“Strong Bodies, Beautiful Minds”

So this is where I get a little bit sappy and tell the world way too much personal information about myself…But that’s what blogs are for, right?

So here goes.

I have struggled with my weight and body image as far back as I can remember. I have vivid memories of being eight years old and thinking I was fat and trying to figure out how to lose weight. I’ve been through phases of my life where all day, every day was consumed with thoughts about my weight and negative feelings about how I looked. There were days where I didn’t want to leave the house because none of my clothes looked good and I felt too bad about myself to walk out the door. Then I went through phases where I obsessed over how many calories I had to eat in order to lose weight and didn’t enjoy food at all because I was so focused on being thinner. There were phases where I would give up and just eat whatever I wanted because I was always going to be this way and it wasn’t worth trying. I’d end up gaining a bunch of weight in a short period of time and feeling even worse.

I hate to admit these things because I know I should know better. I know we need to love ourselves (especially as women) and be happy with what we were born with. I know that too many women have body image issues and it makes me cringe when young girls say they look fat. I’ve always been confident in who I am as a person – in my strengths, in my relationships and in my jobs. I’ve been great at giving others advice about standing up for themselves and asking for what they deserve; for women’s rights and empowerment. I’ve always told friends they need to be strong, confident women because they deserve to be. But for some reason I am extremely hard on myself.

About a year ago I started Kaia FIT to lose a little weight before my best friend, Kira’s bachelorette party because I didn’t want to be the “fat girl at the pool.” I came to my first class at her recommendation because it had been so great for her and I instantly fell in love. The women were friendly, the coaches were inviting and encouraging, and the exercises were fun. I’ve never been an athlete, but I had just recently started to like running and accomplished my first half marathon (which was a HUGE feat for me) and thought Kaia was a good next step.

In a year at Kaia I have only lost about 5-7 pounds, but I’ve learned that the number on the scale doesn’t matter when you’re building muscle. I’ve said those words to so many of my friends before “Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t worry about the scale.” But it took me a while to really accept it as the truth. For months I was disappointed that the scale wasn’t dropping until I realized how much I’ve improved. My body has changed so much, I even stand differently than I used to. My posture is better and I never have back problems anymore. I’m the same weight I was a few years ago, but I wear two sizes smaller in pants because my body has changed so much.

I was feeling so great about myself, loving this program and believing in it so much that I decided I want to make it my life. I want to bring this feeling of accomplishment, of strength, of confidence, of encouragement and community to as many women as possible and I want to open my own Kaia location.

But then, when I signed up for certification I instantly started telling myself  that I might not pass. What? This person who finally felt so confident and ready for this was scared? I didn’t understand it either.

I got to certification and I instantly reverted back to this young, scared girl who didn’t feel good enough. I looked at all these strong, amazing women around me and felt like I didn’t belong in their group. Like I wasn’t fit enough, thin enough, strong enough, a good enough coach. I was constantly looking in the mirror saying to myself  “I look awful. I can’t believe I gained those few pounds back last month. I don’t look like I should be a trainer. I’ve never coached anything in my life, how am I going to do this?”

I tried to push those feelings aside, workout really hard and do my best. Overall I had a great time and learned SO much about Kaia, but I just wasn’t myself. I wasn’t fully engaged in everything like I should have been because I let my fear get the best of me. I let the insecure girl inside of me take over and then felt a little defeated on the way home. I got 100% on the practical exam and knew what I was doing (I do this stuff every day!), but I didn’t feel or show confidence while I was doing it. All of the women were so encouraging and extremely positive, but I was having trouble seeing that I was doing well.

I got home last night and one of my coaches and friends who knew how I was feeling texted me and gave me some much-needed support and comfort. She told me everyone has these moments and experiences the same feelings at some point. She said that confidence is key and I need to “just rock it.” She understood where I was coming from and encouraged me to work through it. I told myself that I AM making the right decision because I AM right for this and it will get better and then went to sleep.

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I woke up this morning KNOWING that I belonged in that group. I got up at 5:00am for class and drove to the gym with a huge smile on my face ready to workout even though my entire body was sore and I only had 5 1/2 hours of sleep. I was ready because I finally took the time to appreciate myself for what I’ve done. Last week I did 322 burpees in 45 minutes for our Burpees for Boobs charity. This week I worked out basically for 3 days straight and ran a timed mile in the cold, windy, snowy altitude. This may not be a big deal for some, but those are huge accomplishments to me. I’ve trained for two half marathons, I’ve improved on countless exercises and made some pretty major changes from my life before. I finally took the time to get the negativity out of my head and realize that if someone else told me they did those things I’d be beyond impressed.

I DO belong in this group with these women. They’re MY group of women.574919_267506386714671_1786966701_n

I can’t even tell you everything this program has done for me. Not to mention what it has done for some of the other women in my life. My mom who is turning 65 next month used to go to the gym and only walk on the treadmill because she thought running would be bad for her joints. Now she’s doing burpees, lifting weights, running sprints and lifting 20 pound bags of dog food at the grocery store like it’s nothing. I am so impressed with her determination and hard work.

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I have never felt more supported or encouraged in my entire life than I have since workout out with these women. This is the greatest group I have ever been a part of and I am so thankful for everything they’ve given me. I cannot WAIT to open my own Kaia and bring the same love and support to other women. I will not let my insecurities get in the way of what I want to do. It may take me a while to be comfortable coaching, but that’s ok. I know I don’t have to be an expert right away, but I also know I’ll get there. And I know it will be great.

cf356603b1710f26f9759dfbbc1ba4ca“Kaia F.I.T.’s mission is to create strong bodies and powerful minds. Working together to get fit, feel great and know that we Kan accomplish anything.”

Check out this video of Kaia F.I.T. Owner Nikki Warren!

And check out our Burpees for Boobs fundraiser!

Staying F.I.T. on Vacation

Get it? F.I.T….cause I do Kaia F.I.T…. :)

So for Christmas this year we visited my husband’s family in Oahu for 10 days. It was so nice to leave the cold weather and head to warmer climates for the holidays, but I was concerned I would “fall off the wagon” when it came to my fitness. Kaia was on a winter break for a few weeks, so my timing worked out pretty well, but I didn’t want to come back to class and feel like I was starting all over again. So, I decided to try my best to keep working out and stay active while we were there.

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My father-in-law lives at the top of some seriously steep hills. Each day we’d go for a jog or a walk down to the bottom and back up. Some days we ran 2-3 miles and some days we just did hill repeats on the super steep hills right by the house.

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Some days we would drive down by Waikiki, park the car and run up Diamond Head Road for a beautiful 3 or 3 1/2 mile run with a view along the water. Then we’d run back to the car, go change into our suits, and head to the beach. That, right there is THE perfect day in my mind. I hope to have lots more of those when I move there.

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While Kaia was on their winter break, the coaches sent us a new at-home workout for each day. On days I was feeling extra motivated I pulled out a yoga mat and tried some of them after my run. They weren’t easy..that’s for sure. I can definitely say that having the coaches and a big group of girls by your side makes you feel like you can keep going, even when you feel exhausted. Completing these tough workouts alone is definitely harder, but I tried to do my best and I was so glad the coaches kept us in mind while we were away!

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Now, if we’re being honest here.. I was on VACATION…so there was a little bit of beer drinking and relaxing going on as well. Probably a little more than there should have been..but it was vacation, right? I tried to stay away from the super sweet drinks like mai tais and pina coladas that are loaded with sugar and calories (I only had one in the 10 days I was there) and tried to stick with wine and the occasional cold beer on the lanai. We ate a ton of fish and healthy home-cooked meals, but I also splurged a little and had chocolate for dessert when I wanted something sweet (or the occasional shave ice).

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We also drank coconut water straight from the source. YUM

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We did one of my favorite hikes on Oahu on Koko Head (favorite because of the gorgeous view at the top) and of course I had to take a Kaia planking picture at the top.

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We spent one day out on the boat wakeboarding in the marina, which was SUPER fun, although much harder than I’m used to on the warm, smooth waters of Clear Lake.

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I have to say, what a difference a year can make. The last time we went to Hawaii for vacation, back in July of 2011, there was no running. There was very little hiking (and it was WAY harder than it was this time). There were definitely no Kaia-type workouts done solo on a yoga mat. And there was LOTS AND LOTS of eating bad food and drinking too many pina coladas. Yes, I am a firm believer in working hard and playing hard. When you’re on vacation, you should feel like you’re on vacation. But that doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it did a year ago before I started Kaia.

Now, a vacation isn’t complete to me without getting out and being active. I’m still going to enjoy good food and a little relaxation, but in a different way. I’ve always loved the outdoors, but now I get so much enjoyment out of exercising and pushing my limits that my outlook on physical activity is completely different. We’ve always hiked when we went to Hawaii, but I was queen of requesting the “easy hikes,” because that way I wouldn’t feel miserable the entire time. Now, I want each hike to be more challenging than the last. I am so looking forward to moving to the island and finding new trails and hikes that will challenge me even more.

What do you do to stay F.I.T. on vacation?

Oh…and I thought this little guy was too cute to leave out… IMG_5889

15 Reasons to Run

Good morning friends! Today I am feeling so incredibly positive I just had to share. I am loving the Runner’s World Running Streak Challenge because it is keeping me active and motivated every single day. The challenge is to run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Years. Some days I run just over a mile, and some days I run over three. Hopefully soon some of those longer runs will end up getting closer to 5 or 6. The best part about the challenge for me is there is never a good enough excuse why I can’t run ONE mile. There is always 10 minutes in the day to fit this in, and once you get out there, you might want to go further. Either way, it is helping me keep health , fitness and running on my mind and in my schedule. If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late! You can just make up for the missed days by increasing your first few runs by a few miles.

I am also loving my Kaia family (as always) and for the first time (probably in my entire life) I am confident that I can get through this holiday season without getting into an unhealthy rut and gaining the usual 5-10 pounds I always seem to pack on during this time. Click here to check if you have a Kaia in your area, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

My husband and I will be visiting family in Hawaii for Christmas this year and I am really looking forward to the hikes and long walks while we’re there. I plan to participate in the Running Streak every day and am really looking forward to the beautiful views along the way.

These photos are from a hike we did last summer when we were in Hawaii and I can’t wait to do it again! Maybe this time we’ll run the stairs :)

Happy running everyone!

A Little Holiday Season Motivation

I read this article on RunnersWorld.com and it got me really excited for running and being outdoors this winter. So I decided to make a list of all the things I’m personally going to try in order to keep in shape and feel good throughout the holidays.

1. Start with treating myself to some awesome new winter workout gear. They say there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes, so get yourself something comfy and warm to bundle up in for those cold outside runs! I’ve actually already started this one. For my birthday I got a few new pieces from lululemon (my new obsession) and even bought myself a little somethin. Although expensive, lulu is seriously AMAZING. From their “anti-bacterial” or “anti-stink” material to the hidden “emergency hair-ties” on their zippers to the extra material near the wrists for wrapping up your hands in the winter, they literally have thought of everything. Their workout gear makes you look and feel amazing and I am officially hooked. Who wouldn’t want to be active when you feel THAT great in workout clothes?

This is my new favorite piece!

2. Make time for myself to be active. The holidays can be so busy and stressful that we consume our lives with doing things for other people. This winter I want to make sure I take a little time every day to do something for myself, whether that is going for a run or even just going outside at lunch time for a quick walk around the building.

3. Sign up for a few fun 5ks or other runs/races. The first one I’m planning is the Run to Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving day in Sacramento. This race is HUGE and is such a fun way to spend the morning AND help donate to those who need it. I also plan on doing as many Tuesday night Fun Runs at my local Fleet Feet as I can. Everyone meets to go for a 3-4 mile run and most weeks there are different themes and even raffle prizes!

Last week’s fun run

4. Try something new. I have never done hot yoga and have never really been all that  interested, but I saw a groupon for a stuido nearby and thought, what better time than the middle of winter to do hot yoga? So I think I’ll give it a shot!

5. Instead of meeting friends for lunch or drinks over the holidays, meet them for a long walk outside and then go get a hot coffee. No matter if you’ve worked out already in the morning or not, a walk is always doable and will get you moving and will burn a few extra “holiday calories.”

6. Try the Runners World Run Streak! This just means you log at least one mile of running every day between Thanksgiving and New Years. I know I can do this. That can be less than 10 minutes a day! Like I said in number 2, I need to “make time for myself.” This would be a perfect way to do that and would help keep me motivated and on track through the holidays. I think I’ll try it! #RWRunStreak

7. Make it to as many Kaia classes as I possibly can unless I have a VERY good reason for missing (i.e. I’m dying, sick, injured). I go to these bootcamp classes in the mornings before work and they truly make my life better. I’ve blogged about this here and here and joining was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I can easily see myself wanting to sleep in a little longer and stay in my warm bed in the winter instead of waking up at 5am, but I am going to do my best to fight that urge. I always feel better after a kick-ass Kaia workout and I don’t want to get out of my routine.

How are you going to stay motivated this winter?

Ready for Kombat

In May I started my new health and fitness routine with Kaia F.I.T.  and I am constantly reminded of what a great choice it was. Not only have I lost weight/inches and gained muscle, I’ve gained confidence, energy, and some great friends to keep me accountable. Kaia has been the best stress reliever and really has made my every day life better for so many reasons. I am happier, I have better posture, my back hurts less often, I have more energy at work and when I get home, and the list goes on and on.

I started during BRIK, which is Kaia’s 6-week intensive bootcamp that consists of 3 days in the gym doing strength training and cardio, one day of flow (yoga), and one day of running. After the first six weeks I already felt great and had some pretty awesome results. Keep in mind that I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose when I started, I just wanted to get toned and fit.

1ST SIX WEEKS:

Weight: -4.2lbs

Booty/hips: -1  inch

Thighs: no change

Chest: -1 1/4 inches

Waist: – 2 inches

Body fat: – 3.4%

After the 6 week bootcamp we went to two 5-week sessions that consisted of 3 days a week in the gym, an optional yoga class on Friday, and another optional workout on Saturday. I am out of town often on the weekends so I was only able to make it to a few of the Saturday workouts over the 10 weeks, but I went to about 90% of the yoga classes. We just did our measurements on Saturday and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

10 WEEKS:

Weight: -2.6lbs

Booty/hips: -1/2 inch

Thighs: -.5 inches

Chest: -1/4 inch

Waist: – 1 3/4 inches

Body fat: – 1/10%

TOTAL IN 16 WEEKS:

Weight: -6.8 lbs

Booty/hips: -1 1/2 inches

Thighs: -.5 inches

Chest: -1 1/2 inches

Waist: – 3 3/4 inches!

Body fat: – 3.5%

Today we started our Kombat BRIK session and I could not be more motivated. During the first week we do a detox, which means no dairy, no sugar, no carbs, no alcohol, and nothing processed. After the first week they encourage us to eat clean (mostly fruit and vegetables, low carbs, no sugar, etc) and then we detox again during the last week. I am looking forward to hard work, lots of early mornings, LOTS of sweat, and a group of amazing girls by my side. If I get results like I have these last few months, it will be an added bonus. In the beginning, I joined as a way to lose a few pounds and tone up a bit and now I couldn’t imagine leaving. I wake up in the mornings to get to the gym because I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Of course I love seeing results and feeling better in my clothes, but the way I feel in this short period of time has really shown me how important a consistent workout plan can be.

Eppie’s Great Race

This weekend was the Eppie’s Great Race in Sacramento on the American River. I didn’t participate, but a few of my friends did so I thought I’d go cheer them on. The race took place right down the street from where my parent’s house is, so my husband and I parked and jogged over because we were running a little late. Turns out we JUST missed the finish, but I was able to snap a few colorful photos. This race looked so fun, I just may have to participate next year! The lone ranger..Kermit was hanging out too.Finish line.A few stragglers. One woman tipped her kayak right here and it looked SO hard to get back in!My two friends and Kaia girls who kicked some serious Eppie’s ass.

What I Believe To Be True About Kale

There is so much information out there about the benefits of eating kale, but some people still aren’t interested in consuming this leafy green. So, I thought I’d try to convert a few folks by sharing what I think kale does for me and why I eat it so often. But for those of you who want “real facts” I added some of those too. Most of my info was found on WebMD.

***Disclaimer-  I am not a doctor, I just really like Kale.

10 Reasons I Think Kale is So Awesome

  1. It gives you an immune system of steel so you won’t become sick or diseased (kale is LOADED with antioxidants, both Vitamin A and Vitamin C)
  2. In a fight, kale would kick cancer’s ass (it is a great source of Vitamin K which is believed to help fight cancer)
  3. Sunglasses? Who needs those? (kale is loaded with carotenoids which help prevent UV rays from damaging your eyes).
  4. You won’t get a broken heart eating kale (kale can help lower your cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease).
  5. It makes you skinny (kale has a very low-calorie content so you can eat it as part of a healthy, nutrient-rich diet, along with exercise, for weight loss).
  6. It “cleans you out” if you know what I mean (one cup has 20% of your recommended daily fiber which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating).
  7. If you mix heavy kale-eating with heavy body-building, you will get Popeye-sized biceps (like spinach, kale is high in iron).
  8. If you injure yourself during your regularly scheduled body building session, you won’t need to take Advil (kale is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties).
  9. Don’t Got Milk? Don’t need it! (for us lactose-free folks kale is a great way to get your calcium in without dairy).
  10. IT ACTUALLY TASTES GOOD!

So…basically, if you eat kale, you’ll be on your way to becoming Superwoman like me (or Superman, I don’t want to be sexist- men are allowed to eat kale too.)

There are tons of different types of kale and they are all delicious in their own ways! I use the softer kale when I am making a smoothie or salad because I will be eating it raw, but the tough kale is also great when steamed or sautéed.

Here are a few ideas for how to eat this lovely green leafy veggie.

My All-Time Favorite, Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk (I switch off from Rice, Almond, and Coconut Milk)
  • 1 ripe banana, preferably peeled + frozen
  • 2 handfuls kale
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds OR 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp nut butter, optional

Best Kale Salad Ever

  • Kale
  • Olive Oil – massage the olive oil and salt into kale to soften and let sit while you add other ingredients.
  • Lemon
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Avocado
  • Any veggies you like!

I have also posted about kale recipes here, and here.

For more delicious kale recipes, click here!

Results Are In!

So I told you all here about the six-week boot camp I started in May. Well, tomorrow is our last workout and end of boot camp party and today was our last workout at the gym. This session they decided not to focus so much on numbers on a scale and tried to focus more on how we feel. I love the idea of not stressing over weight loss, but since it was my first Kaia session I really wanted to see if I had any results after the first six weeks. I did measurements, weight, and body fat percentage during the first week and then again today. We ended up doing measurements on Friday of the first week and by then, I had already lost almost 3 pounds from when I started on Monday.

I have a scale at home that weighs the same as the scale at Kaia and I have been stepping on it about once a week to see how I’m doing. I have always done that just to check in on myself and remind myself to get back on track if the weight started going up. I really try not to worry about the number or let it bother me because we all fluctuate on a regular basis, but I like to keep an eye on it.

The first week and a half of boot camp I dropped about 4 1/2 pounds . I was so excited and thought, “At this rate, I’ll have no trouble losing 10lbs by the end of 6 weeks!” I was wrong. Since then I’ve fluctuated a little, especially after my Chicago trip but my weight has stayed just about the same since the end of that first week. Each time I got on my scale at home, I reminded myself that no matter what the number is, I feel great and I know I am gaining muscle and getting healthy.

So today when I took my measurements I had lost 1 inch around my butt, 1 1/4 inches off of my chest, and 2 inches off my waist. Most importantly I went down 3.4% body fat. To be honest, I was a little disappointed at first. I think I was hoping for more drastic results. It is still hard for me to not think of myself as the same person who was 25 pounds heavier a few years ago, completely out of shape and unable to run a mile. But today was kind of a reminder of how far I’ve come on my own and now how Kaia has pushed me to be even healthier and stronger.

In May of 2011 I ran my first 5k, the farthest I had ever run in my entire life (by a lot) and since then I have run countless 5ks and 10ks, trained for two half marathons, and now completed six weeks of the hardest boot camp I’ve ever done.

So when I sat down and really thought about the person I was a few years ago and the person I am now, I felt pretty proud of myself. And I realized that although other people may have had much better results than I did, I am happy and think I did pretty damn good for six weeks. I plan to continue on the path I’m on and no matter what happens, remember that I feel fantastic. I have more energy, I’m stronger, my mood is always better and I am often surprised by what I’m able to push myself to do. I am so thankful for Kaia, and of course for my best friend who really inspired me to join. I think I’m going to be a Kaia girl for life now :) If my story interests you, you should check out Kaia F.I.T. here!

Loaded Veggie Frittata for Mother’s Day

Most brunch items are not extremely healthy so I was trying to figure out what to do for Mother’s Day that would taste delicious and still be loaded with ingredients that are good for your body. My husband and I prepared a small outdoor brunch for my parents and it was fairly easy to please everyone since we all usually eat pretty healthy diets. Although, I really do think that even people who don’t normally love healthy food would love this frittata recipe. It was so delicious, we ate the whole thing! I stopped at the farmer’s market in the morning and picked up most of the ingredients along with a bunch of fresh herbs for garnish and some beautiful flowers for my mom. The farmer’s market really is one of my favorite places! What you’ll need:

  • a dozen eggs, 5 whole eggs & 7 egg whites
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • fresh basil, torn into pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • I didn’t add spinach but I think it would be a great addition!

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 375. Crack eggs and combine in a bowl with salt and pepper. Whisk until mixed and set aside. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil in a large frying pan. Once tender, add in zucchini and squash. Next add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. At the last-minute, add tomatoes and stir. If you’re adding fresh spinach leaves, do that now. Add in salt and pepper and fresh basil. Slowly pour in the egg mixture. Stir and let the egg heat up a little. Then pour the entire mixture into a casserole dish, or any oven safe dish you would like to use, and place in the oven for about 25 minutes. The time will depend on how deep your pan is. Mine was about 3-3/2 inches, so my frittata took about 30 minutes to bake all the way through. A traditional frittata is much thinner but I had to work with what my mom had at her house and I was actually very glad I did it this way. Keep an eye on it and when the top is solid and nothing jiggles when you move the dish, it should be ready. Serve when warm. Top with fresh basil, rosemary, cilantro or whatever fresh herbs you have for garnish.

We also made guacamole and salsa and used non-fat greek yogurt in place of sour cream for the toppings. It was delicious and I will definitely be making this again. On the side we had organic turkey breakfast sausage from Whole Foods and some delicious fresh fruit.

I also made a lemon, rosemary, and mint infused water and served it with rosemary as garnish. I just added those ingredients to a large pitcher of ice water and let it sit for a while. It was very refreshing with our brunch. Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Seared Ahi with Lemon Dill Aioil

Last night my husband and I made this delicious dinner. We bought a sashimi grade tuna steak from our local grocery store and served it with garlic & balsamic brussel sprouts and the first artichoke from our backyard this year!

The tuna is easy and super fast (I accidentally overcooked it a little, but it was still tasty). I added salt and pepper to each side and seared it in a hot pan with a little olive oil. It really only needs less than a minute on each side, and I went a little long as you can see in my photo.

Then I sautéed onions and garlic in another pan with olive oil, added the brussel sprouts and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar until they were tender and a little crispy on the edges. I boiled the artichoke and used my lemon dill aioli for dipping sauce for both the artichoke and the tuna.

Lemon Dill Aioli

  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon veganaise
  • juice of half a lemon
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together and add ingredients until you have the taste/texture you like. You can definitely make this without the veganaise, but I like to add a little to cut down the tartness of the yogurt.

Enjoy!