Running, Veg/Vegan

PSA: Instagram is Not Real

How often do you see photos like this on Instagram? Big booty, tight waist, strong arms – but is it real? As someone that’s been hardcore into fitness for 5+ years, I couldn’t understand these images that  kept appearing on my feed – until I played around in front of the mirror and realized its just posing. Booty popped, an awkward twist in the waist, good lighting and a little bit of dehydration and BAM – insta-model approved.

I didn’t grow up in the age of Instagram, so I worry so much about the women and girls that see these images and believe they’re real life. I would never stand, sit, pose, squat or appear this way in person,  so while the photo is me, it is not TRUE TO LIFE. In simple terms, it’s not real.

Instagram can be a great place to showcase and normalize all kinds of bodies, which is why I personally choose to show photos of mine. But when you’re scrolling through your feed and come across an image that seems unachievable, keep these key points in mind:

1.      No two bodies are the same. Even if you eat, sleep, and train exactly like the girl in the picture, it is physically impossible for you to achieve the exact same results because of your (and her) unique size, shape, genes, body composition and metabolism.

2.      These images are often the result of perfect lighting, careful posing, angles, retouching, and even photoshop – not perfect people.

3.      Most of these people are professional models/bodybuilders/personal trainers, whose job is to be fit and look the part. You wouldn’t compare your ability to cook to that of a professional chef, right? So you can’t compare your body to someone who’s full time job is fitness.

4.      Most of these images are selling something. They are carefully curated to represent an ideal that’s unlikely (or impossible) to achieve in order to promote the protein powder/leggings/detox tea/personal training services being offered.

5.      Instagram is a highlight real. It does not, and cannot, depict real life.

6.      Everyone can physically, mentally, and emotionally benefit from exercise, regardless of their weight, size, shape, age, gender, ability, etc. Do not let the images on Instagram deter you from doing something great for you and your body, if that’s what you chose.

7.      Let me repeat it one more time: fitness is for and benefits EVERY BODY.

Okay, rant over.

 

Running, Uncategorized

Training While Injured


It’s been almost two weeks of non-soccer/non-running existence and let me tell you – the injured life is not a fun one. With lots of life changes like moving apartments & possible career shifts, it’s been a major struggle not being able to run through it all. Running is my mediation, my quiet, precious ‘me’ time, and I’m going a little bit crazy without it.

In a nutshell – resting ain’t easy.


To keep myself in shape for a busy marathon season, I’ve been supplementing as best as I can with bike riding, swimming, and lifting at the gym. The only good news is that I’m able to lift a lot heavier than usual because I’m not running. So, I’ve gotten to play around with compound movements like squats and snatches to keep myself strong.

I’ve also been stuck with the very boring task of ankle PT. I can’t explain why I hate it so much, but I totally do. I hate every second of it. I know it helps, but it’s so boring it’s like watching paint dry, except you have to be an active participant. Ugh.


Anyways, I just go cleared to ‘lightly jog’ for a few minutes and come back next week to get the final go ahead. I’m still benched from soccer, which starts this weekend, and banned from my Old Pali Road race this Sunday. So, for the next week, I’ll still be grumpy and difficult but hopefully will get my happy time back soon. 🙂

Happy Healing!

Nicole

Lifting, Running

September Goals

  
I can’t believe it’s already September. The carefree days of summer are mostly over, and the new month brings the promise of cooler breezes, the first day of fall, and a fresh new start. I’m a lover of new moons, new years, and the first of anything, and I’m happy to start this beautiful month full of goals and good intentions.

My goals this month are to run, lift, and reflect. Or, more accurately, to do these things better. To run better, lift better, and reflect with an open heart and a clear mind.

I’ve gotten into the nitty-gritty phase of my marathon training for my race in October. Training, and my long runs in particular, have taken a hefty toll on my body, free time, and social life. While I love pouring time & energy into something I find so beautiful and empowering, I know I could do so much better. I am intent on being more stern with my schedule, honest with my fatigue, and ambitious in my stretching and recovery. I have a tumultuous love/hate relationship with my foam roller, but it does make a huge difference in my recovery.

Lifting has fallen to the wayside from all the running in my life. In essence, it’s become my side chick that I can’t stay away from and should probably pay more attention to, but I’ve been busy with my main squeeze. Lifting absolutely makes me a better runner, and is a much-needed break from hitting the pavement.

Personally, I’m at a bit of a crossroads in my life. Do I stay in Hawaii because I love it here, or chase after my dreams of a better career? What do I want to do with my life? I have had these questions on the back burner for the past year, and intend to explore my emotions, ambitions, and needs fully. I could do so much more to express my gratitude for the life I have, while building a life I truly want – reflection is the only way to delve deep into who I am and who I want to be.

What are your goals this month? Have a great one & good luck 🙂

Lifting, Running, Thoughts

Thoughtful Thursday: Body Confidence

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A lifetime of soccer coupled with my genes has left me with a thick body. Thick arms, thick legs, big booty. I’ve worked hard to carve out a narrow waist and trim myself down to what I am now, but the thickness remains. It’s who I am, it’s what I look like, and it’s what God’s given me.

Despite all the pro-thick/booty-obsession movements lately, it’s sometimes hard to be happy with a bigger frame. I love running and yoga, but envy the stereotypical ‘runner’ and ‘yogi’ bodies I see all over social media. I wonder if, because I’m thicker, other people question my ability to run or practice.

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I’ve worked hard for my soccer body.

 

The hardest realization was that, no matter how hard I work or how clean I eat, I will never look a certain way. Part of this is my own insecurities; the other part is that disingenuous nature of the fitspo we see on social media. Its idiotic to compare myself to a personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder with a smaller frame & better gene pool to work with. After all, looking fit is their job. And they work hard and eat clean for months on end to achieve what can be easily captured in an Instagram post.

I may not have the body I want, but I will learn to love the body I have. I’m blessed to have a healthy body that allows me to hike, surf, swim, run and explore the beautiful island I call home. My thick legs might bother me at times, but they earned me a partial athletic scholarship to college and a lifetime of playing soccer. This body has taken me around the world, and will continue to take me on many adventures. For that, I am forever thankful.

 

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Lastly, I’m slowly learning that function and health are monumentally more important than looks. Instead of chasing perfection, I’m chasing progress. Rather than stress about my abs (or lack thereof) I’m proud to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life. I can’t change my frame or bone structure, but I can take charge of my health.

Here’s a little body confidence motivation to get you through the weekend 🙂

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Lifting, Running

Motivation Monday: It’s a New Month!

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Wake up, wake up, wake up, its the first of the month….

I can’t believe it’s already June! June has always been my favorite month – it’s my birthday month (go Cancer signs!) and always meant school was out, work was over, and life would be a lot simpler for the next few months.

Now that I’m older, out of school and live on an island that feels like an endless summer, June shouldn’t be as exciting. Somehow, though, it’s still my favorite time of the year. Plus, I love that every first of the month – especially the best month, on a Monday, right before a full moon – feels like a new beginning.

bfe356c1fbd4ee8c4549c85f7e7da79dAnd it is! Every day, every week, and every month bring a fresh start for us to start over. A clean slate is at our fingertips whenever we decide to clear our minds and take advantage of it. It’s never too late to make a change. It’s never, ever too late to better ourselves, whether fitness related or not.

Have a great June, everyone! Here’s some fitspo to keep you motivated through the week 🙂

 

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Lifting, Running

Motivation Monday: Morning Workouts

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To the a.m. exercisers, the sunrise yoga peeps, and the early birds – you all know the struggle. The real challenge of clocking in a morning workout isn’t setting alarms or going to sleep  super early. The struggle is in dragging ourselves out of our warm, cozy beds.

I mean, who wants to get out of bed and go run? Or go to the gym? Or drive off into the darkness at 5 a.m. for that early hot yoga class?

One of those crazies is me. I’ve fallen in love with a.m. workouts so much that it feels weird not to burn some calories first thing in the morning. I’ve never been a morning person, so getting in this routine was tough. I (and most who’ve known me for a few years) are pretty shocked that I can get myself to the gym without biting anyone’s head off.

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Benefits

While different schedules work for different people, I love my  a.m. workouts because of their plentiful benefits. According to numerous studies, I’m not alone; morning exercisers reportedly are more consistent, get better sleep, make healthier choices post-sweat sesh,  and stay more focused, energized, and productive throughout the day.

Sweating in the a.m. ensures my workout gets DONE, since it’s the first thing I tackle that day. There’s no time for excuses, tiredness or talking myself out of stopping by the gym.

Working out in the morning also puts a cocky little pep in my step. I stroll into work refreshed, energized, and proud that I logged an hour at the gym or a five mile run before my day even started. I feel happy, healthy, and in control of my health.

It’s also easier to make healthier choices and avoid the daily slew of office temptations when I’ve already put in some sweat & hard work. Instead of knocking back donuts and coffee just because they’re there, I find myself rationally deciding if the extra sugar & calories are worth it. Most of the time, they’re not; instead of depriving myself, I’m making a choice based on what I actually want.

bf43432e9165b2c9465f79e91fff66e5Make it Easy-Peasy

Here’s a few tips from a former non-morning person on how to make rolling out of bed easier.

1. Pack EVERYTHING up the night before.

It’s so much easier to get out of bed when all you have to do is grab your stuff and go. Lay out your workout clothes, pack your gym bag, prep your lunch for the next day – the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to stick with it.

2. Get enough sleep.

It seems simple enough, but it’s easy to get distracted by binge-watching American Horror Story the night before and not getting enough shut-eye. Naturally, snagging more sleep makes snoozing past your alarm a lot less tempting.

3. Have a solid plan

Lastly, know exactly what you’ll be doing – what muscle group you’re working out, how many miles you’re biking/running, etc. so you can properly budget time for showering & getting to work.

Running

Motivation Monday: Keep it Simple

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If health is your goal, you don’t need expensive aerial yoga classes or a personal trainer. You don’t have to obsess over every last calorie or ensure each meal is timed and comprised of the exact proportion of carbs, protein and fat. It doesn’t have to be difficult or disruptive to other areas of your life.

98646c3e954d20670d83788473eef4c9All you have to do is keep it simple and realistic to achieve lasting results. Eat well, sleep well, and exercise. That’s it. The media and studios and fitness industry may beg to differ, but wellness is a to-each-her-own journey that will always be different for everyone. No plan or diet or workout class suits every woman.

All we have todo is be patient, put in the work, and stay consistent. We don’t have to be perfect – in fact, we shouldn’t be – but we do need to be consistent. Workout a few days a week, eat healthy most of the time, and always get plenty of sleep!

I think we forget that our bodies want to be healthy. They want to function at optimum levels, with wholesome, fresh food in our stomachs and lean muscle and clear skin and a peaceful mind. We only have to get out of our own way and allow health to be a part of our daily routines.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the ridiculously crazy amount of information out there, with each new fitness study contradicting the last. We go from anti-fat to okaying healthy fats to whipping up butter in our coffee, depending on the week, month, or year. Instead of following the fitness craze, we just need to instill a more natural path to wellness in our daily lives.

By eating real food, getting real sleep, and clocking in some exercise, our bodies will happily normalize, detox, and return us to a healthy weight. We might not be perfect or insanely ripped or exactly where we want to be, but we will be healthy. Very healthy, in fact 🙂

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