Lately, things have been kind of all over the place for me - mentally speaking. With my physical change and with all of the amazing opportunities that have been coming my way, I am more driven than ever. But with that intense focus and drive also comes a lot of self-reflection.

I find myself spending a lot of time thinking these days. Thinking about life – what I want from it, where I want to go and who I want to become. But sometimes, thinking so existentially can be exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s really important for people to have moments like this in their lives. These moments better us as individuals, causing us to step back and think about how we can improve ourselves, and the lives we’re living.

But often, it’s easy to get sucked into over-thinking, and what we need is something that can derail our train of thoughts; something that will temporarily reset our brain, preventing us from mentally drowning ourselves.

For me, my escape is training.

When I lace up and head to the gym I’m usually still thinking about whatever it is that’s preoccupying me that day. Once I arrive, I put my headphones in my ears and step onto the treadmill for my warm up – this is when I begin to let things go.

I try to zone out.  I focus on the music and usually picture myself somewhere else. I’m ether on the beach, in a 2-piece suit and enjoying the sun, or I’m accepting my trophy on stage from my first figure competition. Whatever it is, it’s a great feeling – a happy feeling.

Usually, by the time I’m done my warm up, my earlier thoughts have left me. I’m now in the moment, focusing on lifting, breathing and improving my form.

It’s funny because I never used to be aware of how therapeutic a good workout could be. In the beginning it was all about the physical results. But today, it’s all about self-improvement – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Imagine if there was something that you could dump all of your thoughts, stress and worries into. – even if it were just for little while. You’d come home from a long day at work or school, and just peel off your mental layers – instantly feeling lighter and free. 

Now, of coarse, at some point you’d have to take back your deposit and deal with the thoughts face on. But think about how healing it would be to have a chance to step back, a chance to just let go and breathe – that’s my gym time.

I strongly believe that whether it’s in, or out of the gym, everyone needs his or her “me time”. It’s during that time that we can clear our heads and begin thinking more objectively, without spiraling into the land of over-thinking.

Without taking time to shed, the sometimes overbearing, weight of life, you could find that you have sentenced yourself to burden.  Like the Greek god Atlas, you too could find yourself standing in one spot for eternity, bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Luckily for us, unlike dear Atlas, we have a choice. Drop the mental baggage and free yourself every once and awhile. You may find your thoughts become a whole lot clearer.

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The sun was shining, the water glistened and the sand was warm between my toes – I was in Dominican baby!

Yep, that’s right! For the first time in about 5 or 6 years, I went on vacation to someplace further than 3 hours north of the city.

I had the most amazing time! But of coarse, at a bit of a cost.

You see, as most of you know, when you go to an all inclusive resort, the food and drinks are endless! It’s a dieter’s nightmare.

But because I had prepared myself before I left, I knew that I was bound to gain a couple of unwanted pounds, no matter how hard I tried…and I did. The important thing is to not get discouraged.

This Monday morning, the day after I had returned from Dominican, I weighed myself only to find I had gained 5lbs. Now, the old Kristen would have begun to beat herself up instantly, but the NEW Kristen is much smarter than that:

Let’s say that, worst case scenario, I ate about 1000 calories over maintenance each day (which I knew I wouldn’t do – that is a lot!).  At the end of the 7 day vacation, that is only 2 pounds of fat – because it takes 3,500 calories to make a pound of fat. So, in essence, the 5lbs I gained would only be 2lbs of fat, and 3lbs of water – not so bad!

Now, considering I made fairly decent food choices, and I maintained my workout program while I was there, I would say the worst I did was consume about 500 calories more than maintenance – 1lb of fat! Yippie! I can lose that in no time.

So, you see, the more knowledgeable you are – when it comes to fitness and health – the better! It’s important not to get depressed about a few pounds, what’s important is that you pick yourself back up and charge full speed ahead!

So, was I right about the water weight? Well, you tell me. It’s Wednesday and I’m already down 3lbs…hmmmm????
 
Today has been quite the day...
 
Let's just say, I feeling very stressed - for reasons I cannot describe - and inside Im feeling like I am bursting at the seams emotionally.

But the only thing that is putting my mind at ease right now, is knowing that I am going to go home, chug my SuperPump250 and pump iron like I've never pumped it before.

It's funny, not only does excercise make me feel better in the moment...but it also makes me feel better just thinking about it. It's like a remedy.

This new lifestyle has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I feel a sense of control, I feel powerful and I feel beautiful.

Tell me how excercise helps you deal with stress?? Let me know!