Honor Your Day

I am not a morning person. Seriously.

I workout at 6 am two to three days per week. Seriously.

Why? Let me explain.

My workouts are the most important part of my day. Sounds a bit selfish, I know. I am a firm believer that everyone should set aside time each day (or most days of the week) to do some type of physical activity. For me, that glorious time tends to be anywhere from 60 to 75 minutes of lifting weights, getting my heart rate elevated and most definitely breaking a sweat. On rest days, I may go swimming, take a yoga class or go for a walk.

While I am far from an introvert, I am typically very quiet in the early portion of the day.  My mornings start out with me being reflective and establishing my intentions for the day. Thoughts like, “What do I want to accomplish today?” and “How can I fit in all of the things I want to do today?” run through my mind while I sip on coffee and portion out my vitamins.

So why would I voluntarily wake up early and workout at 6 am?

For starters, you may hear many business owners say they have a hard time fitting in time for themselves.  Imagine that, a Trainer with no time to practice what she preaches (the horror)… although it happens way more than you think.  It’s normal for us to want to provide service to our clients and be available… but what good is a service provider to a client that is completely tapped out?  Not much good.  So part of my motivation for working out early is that I KNOW I am taking care of what I could, should and must… AND I’m doing it early in my day so it won’t be hanging over my head later on.

Second, as I mentioned above, I like to set my intention for the day.  Why not start things on a high note? My favorite time is when I’m training, so why not start the day there and keep that wonderful buzz going as long as possible?  In many Yoga classes that I have taken over the years, at the end of class, we put our hands in prayer, bow our heads and say “Namaste”.  We honor our practice.  I really love this concept.  My interpretation of it is that if the session on the mat was great and you felt like you made progress with a pose or flowing through poses, then that is amazing and you honor it. At the same time, you might have struggled with something and although you might not be particularly happy at the moment, you should still honor it because there is a lesson there.  Either way, something good always comes out of the experience.  When I finish my workout, I take a few moments to reflect and thank the Universe for allowing me the time, space and energy to do it.

Third, as a Trainer and Coach it is extremely important to set an example.  Not only should one make the effort to look the part, but remember, your clients are looking to you for guidance and motivation.  I know I have an obligation to set an example.  I suffer through various aspects of my training too, just like my clients.  There are plenty of things that challenge me, that make me want to puke, and that make me question why did I get out of bed that morning… but ultimately, the answer is always the same, “Because I love myself and I love this shit!”

I hate waking up super early…. but I do it.  Because my own training is important to me.  Do I expect everyone to do the same as me? Absolutely not… but a small amount of effort every single day will go a long way.

How will you honor your day?

Collaboration: 3 Bodybuilding Moves Every CrossFitter Should Do!

Hey everyone! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.  My name is Tiana Gonzalez.  I’m an IFBB Pro Figure competitor based out of New York.   I’ve been involved in competitive bodybuilding since 1999 after an old boyfriend convinced me I had good genetics and the right work ethic to get myself ready for a show.  It’s been a roller coaster ride ever since! My last time on stage was in 2013 at the Kentucky Pro Show, in Louisville.  Since then, I have branched out into other types of training and have come to love CrossFit.  It has been a great change for me and one that I plan on keeping in my repertoire for many years to come.

So last week, Johnna shared that the two of us collaborated and had a meeting of the minds when I was vacationing in South Beach recently.  Johnna and I both agree that there are things we each could take from each other, and why not share that with you all?!   Last week, we shared with you 3 CrossFit moves that every Bodybuilder should do.  Today, I’m going to discuss 3 Bodybuilding moves that every CrossFitter should do. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Lateral Raises

Why are these so great?  Lateral Raises help build shoulder strength.  CrossFit is very SHOULDER INTENSIVE, so one could really benefit from doing this exercise to support and strengthen the muscles surrounding this joint.  While lifting heavy weight will certainly build strength, let’s put our ego aside and pick up some respectively lighter dumbbells.  Most people look at me sideways when I hand them 5 or 8 lb dumbbells… until we get into the meat and potatoes of the set… and then they are looking at me with tears in their eyes asking when they can stop (ok… maybe it’s not that dramatic, but you get my drift).

How To:

  • Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand.  Arms are down by your side.  Feet shoulder width apart.  Core is engaged. Shoulders are in a neutral position.  Chest is slightly lifted, think “stand proud”.
  • Raise each arm to shoulder height with elbows very slightly bent.  You don’t want to hyper extend your arms here.
  •  Pause at the top of the movement, when your hands are at shoulder height, and slowly lower down to the starting position.
  • Keep your focus straight ahead and abs engaged at all times.


Want to try it?

Start by using a light set of dumbbells and doing 4 sets of anywhere from 10-15 reps.  Perform each movement with intention using a controlled tempo on the way up and down.

Single Leg Glute Bridge

Single Leg Glute Bridge is an amazing movement for building power in the gluteal/hip region.  Have you ever seen a professional athlete with pancake ass? I didn’t think so.  That is because most of your power comes from your posterior chain (Rear end, hamstrings, calves).  So yes, building powerful glute muscles is all good all around.

How To:

  • Start Laying on the floor with one foot resting on the edge of a bench or box.
  • The other leg is extended towards the ceiling with the foot flexed.
  • Lift the hips up towards the ceiling while you visualize touching the ceiling with your heel.  Contract the glutes at the top of the movement for a brief second (pause), then lower down to the floor.
  • Make sure your glutes touch the floor before you start your next repetition.




Want to try it?

Start by doing 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg.  This movement can be done prior to lower body work, for example if you are going to do barbell squats.

Banded X-Walks

Banded X-walks are fantastic for working the abductor muscles and activating the glute muscles prior to doing movements such as squats and deadlifts.

How To:

  • Start by placing both feet inside of a loop-band.  You want to use one that is 1/2″ to 1″ thick.
  • Crisscross the band, so that the band is creating a figure 8 shape in front of your legs.
  • Pull the band so that there is some tension. This can be adjusted as you begin your repetitions.
  • Keep knees soft, chest up, core engaged, focus straight ahead.
  • Choose which direction you want to move in, left or right.  If moving left, step to the left with your left foot, then step your right foot in to return your body to the same width between feet that you started with.  Repeat this movement on one side, then begin stepping with the opposite foot back to your starting point.
  • Keep both feet parallel to each other, with toes pointing straight ahead.  Also try to stay at the same height for the entire site, so you’re keeping tension on your entire lower body and not moving up and down as you move side to side.

 

 


Want to try it?

Start by doing 3 sets of 20 steps on each side at the beginning of your workout.

Give these movements a try and let me (and Johnna) know how it goes! We would love to hear some feedback from you! If you would like to subscribe to my blog go to: http://www.fitbytiana.wordpress.com

THANK YOU and STAY WELL! 🙂

What division?

This is a common question for many people who are interested in competing in a Bodybuilding show, but perhaps do not know what category to enter.  The more people you ask, the more confusing it can become.  The wave of Social Media “celebrities” combined with the generation of required instant gratification, has really made competing even more convoluted than before.  Here’s my suggestion… After watching a few shows, decide which category you think would be most enjoyable for you to compete in… now I use the word enjoyable cautiously here.  Let’s be straight, competing is NOT all enjoyable, fun, rainbows and gold coins.  It is a lot of hard work.  We know this.  But the only way a person will get any valuable feedback is by going through the preparation process, getting on stage, having some photos taken and getting a critique from the head judge of the show (This is something you would do post show by sending a polite email introducing yourself along with a stage photo showing your number).

Now, if you have your heart set on a specific division, but perhaps you just need more time to develop a certain body part, than humble yourself, put in the work (which may take years) and focus on that end goal of getting on stage in the division of your choosing.  If you decide to keep competing without giving your body ample time to recuperate and develop, you will not evolve and your chances of success may dwindle.  Bodybuilding (and all of the other divisions included) is one of those beautiful hobbies that will afford you the opportunity to improve over time.  The body cannot develop while under a caloric restriction.  So the idea of dieting for a show and trying to “build up” a certain body part at the same time is illogical and foolish.  Hypertrophy (GROWTH) requires proper amounts of fuel and a specific method of training.

If your heart’s desire is to get on stage and you are willing to do a little trial and error until you find the right division for yourself, you might have a little easier time… doesn’t mean you won’t diet as much as the next person, or be able to skip training certain body parts… But you may wind up placing or having a good competition experience because you chose a division that may be the right fit for your body type/structure/build.

Again, it’s about having clear goals and utilizing resources to achieve the best outcome possible… and that term “best outcome possible” I leave to interpretation.  One person’s best might be a Top 10 placing.  Another might want to win an Overall title… and another person might want to just be onstage and bask in that glory.  There is no right or wrong, it’s about personal goals.

Find someone experienced and honest to consult with,  if you feel unsure.  I am willing to give my input.

Email me: fitbytiana@gmail.com

Remember… Everyone starts somewhere.  Never give up on your health and fitness goals!

Journey

 

Absence

One of my former bosses used to always say to people he had not seen in a while, “you are conspicuous by your absence”

And, no… I have not published a blog entry in a few months… partly because I am working on restructuring the format, reworking the content I present, and also I’ve been doing a lot of writing/saving entries… just have not felt the push to post anything.

I also have been thinking about my own image/portrayal… How do I want to be received? How do I want to be remembered? I have a lot of experiences to share, views on things related to life and fitness more specifically… yet, I do not feel this drive to shove my views down the throats of my social media followers and blog subscribers.

I have been posting less, sharing less, taking less photos, talking less… spending more time reading, reflecting, learning, and of course, exercising.  You see, while I know I am completely transparent, honest, and express myself freely… I also realize that not every thought needs to be expressed exactly at the moment in which I think it. Maybe I’m analyzing too much… but the more nonsense I see being put out into the world, particularly on social media… the more inclined I am to remain quiet and focused on the things that truly bring me joy, happiness, a sense of fulfillment.

So have no fear… I have not disappeared… I have not gone anywhere, except the Jersey Shore for 2 days at the very end of the summer (that was the first and only time I felt sand in between my toes in 2015)… Just rethinking EVERYTHING!

~ Namaste

Eating Clean May Not Get You Lean

Everybody thinks they “Eat Clean” and some that “eat clean” feel it’s pointless because they do not see results.  That term is used too often and means something different to every person you ask.  For some people, not drinking alcohol on weekdays or not having any dessert after dinner is what they consider eating clean.  For others, they might follow a plan that is gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, paleo, or some other type of dietary lifestyle and that is what those people view as eating clean. Again, too vague of a term to define.

If you want results, you need to be accountable.  First, establish your goal(s).  Are you looking to lose some body fat? Do you want to perform better when you go to your Crossfit box? Would you like to add some muscle to your body?

After you determine your goals and determine which type of nutrition plan you want to follow (if you are not hiring a Nutritionist or Coach) you should examine your current intake so you can make adjustments where necessary.  Keep some type of log… use a journal or one of the many free smart phone apps that will not only keep a log of your food intake, but also break down all of the macronutrients and micronutrients.  I tend to go for the latter of the two.

Few more simple tips that will help you dial in on your nutrition…

Make a list prior to going grocery shopping – this will help you stick to the new plan and not buy snacks/foods that you should avoid.

Prep food in advance – I’m not big on making an entire week’s worth of food, but I do like to have enough prepared food in my refrigerator to last 2 or 3 days.

Pack and bring your food with you in a cooler if you’re away from the house for several hours – Some people might view this as extreme, but if you want to be sure to eat on time and avoid impulsive eating, having your own food is the best option.

One more thing… When you do embark on a new Nutrition plan… I strongly suggest sticking to the plan 100% for 2 weeks before determining that something isn’t working and making any changes.  COMPLIANCE is usually the biggest issue for people… and it doesn’t matter how flawless a plan is, if the individual is not following said plan.

Bodybuilders Need Patience

It is so disturbing as a veteran in the Bodybuilding world, to see so many people searching for instant gratification and shortcuts to success in competing.  I hate to tell you, but if your body lacks muscle maturity, density, or size, there is no shortcut to develop that.  Of course there are things people turn to in an effort to speed up the process, such as anabolic steroids, but… if used improperly, disastrous and sometimes irreversible, effects will show up… and nothing can be done to go back.  I see it often with women who have trained for a short period of time but want to put on muscle.  Instead of training heavy, eating more food and giving the body time to grow… they take something recommended to them and a few weeks/months later, freak out when their voice gets deeper, the jawline changes, certain parts of the genitalia become deformed, bald spots form on the head, and then unwanted body hair in other places develops… and this is just to name a few of the visible side effects.

Why do this to yourself?

Oh, that’s right… Some guy from your gym told you if you did “just a little” you would be fine.  I’m sure all of his experience with the female body and hormonal system have made him an expert. (insert sarcasm)

It’s tough for me to watch this go on, but I learned many years ago that I cannot get involved, because most of the time the party I’m concerned for will tell me to mind my own business.

Sad… But hey, a plastic trophy and maybe a Pro Card are certainly worth enlarged female genitalia and a beard, right?  I know… Horrible… and yes, very true.

Be patient, put in the work and allow your body to develop naturally… You don’t get any bonus points for being a freak of nature or for getting to wear some t-shirt representing a company that will never be in the Forbes 500.

 

 

Service

We don’t have bad days

We smile and are courteous to our clients even on the worst of the worst possible days.

We stand on our feet all day long.

We shovel food in our mouths like animals, most of the time cold, out of a tupperware, and usually just standing in the locker room because there is little time for eating.  Most of us live on protein shakes.

We service clients that want to train early in the morning as well as late at night, many times on the same day.

We scramble to do things like grocery shopping and laundry in between appointments on our “light” days, which could be any given day of the week, but most definitely not Saturday (which is when all the weekend warriors want to train).

We work hard to maintain a professional tone throughout our sessions, even when clients tell us very personal things like stories about their spouse, kids, work, etc.

We generally work hard to accommodate our clients’ needs.

We drink a lot of coffee and/or tea to remain alert and focused for our clients.

We do get tired at times.  We are human too.  We like to workout also and love our private time to do that, even when you interrupt us on our own time.

We want you to succeed and accomplish your goals.

We often become emotionally invested in your journey.

We appreciate your “thank yous” and loyalty.

Be nice to your trainer.