This month we are featuring a guest Blogger, Gabby Cuzzola, who is working on a 30-day MVMNT Fitness challenge! This week, she talks about how to get yourself ready for a fresh re-start to your fitness routine...
I want to get fit and do it the right way: through healthy eating and exercising everyday. So I am teaming up with MVMNT and spinning everyday for 30 days. Insane. Yes, I know. But, I am confident in the Team at MVMNT to help me see this through with training tips and accountability coaching. I am fully aware 30 days is not going to fully turn around my lifestyle... but it’s a start. I know I could do this very quietly out of the public eye but I am hoping to inspire others to see through a healthier lens. Maybe, they too will take on the 30 day MVMNT challenge to change their lifestyle. You can follow my progress on Instagram (@thefitfeministgab) and on the MVMNT website!
As we all know, jumping into a new fitness routine head-first without any planning is a recipe for failure. So, below are 5 things I did to prepare myself for a challenging, but rewarding, 30 days of sweat.
1. Throw away the scale & counting calories-- I don't care how much I weight or what size my clothes are. The reason I want to do this 30 day Challenge is to begin a process where I feel healthy in my skin and enjoy fitness again. I get sometimes we feel the pressure to look a certain way, and when we're busy it appears that we don't have to time or energy to put in the work but, that is why getting organized is so helpful and important…see Number 2.
2. Organize your schedule and whatever is distracting-- When I get stressed, I do 1 of 2 things: nest or destroy my apartment with organizing it in mind, but it ends up looking like a tornado went through it. We’ve all been there. It’s a very irritating habit I have. But I am acknowledging it and know during this next 30 days it may or may not happen. I want to set myself up for success so I cleaned up and made sure my apartment was a happy environment with as few distractions as possible. I also made a weekly schedule for the next month so I could hold myself accountable and make time to move my body. I linked my iCal to my Mindbody app so I can see all my cycling classes on my phone, and wrote a hard-copy of my schedule out/pinned it up where I can see it everyday as a reminder.
3. Find what works for you-- as a former D1 athlete, it's pretty embarrassing to admit that I’ve lost my grasp on my fitness routine. It is what it is and I’m over being bummed out that I am no longer in the best shape of my life, and can't eat all the carbs I want due to a lack of intense 4 hour a day workouts. (Not really over it but trying…I really do miss eating pasta everyday.) I stumbled on MVMNT not only because I pretty much have an open tab at Sadako, but due to an amazing relationship I have with its owner, Jill Bean. I took one class from her and I died... but I felt so empowered! My adrenaline pushed my body to go to place it hadn't been in a while.
- It felt amazing -
Coupling MVMNT classes with some yoga at aUM and weight training left me feeling like I found my groove again. Soon after that, life happened and I lost two very special people in my life. My daily routine soon became sleeping, eating, going to class, and crying. Lots and lots of crying. After a few months I started recognizing a difference in my mood and sleep due to my lack of exercise. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin and more importantly, I felt like shit. I have never been the type of person to pay attention to the number on the scale but it took one doctor’s visit and the number sucker punched me in the stomach and I was instantly disgusted with myself.
4. Allow for hiccups aka you’re going to fail, embrace it-- We are human. As much as we want to be perfect and super organized, lets be real, we are so flawed. Shit happens and the hardest part is regaining momentum. You have to adapt. I wanted to start this challenge a long time ago and life guided me in a different direction. My plan was revitalized by someone who inspires me and happens to also be my accountability coach— my fitness sponsor. “Whenever you are ready, I am here to help. If you are going to do this you should do it right and at a time that works for you, even though there is never going to be perfect timing, allow yourself to stumble but fight to pick yourself up and keep going.” Jill Bean, Owner of MVMNT and a Badass. Anyone that has taken a class from her knows, once she is on that teaching podium, you will walk out of that studio in a full sweat and possibly with a funny hobble as I often do. If you aren't someone who can self motivate, find someone who you can count on to be there for you and tell you that you can do this when you can't tell yourself.
5. Surround yourself with positivity-- When my apartment is organized, my fridge is stocked and I have planned out my week, I feel really good. Another important thing is that I cleansed my social media. I unfollowed accounts that don't positively effect my life or motivate me and alternatively followed accounts that inspired me. I also deleted Facebook and snapchat on my phone because I wanted to be more present (and my boyfriend brought it to my attention that the amount of screen time I dedicated to social media would best be used on my studies or something else I really enjoyed.) Thus far, it has been really wonderful. I still have Instagram so I am not completely removed but hey, I had to compromise for the betterment of my productivity. So far, so good!
-Gabby Cuzzola, Senior at UMich
Hear more about her progress next week and definitely follow her on social media for inspo ;)
PEACE, LOVE, AND CHANGE.
Us, The Modern Feminists
If there was ever one of my MVMNT Blogs to read, this month is the one I’m extremely passionate about. If you are like me and are looking for a way to make some big changes in the country, come talk to me. Enjoy!
It’s no secret that I’m a feminist and that MVMNT stands for female empowerment, so this is a really important blog for me to write to you all- whether you are a woman or a man. Without getting too political (although the vast majority of you know exactly where I stand), the leader of this country has violated, marginalized and frankly disrespected women in nearly every way possible (along with MANY other people, but for now I’m focusing on all of us ladies). You can spend your days angry; believe me I have. There are many days where I listen to the news and literally can’t believe it’s still the 21st century. But there is always the silver lining to look for. Given the social and political landscape, I have to say I am impressed with the feminist response and I’m here to encourage you to tune into what is going on around us and take a stand for your own rights.
At this point I don’t have to say much more- you know how this disgusting story goes. Decades of absolute violation of basic human rights, basic female rights especially. Whatever your views are, we can all agree that the guy is a piece of fuc- **cutting myself off for all of your sakes**. Right now, there are many of things to be completely discouraged by: Harvey BitchFace Weinstein was assaulting and harassing women as frequently as just this year! IT’S THE MOTHERFUCKING 21STCENTURY. WHEN WILL WE BE DONE WITH THIS?? Secondly, yes- he has been kicked off of his various boards and stripped of his awards, yadda yadda yadda, but where is the power of the law here?! Will this be another Bill Cosby or Trump situation where the men responsible have fabulous lawyers that allow them to escape on “It was locker room talk” or “I didn’t know better and I’ve been working on it”? I’m sorry, but this isn’t something to work on- its fucking binary. There isn’t a spectrum of acceptable here- you either touched someone inappropriately, spoke to them inappropriately, etc. or you didn’t. Yeah sure you may have been worse 15 years ago, but your “better” is still abso-fucking-lutely not acceptable. So why aren’t these men being punished at the full extent of the law?
But you’ve heard this rhetoric- you have heard the anger, the disappointment, the disgust all over the Internet, the news, your social groups... It’s time to come up with something actionable here. In psychology, there is a lot of research about how to motivate people effectively. Advertisement agencies make their money trying to motivate and convince people to buy whatever they are selling. So what does psych tell us about the most effective and motivating campaigns? Anger. Anger is an actionable emotion. It’s time to channel it. We have watched Hillary Clinton reach that glass ceiling and crack it, but still not break through. We have been told, overtly and non-overtly that us women cannot amount to what men have achieved. We have been shamed for our goddam periods! How many times have you heard someone say that Clinton would have been a bad president if she got “moody” during her time of the month?!
Are you angry yet?!?
If you are currently a MVMNT client, you know your power. You know what you are capable of and you remind yourself every single time you walk into the studio. Now it’s time to use it. We cannot sit by and compare ourselves to the past- “Well, we’ve come so far and women have more rights than ever…” No, the real issue here is to look forward and prepare to fight for what we deserve. So now for the silver lining… Now is the time. Finally, we have momentum and women are no longer afraid to speak out about sexual assault. Finally, we have an action movie where the woman is the main character and she kicks the piss out of a male villain. The Seneca Falls Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments, the Suffrage Movement, the Second Wave, and now the Trump Era. It is time to fight for what we have started and to continue to push forward. Trump, I thank you for showing us what still exists in this country- bringing the bigotry, the sexism, the deep disparities and institutional injustices into the light because now we have a clear view of what work still needs to be done. As for the issue of sexism, it is time to continue what our foremothers started.
“What can I do, I’m just one person.”
Use your voice; do not stand for any injustices you see. Do your research; do not support businesses or companies with opposing political or social views. Become an educated voter! If you’re here for college, register for your absentee ballots or change your address to one here in Michigan so that you can be sure to help end gerrymandering or vote the liberals back into a majority. Go to the Women’s Convention in Detroit! (Happening really soon, Google the Women’s March Women’s Convention for more information). But most importantly, lead by example;a truly empowered woman empowers other women. As a business, I pledge that MVMNT will help to keep you informed, educated, and empowered. For now, I urge you to open your eyes and participate no matter how small, because all of the change in this country starts with us.
If you’re as angry as I am, let’s do something together. Come brainstorm.
Peace, love, and MVMNT.
* AUGUST GET FIT MONTH! *
It's dinner time, you're busy AF balancing school work, social life, and a MVMNT addiction... how the F are you supposed to have time to prepare a healthy dinner?!
*Dinner & Desert*
I grew up eating every dinner with my family; whether it was at home or out at a restaurant it was always a social event. I rarely ever ate alone, I rarely ever cooked my own dinner and on top of that I legit never put any thought into exactly what my dinner was going to be. My mom/dad did the planning, shopping, cooking, proportioning, etc. In short, dinner in college eluded me for a long time. For starters, my dinner schedule was often different from my friend's and I would end up eating alone, which was a really tough adjustment. But more importantly, I really didn't have any knowledge about what the F to cook.
This led to two different dinner options for me- 1) go out with my friends and eat some unhealthy bullshit or 2) pick up some unhealthy bullshit. Either way, I was gaining weight and not feeling well. Finally I reached a point after my sophomore year where I was just straight up done being lazy. I educated myself the best I could on the internet (which is really difficult when it comes to food because everyone and their cat has an opinion on how you should eat) and I simplified. Just like the last blog about lunches, your dinner has to be easy to make in large quantities to eat throughout the week. And be YUMMY of course!
The first change I made: my friend group. I realized that I had gotten into some bad habbits- pregaming every weekend, multiple times each weekend... and a lot of feta bread (still not sorry about that one, everyone deserves a little feta bread here and there). As I began my quest for a more healthy lifestyle in college, I realized that my old friends weren't who I wanted to waste my health away with. The next year, I moved out, found people who had the same view about healthy eating, exercise and stress relief in college and never looked back. By senior year, the greatest thing happened. Every Friday night was reserved for cooking and RICCKKKSSSSS. No more was it STR, it had become CTR (cook then ricks). Best thing we ever did.
During the week I stuck to simple, healthy cooking that I could prepare on the weekends and eat throughout the week. I spent the week eating yummy dinners and scanning Pinterest (mainly in stats- sorry Dr. Gunderson!) and health blogs for fun recipes to be cooked on Friday nights. My best advice to you is to get your friends on board. Find someone who will meal prep with you or agree to Friday night cook nights! I struggled with eating alone, I found it lonely (still do) and completely unenjoyable. Having a set date with my girls every weekend really got me through some tough weeks and kept me healthy at the same time :)
Below is my all time favorite recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
* LENTIL CURRY *
The recipe below can accomplish many things... I cook this often on Sunday nights and eat it all week (so freaking good). But, you can also make this with friends! The recipe makes a boat load of food, serving at least 5-6 people.
*PRO-TIP: Don't be afraid of the word "curry". I promise you this shit is so good.*
- Ingredients -
1 tbsp oil (olive, walnut, avocado, coconut, doesn't matter!)
1 yellow onion
1-2 tbsp of minced garlic
1-2 tbsp of minced ginger
1/4 cup tomato puree (I use Pasada)
1 entire carton of vegetable broth
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of coconut milk
1 bag of red lentils
3-5 tbsp curry powder
1 F*** load of kale or spinach
salt and pepper to taste
chips and avocado for garnish!
- Instructions -
This is so simple, don't be scared by the long list of ingredients.
1. Get a large soup pot and heat up the oil. While that's getting warm, chop up a yellow onion and dump it in the pot. Mince some garlic and ginger (the more ginger the better and I don't even like ginger) and throw those in the pot as well with the onions. You want to reallllllly mince the garlic and ginger so that you don't have chunks in the end product. Let those heat up for a bit- until they're fragrant but just before the onions get brown.
2. Splash in the tomato puree, you want enough to coat all of the onions thoroughly. Then just dump the other shit in. Vegetable broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes, lentils, and curry powder. You want a F load of curry powder. It should be a pretty orange color in the pot. You can add salt and pepper to taste here, but I would almost recommend putting the s/p in when you're actually eating the dish.
3. Make sure the heat is on medium, you want this to simmer- not boil. Every once in a while check back; this is going to look like a soup in the beginning but will thicken into a curry by the end. Give a stir here and there to keep the bottom from burning.
4. When the curry starts to get thick and it appears that all of the liquid has cooked off, dump in the kale or spinach and stir it in. you only need like 1-2 minutes here for the greens to wilt.
5. Serve in a bowl, add avocado and/or a handful of chips and CHOW DOWNNNNN
HMU with questions and pics :)
*Dark Chocolate Bark*
Deserts are quite important to your diet... er the success of your dieting efforts I should say. If you're looking for permission to eat desert- you've got it! Of course I'm not telling you to BINGE deserts- no. I AM telling you that deserts are okay in moderation and can actually help you to stay on track with your fitness and health goals! here is an excerpt from one of our previous blogs "What's On Your Plate?" explaining the psychology behind why traditional diet techniques don't work...
Diet (noun): a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
It's just about that time again to come back to AA for another semester! I for one could not be more excited... people flooding back to the city, crisp game days (praise khakis), the Diag in the fall, Fred's acaí bowls, MVMNT Cycling! Yes yes yes to all. Personally when I was in school here, August was always a bittersweet month. Of course you're excited to get back to AA for the fun stuff, but it was always overwhelming to think about classes, cooking my own food, having time to workout, having time to go out with friends - it's a lot to balance even for someone with great time management skills. There just aren't enough hours in the day when you're a student here #amiright? Also wtf is up with getting to class on the first day and already feeling like you're behind?!
Think about this for a second ---> if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Whether you're in college or the work world, I think we can all agree that this little phrase speaks volumes across many different parts of our lives. If you haven't planned your studying correctly, you'll get to the exam day and be totally F'd. If you haven't planned your work week out ahead of time, you'll run into unexpected barriers that keep you out of the gym/studio. If you don't plan for time to go grocery shopping, the whole week will go by in a blur of greasy carry out. Andddd on top of that, it's a vicious cycle. If you get behind in the first few weeks of the semester, you can kiss any plans you may have made goodbye, you won't have time.
So let's try something different.
August is you're chance to get your shit ready.
- PART 1: BREAKFAST + LUNCH -
Cooking doesn't have to be time consuming.
We all follow 348572349 food bloggers on Instagram, pin 345890745 recipes to Pinterest, and definitely save 3498712 of those Tasty videos on Facebook for later, but how many of those recipes are actually possible for your average Joe to cook or even have time for?! Maybe 1%. (I literally didn't even know how to use a spatula before college, and after college I'm not all that much better lol). My secret? KEEP IT SIMPLE and make it fun!
During your busy week, your everyday food has to be easy to make and easily accessible on the run. That salad I posted to Insta yesterday (@MVMNT_AA) took maximum 5 minutes to put together. Anything more time consuming than that, I find that my food just goes bad in the fridge.
STEP 1. Set aside a 1/2 day during your week dedicated to food. For me, it's always Sunday afternoons. I take the morning to sleep in, plan my food for the week and head to the grocery store after lunch. After a quick trip, I do any of the "heavy" cooking I need to do for the week. By that I mean anything that requires a skillet, oven, chopping, etc.
STEP 2. Once everything has been chopped up and/or cooked, separate it all into tupperware! If you're a busy person, there is nothing more valuable to your health than investing in tupperware! No matter how much healthy food you buy, if you can't organize it during planning, you'll never end up eating it. Here's my fridge this week!
STEP 3. Grab-and-go! Give yourself an extra 15 minutes in the morning to package up your salad (and a fork!) and grab your breakfast bar on your way out the door!
Below are my fastest recipes, get the most food for your effort and definitely the most bang for your $$$.
1) Breakfast Bars (15 minutes to make, cut into 12 bars, breakfast is served ALL WEEK+)
Click HERE to view this recipe from a previous blog!
2) Simple Salad (protein + veggies + something sweet = recipe for success)
-Lettuce (buy a bag of spring mix and make your life easy)
-Veggies! What do YOU like? Don't put something in the salad because some blogger told you it's healthy. If you don't like your salad, you'll either give up and the food will rot in your fridge OR you'll be force feeding yourself all week- fuck that noise. (In the salad pictured above, I used pre-shredded carrots, pre-shredded cabbage, radishes, peas, pre-cooked beets, pre-chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, quinoa and tempeh.) Do be aware of the dressing you use though! It's pretty easy to dump an entire bottle of dressing on top of this baby, but remember that dressing can be very calorie dense, have added sugar or even unhealthy preservatives! Pay attention to the serving size and you'll be gucci.
"New Year New You", sans NYE.
No, it's not 2018 yet, but why not make some healthy changes now? It has always been funny to me that people decide, arbitrarily, that January 1 of a new year is THE BEST time to make a change. If you actually think about that, it's pretty ridiculous. THE BEST time to make a change is actually NOW. Don't let yourself continue unhealthy habits just because its not the new year, or its the middle of the week and it would be better to start on Sunday, or any other excuse that you may come up with. Get your shit together, plan for success and see the results you want!
Can't wait to see you all back in the studio! Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this "August Get Fit Month" blog series coming out next week!
Get psyched, it's going to be a great semester.
Breakfast Protein Bar Recipe
2c rolled oats
1/2c chia seeds
1/2c protein powder
1/2c mini chocolate chips
1c peanut butter
1/2c almond or coconut milk
Put 1 & 1/2 cups oats into a food processor and blend until flour consistency, then dump into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of oats to the mixing bowl. Dump in the rest of the dry ingredients and give a good stir.
Combine all of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Stir until all ingredients are mixed into a thick consistency. (PRO TIP: cold peanut butter will make this difficult. If you keep your peanut butter in the fridge, remove it a few hours prior to making this recipe. Combining the wet ingredients works best if the peanut butter and almond milk are room temperature.)
Dump the wet ingredient mixture over the dry ingredients and stir. Eventually this mixture will get really though to stir with a spoon/spatula. At that point, wet your hands slightly and continue to stir with your hands until all of the dry ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated.
Line a 21X21 centimeter (8x8 inch) pyrex with parchment paper. Place the protein bar mixture into the pyrex and press the mixture to fill the entire bottom of the pyrex. Place in the fridge overnight and cut into 12 bars in the morning!
You are what you eat...
"Eating" is your classic 0 - to - 100 REAL QUICK situation. Let's break this down, we start with zero, the most basic question: "Why do we eat?" We need fuel. Our bodies, our brains and our muscles do not function without food- it's as simple as that. Logically the very next question is "Okay, then what should we eat?" And here is our 100 REAL QUICK. There are literally a million food options in a single grocery store and there is equally as much conflicting research about what to eat. So what is the answer here?!
In this email I can't tell you what you should eat and at exactly what time because everyone is different. Personally I eat almost completely vegan. I have a family history of dangerously high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes...you name it. For me, cutting animal based proteins out of my diet gave me the results I wanted in my cholesterol. For my boyfriend, being nearly vegan resulted in painful farts and not enough energy.
What I can do here, is give you some deeper understanding of the psychology behind eating (I wrote a thesis on it once back in the day...) and show you ways to assess what your diet is doing for you.
"Diets" are NOT the answer.
Diet (noun): a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
In an ideal world, diets sound great. Eat this, don't eat that, see results! But we all know that's not how diets ever work. Why? When we restrict ourselves or set unrealistic goals, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Everyone's self control has a limit, and that's not a sign of weakness, that's just being straight up human. Many times I hear clients telling me they are "cutting carbs completely" or "not eating any sugar for 3 weeks", and yet we are hard wired to be attracted to sweet and tasty foods. That's how humans used to survive when we had to hunt and gather for our food. Food was scarce so our bodies craved the types of sweet/sugary calories that would hold us over between large protein brought in from somewhat rare successful hunts.
In other words, trying to restrict yourself from eating something that your body is hard-wired to desire is a perfect storm for failure. The sad part is that when we fail at a diet, we take it personally- "I wasn't strong enough to resist temptation" or "I just don't have the willpower". Then the gloves are off, and if you're anything like me I go on to smash as much sugar into my mouth as possible. That mindset is f***ed.
"Fine so restricting certain foods obviously isn't the answer, but I'm not going to see results if I just eat all of the unhealthy $hit my heart desires..."
Can't argue that, because it's also true. No, diets don't work but the other extreme of eating whatever your heart desires is equally as unhealthy. The real answer is a "lifestyle change". First, you need to really decide why you are trying to change how you eat. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to fit into a dress you ordered for a wedding next month? Whatever the reason, at the most basic it should always be for your health and wellbeing. (Aesthetic changes to your body will come as a byproduct of healthy eating habits.)
Lifestyle changes include resolutions like "I want to eat more vegetables weekly because they are a great source of fiber and micronutrients", "I will drink more water", "I will allow myself to eat deserts here and there so that I don't end up binge eating later".
The above examples are reasonable goals that can easily be implemented! First, decide to commit to your health. It is literally never too late to start, and it is definitely never too late to decide to treat your body right. You deserve to be healthy and feel alive, energetic, and strong! You already work hard every time you come to MVMNT, don't stand in your own way. The healthier you eat, the better you will feel on the bike, the more efficient your workouts will be and the more permanent your results.
Let's do this.
If you've made it this far, I am assuming you're pretty motivated to get started. So what's the first step?
You need to be honest with yourself and figure out what your diet really looks like. How? Start a journal! For just one week, make a deal with yourself to write down every single thing that goes into your mouth. EVERY TIME you drink water, eat breakfast lunch or dinner, eat dessert, whatever it is just write it down. This doesn't require that you change anything, in fact don't change anything just yet. This is an assessment tool for you to reflect on what you normally eat in a week. After a week, looking back and identifying places where you struggle will help you to more effectively intervene. Do you get particularly hungry in the afternoon and reach for the nearest bag of chips? Do you skip meals and end up binging at the end of the day?
2. Mindset shift
Start to view your food as energy instead of a luxury. Food is chemical energy that our body does a good job of transforming into mechanical energy. Or in other words, food helps us move our bodies. Now, I'm not saying that you need to eat bland and un-tasty foods; actually I'm saying quite the opposite! Start a Pinterest and make a goal to pin 3 new meals a week and then actually cook them! (I have a board labeled "veggie foodie" with plenty of fabulous recipes if you're overwhelmed by the hoards of options on Pinterest, just search for "Jillian Bean".)
3. Change one thing at a time
The key word here is "lifestyle". It took you a long time to build the lifestyle you live now, you cannot expect to create a new lifestyle over night. In fact, the faster you change, the faster it could all fall apart. Look back through your journal and your goals and attack one thing at a time. Maybe this week you start by limiting deserts to 2 times a week, or commit to cooking 3 nights a week instead of eating carry-out. It's the little changes that eventually add up to a well rounded, healthy lifestyle!
Looking for a little more guidance?
MVMNT now offers nutritional consultations!
If you want a little more education or an unbiased eye into your diet, email us for details or to set up an appointment with a professional.
- JillBean.theMVMNT@gmail.com -