The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and a Schwinn!

Thursday, April 13th

I enjoyed the mobility workout so much from the week before, that I decided to start my workout week on Thursday to get in a good stretch before throwing any weight around.  As expected, Thursday didn’t disappoint. I was a little surprised at the workout, only because I figure mobility day should be pretty easy. But like my trainer always says “This is a workout facility. Come here prepared to do work!” And I do, but working out is one of those things that I love to hate. I usually hate the workout while I’m doing it. But when it’s over and I’m sweaty, musty and weak, I feel sexy as hell. Sexy and accomplished, a badass kind of sexy.

We did our stretches, then alternated between dumbbell thrusters and running. I didn’t want to run (that’s nothing new), but I’m getting better with my running and motivated to continue getting stronger.

Monday = GAINES!

On the 17th I didn’t make it to the gym. When I was leaving the office the sky opened and unleashed a serious torrential downpour. I was unprepared, no umbrella or rain boots. I ended up running from the building to my car! That had to be the most invigorating run I’ve ever done. The rain was so refreshing, and as soon as I thought I was gonna die I was at my car. Quarter mile, half mile, whole mile…details aren’t important. And I ain’t talking about no light trot, I ran. Your girl was moving it in my shirt dress and ballerina flats.  This was kind of a big deal for me. 

Yo! Do you know what day it is?  ?

I had to dig deep for Wednesday’s workout. We started with bench press. Y’all know I was like a kid in a candy store when Chris (my trainer) told me I’d be working with a partner using a bar (Toyota jump) instead of dumbbells for my bench press.  By the time I was got to two (yes 2), the spirit had left and I felt defeated and embarrassed. I have weak arms, and some loss of sensation on my right side. As much as I wanted to, I struggled and only had to do five per set. Thank God I’ve never been an overly prideful person. I quickly let my partner know that I had to take some weight off, and we did. I still struggled to finish all four sets, but I finished.

The rest of the workout consisted of lunges, kettlebell swings, and, you guessed it, running. It was during this part of the workout where things got ugly. I enjoyed my Easter feast on Sunday, and then again on Tuesday. There were plenty of veggies, and nothing was fried, but you already know we (Southern Folk) glaze, sautee, and drizzle the hell out of our food. I felt heavy and sluggish. For the first time in a long time, I walked more than I ran. It was horrible, and I was happy when it was over.

Happy Hour at the Box.

I felt pretty good all day Friday, but about two hours before getting off work I started to feel bad. My equilibrium seemed to be off and I just wanted to lay down. I made it to the gym anyway and thankfully there was only one other person there, so Chris was nice, to both of us, and allowed us to somewhat program our own workouts. There is a limited amount of equipment in the gym, and he offered to let me row, but I wasn’t’ feeling that. I hopped on an old school Schwinn stationary-bike (cause it was dope) but wasn’t feeling that either. So, we settled on ten rounds of 50 jump ropes. Nice little workout.  I was sweaty and tired by the time it was over.

Can we take a moment to admire this beauty. I love vintage!

So I’ve accomplished my goal of slimming down, and going to the gym as regularly as my schedule will allow. It’s now time to get serious about my eating habits (I don’t diet) so that I can lose my unwanted belly fat! What are some tips and tricks you use to ensure you’re eating stays on course?

 

The Experience – Studio 21 Salon!

Eight months ago I attended a makeup class at what I like to call a “hidden gem” of a salon.   When I arrived at the location I was a little confused, because the name of the establishment and what I’d looked up online listed a hair salon. But when I got there and walked through the doors, a beauty baby grand piano greeted me in the foyer, and  a textured wooden wall served as the backdrop. It felt classy and rich. I walked through to a waiting area, the decor had changed. Black walls, crisp, clean white walls. Still rich, but the vibe was more street- around the way. A little past there was a transitional type space. The walls were still black, but there was also a rippled tin wall, and it took all of about 5 minutes before I realize that there was a mural painted on a wall in a street art fashion. My final destination was clearly a photography studio. One side of the room was white. The other side had a stage, and another wooden textured wall accented with elegant mirror art. “I’m here for a makeup class, but I need to find out more about this place!” 

Studio 21 Salon is a salon like no other- that I have experienced.

Located in Grand Prairie, TX, the 4,500 square-foot facility is equipped with a full service salon: 4 stylists, a loctician, braider, threader. The salon also houses a full service makeup studio, professional makeup artists, photography and videography studio, and media team.

The inspiration  and concept of Salon21 was curated by the owners, brother and sister, Jerrod Collins and Amiya Cleveland.

“Part of the inspiration was filling a gap that was there, and loving photo shoots! My brother, Jerrod is an amazing designer. He put everything together. It looked really nice and brought class to the table.” Amiya explains, “You can go from a ‘walk-in’ to having a photo shoot. But, you know that. You’re a model.”  

I don’t consider myself a model, but I have thoroughly enjoyed “the experience” of hair, makeup, and a photoshoot at the salon.  Since attending the makeup class in August of 2016,  Studio 21 has become my go-to! I frequent the salon as a walk-in for wax and threading services. I also love that Studio 21 offers a full list of natural hair care services, loc maintenance and styling. I’ve had my locs styled, and my daughter has  her natural hair treated and styled as well. 

The lights, studio chairs, and ambiance of the makeup studio make me feel like a star.

I just sit back and let the magic happen.  Amiya ‘The Face Beata’ slays and is always on point!  She’s done my makeup for events ranging from formals to concerts. Amiya did my makeup, and Studio 21 media did THIS photo shoot. She also did my makeup, and my hair was styled by Jerrod in the Rouge issue of Honey Be Natural magazine.

Graduation season is vastly approaching and prom season is now.  This can be a stressful time for students and parents scheduling hair appointments, makeup appointments, buying a dress, tux or outfits. You want to have photos to commemorate all of it. Studio 21 gives you the option to come get your hair and makeup done, then have a photo shoot all in one stop! “We have lots of options, so people can come in, get taken care of. You can even get dressed here and leave for prom from here! ” -Amiya Cleveland

 

Burpees, Bars, and PRs

Last week’s workouts were full of excitement and personal records (PRs). I feel like I’m finally hitting mt stride again with my workout regimen and it’s such a great feeling!  I workout at a Crossfit gym, but haven’t quite gained the strength and stamina to do Crossfit workouts. Not performing at the Crossfit level is a blow to my ego everytime I show up. But I keep reminding myself that slow and steady wins the race, and I’m making strides towards my goal.

I was so ready for Monday’s workout. Had my bag packed well in advance, even pre-planned my breakfast and lunch for the day. I have been struggling to get enough calories in to provide enough energy for my workouts, so I didn’t eat more than half of the breakfast and lunch I planned for the day. I did, however, drink plenty of water, and I drank a Green smoothie on my way to the box  for an additional boost of energy.

As usual, I checked out the Crossfit workout for the day, and it looked pretty easy. I could see that the Kingdom Athletics board hadn’t changed since the end of the prior week, so I just do what I normally do and headed to the restroom to get changed. After I changed and had my belongings situated, our trainer was announcing that we’d all be doing the same workout. Now, y’all know how excited I get to do Crossfit workouts. Before getting too far ahead of myself, I tested my strength on a bar that had already been loaded up. Had no problem with my text set, and from that point on, it was straight up BEAST MODE! We did deadlifts and kettle bell work. Great freaking workout, I didn’t walk out of gym that day, I soared!

I usually workout on Wednesdays, but decided to change things up a bit and went in on Thursday to do mobility work. It was my trainers birthday and he jokingly programed a birthday inspired workout that was insane. My heart was all in, but my body was like “Girl, we came here to stretch. And you have heartburn from the chicken sandwich meal you ate at Burger King for lunch, so stop the madness.” So, I tucked my tail and did mobility work.  It hurt so good! Being the team player that I am, I  made sure the cheer on the group that was putting in work. They clearly needed all the encouragement they could get.  Thursday was light work, slight work. We did mobility, then 10 minutes as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) weighted lunges and push-ups.

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Friday was a challenge. No real reason for it. It was Friday and I simply didn’t want to go workout.  But over the years, I’ve learned to show up when my energy is good and I don’t have any real plans. I did the Kingdom Athletics workout on Friday,  we did burpees, squats, sit-ups, and ring rows. I loathe burpees (who doesn’t), but Friday wasn’t too bad. She programmed the workout to 5 burpees at time. Five is the maximum number of burpees that I can complete fluidly, so I was motived. Friday’s workout was a great. I worked up a good sweat, it didn’t take too long, and wasn’t too killer.

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I’m in a good place with my workouts. I’ve gotten over the hump of dreading the gym daily, and actually look forward to it now. I’m admiring myself in mirrors more often; and have been getting a lot of comments, inquiries and compliments on my weight loss. With summer being around the corner, this is good. I just have to make sure I continue to do what I need to do, and not mess this up!

 

 

 

2 Thumbs Up Week 2

Manic Monday

Monday, like every other Monday, was dreadful, but I’d packed my bag the night before, prepared a nutritious lunch, and packed snacks, to ensure I’d have enough energy for the workout. I made sure that I ate well and kept up with my water intake during work. I got to the gym and saw that we were assigned thrusters and  jump rope.  Since I pre-planned and had my food prepared for the day, my energy level was at a good place. I was able to challenge myself a little.  During the workout I used a bar instead of dumbbells and was turning flips on the inside! No additional weights, but it felt so good, like…sooo gooood!

Kingdom Athletics did a modified version of the Crossfit workout, so we worked out as one group. That helped me because my ego wouldn’t allow me to lag too far behind the pace of the Crossfitters. I completed the workout with a little bit of energy and ultimately ended up with a nice sweat. Monday I walked away giving myself high-ofives and smiling from ear to ear. Sometimes it’s the little things.

Humbling Hump Day

Wednesday was my 9th wedding anniversary. I didn’t make it to the gym, but I won’t say I didn’t get any cardio in for the day (pops collar and drops mic).

Friyay or Whatever

As fate would have it, every single time I skip a day or some time at the gym, I show back up to the things I hate. Friday’s workout was pure cardio. Friday’s workout was sixteen (16) 100 meter sprints. I saw it written on the board for the Crossfit workout, and just figured our Kingdom Athletics workout would be written up on our board within minutes. Imagine the horror of being called to the starting line as one group.

I wanted to cry. I didn’t because I’ve made a promise to myself this year to make running  positive and therapeutic instead of dreadful. So I got my attitude together and prepared for the run. By the fourth lap I had requested the music be cranked up and had began talking myself through the runs. By the eighth lap my foot was aching pretty bad, and I was trying to figure out if that would be the  ailment I could use to get of the remaining laps. On the tenth lap he dismissed the Kingdom Fit crew, but I’d set my mind on completing twelve strong laps.  I asked if there were any other movements for the workout, found out there weren’t, so I decided to keep going and not stop at ten. I did all sixteen laps! I was tired as hell from the workout, but felt like I was walking on the moon for sticking through it.

That’s what this journey is about, embracing the good days and continuing to move. I have made such a positive turn around with running. It had everything to do with me changing my perception and conquering my fear.