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

Tag Archives: cardio

Today I completed the first week of Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Istines. It has been a great week in the gym and in the kitchen. When I first decided to purchase the 12-week program, I really had no idea what to expect. I honestly thought it was going to be a joke, but I couldn’t be any happier with my decision to try it. Since I had decided to not compete this spring because of the cost, I was feeling really lost. I’m very goal oriented and I like structure in my routine. My friend Sarah (fit_badger15 on IG) suggested I try BBG because it would give me the structure I wanted, but it would be also allow me to get some of the lifting in that I like. Lifting was my biggest concern. I love picking up heavy things and putting them down, I wasn’t really sure how weights would fit into this routine.

Here’s what I have learned about the program and what I like:

It kicks your butt if you put in the work.

When I work out, I want to be challenged and lately I hadn’t been feeling challenged in the gym. I was changing it up, I was increasing weight and mixing up the number of reps, but I wasn’t feeling the way I wanted to in my workouts. With BBG program every day is a designed as circuits, except for steady cardio days. The circuits are intense and have forced me to push myself harder than I had been. Monday was leg day and I can’t remember the last time I had really felt leg day the day after, day after.

They’re time efficient.

I work two jobs and can’t remember the last time I ate dinner on a plate, instead of in tupperware. I needed something that I could without feeling like I spending hours in the gym. This week I have gotten up every morning at 530 and dragged my booty to the gym with coffee in hand. Some mornings were harder than others, but I felt amazing when I was done. The best part, I was done in 30 minutes and then home in time for a shower and breakfast.

I’ll actually get results, it’s not some gimmick.

My mind is probably messing with me, but I can already feel a difference. Slightly see one too. I was down half a pound on Wednesday when I weighed myself and it was a pretty good feeling seeing the scale move. It was an even better feeling when I went to buy new jeans today because mine are too big. Sarah’s results from doing both sections of BBG (week’s 1 to 12, and week’s 13 to 24) have been awesome. Obviously, everyone’s results will be different, but it makes me hopeful that busting my butt over the next few weeks will bring some serious progress. I’m sitting at 153.5 pounds and the goal at the moment is 149.5. I think it’s reasonable and definitely possible.

I’m able to do my own exercises on top of BBG.

I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to continue heavy lifting during the program and I have learned a couple of things. 1. I don’t want to do my own leg lifting on leg day because circuits are enough. I mean crawling would be more than likely if I did extra. 2. I can do extra on arm day and 3. I can throw in an extra leg day on Thursdays when I do cardio.

I can follow IIFYM.

I don’t need to follow her nutrition guide. I can still flex diet, which has been solid all week and has contributed to my half pound loss this week as well. I’m able to make the decisions I need to without feeling like I’m not going to have results. I can look at cake and eat it too.

I’m excited for the next 11 weeks because this is something I can follow and something I look forward too. There are millions of women also following these workouts so I can easily ask questions or talk to others about their progress. It’s a huge sense of community.

Stay tuned for more updates. I’m going to do a weekly update on BBG and every few weeks post a new photo with my progress. I’m ready to get out of my funk and get moving along!

Have a great weekend :]

❤ Cristina


I used to hate Mondays. If I could, I would sleep through Monday, skip over Tuesday and start my week on Wednesday, but I’m sure I would dislike Wednesdays then too. Not everyone is a morning person and I have my moments of dragging ass too, but last year I started doing my workouts in the morning a few times a week. I started slow with only a day or two, and then worked up to three or four- depending on my work schedule.

At the beginning of the summer, when I started prep, I knew I wanted to fit two workouts in a day and sometimes I worked at night. Bring on the morning cardio and lunch time lifts. It was definitely a struggle at first. Monday and I were not friends at all. However, after a few weeks it got easier. I also noticed my mood improved, I was more likely to be on time or early to work and on days I also worked out on my lunch hour, I was more productive in the afternoon.

The past month since my show I haven’t done many morning workouts, I’ve fit them in, but not as many as I had this summer. To finish the year I’m getting back to my morning workouts, and making sure I get a morning workout every Monday until the New Year. Last week I got 3 morning workouts in and I honestly felt better and back on track. This week I have the same goal. I also want to get my lifts in and fingers crossed, but I want to get to a gym class if I can squeeze it in.

This mornings workout was a solid 30 minutes of steady, high resistance cardio on the arc trainer. It was followed by a cup of black coffee, egg whites and an apple. My lunch workout was legs and lower back. I PR’d my squatting weight to 110 pounds, it’s only a 5 pound increase, but holy hell you notice the 5 pounds! My morning flew by, and I can’t believe the amount of work I get done. I also hit my water goal of 150 ounces.

When I workout on Monday mornings, I feel like I have my life together, even if that’s far from the truth. I’m going to definitely bring my morning workouts into the New Year. I’m still working on my goals, but maybe hitting 52 Monday morning workouts should be added to the list? What are you all looking to add to your goals list?



Morning cardio, my abs want to come through!



❤ Cristina



Here is a photo to show that 20 days is a ton of time to make changes. This is only a 2 pound difference. I’m officially 9 weeks out til show and I couldn’t be more thrilled, scared, nervous, excited, hopeful. I have been busting my butt and it’s going to pay off. Even if I don’t look “perfect” I have come so damn far.

Here’s something from Shel Silverstein:


Happy motivation Monday beautiful people!

This past week has been filled with some ups and down. I’m a little more than 9 weeks out til my show and I’m still steadily losing, but with the lose does come frustration. It’s mentally exhausting having to keep up with the changes. I’m not trying to complain about my loss. I can’t be more excited, but at the same time I didn’t realize my body composition would be what it is.

I’m going to be pretty damn honest right here, but I have a consultation with a plastic surgeon in two weeks for both a breast lift and implants. A few years ago, I probably would’ve laughed at the idea of implants and maybe would’ve made a few horrible jokes, but with the amount of breast tissue I’ve lost, this has now become my option. As you’ve all seen from my pictures, at my thinnest I was small breasted and at my heavier, I was pretty large breasted. I went from a 34B to a 42D and now I’m at a 34D with a ton of excess skin. This is one of the main downers of the week. Figuring out clothes that fit my top half has been difficult to say the least. I have some dresses that no longer fit well in the chest because of this loss. My body has gone through a ton of changes, and I couldn’t be more proud to have come so far in the past two and half years, but this whole journey has been about decisions. Eat healthy or not, go to the gym or sleep in, change it up or do the same thing. I want to feel comfortable in my clothes and out of them. I’m hoping the doctor will agree that I don’t need a huge addition, but something that makes me look full and will allow me to feel proportionate.

I’m excited about the appointment because it means I’m almost done losing weight, but I’m very nervous because surgery is a huge deal.

Some of the positives of this week, however, have been just as powerful. I haven’t weighed myself since the beginning of the week, but I can see changes already since changing my daily carbohydrates and adding two days of HIIT and two days of steady cardio. I added a few pounds and PR’d weighted squats with 95 pounds on Wednesday. I had the best cardio workout Wednesday morning in the dance room and I had the room all to myself. One of the perks of being up and in the gym at 6 am :] My competition suit has shipped and should be here Saturday! My protein powder was on sale and should be here this weekend too!

So for every one thing I get frustrated with, there are bunch of things I have reason to be excited about… Like buying a size 6 dress on my lunch hour :]

Here are some photos from the week to recap. I’m excited for lifting tomorrow on lunch and then an action packed weekend involving everything, but working out.

Transformation Tuesday photo. 2007: Freshmen year of college, 2011: Senior year of college, 2014: August 20th prepping for my competition


Size 6. New dress for the fall :]


Dance room :]


OMG it’s almost here!


I take sexy post cardio photos

I hope everyone else enjoys the end of their week and beginning of their weekend!


❤ Cristina


Since I worked yesterday, my boss is letting me come in late today. However, I feel asleep at 830 last night which resulted in not being able to sleep in this morning. So off to the gym I went! I ran for time this morning. Decreased my speed and increased the incline. I’m down another half pound bringing my loss this summer to 18 pounds and my new weight to a solid 156. I’m 10 weeks out for my show and I’ve recalculated my macronutrients to fit my new BF%. I’ve also changed up my workouts adding 2 days of steady cardio and 2 days of HIIT to my 5 days of lifting. I’m working with two different friends to make sure I’m getting the most out of the next 10 weeks.

I’ve ordered my suit, booking my glamour appointments, and practicing in my heels. I am so damn excited and I can’t wait to take those progress shots right before the show.

I hope everyone else has a great Monday!

❤️ Cristina

Today I ran my third 5K, but my first timed race. The first two were considered “fun runs” i.e. Color runs. While I had time those myself with my heart rate monitor and running app for my phone, I never felt the pressure to run a race and hit a specific time. I had goals for myself, but without a huge time clock at the end I didn’t feel this sense of push like I did tonight.

My goal was to run 3.1 in 31 minutes or less. My mile has been averaging 9:30 so I thought this was a pretty solid goal. Well, I ran 3.27 in less than 32 minutes (I’m waiting on my official time to be posted). My first mile was 8:53, and I blame this on lack of resistance as well as wanting to get away from the pack. I love pushing my boundaries and running that hard didn’t hurt, but when I checked my HRM I was sitting at 187 bpm. It happens all the time, but I was like holy crap, I should slow down. Slowing down is an issue for me, when I try to adjust my pace I really screw it up in either direction, too slow or too fast. Head phones in my ears I was waiting for the coaching alarm to say my mile and pace… When her little voice said “1 mile pace 8 minutes and 53 seconds,” I was like no wonder I feel like I’m going so fast; it’s because I am!

During miles 2 and 3 I had asthma attacks. Now, I don’t have an inhaler because only ridiculous things set it off and it was a fun medical condition added from my weight gain. I ran passed a woman with the strongest perfume and while I had been controlling my breathing, one inhale of that and I was gasping for breath trying to my throw up. It was the worst feeling ever. I actually stopped running and put my hands in the air to open my lungs.

After a minute I got back on my merry way.

The second attack happened when I passed a man wearing cologne. I am so proud for choking back my quest bar.

After the coaching voice went off that 3 miles were complete, I took everything in me and pushed as hard as I could to finish. My lungs wanted fresh air and my body wanted to lay down. The best way to finish faster is to go faster. I ran the last stretch with a pace of 8:27. When I was done I laid on the ground and gulped down a bottle of water.

I hadn’t trained for this race like I usually do since I have been working on my lifting and hitting new weight PRs, but I’m pretty pleased with how I did. Now that I know the route I can practice for next year and hopefully get faster. I have another 5K in October. It’s the Color Run, so it’s another fun run, but I’m still very excited about it. My bib collection is coming along nicely. So is my racing shirt collection 🙂

Below are some pictures I took tonight of race things!






And here’s a little throwback Thursday to my first race!


I hope everyone else had a great Thursday! I’m gearing up for before work HIIT by heading to bed early!


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