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

Tag Archives: gym life

Is when everything you’ve accomplished doesn’t feel like work. There are some weekends when I have my game plan written down and I sigh at it because running errands and laundry just aren’t appealing. Not that laundry magically became fun this weekend, but for the first time in a long time I enjoyed my weekend.

It started Friday at the Big E. Living in Massachusetts there is no state fair, instead there is a large regional fair instead. I don’t go to these usually because you spend an absurd amount of money of bad games, greasy food and you end up with a stomach ache. However, there was a free concert that I couldn’t pass up – Brett Eldredge.

I made a plan for myself and I stuck to it. My plan was to eat well during the day and have a treat at the fair. As we all know, fairs are notorious for having the most ridiculous foods like a burger between two donuts. Who comes up with this stuff? After walking around, I decided nothing was actually that appealing to me. I was slightly disappointed, but I also know what will happen to my stomach if I try to consume foreign foods. My compromise was a gyro loaded with onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce.

It was probably one of the best gyros I had ever had, including at a restaurant.

After settling at the concert venue, I took a round of selfies and played on my phone until the show started. This side by side was a result of my selfies.

This also reminded my why I learned to compromise at places like the fair. I still had something tasty, but I didn’t go nuts and over do it. I have told my friends many times that my one fear is going back to where I was. But I know that with the knowledge and willingness I have I probably wont. I managed to get in 8K steps on my fitbit just from 3 hours of walking around at the fair and back to my car; I don’t think I would’ve done that much a few years ago if I didn’t need to.

After the drive home and crashing in bed, Saturday was bright and early and my booty was in the gym. Happy cardio Saturday? 98 floors of the stairmaster to start my day because #growabooty.

Following my cardio, I took my booty home for some sweet potato pancakes (recipe up shortly) and a trip to the farmer’s market.

It’s about a mile away from my apartment and it’s some pretty awesome local business there.

Some jumbo zucchini!

The prices aren’t half bad either. With the items I bought at the market I made my version of ratatouille served with a side of focaccia bread topped with sundried tomatoes and mozzarella and 4 ounces of chicken. Seriously, date night with myself is pretty damn awesome.


I sweat I did more than workout and eat. I also did the laundry and cleaned up my apartment. I watched 4 movies while cleaning. I haven’t watched a movie in the living room, during the day in forever. I managed to get in almost 13K steps too. Not too bad for a Saturday of adulting.

I was riding the struggle bus a little this morning – at first, but only because I actually slept in. By sleeping in I mean I work up around 8. I know that’s not sleeping in for most, but it was kind of nice to just be in bed for a time later than 6 am.

It’s week 8 of Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide. I’m still going strong, but today I modified the circuits for arms and abs because of the space I had at the gym. I had no issue in the free weight area or getting on a machine, but dropping to plank wasn’t ideal this morning with the number of us in the gym. I did get a solid workout in by incorporating some of her exercises with dumbbell, barbell, rope and cable workouts I like to do. I ended the session with three 5-minute sets on the stairmaster. I guess that’s my favorite cardio machine lately.

A week and a half before starting BBG again vs. half way through week 7.

I follow up the afternoon with another trip to the Crompton Collective and lunch Birchtree Bread Company with my friend Eva. It’s about a mile away from my apartment so I took advantage of the gorgeous day and walked. Music in my ear and fitbit on my hip. For once I had nothing to do today, so I got to enjoy downtown and not rush through lunch. And of course we saw the best things and we wanted to buy them all.

Two mugs I actually bought :]

I did end the day with some meal prep and chili cooking in the crockpot, but for once I didn’t feel like if I didn’t prep I would fail during the week. I did a lot this weekend, but I didn’t feel a time crunch like I normally do. I mean I’m actually sitting on my couch writing this on my laptop, not in bed from my phone – which is where most of my blogging happens. I’m glad this weekend felt relaxing because this week will probably not feel like that. With 2 visits and 3 receptions/events with meals on the calendar I may slightly loose my head.

My meal planning is going to need to be on point and my gym schedule will be sporadic, but it’s going to happen. I will get my booty in the gym and I will get my fitness on. I guess I’ll just have to look forward to Saturday night when my work week is done.

Time to set my coffee pot and get ready for bed. Tomorrow is an early to rise kind of morning for a gym session and then off to Boston for work. I hope everyone else had a good weekend and enjoyed Sunday Funday. Let’s crush this week.

❤ Cristina

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Today closes the first week back into BBG mode. I’m pleased with the circuits and totally forgot how much leg and cardio combo day kicks my ass. It’s not that I can’t handle squats or lunges, but the design of the circuit is definitely a mind-fuck for your legs. Before they realize what they’re doing, you’re done with the circuit and wipe out. My legs were a good sore until about Tuesday, but so be it. Progress doesn’t happen from sitting on your peach.

For two cardio days, I worked on running intervals. I have a timer that I use to set rounds. I do 20 rounds, 45 seconds of running with a 15 second break. Depending on how my legs and hips feel – mostly my hips – I vary the pace. Most days I start with a 6.1 or 6.2 on the treadmill and add .1 mph every few rounds until about 7.0. Other days I will stay between 6.2 and 6.7 and be happy. Regardless I try to get at least 2 miles in, even if it means a good run when the rounds are done. 4.14 miles added to my shoes this week.

My goal is to make all my cardio days, running days. I also want to start adding a few more rounds every few weeks to the intervals. I like how I feel when I run and finish a solid distance in good time. It’s the same feeling I get when I hit a new PR in lifting. Completely satisfied and ready to set a new goal.

I’ve planned out my meals for tomorrow and Saturday, and I will be working on Sunday’s meal plan tomorrow – since I do my grocery shopping on Saturdays.

Here’s my week in photos. What have you accomplished this week that you’re excited about?

 

#TransformationTuesday

#yolkporn

Post-run “my outfit is awesome” selfie


Baby biceps


#ThrowbackThursday post: Left- 240+, Middle: 175, Right: 153ish


Two weeks difference: July 21 v August 4

 

New goodies to try

 
❤ Cristina


My whole journey has been a string of figuring out what works for me at a specific time. Once I’ve figured it I stick to the plan as much as possible until it doesn’t work anymore and then I figure out what is going to work from there. The past month like I mentioned last time had been a pretty crazy roller coaster and I finally feel like I have a handle on things. This past week was great as far as food and workouts and I now have a plan going forward.

I had tried the Bikini Body Guide in April and had pretty great results, but I had gotten bored around week 10 because I missed heavy lifting. I had wanted to stick to the guide so much that I wasn’t doing much of my own workouts outside of the guides. That drove me crazy.

I decide to restart BBG because I’m not happy with the little donut that is around my lower waist. I have a few pieces of clothing that aren’t as comfortable as they were before and I know that I can’t just stay stagnant and hope that shit changes itself. You want change, you have to change. Well the past week I got a handle on my meals and yesterday I re-started BBG 1.0 with Legs and Cardio, my right glute is especially feeling it today. I also wrote out my meal plan for the week. There’s a woman I follow on IG, her handle is @leanneislosingit, and I’m taking a play from her book. She has pretty much the same menu every day. I’ve decided to do this for Monday through Thursday because if I know my macros are perfect, why mess with them. I will have a little more fun with my macros on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Monday

Breakfast

  • Kodiak Power Cakes + egg white in the mix
  • 1 whole egg + egg white on the side

Lunch

  • 1/4 brown rice
  • 6 ounces chicken breast
  • 85g broccoli
  • Wholly guacamole

Dinner

  • Healthy multigrain sandwich thin
  • Turkey burger
  • 1 slice of pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2T sriracha mayo
  • 85g brussels sprouts + 100g asparagus

Snacks

  • apple + 2T peanut butter
  • light and fit strawberry Greek yogurt
  • Whey protein shake
  • 15g caramel rice crisps

 

Tuesday – Thursday

Breakfast

  • 2 egg whites + 1 whole egg
  • Joseph’s pita + 2T fat free cream cheese + fresh salsa
  • 100g sweet potatoes

Lunch

  • 1/4 brown rice
  • 6 ounces chicken breast
  • 85g broccoli
  • Wholly guacamole

Dinner

  • Healthy multigrain sandwich thin
  • Turkey burger
  • 1 slice of pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2T sriracha mayo
  • 85g brussels sprouts + 100g asparagus

Snacks

  • apple + 2T peanut butter
  • light and fit strawberry Greek yogurt
  • Whey protein shake
  • 15g caramel rice crisps

After two weeks of driving to work with a real commute, I now have a good idea of what the evening drive looks like so I have a plan for my workout schedule.

Saturday is my day 1, or the equivalent of Monday’s on the guides, which means Friday is my rest day. This is pretty much perfect because evening traffic on a Friday in Massachusetts is about as much fun as having drinks in Hell. For the first six weeks of the guides I will be able to still fit in Zumba on Monday nights because Monday workouts are the equivalent to Wednesday’s Arms and Ab days, so my legs will be ready to go for some shimmy and shaking. Wednesday is equivalent to Friday’s total body workout and this is where I figured out I can add 3 sets of heavy squats and 3 sets of deadlifts. I may be a little extra sore on Thursday’s, but I can stretch it out during cardio. If I feel that I want to get more arm work done as well I can add some arm work on Sunday’s before cardio, since it’s after legs. I prefer to rotate the muscle groups I work and that’s why I was so nervous to add anything last time because when I did, I was crawling to the bathroom for a few days… No bueno.

 

First 6 Weeks

Saturday – legs and cardio

Sunday – cardio

Monday – arms and abs, Zumba class at night

Tuesday – cardio

Wednesday – full body, added squats and deadlifts

Thursday – cardio

Friday – rest day

As far cardio, the guides suggest light cardio especially for those who aren’t used to working out, but I prefer HIIT or interval running and sprints. I will probably add a lot more miles on my shoes this time around, but I know low intensity isn’t always a bad things either.

So here’s my comparison photos. The left is when I started BBG the first time, the middle is when I finished and the right is Day 1 – yesterday.


I’m basically back to where I was in April and it’s only a few pound difference from June, but I gain my weight in my middle. My goal is to get rid of the donut around my lower waist. It’s also to balance lifting and these guides. As my body gets adjusted to the soreness of the circuits again, I can better determine where else I can add in lifting. I don’t want to lose strength like I did last time, it was devastating to have to build back up to where I was and even now I don’t feel as confident that I’ve built back completely.

A last addition to my overall health is to set outside of fitness goals like giving myself time to read or going to the museum. Since I have one job now, I have a lot of time and because I’m getting my workouts in during the day on my lunch hour I have even more time at night. I’m hoping these goals will help keep me occupied and on track because I eat when I’m bored, let’s be honest a lot of us do.

August goals:

  1. better balance of lifting and BBG workouts
  2. hit macros every day
  3. discover a new hiking trail
  4. visit a new art museum
  5. consume at least 4 fruits and veggies a day
  6. blog moreeffectively

What are your goals for August? 

❤ Cristina


Saturday I got the shock of being a size 4. While most people would probably say “be happy, be excited, or who cares” mentally for me it was a lot. I’m officially smaller than I was when I started my freshman year of college. I also weigh more and as we all know, the more muscle gain the less the scale matters because composition changes so much regardless of weight when lifting is involved. 

  
Yesterday, JP and I were talking about beach trips for the summer and I asked what he thought about me wearing a bikini out in public. Aside from competition, I haven’t worn a bikini in public since high school. Just a quick recap: I graduated from high school in 2007, started gaining weight drastically at the end of 2008 and my highest weight was in 2011 at 240+ pounds and a size 24. 

Wearing a bikini to the beach is kind of a big deal because it’s more than 3 minutes on stage. 

He asked me “does Cristina feel comfortable wearing a bikini in public?” I thought about it and said “I think so.” The truth is, I have no idea. I joke with him about my loose skin. If I pull my stomach to make the loose skin flat, my navel moves almost 3″ up and there are stretch marks; which bother me less than they did in the beginning, but sometimes make me roll my eyes.

During Week 2 of BBG I took a photo of myself in the bikini I’ll be wearing this summer. It’s the practice suit I had for my show last fall. It fits pretty well and I like it a lot, but it’s still an adjust from throwing a shirt on and some shorts and jumping in a pool. I took a photo last night the end of Week 7 of BBG in the same suit. I’m pretty pleased with the results between the two photos and there’s been more progress than I thought. I mentioned in a previous post that I’m under 150 pounds and it was a huge achievement, so of course I need to expect a solid change because I have lost about 6 pounds doing Kayla. 

  
I went hiking today for the holiday instead of resistance training, I’ll fit that in tomorrow and we’re officially in Week 8 out of 12 for the first round. I’m looking forward to see what happens, but I also know I need see what maintenance will look like. I flex diet and macro count my food, but cutting macros are different than maintenance macros. I know it’ll be an adjustment when I change it up, right now it’s crazy to think I might actually be close to the weightloss part of my journey. A little over 3 years and it might finally be here. 

Kind of relieved. Kind of freaked out because I never thought about the transition from losing to maintaining. Mostly excited. 

I hope everyone else is having a great Memorial Day. I loved the long weekend and today was a great day for a hike and later were having some treats we don’t typically keep in the house 🙂 here are some photos from our hike! 

 

Boston skyline

  

Checking out the map

  

Action shot down the hill

  

Post lunch smiles

 
❤️ Cristina


It’s been a little while since I’ve written. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of work events, retail shifts, gym going, eating and wishing I got more sleep. So let’s recap:

  • I am finally under 150 pounds!! This is the first time since 2008 I have weighed under 150. This is a huge accomplishment for me, and while the scale matters less now than it did in the beginning of my journey this excited me so much.
  • My workouts have been pretty strong and I finished up week 7 of Bikini Bldy Guide. I’ve lost about 6 pounds with it and I still have weeks 8-12 to complete.
  • My food wasn’t as fantastic as it could’ve been, but it’s been great this week and I’m making more f an effort to rock it this coming week, especially with the holiday. 
  • My boyfriend has been home more and we’ve been so much better about drink and food consumption. I’ve actually gotten him to run with me and go to the gym with me. Huge wins in my book! 

Now here’s a photo recap 🙂

 l  

Exactly 4 years from my graduation and the day before my students graduate.

  

One year between these photos!

  

Biggest Brussel Sprouts I’ve ever seen!

  

Protein Pancakes by FlapJacked and Sweetspreads Mint Chocolate Coconutter

  

New treat: sweet potato with chocolate PB2 and Walden Farms Caramel Sauce

  

This was me bloated Thursday morning, I can’t even be mad because this is so much better than where I started. in fact, it’s better than where I was a year ago.

  

10 pound difference from far left to far right

  

face to face Friday

  

Ladt resistance circuit for Week 7


I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend.  I know I will be taking advantage of the time off and the nice weather! 

❤️ Cristina 


/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/eef/66154586/files/2015/01/img_3372.jpgBefore we begin with my check-in. Let’s take a look at a quick comparison. To the right are two photos. The left is me in June 2014, when I started my first prep for first show in November 2014. The photo on the right is the 7th day of my second round of prep for my upcoming shows this spring. This is a 15 pound difference in my starting weight.

I’m feeling really confident this round for sure. I lost 25 pounds the first time I prepped, and then gained about 10 pounds post show (thank you holiday cookies!) While I had been eating in moderation, I wasn’t paying attention to my macros and was definitely eating over my nutritional goals.

Below is a photo from day 7 workout. Seriously, I’m really excited with where I’m starting with this time. I’m focusing a lot on my weight lifting, and trying to minimize my cardio to strictly HIIT sessions. I’m going to be doing more double days like I did last prep. This helped me fit in my workouts without feeling like I wasn’t effectively using my time. Tomorrow is a good example, I’m doing HIIT in the morning before work and then lifting legs tomorrow night.

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I’m 13 days into this prep and I’m down 3 pounds of the 10 gained post show. Not too shabby. I’ve already discussed with myself (because I do that) weighing only on Wednesdays like I did last prep. This gives me consistency without over checking. It also gives me a goal to look forward to.

I’m hoping to lost another 22 pounds on top of the 3 I’ve lost for another 25 pound loss, which will be a 105 pound total loss. Crazy, I know.

I’ve been taking pictures like a looney, but I love the comparisons of how I’ve come. It reminds me that even on bad days, I’m still  far ahead of where I was. How may people can say they were a 24 and are now a size 6? I have 101 days to go and I can’t wait to share this part of my journey with you all.

Well I’m heading to bed. It’s 0 degrees outside, but it feels like -22, when I wake up for the gym it’ll be -7 with a windchill of -29. Hello winter! I hope you all stay bundled up!

❤ Cristina


I was going to wait until the first of the year to start competition prep, but I’m impatient and didn’t want to wait. Today was my first day back to stricter macro counting and a regular gym schedule. After I got back home from my Christmas fun, I went grocery shopping and picked up the essentials: chicken, ground turkey, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, you get the gist. I came home and prepped a bit and I figure I’ll more over the weekend. I also stopped by Dick’s Sporting Goods and bought a new pair of cross trainers. These were amazing during my gym session this afternoon.

 

My first official gym day in the prep book was a solid 40 minutes of plyometrics. I felt pretty good and I can’t wait to see what happens during this prep.

 

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Let’s get into the facts of prep this time around:

My first competition was November 1 and I lost 25 pounds and weighed 150 in time for the stage. Since November 1st I have gained between 8-10 pounds, but I’m still a size 6. The first competition this spring is April 18th, which is 113 days away. My goal is to lose another 25 pounds and get to 135 in time for the stage. The second competition is May 23rd and I believe I can get to 130 for that stage.

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113 days away!

 

15NPC CUTLER 400

148 days away!

 

Last time prep was a breeze in the beginning and it got much harder on me mentally towards the end, but knowing what I know now, I believe I will be able to handle it. As far as the post show weight gain, it could be so much worse, but I do want to see what I can do so I can have more of a maintenance of the weight loss this time around.

Now for some photos!

Last Throwback Thursday photo of 2014. 4 years and 85 pounds difference. I can’t wait for 2015.

 

54 and sunny on Christmas!

 

Post family Christmas dinner snuggling

We have 5 days until the New Year and I’ve almost finished my list of goals for 2015. I’ll post them within the next few days. I can’t wait to dive right in! I hope all of you enjoyed your holiday and are getting ready for the New Year too!

❤ Cristina

 

 


When I decided I wanted to start lifting and prepping for a bikini competition I had no idea where to start. There’s so much information out there about what to eat and how to train; everyone had a different opinion. I think we all can agree that different opinions are good because it shows us many perspectives, but it also reminds us that what works for one, won’t necessarily work for another.

I had been told to get a coach, so I looked into it. It was not something I could afford and it wasn’t something I was willing to stretch myself for. So I started researching.

My biggest research tools for exercises was bodybuilding.com. This helped me discover new exercises that I never would’ve thought of; it also helped me learn correct form so I wouldn’t hurt myself. I researched HIIT and Tabata and found some pre-made workouts- these were great and over time I was able to change them up with exercises I thought would be effective for my goals.

When I started looking into a diet to follow it was clear that I had to go all in, I couldn’t just do something for the summer, this was going to be a lifestyle change. Throughout my journey I had been adjusting my workouts and my food to meet new goals so another adjustment was just part of the plan. I had been clean eating before I started prepping so when I learned about IIFYM, I figured I macro counting would be a breeze and I could be more flexible with my food.

I have fallen in love with IIFYM and while my relationship with food isn’t perfect, I have a much better relationship now. I know that you need fat to burn fat. Protein will help rebuild your muscles that your smashed in the gym and carbohydrates are an important sources of fuel. The body is like a machine, without fuel the machine shuts down. With IIFYM, I learned to focus on nutrition versus calories. While weightoss is all about calories out verses calories in, all macronutrients have calories; as long as I hit my nutritional needs, I will have enough energy for the day. Eating in a deficit still provides me enough food to meet my nutritional goals and have energy.

I learned what water could actually do for me and what hydration means for the body’s development.

Even though I didn’t have a coach, I had a few people who helped me along the way that I believe played a huge role in my success. My friend Monolina, @monolina12 on IG, worked out with me a few times a week. Together we figured out workouts, corrected each others form and pushed each other to lift heavier than we ever thought we could. This gave us both something to look forward to at the end of the work day, and hitting new PRs together helped us bond. We get the funniest looks in the gym!

Laurie, @tinygymrat on IG, helped me figure out how to adjust my macros for cutting throughout the process, she also introduced me to drop sets and super-setting. Both of those things helped me discover how much physical strength I had and push myself harder than I had been.

Brittany, @brittbaine on IG, and I met when I decided to give Beachbody a try… yeah, that didn’t go so well for me, but we’ve maintained our friendship. She has definitely helped me stay on track and stay realistic in my goals and what I can accomplish. When I have doubted myself, she has been blunt and told me to stop thinking that way. She has never once told me that I can’t do something or that my dreams can’t become reality. This is what a friend is.

When I got closer to the competition, I started meeting other women I would be competing with in the New England Championships. Sam, @baconbarbellsbikinis on IG, helped me figure out how to find my flair for posing. I had mostly gotten over the idea of not being the smallest girl in a bikini, but I was fearful of eating the stage. This girl helped with that a ton, probably more than she realizes.

By not having a coach, I had to do the research, I had to ask others questions. I discovered what worked for me, what didn’t work and how hard I was willing to push myself. I found out how strong I was, both mentally and physically. I was doing this for myself, which is how it should be, but I was doing it because I wanted to meet my goals; not because someone was telling me how to meet them.

I’m not saying that coaches aren’t good, there are a lot of things I would’ve loved having a coach for like posing or peak week; but having to do the research myself made me even more invested in this part of my journey. I don’t think I would have changed anything, maybe what I brought for footwear post-show 😉

I got my official stage shots and I’m pretty excited them. I also have some shots of my journey for this first competition because there will be more. Check them out below. And know that if you work hard anything can happen.

 

❤ Cristina

Day 5 out of show

 

NEC 1

NEC 2

NEC 3