12 Steps to Replace Fast Track Promises

Promises, promises, and more promises. Assurances that you will become a better you are the claims made by companies who shall remain nameless. But you know who they are.

Pay us “X” amount of dollars monthly and we’ll do the work for you!

I read three different plans on one company’s site.

  • Basic daily plan of $10.18 per day… that’s $3,715.70 annually
  • Core daily program of $11.07 per day… that’s $4,040.55 yearly
  • Uniquely yours daily plan of $ 12.50… that’s 4, 562.50 per year

I searched another business. If you join “today,” the one-time enrollment fee is slashed from $99 to $49. You then pay a $19 monthly meal plan. After that, you’re hooked for about $20 per day, which amounts to “around” $7,300 annually! Get the heck out of here!

From a monetary standpoint, my question to you is, are you financially stable enough to afford the fees for the rest of your life? Does the diet plan align with your financial goals?

I get it. It’s tempting because it appears to be more straightforward than the “other” route.

The lure to unpack the product of a poor diet, lack of physical exercise or the side effects of medication or a physical condition is tantalizing. You want it off and off now.

Marketers play on your frustration and eagerness to find results with catchphrases:

“Rapid weight loss.”

“Fast track to weight loss.”

I decided to write this piece because, in addition to seeing a family member’s kitchen full of this stuff, I’ve also had several people ask my opinion about these type of programs. Taking photos of the packaged food was something I could not resist doing.

Can you imagine buying these products for the rest of your life? You’d probably get tired of eating this stuff anyway. The person who was on this particular plan lost 25 pounds in six months. Eventually, she went off the plan and attempted to maintain on her own. She was unsuccessful, gained the 25 pounds back and then some. She is not alone. I am not saying it’s the same for everyone but what I am getting at is that if you don’t do the work, no program is going to work or last.

 

Marketers know you want it badly. The truth is NOTHING fast, quick or rapid will sustain you for a healthy lifestyle.

My problem with these programs is that, as long as you buy the meal plans, you lose weight. But when you discontinue the plan and try to do it on your own, you fall short.

You fall short because you relied on someone else to do work for you that you needed to do for yourself.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Sure, you see big-name celebrities with deep behind pockets endorsing the brand, but with each ad, their pockets get deeper. Cha-Ching! $$$$$. Most celebs can afford the long-term financial commitment. Can you? I’m just sayin’… Evening setting the money spent aside, how healthy is pre-packaged food? Perhaps you might supplement with fruit, but it’s still packaged. IJS.

I encourage you to invest your time and your money into educating yourself on how to adopt a restorative life by making informed decisions that improve your overall health and wellness.

  1. Gauge your physical health. Make your annual doctor appointments (Dentist, General Practioner, OBGYN, etc..) and discuss your blood work and exam results. What’s right and what’s pressing that needs your immediate attention?
  2. Assess your mental health. Problems such as Depression, Anxiety & Panic Attacks, Eating Disorders, Bipolar Disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychosis, Obsessive-compulsive Disorder, etc..) can keep you from living your best life. Your mental health deserves the same attention as your physical health.  Don’t be afraid of seeking help.
  3. Size up your support network. Who are the people in your life? Do they encourage you? Who puts you down or laughs at your ideas? Commit to making the necessary changes by letting go of the toxic people in your life.
  4. Set goals. (SMART) – Not a new concept nor is it my idea, but it works.
    1. S – Specific
    2. M – Measurable
    3. A – Attainable (Action-Oriented)
    4. R – Relevant or Rewarding
    5. T – Time-Bound or Trackable.
  5. Learn how to read food labels. The internet has endless resources. How many servings are in that bag of chips or cookies you enjoy?
  6. Research the ingredients in your food. Again, hop on the net. Educate yourself and understand more about the food (or chemicals) you eat.
  7. SLOWLY modify your diet. Incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats (if you eat meat). SLOWLY reduce your sugar intake. Drink more water and fewer sodas, juices, and alcohol. Purchase less processed foods and eat cleaner. If you want apple pie, bake your own, and you control the ingredients instead of buying processed food full of preservatives, sugar and other chemicals.
  8. Evaluate your physical fitness regiment. Do you exercise? If so, what do you do and how frequently? Are you getting the results you desire? Why or why not? If you do not exercise, why not? How can you change this? What are your fitness goals? Whatever you do, add strength training/weight training to your program. With a solid nutrition plan and a consistent strength training program, you will get maximum results.
  9. Engage in self-care. Do something for YOU such as a massage, a short or long getaway, skydiving, Floatation Therapy, or something else you’ve been dying to try.
  10. Survey your finances. If you’re overwhelmed with debt, seek financial counseling. The problem won’t go away on its own. Take action to stop nagging phone calls from bill collectors.
  11. If you have a significant other, take a measure of your relationship. Are you happy? If so, fantastic! If not, it’s time to explore why. Ask yourself the difficult questions. Be honest with yourself and your partner. Is counseling the answer? Get the ball rolling.
  12. Explore your career. Are you happy or satisfied? If so, awesome! If not, set fear aside. Consider your interests and explore your options.

The idea is to unmask the root of your issue(s). Quite often, the problem isn’t what we think it is. If you take a 360 approach to your life and visit all aspects, you will uncover underlying issues that have kept you bogged down and going in circles.

This post is longer than planned but it is also an excellent roadmap to jump-start you on your road to wholeness. There is NEVER a quick fix to ANYTHING.

Consider high performing athletes. They don’t arrive at the top of their game overnight. Years of training, overcoming injuries, self-doubt, and naysayers pass before they reach the top of their game.

Our journey is no different.

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Culmination Day!

Yesterday I competed in the 2015 ANBF NATURAL GAMBLER’S CLASS II – WOMEN’S FIGURE competition.

The show was a culmination of months of hard work and dedication in the gym and in the kitchen.  Being my second show, I felt more confident and a bit more comfortable on stage.

I have a lot to say about the second go round, but this post shall stay short and sweet. In my next post, I will say more about the preparing for the show and my overall experience.

Today’s agenda involves nothing by staying in my PJ’s (all day), sipping on coffee (with cream and sugar), and just chillin’.

The results:

2015 ANBF NATURAL GAMBLER’S CLASS II – WOMEN’S FIGURE

tropies 3-21-15

Women’s Figure Master’s 40+ – 1st Place
            (The only competitor) 😦  I like competition
Women’s Figure Open Overall – 3rd Place 🙂
Women’s Figure Open B – 2nd Place 🙂

Backstage side pose

Practicing my side pose backstage.  By the way, this is unedited… that smooth skin you see is all 49 years young and natural!  Lol!!

2nd place revised

2nd Place Women’s Figure Open B
* * * I was the OLDEST contestant! * * *  🙂

BACKSTAGE FRONT

Practicing back stage

backstage pumping up

Me and Anita

My dear friend and gym rat, AR!  AR helps me to accomplish my fitness goals!
She ROCKS!

me and shaina

Selfie backstage with my daughter 🙂

back pump

Pumpin up the muscles back stage

Oh yeah and, by the way, yesterday I did earn my pro qualifier’s card!  Yay!!  🙂

Have a wonderful day and… please keep it movin’!   Smooches!


Balancing Fitness

Just when I think I have this balance thing down something else gets added (by me of course) to the mix!  Lol!

If you follow Lexa’s Journal, you know that in May I competed in my first, and what I thought would be my “only” figure competition. “One and done,” is what I said.  Whelp!!!  Ya know, I’m already focusing on competition #2.  Ha! Ha!!  Will this be the last time I walk on stage??   Truly, only God knows! Lol!

Anyways, with this 8 month goal in mind, I must be careful about indulging in two of my favorite summer activities:

  1. CrossFitShape.com research estimates an average of 12.3 calories burned per minute in CF.  That’s just over 738 calories in one hour’s time.
  2. Running – According to the folks at sparkpeople.com, if I run 10 miles (which is a summer average for me), I’d burn close to 1,000 calories!!

If your goal is to burn calories and simply to lose weight, great, but…

 That is waaaay too many calories and muscle mass burned.  That’s a no-no for my fitness goals.

Does strength/weight training burn calories?  Absolutely, but it depends on the type of exercise, the weight, and the duration, but typically, you won’t burn as many calories as CF and running.

For now, balancing my fitness regimen focuses on my current goals (competition #2). Weight training four or five days a week and CrossFit one or two days and at least one rest day. Sounds like a lot?  Well…

Hard work pays off and I’m willing to put the time in. Are you?

So, I looked at the WOD for today and decided it wasn’t too bad. (I’m smiling)  I was sore from yesterday’s shoulder workout and Monday’s back, so this WOD was perfect:

SWOD:
rope climb practice

I am a work in progress when it comes to the rope climb.  Technique gets you up the rope, so I worked on my foot positioning.  I sweat like something crazy doing this, but I loved working with my favorite instructor Lisa.  She’s detailed oriented and never allow you to compromise on form.  Look for that quality in a CF instructor.  It matters. You’ll be thankful when you avoid injuries.

WOD: 20 min EMOM (every minute on the minute)
min 1 – 2 rope climbs
min 2 – 25 abmats (situps)
min 3 – 10 kbs swings + 10 kb push press 5l/5r 53/35
min 4 – 7 burpee box jumps

I did the modified rope climbs… 4 ground to standing. Everything else was cool. Sore shoulders prompted me to go lighter on the kettlebell exercises, so I used a 26lb KB.

While the workout wasn’t intense, it served as my cardio day and took one hour. Tomorrow is leg day, they’ll be ready and refreshed.

I’m going to try to get to the gym early tomorrow because we’re having a yard sale on Saturday and I have a lot of work to do.

garage

I’m all about de-cluttering and getting rid of stuff we don’t use.  I want to simplify everything in my life.  During the 10 years in our current home, we’ve accumulated too much and I just have to get rid of it.

I also need to get rid of clothes that no longer fit. About four to five months into my training, my body composition began changing.  My blouses grew tight around the back, shoulders and arms.  My pants started sagging in the rear, while others grew tight in the thighs.  My beautiful Calvin Klein winter dresses suddenly looked like they belonged to an older sister.

I no longer fit 99% of these clothes.

pants

I can put these pants on and off without unzipping or unbuttoning them. I had no idea this was going to happen!

dresses and tops

Look at this lovely pile of mostly spring and summer dresses and a few blouses!  It’s not like I lost 50 pounds or anything.. heck I didn’t really lose weight… I just developed muscle, loss fat, and sculpted a new physique.  Jeez!!  I’m still amazed.:)

CK dresses

This pile makes me want to cry!  I’m not a brand name person, but here lies beautiful designer suits and dresses.  It would cost more to pay for alterations than to buy new ones.  Sheesh!!

What doesn’t sell, I’ll give to a charity. Then come the fall, I have much shopping to do and I am going to have a blast shopping!

It’s getting late and I have a busy day.  Sweet dreams and thanks for stopping by! 🙂


Today’s WOD

“Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us.”

                                -L. Thomas Holdcroft

If you buy into all the hype and the commercialism feeding into the holiday season, I pity you. If you don’t and instead, embrace the true meaning of the holiday, congratulations! Maturing cleared my perspective very well.

Don’t get me wrong, I buy holiday gifts for my loved ones too. But the gifts that I buy are in the spirit of giving and expressing my gratitude and the genuine love in my heart for my family and friends. My gifts are selected very thoughtfully with each person in mind. I search to find the special gift that will plaster a genuine smile on their faces. Oh gosh, I really enjoy the search.

Before the holiday season arrive, my strategy is already in place. I think about the who, the what, and the how much. Realistically, I think about how much time I can dedicate to decorating, cooking, especially since Christmas dinner is at my home. This keeps the stress at bay.

Look at these lovely treats I picked up yesterday! I brought them from a friend who owns a catering business. She saved me a lot of time.  Thank you Ms. Trixi!   I cannot wait to try your beautiful creations!

Oooh la-la! Chocolate covered strawberries

Chocolate covered pretzel sticks

Chocolate covered pretzel nuggets

Because I knew my Christmas Eve day would be busy, I crawled into bed early last night. Early for me is 9:30 p.m. By 5:30 a.m. this morning, my iPod was in full effect. As my head bopped to the sound of my favorite workout tunes and Beyoncé’s, “Drunk in Love,” I was in my zone. First stop… Kohl’s. It was empty!! Heeeeey! And that’s the way I like it. The sales people are rested and fresh and most folk are in an upbeat mode.

I shopped from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. And then…. CROSSFIT!!!! LOL! That’s right. I planned ahead and wore my workout gear to shop. I had a shake, an apple, and other snacks in the car. I swear, my car looks like I live in there– Several pairs of sneaks (suitable for each workout), shake bottles, towels, iPod, gym bag, locks, supplement, quite a few water bottles, and only God knows what else. I’m a neat freak and the visual drives me nuts, but my workouts are more important than the neatness of my car.  It is what it is!

"Some" of the healthy snacks in my car

“Some” of the healthy snacks in my car

Just one pair of the funky crossfit sneaks in my car.  Lol!

Just one pair of the funky crossfit sneaks in my car. Lol!

Gloves, locks, my ipod, and other "stuff" fills my gym bag.

Gloves, locks, my iPod, and other “stuff” fills my gym bag.


Okay so the WOD!  The WOD!!!  The WOD!!!   Oh my goodness!!

200 Kettle Bell Thrusters (100 L /100 R)  955/35

-Each time you break yields 5 Calorie row or SDHP 55/35)

100 Burpees – Each break yields 10 Pull UPs

100 Abmat Wallballs (20/14) – Each break yields 10 Box Jumps)

40 Min Cap!

 

Not that 200 KB Thrusters are not a challenge, but to further challenge myself, I did the first 100 (50 each arm) were with a 26-pound KB. For the remaining 100, I decreased to a 16 pound KB. -I didn’t take any breaks during these.

Dem damn Burpees! I’m shaking my head just thinking about them. LOL! I thought I would never finish, but I did and with only one break, so I did 10 pull ups.

Only after one (1) Abmat Wallball (with a 14 pound ball), I rolled over… saturated the floor in sweat, then I got my butt up and attached the box with 10 box jumps. Old tunes by DMX loudly vibrated off the walls and I so wanted to break out into a dance atop the box, but I thought I’d look ridiculous and needed to preserve my energy, so I continued jumping and got back to the Abmat Wallballs.

Thankfully a fellow crossFitter, who already completed the WOD, saw my struggle.

“Do you want me to get a lighter ball?”

Barely audible, I mumble  a grateful, “Oh God, yes thank you!”

Right then and there I just wanted to scrape myself off the floor and kiss her!  LOL!  So I went from a 14 pound ball to a 10 pound ball and, with genuine encouragement from my peeps, completed the WOD within the 40 minute cap.  I forgot to look at the clock, but I think I finished somewhere between 33 and 35 minutes. Woot! Woot!!

I came home, finished wrapping, cooked chicken for tomorrow’s dinner and wrote this post. Soon, the fireplace will be melting wood sipping on… I don’t know yet… probably Cabernet or a Cosmo. Either case, it is well-earned today.

Thank you so much for visiting and for following Lexa’s Journal!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

One of several Santa's that rests on the staircase.

One of several Santa’s that rests on the staircase.


Say WOD?

Slide1

At school today, every time a student or colleague asked, “What’s today’s date?”  I eagerly responded, “11-12-13” and chuckled.  I know– corny! LOL!   Little did I know how much counting I would do later this afternoon.

Gingerly I stroll into CrossFit. I glance to my left to casually read the WOD, hand written on the white board, and stop dead in my tracks. To clarify what I think I just read, I move closer re-read the board.  Mmm… the numbers didn’t change.  Oh my! How on earth am I going to do all that?

“Angie” had been waiting for me all day. What the heck!?  Really??  All in one day?  “Angie” is the WOD (workout of the day)

WOD:   Angie

100 Pull ups

100 Push ups

100 Sit ups

100 Air Squats

*You cannot move on to the next exercise until you complete 100 of the first exercise and so on.

A green band assisted me with the 100 pull ups.  After that, the WOD was all about my will and my desire to finish.  My classmates moved faster than me, but I focused on my counts, my form, and just finishing the WOD.  I was the last woman standing.  Seriously, as I started my sit ups, they (2 women and 3 men) were finished and had moved on to cooling down and stretching.  Steadily I focused on finishing.

The best way to complete a WOD like this is to break each exercise into sets of 10.  Pause and do 10 more and so on.  It reminds me, of my approach to running long distance. You focus on each step, then each mile and before you know it, you’ve reached your distance goal of 10 miles or whatever your goal is.

I completed the WOD in 25:39!    Until we meet again Angie!


To my surprise, a few years ago at a Halloween party, I was encouraged by two incredibly fabulous and inspiring women to compete in a figure competition.   Although fit, I was flattered, but never did I image myself competing on that level, let alone strolling across a stage in a itsy bitty bikini.  I also knew that my time was limited and I couldn’t make the commitment, so I graciously declined.

What is figure competition?  It is a body building competition where women are judged on their physique.  Judges look for muscle symmetry and definition, so intense training and a strict diet are key.

Because I didn’t really know anything about figure competition and the idea piqued my interest, I decided to attend the event as a spectator.

Since then, I’ve been to a couple of competitions.  I was amazed by how these woman, especially the ones over 40 sculpt their bodies to perfection.  I also noticed the absence of black woman on the stage.  Hello!  Where are the sistas at?  Sparse, to say the least!   I was disappointed.

Curiosity led me to YouTube, fitness magazines, and other internet resources.  The pictures and videos posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, are jaw dropping.  The more I looked, the more engrossed I became.

My emotions have cultivated from having “a general interest” to an “intense yearning” to discover how I can transform my body into a lean and muscular skeletal work of art.   Yeah!  I said “work of art.”  After all, creating art in any medium requires time, patience, consistency, creativity, attention to detail, and commitment.  The result, as in any piece of work, is amazing!

So officially I am in pursuit to uncover amazing!   Project FitCom14 is underway.  LOL!  For the record, I am TERRIFIED!!!   When I imagine myself strolling across the stage in 4-inch heels and a two-piece swim suit, goose bumps cover my body and my stomach knots up.

Like a jury deliberating for a verdict, I have given careful consideration to this challenge.   What are the pros and cons?  How much time is required?  What are the costs?  How will the training affect my family?  Who will I train with? The list goes on and on.

While I am on a quest to uncover amazing, other factors played a key role in my decision.

  1. Life is precious and short.  I have this need to constantly challenge myself, but ten years ago, I certainly didn’t vision myself partaking in a competition of this nature.   With each accomplishment, a new challenge must lie ahead.  Down the road, I would hate to have to ponder, “What if I had tried?’
  2. Fitness is my lifestyle and my passion; so I always make that part of my “me” time.  Too many women, especially black women, slight themselves of their own interests and of taking good care of the body, mind, and spirit.  Women make sacrifices for their family, but not for their own happiness.  Over time, resentment and regret can seep into our soul and our spirit. I can support my family best by maintaining overall health and wellness.   At my best, I am a better listener, more patient and understanding, and can better deal with the daily challenges in life.
  3. Lead by example.  Recently an unsuspecting phone call from my 24 year-old daughter plastered a huge smile on my face.

Shaina:                 “Mom, what do you eat?

Me:                        “Healthy Food.”

Shaina:                 “I know that, but what kind of food?

Me:                        Laughter!  (This child has lived with me all her life.  She just moved in June.  What the heck was she doing  when I was slaving in the kitchen?)  I shook my head and laughed some more

Our exchange went on for a few minutes because I was trying to figure out why my daughter had a sudden shift and interest in “eating healthy.”  That is definitely not her thing.  Finally she laughed and confessed,

“You’re an inspiration!  OMG!  I saw that picture you posted on Facebook”

I almost fell over!  LOL!  “Oh that!”  She’s NEVER said those words to me before.  I posted a picture of my hair growth progress, but my shoulder drew  more attention than my hair growth.  Here’s the picture.

This pic is supposed to highlight my natural hair growth.  Instead my shoulder attracted the attention!  LOL!

This pic is supposed to highlight my natural hair growth. Instead my shoulder attracted the attention! LOL!

Seriously, I’m so happy that my daughter  is taking an active interest in her health.  If I can inspire, encourage, and help others see value in caring better for themselves and possibly save a life along the way, then my efforts are worthwhile.

So, on September 27, 2013, I made the commitment to compete in my first figure competition. Future posts will include my progress.   Ooooooh!  More goose bumps!!

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Project FitCom14 Is Officially Underway!