Vanilla Bean Lean has moved to Electra-Fi.com. To me it’s all about helping others to electrafi their lives through happiness in many ways. One way is obviously through sweat. New name. Same me.Same fun. Same workouts. Same inspiration!
How I react is up to me. I have control over how I react to anything. To any situation. To any comment. To any feeling. I then put on my big girl pants, took a deep breath, and reminded myself I am worth loving. I reminded myself there are many great people in this world fighting back against this idea of “perfection,” this idea of “skinny,” this idea of “deprivation” being where it’s at. That is not where it’s at. Self-love and appreciation is where it’s at. ”
I LOVE ALL OF YOU READERS, AND I AM CROSSING MY FINGERS, TOES, EYES, ANYTHING I CAN CROSS THAT YOU’LL COME JOIN ME ON MY NEW PLATFORM TO REACH ALL OF YOU! This change is as much for you as it is for me. There are BIG THINGS in the works and I WANT YOU TO BE A PART OF IT!
You can now find me over at Electra-Fi.com, where I share my passion of creating a healthy lifestyle full of self love through sweat and healthy foods!
I KNOW you don’t want to miss ALL of that GOODNESS! Join the AWESOME over at Electra-Fi.com! AND THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING SO WONDERFUL. YOU - yes YOU!! – each and every one of you are what makes this possible and so incredibly rewarding!
I love carbon fiber on cars. How do I know this? My man is a car, tool, true man’s man and I’ve known about carbon fiber on cars due to its light weight and speed assistance for ages. Did I know it could be put on shoes? Nope. But if it can be done, Reebok will do it! It makes the shoes perfect for speed, flexibility, and they weight almost nothing, but as Reebok says – stand up to anything. The carbon fiber plate in the shoe gives midfoot support which is very important during high impact movements. Similar to many of the other Reebok shoes I have, they’re very flexible and have great shock absorption. The tops are mesh and breathe really well – no stink feet here!
One of the things I look for in workout clothes is how fun or bright or motivating they are. Let’s face it – if you have more fun or brighter clothes or shoes on, you’re going to smash that workout just a little bit harder, and that little bit just might be the difference maker. Make your clothes and shoes work for you. More motivation never hurt anyone!
These leggings are part of the Reebok ONE collection. They say things like “MAKE EVERY REP COUNT,” “BETTER YOUR BEST,” “1 MORE,” “STRENGTH.” C’mon now. Can’t get better than that!
As a nurse, I am LOVING that they have an antimicrobial component. HECK YEAH!
We all know some spandex pants are made funky. These cause no riding up, no muffin top creation, and no cutting off circulation. Thank the spandex Gods. They’re comfortable and they flatter your body.
Going to be totally honest here – didn’t like it the first time I put it on. But, then I took out the boob padding, got my sweat on, and realized how awesome the shirt really is.
It has the PlayDry technology so it keeps the top from getting soaked through even if you sweat like a beast like me! It’s a racerback – my personal fav! And super super soft.
There’s a bra inside the top which I’m not a huge fan of normally, but it’s not too loose, not too tight. I always wear a regular sports bra, even if there’s an “internal bra” in a shirt. Sometimes that makes it too uncomfortably tight. This one didn’t. Not too loose, not too tight. If you did use it without a regular sports bra, I’m not sure if it’d be supportive enough for the girls with jumping or sprinting, if you know what I mean!
For quite some time, Reebok has been a go-to for me in regards to my Fit Gear.
I’ve done photoshoots … professional video … all in reebok clothes.
I do workouts on the regular in Reebok clothes…
Handstands in Reebok clothes…
You name, I do it in Reebok clothes and shoes. And I love it.
Reebok clothes and shoes are functional and fun – my MO!
Most of the challenges I have put together or been a part of have been completely workout or nutrition related. I have very rarely done anything regarding poses, yoga, or any of the works. Doing the Under Armour What’s Beautiful campaign has connected me with some awesome ladies with really cool talents and abilities. And holy moly – some of these poses REALLY take a good amount of strength. I did gymnastics back in the day and this is reminding me of those fun days in the gymnastics gym! I have talked often about how I feel that versatility, functionality, and being ready for anything is so important. I have been stretching more often and have it has made a huge difference in how I feel for the better. I am really looking forward to this challenge that Farrah & I put together – #HotForHandstands Handstand challenge this July! (Get it?? It’s hot in july – and handstands are hot ) I hope you’re all as excited as I am. You don’t have to be able to do a handstand at all to participate. The point of this is to be able to LEARN and prep to be able to do handstands, or if you can do them – to get better! No intimidation I promise – I can’t do all of the poses and I’ll be working through them all with you as well!
^The top two pictures are of me, and the bottom two of Farrah. WOOT!
^To follow along, there are each of the poses and we’ll both be posting. We can’t wait to see YOUR handstands! Tag @electrafi (my new name – more on that to come soon!) & @fairyhealthylife with the hashtag #hotforhandstands and we’ll be sure to follow along!
This was my Day 2 – handstand prep! Come join me!! I’m having SO. MUCH. FUN!
I’m always transparent & honest: The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Soldier of Steel™. Don’t you worry – all opinions are my own – I have a very firm disclosure policy and I never work with anyone or share anything with you that I don’t believe in 100%. Promise!
Most of you know I am an ER nurse. I work with life or death situations every day. I do CPR and perform advanced cardiac life support to save people who are – for a lack of better words – not technically alive anymore. I work with firefighters, I work with trauma victims. I have worked through hazmat events where I wear a full suit – hood, and breathing mask included. I train because I need to perform. I train to feel strong. I train so my every day tasks are easy compared to the training I do. I train to keep myself safe, to potentially save my life or someone else’s’ life. I not only have my own lives in my hands every day, but I potentially have the lives of my co-workers, my patients and my family in my hands every day. That is nothing to take lightly. I train because I realize the importance of what I do and what I need to protect. I train because I can’t afford not to be strong, capable, and functional in those situations.
I just confessed I hadn’t been to a gym in a good four months. How am I training to be functional, strong and capable outside of a gym? I wrote about many different “no gym necessary” ways and options and go-things & workouts I use and do in order to keep pushing myself daily. Just as I shared that with you, I was lucky enough to be connected with Solider of Steel™ workouts through my affiliation with FitFluential. I will try anything once, and if I like it – I’ll include it in my programs and my workouts and share them with you. I figured what the heck, I’ll try these workouts and see if I like them enough to share them with all of you.
No joke. I LOVE THEM! And when I say love, I mean I have a “I am a sweaty, out of breath, burning muscles, salty sweat burning my eyeballs” kind of love for these killer workouts. You all know I am a GLUTTON for punishment – so you knew I’d love these. You all also know that I LOVE functionality and focus on form, rather than the weight or speed until u can do it correctly!
^Me during workout one!
Mark Twight is the trainer that created the Soldier of Steel™ Transformational workouts, and he believes it teaching fundamental universal movements and believes that you can get better by working on your weaknesses. He wraps that all up into functional training. Yes. I think he took that approach & those words out of my mouth, don’t ya say? He also said something very similar to what I posted monday – “If you can’t do it correctly, you have no business going up in weight.” Truth. Like I said, it doesn’t matter how heavy it is – 20 lbs or 200 lbs, all that matters is that you do the correct form and it tires you out. Not a little, but to where you can progress.
Tell me this isn’t motivating…
Mark Twight trained the actors who were cast in 300 (can you say ooo la la … ?!) and Man of Steel (Clark Kent played by Henry Cavill) – if he can get them ready to be superheroes, he can help me live up to my superhero name. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from listening to his philosophy on training and my response to them:
“We are using physical effort as a means of self-discovery.” <—Sometimes hearing your own breath and feeling your own sweat is all you need to connect yourself back to exactly who you are.
“Hold yourself to a higher standard.” <—Yes.
“We value horsepower ahead of appearance – NOT VICE-VERSA.” <—This embodies my MO. It’s about what you can do and how you feel – not about how you look. How you look is the consequence of being a badass.
“Physical fitness is an essential trait for every Soldier … Soldiers are trained to be ready for anything … Citizen-Soldiers transform when their communities call.” <—I talked about being a soldier in my own right. Clearly, true American soldiers are our men and women who fight for our freedom. I have friends who have gone overseas and my Grandfather was in the army during WWII. I have the utmost respect for our military (the National Guard is associated with Soldier of Steel workouts), our firefighters and policemen and women who keep us safe here, and for citizen soldiers – who take responsibility to help others when the need arises. Don’t forget to train so you can help when you may least expect you’ll be needed. Be ready. Can you give me a good reason why you would not want to be ready for that?
So who wants to try? I am on Day 3 of the workouts. Day 1 had wall squats. I saw the pictures of the exercise and saw the calendar call for 3 rounds of 5 reps. I was like seriously!? 15 reps with body weight? That’s it? I was clearly convinced I’d blow past them in two seconds flat. Then humility called my name. Humble I now am. Wall squats are no joke. They’re freakin’ hard and awesome all in one and I cannot wait to work on them more. I am good with dropping down low during my squats but these are teaching my body and mind to squat backwards and to keep my chest up. I am so excited! LOVE progressing!
^Wall squats – don’t knock ‘em till you’ve tried them.
Don’t underestimate these awesome Soldier of Steel™ workouts – they’ll remind you why the basics are so important and how hard they can be. The FREE (did someone say free!? no cost? Score!) training program is one month long and there are diagrams of the exercises, videos, tutorials – everything you could need from beginner to advanced. They pretty much address any question you might have, but just in case, Mark Twight will also be on the @NationalGuard twitter page (with #TwightTakeover) answering questions from 3pm – 4pm EST if you have any questions for him! And if those questions include anything about the actors from 300 – feel free to share those answers. Talk about bronze Gods. I digress…
When I choose the workouts I do, when I focus on ensuring the functionality, strength and capability I push myself to gain, and whenever I share any workouts that in any way pertain to any military, fire department, or citizens who will be ready to help out in times of need (Boston bombing, anyone? We all heard about the citizens who ran towards the bombs to help instead of away. I’m not talking gibber jabber. The need is here.), I take it seriously, because if the men and women who take on those roles aren’t prepared for the demands of their jobs, it’s not about having a bad day – it’s potentially the difference between life or death. (Something Josh Henkin from Ultimate Sandbag Training also has talked about.) It’s tactical training. It’s functional training. It’s training to build the body up – to be functional, strong, capable, and confident. I wouldn’t share a program with you that I thought was a bunch of crap. I’m honest around here. I believe in this program completely and it’s rockin’ me. I am a sweaty, happy mess during and after my workouts, and I wake up sore, but good sore, the next day. These workout are pushing me to the next level and I’m loving it. These will definitely be workouts that I pepper into my own routine along with my other “no gym necessary” go-to goodies I shared with you on Monday!
Just wanted to throw the links out there for you in an easy-to-find place:
Bodyweight workouts – my own, some of Zuzana Light’s workouts, some of Myomytv’s workouts.
Clutch Bodyshop workouts by Ashley Conrad (who is, btw, a freakin’ ROCKSTAR!).
Pushing my SUV, flipping tires, jump roping.
My gosh I could go on for ages.
Tabata … you name it. I’m doing it.
Do I have a plan? Of course. I lift, I do HIIT like sprints/tabata for cardio, I stretch, I foam roll.
Here’s the age old question: Do you need a gym to workout? NO. Can it be helpful sometimes? Yes, of course. Is it bad if you work out at a gym? GOSH NO. But if you:
a) don’t want to pay for a membership
b) can’t get away from the house for that long
c) have limited time due to work, kids, etc,
or so many other reasons, you can ROCK some killer workouts ANYWHERE.
No gym necessary. No fancy equipment necessary.
My thoughts: If you cannot move your own bodyweight functionally, efficiently, in many different planes of movement and in many different ways, you have absolutely no business moving weights. And I mean that.
Lift heavy they say – lift heavy I’ve said. Do I mean it HAS to be X amount of weight? No. By lifting heavy I mean lift heavy enough for your muscles so you keep progressing. Could lifting heavy be doing 20 pushups if that’s where you get to failure? Yes. Could lifting heavy be doing squats with a 30 lb sandbag until failure? Yes. Could lifting heavy be squatting 200 lbs? Yes. It’s all about you. Choose your battles wisely. If you can’t get to a gym, lift your own body weight. Lift apparatus around your house. Push your car. Lift your child. Don’t let “not getting to a gym” be your excuse. I’ve found that working out at home has given me freedom to DO WHAT I LOVE and do what I feel like and play and have fun and move and get outside and get to a park and enjoy the small amount of time I give myself for myself. It’s allowing me time to do handstands. It’s giving me time to be creative. It’s breaking me out of my comfort zone – my go through the motions zone. One day at a time. One “no gym needed” day at a time.
Would you ever tell your best friend that she’s fat?
Would you ever tell your best friend that she’s ugly?
Would you even tell an acquaintance either of those things?
No. No you wouldn’t.
So why, oh why, do you tell yourself all of those awful, terrible things?
Look into the mirror.
What do you see?
You see a beautiful woman (or man) staring back at you.
You see someone who is working to be the best them they can be.
You see someone who is unique. No one else is like you.
You see someone you will remember to love.
Remember, what you say to yourself is invaluable. TRULY invaluable.
No beating yourself up allowed.
Constructive criticism works, and is very necessary to become a better person. There is a large difference between talking to yourself negatively and constructively criticizing yourself. Talking to yourself negatively – whether through negative words or a negative tone – will only hurt your goals. You need to learn to be nice to yourself. Be real with yourself, but be supportive and nice. You need to be your own best friend. That’s how better people and confidence are built.
Self-talk and self-esteem go hand in hand. Those thoughts in your mind are more powerful than you think.
Remember – real, but nice and supportive at the same time.
Another way awesome and completely unexpected thing for me through participating in the Under Armour What’s Beautiful campaign is that it’s re-lighting a fire within my competitive nature, but in a completely different – MUCH MORE HEALTHY (and balanced) – manner. I have always been competitive. I’ve talked about this before. I was an athlete growing up, volleyball, gymnastics & soccer.
Who would have thought a competitive nature + balance could be the best of friends? I’ve found What’s Beautiful to me.
Competitiveness & winning was my MO. My MO got the best of me when it turned into a perfectionism, can’t deviate from the strict rules I set for myself competitiveness. That’s an unhealthy state to be in.
My MO has since become a lifestyle of embracing balance, promoting self love, and remembering to love myself along the journey. This has been well complemented with the Under Armour What’s Beautiful campaign that I’m participating in through FitFluential. I have been able to dip into my competitive nature by completing challenges they have laid out as well as create my own.
I have also been able to balance this and keep from going too far by enjoying the journey and reminding myself of What’s Beautiful to me, every step of the way. I am thankful to be a part of this campaign for many reasons, this being one of the main ones. Re-igniting competitive fire within me while allowing myself to stay balance and remind myself I love myself through each day I work at being better. Being better no longer means to me “leaner, leaner, leaner.” It now means stronger, happier, more balanced, SELF LOVING.
I completed the Exercise Take Down challenge, where I took an exercise I avoid. Or USED TO, in this case. I have been working on practicing & incorporating pistol squats into my workouts for about the last month. I used to avoid them like the plague (and that’s saying a lot – I work in an ER ). I now love putting them into my workouts – ESPECIALLY because they’re hard – and working through them gives me a sense of accomplishment. For the Under Armour campaign, I set a one minute count down timer and did as many pistol squats as I could do within one minute. I got 10 alternating. Not bad!! I will work on increasing this number.
Who’s in?? Who’s going to attack an exercise they used to avoid? Who will try the pistol squat challenge I completed? How many can YOU get in one minute?
BAM! This post is a must read. It’s long. It’s important. It’s one of the most important posts I have EVER written.
I have written many posts embodying these three main concepts:
Promoting self love
Fighting back against deprivation
(I will do a post round up in the near future!)
I have learned the hard way that it’s so important to live a lifestyle that not only allows, but truly embraces, balance and fights back against deprivation.
Last year I wrote a post for Under Armour’s What’s Beautiful campaign. I will not join a campaign unless I truly believe in the heart of their motives. I am lucky enough to be working with Under Armour through FitFluential because I believe in what they’re promoting. They aren’t promoting unhealthy ideals. They’re promoting a way to redefine the female athlete, a way to accept everyone, a place everyone can help inspire each other.
The post I wrote last year was THE MOST RAW POST I HAVE EVER WRITTEN. I posted pictures and words I thought would never leave the dark skeleton laden place in the closet of my memories.
(^A picture from the original post I never thought I’d share.)
But this campaign pushed me to share my experiences, and the feedback I got from everyone was BEYOND AMAZING. It breaks my heart to look at my pictures from that deep dark place. But it heals my heart a million times over to get the support and kind words I’ve received, but most of all, to hear that I am helping. If I have helped even just ONE person through a tough experience by sharing my own fight, it’s worth putting out there.
I am now taking it up a notch. Not only am I posting about this campaign, but I’ve created a profile, which I’d love if you’d do too so we can interact, and I’ve also created a team. When creating a profile you must create a goal.
Here is my #IWill statement:
I WILL remember to love myself along the way to being the best athlete I can be.
My Team is called TEAM LOVE YOURSELF. This team welcomes EVERYONE. No one is left out. I don’t care if you run, strength train, crossfit, walk around the block, do summersaults & cartwheels across your living room every day. If you’re an athlete in your own right, if you’re pushing yourself every day to get better and to LOVE YOURSELF THROUGH THE JOURNEY, you’re welcome. If you’re reminding yourself every day to remember that happiness isn’t an end point, but something to be grabbed by the horns right now. If you’re reminding yourself that your body is beautiful just the way it is all the way through your journey, not just at the “end point,” you’re in.
IF YOU NEED HELP REMEMBERING YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL, EVERY BIT OF YOU IS BEAUTIFUL, through your journey to be the best you, the best athlete, the best person you can be, COME LET ME INSPIRE YOU. Join my team! Follow me! I will be here for you ever step of the way. Let’s do this! Let’s do this together!
Say it with me:
I AM BEAUTIFUL!
AND as if that’s not all enough to make you want to be part of the movement, the winners get surf lessons in Costa Rica, and weekly swag bags of Under Armour goodies are given away for those who are rockin’ it. I mean, c’mon, how much better could this get!?
If you eat clean and train consistently on a regular basis, and these are the ground rules you stick to, a treat here or there won’t slow progress.
I’ve learned the hard way that it’s no way to live to deprive yourself. Treats are an integral part of any balanced program.
I’ve tried treat days, treat meals, small treats in my every day, and all can definitely work. I’ve found that NOT planning treats has worked better for me than planning them. I prefer to eat clean and train consistently and when an opportunity arises to enjoy life with those I love and when it includes a treat, I go for it.
Instead of planning treats, I allow life to happen. There are more than enough spontaneous treat occasions and for me, it makes me feel less deprived and much more free if I am not restricted to a specific treat date and time. I’ve found that with all those spontaneous treat opportunities, there’s no need for me to plan my own treat meal or day – plus – that only puts emphasis on deprivation for me.
Flexibility, spontaneity and balance is where it’s at. But remember, you have to have already put in the work. So work hard, but play hard too. It’s the only way I’ve found to live. It’s where happiness is at for me.
Work hard, but play hard too.
Be consistent, but treat yourself.
I know. I owe you all a million posts. Okay, not a million. But a lot. They’re coming soon, I promise!
I owe you all a lot of things. I owe you a post about what I’ve been doing for workouts lately. And I owe you a post about how I’ve been eating (way cool by the way!). And I owe you lots more posts about lots more things. I have some seriously exciting, awesome, and somewhat controversial posts in the mix right now that I’m working on putting together and finishing. They’re about how and what I’m eating now, how I’m working out, about being healthy and how it’s perceived in the fitness world, so much to talk about and so many posts that are long over due! Thank you all for being such patient readers!
[Side note: In the meantime here is a quick do-anywhere workout I posted on IG to get you through until my next post! ]
Before I post all of these things, I want to take a quick intermission. I want to take a quick minute in my corner of the blog-web-osphere and tell everyone that I am praying for America. It’s an uncertain time in the U.S. and the world right now. I wanted everyone and anyone effected, and to everyone else glued to their TV’s in horror, by the bombing in Boston, or the factory explosion in West, Texas, or any of the shootings in Washington or Illinois lately, or any other tragedy that is taking place currently that I am thinking about each and every one of them. I don’t know if there are words that can help, but know I’m thinking about everyone and anyone effected, no matter how small or large of a scale.
I am thankful for the first responders and bystanders that have done everything they can to help. Being an ER nurse myself, I can only imagine what healthcare workers in these areas are seeing. I can only imagine the heartache from families directly effected. I have seen the compassion from those who are willing to help, willing to fundraise and willing to dedicate a workout or run to those effected, and though that doesn’t change damage done it shows what happens when people band together. Americans are tough and resilient. Let’s keep making America strong, keep making us who we are. America can go back to the strong nation it once was – let’s all band together to make it happen.
And to all of my wonderful readers from other countries, I hope that you’re all safe and though I may not know the ins and outs of your country like I do mine, it doesn’t mean my thoughts aren’t with you through trials or my joy with you through happiness.
Keep being the best person you can be. Be there for those you love. And goodness, if things like this remind me of ANYTHING, it’s to be thankful for everything you have, and especially the time you have with the ones you love. Don’t forget to hug or kiss your family tonight. Don’t forget to tell them you love them. Remind those you care about what they mean to you.
Fitness related? Not directly no. Nutritionally related? Not so much. Related to life? Yes. Too important to ignore? I felt I couldn’t let these things pass without telling all of you I’m thinking of you. Keep being the best you that you can be, remember life is too short to beat yourself or anyone else up, so remember to love and remind those you care about how much they mean to you!
I'm a Chicago girl with a passion for intense workouts, good nutrition, and lots of smiles.
I am an ER nurse. I live with my wonderful boyfriend and love all the little, positive things that life has to bring.
I Promote Self Love.
I Embrace Balance.
I Fight Back Against Deprivation.
I can't wait to get to know all of you!
You're more than welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time! I'd love to hear from you!
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I absolutely love my pink ultimate sandbag! I use it multiple times a week for functional workouts. You can tailor it with how much weight you put in it. I actually use RICE - not sand - it's easier to clean up and easier to buy in measured quantities so I know how much weight I'm putting in there. ;-) Definitely one of my favorite workout pieces I rely on heavily.
Intermittent Fasting Information
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Remember, I'm a nutrition and training conosseiur, not a professional. My blog is an expression of my own opinions and views. Please contact your healthcare provider and/or a registered dietician prior to starting any training program or nutrition plan.