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Fairy Healthy Life

Runner, Yoga Enthusiast, Fitness Fanatic who loves living an active life to inspire those around her.

Building A Muscular Physique

I realize I’m not a bodybuilder or anything close to that. But I feel like through my journey I have learned a few things on how to add lean muscle to my body while still looking feminine. There is still a huge false belief that because you lift weights you are going to become huge. That is not true at all! Don’t let anyone convince you of that. Female body builders have a hard time putting on muscle because we don’t have testosterone and some take testosterone to build that much muscle.

Lifting weights and adding a strength training regimen to your workouts will give you lean muscle and actually may help some women lose weight. Your body is constantly burning calories when you have more muscle mass. And because of that, you need to eat more!! You can’t starve your body if you want to add muscle to it. It just won’t work. You don’t have to eat perfectly healthy, but you do have to make changes.

If you are feeling hungrier throughout the day or wake up really hungry, that is a sign that you are not eating enough. Your body is working harder because of  your workouts. That doesn’t mean you should add empty calories. You need some carbohydrates. If you feel like you are already eating clean, you can add in a few more healthy foods. I really suggest staying away from meal replacement shakes. There’s too much crap in that stuff and you don’t want that in your body.

Try adding:

  • A slice of whole grain bread for breakfast
  • An extra serving of vegetables for lunch
  • a protein shake as a mid-day snack
  • Making hard boiled eggs and snacking on them throughout the day for extra protein.
  • Add in healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil or almond butter.

Depending on the season, go with fruits and vegetables that are easily available. You’ll save money and it’s better for you. With it being summer, there is a lot more variety so that you don’t get bored with your meals. Chop up your fruits and vegetables at the beginning of the week to save on time and clean up.

When it comes to exercise, I like having workouts for myself and my clients that involve a majority of body weight exercises. Sure, I like to add extra weight as well but body weight training is the best for building core and overall body strength. It is more difficult, but it works.

A few exercises I love are:

  • Push ups and pull ups
  • burpees and mountain climbers
  • Squats with a jump variation
  • Yoga!

Yoga is so great for building a strong lean physique! People are always so surprised when I tell them that. The biggest thing that has helped sculpt my shoulders is handstands. I know they are not easy but if you are consistent (even against the wall) they will make a huge difference in your upper body and core strength as well.

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With yoga, you are constantly using all of the muscles in your body to breathe, focus on alignment to hold a pose and slowly lengthening those muscles. A great example is downward facing dog.

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As you can see, each muscle is being stretched. If you breathe correctly, you should be able to lengthen even more and reach deeper into the pose and stretch those muscles even more by bringing your chest closer to your legs.

There are endless yoga poses that can help build a stronger physique. One of the main reasons I love yoga. Same goes for body weight training.

*Disclaimer: I am a personal trainer and yoga instructor. I am not a nutritionist. Always seek professional advice before beginning a new fitness or health program.

Guest Post: More Than Just Running, Shannon’s Story

I go through my day-to-day life just trying to get everything done that I can. Teaching classes, getting my workout in and trying to be a good mom. But when someone comes into your life and really puts the time to want to know what you’re about, it stops you in your tracks and changes your life.

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That happened when I met Shannon. We ran together a few times at the group runs and that’s all it was. Then our paths crossed more often within the next few weeks and before you know it, we are in tears in a Corner Bakery parking lot sharing similar weight loss stories.

That was only the beginning. We’ve spent a lot of time together and find out we have more than weight loss and running in common. Leading a fit life is something we both have a love for. I asked Shannon to share her story because daily she inspires me. She is a strong woman with a huge heart trying to bring positivity to our community everyday. I’m blessed to have her as a friend. I know she can inspire you as well.

 

Farrah, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share a piece of my story. Thank you for helping me find the balance that I didn’t know could be found! Thank you for being a spirit of true beauty and thank you for the amazing friendship that we have developed in such a short time. I don’t share easily and being asked to guest-blog has been an experience that’s allowed me to open up and shed light on my real struggle. I was told to share openly because I never knew who I was helping or even saving.

I am thirty years young with 2 super cool kids. I have my degree in Criminal Justice from New Mexico State. My hope is to one day attend law school but for now my focus is on my family, my happiness, and my health! My family means the world to me and although I’m not perfect I know that I try to be good enough. shannon5 We all have situations in our lives that shape who we are. I knew I could either let my situation define me or I could battle back. I choose love and hope and sometimes it’s not easy and I will be the first to admit that I struggle with myself but I decided after a hard couple of years I wasn’t going to continue allowing the negativity to navigate me, I needed my life back again. I’ve made mistakes and I am not proud of every decision I made but I know that all those mistakes and bad decisions built the strong foundation I stand on. While I am passionate and enthusiastic, I am also a quiet over-thinker who is very reserved.

The best part of acknowledging my shortcomings is actively holding myself accountable to make positive changes daily. In 2008, after losing 40 lbs that I kept on since having my son four years before that, Bernie and I signed up for a relay after seeing a poster hanging in the window at Up and Running. One month later we were racing in our first full sprint triathlon, and after that we both became quickly engulfed in the sport! For the next year or so we both competed in several local and out-of-town events. Triathlons were what kept me thin and fit and training kept me happy but I knew I needed to be able to provide. I needed a solid future for my children and as much passion as I had for the sport I knew I needed to go back to school and secure a solid future for my family. I enrolled in the fall of ’09 and put my weight management and training on hold.

Before transferring to New Mexico State I realized that I needed to, once again, get the weight off that I had gained during the first two years in school. Summer ’11 I trained for Eagle in the Sun, lost that weight (again,) and claimed 3rd place in my age group!   shannon3 Unfortunately, during that race I nearly ruptured my Achilles- I was out for 6 months. I completely shifted all my focus to school and although Bernie was still actively training and competing I had no interest in joining him even after I healed. Two years and a lot of life later, graduation was right around the corner and I found myself weighing the most I had ever weighed (190lbs.) shannon6 What was worse then the weight gain was the depression and anxiety I was struggling with on a daily basis. My mental health was far worse than my physical health at that point. The beginning of last summer was the beginning of a six month war with who I was and who I was becoming. shannon7 Chris Rowley, owner of Up and Running, posted an update on Facebook about a position at the store. I went in with my fingers crossed because although I had shopped at the store and I loved to run I didn’t realistically think I would get hired for several self-defeating reasons. After a summer of applications and rough interviews, I put a smile on my face because I knew I needed this! I was wrong and Chris left a message the next day saying “I won”! I can without a doubt say that I love my job! I am so grateful for the position I hold and the people I know (and help) because of it! shannon2 Being hired really jump started my commitment to lose what I had gained since my injury. I started running again with Bernie and started slowly dropping the weight. At first, I was concerned about losing pounds but after I was sidelined for 6 weeks recovering from a surgery, I realized that I needed a complete overhaul both physically and mentally and at that point my fitness goals were more aimed at improving and maintaining my mental health then my physical health. I started to condition and strengthen my body and my mind and in January I joined a group of amazing runners that continue to inspire and push me!

The El Paso marathon was my first half marathon distance and just 4 months after a hard time and surgery I was running it! I ran a 2:26:26 and needed 10 days off to recover.

My body was conditioned for the miles but I didn’t have any strength after. I started doing Yoga with Farrah twice a week and added swimming once a week. My first yoga class I was so lost and overwhelmed I could barely reach my shins and I felt unbalanced and completely down on myself. I was intimidated but told myself it didn’t matter what everyone else could do it’s my practice and I was going to do this! I noticed a difference within just a few weeks. My flexibility was improving with each class!

In April, I officially joined Cindy and the other lovely ladies at fitness works with a nice mix of Pilates, boot camp, Zumba, and I continued Yoga with Farrah (my favorite)! Yoga started off as a way to become more flexible and strengthen my running. I can, without a doubt, say that it has done just that for me. But what I didn’t expect was the peace and clarity and overall balance that came with the practice. Yoga is beautiful for me. unnamed (47) It’s becoming easier to quiet my busy mind and focus on the present moment. I know now more than ever that you have to strengthen from within first.  It starts with a strong mind and the rest will follow. shannon1 Every day I wake up, I will continue to choose love even when it’s hard and even when it seems like it’s not worth it. I will battle on! I am not embarrassed anymore to admit my instability because I will do what I have to do for me so I can continue trying to be good for those around me, that’s all I can do!

We are all more alike than we think and I am lucky to have met some beautiful people. I have an amazingly strong husband and support system that I can’t thank nearly enough!

A Big Realization

I hadn’t had a marvelous weekend like this past one in such a long time. I didn’t have a great night out or go on vacation. I did realize that my life is being formed for the best, right in front of my eyes.

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The most significant thing was I started teaching a hatha Yoga class (actually 2) at El Paso Community College. For now, I’ll be teaching for the summer session. but who knows, maybe it can lead to something permanent. I didn’t realize how huge of a deal this is until I went to go pick up my rosters for the classes. To see my name under “instructor” brought tears to my eyes.

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I thought, wow, this is really becoming who I am. I do love it. I never expected that. It’s just something I love doing and I’m happy to do it everyday. Teaching yoga is something I love even more. I know many people are intimidated about yoga for so many different reasons. But when they do give it a try, and can’t wait for the next class, it warms my heart! It’s a feeling I can’t really describe. I just know this is what I’m here for.

My girls and I celebrated with treats perfect for a hot day. Bahama Buck’s shaved ice and smoothies. I had the coconut flavor, Amani had pink bubblegum and Chloe had a strawberry cheesecake smoothie. Delicious!

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Sunday was actually a busier day than Saturday. I started my morning with a short run with some friends, 3 miles.

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I have to admit, it wasn’t pleasant. I’m barely starting to get back into running. But I think I may need to scale it back and run only once a week for the time being. I can feel when my hip starts to shift and it’s mostly just an uncomfortable feeling. It has me frustrated. I know it will get better, but it’s hard to be patient.

Later on that morning, I went to a boot-camp class because I felt like I needed to get some strength training in. I blame stress! Plyometric exercises and weights always make me feel good.

Sunday afternoon I taught my first private yoga lesson. I really liked how I could explain the poses more based on the persons abilities and preferences. It was a lot of fun with less pressure for both myself and the client.

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I now realize my love for all that is fitness and healthy living is coming together to form my career. With my hard work and persistence, I know I can succeed. There is no going back now. That’s how I want it.

With each class or training session, I become a little more confident as an instructor. I’m making more connections as well as friends. I can see some great opportunities coming my way. I’m very grateful for that. At the beginning of the year, I was very discouraged and unsure what direction my life was headed. Taking it day by day helped me stay positive.

Thank you friends for always encouraging me. Have a Marvelous Monday!

 

Linking this post to Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in my Monday.

Listening

I have such a hard time listening. Not listening to other people, but listening to my body. I decided to take a break from running this month. My hip area is still a big problem for me. I knew I needed to rest but I didn’t know how bad. I was still going to the gym for strength training, taking boot camp and cycling classes. I would start to feel better, then I would push myself a little harder and I would be in pain again. This past week, it was a different pain though. If I were to arch my back, I felt a sharp pain shoot down from my hip to my knee. Through yoga, I have become more in tune with my body. I know when I am overstretching or pushing myself too hard. I decided to see the chiropractor hoping he could at least tell me what this odd pain was. Once I laid down on the table he immediately noticed my right leg was shorter than my left. He even offered to take a picture before he adjusted me so I can see the difference.

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Wow! Well no wonder I was so uncomfortable even just sitting! He adjusted me and I immediately felt some relief.

I feel okay but a few days later I can begin to feel my hips shift again. My right hip comes forward and my left side sinks back into my lower back and sits on my nerves. That is the pain that I have been feeling. It feels even worse when I sit down. And that’s why I thought it was my piriformis.

I think I feared losing my strength and endurance if I rested for a whole month, even though I know that’s not true. It actually hasn’t been that bad. I’m trying to stay positive. I know I can get back into it fairly easily. I need to stay calm and know this has been for the best.

So what now? Here’s my plan:

  • Get back to running in June. I’m going to take it very slowly, paying special attention to any discomfort I may have. And stop when I need to.
  • Run on dirt or grass to not cause any extra pressure to my hips.
  • Run on an incline and walk downhill.
  • Keep seeing Dr. Barker once a week for adjustments.
  • When my body needs rest, I will rest!

Besides that, everything else seems to be going in the right direction. With the extra time, I’m able to focus more on building my yoga business. Offering more classes and trying to get more people (especially runners) to try it. I know how beneficial it can be for the body and mind and that gets me excited to teach it to others. I’m also getting more clients for personal training! I’ve added a Book Fresh account for clients to book appointments online or attend classes. You can see it on the right side if you are viewing this post in desktop version.

I’m going into this weekend very happy and looking forward to the future. I can’t wait to run again. I hope you have a great weekend!

Remember this! Each journey is different. Become who you really are meant to be.

Remember this! Each journey is different. Become who you really are meant to be.

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