet".

What bothered me most was that the insecurity I felt was outweighing the pride I was supposed to be feeling.

The pride I had earned.

So like the brave woman I aspire to be, I put it out there. I let myself be vulnerable. I took a risk.

And I still live today to tell the tale.

I'm adult enough to know that this isn't the last of my insecurities - but I can bet they'll be losing more battles than they win.

 photo JessiFitPdxmesig.png

Monday, April 28, 2014

BurnCycle Saturday

This weekend before heading off for a relaxing weekend at the coast, I got the pleasure of being a "part of the pack" at a special BurnCycle blogger ride. 

(Sorry for the snapchat photos - wait, #notsorry)

I've been to spin classes before but haven't ever been to one that was as fun as the 45 minutes I spent at BurnCycle. They call it a "dance party on a bike" and that's exactly how I felt when they took our phones away, turned the lights out and turned the music up!

First, I loved that our instructor was a ball of energy with nothing but motivation glistening from her pores (and her name was also Jessi).

Second, having a ride with the lights out was perfect - no pressure to look cute, no worrying about the strained look on your face as you climbed the steep hills and zero shame in singing to the music when Nelly comes on.

Third, I loved the fact that 90% of the time we were up and out of our seats (standing on the bike). As much as I love the traditional spin class, I can't stand the soreness that comes from being seated on the bike brings the next few days. The only soreness that I felt after the class was the good kind that proves my booty was worked - not the "I-think-I-bruised-my-ass" feeling. #Win

To be honest, the most grueling part of it all was when we grabbed the 2lb hand weights and did eight minutes of arms. Never have I been happier in my life to drop 4lbs!! 

Those of you reading from Portland (and those who are coming to visit me!!!) - you'll want to check out BurnCycle and become a #CardioGangsta yourself!

You'd think us bloggers would have a better idea of which camera to look at, but this photo is evidence of the contrary (borrowed from @AgathaAasch).

We finished off the fun event with mimosas across the street where I got to meet some of the other Portland bloggers and finally met Kayla after months of blog-stalking and daily snapchat conversations.

I love how blogging and fitness have connected me with so many wonderful new people in my life.

Keep it coming!

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Friday, April 25, 2014

A Weekend Challenge

How many of you look forward to the weekend for no reason other than not having to set an alarm for Saturday morning?

For me, that's what the weekends are for. No plans - just time to relax, focus on myself and re-energize for the week in front of me. I'm thrilled to be whisking off to the coast this weekend to spend some quality time with my family and most importantly: unplug. 

Before I sign off for the weekend I have a challenge for all of us that takes just three simple steps. 

1. Work up a sweat.
2. Take a selfie.
3. Post it to instagram and tag me! (@jessifitpdx)

Sweat is beautiful and I want you to feel comfortable in it. I don't care how you get there, just make sure some sweat drips from your forehead and your cheeks are a little red.

If you're shy, you can email the photo to me as well! (jessifitpdx(at)gmail.com)

Happy sweating! 

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paleo Meatloaf

If you were here yesterday for humpday you now know that I claim I'm a horrible cook. 

In efforts to redeem myself in the kitchen and maybe get married someday I feel the need to share one of my paleo staples.

In honor of Earth day this week, I'm going to recycle a post I originally published on December 4th 2013 on my lifestyle blog before any of you wonderful people were here!


It's clean, it's mean and it's Paleo! 

This recipe is directly from mom and I've been using it for glorious meatloaf meals in between chicken, turkey and other great protein sources.  If you follow me on instagram, you've seen the spaghetti squash + meatloaf work lunches and you may have drooled. Well here's your chance to make it for yourself! 
All you need are 5 easy ingredients (seriously only 5!) and hardly 15 minutes of prep time. Important note about these 15 minutes is that you'll need (and want) to get your hands dirty! Nothing like being wrist-deep in raw meat and eggs. 
Good luck! 

How amazing does that look? 

Here's an easy way to eat it - with spaghetti squash! 

Make your own and tag me on instagram! Email me with questions using the comments below! 

Phew - that was easy!
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Paleo Cooking Confessions

Are you here for some quality humpday confessions?

Good - because I'm about to share some pretty good ones about my paleo lifestyle and my prowess (or lack thereof) in the kitchen!

Me in the kitchen in one word: disaster
I'm great at following directions but I'm pretty bad at caring enough to follow them. 

One of the main things that I love about Paleo is that it's pretty hard to mess up meats and vegetables. I don't buy much variety so I don't have to learn how to prepare all the different kinds of dishes with dozens of ingredients to keep on hand.

My real only focus while cooking is looking cute.

And if I can't look cute, it's important that what I've got cooking looks cute.

Just kidding, I'd never do that!

To be honest I'm pretty boring with the range of foods that I eat. I get asked all the time if I get tired of the same lunch or the same dinner options. Truth talk? No! I love the way I feel when I'm getting my meats and vegetables and it really takes all of the decision making out of my hands because I only know how to prepare a few things anyway.

(this gif has nothing to do with anything... except for everything.)

The foods I eat make me happy and I know what I'm putting into my body at any given time - so no label checking in my world!

Just don't judge me for my smoke detector -

Or the silly dance I do while I wait for my meatloaf.

What are some of your cooking confessions??? I'm sure you have some good ones! 

Linking up with amazing Kathy!
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ignore the Obstacles

What I love about Tuesdays around here is our serious conversations about where we are both mentally and physically in our lifelong fitness journeys. 

I truly learn a lot from you - your excitement and feedback pushes me to put a little extra focus into this post. Hopefully I'm returning the favor by teaching you something about me and the way that I approach my goals that you can translate into your own life. If not - let me know how I can because this blog is all about you! (yes, you!)

Today's topic comes from some wisdom I gained over the weekend while reading one of my personal development books - Push by Chalene Johnson. The chapter that got me inspired was "Destination Fixation" and was all about creating the habit of ignoring the obstacles.

On your fitness journey it's so easy to get distracted. You have doubts, you have fears of failure and you see the million little speed bumps that stand between you and your goal. Holidays on the horizon, office parties, birthday celebrations, weekends, sporting events, co-workers with candy trays... I could go on and on.

All of these little things are nagging at you because subconsciously your doubts distract you and keep you from reaching outside of your comfort zone. The unfortunate thing is that thinking of these distractions causes you to fixate on them and you only start heading back toward them. You steer toward them the same way that you'd drive toward a cone in the road if you were staring at it. Why do you think horses wear blinders?

I know this isn't something easy and is going to take a little work, but what can you do today to get the negativity out of your head and create a crash free environment for yourself? Does it mean having a serious conversation with your family and friends about the healthy lifestyle you've chosen? Does it mean listing out all of your possible obstacles, crossing them out with a bold red marker and hang them up someplace meaningful because they don't rule you anymore?

Here's what I did recently:

I removed the scale from my bathroom. While a great measure of my relationship with gravity, the real issue is that it was telling me lies that were hurting my mental wellness. I see my body getting slimmer, more toned and more beautiful every day. For the first time ever I went to H&M and had to size down after trying something on - rather than do the walk of shame out to get a bigger size.

I know I'm getting results and I know I'm feeling amazing. So, what good does it do me to step on it every single day and watch as water weight fluctuates up and down? What good is there from worrying about a number that doesn't define my worth, my intelligence, my beauty or my strength?

Absolutely nothing - it's just a distraction. And I'm done with distractions.

Put your blinders on and race toward your goal with nothing standing in your way.

Tell me - what are your goals? What are you going to focus on to reach them?

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Ultimate Saturday

It was my full intention to take it easy this weekend on the workouts and enjoy the family time. It was also my intention to do my T25 workout on Friday rather than saving it until Saturday.

Let me tell you a story about what actually happened and you can judge me later. (yes, I did drink the mimosas I promised I would)

So you know how I've been drinking the T25 Kool-aid for the past few weeks right?

(At least I'm consistent!)

Well, when I told mom that I was planning to come home for Easter weekend she invited me to bring along my T25 DVD's so that she could see what they were all about. My mom is the kind of lady who flips tires, picks up heavy weights, does box jumps and can squat her ass to the grass better than I can - so I had no worry she'd rock the T25. Challenge accepted, mother!

Since the only thing I did on Friday night was sleep, I woke early on Saturday morning with energy and a nagging voice in my head to make up for the workouts that I missed on Friday. Not thinking it'd be a big deal, I did the prescribed back-to-back Alpha Lower Focus & Ab Intervals workouts -  all before 8:30 in the morning. 

After my shower I packed up for the weekend and headed home to see my family and the golden retriever sisters. After some quality communication and girl time, mom was itching to meet Shaun T. Who isn't?!

We jumped, squatted and high-knee ran ourselves into a serious sweat through 25 minutes of Alpha Cardio and I was crazy impressed with my mom (and also impressed with myself for a triple T25 day). 

We high-fived and started the cool down when I joked that we could do another if she was game. You want to know who will always "be game"?? 

Supermom (and the golden retrievers, of course!)

We kicked Speed 1.0's butt for another 25 minutes and I even got mom to take her very first sweaty selfie - I was so proud! She's not as used to the sweaty selfie as I am, but I think she'll get there!!

Can you believe she even said she could do another? Unbelievable!

Just goes to show that you can do anything you put your mind to.... and that mothers really are the most amazing humans on the planet.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

15 Minute Easter Hop

Well it looks like we made it to Friday!

I loved all of the feedback you gave me this week on drinking water, on when you prefer to work out and why you love the idea of being crazy productive over the weekend. 

I'm planning to do a round-up of all the water drinking comments that you thoughtful ladies sent through to me - and I loved having a water drinking buddy with my new blogger / snapchat friend Amy

So it's Easter weekend and you finally get to dig into that bag of mini eggs that you've had locked up for the past 40 days, right? Just me?

I know that you don't want to be fitness-shamed on Good Friday so I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. I only ask that you do two things....

1. Dig into those amazing brunch foods
2. Drink one more mimosa than you think you should have.

These are my mottos for the weekend!

But you came here for fitness so I'll leave you with an idea for a quick 15 minutes of sweaty. 

Here are examples of the exercises:

Happy sweating!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Morning or Evening?

Many of you aren't alone when you worry about what time of day you're supposed to work out. 

Is it morning, is it night? Will you get better results on an empty stomach, after a protein shake, after you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around?

Are you a "better person" if you wake up and do it in the morning before work?

Somehow I always feel this overwhelming pride when I tell people that I woke up at 5am to get my workout in. Like I was more dedicated, more motivated - more something. 

And yes, it's because I feel wonderful to have already broke a sweat, but it's a little hard on myself to put the pressure on my schedule when sometimes I just don't feel like a morning workout. I don't feel like washing my hair. I don't feel like fetching a clean sports bra out of the dryer (because I didn't feel like folding the laundry over the weekend but whatever). 

From my non-expert opinion and personal experience, the best time of day to work out fits in the perfect balance between the following factors:

+ What time will you actually work out?

When is it possible for you to get your sweat, live your life and do all the other things? Where is it on your priority list and what are you willing to sacrifice, your sleep or that happy hour or your favorite re-run of Friends?

+ When do you feel best?

Here we go talking about more feelings, but honestly - are you routinely exhausted at the end of the work day because you've been stuffed in a cubicle all day? Or are you one of those people that bursts with energy the moment you leave the doors of your stuffy office building? (If you're the latter, I'd suggest we start a job hunt immediately). 

For me - the time of day that I feel best can change day to day. One thing I know about myself is that I can't work out right before bed because when the blood is flowing I stay awake counting sheep all night with my fitness playlist fresh on my mind. 

+ What can you sustain and be consistent with?

If you're just starting out and trying to gain a rhythm, this is a very important piece. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. 

If you're just starting out, I challenge you to pick out your "golden hour" of the day and make that your time. Tell your family and your friends that it's your time and make sure they respect your new fitness journey. Set the consistency and set the habit - you'll see yourself making a positive change. 

In no time at all you'll be familiar with the way it feels to lace up your tennis shoes and it won't matter what time of day, as long as you get it in and you feel great while doing it.  

While this is my first post on the topic, it will not be my last - good luck finding your happy zone! 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fitness Journey Confessions

Happy Wednesday, my fitness friends!

Something I love doing on my other blog is Wednesday "Humpday Confessions". It's an opportunity to wash myself of all the dirty little secrets I keep in my sweaty 3rd day hair and present it in a humorous manner. Some days it's a gif party, others it's a list load - some days you're going to get one long and lean post about just one topic.

If we're clear on the rules, how about we jump right in?

+ This Jolly Rancher Lollipop (from Valentine's Day) is not Paleo.

+ Some days I don't want to work out either, but I often find the motivation in my "Why" to do it.

+ I'm one of the worst at drinking my daily quota of water. Tips on how to, please?

+ Sometimes I can come across as fitness obsessed - I'm really just life obsessed!

+ I realize now how much time I wasted in four prime years of my life focusing on only running.

+ I'm tempted by office sweets, too.

+ I think dance class is my soul-mate workout. However, I couldn't do it in heels.

+ I can't do all of the push-ups in my workout DVD's but I'm getting there (little by little, day by day)

+ I'm the annoying co-worker who takes a section of the fridge with my prepped lunches.

+ I like to sweat. Oh wait, you knew that already.

Want to play along next week?

Linking up with my fitness inspiration, Kathy
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mind Over Measurements

Readers, meet Jessi.

Jessi is an active, health-conscious working female who loves all of the beautiful things this life has to offer. She's single, not currently dating and has found all of the happiness that she needs within herself through personal development and some self "housekeeping". She finds happiness in sharing herself with those who want to hear her story because she's found that it gives others the comfort to reach out to her to seek that same happiness. She can do anything as long as she believes and decides to succeed

Okay, so you caught me - I am Jessi (hi!!) 

That exercise to describe myself in the third person was a mind-check to see where my head was at. Usually when I embark on a fitness journey and don't wake up with my dream body after Day 5 I can get a little discouraged.  Don't you?

I mean you're putting in all of this time, doing all of the right things like meal planning, drinking your water, working out every single day when you'd rather not and you see the sweat. It's real. You are seeing results - but not the kind you want to see. Not the sexy victories you want to scream from your Facebook status like "I lost 10 pounds!" or "I dropped a pants size!". 

I know because I've been there. I want tangible results, too! I want real metrics that other people understand to mean success. I could spew all day about how I have become strong enough to do ten slow and quality push ups consecutively - but people don't see that as success because they don't know that I started from only two. 

The reason why this fitness journey is different is that I'm working on my mind in tandem with my body. I'm reading personal development books about goal setting, habit forming, relationship building and loving yourself enough to make a difference in your life. I'm setting realistic goals and working backwards on what I need to do day by day to achieve those goals. 

I'm reaching out to people who I see doing good in their life that I want to get to know better. I'm even getting approached by these people on their own desires because they're sharing that incredible moment of peace with themselves and see that I'm doing something that brings me genuine happiness.

Focus on your mind over your measurements. If you're getting discouraged I'd like to recommend the book "Push" by Chalene Johnson into your reading list. Find it at your local library and get your head in the right place so that you can appreciate the body that you're working so hard to achieve. 

I'd also like to mention that it felt pretty damn amazing to be able to sit out in my driveway in a lawn chair - sleeveless and in shorts.

And I'm not talking about the weather. 

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