Life Beyond the Squat

I am totally at a crossroads here. I love squats. I love them so much that I find myself looking for any excuse to substitute a squat into whatever I’m doing. Jumping jacks? Perfect opportunity for a baby pulse squat in between. Sprints? Definitely tacking on 10 speed squats at every turn around. Brushing my teeth? Prime time for some quick pre bedtime squats. Driving?…ha just kidding!

But you know what I don’t like? The world acting like squats are the end all be all for women in their workouts.

Basically it’s all just getting a little excessive and I am pretty sure I’m not the only one wrapped up in the quest for the perfect backside curve, or perfect squat form. This was evident by the line of 10 girls eagerly squatting into the mirror at the gym yesterday willing the perfect booty to magically show. When did squats go from being a staple total body move to a cultish world of big booty gals breaking laws of physics through hugely toned behinds while thousands of instagramers double tap in awe?

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It all reminds me of those hilarious/utterly disturbing pictures of guys skipping leg days and obviously working every muscle group besides legs 364 days a year. Makes ya do a double take in the worst way. Your workout routine is all about balance yet all I hear as a female on social media and in the gym is that squatting will solve all of my problems. It’s like the kale and avocado craze consuming health buffs around the world. Squatting has always been there yet now people think they should be doing it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Suddenly you are a fitness super star if 95% of your workout is spent squatting.

On the other hand it is an inarguable FACT that squatting is one of the most, if not THE most, functional body weight exercises around. Working over 200 muscles in the body there is no doubt this move is something everyone needs to practice. They burn tons of calories per rep, allow you to survive beach season, and most importantly cultivate a killer foundation of strength for active movements.

Luckily for anyone feeling consumed by squat madness there are numerous alternatives. Been squatting life away for the past year? Change it up try an upper body routine. Make squatting just a portion instead of the entire workout.

Check out my original post here from some awesome alternatives from Share it FItness

Meet: Kitty Hawk OBX

The theory on spontaneous traveling is alive and well! As far as I remember this is the first time ever we have just picked a place without any rhyme or reason, or reservation for that matter. While it was testing the limits of my anxiety a thrill to have the entire trip be one huge possibility, it also required excessive use of phone data and an extra hour or two of car time. The original destination was Wilmington NC and the TONS of gorgeous beaches along the coast in the area. I think I compensated the lack of planning with excessive packing. Like 40 extra t-shirts would make the unknown less unknown.

Hours into the trip it occurred that no one had bothered to check the weather…we were clearly very committed to flying blind on this one. Sure enough it was about to be the rainiest week of the summer for the exact 5 days of our projected stay. Somehow the non-existent plan had found a way to fall apart and we were dead center of nowhere Virgina, and like the 21st century electronic lovers we are, the iPhone became our life line.

The next few minutes were spent analyzing weather patters in random cities up the coast until rain chances got below 50%. I would make 5 reservations only to cancel 5 minutes later due to the weather crisis and patchy load times for the weather app. Finally rain clouds turned to suns over Kitty Hawk NC. Wohoo…OBX it is! No plan plan back in action. If only the name Kitty Hawk had the origin you picture (flying kittens dive bombing beach goers with their cuteness). No one actually knows where the name came from, they think “possibly the Native Americans.” So there’s that, the comprehensive history of KH OBX.

And this is where we stayed….

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Just kidding we actually stayed at this palace.

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My criteria for staying @ hotels/motels=no bed bugs. The Buccaneer Motel=(surprisingly enough) no bed bugs. It had the potential to be amazing or utterly traumatic with no wiggle room. The verdict….amazing for the most part. I mean the character of the place just makes my heart melt! To sum up our stay in two words…affordably cozy. And I am not one to argue with private beach access, even if it means a vintage pirate themed motel and toothless neighbors.
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This sums up what the days consisted of…being horizontal, baking in the sun, beer, our high maintenance cooler baby. You “have to handle it with kid gloves” said the overly serious beer vendor at the Brew Thru and “it’ll be a real nice cooler for y’all.” Which means we guarded it with our lives.

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 My hand is on the camera… and I’m 90% sure his is on the cooler.

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One morning we caught a little rain shower which was okay because we both had scalding sun burns on our river valley skin and neither would admit we needed a break from the sun. With the understanding that you don’t stay at the Buccaneer Motel longer than necessary during daylight hours, the decision came down to go try these raved about donuts or workout. We picked Duck Donuts.  Apparently in OBX when the sun disappears everyone else goes to Duck Donuts too, and orders 72 donuts for them and their family to consume. Why any family or group of 20 people needs that many donuts is beyond me, but I can’t be a snob because we definitely waiting half hour for these beauties who were made right before our eyes.

Below…6 donuts that cost close to a month’s worth of groceries.

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When I initially talked to the Buccaneer Motel about our impromptu stay the woman at the desk made sure to tell me “if you’re looking for a sunset Kitty Hawk is the worst.” Besides the fact that the motel owner just hated on her own beach, the sunset (top) and sunrise (bottom) were both so cool to see in the ways that sunrises and sunsets normally are. She failed to mention that if you absolutely need to see the sun set over water on your beach vacations you merely need to drive 5 minutes across the strip of land to the sound side to view that coveted sight. It was a nice change to watch it set over the beach front houses, making the weathered hurricane proof looking homes solid against the sky, not to mention that photogenic speck of a seagull. It was definitely the best worst sunset I’ve ever seen.
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-RV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Skinny Confidential’s Lauryn Evarts on Healthy Basics

If you haven’t heard of the Skinny Confidential until now…you’re welcome. Chances are though you already have because Skinny Conf. founder, health & fitness guru, and author Lauryn Evarts is quite literally taking over. Seriously if I ever need to see something sickeningly adorable she’s my girl. As if her gorgeous self wasn’t inspiration enough, she makes the idea of eating blended vegetables actually sound like fun on the daily. **I’m talkin inspiration down to the lemons in the teal bowl. See below.**

She is known to give a very real opinion on health and how to actually make it a lifestyle, as opposed to just posting glamour shots of fitness crazies covered in sweat. Lauryn’s brand, The Skinny Confidential, is such a fresh take on the drab info we keep hearing on the same old subjects and with the recent publishing of her first book, it’s safe to say this girl knows her stuff. None of that Dr. OZ mumbo-jumbo here. Read more for the essentials to making your health not only a priority, but a lifestyle. Because we all want success in health, love, and life. Thanks for your feedback Lauryn!

Lauryn Evarts

What’s your foundation whether in business, fitness, or general health?

My foundation is balance. Balance is what keeps me sane and motivated. I also utilize The Skinny Confidential as a place to connect with my readers, and hear what they want to know.

The most important quality you value in yourself from when it all started to today?

The most important quality I value in myself today is self-discipline. I feel like with discipline comes opportunity. Lauryn-Evarts-Zella-1

Worst thing someone can do for their health?

Smoke, not wear sun screen and/or eat chemical filled food….eww to all of these.

Your take on being sick/injured and working out?

I think you should tailor your workout to the ailment that you have. If you broke your arm, then do squats. If you injured your knee, use arm weights.

Your quickest easiest get fit advice ever?

Eat clean. Work out. And practice wellness. Wellness is eating your vitamins. Getting enough sleep. Taking care of yourself and fueling your body with the right nutrients. Be nice to yourself.

Your take on juice cleanses? How long should they be? How effective?

Juice cleanses should last in my opinion three days. Juice cleanses are very effective when done correctly, and ineffective if misused. If you’re interested in a juice cleanse email me at Lauryn@TheSkinnyConfidential.com.

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What are some of the most common inhibitors you see when people struggle to formulate a health/beauty/fitness plan?

I always see people bite off more than they can chew. I think it’s really important again to stay balanced. I also see people who don’t sleep enough. Sleep is so important.

Best advice ever received in terms of personal health or in general?

The best advice that I’ve received is to be the best version of yourself. I think it’s really important to try your hardest in every aspect in your life.

Where do you see health and fitness going in the next 10 years?

I think a lot of people will mix it up daily and that gyms will become less popular and being outdoors will be more popular.

How can I start doing one thing today that will give me positive long-term payoff in regards to my health?

Stay away from fat-free and diet free products. They’re filled with chemicals and are bad for your health.

What is your biggest challenge that you face while working in a field of health/wellness/lifestyle?

My biggest challenge is that people are misinformed. The food companies are not providing the real truth of whats in food. I feel like people are eating chemical filled foods and don’t realize it. My advice is to know what the hell you’re eating.

Best advice you can offer to someone struggling to stick with it, or to find meaning in their fitness routine?

Just do it. Wake up. Work out. Eat clean. Sooner or later it will become a habit like brushing your teeth. Check out my blog here. And check out The Skinny Confidential book here.

If your were an animal what would you be?

Definitely a chihuahua. They’re bad ass and I’d want to hang out with my dog Mini Delites with Lauryn Evarts

White Girl Can’t Run

I had never felt more one with the elements than during the time spent in Dominical Costa Rica. Like I was 24 hours away from abandoning bras and shoes forever and spend my days taming wild iguanas as a career path. No hair brushing at all which meant that for the first time ever dreadlocks weren’t out of the question either. The other most awesome part of Costa Rica was the running.

Prior to the trip, I had been running like a mad woman. Partly due to a slight exercise addiction and the other part due to the half marathon I was supposed to run later that month. Only this running was better than anywhere else. Miles of rich brown sand beaches darker than those cheesy Florida sparking ocean fronts and mangroves dipping from the shore line splattered with rickety fishing boats. It was the first time that the possibility of getting attacked by a gorilla sized vulture was a possibility and the chances of a wild dog tagging along for a mile or so was definitely going to happen.

So after feeling like Mowgli for an hour every morning Costa Rican running was obviously the new favorite pastime. This led to registering for the first ever Dominical 12k to” support the possibility of getting a lifeguard and for the wild dogs” so said La Casa del Sol who was putting on the race.

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Volunteers were gathered through a real life game of telephone where you just ask around and hope people will show up. I showed up race day ready for a our very own Central American Flying Pig turn out and a killer beach run…not quite.

The group totaled to a little less than 80 people with about 40 bystanders all of whom were definitely the person who was forced to drive the runner to the starting line at the crack of dawn. The starting line was drawn in the sand with a piece of drift wood and the signage was held between two trees which were held between two shirtless locals who they called Tito and wait for it… Jake. None of that start time nonsense a little whistle was all we needed and we were off.

After a long stretch on the flat beach where I had already considered where my international 12k running career would take me next, did I see a volunteer point up the mountain in the distance as the direction we were supposed to follow. Forget the fact that someone standing in the middle of nowhere was the only source of direction…I’m sorry up a mountain?

Not just up a mountain but up a vertical spiral of loose rocks and dirt. The brisk pace that was going on was abruptly ended as the natives skipped by oblivious to the fact that we were about the scale the equivalent of 5 miles up the Top Thrill Dragster in 200% humidity. My career as an international 12k beach runner was quickly fading in the distance as the only other white person I had seen for miles and I found wound up off course and in a stream with a drifting abandoned shoe.

One of the pointing volunteers appeared out of nowhere and just froze doing his best mile marker arrow stance. Another mile up and I was walking faster backwards than I could have run. A group of barefoot 20 somethings blew by and I hear…

“Muchacha blanca no se puede ejecutar”

My one year of college Spanish told me that this meant “the white girl can’t be executed.” Whoa, I’m just doing this friendly 12k for the lifeguards and wild dogs. I used the next half mile trying to understand if this mountain would be where I was going to spend my final moments due to sheer exhaustion or a good old-fashioned Costa Rican mountain execution.

I asked the next person who trotted by if I was going to be executed and she was bilingual enough to tell me that the phrase meant,

“White girl can’t run”

Thanks for everything Spanish 103, for all of that time pronouncing to run as correr all these years. I hadn’t thought I couldn’t do something until someone told me so as I drug my sorry ass up the side of a mountain.

The entire experience made me think about the discussions I have had lately with fitness instructors from all different backgrounds on motivation and how to do what you set your mind to. How you literally are the only person who can make yourself do it no matter what it is, for example running up a 90 degree angle in a sauna. That there is a huge difference between can’t do it and won’t do it. We all can’t have the geographical inclination to scale mountains like a stroll around the block, but you can still try and see what happens. Those who won’t will simply never know.

-RV