Be You, Not Them

So you’ve decided to make healthier lifestyle choices, but you’ve come across lots of comments like this from family, friends, partners, coworkers, and/or total strangers:

“You need to live life more!”
“One bite/sip won’t hurt you.”
“Aren’t you allowed to cheat a little?”
“You have to workout again?”
“When is this dieting and exercising thing going to end?”
“Are you seriously bringing your Tupperware everywhere you go?”
“You’re eating the same food again?”
“You should treat yourself with (insert any non diet food).”
“How much bigger are you trying to get?”
“How much leaner are you planning on getting?”

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My personal favorites:
“Who is going to marry you with all these diet restrictions that you have?!”
“Why are you spending so much time on your body when it is going to turn into ashes the second you die?”

Yes, these are all comments and questions I have run across THOUSANDS of times and probably so have you. If not, brace yourself. It’s coming.

But how can we make others realize that…

-To us, dieting and exercising is actually ADDING to our life, not taking away from it.

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-Maybe measuring our food and taking our muscles to their extreme limits challenges us in a way that not many even dare to try.

-Maybe we chose to no longer drink alcohol in excess, because we know that alcohol affects our liver and fat burning turns off. Plus, how can we perform optimally on leg day after a crazy night out? Legs are our priority!

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-Maybe getting on stage and presenting our work of art (a.k.a. our body) give us a rush like nothing we’ve ever experienced before.

-Maybe while transforming our outer-self we tremendously transform our inner-self.

-Maybe we would rather spend more on more gym clothes than anything else.

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-Maybe we view our body as our masterpiece and love working on it by manipulating food and exercise.

-Maybe instead of going shot for shot we now go squat for squat with the guys.

-Maybe treating ourselves well doesn’t mean rewarding ourselves with food and drink.

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-Maybe our favorite sound went from being the uncorking of a wine bottle to now two 45-pound plates smacking each other as we load the barbell.

-Maybe the high that we get after a really hard workout lasts way longer than any sort of drug.

-Maybe our version of Sunday Funday is prepping all our meals for the upcoming week.

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-Maybe we go into a meditative state every time we feel the burn of lactic acid building in our muscles.

-Maybe our “different” lifestyle is all about discipline, self-love, motivation, and persistence.

Now, just because we eat clean and like working out, that doesn’t make us better than anyone else. This is really important to remember.

Maybe we are being misunderstood. So, what is necessary is to share with others how we feel about our new (or old) healthy lifestyle in order for them to properly support us. People cannot read our minds, and having different priorities requires open communication. But…

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I have found that the more I am myself, the more I share, and the more I educate, the more support I receive, because others know HOW to support.

“Be you, do you. Can’t nobody judge you, but you.” –Kevin Hart

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The (almost) No Cooking Required Meal Plan

“I don’t know WHAT to buy when I go grocery shopping!”

“I always RUN OUT of food before I can get to the store again!”

“I don’t know how to COOK!”

“Planning, shopping, and cooking is too COMPLICATED!”

“I don’t even know WHERE to shop at!”

“I just don’t have TIME!”

Some of the many excuses I’ve heard one too many times. I wanted to share how easy and simple it can all be. I made a trip to Trader Joes (find one near you) this past weekend and put together a sample meal plan that requires, wait for it… minimal to NO COOKING!!! Yes, I’m dead serious. Down below you’ll find the meal plan plus a grocery shopping list for a week.

Step 1) Schedule your grocery shopping day and time ahead. I literally make clients open up their schedules and add it in. This works wonders.

Step 2) Buy the things on your list. Nothing more, nothing less. This should take you no more than 20 minutes.

Step 3) Eat according to your meal plan.

Step 4) Fight the urge to walk around naked because you look so damn good!!!

Disclaimer: I am not including serving sizes, because it’s going to vary drastically from person to person. There was such a huge variety of food at TJs, that I couldn’t even come close to including everything that I found. I’m not advocating to eat processed or frozen food, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

Meal 1: Whole Eggs + Egg Whites + Oatmeal

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Wow, already made and peeled whole eggs! For the egg whites, just throw away the yolk and eat the whites.

Sorry guys, some assembly required for this. Must add hot water to oats. Life is hard, deal with it.

Prep time: 2-4 minutes

Meal 2: Cottage Cheese

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Such a great snack while at work. It’s easy, filling, and packed with protein.

Prep time: 30 seconds.

Meal 3: Chicken Breast + Avocado + Brown Rice Tortilla

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In this one that I made, I added chipotle hot sauce and mustard to it. Both are great condiments to add without adding any additional macros!
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Prep Time: 2-4 minutes

Meal 4: Tuna + Lentils

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These cans are so easy to transport! Plus you can stock up on them and not need to worry about them going bad. Make sure that you get the tuna in WATER.

Prep Time: 1 minute

Meal 5: Beef Sirloin + Roasted Potatoes + Green Veggies

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This is a great dinner. Hopefully you’ll be having this at home so you can bake the potatoes and cook the greens, but you can easily cook and pack this meal ahead of time. It’s delicious!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Meal 6: Greek Yogurt + Berries + Almonds + Splenda

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I love, love, LOVE this meal. It is such an amazing dessert. I’m not going to lie, I can put down a pint of ice cream in minutes (Häagen Dazs Caramel Cone if you must know!), but this little treat always kills my late night sweet tooth!

TIP: It’s easy to over eat nuts since they are so tasty. Get the almonds that are already portioned out into 1 serving.

TIP: Get the brand FAGE! It has way more protein than any other brand I found at Trader Joe’s. Yes, this matters. Also, get the pre-portioned out cups.

Prep time: 1 minute

I left out the berries last night. Check out the video!

Grocery Shopping List:
-Bag of Eggs
– Packets of Oatmeal
– Cottage Cheese
– Cooked and Sliced Chicken Breast
– Avocados
– Brown Rice Tortillas
– Cans of Tuna in Water
– Cooked Lentils
– Beef Sirloin
– Frozen Potatoes
– Frozen Greens (Kale, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, etc)
– Fage Greek Yogurt
– Frozen Berries
– Packets of Almonds

Now that you know WHAT to buy, WHERE to buy it, don’t have to COOK, know it’s SIMPLE, and have scheduled WHEN to buy groceries, what’s your excuse?

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Things To Consider When Trying to Lose Fat and/or Gain Muscle

Fat loss and/or muscle gain requires quite a bit of organization and thought. Everything counts.

-What’re you eating and/or not eating?

-How often are you eating and what’re your portion sizes?

-How much alcohol are you in taking a week?

– Are you sticking to your diet Monday-Friday until 5pm then have no structure for the weekend?

-How many grams of protein, carbs, and fat are needed to get to your specific goal(s)?

– How much water are you drinking?

– How much are you sleeping?

– What’re you doing or not doing in the gym?

– How often are you lifting weights and how are your workouts organized? Are they even organized?

-Are you just throwing around weights or actually stretching, squeezing, and activating muscles?

– How much tension are you really creating within muscles?

– Are you doing cardio? What’s the frequency, intensity, and time?

– What’re your stress levels? And how do you manage stress?

-Are your fitness and health goals really a priority?

– Are you consistent, persistent, and patient?

Workout Videos!

How To Become The Sculptor To Your Own Physique

About 2 years ago, every time I looked through a fitness magazine, I was absolutely positive that I was screwed because of my Indian genetics. “Those white girls popped out of their mommas looking like that!” “I will never have a nice butt and cut abs thanks to my genes!”

Now, I am NO WHERE close to looking like the girls I admire in fitness magazines, but boy was I wrong. With the right amount of protein, carbs, and fat, precise weight training, and smart cardio…I HAVE MANIPULATED MY BODY! It can be done people. So, cut out all the excuses you have been telling yourself and become the sculptor of your own physique. You want a nice booty? Go squat, deadlift, leg press, lunge and sculpt yourself that perky, round ass. What a nice back? Go pull and row, narrow and wide till your back is exactly what you want it to be.

I took a little over a year in off season to focus on adding mass and more shape to the lower half of my body. Here are a few progress photos on how my off season is going!
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Left: February 2012 Right:  February 2013

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The one on the left was when I was 18 weeks out from my last competition and the one on the right was of me last week, 18 weeks out from my next competition.

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Left: Feb 2012 Right: May 2013

Your body is clay. Your diet, cardio, and weight training are your tools. The gym and your kitchen are your workplace. You are a sculptor. Now go create!

-Sumeet

17 weeks out!!!

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Where Are All My Girls At?

I walk into the gym, set my bag down, warm up, slip my gloves on, and I get to work. I always try to push myself HARD and usually wind up grunting louder than the average guy does. Between sets I may look around to check out who else is in the weight room, but to my disappointment, all I ever see are guys. I often stick out being the only female, but day in and day out, I can’t let that stop me from going hard with all the boys.

This attention was something that used to intimidate me to the point where I’d feel much more comfortable on the treadmill or in a yoga class. I didn’t want guys staring at me when I didn’t really know what I was doing! I can’t concentrate on my workout with eyes on me! They would all judge me! And of course there was this thought of, EW! Weights?! I don’t want to get all buff and bulky! Talking to more girls about lifting made it clear that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.  Looking back, I was another victim of the widespread misconception that females who weight train are going to end up overly muscular and looking like female bodybuilders.  I didn’t know it then, but my views on weight training would change drastically as I experienced first hand the ACTAUL affects it can have.

Now I have no shame in saying I am addicted to lifting. There are so many reasons why I strength train. Maybe if I tell you a few reasons I love it, you will keep an open mind to weight training as a woman (or man, to the guys reading this). Here are a few:

  • I’ve seen the most changes in my body with strength training. I’ve lost fat, toned up, have better posture, and now have the most feminine curves I’ve ever had (who doesn’t want this?!). These are all things I could never achieve with cardio, yoga, pilates, spinning, kickboxing, etc.
  • It feels good moving heavy weights. The endorphins released make you feel incredible.
  • Don’t worry about not knowing what you are doing at first, you will learn over time.  Besides, NO ONE knows what they are doing when they are starting to learn something that is challenging.
  • I don’t care what US weekly says, Jessica Alba, and Beyonce did not build those bodies by “hiking and riding their bike twice a week.”  They built their bodies with strict nutrition and hard work in the weight room! Anyone who tells you different isn’t giving them credit for the very hard work and dedication they put in.
  • A girl who knows what she is doing in the weight room can be damn sexy.
  • I am able to see my strength increase, which is the most rewarding feeling!
  • It has helped me build my self confidence.
  • You get in tune with you body. You learn how to push yourself a little more every single day, but also learn when it’s a good time to back off a little.
  • Every workout is a mental, physical, and emotional challenge. How cool is that?
  • I’ve seen such an increase in my mind/body connection.
  • Training is THE best stress reliever.
  • I saw a dramatic increase in my dedication, commitment, and drive. Not only just with training, but also in how to apply those traits to other important things in my life.
  • Every time I’m in the gym now I get approached at least once by someone encouraging me, asking me what I’m training for, or asking for advice. That feels so good.
  • It’s humbling. I know that I’ve made progress, but I also know there is a long, long way to go.
  • There are still times I feel those judging eyes on me and have a moments where I feel self-conscious. Then I stop and remember I belong here too, and I use those judgments as fuel to push myself to be that much better
  • The satisfaction of being able to deadlift more than the guy next to you is priceless.

It’s funny to think that what I used to be afraid of now encourages me. I am no longer afraid of being stared at or approached. If I don’t know how to use a machine or do an exercise, I watch youtube videos or just ask someone at the gym. I no longer fear that working hard in the weight room will make me bulky or masculine, because the truth is, I know it will only make me, leaner, sexier, and more feminine.

-Sumeet

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