Focus on Your Physical and Mental Well-Being!

Even though it’s a New Year and the top goal for everyone is to workout more and jumpstart a healthy lifestyle, this is something that should really be a top priority all year-round. I’ve always been one to go to the gym, so for me, although I am happy that people are taking their health seriously (for now), at the same time, I already know that this sudden, massive influx of people crowding all the machines at the gym will most likely fizzle out by mid-February.

Sometimes it takes an internal reality check for people to really make a change…and stick to it. For me, my reality check was when I rejoined a gym last November after a four-month gap, and did a fitness assessment with a trainer. They noted my weight, body measurements, and body fat percentage. Hearing some of those numbers almost made me want to cry, but I knew that I had fallen off the wagon and had no one to point the finger at but myself.

Click image for full size.

For others, they may need an external reality check such as visiting a doctor to get them to take their health seriously. Hims recommends the following checkups to make sure 2018 is your healthiest year yet. This handy chart provides a cheat sheet of when specific age groups need preventative screenings, immunizations, and additional checkups, and the frequency of when they should go. Did you know that 92% of Americans believe it’s important to get a yearly physical, yet only 62% of them actually do? Use this checklist as your guide and don’t wait to schedule those appointments!

In addition to making sure my annual checkups are on schedule, I’m also focusing on my physical and mental well-being throughout the year by implementing the following:

  • Attending Yoga at least once a week
  • Prepping all meals at home and only dining out 1-2 times per week—primarily on weekends
  • Taking time to journal/meditate and write more. It’s my personal form of therapy 😊

What steps do you plan on taking to focus on a healthier you, both physically and mentally?

Need some more motivation? Check out my previous blog post “Get Up and Get Movin’!” for even more tips to help you step into 2018 making sure your health is a top priority and not just a temporary trend.


The Start of Something New

We already know what a New Year means. It’s a reset button. A chance to start anew. An opportunity to establish new habits and a whole new outlook on life. For me, it’s a combination of all those things—along with some rollover of what I’ve already been doing, but just want to enhance.

Every year, a few members of my family and I, create a list of New Year’s Resolutions. We’re pumped up and say we’re really going to make big things happen this year. Then, somehow, all our goals and steps towards those goals just fall into the abyss.

I’ve decided this year, as I did with my 30 Before 30 list, to use this blog to hold myself truly accountable. I’ve already made my list of 10 goals for the year and will do quarterly check-ins with my family to provide status updates along the way. However, for blogging purposes, I’m going to create monthly steps that will help me reach my overall goals. I find that it’s easier to sort things into smaller task items instead of being overwhelmed with a huge goal and not even knowing how you’re going to start chipping away at it.

Without further ado, here are my goals for the month of January:

  1. Pay off my final credit card bill
  2. Lose 3-4 pounds
  3. Maintain a weekly workout schedule of 2 days cardio and 2-3 days strength training
  4. Eat more fruits and vegetables daily
  5. Reduce carbohydrates and add more lean protein to diet
  6. No eating after 8:30pm (even on weekends!)
  7. Blog more often 😊

What are some things you want to accomplish this year? Comment below and let’s hold each other accountable to reach those goals!

Ways To Keep Your Scalp Clean After A Workout

ways to keep your scalp clean after a workout

My favorite natural hair products that keep my scalp feeling and smelling fresh.

Name one of the main concerns we (ladies) have when working out.

Yep, we are worried about our hair. This goes for natural hair wearers as well. Just because we may brag sometimes about being #unbothered if we forget our umbrella on an unexpected (light) rainy day, it doesn’t offer the same advantage when sweat is involved.

Sweat is a good thing because it releases toxins from your body along with other benefits. However, when it comes to your hair, the downside is letting that sweat just sit on your scalp after your workout. Due to its salty concentration, sweat can dry out and potentially cause those dreadful flakes we know as dandruff. Believe me, no one wants that. Also, did I mention, if the sweat sits there for too long, it can also cause an unpleasant odor when it dries? I’m pretty sure you don’t want that either.

When I had loose natural hair, it was easier to either shampoo or co-wash my hair after an intense workout. Now that I have starter locs, I leave the shampooing to the professionals to avoid messing up the loc process until my hair is fully loc’d. Therefore, I’ve had to come up with alternative solutions* to keep my scalp clean in between my monthly loc grooming appointments.

*I am not a natural hair stylist so it is suggested that you speak with your stylist or an expert to come up with a routine that will cater to your specific needs.

I made it known to the loctician who started my locs that I run and workout pretty often so I sought out advice early on in my process on how to care for locs when having an active lifestyle.

Here were some of the main takeaways: Continue reading

My Favorite Calorie Counter App…”Lose It!”

My birthday is now exactly one month away therefore it’s time to share a little bit of the progress I have made thus far. As you know, I am super obsessed with my Lose It! app. Therefore, the images that you’ll see in this blog post are snippets of screenshots from what I monitor on my app as it relates to logging and tracking my calories and workouts. Hey, it might even inspire you to look into adding the app yourself. There are other options such as Calorie Count or the popular MyFitnessPal, however, I choose to stick with Lose It!

Week 1 (April 11-17) :

Ok, so don’t mind the red you see on Monday…I officially started that Tuesday ;-). My caloric budget for each day is 1,771 calories which is the dotted line you see on the graph. Overall, I did pretty well in keeping my calories out of the red during the remainder of the week, especially Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday which were the days I took classes at the gym. Those calories burned definitely helped with making sure I stayed well below the line. On this screen, I also pay attention to how many calories I remain under my weekly budget:

Week of April 11 - Calories

When looking at the detailed nutrients below, I primarily focus on fat, carbohydrates, and protein. My goal is to keep my fat intake under 70g, carbs under 300g, and protein within the 70g-80g range either daily or overall for the week. The chart below just shows the average for the week. While in the app, you are able to view it on a daily basis to keep track of the numbers as you go along:

Nutrients breakdown Week of April 11 Continue reading

Courtney’s (Not Kanye’s) Workout Plan

fitness magazines

Although my preference is to be in the gym, if I do decide to opt for at-home workouts, these magazines have been by go-to for ideas.

Now that I’ve shared with you that I have a goal to drop 10 pounds by my 31st birthday, it’s time to get serious! There was once a time –roughly two or three years ago- where I was going to the gym five or six days a week and during that time, I considered myself to be in the best shape I’d ever been in since high school.

I’m not (nor have I ever been) in the gym hitting the heavy weights as some people may suggest. My gym tempo is more of what I would call intermediate. I am the person who feels comfortable going to boot camps or taking classes that the gym offers rather than waiting for “Macho Mike” or “Doing The Most Dan” to finish their set on the machines. I’m also NOT going to spend a ridiculous amount of money for 30 minute sessions with a trainer. Therefore, I settle on taking classes that actually challenge me and don’t allow muscle memory — because no class is ever the same.

I find that I workout better in a group setting anyway. The inner competitor in me doesn’t like to tap out when I see other people in the class doing better than me. Sometimes that forces me to push myself a little harder than I typically would if I were alone. Besides, the gym becomes its own community when you begin to see the same people in the same classes week after week. You might get the, “Mmmhmm. Well look who decided to show up for class” or the simple, “See you next week, girl!” If I were to just workout solo, no one would notice if I decided to skip a day or two (or a week) with no valid reason. Accountability partners aren’t a requirement, but they are a good thing to have when you know that “lazy spirit” might kick in. Continue reading

30 is real.

fitness-motivation-quote-one-at-a-timeWhat more can I say?

Your body turns on you. You feel aches and pains that you’ve never felt before. Your metabolism immediately shuts down. You may even consider purchasing your first body shaper. These things only scratch the surface of how 30 has treated me thus far. Seriously. People think I may be exaggerating but the steady increase on the scale and all the clothes that I can no longer fit and have been donating to the Goodwill has let me know – “girl, this is 30. And 30 is REAL.”

I still try to workout (at the very least) three days a week. I ran a half marathon exactly one month ago, but guess what? I haven’t lost a single pound. And for those of you who say, “well, muscle weighs more than fat” I’d like to hear your explanation as to why my pants buttons will no longer fasten and why my thighs are having a constant conversation with one another. What do you have to say now? Continue reading

“Gym-timidation?” Not here!

Cross Fit entranceThe sound of loud grunts and weights being forcefully dropped to the ground. Men and women with ripped abs and biceps flaunting around the facility. The sight of veins popping out of arms and necks, accompanying the scrunched up faces of those individuals pushing through their strenuous workout. Those were the things I thought I would hear and see as I prepared to walk through the doors of CrossFit Petworth to mark off the 26th item on my 30 Before 30 list. However, when I walked through those doors, I was greeted by the complete opposite.

Upon opening the door, my stance was instantly switched from fearful and intimidated to relaxed when the first thing I saw was a dog by the name of Piper slowly trot towards the door to see who was coming inside. I was then quickly approached by the introductory class instructor who warmly welcomed each guest as they arrived.

We waited patiently for a while for all of those in the intro class to arrive. There was a group of regular members prepping for their hour-long class on the opposite end of the room so during that time I was able to catch a glimpse of a usual CrossFit workout.

I consider myself to be an avid gym goer so the stuff that they were doing didn’t seem too intimidating like I know it would have seemed to me in the past before I started working out regularly. I’m not saying that I would have gone over and joined the group. No, no, I would definitely watch from afar, but the naturally competitive part of me would have been up for the challenge. It seems that the more you go to the gym and do your own routine and take certain classes, after a while you want to eventually challenge your workout and test your strength which is what sparked my interest in signing up for this intro class. Continue reading