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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Over the past 12 years of my life, I have probably tried to lose weight 10-15 times. So, naturally, people want to know what has made this time different – why am I suddenly able to do it now? 

Aside from the fact that I am better educated in proper nutrition and exercise, there is one other factor that I hadn’t considered until recently. But before I tell you what that is, let’s rewind a little…

Last week, my sister’s boyfriend Sheldon agreed to do a mini photo shoot with me – as a young woman hoping to get ‘noticed’ by the big boys of the industry, I figured I should prepare myself with a few decent photos – so, one night he came over to my condo gym with his fancy camera and proceeded to capture me in the moment. 

As I pushed through my regular workout routine, Sheldon snapped multiple pictures. The photo shoot was going great, but with each flash of the camera, I grew increasingly aware of all the eyes that were glaring at me - what I hadn’t considered was that there would be other people trying to ‘get their sweat on’ at that same time.

Now, I’m sure some gym-goers thought I was crazy, or maybe some even thought I wasn’t ‘fit’ enough to have a photo shoot, but guess what? 

I didn’t care!

I was having fun taking pictures, that for the first time in my life, I wasn’t ashamed of. I was enjoying that fact that I could curl 25lbs on each bicep and have pictures to prove it. And, I was finally aware of why I have been so successful this time around; because I am doing it for me. 

You see, in the past, losing weight wasn’t about me; losing weight was about looking great in the eyes of others. All I ever wanted as I young girl was to be considered by others as ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty’, and I truly thought that becoming skinny (a word I now hate) would do that for me.  

Well, I was wrong.

Today I do feel beautiful, and today I do feel pretty, but not because I am 37lbs lighter than I was 8 months ago, and not because other people may think I look great.  

Instead, I feel beautiful because I finally let go of the image I was trying to live up to, and I finally let go of the idea that I had to be skinny to be accepted and loved by others.

What truly matters is that I accept myself for who I am.  

I’m not a stick thin girl, I don’t ‘fit in’ with standards, and I won’t get intimidated by other’s judgments. 

Instead, I am a woman who loves a little muscle.
I am a woman who longs to be different. And,  
I am a woman who wants to achieve what others think is impossible.

And that is ok with me.
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25lb curls
 
Yesterday I added a bunch of new songs to my iPod, and I can't stress enough how much of a difference it makes on your workouts! 

If you are anything like me, music can uplift you instantly. So, with my new songs I was able to have one of my best workouts yet! 

Here is what I added:

Stereo Love - Edward Maya Ft. Alicia 
All I do is win (remix) - DJ Khaled 
My way or the highway - Limb Bizkit 
Rollin' - Limb Bizkit 
Airplanes - B.O.B Ft. Hayley Williams 
Faith - Limb Bizkit 
I like it - Enrique Iglesias Ft Pitbull
Break Stuff - Limb Bizkit 
Ridin' Solo - Jason Derulo 
Click, Click, Boom - Limb Bizkit 
Break your heart - Taio Cruz Ft. Ludacris 
Let the bodies hit the floor - Drowning Pool
Got your back - TI Ft. Keri Hilson 
Hold Yah - Gyptian
Winner - TI, Justin Timberlake, Jamie Fox
Dynamite - Taio Cruz
 
As you can see, I love a huge variety of music. :) 

What kind of music do you like?
 
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!
 
So, like I said in my posting a couple of days ago - progress seemed to have been slowing down for me. But, since I changed my diet and workout routine I feel like that is beginning to change.

I'm not sure if there is any connection, but I feel like when I really nail my meal plan and workout routine on the head, my body gets particularily hot.
 
For instance, when I eat a really good, clean meal (like sweet potato, chicken and salad) I instantly start to sweat! It's like my metabolism goes VEERRRROOOOMMMMM!!! Maybe it's just me, but I don't notice this kind of heat when I eat something crappy for my body.

Anybody else notice this?

Anywho, today has been a good day. I have had a bit more caffeine then I probably should - but otherwise it's been a great day.

Stay tuned!

K.