New MUST-HAVE Gym Accessories That I Love!!

Fire Team Fit Lifting Belt and Rip Toned Wrist Straps!!  Must haves for any lifter especially as you go heavier in weight and start feeling the pressure!img_0758riptoned

First I’m going to go over the Fire Team Fit Lifting Belt.
Currently retailing on Amazon anywhere from $16-$28.  Prices vary on size and color.
This is the first time I have ever used or purchased a belt and i’m amazed and immediately fell in love with it.  Day 1 using it the very first time I hit a new PR.  I primarily got this belt because I could feel as I was getting heavier in squats I was feeling back twinks from the weight… the weight was causing my form in my back to lean too far forward or back.  I’m not quite sure which, but ever since I’ve been using the belt I have 0 back pains and no problems whatsoever.  Since purchasing and using this belt I have gone up about 10-20lbs in my squats.  It helps me feel extremely secure and safe, allowing me to go heavier without being afraid as I do work out by myself.
Not to mention it is comfy and the sizing is 100% correct.  I purchased the XXS, which they call their ‘youth’ size.  I have a 23-24in waist and the XXS is advertised as (26″=29″ around navel.)   If you scroll up you can see the front overlapping a little because I am small…but the belt still works and I don’t even notice or feel any discomfort from that.  I also feel it is the perfect width and size for me since I always see some monstrous ones and i’m tiny haha.
Another reason to support Fire Team Fit is because they are a Veteran owned and operated small business.  I love supporting small businesses especially those who are military, ex-military, or the like.

Now the Rip Toned Lifting Wrist Straps.
Currently retailing for $9.97 on Amazon, varying colors as well but all the same price.
(Wish I got the camo!! I don’t think they had that when I purchased these 😦  )
The reason why these stuck out to me was because of the price, the claim that they are cotton padded, and all of the positive reviews, especially how positive out of over 2K reviews.
Another awesome thing with these is the first time when using them I hit a new PR with deadlifts!  They allow me to have amazing grip so I don’t get cut short on my reps due to losing grip at all.  These are comfortable and haven’t bothered me at all which is a nice bonus.  They are also pretty long straps, I believe this is the full dimension: (LxW) 23 1/4” X 1 1/2”

However the length doesn’t bother me or hinder anything despite being small and having smaller hands so that shouldn’t be a worry at all.  They also have a lifetime replacement warranty!  They come with a bag with a snap if you’d like to carry your straps that way but personally I just added them into my gym bag and didn’t want to worry about any additional extra-bags lol.

I really can’t say anymore great things about either of these brands.  I’m happy with my purchases and they’ve dramatically improved my performance and my growth.  Highly recommend!  Must-have gym accessories for a low cost.

Updates/Cardio/Updated Reviews

I’m happy to announce I hit a whole new personal record with deadlifts at 130lbs!  I currently weight 105lbs!  Over this past month or two I’ve upped the amount of cardio i’m performing by a lot.  By a lot I mean I’m doing anywhere from 2-3 hours of cardio a week and i’m noticing the difference!  Turns out I really like cycling, and it’s perfect for me because I can sit there and play my Nintendo 3DS while getting my cardio in.  I’m someone that needs to be constantly busy and having my brain constantly stimulated.  Normally I get bored as all hell and focus on negatives when doing cardio which causes me to stop.  But with cycling and the capability of playing games while doing so has been a fool proof method for me.  I highly recommend it, especially if you can shop on Amazon.com, you can get games super cheap.

I’ve recently mixed up my training a lot.  I am a creature of habit and that is a horrible thing to be when it comes to working out.  When you get in routines, you hit plateaus all around.  I’m so happy to say i’ve broken them but to be honest it takes thinking and being very attentive to prevent myself from slipping into a routine- which I believe is where a lot of my recent progress has come from.

My weight has been fluctuating between 105lbs up to 110lbs, but it seems every morning i’m back at 105 or around, meanwhile I also see myself leaning up more and more and definitely more muscle build up.  So i’m in that weird transition of leaning up more, gaining muscle, back and forth-ness.  For the record I am only 5’2″, and I have a very petite build, ie: size 2 in lululemon and kids pants lol.

As far as prior reviews on my Nike Flyknit Airmax’s i’m sad to say flyknits aren’t worth anything unless you like to style them with your clothes to go out in.  Not workout.  I mentioned before that I had an issue with the toe box area, how flimsy it was, no support, so on and so forth.  Well the flyknit is a knit structure of the shoe, and…well it’s started to tear/come apart.  I’m very pissed about it because no part of those shoes were cheap.  I am in love with Nike Airmax’s but flyknits?  I will never ever purchase a pair again.  Not only because they aren’t ideal for athletics but because it’s just poor/cheap design and durability.

I’ve also completely remastered my entire glute ‘program’ per se.  Aka, throw everything in, toss it up, mix it up, make it hard, form form form, don’t do it ALL in a day.  I’ll do another post with a bunch of new workouts i’ve added, why I like them, where I feel it, what I notice right after/the day after, where i’m at, so on and so forth.  These have been incredibly hard and a long process for me to build up and learn.  I think also figuring out how to work my hamstrings safely has been a factor too.  If any of you read previously, I have some tendon issues in my hamstring above my knee.  Primarily on one of my legs more than the other and i’ve since learned that if I do the full motion that’s where my injury happens, and being very careful with slowly building them up with weight.  Yes I can work them individually at a higher weight than what i’m working with right now, however i’m working on strengthening them at lower weights, higher reps before moving up into a higher weight to avoid shock/injury.

I recently accumulated some items that i’d like to write reviews on, so over the next week or so I should have quite a bit of downtime so expect more of these popping up!  ❤

Best Place(s) For Affordable Activewear!

Hey Guys!

Sorry for another lull, I was just out of town for 2 weeks for work and I really thought I’d have time for working out, and keeping up with this.  But surprise, our attendance must’ve increased by 25% compared to last year and longggg work days.

Let’s get on with the blog!

Something that ALWAYS helps motivate me when I find myself losing drive, is shopping for more activewear.  Whether it be just clothes, gym accessories, shoes, etc.  It helps me stay driven.
My NUMBER 1 place to shop for activewear for the cheap, is TjMaxx!  The in-store selection is always MUCH better than their online, and it’s the same company as Marshalls, and Home Goods.  That’s where I have found my Lululemon dupes like I have mentioned in an older post, I’ve also seen a few items from Athleta in my local TjMaxx store!  Their selection has gotten insanely better within these past 6 months!  Just the other day I went to the store and found this:  FullSizeRender-1 This is the Under Armour Women’s Fly Fast 1/2 Zip, currently retailing for $50+.  I got it, along with the all black version for $29.99/each.  Here they are on Amazon.com I believe on the Under Armour website they’re about $52 right now.  $42-$53 on the Under armour website.  I also purchased this: IMG_1522(My shirt and socks matched hahaha)  I’m not quite sure the name of this pullover since it is an older style but I remember eyeing it on Nike.com when it was on clearance, but it was still $40 then.  I just knew it was a deal when I got it!  Not to mention it’s super soft, and I found out while wearing it today there’s a secret pouch compartment in the kangaroo pocket thing lol.

Another on a whim are these bottoms by Pink Lotus:  FullSizeRender-2 They are so incredibly soft, I even tried to find the exact style and pair online but to no avail.  They’d be a nice material to work out in as well however as you can see i’m short, and i’m not going to ruin them hahah.  I found these on clearance for only $12, and i’m in love with them.

Aside from TJMaxx lets all admit we have guilty pleasures.  I like Lululemon for instance because of the quality and comfort/style.  I’ve recently fallen in love with their In The Flow crops and their Free To Be sports bras.

Really good apps for finding GREAT deals on expensive activewear such as lulu:  Mercari, and Poshmark.  Mercari tends to be the place to find THE BEST deals, simply because unlike Poshmark and Ebay their charges to list are a lot lower.

These are a pair of the In The Flow crops.  What I love about them:  Very thick and soft material.  Also, NO PANTY LINES.  I got these for only $50 brand new, with tags on Mercari.  These never went on sale because of the high demand of the color and they retail for $88.    I also got another coral pair for $40 on the same app!

This is the Free To Be bra that I was talking about.  It’s incredibly comfortable, hell I wore it out as a normal bra hahaha.  They retail for $42 and I purchased one for $26, however that was through a Facebook Lululemon group (another great resource to find good deals.)  Also be sure to lurk on Ebay!  Great deals pop up there every once in awhile, you have to be smart about your search terms because sellers can be very generic especially if they don’t know the names of what they’re selling.  An item I had been searching for, for a long time but didn’t even know who they were by, I finally found them this week!

Have you all seen this image?  pants  I first saw this when Lauren Conrad posted up an article using this image on her blog.   Fell in love with them but never found out anything about them.  Turns out they’re the Lululemon Top Speed Crop, a style that has since been retired or they just aren’t currently making them.   Unfortunately any of these listed online are close to retail pricing because of which I assume.

I wanted to share with you guys some great ways to save money, and find other alternatives to things that you truly want but don’t have the money to be going out and buying at retail!

Fitness Resolutions: Advice

It’s come to the end of 2015, or it has already ended for some of you internationally.  To be honest I absolutely hate and dread New Years.  It has always equated to nothing in my eyes.  Just another excuse for people to party, drink, make bad decisions and lie to themselves.

Nothing changes, just a single digit.  Just like how age is just a number.  

We all know how the gyms become packed come the near year, and if you’re a regular some of you may have already noticed an influx in November right before Thanksgiving.  (You can’t lose the weight/look different for any holiday if you start a few weeks, let alone a few days prior to.  Sorry.)

But lets talk about this resolution nonsense.  In my honest opinion, if you view it as a resolution, it isn’t going to work.  You aren’t going to stick with it, it’s not something of worth to commit yourself to.  What I mean is, a resolution, a new year, a big change means what to that?  Nothing.  Change for the things that matter, not because a number changed.  Changing for a legitimate reason gives you a lot more motivation to stick with it and hold yourself to it.  When I started and decided to make myself stick with it 100%, my mentality was:  “Okay, this is going to suck.  I’m going to get tired and there’s going to be days I want nothing to do with it and there’s going to be days I love it.  But the days that I don’t want to go and do go, those are the days that total up.  Those are the days that are going to equal change.  I’m sick of looking this way and feeling this way.  Not loving my body, not feeling comfortable in my body, and wanting to cover it all up because I feel fat.  I don’t want to live like that anymore.  The only one who can make this change is me, this is my body and i’m responsible for it.  I’m the reason I feel this way in the first place.”

It’s a huge change, why I recommend starting with home workouts and sticking to those first.  Train yourself to commit, and feel yourself grow out of your own bodyweight strengths.  You’ll feel and notice yourself getting stronger.  Once you’ve committed go big.  Only you limit yourself.  ALWAYS keep learning and trying new things.  ALWAYS try to go heavier, higher.  Don’t limit yourself.  Don’t hold yourself back.  Fitness is a very big mental game.  You’re just holding yourself back.
Always do these changes for yourself, and no one but yourself.  There’s plenty of reasons why I started, and you can too.  Some people are harsh and mean, and I truly believe that is because they aren’t happy, and when they make insults about another’s appearance they clearly aren’t happy with themselves.  Lacking confidence, and trying to bring another down.  Don’t be that hideous person.  If you aren’t happy with things you can change, get off your ass and get working.  Being a hurtful individual gets you no where but pity.

LG Electronics Tone+ Stereo Bluetooth Headset Review

So if you follow me on Instagram, or frequently see the pictures from my page posted up on here, these might look pretty familiar to you!  These are the headsets I use in the gym.  I’ve been using them for a year now, come Christmas 🙂

FullSizeRender (14)
Now I want to let you know, since purchasing this pair I believe they have come out with a newer version.  I am reviewing the Tone+, the newer versions are listed here (From newest to oldest).  I can’t speak for the others, just this pair 🙂

First and foremost: I love these.  They are so easy and out of the way!

PROS:
– Wireless
– Light Weight
– Easy To Clean
– Sweat Proof
– Can be wrapped under/with my sports bra strap to stay in place when stretching
– Inexpensive.  Got these for like $40-$50 from Amazon.com
– Lasting quite well, No problems!
– Long Battery life.  I workout about 6 days a week at least an hour long, have to charge maybe every 1.5-2 weeks.
– Very flexible.

CONS:
– If you’re into a lot of dubstep or the like, music with a lot of bass, these don’t handle that type of audio all too well.  It sounds off.

I’ve only had connection issues twice, 1- was from a software update glitch from Apple.  Somehow the update screwed up the bluetooth ability.  And the 2nd- Failure to ever turn my phone off lol.  After I restarted everything was fine.

Prior to I always worked out with a corded headset, this is just so much better and out of the way! I love the color options too!  Personally i’m not a huge fan of earbud headsets, to me they always tend to be big and/or pretty tough, just not comfortable for my ears.  But this pair doesn’t bother me at all.  It isn’t firm, so it comfortably sits in your ear.  I get questions about these quite a bit in the gym, All you need to do is turn your bluetooth settings on, turn the headset on, pick the decide to connect to- and it connects.  After initially connecting for the first time, whenever you turn your bluetooth settings on, along with the headset, it connects within a second.

Traveling and Fitness

I feel like this is a common subject that I like to talk about.
Usually when I travel it’s for work, but this past week I went up to the only place I call home: Massachusetts.  My grandmother passed away in August and the official funeral service took place in October.  Where the remainder (aside from my intermediate family) resides on my mothers side.  Due to obnoxious reasons I was unable to workout, but when i’m out of town for work, it’s either after a 13 hour work day I’m too exhausted to, or the friends I never get to see I’d rather hang out with.

Over this past year I’ve learned a lot of things.  Sometimes i’m out of town for 3-4 days, sometimes a week.  I’ve tried several things as far as preventing muscle loss and there has been big differences as far as that goes.  Don’t try to watch your diet/make your portion sizes smaller when you know you’re not going to be working out.  Whenever I did that and came back to the gym I felt SO weak and everything was so difficult.  Eat what you want, if you know it has protein especially, eat it.  Now if there are cookies or desserts… you know you don’t need that.  (But I usually fail to resist the cookie urge……that is my kryptonite)    Try to keep up with protein shakes just to get that added punch in.  Even if you don’t drink them every day it helps.  And keep snacking.  Every two-three hours pop in a protein bar or some small meal.  The last thing you want to do is be hungry, that’s terrible for your metabolism on top of your muscles.

I’m no pro when it comes to this, and I usually kick myself every time I’m gone for x amount of days and come back and the work out is hard haha.  But even if you don’t travel, i’d say every 2-3 months give yourself a few days break.  Believe me I know how hard it is on rest days to resist the urge to do something unless you are busy, but your body will thank you for it.  Allow your muscles and more to heal, and you’ll come back even stronger.  When I have long breaks in between traveling gigs, when I come back it’s like WOAH! i’m even stronger now! This is awesome!  *Short term superhero feels*

Within the past month i've had about 13/14 days off from the gym, spread out by maybe 5 days.  But i'm still strong and still holding the definition.

Within the past month i’ve had about 13/14 days off from the gym, spread out by maybe 5 days. But i’m still strong and still holding the definition.

Want to get into fitness and weight training?

When I first got into this journey I knew nothing.  I learned more and more about the benefits of weight training, both physically and mentally.  I learned I would never look like a man or have the build of a man.  That it’s a very long process and it’ll take me years to reach my ultimate goal.  I wanted to get into something new and exhilarating.  I wanted to be very toned, drop this body fat, and strong.  I am quite small so before I started all of this I was very weak.  Feeling inadequate at all has always bothered me.  I’m pretty competitive at heart so it cut to me deep lol.  Not to mention I have always been an individual where safety and protection have meant a great deal to me.  It is within me that I HAVE to be able to protect myself and arm myself.  I cannot and will not ever expect or want someone else to do that for me because that includes putting all my eggs in that one basket and that’s just not me.

Because I knew nothing and was starting from nothing I started with using my own bodies resistance.  I mainly went with workouts from XFit Daily on Youtube.  They have a combination of HIIT workouts(High Intensity Interval Training), as well as basic training to build yourself up at home without weights or fitness accessories.  I do recommend having some sort of a yoga mat, and a pair of ‘womens weights’ IE: light dumbbells to have.  Since a lot of the workouts are done on the floor and unless you have carpeted flooring it’ll feel a lot better if you have a mat.  Blankets slide and if they slip on the floor (which they will) that can cause you to get hurt and injure yourself.  Go to your nearest TJMaxx (or equivalent if you aren’t in the U.S.) and pick yourself up a pair of each for cheap 🙂   For dumbbells I recommend about 5lbs.

Another recommendation and this might only apply to a few of you, if you have an Xbox with a Kinect, check out Xbox Fitness.  They’re routines from fitness professionals and they really work.  They have workouts ranging from 15 minutes to an hour or more long.  They really get your blood pumping and you might even learn a thing or two.  This will also help you a lot with perfecting forms.  Quite a bit of routines are free, at least if you have a Xbox Live Gold membership, however some you still have to pay for.  You get achievements, you break records, you break a sweat and get a good workout.  There’s really no negative from trying this out!

I recommend doing any sort of muscle building, resistance training first, then follow up at the end with any cardio.  This way any glycogen stores in your body are used up for those muscles, with the most energy used on your muscles instead of running or whatever the case.

Rule Of Thumb No Matter What You Do:
It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be fun, it’s not going to feel great, and you’re going to be sore.  Possibly walking like a penguin the next day.  But it’s all worth it.  The way we get our muscles to grow is by tearing the tissue, that’s why it hurts.  But the pain means growth.  Pain is good.  Start off by doing this 3X a week.  That way you can give yourself some recovery time to get used to the pain, allow your body to heal.  If you toughen out through the pain it honestly gets better.  Over time it doesn’t feel as bad as it does when you first start.  You might not think you ever will like the pain but watch.  You’ll be like me.  Where you wake up and your ass hurts like hell, sitting on it hurts like hell.  But you’re like YAY MY BUTT HURTS!!

Everyone is different so I can’t say for sure how long you should be doing these workouts.  I honestly would say about a month tops.  You will feel all the workouts becoming easier and a lot less work.  The point is for you to continue to progress and grow, shape up, you need the constant battle.  You go heavier, and you go harder.  That’s when it’s time to graduate to a gym and start moving ‘real’ weights.  The goal is constantly upping the intensity, the weights.  Lowering rest periods.

I full on do not believe in programs that focus on using your own body weight and solely only your body weight.  You will deadpan.  Workouts are great using your own body weight, it’s a great resource to use your own weight against yourself.  But it isn’t if that’s all you’re doing.  You will also grow bored if that’s all you do.
Variety is key, mixing it up is key.

I learned a lot of workouts, I learned forms, so on and so forth from YouTube videos, as well as from videos posted by IFBB professionals.  Use that mirror to perfect your form, critique yourself and your movements.  It’s not there for you to check yourself out, it’s there to form check your movements.  Form is everything.