Been Gone for a While

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Hi! So clearly long time no post over here at HL. That’s because I have been working on a new project. My very own Etsy shop! It’s a little sparse and probably will be until we get more items together, but still it has been the perfect change of pace with this new non college life. Making things as opposed to writing around them I mean. But the best part is the shop has its very own blog. Read if you want on the thoughts and efforts behind store products and see if the little store grows into something worth reading about.

I’m looking at it as something creative to balance out the sterile cubicle life that is my 22 year old world.

More to come
-RV

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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

Crashes and Burns

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Learning how to ride a bike was a life changing experience for me, probably in the same way it is for most buck toothed little kids just trying to shed those burdensome training wheels. I would get so frustrated with them, knowing they were just getting in the way, totally slowing my roll (Ha!). They would cause you to teeter back and forth eventually hurdling you against every effort into the inevitable ditch filled with jagged rocks and mystery road sludge. The calamity dust would clear and the toppled bike wheels were left awkwardly rotating in the breeze, it was a daunting site for someone who just smashed their face in a pile of abandoned road garbage.

I learned how to ride on the side of a mountain by the way. When one small mistake would send the awkward bike and I over the edge like a projectile missile over a creek and into vicious two-way traffic. This was a lot of pressure for someone who was still nursing head to toe wounds after days of wallowing in the ditches. Looking back I think the pressure was a good thing, a heavy reminder to think before you act; how to not be an idiot during risky times.

Eventually the feeling was less scary, you learn to balance through the teetering and suddenly it all feels normal. Soon I was buzzing around, ready to hit the open road. The freedom to just go was enough to overcome scary hills and new pavement, the kind of anticipation that keeps you up at night.

Question: Where will you ride tomorrow? Answer: wherever I darn well please!

One day I was feeling exceptionally professional as any new bike rider with a perfect two wheeling record would, zipping around sharp corners only using the back breaks, visualizing Harrison Ford escaping the collapse of the Temple of Doom, or in this case carbon copy houses and slap happy Labrador Retrievers bouncing in the yard.

I had just made it to the bottom of a mountainous hill when a cul-de-sac out of nowhere appeared summoning the ditch diving past as the entire bike spun out in a violent combination of skin grating impact and aqua blue plastic grinding on asphalt.

I laid there sure I was dead, or at least missing a limb. The world came back into focus and there they were, the awkward tires creaking in the wind a reminder of the not so distant past. Just as quickly as it came, my confidence evaporated into thin air. All sense of feeling came flooding back at once as the sting set in, the crumpled bike, my exposed knee caps. This was one of those mistakes during risky times, the ‘omg that just happened’ gulp.

I’m not trying to make this a “get back on the bike tale” because I hate those, obviously I had to get back on the bike I was miles from home. It’s more of a, “it’s absolutely terrifying to get back on the bike, and for good reason” story. This is exactly how transitioning out of school world and into the working world has felt. Endless situations of trying not to be an idiot during risky times.

For a split second all of the freedom in the world is at your finger tips (excessive do life your own way blog posts). A bad day at work, or slight mistake during an interview, and the freedom starts to pull away.

Confidence slowly grows with practice and one small incident causes it to come crashing down challenging you to try it again. Those little moments of failure have a way of building the confidence back up into something stronger than it was before. Next time you avoid the cul-de-sac or take it slow, adjust and make better decisions, get a clearer vision. Rounding the bottom of the hill at full speed will always be nerve-wracking, a reminder that you are trying and attempting a challenge, but mostly it is a sign that you are learning.

Downsizing

Some are kept awake by the stresses of their day, a big presentation at work tomorrow, or a fight with a friend. What am I agonizing over in the late hours of the night you ask? I am losing sleep over pondering a little too obsessively over everything I am not doing. Even though a million things are being done, the pondering always veers in the other direction.

It is what causes projects to be perpetually half finished. It can lead to excessive applications to jobs that aren’t remotely interesting, and other obscene things done during regular sleeping hours over lots and lots of stale coffee. I, like many in this post grad life, am so wrapped up in the vortex of commotion and uncertainty that is the excitement of being busy.

You really can’t even call it excitement, because half the time it isn’t exciting at all, it’s downright miserable. It’s that time when you have to be in three places at once, find yourself working 5 jobs, and answering a phone interview while babysitting 4 screaming kids for a little side cash. Then you’re at home wondering how your life wound up like some B list Katherine Heigl ‘I am woman movie’ and everyone else you know is somehow taking advantage of the novel things in life, like weekend trips and lunch dates. And the last thing on the biblical to-do list is to relax because there simply isn’t time.

It’s basically one of the hardest post grad lessons ever, to try to start focusing on something you actually want to do.

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A few ways to take it down a notch…or 50

Pick the top three: narrow down the commitments that are most interesting and cut the negative ones.

Say no: after years of saying yes to everything it’s finally time to get a little bit more selective and refined. For example… never buying wine from a gas station again…just say no.

Do something unproductive: read the lame magazines, start a new Netflix show, or cook something that didn’t come out of a freezer. Anything but something that contributes to the growth of your future. Preventing burn out and the impulse to turn to self-help books.

Stay focused: pretty shiny enticing opportunities are always going to be there. Spend time on the ones that make sense. How it will this mesh with life right now.

Lack of focus leads you to jobs that don’t make sense, dead ends, anxiety, and worst of all feeling inadequate. You could have all of the success in the world, but if you are too busy multitasking 500 side projects, the success won’t mean anything at all. It sounds like such an over achiever problem to have, and that’s because it is. Trying new things, a social life, taking weird classes, all of it involved you taking interest in something new and all of it was equally exciting.

When the structure of school is gone and the real world starts creeping into focus, the new focus needs to be creating that structure for yourself. Little did I realize college funded my ability to be absolutely spontaneous, to try anything without totally risking it all, and to do it all at once. Life beyond college demands more of a game plan. It goes against the grain of every Tom Petty quoting 20 something and that’s OKAY seriously, Tom Petty wasn’t trying to say you should forever remain a 13-year-old.

It starts the process of growing up//growing into who you came to be these past four years. While letting go of the constantly filled calendar of events may feel as if your vast range of intellectual interests are being discounted, channeling all of these interests towards a more focused objective makes the process of downsizing an adventure within itself.

-RV

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

The One Career Everyone Should Consider

Find the original version of this post at the Share it Fitness blog

After sitting down with D1 Cincinnati’s  Jesse Robinson, I immediately rescinded the thoughts I was having of skipping my run due to rainy weather. It is hard to not feel instant motivation after learning about the mentalities and foundational skills that drive the perspective of Division 1 athlete training. Jesse’s genuine motivation and passion is infectious as he explained the similarities of an Olympic athlete and a mom of 5; making it clear that the two really aren’t as different as they appear.

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Jesse has huge plans for the future, but a past that has led him to a position seeking endless development of practiced based training methods that genuinely consider the athlete on a personal level. Perfectionist wouldn’t be a far stretch from the truth, but it is apparent that Jesse’s goals go much deeper. His training mentality is all due to multiple mentors who have not only provided the ideas upon which he builds his programs, but enable him to seek continual knowledge.  By being mindful of the need for personal development Jessie applies his own concepts to his research as he seeks to provide a healthier and more successful training program to all of his clients.

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D1 Sports training is a nationally recognized training team with facilities from California to little old Ohio. The name is known far and wide as the resource for some of sport’s top athletes from AJ Hawk to Phillip Rivers.  The D1 mentality takes an all or nothing approach in that the trainer/trainee relationship is a mutually exclusive entity. In other words, they want you to be a bad ass as much as you want to be a bad ass.

What I found most interesting after our interview was the idea of implementing your health in the same way that you would a career path. Your fitness should encompass everything from a 10 year plan to properly networking yourself in order to attain optimal success in all aspects of your life. Learn why everyone should consider a career in health.

One of the toughest concepts that active people face is the idea of training smarter as opposed to training longer. Can you shed some light on over training?

When people think about how to avoid over training the thought process immediately goes to setting limits. The reality is much different. Smart training either through injury or in order to avoid injury can range from adjusting reps, sets, and body positioning. It is not as focused on stopping activity as opposed to enhancing the activity you are attempting. And for a lot of people focusing is slowing down.

So less variety and more consistency?

Shocking the body is an adopted trend from the boot camp P90x craze. The idea that you should constantly change it up and surprise your body doesn’t always lead to the safest results.   Yes it should be practiced, but not to the point where you have no actual plan. Especially if you are working to specialize in your sport or simply be stronger in your training, perfect points of weakness and build from there.

What does it take to make it in this industry? As a coach, trainer, trainee, person who enjoys slinging weights etc.

Be purposeful in your work and your goals. Whichever role you are playing, be sure that you have a clear motivation in mind and do your research. If people were truer to their values than to the image being active portrays, fitness success wouldn’t seem like such a complicated concept.

Like being informed when going to the doctor…be a critical consumer of your fitness?

Exactly. With a clear understanding of your goals you have the responsibility to hold your trainers accountable and vice versa. Check credentials and know why you are even listening to the fitness advice you are receiving. Where did these ideas that you are digesting come from? How effective is one opinion’s method in your life? By being more specific and holding your fitness to a higher standard than  Googling the “10 minute workout” will not only make you more committed, but lead to long term success in whatever you endeavor may be. I would always be skeptical of a trainer who claims their training plan is their original idea.

The hardest part is making it a habit… brownies>physical discomfort. Why is this so hard and how can someone establish an easier transition into an active lifestyle?

As a trainer, the primary goal you have with a new client is to give them a reason to make it a lifestyle. Telling someone “because it’s good for you” in no longer a valid reason. As a trainee, don’t just start running because it sounds like a good idea; run because you have a plan to train like a runner. Half committing to a variety of exercise can leave you feeling discouraged and exhausted. Pick a focus for a time, develop skills in that area, and move forward from there. Fitness doesn’t have to be the same thing on a daily basis, but you can’t forget the importance of practice, you need to understand your purpose.

 

Since we now know to be critical consumers, and make lifestyle adjustments what is your take on studio hopping (aka being a spinning addict by day and a yoga guru by night)?

You don’t always have to dive into the flavor of the week. Like with your career goals, develop your strengths and identify your passions. If you are able to feel strong in one area of health or fitness it will yield more positive and more productive results than the alternative.

It can be so easy to lose motivation while seeking out goals. What are a few ways to stay driven towards success?

Find a daily reminder that you can keep going forward. Whether you are an Olympian, a Mom of 5, or an elderly senior some factor needs to keep you coming back. Sure the intensities and motivations vary between these three examples, but intrinsically the values are relatively the same. We want to be better, we want to feel healthier, and we want to feel accomplished. In terms of your health you should have a 10 year plan mentality. Consider how you want to spend your time and develop yourself. Long term mindfulness will yield awesome short term rewards.

Absolute best advice you can provide us with?

Seek motivation in a way that works for you. One of my mentors once told me to try to perfect one thing every day no matter how small it may seem.

The degrees of commitment to health will never be the same for any one person. Learning to perfect one thing every day can be actually waking up to your alarm clock for some, and for another it may be training for an ultra-marathon. In terms of making health a lifestyle, just like a career path, you have got to make it a long term plan and allow yourself to see the bigger picture of what you are working towards. Find a network that works for you, be purposeful, and dominate your goals.

Thanks for the life talk Jesse!

What You Should Really Ask the Landlord

Moving sucks. No doubt about it. If you are one of the randomes who loves packing your life into boxes, breaking half the things you own, and permanently straining your back you should start a little biz and help a girl out.

Besides moving physical things there is the added headache of actually finding the new place which you can only hope has heat, and the biggest headache of all…meeting the new landlord… the roommate you never wanted.

Good landlords are like polar bears in bikinis…far and few in between. And the majority seem to be something out of the Twilight Zone. Talking to you landlord who had a problem with working door knobs.

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From the one who thought fixing drain issues with duct tape was acceptable to the one who “took a new prescription” right before the house showing, a mere 4 years of landlord living and you start to get the picture.

When shopping for new housing get your best federal investigator pants on and get to work.

Here are a few of the real questions you should for sure be asking your (potential) landlord.

1. What type of people live in this area? This is meant to lead you to a better understanding of the chances you are moving into a building of serial killers, drug dealers, or both.

2. Bed bugs? Ohio is awesome at bed bugs, better safe than sorry.

3. Is your cleaning crew the real deal? If there is one friend to make it is with the janitor of the apartment building. Never make enemies with maintenance.

4. What happens when we move out? Gotta break up sometime. This avoids the surprise departing fees that magically appear leading to no security deposit for you.

5. How often should we expect to hear from/communicate with you? Love those landlords who pop up after 6 months of hibernation to let you know there has been a mold issue in the building for the past year.

6. Hash out the $$ on day one. No mind games. Know exactly what everyone is responsible for before signing your life away. “No I was not aware I had to pay for your broken cabinets” 

7. Crime. The majority “can’t tell you” for legal reasons, but asking will still force some semblance of a vague answer.

Basically when it comes to renting a new place all you can really do is hope the next one is better than the last.

-RV

My First Time

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My first time lasted all of 30 seconds. Eyes closed, focusing hard, breathing gently is all I was thinking about. The room felt so still yet terrifyingly calm at the same time. After 30 seconds my mind wavered to how many hours I worked that week and the magic was lost.

There it is the pathetic tale of my first time…meditating.

This time of the year somehow makes everything absurdly hectic. Like eating dinner is not an option. Like a shower is an absolute burden.

A few people had recommended meditating….to which I was like no way in this planner is sitting alone eyes closed breathing heavily making it on this to-do list. Sorry no room.

Like all new things they sound like a weird idea to start. Then I thought about people I know who make a commitment to practice meditation on a daily basis and you know what…they live life like they practice meditation on a daily basis!! Who would have thought!

There is a balance about them. They have this sense of calm and clarity in all things they do. When a person who meditates makes a decision they feel strongly about it. The rest of us? Probably spend the rest of the week doubting and mind changing our lives away.

So I thought about trying it. Making a commitment was way too huge of a step obviously.

As simple as it all sounds it’s not something to just be jumping into. Compared to anything else you do meditation is basically the complete opposite.

Everyone runs around all day long and exerts all of this energy towards things that seem meaningful, so finding meaning in doing nothing but clearing your mind seems straight up ridiculous.

And that’s how it felt. After thirty seconds of serious trying I knew it was a lost cause. Thoughts of homework, omg did I lock the car door, and unfinished things took over, quiet time was not working.

So long story short, meditation should be a professional sport. I plan to be a mind master in 2014, or at least make it matter longer than a minute.

Thinking of trying it too? Start small and start early. The morning is always the most peaceful. Find a place that will be safe and calm. I spent my first 30 seconds terrified that someone would barge in.

Hoping you find a little calm this week!

❤ RV