Why should you start your day drinking warm lemon water?

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I wake every  morning and stretch out of bed looking forward to the possibilities of a fresh new day. Mornings are really amazing because at the start of every day the slate is clean, a fresh start full of possibility is only waiting for you to join.

Just about every day of my life I saunter to the kitchen and whip up a delicious morning cocktail made from the juice of one organic lemon and warm water. I look forward to this morning ritual of mine. I encourage everyone to include warm lemon water into the start of their daily routines. Heck, I encourage everyone to make this the very first thing you ingest each day and notice how amazing you begin to feel…almost instantly.

To prepare:

Squeeze juice of 1/2-1 whole organic lemon into an 9-10oz cup

Splash with cool water (just a splash…)

Fill with nearly boiling water

Drink it all.

Repeat tomorrow.
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Benefits of drinking warm lemon water first thing every morning.

Regular Bowel Movements

Balances pH:

Lemon water acts as a buffer to maintain levels of pH that typically run unhealthily acidic in our bodies. Cancer thrives in acidic environments. Too much acid is BAD.

Note: While lemon juice is, in fact, highly acidic, lemon juice will assist in improving digestion and pH levels because of the interactions with different digestive enzymes. Lemon juice acts as a buffer.

Flushes out toxins:

By drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning the benefits are paramount. Adding organic lemon juice to your warm water will aid in proper liver function. This will protect your blood from being invaded by unwanted toxins. On an empty stomach the warm water acts to break down any left over debris hanging around the stomach or intestines your digestive system may have been unable to remove as it worked through the night. Lemon juice works with warm water to support the hydrochloric acids found in the stomach to further assist the digestive process.

Boosts Immune System

Warm lemon water provides a plentiful source of minerals and vitamins. The amount of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) provided by drinking warm lemon water is known to reduce inflammation. Ascorbic Acid is also said to increase iron absorption in the body. Iron is an integral component to a healthy working immune system. In addition, Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus and Potassium are also ingested when drinking warm lemon water every day.

Increased Energy Levels

A healthy immune system is the first step to healthy energy levels! Drinking warm lemon water every morning will help your body function properly on multiple levels. In addition to reaping the benefits of a balanced pH, healthy digestive tract and stronger immune system, your lymph system will thrive from adding warm lemon water to your diet each morning. Because you are now more hydrated, flushing even more toxins through your lymphatic system will be easier and require less energy. Without all of these toxins bogging you down you are free to fly through your day with endless energy.

Healthy, Glowing Skin

A result of all of the above. A healthy body shines from the inside out. When you treat your body with mindful love and care you will reap all of the wonderful benefits. Your body will reward you.

Live aLIVE

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So many choices…Which gym is right for me?

I live in Portland, Oregon where living a fit & active lifestyle is not uncommon. In fact, Forbes ranked Portland #4 out of the top 20 healthiest cities in America in this 2013 poll. In the last year alone three different smaller gym franchises opened in the small neighborhood I work. I got to thinking about these smaller gym franchises and how they expected to succeed when there is a fairly new, massive 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport just up the road. These smaller gyms must have something unique to offer and I wanted to know.

I’ve been a member of 24 Hour Fitness since 2001 and while I have taken a couple short breaks over those years I always have gone back to 24 Hour Fitness for a couple reasons: it is familiar, comfortable, convenient and they are everywhere. I love my gym and the comfort of familiarity and routine but I am going to take some time to explore these different gyms and get outside of my bubble for a bit.

Over the next month or so I am going to research a variety of different gyms around Portland and make use of their trial membership to explore what it is that makes each of them unique. What are the pros? …and cons? Maybe there is a gym out there that might not be an obvious choice, but could potentially offer more of what you are looking for personally. I’m excited to branch out and meet some new people but most importantly I’m looking forward to pushing myself beyond my comfort zone as I step into a new gym each week.

Here is a list of gyms I have to explore:

Lloyd Athletic Club – 815 NE Halsey St  Portland, OR 97232
(503) 287-4594

LA Fitness – 1270 NE Weidler St  Portland, OR 97232
(503) 734-2950

Snap Fitness – 7110 SE Milwaukie Ave  Portland, OR 97202
(503) 334-1887

The Green Microgym – 1237 NE Alberta St Portland, OR 97211
(503) 933-2230

Anytime Fitness – 1538-1540 Columbia Blvd St. Helens, OR 97051
(503) 397-0027

Crunch – 12112 SE Division St Portland, OR 97236
(503) 894-9790

There are a ton of other gyms in this town but for now I’ve narrowed it down – adding others is always an option though. I look forward to keeping you updated on my findings and fun with fitness!

What do you look for when choosing a gym? 

What are some of your biggest pet peeves in the gym?

What are some of your favorite things your gym offers?

Any PORTLANDERS here?????? 

regret-that-workout

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The “not-so-expert” learns a bit about Growth Hormone – When to NOT eat sugar

If you all didn’t know I am living the dream of my twenties in my thirties. I by no means consider my twenties a waste of time – but I do consider them an extended journey that only one with a young soul like myself need to venture to deem worthwhile. Seriously – If I could even begin to describe to you the experiences had in my second decade we might need to create a blog all on it’s own to even begin to dive into the random shenanigans that those exciting years were lucky enough to experience. Ha. Ha.  Not to say I’m proud of the various roads that I traveled, but I am certainly not “un-proud” of them because dammit, they were not easy and if it were not for experiencing all of those good and bad times I would not be where I am today. I would never in a million years wish to live another life than the one that I live right now. My journey led me to here and right here is just where I need to be.

On that note…..let’s talk about what I learned in school today. As a 31 year old in here 3rd year of community college I learn random things every day. This week’s random light bulb moment is brought to you by the amazing bodies ability to metabolize and grow according to balances in the endocrine system.

I hear that Growth Hormone is stimulated in 1 of 4 ways:

1.) when you are a very young soldier growing at an incredibly fast rate

2.) when you have just completed strenuous exercise

3.) when your blood sugar is low

4.) within the first 2 hours of sleep – during stage 4 when your body is in “repair-mode”

I also have heard that one of the major Inhibiting  factors for Growth Hormone is – HAVING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR TOO HIGH!!

Why is GH inhibited when blood sugar is high? For the plain and simple reason that the reason for Growth Hormone to not be activated in instances where it should be is because your blood sugar tells it that it doesn’t need to be!!!

Why is this important?

Well, think of the reasons for Growth Hormone being activated in the first place. Hmmm….Growth Hormone repairs tissue when broken down or needs to be rebuilt. Growth Hormone burns fat. Growth Hormone uses amino acids to build precious muscle in cases when it needs repairing. Growth hormone is the reason all of those bodily functions that result in weight loss, stronger body composition and reproduction of young, healthy cells that we desire most as we age are able to occur.

Again, why is it important to be aware of the nutrients we put into our bodies at certain times? Well, Growth Hormone is inhibited by elevated glucose levels in the blood. That means if your blood sugar is too high, Growth Hormone will not be around to do it’s job.

Eating sugars before bed? Forget Growth Hormone showing up to repair those damaged/old/dead/broken down from exercise and/or growing tissues during your sleep. Growth Hormone will not be released to do its job if your blood sugar is high before bed. Remember – it is only in the first couple hours of sleep when this important repair job is scheduled for it’s daily tune-up…

While it might seem like a good idea to get that sugar fix in after a strenuous workout because glycogen stores have been depleted, think again – that could possibly be the only time Growth Hormone is available to repair those precious muscle fibers to grow faster and become stronger…

While I have not thoroughly researched every facet of this lecture to the point of bare bones I do not take it lightly. We work hard for our muscle – ladies especially. I felt absolutely compelled to share this information learned in class, taught by someone much more knowledgeable than my self with all of you because it is important to be mindful of what we put in our bodies and when. If turning 30 taught me nothing besides responsibility – it has opened my eyes to the fact that maintaining good health is not something that comes easy. A healthy mind and body has got to be earned and without knowledge of how our system works, achieving ultimate health will not come easily.

Ask questions. Research. Practice methods that you feel might work for YOU. Persevere. Never give up. Eat mindfully. Sweat nearly every day. Take responsibility for your life and your health. And finally, share what you learn with others. Living a fit and healthy lifestyle is not easy – sharing what you learn with those around you not only encourages others to be their best selves but it encourages you to reach beyond your capacity to respect yourself in the best way you can. Love your life. Be patient. Be persistent. Never give up!

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Get your focus on!

Hey ya’all!!! I have been seriously slacking on the blog effort over the last month. Totally lame. I already know…

However…the goal in life is to do your best with what you can, right? Well that is how my efforts are directed each day anyway. I can list a ton of excuses reasons for why I have been able to justify my slacker style but those are likely of no concern to you so I will move on to more important nonsense reasons for the sudden burst of motivation.

It is only May and here in the beautiful Northwest, more specifically Portland, Oregon, we have had about TEN consecutive days of beautiful, warm, absolutely mesmerizing sunshine. A-freaking-mazing for us soggy folk living up here in the rainforest of the northwest. I literally thank the beautiful weather Goddesses each morning I wake up to a bright ray of sunshine piercing my eyelid telling me to get up and enjoy this beautiful life! I’ve got to say one thing that is amazing about living in an area where rain and clouds are the norm and that is…people in these parts really, truly, genuinely know how to appreciate the sunshine! I mean really, all it takes is a few rays to get the whole town outside going about their business with beautiful smiles and warm hello’s. For real. I know I am not the only one who notices this and it is freakin awesome to be a part of.

As far as the fit life goes I have been doing pretty well since the last time I posted on my blog. That includes the last month or so minus the last week. Reason for that is my other half made his way home from his new life in La Paz, Mexico for a week of indulgent loveliness. I couldn’t waste a moment in the gym. School and work already took enough time away from enjoying family, friends and his company. We had a great time and it was all well worth it!

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Now it is back to the grind. And I don’t mean that lightly. BACK.TO.THE.GRIND. I’m not sure I’ve ever looked forward to a serious crunch time more than I ever have this one. I feel like my life is in complete disarray right now – with the man living in Mexico, school kicking my bootie, summer right around the corner and about a million changes coming my way. I need some control over my life. Like ASAP. Which is why I have decided that for the next six weeks I will do my best to committing to living one of those “Type A” people lifestyles. I’ve got a plan.

Are you one of those “type A” people?? 

I know that I am not. While I try to be…usually I end up being my own worst enemy. It is so hard for me to go against my will, so to speak. Any suggestions would be appreciated. 😉

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I am going back to Week 7 in the James Wilson Body Built Program starting tomorrow. You can find info on this seriously amazing program here:  https://www.facebook.com/JamesWilsonFaithFamFit/info  I’m almost to Week 10 so this might feel redundant, but it is what I want to do so….gonna take it back a couple weeks and stick to it! I’ve also made up a generic meal plan for myself and aside from a glass (or two) of wine here and there I will be mindful to stick to my plan. Here me now when I say – I am not one to plan out my meals and only stick to those because eating anything not on the plan might ruin everything. That is just not me. I’m a normal girl, living a normal life which just happens to be very busy and full of more than just gym and the kitchen. I enjoy my family, their cooking, my friends and the excursions we might end up on. However I do promise to be mindful of my choices and not just indulge in random extras, more than normal.  {I am known to indulge in many random extras……like those random extras that I ever want, well I have – usually}

This is not about a 4-6-8 week no cheat plan. My plan is to remain focused and consistent over the rest of the school term – until the middle of June. I’ve got no partner to distract myself with, school is extremely busy, I’ve just taken on a second job and the ultimate goal is to focus on doing what I have to do to get myself where I need to be come the end of June. In addition to the ever so perfect timing of being able to rock that hot bikini bod upon completion of sticking to these goals, I know I will feel confident and strong throughout my efforts because doing all these things will be what I know is best for my health, mentality, success and overall well being. Sounds like a win-win situation and I am truly excited to give the next 6-8 weeks 110%.

How do you all stay motivated when you have to be focused and dedicated for any given amount of time?

What are some of your goals over the next couple months?

Do you have any specific goals or plans laid out to prepare for the summer?

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Foam Rolling –

Everyone has heard how important it is to stretch those muscles, right? Maintaining flexibility is equally important as maintaining muscle and cardiovascular endurance. I am ashamed to admit that more often than I should I’ll finish a workout without giving my muscles, tendons & ligaments the proper stretch session they deserve. This was all before I met Mr. Foam Roller, of course.

What is a foam roller?

    • A foam roller is generally a piece of foam in the shape of a tube about 12-36 inches with about 6-inch diameter. Most gyms have the 36 in size but there is variety available.
    • Foam rollers are often made out of different densities of foam material depending on the amount of force meant to be applied to the muscle.
    • Some rollers are not made of only foam but plastic or another hard material. The firmer the roller the more pressure that will be applied to the area.
    • Virtually any object can be used in lieu of a foam roller so long as the surface is smooth, round & can provide your preferred pressure to affected muscle. For example, a tennis ball or softball would suffice if all you are looking to do is spot treat a particular sore tendon or muscle in a particular area. However, a foam roller is still the best option to get the full benefits.


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Tips & Techniques:

  • Line roller perpendicular to spine and slowly roll up and down spinal column applying pressure using body weight. As you feel a tender area slow down and gradually apply more pressure to affected area and hold for as long as you wish. 
  • The more pressure and the longer pressure is applied the more benefit
  • Lying face down use foam roller to roll out sore muscles in your anterior legs (hip flexors, tensor fasciae latae, quad muscles, sartorius, and muscles making up the shins). Place foam roller perpendicular to body and slow at the spots that feel sore. Apply pressure, hold and use the foam roller to dig deep into those knots.
  • By lying on either side use the foam roller to reach those hard to reach muscles such as the piriformis and psoas by applying pressure to each buttock until those hard to reach sore spots are able to feel the pressure from the foam roller.

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Benefits of using a foam roller:

  • Pressure applied to sore muscles using a foam roller encourages the release of built up toxins in the muscle. 
  • Breaking down sore muscle tissue by applying pressure with a foam roller is often referred to as an equivalent to expensive trigger-point therapy used by many physical therapists.
  • Foam rolling can be done at the gym, home, outside or even on short breaks at work to get the blood flowing.
  • While caring for muscles through proper massage therapy is still encouraged, reap the benefits of those treatments by using a foam roller in between sessions to show those well deserved muscles love every day.
  • Foam rolling can be used on virtually any muscle in the body which is just not something traditional methods of stretching are able to accomplish.
  • Studies have been popping up to encourage athletes to stray away from the more conventional methods of static stretching. Those “old school” static stretches that we are all so used to can actually do damage to our muscles. Often times the muscles are not properly warmed up and/or the tendons & ligaments are notcausing tears from overstretching when they are not
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A little late is better than never…

Happy Monday (or almost Tuesday) virtual friends! 🙂 

I’ve been pretty busy trying to adjust to a new term with classes that are pretty heavy on the time consuming part of life. I always get a bit off track at the start of every new term of school mainly because I get really used to a routine and starting a new one basically terrifies me. I always feel like at any moment I might lose control and forget something, miss something important or just plain not invest the time needed to succeed from the get go. This term is no different from the rest, except it’s even busier and more time consuming than I’m used to. <sigh> 

Anyway…..I’m feeling good! I hope you all are having a day full of good feelings as well. 

I ran across this photo while perusing the internet over the weekend

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…and it really got me thinking….

I almost had this *aha* moment of clarity where I honestly asked myself if I would allow for myself to be my friend in real life. Would I? Would you? 

About a bajillion scenes popped into my head where I sometimes thought highly of myself and then others where I criticized myself. When I discouraged myself from following through in various situations simply because of negative self talk. Times where I felt strong and pushed through those negative thoughts and others where I simply did not have the courage to beat down the demons which allowed me to think so negatively about myself. 

Now, I am not saying that I don’t provide any positive self-talk throughout the day. But I am acknowledging that the amount of negativity I allow myself to feel and think is much more than I would tolerate from a friend or acquaintance in my life. 

On that note I’d like to encourage all of you to join me as I make a conscious effort to be my own best friend. No more of that self-indulging negativity. Onward to holding my thoughts accountable and if they are not encouraging some sort of positive vibration within my soul I will kick that negativity to the curb! 

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Are you feeling that Monday Motivation?

Yes, I know…it’s suppose to be about the Monday Blues and there is nothing motivating about that pile of responsibility waiting for you to take on after a weekend of fun and relaxation. zZZZzzZZ

This Monday is the first in a brand new month and the start of a new term at my college and we are in the first weeks of Spring. I say we just forget the Monday Blues (boring) and let’s get motivated!

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What do you do when you are looking to feel motivated? 

  • Exercise is probably my #1 way to get out of a funk. Once I’m finished with that workout I forget that I had to practically drag myself to the gym in the first place.
  • Thinking about my goals is also quite motivating. I’ll jot down a long term goal then a few of the short term goals that need to be completed first. Next I start to plan out what I need to be doing to accomplish those goals. Usually it is right about here that I start feeling excited ready to make things happen.
  • Other times I’ll just read some of my favorite blogs and seek out motivation through those that inspire me to be the best me.

Now that I am starting to write in my very own blog I think I will post each Monday some of the things that were motivating to me throughout the week. Maybe it will help someone have a better day. Who knows?

For my very first Motivational Monday I’d like to remind everyone how important it is to not give up, to keep persisting even when it might feel like your feet are stuck to the ground. I promise that when they start moving again it is likely that they will be stronger and faster than they were before that bit of struggle.

I went snowboarding again last week. If you haven’t read my previous blog about the last time I went snowboarding let me just tell you that I was pretty sore for a while. It was fun and I loved it but I just fell. a lot. hard. sometimes face first. If you can imagine I was a bit apprehensive about whether or not I wanted to risk going through that again so soon and I was not even sure about going up the mountain at first. But I did and despite feeling less than confident I gave myself a little pep talk and remembered to focus on not falling this time. Well, I did fall twice that first run down the mountain but they were not painful falls – I was in control this time. That first run was so much fun and I could not get enough – I think I went down about nine times throughout the day which was more than twice the number of runs I made the last time. It was so much fun and I cannot wait to get out there more next season! I could have stayed off my board for the day and probably still had a nice time but that would have been nowhere near as memorable as the day I had because I didn’t give up. I faced up to the fear, owned my nerves and put myself in control. As a result, the feeling of accomplishment that came with persisting through the apprehension was more than worth it.

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