Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Free Concert... Well, Sorta

I just want to go ahead and tell y'all how excited I am for tonight.

If you've been around here before (and even if you haven't, here it is), you've seen me post my Bucket List. It's no secret how much I absolutely love Dave Matthews Band and would do [just about] anything to get to see him live in concert, especially if it's with Tim Reynolds.

Tonight, in my little ole hometown, he is playing. My heart dropped when I heard the news several months ago and then missed buying tickets. I looked high and low for so long trying to get a pass to this concert. I became obsessive.

I was unsuccessful in scoring tickets to the concert. I did however, score a position working the concert, in a venue that faces the stage. Another perk, working this event will put money towards my baby sister's high school band dues. It's totally a win, win! To say the least, I'm HELLA stoked.

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Who is the number one person/band you want to see live in concert?

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Monday, May 18, 2015

#MotivationMonday

I'm a little late getting this post up, I'm still working out the kinks in my rusty blogging. This weekend was a crazy one and today I started my brand new job at FreeRide Studio here in Northwest Arkansas. I'm on high right now from what's to come with the studio and my career, I can't wait to go more into detail about it.

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If you're local, click on the link below the photo and go to 'Classes/Schedule'. This week we are offering free Spin classes and next week we will have free Barre classes. Take advantage of this huge deal!

I'm posting about FreeRide because I'm super excited for the things to come and it's been extremely motivating to me just to be a part of the atmosphere. After-all, it's #MotivationMonday! In my last post, I mentioned making Cranberry Coconut Cashew Fig Bars and they were absolutely ahhhh-mazing. I have to share the recipe. I normally take pictures while making a recipe but had no time due to procrastination on packing for our Dallas trip.. Oops. I originally found the recipe on Pinterest (no surprise there....) so I am referring back to the exact recipe I found, which comes from The Pescetarian and the Pig. Like I said, amazing. Super easy, healthy road trip snacks that can be made in as little as 15 minutes (prior to cooling in the refrigerator of course).

Cranberry Coconut Cashew Fig Bars

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Black Mission Figs *I used Dried Figs
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Raw Unsalted Cashews 
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Honey (or Agave) *I used Agave
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

In a food processor (I actually used a blender, but would've preferred a food processor), combine all ingredients except for agave(honey) and cashews. Mix until well blended.

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With food processor running, pour honey into the feed tube.

Either pulse or fold in cashews.

Line an 8×8 brownie pan with wax paper. Spoon fruit and nut mixture onto the wax paper and spread evenly with a spatula.

Place another piece of wax paper on top and press the fruit and nut mixture firmly into the pan as evenly as possible.

Refrigerate for 2 hours and cut into squares to serve. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Feel free to sub raw almonds for cashews!

It made several small squares that were absolutely delicious. The perfect blend of sweet and savory, just perfect for a road trip.

On another note..

I've been wanting, for some time now, to make infused water. Finally, with Daniel's blessing, we have several different flavors infusing as I type! We had left over Native Nectar (and if y'all don't know what this is, you should DEFINITELY check them out) bottles, so I decided to be eco-friendly and reuse them for making colorful, tasty, healthy water bottles.

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From L-R:

  • Blueberry, Blackberry, Strawberry
  • Cucumber, Mint, Raspberry
  • Pitcher - Lemon, Orange
  • Blueberry, Strawberry, Orange
  • Orange, Red Grape

I plan to experiment more and more with different types of pairings, starting with this article with 7 different recipes. Fun fact, they were also perfect for the road trip. We had a small cooler and took two bottles with us. You can purchase water bottles on the way and refill them (if it is a several hour trip) and continue to have infused water all day! I think this will help me in drinking the proper amount, if not more water throughout the day. 

Did you read my post about Being a Jiu-Jitsu Girlfriend? I recently experienced my first "long trip" competition in Dallas this past weekend and I can't wait to give my feedback. Stay tuned!

Use special code 'TAROLE' to receive 15% off your entire purchase at Altar Ego Apparel!


Happy Monday! :)

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Being a Jiu-Jitsu Girlfriend

Jiu-Jitsu: a martial art, combat sport, and a self defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting.

Huh? I'm not sure I've ever really heard of this before a few months ago. I've mentioned a few times, D, and it's time I go into detail. D stands for Daniel, and the person who has completely swept me off my feet. We met immediately after I moved home and life has been incredible ever since. You could say I'm smitten.

Daniel trains and competes in Jiu-Jitsu. When I say trains, I mean... trains. 4-5 days out of the week he is pulling two a days and half the time even trains at least once during the weekend. He is very dedicated and disciplined with this art, its intriguing.

For a sport that is not very well known, it has a lot going on. There are constant competitions around the country, a pretty large group of competitors, both men and women, and several different divisions based on belt color, as well as age and weight. There are technicalities when it comes to performing on the mat, there are specific uniform regulations, there are different types of matches, whether it be submission only or not. I'm learning so much. Daniel first described it to me as "aggressive cuddling", which is funny when you think about it. They roll around on the floor in very close, intimate positions. Their uniforms (actually called "Gi") look a lot like pajamas (meaning no offense!). Yup, that sure does seem like aggressive cuddling. The actual term is 'grappling' or the styles and techniques used in the art of Jiu-Jitsu. There is no striking, kicking, or use of weapons. In terms of Martial Arts, it's 'gentle'. Honestly, it reminds me a lot of yoga practice. Jiu-Jitsu is a flow, and the fighters are taught a lot about breath. Watching a match you can see it. You can see the calmness in the face and flow of the moves. Like I said, it's intriguing.

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Having a fighter boyfriend, comes being a part of the entire world yourself. You hang out with fighter girlfriends and wives, you travel with your partner to all the competitions, you learn the proper ways to wash a Gi, you learn the extremity of making weight, it's an entire world of its own. And the fighters are dedicated, very dedicated.

It's so humbling to be a support system for someone who is so passionate about something. It's his world, his escape. And for me, I just love watching him. It's also a very scary thing. Every time Daniel steps onto the mat, he's putting his life in someone else's hands. Sometimes it's been hard to watch, but you just have to trust your fighter and that they know what they're doing. I've only seen Daniel compete once, as I am brand new to this lifestyle. This weekend we are traveling to Dallas for him to compete in a submission only (the opponent has to tap out) tournament where he received the wild card slot. This will be my first real traveling experience with him and I couldn't be more excited and nervous. In two weeks we will be heading to California for the Mundials. I will definitely be talking about my experience at both competitions and the differences. Mundials is a world championship, the big show, so it'll be interesting to see how things pan out.

There is so much more for me to go into about how being with Daniel has gone so far, but I will tap into that later on down the road. Now it's time for me to run some errands and pack for this Dallas trip! I made Cranberry Coconut Cashew Fig Bars for the road trip and if they turned out good I will definitely share the recipe :)

Daniel and me after he won silver in April. My first competition to attend. 
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Do you know anything about martial arts?

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Amateur Alert: Lifting Heavy

So, I did it. I finally decided to try out heavy lifting.

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Since I moved home and met D (I'll go into THAT more a little later...), I've adopted a completely new circle of friends, which I absolutely love. One of the first ladies I met was the lovely Eryn, who is a Jiu-Jitsu "Wife" girlfriend (also will go into that later...) like me, but also does bikini fitness competitions. She lifts heavy, I mean heavyyy. Eventually I bucked up enough courage to ask her about it and tell her I was interested. BAM... 3 weeks later we've made a habit of meeting at 5:30 am to get our lift on.

Now, I admit, I was one of those girls who initially thought lifting heavy weights will make me bulk. After constant research and studying for my own personal training certification, I've finally come to realize that lifting heavy is actually GREAT! In a two week span I've managed to up my weight for squats by 40 pounds (first week I was at 65 lbs, this week I am at 105 lbs!) and today I benched 85 pounds! To all you seasoned heavy lifters, that might not sound like a lot, but for me, it's huge! I am already starting to see a difference in definition and I'm anxious to see how far I can go with this.

With being an amateur heavy lifter, I've definitely noticed a few things to be mindful of when starting out fresh like me.

1. Listen to your body.
    After squatting that 105, my glutes and legs were shot. This was Monday, and I was supposed to run stairs that day as well. I couldn't bring myself to do it that night so I planned on completing them Tuesday. Didn't happen. I was so sore, it even hurt to sit on the toilet. I decided to rest them again and get them ready for Cardio Dance and stair running tonight. I'm so glad I did, for even though I worked out arms and chest today, my legs are still  mildly sore, but ready for tonight's routines.

2. Form is KEY.
    I've already posted about proper form (and will continue to post about it) but it is crucial when lifting heavy weights. Injury can happen in a split second if you are not careful and aware of your posture. There is a reason you have to pay attention, and it's because improper form is highly dangerous.

3. Don't let the weight amount f*ck with your mind.
   Excuse my French, but I'm serious. This whole post came to me today when I asked how much I was benching, and the regret that followed. Before I knew how much weight was on the bar, I powered through the reps. After I knew the amount, it totally messed with my mind, and the "I can't"s started pouring out. Thankfully Eryn is a BAMF and made me push through it. If you are the same way, it's better to wait until after you're done with the circuit before you ask your trainer.

4. Make sure you consume enough.
    Protein, nutrients, minerals, etc are all absolutely essential to maintaining the capability of lifting heavy. You have to feed your body with the proper materials if you want maximum results. Don't expect to be lifting heavy weights with little to no nutrition. A girl's gotta EAT!

5. Don't cut out other varieties of exercises.
    What I mean by this is, I'm not going to stop yoga or spin or running just because I'm lifting heavy. Granted, I don't do cardio nearly as much, for I am burning more calories with the heavy lifting, but it makes my heart happy to get my heart rate up with a fun activity.

I am no expert by any means on heavy lifting, I'm just in the beginning phase of my personal journey. These are just a few things I've noticed in the past few weeks of starting out. I will definitely touch back with this and post progress photos in due time.

Until then...

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Get 15% off with code "tarole" at Altar Ego Apparel

What other kinds of posts would you like to see on the blog?

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Monday, May 11, 2015

#MotivationMonday

It's 10am on this beautiful spring morning here in Northwest Arkansas. I'm sitting here in bed with my coffee, my PT textbooks, and three fur-babies. I've been up since 5:15ish and managed to get in an intense workout (I squatted 105 lbs today, y'all. First time for everything!). Life has been going extremely well lately and I couldn't be happier.

I had an interesting article pop up into my email this past weekend from Greatist, a health and fitness news website I subscribe to, and I figured I would share. The author, Charlotte Andersen has some great articles and has quickly become one of my favorites to read. I wanted to share because I'm not sure how many, if any know of this website or follow their posts, but I found this article very informative to my personal readers. More times than none, people pair exercising and eating right with losing weight or "having a great bod", but there is so much more to it than that. Several benefits have been proven outside of losing weight and this article brought it to my attention again.

So, for motivation this Monday, here goes..


By Charlotte Andersen of Greatist

1. It works as an antidepressent - Study has found the effects of exercise last longer than the effects from medication alone.
2. It reduces PMS symptoms - I'm going to go ahead and say I have personal experience with this one. It has in no way taken the symptoms away completely but I'm a hell of a lot better when I exercise on the reg.
3. It reduces stress and anxiety - Another I have personal experience with and "science says that working out is one of the fastest ways to clear cortisol, the stress hormone, out of your system and calm a frantic mind".
4. It boosts creativity - "A recent study found that walking improved both convergent and divergent thinking, the two types associated with enhanced creativity."
5. It wipes out allergies - "Researchers in Thailand reported that running for 30 minutes can reduce sneezing, itching, congestion, and runny nose by up to 90 percent."
6. It strengthens your heart - According to the American Heart Association, exercise strengthens your heart muscle as well as reduces your risk of heart disease and other related conditions.
7. It helps you resist temptation - "In one study, scientists found that the endorphin rush released during exercise acts on the same neural pathways as addictive substances."
8. It reduces risk of metabolic syndrome - "Researchers say that exercise can almost totally obliterate metabolic syndrome and even reverse the damage."
9. Lessens the risk of several other diseases - "a miracle drug that prevents almost every illness, is 100 percent effective, and has very few side effects."
10. It protects your eyes - "Recent research found that one of the best ways to protect your eyes and stave off age-related vision loss is regular cardiovascular exercise."

These are just the first 10, find the article here to keep reading the other benefits of exercising and eating right. I would also highly recommend subscribing to their mail list, they always send great tips, recipes, and news.

On another note..

I've been trying out the heavy lifting lately with my girl, Eryn, who is a part of the Jiu Jitsu family at Inferno Fitness with me, here in Northwest Arkansas. I've been feeling really strong and very empowered lately. I love pushing my body and seeing where I can take it with working out, it's a such a great feeling. I'll post progress pictures soon enough :)

Brand Ambassador Alert!!

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I'll post a picture as soon as my first pair comes in :)

How is your week starting out?

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Fitness

Happy Friday!

I've decided to come up with a little series I call "Friday Fitness". In this series I will bring to you videos of new workouts (not my own in the beginning but I plan to start shooting my own work outs), proper form for exercises, and anything else related to a healthy fit lifestyle.

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Today I'll talk a little bit about proper form. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone performing an exercise while using improper form. Not only is it counter-productive, it is also dangerous and will more than likely result in some sort of injury. In my training, proper form is emphasized several times throughout the curriculum. There is no use in doing a workout if you're only going to do it wrong.

In the weeks to come I will highlight exercises for different parts of the body. Today I will start with lower body exercises and the basics to working out the different muscles that make up your legs and glutes.

Squat

Starting with the most commonly known exercise, the squat. It is very easy to perform this exercise the wrong way, but it is also very easy to perform it the correct way. It is a complete lower body work out that can be performed essentially anywhere with little skill.

Targeted Muscle Groups

  • Calves
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Legs
Purposes
  • Increases blood flow into the legs
  • Strengthens muscles (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves)
Form
  • Stand with your feet hip width apart
  • Bend your hips and knees and start to descend
  • Keep feet flat and firmly on the ground and sink your hips back (as if sitting in a chair)
  • Keep the weight in your heels by sitting back and keeping your knees behind your toes
  • Keep a straight back and neutral head position
Mistakes
  • Rounding of the back
  • Knees tilting inward
  • Knees passing the toes
  • Heels coming off the ground
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Walking Lunges

Walking lunges is a sure fire way to strengthen the booty (glutes), and creates strong, lean legs. The also play a role in improving balance and motor patterns.  You can always use a pair of dumbbells for added resistance.

Targeted Muscle Groups

  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Legs
Purposes
  • Strengthens legs and hips 
  • Develops and strengthens basic motor patterns
Form
  • Stand with your feet at shoulder width apart, hands on hips
  • With one foot, step forward about 16 to 20 inches and descend
  • Step forward onto the front leg, into a standing position, using the the strength of the front leg
  • Repeat on opposite leg
  • Alternate legs for desired number of times
Mistakes
  • Front foot and knee not pointing straight
  • Front knee passing the toes
  • Rounding or tilting of the back
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Deadlifts

Deadlifts are one of my favorite leg, back, and booty exercises. It is very easy to perform this work out incorrectly which could result in lower back strain and injury. Of course there are different variations of the deadlift, but the form foundation is basically the same in each style.

Targeted Muscle Groups

  • Back
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Legs
Purposes
  • Strengthens lower back, glutes, and hamstrings
Form
  • Start with the barbell in front of your thighs, hands hip width apart
  • Slowly bend at the hips, keeping your chest up and back straight at all times
  • To assure the greatest amount of bending occurs at the hips, slightly bend your knees (about 20 degrees)
  • Keeping the barbell close to the shins/thighs at all times, return to standing position
Mistakes
  • Knees locked
  • Bending the knees too much
  • Rounding of the back
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Bridging

Bridging not only helps to strengthen the legs but also helps to develop core stability. There are also variations of this exercise ranging from single leg to weighted. It is a perfect beginning exercise and can be used in either your leg or core workouts. It can also be performed essentially anywhere with limited skill.

Targeted Muscle Groups

  • Back
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Legs
Purposes
  • Strengthens lower back, glutes, and hamstrings
Form
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet placed flat and firmly on the ground about 12 to 14 inches from your hips
  • Keep your hands flat by your side to help maintain balance
  • Lift your hips toward to sky until your thighs and trunk make a straight line
  • Return slowly to starting position
Mistakes
  • Hips not fully elevated and straight
  • Over-arching of the back
  • Allowing one hip to drop
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These are just a few of the basic lower body work outs. When exercising always remember to maintain proper form to receive optimal results.

What is your favorite lower body exercise?

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

My New Journey

It's here, it's here! My new design, little home on the web is finished and ready to debut. The fabulous Noor did a wonderful job in my opinion. What do y'all think?

Saying a lot has happened in the last several months would be an absolute understatement. Not only did I leave my island home to start a new adventure with my girl Lorena in California, but ended up not being able to survive financially. I finally made the decision to move home to the beautiful Natural State of Arkansas. It was the last thing I wanted to do, put up the white flag and come home. I didn't want to live in Arkansas, I wanted to see the world and experience things I've never experienced before. Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, this was the best option for me.

I had an amazing time in Hawaii. I learned so much about myself and the life I imagined for myself while spending 4 years on the beautiful islands. It was such a growing experience for me that I will be forever grateful for, and will cherish the memories until the end of my days. If I'm going to be honest, I miss it more than I thought I would. The hikes, the feel of the ocean, the amazing food, the welcoming people. It definitely had it's downs, but going from the island back to the mainland, it was like reverse culture shock for me.

Living in California was rough. I'm not being dramatic about this people, I struggled. I had more hardships than good times and I was basically stressed for the majority of it. I even had a hard time grocery shopping, it was a mess.

Finally I came to the realization that a move home would be in my best interest. I can save money. I can focus on my personal training certification. And I can be with my support system again. Being home with my family has been very healing to me. It was exactly what I needed after enduring months and months of hardships and stress. Now that I've been home for a couple months it has proven to be the best choice I've made in a very long time. Everything has been falling into place perfectly in every aspect of my life (but I'll go into that a little later).

I'm excited to share this new journey with you, there is so much to come!!

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