Finding the balance of physical and mental health through adventures and fitness

Monthly Archives: July 2014

I’ve posted about products that I’ve found that I fell in love with, and I’ve shared a few other blogs that I think are amazing. But I’ve never really shared my outlets for motivation from other social media platforms before. I found @FITGYMRATS last week and thought it was the coolest handle I had found yet. It had two owners: Ashley and Nicole, and they each have a take on health and fitness. After talking to Nicole, I asked if I could do a Q and A with them because I think others should follow them too!


Why did you and Ashley start a joint fit Instagram account?

We both have a passion for fitness and health. We both wanted to share our journey and knowledge about what we’ve experience so far in hope to help others reach their goals. We both have very different goals we are working to achieve and different workouts [we use to reach those goals]. We hope that diversity can help all types of people.


Why do you believe it’s important for people to find support through social media?

Let’s be honest.. social media is life these days. We evolve our lives around what we want to post and what others think of it. It’s easy to find motivation from others who share the same dream as you do. Even if you don’t have any friends that share that passion with you, you can find it through social media. We both follow a lot of power lifters on Instagram who motivate us to keep working and pushing hard. They remind us that everyone starts somewhere and give us hope that we can reach our goals. We can be our own worst enemies and our biggest supporters. It’s great to have others to look up to and also be a role model for other people.


Why do post the pictures you do?

[We post] videos on how you properly lift, to help women feel less intimidated about lifting. Progress pictures, [for the] obvious reason being not trust[ing] the scale alone and that sometimes you don’t see a day to day change so pictures are helpful. Food pictures to show good nutritional meals. Just to give an idea on how to eat all types of food, good or bad; they all play a role in keeping a balance in enjoying life. Also that it’s not as hard as one might think to meal prep and not all healthy food has to be bland or unsatisfying.


What do you hope people get out of following you on IG?

Motivation to be healthier and follow their dreams.


What got you each interested in fitness?

Ashley: I was a high school athlete, but after graduation I ate whatever I wanted and was very lazy. One day during Christmas break when I was on an al- day cookie binge I decided I needed to make a change. I started out by changing my diet & slowly started adding in exercise. Two years later I’m still working at it, but I allow myself to eat what I want in moderation and typically stick to weights.

Nicole: I was also a high school athlete; Ashley and I were swim teammates. After graduating I also had no exercise and ate fast food every day. After gaining 50 pounds over the course of 2 years I finally accepted that my clothes no longer fit and that I needed to change. I started out by just going to the gym and not really changing my diet too much. I haven’t had fast food in over 2 years now. I started eating healthier, but I still enjoy dinners out with my friends. I upped my cardio to 5 days a week and finally started to see and feel a change. I’m still working on my goals but I’ve come a long way and I get re-motivated every day.


What’s your favorite healthy meal?

Ashley: Homemade street tacos (chicken, cilantro, chipotle sauce, guac)

Nicole: 6oz sirloin steak, house salad & a sweet potato.


What’s your favorite cheat meal?

Both: pizza, wings and fro yo!


Do you have a supplement you can’t live without?

Ashley: no, I use a pre workout, but I can do without them.

Nicole: Fruit punch C4.


Cardio or weights?

Ashley: weights.

Nicole: a little of both but mostly cardio. Zumba and Insanity are my go to workouts when I’m not lifting full body.


Advice for people starting their weightloss journey?

Ashley: Only do it because YOU want to feel better about YOURSELF. Not for other people or to fit an unreasonable idea of what your body should look like. Eat healthy, get your fill of nutrients but also enjoy the foods you love in moderation. Find a fitness hobby that you really enjoy, make goals and achieve them.

Nicole: Trust the process, don’t lose focus, ignore negativity and keep pushing forward! Everything takes time. You will have slip ups, but don’t have regret. Don’t skip a workout for any reason. You will always feel good after working out. Set goals and accomplish them, then set another goal! Don’t be discouraged or intimidated by anyone, everyone was once a beginner. Share your progress & be happy!


About the micro-bloggers:

Ashley and Nicole met their freshman year of high school and have been best friends ever since. They were on the swim team and ran track together. They were jocks! They enjoy going to the gym and challenging each other to be better. They love to hike, but unfortunately in Arizona they can only do that in the winter. They love to eat pizza and wings every Thursday for their cheat meals! Ashley is finishing her last year at ASU with a photography/art education degree. Nicole is almost ready to transfer to ASU to finish her degree in occupational therapy. They love to travel… their favorite [place] is Vegas! They just want to help others reach their goals and help empower other women!


Follow them on Instagram: @FITGYMRATS

❤ Cristina


After a few moments where I had a breakdown in front of my fridge this morning due to lack of meal prep, I pulled myself together and reminded myself it’s Friday. It’s not just Friday, it’s casual Friday and you have PR’s to hit in the gym today. This got me pumped up for my after work hours, but I got a lot done today in the office, so I’m pretty pleased.

Today’s workout was all weight lifting with a rotation of all the circuits I do. I took a few things out because it wouldn’t sense to do 150 front plate raises, when I’m clearly doing other workouts for the same muscle group. Here is a list of the workouts I did, and yes I was bad and did some deadlifts anyway:

Straight leg deadlifts

DB shoulder press

DB curls

DB tricep extensions

DB delt skier kickbacks

Plate front raise

One arm cable curl

Triceps kickback

Upright row

Alternating DB deltoid raise

Tricep rope pushdown

Barbell rear deltoid row

DB reverse fly

Glute pulses

Push ups

Cable pull through

DB pullover

Butt ups

Plank row

Captain’s Chair leg raises

Cable chest press

I was definitely able to fit a lot into an hour and a half. I hit two PR’s. The first was the Captain’s Chair 4 sets of 10 reps of leg raises. My core strength has improved a lot, but I have A LOT of room for more improvement.

My second PR was not flipping shit on the person who invaded my workout bubble when I was dead lifting. I was seriously considering dropping the barbell on their foot :] Instead I moved my weights, papers, bottles and protein bar over… they then proceeded to make a big deal about me moving. I’m sorry for being an asshole and needing my space to lift.

Moving on. Here are some pictures from today including my weightloss progress! I’m officially down another pound bring the total to 12.5 pounds lost in 36 days. I’m super excited about this because while it is a lot, it’s steadily coming off and I’m keeping it off. I’m eating well and often. I can say I’ve never been happier.







On Friday’s we flex


Not too shabby


Back progress! 36 days!


I hope you all had a successful Friday and a great weekend! I’m going to sleep good tonight!

❤ Cristina


I’ve lost about 12 pounds in the first 35 days of this crazy adventure, and with 28 pounds to go and a little less than 16 weeks, I’m deciding to be a little daring. I’ve always relied heavily on cardio to shed pounds, but aside from my new Beachbody DVD set, I’m going to be strict with my weights. I’ve also been experiencing some knee tightness lately, which my chiropractor said is  from over working the muscle. Her example was the muscle around the knee is in something like a Charlie Horse, which causing it to tighten depending on the movement.

Most of the problem movements are squats and hard cardio. So my goal for tomorrow is to mix up the 10 different circuits I do over the course of my typical 3 days of lifting, but remove the cardio elements in between each set. While I will do some leg work, I’m going to avoid deadlifts and leg curls because those aggravate my knee the most. I’m going to add more core strengthening, and hopefully increase some of my weights. Here’s to new PR’s!

Hopefully I’ll be able to get some interesting shots and do my weigh in! Until then here’s a gem from the other night’s lifting session. I am awful at pull ups and I’m still developing my upper body strength, so this is a big deal for me!


❤ Cristina

I don’t even know if I have all of the words to describe how the past few days have been, but here are some that I can think of…





That seems like a good list to start.

I joined Team Beachbody last week and before you say anything negative, hear me out. I received a notification on Instagram from a Beachbody coach saying that my pictures showed my dedication to fitness and I was inspiring. Again, these are not typically things I think of, but I guess they may be true. After talking with her, she explained that she was a part of health and fitness group on Facebook and that the point was to inspire each other to keep pushing through individual journey’s of weightloss as well as share experiences, recipes and ask each other questions. I was skeptical at first because you should be, but she said it was free if I wanted to leave the group I could. Ok, I think can handle that.

So I joined the group and instantly fell in love with it. First, it’s called Team Boom, if that doesn’t excited you- I don’t know what will! Second, we were having conversations about eating styles and macro counting, lifting, cardio and so much more. I was commenting a lot and while you can’t help everyone, I wanted to. She reached out to me again and asked if I would ever thing about joining the business side and becoming a coach. I never really thought about it until her asking me, but there are a few upsides to being one: the discount on Beachbody products, connecting and networking with a group of like-minded people and making a few dollars to help pay for competition fees. I figured why not, I could use my fundraising experience to help me out.

It was the best decision I have ever made. I talk to my “coach” Jackie everyday in some way. She answers questions I have an doesn’t get frustrated when I ask too many. The health and fitness group inspires me to push harder and bust my butt. I’m down 11 pounds in 31 days, not too shabby if you ask me, but talking with these people is pushing me to keep going and kick ass over the next 16 weeks.

Beachbody and Team Boom support aside, my workouts have been ok since I’m having some issues with my right knee. I would’ve liked to go harder in cardio today, but I’m seeing my chiropractor tomorrow and I would much rather figure out what’s wrong than injure myself further, but I’m almost positive it’s from cable leg extensions, them tricky bastards. Here are some photos from the past few days that kind of highlight what’s been going on.


Flex Friday. It’s small, but you can see an outline of my baby bicep :]



I discovered PB2 and PB2 with chocolate. This is plain Greek yogurt with PB2 chocolate and Bear Naked Protein Granola. So damn good.


Today’s workout. It was a cardio day and I had started on the arc trainer, but was having some tightness in my knee so I switched to a 9% incline walk at 3.1 mph. This is my “I’m not happy about this, but it’s done” face.


I reorganized the pantry and realized I have a sad obsession with nut butters. Yep, I do. And sometimes I eat them straight from the container.


I’m looking forward to my new chapter with Beachbody and Team Boom. I’m looking forward to my workouts this week and my eating. I have some pretty tasty things cooked up for tomorrow. I hope everyone else had a good week, and has a great Monday… I know, Monday’s aren’t really all that great, but you have to be positive!


❤ Cristina

I never thought I would run a mile.

I never thought I would lose 70 pounds.

I never thought I would survive like clean eating.

I never thought I could do pull ups.

I never thought I could lift weights.

I never thought the changes I made to help myself would inspire other people, but now I want to inspire other people. It’s all about baby steps and finding what works for you. When it gets tough don’t look at the road ahead, look at how far you’ve come. As for me, 6 am comes a little too early and tomorrow is a double lifting day. Two circuits of shoulders, biceps and triceps before work and another two sets on my lunch hour. If it’s important, you’ll find the time. Have a great Sunday night and Monday morning :]

inspire❤ Cristina



I’ve gotten over my fear of lifting at my home gym, but the layout isn’t really friendly to the circuits I do. Since the gym at work is closed on Sunday in the summer, I rewrote a quick one circuit back/core routine. I had planned on going to Zumba post lifting, but had forgot that class was canceled today :/

Here’s the circuit, repeat 4 times.

10 reps Reverse Fly 12lb DB

8 (on each side) Crossover Reverse Lunge

10 reps Hyperextension with 25lb plate

5 (on each side) Plank Row with Pushup 12lb DB

10 reps Bent Over Barbell Row 50lb preweighted barbell

10 reps Stiff Leg Deadlift with 60lb preweighted barebell

10 reps Bent Over Barbell Row 50lb preweighted barbell

10 reps Stiff Leg Deadlift with 60lb preweighted barebell

46 minutes and 355 calories later… not too shabby. PR’d with 60lb stiff leg deadlift at 10 reps. I’ve been lifting 60 pounds, but I can now finish a set of 10 reps. I’m pretty excited about that and I can’t wait to be able to increase the weight in a few weeks.

Now onto food prep and heading into work.

Hope you all have a great Sunday!


❤ Cristina

I have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award – say what? As a blogger and a advocate for health and fitness, my fitness goals are completely selfish and I’ve never tried to be a role model or thought I was inspiring, but the sweet Natalia from Beauty ‘N’ BowWows nominated me!

If you love make up and want to know more about it, then her blog is completely for you.

The rules of this award are as follows:

  • Thank and link the person who nominated you
  • List the rules and display the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate fifteen other amazing blogs and remember to comment on their blogs to let them know you’ve nominated them and provide a link to your post.
  • (Optional) You can proudly display the award logo anywhere on your blog e.g. on your sidebar and also follow the blogger that nominated you.

Seven Facts About Me

1. I have two middle names.

2. I believe guacamole and almond butter are life, but not mixed together.

3. I have 8 tattoos.

4. I love going to the park to read.

5. If I could live in the gym, I would.

6. I sell clothes on eBay that don’t fit anymore to support my need to replace clothes.

7. I’ve lived on my own since I was 18.

My Nominees Are:

  1. Less Thunder More Thighs
  2. Hoop. Skate. Lift.
  3. Eat. Drink. WOD.
  4. Eat, pray and work it out.
  5. Pink and paleo
  6. Life of a paleo college student
  7. Fat girl to Ironman
  8. Run. Love. Live.
  9. Healthy eats for a happy soul
  10. The Rockin’ Runner
  11. Eat Tribal
  12. Not the fat kid in gym class anymore
  13. The Curvy Roadrunner
  14. Fueled by Fresh
  15. My Foray into Food Storage

Check them out!

❤ Cristina