I’m Not a Quitter… I’m Awesome.

BIKINI 2015 UPDATE TIME!

I am so proud of my bikini body transformation thus far. My six-pack (abs, not Coronas) is coming in, my small & large muscle groups are becoming more defined, and my waist is shrinking. I am getting much stronger in all major lifts, and my muscle endurance is improving. I am maintaining flexibility and mobility with yoga, and have added running in 2-3 times per week for fat-burning cardio. Want to see the progress? Here are photos of my physical changes:

Two Weeks In …#TransformationTuesday                   One Week Later… #GettingLean

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Getting My Gains… #GirlsWithMuscles

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So what’s next? Well…..I have been reflecting on how I feel about the whole COMPETITION part, or the crazy EATING plan, or the COST$ for competition prep (meals, supplements, etc) and competition day (bikini, heels, hair, nails, spray tans, etc). I know this seems like some sort of cop-out for not having to put in the work, but I am finding it hard to really connect with the whole bikini competition idea. I love clean eating. I LOVE lifting weights, HIIT training, yoga, and pretty much all forms of exercise. I just don’t love the idea of fake tanning and becoming someone I’m not. For those of you that don’t know me so well, I am NOT a girly girl. I don’t use makeup daily. I barely remember to brush my hair! #GirlProblems

Want to learn more about bikini competition costs, training, and diet?

cost: http://www.fitwithzara.com/2014/08/07/what-it-costs-to-compete-in-npc-bikini/

cost:  http://www.livelifeactive.com/2013/01/08/the-cost-of-competing-in-a-bikini-competition/

diet: http://www.muscleandfitnesshers.com/nutrition/dieting/12-weeks-competition-body-diet-plan?page=2

mid-atlantic competitions: https://garyudit.com/new/npc-pa-mid-atlantic-zone/

diet/training: https://www.figureandbikini.org/a/134/My-Competition-Meal-Plan

saving money: https://www.figureandbikini.org/a/49/Save-Your-Pennies-The-Cost-of-Competing

Random Selfie time… #IWokeUpLikeThis

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For me quitting is NEVER an option…

I have a passion for nutrition and exercise, but more along the lines of teaching the skills and creating the habits for successful weight loss, weight maintenance, holistic wellness, mobility training, strength training, yoga and mindfulness, endurance training, high-intensity interval training, clean eating, bioindividuality, etc. I want to be able to help others and pull from my experience. Competing will not give me the experience I find necessary for everyday health and wellness.

Remember, I have NOT quit the idea of creating my “bikini-body.” I still want to make-over my diet to remove added sugars, refined carbohydrates, DAIRY, and other highly inflammatory foods. I still want to transform my body to be the leanest, strongest, and healthiest it’s EVER been!

I am SUPER excited for my body transformation!!! I will continue as if I am still competing this August (well, I AM going to the beach), and I will use myself as a guinea pig to discover the BEST diet for melting fat, building muscle, and reducing inflammation. Follow my journey on Instagram @mbrooksfit and look out for my NEW 14-day clean-eating Summer program! Makeover your diet, makeover your body. Email me at mbrooksfit@gmail.com to get updates on upcoming clean-eating and detox programs!

FITspirations: My Female Fitness Idols… #LiftLikeAGirl {Check these women out! They rock!}

christmas abbott pic          ashley horner pic

Christmas Abbott– Crossfit strong                               Ashley Horner– Super Athlete!

Instagram @christmasabbott                                             Instagram @ashley.horner

Kayla-Itsines-pic           dana linn bailey pic

Kayla Itsines– Lean HIIT coach                                     Dana Linn Bailey– Beast competitor

Instagram @kayla_itsines                                                    Instagram @danalinnbailey

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let’s play catch[up]

Holy cow! This has been an exciting month of March, and it’s not even half way! Well, let me back up a couple weeks… My hosts and I completed the #ShowMeYourAxio February Challenge, and it was a blast! Besides the exercises and yoga posture being challenging, themselves, the REAL challenge was creating the TIME in our busy schedules to video/photo ourselves and remember to post! Huge shout out to Joel Leos and Jesse Zastrow for sticking to it! You guys rock!

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Update #2- For those of you that already follow me on Instagram (@mbrooksfit), you probably know about my annoying, little injury: my “broken” second toe on my right foot. Kids, do not wear too small snowboarding boots for 3 days straight. Just don’t do it. Since this silly mistake, resulting in a swollen and unhappy toe… I have had to cut down on the cardio (jumping, plyometrics, etc) to protect my sad toe, and I have focused more on lifting and proper form. I pick up heavy objects, and I put them back down {safely]. This change-up in my workout routine has really gotten me PUMPED (literally!) about full-body strength-training. I hear it is ideal for women to build muscle mass and bone density in their late-twenties to early-thirties… I read that somewhere, a few times. I found an interesting article about women and bone density, enjoy!  http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/bone_mass.asp

Update #3- my ever-changing “diet”: the hubby and I have been on a VEGAN, no processed carbohydrate, no added sugar “diet” for the past 25 days! It is a 28-day plan, and I am super proud of us! Ben (hubby) has lost 12 lbs! Though, this is not the diet we plan on maintaining after the 28 days, it has taught us valuable lessons about healthy habits, reading labels and menus a little closer, and opened our eyes about the amount HIDDEN sugar we consume every day! It is in EVERYTHING, it seems. After these 28 days are over (Friday), I have a plan to continue avoiding processed carbohydrates, avoiding foods with added sugars, avoiding all dairy products, and then adding-in organic eggs and wild-caught salmon. I’ve been dying for those two things! My goal is to de-bloat, feed my body what feels good, and to keep up the healthy habits I have been developing over the past 25 days (more like 10 years!). Anyone and everyone is welcome to join me on this healthful journey to discovering the magical foods that empower YOUR body! If you want to share your goals with me, feel free to email me at mbrooksfit@gmail.com

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Well that is all for now! Stay tuned for another exciting post!

We made it!

Day 3 of the Reception Cleanse completed and we (the hubby and I) feel like champs! The last day was somehow a million times easier than the second day, maybe because the end was near, so we powered through our 4 drinks and around 6:30 PM we celebrated with some delicious Chipotle (vegetarian for me of course!).

So what did I learn from this experience? Good question!

I learned that definitely need to be better hydrated, I felt so clean (for lack of a better word) and full of energy on this 3-day cleanse since I was drinking 64 ounces each day before eating anything. Well at least on days 1 & 3 I felt energetic.

I learned that I let food control my emotions, HANGRY anyone? On day 2 my hunger definitely got the best of me and vegan drama queen broke loose!

I learned that the detoxes/cleanses are WAY more tolerable if you do them with a friend because when you complain, there’s someone who understands, and who just doesn’t think you’re crazy for not quitting and tells you to “just eat a burger.” So partner up!

I learned to really appreciate food, and chewing. As my co-cleanser said, “I would’ve killed for a cucumber.”

Lastly, after an inspiring phone call with another health coach and wellness professional, I learned that you CAN consume other things while doing a juice cleanse, for example: non-caffeinated herbal teas. That would’ve been a game-changer since I constantly felt cold from drinking raw juices.

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In conclusion: I recommend trying a juice cleanse. Do it in a way that works for YOU! Whether thats starting each day with 1 raw juice or “lemon-aid” or going full-fledged juice detox for a couple days, do what your body wants! Good luck!

Happy 2015!! #rad2014

**BIG SHOUT OUT to my buddy Dan “Gumbi” Cumberland for completing the cleanse with us! YOU ROCK!

‘Tis the Season to Cleanse

Day 2 of the Reception Cleanse completed!

Today was 300% more challenging than yesterday. I guess i was all excited about getting cleansed from inside out that I didn’t think about being hungry yesterday. Today, not so much. I had my Pomegranate Lemon-Aid around 10:00 AM, half of a raw-vegan egg nog around 11:00 AM (bonus drink!), and my Green Goddess around 1:00 PM. Then I became so hungry I thought I was going to do something terrible… like, eat bacon-wrapped liver or something. I survived the next couple hours by downing the Cashew Mylk, which was way less milkshake-tasting than yesterday. I suppose I had an aggressive case of HANGRINESS, you can ask my hubby (but he was also struggling). Somehow I made it to 5:00 PM when I drank my last juice of the day, Daily Green, which got me through hot yoga at Corepower. And SOMEHOW I was still thirsty after consuming only beverages all day. Weird.

Dinner was glorious tonight: Jasmine rice, roasted veggies (butternut squash, broccoli, and portabella), and an Asian vermicelli-cabbage stir-fry. All topped with Sriracha! Food! Chewing! Saltiness!

Only one more day to go! We will survive!

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Some of the Reception Cleanse carnage.

P.S. The [seasonal] Raw Vegan Egg Nog from Puree Juice Bar in Bethesda, MD, is CRAZY DELICIOUS! Get it while they’re still making it! It will change your life!

Detox Just to Retox

Screw that “I’m going to wait until after the New Year to get healthy” mentality! Start NOW!

The hubby and I decided to start out health goals early with a beginner juice cleanse; preparing for the New Year’s Eve celebration and balancing the Christmas cookie overhaul.

We chose to try the Puree Juice Bar Reception Cleanse: 4 raw vegan juices during the day, then vegetarian/vegan dinner of your choice in the evening. It also allows the occasional adult beverage =)

Here is the flyer:

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Just finished Day 1, and it wasn’t too bad! Woke up SUPER hungry because we went out salsa dancing last night and had a few adult drinks, so the Pomegranate Lemon-Aid was not the most satisfying. Fortunately my body adapts well to these cleanses so I wasn’t starving when I drank the Daily Green after a quick yoga practice teaching session at the gym. Around 2:00 PM, my tummy started rumbling so I mixed up the cleanse order and had the Cashew Mylk, next, to get some protein and fat into my digestive system. I felt so much better after that! AND it tastes like a melted vanilla milkshake! Of course Ben and I saved the “best” drink for last: Green Goddess, which is like a juiced salad. Tastes like liquid celery, very “clean.” I definitely missed the sweetness that pineapple and apple gave to the Daily Green, but got through it so I could enjoy our delicious vegan dinner. We celebrated day 1 with homemade vegan summer rolls with a soy-honey-peanut sauce. DELICIOUS! CRUNCHY! I definitely appreciated being able to chew my food!

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Two more days to go! Cheers to health!

Get Swole or Go Crazy

I am almost 2 full months into working-out at Foundry Fitness and 2 full months free of running every day in 2014 #rad2014. My plantar fasciitis is manageable, my muscles are getting stronger and leaner, and I feel good.

Not only good… but sane?

Having my butt kicked for an hour, 4-5 times per week, has helped not only my physical strength, but also my mental and emotional well-being. Have you ever done rope slams or kettle bell snatches after a long day at work? It is like hitting restart, forgetting the day’s obstacles, feeling ready to take on whatever the next day has in-store.

Hmmmm… I wonder how this works? Just kidding, I know!

1. Endorphins: exercise increases the production of these feel-good neurotransmitters. These “free feel-good drugs” are also responsible for the “runner’s high” or any sense of happiness after an intense workout, and are still legal in all 50 states =)

2. Meditation in motion: while you workout you are focused on a single task, not the day’s irritations. Thinking about breathing, form, and body movement helps to remove daily tensions, leaving you calm, clear and optimistic. Who said mediation was only for yogis?

3. Ego-boosting: exercise can increase self-confidence. Because exercise is a major contributor for weight loss and building strength, you might find yourself walking taller after a good sweat session. Exercise also gives you a sense of control over your body by improving sleep and creating the desire for a healthier diet and lifestyle. Most people do not want to eat a dozen donuts after a 90-minute Pilates class, right? Duh.

(Information adapted from http://www.mayoclinic.org)

Alright guys, now it’s time to get happy and kick some glutes! I know it’s Friday, but I challenge you to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in before Happy Hour… who’s with me?!?!

 

Remember, you can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr: @mbrooksfit

Day 2 of NEW #RAD2014

112/365 Second day without a 2+ mile run, and it feels weird. Actually it feels like my IT bands are 2 inches too short, and that can be blamed on the Foundry Fitness class I took last night. Kicked. My. Butt.

Today I was so sore I couldn’t fathom another strength-training workout or run, so I packed my 1-year-old niece (Marcy) into her stroller and went for a 5-mile walk, attempting to work-out the soreness in my legs. No success.

Even though I was on my feet, walking, for over an hour today… my plantar fasciitis has seemed to subside. Lower-impact activity is helping me to recover. Go figure.

Tomorrow Ben and I sign up for Foundry Fitness and begin our goal of attending a class at least 3x per week. I will be filling in the other 4 days with running and yoga, while he will be continuing his 4x per week rec-soccer schedule. We are determined to look and feel RAD!

Who’s going to join us? I challenge you to commit to working out at least 4x a week through May! I’m here for you!

Follow me on INSTAGRAM @mbrooksfit to see my daily #rad2014 photos. Tag your friends in the comments section to get them motivated to move!

#rad2014

listen to body quote

 

Day 110. Haven’t gone out for my run yet. Not feeling very motivated.

I have mild-to-moderate plantar fasciitis in both feet, and I think a heel spur in my right. At this point, orthotics and calf massage can’t even alleviate my pain. Hmmm… overuse injuries? I have 1 week until my next race: Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC, as a race pacer (9:30-9:59 corral). I’ve kept up with my 2-mile minimum for the last 109 days, but a few days ago started adding walk intervals into my workout, due to pain and lack of inspiration.

LACK OF INSPIRATION? I love running! Why wouldn’t I want to go running?

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What does one do when they are riddled with injuries and unmotivated? CHANGE THINGS UP! I am NOT quitting #rad2014, I’m transforming it into something greater! It is time to reassess my 2014 goals! Yay! I love goal-setting!

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So what do I really want out of 2014? I want to EAT CLEAN. I want to be STRONG. I want to be CONFIDENT.  I want to be the BEST VERSION OF MYSELF! And I want to INSPIRE OTHERS to do the same! So how do I do this?

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Running is my comfort zone. I need to challenge my body. I need to confuse my muscles, build strength, increase my flexibility… I need to switch on BEAST MODE!

So what will happen to my Run-A-Day Challenge (#rad2014)? It’s not going ANYWHERE! Instead of “rad” meaning Run-a-Day… it is just going to mean “Rad”! I want to look RAD, feel RAD, be RAD, and inspire others to live RAD too! Here we go with #rad2014 Part II!

NEW 2014 GOALS:

-Sweat. Every. Damn. Day. #rad2014 –> I am going to run, lift, yoga, stretch… and push myself every day to be freakin’ awesome.

-Eat Clean. #rawfoods #vegan #smoothies #green #juicing #realfoods

-Stay Sane. #spiritual –> Meditate. Be inspired by other. Read. Be grateful. Enjoy life.

-Inspire Others. #beRad –> YouTube Channel. Blog. Social media. Accountability.

the best quote

New Shoe Sunday… on Monday!

I wanted to get a second run in with this week’s shoe before my review, hence why New Shoe Sunday is yet again featured on Monday =) That my story, and I’m sticking to it!

This week’s new shoe:

Hoka One One Conquest $170

Featured in Competitor Magazine

Spring 2014 Fit, Feel, Ride Awards: Best Innovation

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1) Let’s Be Objective: (adapted from HokaOneOne.com)

MIDSOLE-

  • Full-length Rmat (R) midsole for maximal cushioning and suspension
  • Lightweight Hoka Cmeva Top midsole
  • Water Drainage System (WDS)
  • Early-stage Meta-Rocker
  • Lightweight External Heel Counter
  • 4mm Heel-to-Toe Offset (Heel 29mm : Forefoot 25mm)
  • Fluid Ground Contact Design

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UPPER-

  • Super Thin No-Sew Construction (reduce hotspots!)
  • Hoka Race-Lace System (RLS)
  • Gusseted Tongue and Comfort Collar
  • Weight 9.6 oz (women’s)
  • Comes with standard laces too!

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My Review:

FIT-

  • True-to-size. It will feel a little big at first, but when you hit the road with them you’ll appreciate the space. I like the fit best with a cushy sock, i.e. Balega’s Hidden Comfort Running Socks or Nike’s Elite Cushioned Running Socks.
  • A little more snug through the toe box than other Hoka One One models, but still have enough room to wiggle my toes and accommodate an orthotic.
  • Race Laces tighten easily and stay tight. If you have problems with heel slippage… you’ll have to cut them out and use standard laces.

FEEL-

  • Super lightweight! (despite the chunky look)
  • Extra ground contact and Meta-Rocker really helped me to attack hills.
  • Maximal cushioning under the forefoot and heel. Not squishy like the Bondi B, but responsive with an effective suspension system. My knees were happy, especially on the downhills.
  • Bucket seat feel around the heel gives lateral stability, so all you Brooks Adrenaline and New Balance 860 wearers: this one is for you too!

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Conclusion: I like them! The cushioning will be great for my future long runs, and the tread is deep enough to take them on the trails. With the 4 mm offset, these shoes are fast and functional for training runs and racing. Great all-around shoe! If you’re interested in trying them out, call your local Fleet Feet Sports to see if they’re in-stock. 

Local? Fleet Feet Sports Gaithersburg is hosting a Hoka One One Fun Run this Thursday, April 17th at 6:30 PM. Come by to try out the Conquest or other Hoka One One models! Love them? They will be 10% off that day only!

Thanks Hoka One One!

Fresh Frickin’ Foam

Finally…

New Shoe Sunday… On SUNDAY!

Today’s Shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam 980

What makes this shoe super cool?

– 4mm drop… hello natural running feel!

– a midsole made of a single piece of foam for MAX cushioning, MAX ground contact & MAX smoothness.

– breathable air mesh upper with no-sew lasts for a custom fit and to minimize rubbing.

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My take:

– I test-ran these for a quick 5k with the pup, and I loved the plush cushioning under my feet.

– No rubbing, no pressure points, no problems!

– Spacious toe box to accommodate most runners, even those in-between widths. (P.S. these shoes come in WIDE)

– I would love a pair of these babies. Perfect for my longer runs when I need extra cushioning, or for days I feel tired but still want to be fast. My feet felt so happy, and so did my legs… and I even ran in these after a 4.5-mile “warm-up.”

– Side-note: They are great for the gym too (neutral & light-weight)!

 

#rad2014 Challenge UPDATE:

Month-to-Date Mileage = 96.32 miles (biggest month yet, and still 1 day to go!)

Year-to-Date Mileage = 274.72 miles (Woo!)

Only ALMOST missed a day ONCE… and it was Friday. I was sitting in Buffalo Wild Wings (a weird place for a vegan), watching college basketball, and I realized I had forgotten to run! I didn’t get home until nearly 1 AM, but my amazing husband, Ben, made sure I didn’t give up on my goal; together we ran 2.21 miles at 1 AM… after an excess of fried foods and beer. Ouch! It was so uncomfortable that it was almost fun… or at least, funny.

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