Go for the Goal-d

Hey everyone! If you’ve never read my blog before, welcome! If you have, welcome back! I hope your days have been full of lazy Sunday stuff like naps and good movies (unless you aren’t into that stuff… but really who isn’t?)!

Since I’ve started blogging and fitstagramming (<I am 100% sure that is not a real word), so many people have asked me what my workout plan is, what I eat, how I started, etc. I’ve tried to answer those as best as I can in my previous posts, but something that I haven’t had the chance to talk about yet (that I think is very important) is goal setting and how my outlook on goals changed through this process.

When I first got into the fitness scene, I focused so intensely on my major goals. I wanted to lose 20 pounds! I wanted defined abs! I wanted Carrie Underwood’s legs! All of those are really great things to strive for (except for maybe Carrie’s legs- I think I’ve accepted that I can’t grow another 4 inches to make that happen), but by focusing on such drastic and large changes, I ended up frustrating myself more than anything. Those kind of changes happen only after a lot of hard work and a good amount of time, and in the beginning, I got really down on myself because I didn’t see those changes immediately. Where were my abs? “I’ve done like a million crunches by now,” I thought, “Surely I should have abs.”

No.

I’ve never been the best at goal setting. On those worksheets that you would do in middle school, my goals were always things like “Have a mansion” or “Climb Mount Everest”. Again, A+ for dreaming big, but those goals were so ridiculously unattainable. The way I’ve had to look at it is in the form of a step by step process- several small, short-term goals are like stepping stones to the major, long-term goal. For example, I broke down my weight loss goal into several smaller goals- lose 5 pounds, then 10, then 15, and then 20. Not only does it look and feel so much more attainable, but you get to celebrate yourself with the baby steps along the way. Those first 5 pounds I dropped meant the world to me! I was on my way! And the celebration only gets better the closer you get to that big, long-term goal. Don’t get me wrong, the long-term goals are great! It’s important to know where you want to be down the road. But it’s also important that you know how to get there in a healthy and positive way!

It’s also important to know what goals are reasonable for you to achieve. If you are (like me) 5’1”, it is not reasonable to set a goal to be 5’6” (and have the legs of Carrie Underwood). If you were born with wide hips and shoulders, it’s not reasonable for you to set a goal to have a smaller frame. You can’t change the structure of your body- you work with what you’re given. If the most experience you have with running is the sprint of desperation from your car to your house in a thunderstorm, it is not reasonable to set a goal of running a marathon the next month. If I were to make that one of my goals at this point, I would probably (definitely) keel over and die within the second mile of that marathon. And in my experience, keeling over and dying while trying to accomplish one of your goals isn’t exactly the best motivator to continue. When you set goals that are unattainable for your body type or current fitness level, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, and disappointment can quickly lead into dropping your goals entirely and turning your back on whatever it is you decided to pursue.

I’ve seen so many people get burnt out of the health and fitness scene because they weren’t accomplishing what they set out to right away- their goals were so broad and unattainable. Setting attainable goals is one of the most important ways to give structure and organization your journey in fitness- not only do these goals create progress points along the way, but accomplishing them helps show what you’re truly capable of. It’s amazing to be able to look back at your little stepping-stone path and really appreciate how far you’ve come. I also highly recommend taking progress pictures- I just now started doing so but I wish that I had taken more at the beginning! There is no better feeling than showing off those pictures and saying, “Look at what I have accomplished! Look at how far I’ve come!” It’s also been incredibly helpful in motivating me to continue. When you have a reasonable and defined goal set for yourself, it’s easier to work out because it feels like you’re working towards something. When you give this lifestyle a purpose, it’s MUCH easier to maintain and much more enjoyable as well! This can even be applied in your everyday routine. Some great small, everyday goals to set are things like:

  • drink at least one gallon of water
  • incorporate at least two vegetables into each meal
  • snack on something healthy instead of Cheetos or Oreos (</3)
  • do at least 30 minutes of physical activity
  • be outside for at least 30 minutes
  • tell yourself 3 things that you love about yourself

They can be that simple and that easy, but it makes a difference in the long run! So break down those big, scary goals into smaller pieces and take it one step at a time! Things will be much easier for you and your journey to a healthier life will be much smoother and encouraging!

This goal-setting strategy applies not only in fitness but in every aspect of life. I know that I was always taught in school to set goals and yadda yadda yadda but I never actually did it until now. It makes everything so much easier and I’m kicking myself for not realizing that sooner. For example, rather than trying to save $500 right off the bat, save 25. Then 50. Then 100, and so on. It’s a great way to lessen the stress of a big goal or deadline, and I am ALL ABOUT stress relief (anxiety is real people).

I hope this was helpful and that there are other people out there who have not yet realized the magic of structured, attainable goal-setting. As always, if you guys have any questions at all please email me (squatsandsass@yahoo.com)! Also check out my fitstagram: xfittiffx!

You are all lovely and amazing humans, thank you so much for supporting me and reading my blog! Have a great rest of your Sunday night and as for tomorrow… Don’t forget to NEVER MISS A MONDAY!

xx Tiffany

Advertisements

Addressing Some Questions Concerning Diet

To start, I’ll give you guys a little bit of a life update. I know that’s not necessarily the main purpose of this blog, but I want you all to be able to follow along with me in my journey here and I want to be able to be relatable in both the highs and the lows… And I am definitely at a low right now. I’ve been fighting a cold for probably the past week or so, and I believe it has finally caught up to me. Currently drinking some Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu drink (I don’t know in what world they believe this flavor is anything near “honey lemon”) and alternating between struggling to breathe quietly through my mouth and downing as many fluids as possible. Happy Hump Day.

I know I’ve been fighting it- I’ve definitely felt it. Last week I was SO BAD diet-wise, and I’ve been more lethargic and unenthusiastic while at the gym so I feel as though my workouts haven’t been as successful as they could be if I really felt my 100%. That’s the way it goes when I get sick though, I just want to eat comfort food and lay in bed all day (not much different from what I want to do all the time, but when I’m sick I actually do it). And today I’ve given into my craving for Oreos (SO ASHAMED)!!!! I really have to work on cleaning up my diet again- I don’t need another accidental “cheat week”!

I say that I am ashamed of my Oreo bingeing, but in reality, it’s not the end of the world. Something that is really important to me as far as health and fitness is concerned is the acceptance that nobody is perfect and that everyone is going to slip up. At first when it was difficult for me to maintain my diet, I thought that it was only me who was having such a difficult time really being dedicated and sticking with my plan. It was easy for me to get down on myself about it because I felt like if the change was what I really wanted, I should be perfect all the time. This is absolutely not the case. From what I’ve seen, I’m definitely not the only one who slips up and at this point, even if I were, I would still be ok with it. I never want to deprive myself of things that I love and one bad meal isn’t going to ruin anything that I’ve worked for. Going out to dinner with friends or celebrating and treating yourself is good for you in a different way than being physically healthy, and I encourage that just as much as I will encourage eating healthy food. In my opinion, I think it’s better to have a “cheat day” or to splurge every once in a while- I don’t want to be a perfect, “clean-eating” machine. I want to have my cake and eat it too (pun intended).

A TON of the questions I get have to do with my diet. This is the hardest part of being healthy (for me at least, seeing as I have a very strong love for food)- you can motivate yourself to get on the treadmill or take the stairs instead of the elevator but NOBODY wants to turn down donuts. Nobody. Unfortunately, diet is a key component in any healthy lifestyle change. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle and bulk up, or even just tone up, changes have to be made in your diet in order for your program to be as effective as possible.

The way I see it, you eat to fuel your body. Not to satisfy momentary cravings. Empty calories, carbs, and sugary foods may satisfy you for the moment, but usually you end up being hungry again 30 minutes to an hour later… and then you decide to eat more empty calories, carbs, and sugary foods. It’s a horrific cycle, and that’s how I ate most of the time before I decided to change my life. When I was in high school, my metabolism was a machine. I could eat whatever I wanted and not really gain any weight, and if I wanted to lose weight, all I had to do was “be good” for a week and I would be 5 pounds lighter. My metabolism was like the Spartan army of 300. Nothing could stand in it’s way at the time… But everyone knew it was doomed to be defeated in the end. I had been told since middle school that “This is gonna catch up to you! One day, your metabolism won’t work like that anymore!” and don’t get me wrong, I believed them. I knew what was in store for me. I just didn’t know that it would happen when I was 18 years old. What a lovely entrance into adulthood!

So after packing on the pounds and being motivated to change my life, I cut out a lot of things and I added a lot of things. This is some of what I recommend to be cut/added. Bear in mind that 1: I am not a nutritionist, this is just what has worked for me and 2: Everyone’s metabolism is different and depending on what goals you have, this might not be the best diet plan for you! I recommend doing some intensive online research (again, PTL for Google, am I right?) or if you so desire, shoot me an email and I will do my best to give you my (unprofessional) advice!

CUT OUT:

  • Most dairy products. I’m lactose intolerant, which has gotten worse over the past year or so, so this one really just made sense to me. As much as I love and always will love cheese… I can only enjoy it in moderation and with some Lactaid on hand. Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, dairy products are notorious for causing bloating and uncomfortable digestive issues, and are usually pretty high in fat.
  • Things high in sugar (except my Oreos obviously)
  • White/bleached bread and sugar
  • Most processed food
  • Things high in preservatives- I try to eat organic if possible! Organic foods are usually (always) more expensive than the alternatives but in most cases it’s worth dropping the nasty chemicals and preservatives!
  • Soda- This one was probably the second hardest for me- I used to have close to 4 sodas a day (Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper will always have my heart) and it is just NOT WORTH IT. So many empty calories, sugars, and chemicals and preservatives. I know the caffeine is nice but coffee is a much better alternative in my opinion. Once I stopped drinking soda (I pretty much only drink lemon water and coffee nowadays) not only did I see a HUGE decrease in bloating but honestly my mental clarity was higher and I craved less sugar in general. Now I can barely drink half of a Diet Coke (which I only do maybe once every three months) because I find it to be so incredibly sweet.
  • Fried foods and pretty much 90% of fast food. And I work at Chick-fil-A. The struggle is so real my friends.
  • Alcohol- Another one of those NOT WORTH IT types of things. Empty calories galore, plus a lot of sugar and a lot of bloating. Not to mention that it dehydrates your body! Hangovers are literally your body’s way of saying, “STOP!!! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?! THIS IS HORRIBLE FOR YOU!!”

Also another thing to keep in mind- I do have cheat days and I do believe that you should have what you enjoy in moderation! When I say that I recommend to cut these things out, I’m recommending that you remove them from your everyday lifestyle. Special occasions and treat-yo-self days are 100% encouraged in my opinion, as long as you understand how those days will effect your end goals!

ADD:

  • Fruits and Vegetables- obviously. Fruits can be high in sugars so watch out for that, but honestly I eat so much fruit it’s ridiculous. I’m having to warm up to vegetables (they’ve never been my favorite) but I’ve found that as I’ve changed my diet, I have been craving things that are better for me rather than things like cookies and candy and chips. Man, I could really go for some carrots and hummus right about now.
  • Dark leafy greens- Great if you’re anemic like me. Very high in iron and more delicious in a salad than iceberg lettuce!
  • Protein- Lean meats and fish. I try to stay away from red meat typically (but don’t get me wrong, I love a good steak). Chicken and turkey are my go-to’s! Also, depending on your gym routine and goals for your gains, it’s most likely a good idea to take extra protein along with the normal amount that you eat (ie: protein shakes and bars after a workout).
  • Organic foods- I know I mentioned this in the list above, but I always encourage eating organically if possible! I know it’s stressful on the wallet at times but it’s worth it.
  • Healthier snacking options- I am a total mindless eater. I can sit down with a bag of chips and watch TV and before I know it the chips are gone. Replacing chips has been difficult (RIP my favorite Cheetos) and a lot of the alternatives aren’t necessarily “healthy” but they’re way better for you than actual potato chips. I like white cheddar popcorn (SmartFood or SmartPop), Veggie Straws, and also nuts like almonds or walnuts when I’m craving something salty.

That’s really all I can think of off the top of my head, but if I have anything else I can add to the list I surely will do so! If you have any other questions feel free to email me (squatsandsass@yahoo.com)!

Also, if you haven’t checked out my “fitstagram” yet, please give it a look! The username is xfittiffx and that’s where I’ll be posting the majority of my progress pictures and things of that nature!

I hope this wasn’t too scattered, I’m going to try to kick this sickness so I can get back on my A game! Only a few more days until Friday, we can do this!

xx Tiffany

Started From the Bike and Now I’m Here

Hello again everyone!

First of all- I just wanted to thank everyone who read my last post and gave me such overwhelmingly supportive feedback! You guys seriously rock my (currently halloween themed) socks! You all have blessed me so much already and made me feel so accomplished, THANK YOU for giving me a much needed confidence boost as I struggle through these first few posts and really “find my voice” or whatever the blog- jargon is for getting in the swing of things. As I mentioned in my first post, please send any inquiries to my email (squatsandsass@yahoo.com). I’d like to put together a Frequently Asked Questions post in the near future (because I get a lot of them).

One of the questions that I did receive was asking about what kind of routine I started out with when I first got into working out. To be quite honest, when I first started going to the gym, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Literally. I wandered about and would use one machine, then another, then another, and call it quits. Really, I was just too afraid to ask anyone for help (PLEASE DON’T MAKE MY MISTAKES) and I wasted a lot of time! I took to the internet to do my investigating (PTL for Google, am I right?!) and ended up stumbling across different cardio based workouts that had been put together by other people, and I started doing those. Most of them were HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts and were really difficult for me starting off (especially the running… I am not a runner) and I ended up being very frustrated by my inability to complete them or to perform to the standard I had set for myself. I ended up getting so frustrated that I very nearly threw in the towel then and there. It wasn’t working, so it must not be for me, right?

WRONG! Holy hallelujah, was I wrong! Somehow I mustered up enough motivation (or was it desperation? Technicalities…) to keep going, and I decided to just listen to my body. I knew that I wasn’t much of a runner, even in my more active days. What on Earth was I thinking, trying to jump straight into running 4 miles a day?? I ended up started out on the stationary bike (easier on my bad knees), and I would sit on that sucker for an hour and read a book and just bike to my heart’s content. Eventually I kept bumping up the resistance level and I was able to maintain a faster speed, and just being able to see that little bit of progress was astounding to me. It was probably one of my first real “Hey… I can actually do this!” moments. For that moment, I was on the mountaintop, and that made all the hard work I had put in leading up to that point totally worth it. Eventually I realized that in any good workout regimen you have to change things up and keep your body guessing, so I finally moved on from the bike I loved so dearly and was able to start using the elliptical and running (plus, my gym just got a Stairmaster, which I am loving so far). Now I’m a Cardio Queen and it’s one of my favorite things to do and my favorite way to relieve stress! There’s nothing like a good sweat session to whip my attitude into shape.

When I started, I focused almost entirely on cardio because I was so concerned with cutting fat and losing weight. If I could go back, I would definitely have done more strength training at the beginning. What I didn’t realize was that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, and (surprise) the more weight you will lose. Also, when you’re starting to build that lean muscle that comes from light to moderate strength training, watching your body tone up is a huge confidence boost and a great way to really see what you’re accomplishing. The best advice that I have for someone starting out is to find a good balance of cardio and strength training, and listen to what your body tells you as far as your limits are concerned. Don’t push yourself to the breaking point because you haven’t seen the results you want yet- it takes time. Patience is important in this process (although most days it seems as though God has neglected to give any to me), and keeping your body healthy and taken care of is the most important part. Pushing yourself too far leads to injuries, and let’s be honest- ain’t nobody got time for that.

Nowadays my routine is still pretty heavily cardio based. I’m still trying to cut body fat (see ya NEVER, thunder thighs!) so I try to do at least 30 minutes every time I’m in the gym! Also, as I said before, I really do love cardio and the stress relief that I get from it (#cardioqueen). Right now I’m starting to include more and more strength training into my routine as I’m trying to build more muscle than just the lean tone that I have now! I rotate through doing upper body, lower body, and heavy cardio/core days. I go to the gym 6-7 days a week- but that’s just me. Go as often as you feel comfortable and as often as fits your lifestyle, especially in the beginning when you’re just getting started. Your body needs to adjust and have time to recuperate if necessary! I only go so frequently because fitness and working out has been a major way that I manage my depression and anxiety- but that’s a story for a different time!

I hope that this has been helpful for any of you guys just starting to get into fitness, and if you have any questions about specific exercises that I do or anything please just holla at ya girl via email or post it in the comments and I will do my best to answer those questions that you have!

Happy Sunday and don’t forget as we start this new week- Never miss a Monday!

xx Tiffany

First Things First

Hey everyone!

My name is Tiffany, welcome to my health/fitness/inspiration blog! I am so excited (terrified) to finally be doing this- sharing my thoughts on the world wide web for everyone to see. Thrilling!

I would just like to preface this with a disclaimer: I am not a professional. I don’t have a degree, I’m not a certified nutritionist or trainer. Health and fitness is simply something that has become a passion in my life, and I have been encouraged to share my journey via this blog and a fitness Instagram (check it out- xfittiffx). This is a huge step out of my comfort zone and I’m not sure exactly how to go about doing this, so please bear with me! I’m sure that as I continue to post, I will get better (maybe).

My main goal in creating this blog is to be able to inspire people and share my life with them. I’m not a model, I’m not an actress, I’m not a body builder. I’m just a normal girl who’s trying to shred abs, ya feel? ANYONE can do this if they put their mind to it. It’s all about believing in yourself.

I suppose that a good place to start would simply be with an introduction of myself and my fitness journey. I’m 20 years old and started my fitness journey last June. I had always been reasonably active in high school, but when I started college that pretty much stopped completely. When I first started, I wasn’t very serious about losing weight or working out- I just went to the gym a couple of times a week and made minimal changes to my diet. Everyone’s journey is different and starts for a different reason, and I started because I was uncomfortable with my weight and the lifestyle that I was living. I was the definition of a couch potato- I slept all the time and was rarely active. Netflix was my main (AKA one and only) hobby. My typical snacks consisted of flaming hot Chester’s Cheetos Fries (which will always be delicious) and Oreos (my favorite cookies that I will never ever give up no matter what ANYONE says). I also work at a fast food restaurant, and regularly gave into the temptation to binge on fried, salty food. I felt sluggish and unmotivated, and I was stuck in a slump both physically and emotionally. I knew that I had to make a change, so I started getting serious about my health- both physical and mental. I realized that –spoiler alert- I would actually have to WORK HARD for what I wanted. I’ve been serious about being healthy for probably about a year now, and since then I’ve lost 22 pounds and feel like I’m on top of the world. It’s taken me quite a while to get to the place I am now, which is why I will always encourage people to persevere even if they feel as though they aren’t seeing any changes! At this point in time, I work out 6-7 days a week and have changed my diet completely. I don’t deprive myself of the things I love (…. Oreos) but at the same time I’ve recognized that I have to eat to fuel my body, not to satisfy my cravings. There are so many different elements that have contributed to my success thus far, there’s no way I could put them all in this one post. I hope to be able to share all of these things with you all as this new journey of mine progresses!

One of the biggest drawbacks I had in starting this blog was simply that I have no idea where to start. I would love to know if any of you have any questions or suggestions- please email them to squatsandsass@yahoo.com! I hope to be able to address any and all questions that people have and look forward to hearing from you guys! My goal is to make at least one post a week on this blog (maybe more, depending on how many times I get random inspiration for blog posts) and I would love to get both feedback and ideas so PLEASE do not hesitate to inundate my inbox!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my ramblings! TGIF and have a great weekend, everyone!

xx Tiffany