I’ve Barely Worked Out in 2 Weeks- and I’ve Never Been Happier.

When I first started getting seriously into the fitness scene, I was totally immersed in it. I would say it was a defining factor of who I was. I would NEVER skip a workout. I followed every fitness guru I could find on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook. I was part of the “fitfam.” (The casual term for the fitness community on social media.)

I posted progress photos, drank protein shakes like it was my religion, and looked forward to beating my PR every time I got in the gym.

Over time I settled into a more relaxed outlook on fitness, which led me to my angle which now is more involved with doing what is best for ME and not what I SHOULD be doing necessarily, and working out for more than just aesthetic reasons.

And you know, at this point in my life, I obviously consider fitness and working out to be an essential part of life. But- I don’t think being a “fit person” is a defining factor of who I “am” if that makes sense. Maybe it was at one point.

You see- over the past few years I’ve made some huge transitions in life and had some moments where I was unsure of who I was and what I wanted to be or do in life. I took on some side careers, got really invested in weightlifting- and thought at one point I wanted to compete in some way in the fitness realm, even. I think I was honestly really uncertain about my career path and gravitated towards that as it was something I could control and that I was excelling in, you know?

But for those of you that know me solely through my fitness lens may be surprised to know that I’ve actually been an actress for most of my whole life. Since I was 7 years old I’ve absolutely loved singing and acting- and my degree is actually in Theatre Performance! But let me tell you- the life of a professional actor is NOT an easy one. It goes without saying that rejection is rampant, insecurity seethes below the surface and it isn’t hard to have these thoughts, like- “What the heck am I even doing?!”

I’m grateful to have had some wonderful opportunities in my career so far- such as apprenticing at a Shakespeare playhouse and doing some educational children’s theatre, touring elementary schools with a show that, ironically, talks about eating healthy!

But even amid that, it was so easy to get lost in the shuffle. To take each rejection as an indication that “I just am not good enough.” I got a little jaded. I put acting in the back of my head. I threw myself into my new jobs I had- web design, helping with healthy lifestyle coaching with my husband, becoming a thermography technician, etc.

But you know what- in the back of my head- I missed singing. I missed musicals. So. Much. But for whatever reason- it just wasn’t in the cards for me. And I was ok with it for a bit. But it wouldn’t quit gnawing at me in the back of my head.

So I continued to audition for musicals. And- would continue to get rejected. (I honestly blame it on my less-than-ideal auditioning skills. I’m definitely a “blossom in tech week” type of actor, haha.) But working with a dear friend of mine who is also an amazing voice teacher this time really paid off- and I finally got cast in my first musical in YEARS- The Addam’s Family Musical! And not only that, but I’m one of the leads, Wednesday. An extremely vocally challenging role for me (Hello, belting high Es!) which definitely put the pressure on- but has been a huge blessing for me because throughout the process, I realized something. That this is what I’ve been missing. This is it, man.

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A shot from our music director’s point of view during dress rehearsal!

It’s been an amazing feeling. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this show right now because it’s just more than playing a part- it really opened my eyes back up to what my true passions are and where I belong.

We may look miserable, but we're really a happy family- promise!

We may look miserable, but we’re really a happy family- promise!

Today is our last performance of our Opening Weekend (We run until mid August! Ticket info here if you’re interested) and I was just thinking to myself, man- I’ve worked out like one time in the past 2 weeks. But I don’t even care. Honestly, the last 2 weeks have also been pretty tiring with our tech week and my body is taking a toll so I’ve had to listen to it.

But I was also realizing- that excited feeling I get before I get to go to rehearsal, or perform- I don’t get that before going to do my workouts.

10924183_10207399749017656_4390556956234798734_oThe adrenaline of nailing your song and having the audience literally whoop and holler afterwards- to me that FEELS BETTER than most anything in the world! Because you know that all of the hard work you’ve done, all the people involved to make that one moment come alive from the page to the stage- to make the audience just enjoy that moment- nobody is on their phones, people are living in the moment WITH YOU right there- it’s just powerful. Truly powerful. And it’s something I’m so grateful to be able to experience.

Also- making friendships, connecting with others over this crazy theatre world and feeling like you can be yourself on all accounts- there’s just nothing like it.

So I haven’t worked out in over 2 weeks. But I’m ok with that.

I’m excited to see where life takes me in the future, and how this blog evolves over time. I am so grateful, also, to all of you that find encouragement through this blog and I hope you will continue to do so even though it may not be 100% fitness oriented at times. 🙂

I want everyone to realize that your passions are REAL. And it’s ok if you find new ones, and it’s ok if you come back to old ones over time. Never put yourself in a box, and ever ignore the things that call to you under the surface. It’s really important. And of course- never let your quest for having “the perfect body” overrule your life. It’s not worth it.

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Why I Want to Start Doing Make-up Tutorials.

I’m all for anything that makes you feel confident and empowered.

And as empowered and confident that squatting and deadlifting makes me feel- a good lipstick can do just the same for me.

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Purple lips are my favorite!

For me, make-up isn’t necessarily just about “covering up” imperfections. While I’m perfectly fine walking around without it (and often do!) it’s the aspect of using creativity to create a painting ON MY FACE that is just so neat to me. And while some may say makeup is superficial, or “tricking” people- I think that’s a shallow viewpoint. If it makes you happy in any way, if it brightens your day or makes you feel a few degrees more inspired and confident, then WHO CARES. I don’t do make-up to impress anyone, I do it because it makes me feel like “me” in a way.

It’s also a form of self-care. There’s something about putting on a full face of make-up that is extremely relaxing, therapeutic, and somewhat meditative. It is anxiety reducing, even. I’m sure not everyone feels this way- for many, doing it is a chore. And there are times that it can be, but most of the time it’s a welcome one. One that I’d a zillion times rather be doing than any other I can think of, haha!

I also love that I can “break the rules” with make-up. Similar to how being a woman- you’re not “supposed” to lift heavy, right? Well- you’re also not “supposed” to wear blue lipstick. There is also a movement of “Men don’t like heavy make-up! Men want you to be natural! Make-up is gross blablabla”

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Well- I love wearing this specific dark indigo lipstick (OCC Liptar in Technopagan!) and you know what? There are people that probably would think “That looks weird” or something. But I don’t care because it makes me feel like a BOSS. I know I’m breaking the rules in a weird way and I love that. And I’m grateful that my husband understands and encourages me to express myself in that way, too 🙂

I actually almost pursued a career in make-up artistry but just didn’t have the time to devote to it. That being said, I actually do make-up for clients from time to time. It’s pretty encouraging to see others just light up and feel more confident and beautiful afterwards!

While I don’t necessarily have the time to pursue that more at this time, I realized that I do have time to do tutorials myself. Now that I have a new Macbook- I’ve been playing with iMovie and am so amazed at how easy and fun it is to edit videos.

So- here’s my first tutorial! It’s a fresh, fun summer look. Starting out simple, here!

Let me know if you enjoyed and if you think this is something I should continue.

I know it’s not fitness/health related- but it’s confidence related which I think is still important to my mission and what I’m about. I hope you enjoy!

The Simple Meals I Eat to Automate a Healthy Lifestyle

At first, when I got into fitness seriously, I thought I wanted to be a real part of that really intense FITNESS community. You know. The ones who are always posting inspirational meals/workouts/etc. and are going to the Arnold conventions. The ones who dedicate their Instagrams to FITNESS 24/7. I even thought I may want to compete at one point.

Let me get this straight- there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things. I’m friends with people who are in that community. But over time, for myself personally– making FITNESS become this big, bold thing in my life and main focus- it just didn’t become that appealing anymore.

Similar to the realization I had when I realized that only focusing ONLY on acting wasn’t going to make me happy, a few years after I graduated college with my B.F.A in Theatre Performance. Now- I still act! But I don’t base my self-worth on whether I’m cast or not like I used to. Just like I still work out and eat healthy- but I don’t base my self-worth or value in the fitness world whether I have a 6 pack at all times or not.

Maybe it’s because I’ve automated a lot of my lifestyle in such a way that makes it easy to maintain by this point. I don’t “meal prep-” but I always have guidelines for my meals. (Focused on a protein source, veggie, healthy fat, limiting carbs appropriately). But then- I’ll eat meals that don’t follow those guidelines sometimes and not feel guilty about it at all. I also don’t obsess about eating 100% “clean” and freak out if I have a condiment or add cheese or whatever. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things!

I follow a scheduled workout routine, but if I miss a day, or spend 3 days straight on my feet at a music festival so I end up skipping my next 2 workouts- I don’t stress out about missing my workouts. I just get right back to them when my body feels good enough to. I also sometimes skip my scheduled lifting routine for a challenging hike. And I don’t push myself to lift AS HEAVY AS POSSIBLE every workout- but I listen to my body more. Feels better that way for me right now.

Sometimes the view at the top of a mountain is just a better view than than the dingy gym mirror- you feel?

Sometimes the view at the top of a mountain is just a better view than than the dingy gym mirror- you feel?

I’ve found that finding the key things that allow me to maintain my health and physique and not obsessing over hardcore FITNESS feels good because I can focus on other aspects and parts of my life that I am also passionate about! I’m finding for myself- it’s important to not let one aspect of life overpower anything. Because when I do, I tend to neglect other things important to me. It’s just the type of person I am, and it’s not for everyone, and that’s ok!

I honestly find myself not wanting to think about my workouts as much outside of when I’m actually working out. I just want to get in, do my thing and get out. I don’t spend as much time researching perfect “fit” foods, I just experiment in the kitchen with flavors, keeping in my mind certain guidelines that are now just habitual.

So while “automating” my fitness lifestyle I’ve found certain foods that really help me reach my goals and without thinking too much about it. Since lately I’ve had people ask me what kinds of things I tend to eat, I wanted to share some of my food basics with you guys so that it may help you out when building your meals!

You’ll notice most of these are lower carb. Since we do go out to eat a couple times a week (where carbs aren’t watched as closely) I tend to keep the meals at home of the lower carb variety. If that’s not your thing- just add some baked sweet potato, Ezekiel bread, etc. to the meal.

Breakfast Staples:

Breakfast Sandwich using Applegate Chicken Sausage, Thomas Double Protein English Muffins, an egg over-easy, and a little shredded cheese.
3 eggs scrambled mixed with peppers/onions, salsa, and 1/2 avocado. Side of fruit.
-Smoothie with 1 banana, ice, 1 tbs. PB, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 handful spinach, 1 handful berries, a little stevia
2 eggs over-easy topped with a little cheese, avocado, salsa with some fruit/veggies on the side
Breakfast Hash– shred 1/2 sweet potato and brown in pan with crumbled breakfast sausage/ground beef/turkey (I use leftover meat for this) or even natural deli meat shredded up. Stir in a little diced onion and pepper. At the very end of the cooking process, crack an egg in the mix until it’s cooked (but yolk is still runny.) Serve with a little ketchup or even barbecue sauce!

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The mother of all breakfast sandwiches.

Lunch Staples:

-(Usually a left-over from a previous dinner, honestly.)
Cheeseburger Scramble: brown some natural ground beef in a pan and add some chopped onions, stir till cooked. Add a little salt/pepper. Serve immediately and add a little shredded cheese, then stir in some lettuce/chopped pickles and top with your favorite condiments ( I use ketchup + mustard.) This sounds kind of weird but it’s SO GOOD.
Turkey Scramble: Basically just cook some ground turkey in a pan with another veggie. I like to use a bag of broccoli slaw as it stays nice and crunchy. You can go a couple ways- if you want a more spicy/Mexican flair, use cumin/chili powder to season. For an asian flair, throw a little soy sauce or red chili sauce.
Salad: I like to buy those pre-made salad kits at Kroger (Southwest is my favorite!) and use whatever meat I have on hand with it. Easy peasy.

BIG OLE' Salad.

BIG OLE’ Salad.

Dinner Staples:

Crockpot Chicken Tacos: Simply throw chicken breasts and chopped onion/green pepper in a crockpot with 1 jar of salsa and either 1 packet of low-sodium taco seasoning -or- 1 tbs. chili powder, 1 tbs. cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4 hours on high and you’re left with delicious chicken you can use to make tacos with, or even put on a taco salad.
-Fresh Herbed Fish/Carrots: I have a sage/thyme herb plant, so I like chop about 1 tbs. of each herb with fresh garlic and marinate fish in it with some lemon juice+ olive oil (salmon is my favorite) then bake it. I like to serve this with carrots either roasted in the oven with the same herbs/garlic/oil mix (but no lemon) or I sauté them in a pan. Either way- they are delicious! Carrots are definitely an underrated veggie. But I recommend using the large ones- not baby carrots in a bag.
-I’ll often use one of the scrambles in the “Lunch” section for dinner, too.
Greek Chicken: Marinate chicken pieces in a mixture including Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Simply grill or bake and serve with your favorite veggie- something simple like steamed broccoli.
Fajitas: Cook sliced chicken or steak in a pan with sliced onions/peppers. I honestly use jarred salsa as the main seasoning in this (makes it easy, too!) and add some extra chili powder/cumin. Serve in tortillas and top with avocado.
Homemade Chicken Nuggets: I’ll cut chicken into small pieces, and coat with egg, then a light coating of flour. (If you want to be a purist you can use oat flour.) Saute in a pan with olive oil. Serve with your favorite veggie.

Snack Staples:

-I generally keep a big bowl in the kitchen full of protein bars, nuts, and fruit to always have something to grab on hand.
-My favorite protein bars are Quest bars (though I tend to not buy them as much as I don’t want to buy a case at a time..hah!), Power Crunch bars, Simple Truth protein bars, and Clif Builders Bars.
-Greek yogurt
-Protein Shake
-Mini-peppers and hummus
-Arden’s Garden greens juices

While this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, it’s literally the majority of what my husband and I have been eating lately. No- it’s not 100% “clean.” No, I don’t keep track of the macros and calories on all of this. (Here’s why.)

But it’s a diet that fuels us in the gym and for life, that keeps us generally lean and feeling good! So hopefully it may spark some ideas for you!