Motivation Monday: Be it Resolved

res·o·lu·tion   /ˌrezəˈlo͞oSHən/

1. A firm decision to do or not to to something.
2. A formal expression of opinion or intention agreed on by a legislative body, committee, or other formal meeting
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary, )

Today, all over the country 102,344,000 people will make one or more resolutions. The Journal of Clinical Psychology published a research article regarding a study which found that 45% of Americans make a resolution leading into the new year. Of those who make a "firm decision" to add or delete something from their life, 75% made it through the first week, 50% are maintained beyond six months, and only 8% report sticking through and succeeding. The study also revealed that 39% of Americans keep their resolutions if they are in their 20's, while only 14% of those older than 50 reach their goals.

No, this post is not going to encourage you to make healthy resolutions to help you reach your fitness goals (although not a bad idea). I hope that you have decided to make it a part of your everyday lifestyle. All year, I have been blogging about simple ways to make changes that will have BIG impact. Things such as taking the stairs at work, parking further away, replacing processed snacks with healthy ones, and finding something fun to do that also gets the heart pumping. Simple things, right?

Wrong. In a previous post about the Slight Edge Principle, I discussed how EASY it is to make changes, and how easy it is not to make changes. So you can make all of the resolutions you want, but if you do not make the decision in your heart before taking action, you may set yourself up to be one of those who do not make it to the six month or one week mark.

Since the world did not end as speculated, starting January 2, all gyms will be filled at capacity. You will not be able to find a single treadmill, dumbbell or yoga mat unoccupied. Vitamin companies and health food industries will receive their biggest pay raise of the year just because people made a resolution. As we all know, the gyms will quiet down again in March.

What will you be doing in 2013? Set some goals. List action steps on how you will achieve those goals. Find an accountability partner, and move forward. What will be your motto or mantra for the upcoming year? What changes do you want to see in your life? And in advance, have you made a commitment to see those changes through no matter what it takes?

When Michelangelo was asked how he carved the statute of David, he said,

"I simply cut away everything that was not David."

What can you cut out (or even add) to your life to ensure that you are the best that you can be in 2013?

I believe in leading by example. So since I am encouraging everyone to set goals and work a plan, here are some things that I plan on cutting or adding to enrich my life in 2013.

Q. Olivia's 2013 Resolutions

1. Read More Books: Draft a list of 13 (for 2013) inspiring and motivating books that I can read and apply to my life, business, marriage, and passions.
2.  Read one book a month for pleasure

1. Set one macro and one mirco financial goal.
2. Save regularly from every paycheck
3. Read at least one personal finance book (can be counted towards the list of 13)
4. Create a budget... and live by it
5. Organize receipts, business expenditures, etc

1. Find a healthy cookbook to work through
2. Try one new recipe challenge a month
3. Support local farmers by shopping at the farmer's markets on Saturdays
4. Limit my eating out

1. Compete in my first bikini/fitness competition! Wahoo!!
2. Continue with meal prep days for lunch/dinner
3. Go to the gym/workout at least 5x a week
4. Run one 5K a quarter
5. Lose 15 pounds and retain lean muscle mass. Drop body fat by 10%
6. Consistently blog
7. With the exception of an occasional glass of wine with dinner, give up alcohol (it really impacts my fitness goals)

1. Have weekly date nights
2. Pray together in the mornings before starting the day
3. Constantly affirm my husband and encourage him; remove all negativity from my speech
4. Celebrate our two year anniversary in New York City
5. Read a great marriage book
6. Learn to pick my battles (I can be argumentative, so I've heard)

House/Home Life
1. Create a cleaning schedule for the home so I do not end up doing one long day of cleaning the entire apartment
2. Organize paperwork regularly
3. Open my mail within 24 hours and take action (as required) within 48 hours

1. Get a raise (applying for my supervisor's former position)!!!
2. Improve on leadership skills
3. Join the Morale Committee
4. Be an active presence in the community (on behalf of the agency)

1. Become a Big Sister (complete application process by January)
2. Become active with the Houston chapter of Soldier's Angels

1. Continue attending church weekly
2. Go to Sunday School
3. Be a leader in Women's Ministry
4. Become a youth leader
5. Join the Women's Guild
6. Daily Quiet Time (prayer and scripture) before work
7. Become an active Prayer Warrior

1. Communicate more regularly with friends and family by writing letters, making phone calls, or emailing
2. Send birthday, anniversary, and other special occasion cards
3. Make some new lady friends in Houston (its pretty lonely without my best friends around)
4. Find a way to be involved with dance (teaching or performing)
4. Scrapbook and organize memories better
5. Take more pictures
6. Limit my social media activity to 30-45 minutes a day

Business (Rivers Empire)

1. Grow clientele with new, loyal customers every month
2. Qualify for bonuses and leaderships
3. Achieve the Platinum Level of Leadership
4. Utilize our mentors and take advantage of every resource, conference, and learning opportunity
5. Make a difference and create change in our lives and others
6. Business Cards
7. Attend 3-4 vendor markets to promote products

Now, you may be thinking that I have a lot of resolutions and goals, but so many of these go in hand-in-hand, they are really overlapping. Also, many of them I am already doing, but want to continue do or become even better. And finally, for those who know me, I thrive on being busy and productive.

These goals are in no particular order, just how they came to mind as I was typing, and how I categorized them in my head. And some of these goals, are things that I wanted to accomplish in 2012, but failed to do so. Since I never give up on the things I want, I will try again to work towards both the new goals and renewed goals :)

So as we go forth, let's be better. Let's dance a little more. Sing a little louder. Enjoy the sunshine, and even the rain. As Edith Lovejoy Pearce said,

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

Starting writing your book for 2013. Best of luck in the New Year. May it be filled with love, joy, prosperity and peace. 

Until Next Year ;)
~ Q. Olivia


Tasty Tuesday: Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

As everyone knows, reaching your fitness goals is mathematically broken down as 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen. We have heard many fitness models and spokesmen say, "Your abs are made in the kitchen."

To honor that important aspect of fitness, I will incorporate a Tasty Tuesday in this week's blogging. For those who know me personally, or even impersonally, you probably know that I do not like to cook. It is not one of those activities that I would put on my top 50 things to do for fun. Thank goodness I was blessed with a husband who loves to cook, and enjoys cooking for me.

So for this week, I will feature a delicious and easy recipe that is clean, quick, and can last you all week when you need to grab something on the go. I present to you: Turkey Meatloaf Muffins.

These little guys are perfect for when you are in a rush running out of the door, OR you simply need a snack to curb your appetite in between your meals. Since they are filled with protein, a snack pack of vegetables would be a nice complement to the turkey muffins.

  • 2lbs ground turkey
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup cooking oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dry yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 celery stalks

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Spray muffin pan with olive oil or use cupcake liners
3. Mix all ingredients together in one large bowl
4. Roll the mixture into balls and place in the muffin pan
5. Bake for 40 minutes

Makes 12 muffins

Serving Size ~ Women: 2 muffins, Men: 4 muffins

Calories: 182
Total Fat: 8g
Total Carb: 4.6g
Protein: 22.2g

Bon Appetit,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday: Over the Hill Slumps

Let's face it. Working out is not always as fun + glamorous as they make it seem in movies or on TV. Everyone seems excited, motivated, and energized... ALL the time. Seriously, no one wakes up everyday eager to throw those skin tight clothes on and sweat it out for 30 minutes to an hour, unless you are on Prozac (no judgement if you are).

Realistically, there are days that you draaaag to get out of bed and put clothes. Then you drag through your workout. And even after you begin working out you are still dragging to push out reps or to run another mile. For most of us, we usually begin to feel better once the blood starts flowing and we are actively doing something. But every once in a while, even when we are done working out, we drag ourselves back home and wonder, "Did I even get a real workout?"

The answer is yes, and this week's motivational image will show you why....

In this picture, you see one hill after another. A very daunting and intimidating task. The only road block is... your mind. Your goal is obviously to get to the top of the hill, so how do you get up there? One hill at a time. I know you knew I was going to say that. Here's an example.

Just last week my husband Lee, who is training for the Houston marathon shared his emotions and experience on a particularly challenging long run last Saturday of 17 miles. When I picked him, as usual I asked him how his run had gone. He informed me that from the moment he woke up, not a single part of him wanted to go running. When he started, every single mile hurt. He never found his sync or a good rhythm/pace. His mechanics were off (breathing, posture, focus, etc). He knew he did not perform his best and he trudged through all seventeen miles.

Despite how he was feeling, he focused on the BIG PICTURE. He knew the workout would benefit him down the road. He continued to trudge mile by mile, step by step. He did not stop until he had completed his goal. Although he felt like crap pretty much the entire time and did not feel confident, that run helped him so that he could do 20 miles this past weekend (which went very well, once I found him and picked him up in the middle of Nowhere, TX).

The point is, that even when you have a "bad workout day," you just have to do it. Although you may think it was the worse workout and that you burned - 0 calories, it may be the perfect challenge your body needed to conduct the next workout.

Just like with life, not everyday you are at the gym is a land of shiny dumbbells and glistening water fountains; there will be days that just feel 'blah' from start to finish. The important thing is that you finish. Get to the top of your slump hills, and know that the next day will be better! CHIN UP(s)... Get it?? Haha!!

Until Next Time....
~ Q. Olivia


Workout Wednesday: Jump Rope

I just joined a new gym in Houston about a month ago and it is really awesome. I love the environment and all of the different types of equipment that allows for me to get a full workout. The gym is also popular and during peak hours it can be a challenge to get on the machines I need.

So, in the meantime, I always pack some basic workout tools in my bag that I can use upstairs in the stretch room. A weighted ball, ankle weights, and... a jump rope. Now, for those of you who can remember spending your recess time with the other girls singing about Ms. Mary Mack and Strawberry Shortcake while jumping rope, you may think it was just a lovely time with friends. For those who are fitness minded and have recently used a jump rope, you know it has greater purposes than entertaining elementary girls.

I recently purchased a weighted jump rope and a few minutes utilizing that simple instrument left me winded and sweaty. I was shocked!! I have since then tried to incorporate a few minutes of jumping rope into my workout plan; from those workouts I have come to the conclusion that there are 3 main benefits of jumping rope:

1) Weight Loss
2) Increased Cardiovascular Fitness
3) Muscle Tone

Weight Loss
I know this may seem crazy, but let's break it down with some numbers. There are 350 calories in one pound, which means to lose one pound a week, you have to eliminate 700 calories a day. You can either a) cut out those calories from your diet or b) burn them off with exercise. Personally, I love food (healthy of course) so I prefer using a combination of both. Did you know that jumping rope for 30 minutes burns 300 calories. THREE HUNDRED!!! I am not a fan of math, but I do know that if you jump rope for thirty minutes every day and cut only 400 calories from your diet, you can lose a pound a week. It sounds crazy, but it produce HEALTHY weight loss. And isn't that what we all want?

Muscle Tone
If you want to be lean and tone heading into 2013, jumping rope is the best way to get those muscles in shape, especially in your lower body (legs, glutes, and calves). This is where the benefits of a weighted jump rope comes in. These ropes are a bit heavier than your average jump rope in the toy section, so are a bit more expensive, but is a great investment in your fitness goals. With the extra weight in the handles of the jump rope, this improves muscle tone for your upper body (chest, arms and core). It now becomes a full body tone session!!

Increased Cardiovascular Fitness

As I mentioned earlier, my first time jumping rope since childhood left me in a puddle of sweat!! This simple, but powerful exercise really gets the blood flowing, which is obviously great for the old ticker!! Additionally, it will increase your ability to do daily tasks without losing your breath, and help increase your stamina when you are working out. This is great for me, because I have three flights of stairs that I go up and down multiple times a day just to get to my apartment... and I tell you there are times I just want to stop and pop a squat on half way up.

So there you have it, three benefits of jumping rope. And I assure you there are many more, but I dislike long lists!!

I encourage you to go out and make an investment and get to jumping. It is something the whole family can do; or with a partner you can switch back and forth to do minute-long intervals with one person jumping and the other taking a break. And if you like... you can sing a little nursery rhyme while you get your workout it in. I promise I won't judge.

Until Next Time...
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday: Find Your Fitness

Good Morning Friends!! I have returned to the land of blogging. I took a brief hiatus because of our business and in general a busy life, but definitely not from fitness. I hope everyone is doing great; I hope workouts are still challenging, and the nutrition is still clean + healthy, with a few cheat days in the month, of course.

In the last month and some change, I have been preparing myself to enter a new workout program that will propel me into the new year as I prepare to get ready for competition. I started my new program yesterday and am looking forward to something challenging, yet doable.

2012 has brought us many new exercises, workouts groups, and fitness techniques. Today it is hard not to go online or turn on the TV and not see an advertisement for fitness related activities... and I LOVE IT. At first it can seem overwhelming when you are trying to figure out a fitness regimen that works for your lifestyle, but eventually you find something that fits your groove.

Unfortunately, the challenge with us is not the vast array of options, but finding the one or two things that work for you. Often times, I see friends who are diving into all kinds of fitness programs, workout clubs, and boot camps, and they are not seeing results. Why? Because they have yet to find the thing that is right for them, and give it time to work for their body. When you jump from one program to the next, or switch up your meal plan before the day is over; your body is not going to have to time to adjust and make changes, it is constantly going to be guessing and never develop a routine.

So this week's motivation and challenge is to FIND YOUR FITNESS:

Everyone is different, so rather than follow the most popular thing out there, it is important that you find what works best for you. You cannot be the best at everything; but you can be the best and most fit you.

What is your fitness? Yoga? Pilates? CrossFit? Running? Basketball? Dance? Powerlifting? Walking?

Mine is strength training/bodybuilding. And it fits me perfectly. I love it, and I look forward to it.

Find yours this week and tell me all about it.

Until Next Time....
~ Q. Olivia


Monday Motivation: Push Yourself

This has been my biggest challenge. Pushing myself and staying on top of my workouts. I do so badly crave a workout partner who has a similar schedule, a similar work ethic, and similar goals; however, those are a lot of similarities. As the mornings get colder, it is more difficult to roll out of bed, put on sweats, and go to the gym. For me, my gym is attached to my apartment complex, so I have no excuse.

But sometimes trekking across town in snow and ice just does not seem worth the effort. So, for those of us who do not have accountability workout partners, how do we push ourselves? And even for those of us who do, how do we push ourselves when and if our workout buddies lose their motivation mojo?

I remember not too long ago, a few of my college dance teammates (Ashley, Carley, and Crystal) and I made a commitment to wake up at 5:00 in the morning and workout together at the student fitness center. Lo and behold, after a few weeks, there were cold morning where we would text one another and punk out. And of course, once one of us stated she was not getting out of bed to hit the treadmill, the rest of us would chorus in unison, "Me neither!" and we would all roll over and go back to sleep, only to see each other later that day and regret not going to the gym when we had the chance.

So, how do you motivate yourself when no one else will? Here are some helpful suggestions:

1. Log or Journal Your Fitness Goals and Activity
By logging and writing down what you are planning to for your fitness goals, it makes it more real when you can see it on paper. One way you can do this is starting a fitness blog like I did. When people leave comments or tell me that they enjoy reading my blog, it motivates me to not only continue posting, but to continue moving forward with my fitness activity.

2. Use Your "Old" Self
One way to motivate yourself is to keep handy, old photos of yourself. Find pictures from the past when you were in better shape then you are now, whether it was from early college, your wedding day, or the summer before that spring break trip to Cancun when you did all of those crunches to prepare for your bikini showcase. Tape the pictures on mirrors in your bathroom or carry a copy in your gym bag. Another trick is to hang a photo on your fridge, so when you are tempted to grab a snack you may not need, you are reminded of your goal.
Now, I am not saying you should try to look like you did in high school, because our bodies change with age, but it might be a good push!!

3. Use Your Favorite Celebrity
When I look through my fitness magazines, there are few fitness models and competitors who I say, "I want their body!" Jamie Eason + JNL are two fitness models who offer great tips and workouts that I have implemented and obtained results from. Every so often I go online and view photos of them to pump myself up. I know I will never look exactly like them, and that is not my goal. But it reminds me that if they can do it, so can I!!

4. Reward Yourself
I have said this before, and I will say it again. Rewarding yourself for sticking with your goals is a great motivator. I also always say, do not reward yourself with food, because you are not a dog. But small treasures like a pedicure for being consistent with your workouts for the entire week or enjoying a night at the movies for reaching a certain weight goal are good incentives.

At the end of the day, you have to make the decision to wake up, you make the decision to go to the gym, and you make the decision to eat healthy. While you may have a workout buddy or friend to encourage you when you are together, the real temptations usually come late in the night or when no one is around.

Be your best coach, be your best motivator, and push yourself... because no one else can do it for you the way you can!!

Until Next Time,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday: Real Rewards

Today's Motivational Monday serves as a kick in the rear end and a reminder of what happens so often as we journey towards a healthier lifestyle. I have seen so many tweets, Facebook statuses, and picture uploads of my friends who have a fitness or health goal, accomplishes a milestone, and then chooses to "reward" themselves with a big slice of chocolate cake.

Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with chocolate cake if that is your thing (I prefer a heavenly slice of strawberry cheesecake myself); what I am saying is that if you lose a pound, or cut a few seconds on your 1-mile run, or you increase the weight on your power-lifting, that is awesome... but do not go feed yourself as a result, especially with junk food.

I love the quote above because it accurately compares how we reward our beloved four-legged friends and we reward ourselves. We treat them with food. Anyway we choose to treat ourselves should always be in line with our goals, not go against them.

My gift to you this week are my five favorite ways to properly reward myself when I succeed:

5. Try a New Healthy Recipe - For someone who does not LOVE cooking with all of her heart, I do get excited when I find a new recipe that is both healthy and delicious. New recipes get me excited about cooking, and sometimes help pull me out of a slump of repetitive meals. I have not tried it yet, but I would recommend taking a cooking class with some friends. I know it would be a fun time, and of course, learning something new is always a plus!!

4. New Digs for the New Shape - A great way to reward some weight loss success is to purchase a new outfit, pair of shoes, or bathing suit (something to show off that slimmed down figure). I personally do not do this for every pound I lose, but maybe for incremental goals. For example, for every ten pounds, you can purchase a new pair of jeans or shoes. You can also keep the reward within your goal by purchasing a new pair of workout pants or dumbbells. You always feel more amazing in new clothes after you have worked for it.

3. A Visit to the Salon - A perfect addition to celebrating your fitness goals is with a new 'do. Treat yourself to a new cut, some fresh highlights, or just a basic shampoo and style (because there is nothing like having some one else massage your head for you during a wash). It does not have to be dramatic or expensive, but it will make you that much more confident in your other goals and give you a pep in your step.

2. New Cosmetics - A great way to show off a new look is with some of your favorite cosmetics, mine obviously being from Artistry Cosmetics & Skincare through my marketing business, Rivers Empire. Once again, you do not have to go crazy and break the bank, but a simple purchase of your favorite lip color or mascara will give you that boost of confidence to tackle your next health goal.

1. Get a Massage - This is my personal favorite. I call them my "Monthly Monday Massages." I make sure to get at least one, once a month; usually at the end or beginning of the month. I choose to reward my hard work in the gym weightlifting with some much needed relaxation. The awesome thing is that I do not splurge by any means. I have standing monthly appointments with the Houston School of Massage, where I can get an hour long massage for only $30 from one of their students. Everyone wins!!

People who reward themselves with food, have a higher chance of overeating, feeling guilty, and giving up on their goals. Find other ways to celebrate your successes in the gym that keep you focused and fresh! Come up with your own list of rewards to motivate you to push harder and go farther.

Remember, fitness and wellness are supposed to be fun!!

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia 


Monday Motivation: Just Eat Healthy

I know we have all heard it, said it, lied about it, and have slipped up on it: DIET. A funny article I once read stated that there was a reason the word DIE was in "diet." I mean, you have to admit the word itself sounds so limiting and repulsive; I have even heard people turn down food and say the words "No thank you, I am on a diet" with such remorse, that I felt guilty.

But no more. That was yesterday and today is... well, today. I refuse to say the word diet. I personally think it is putting a label on a healthy lifestyle and therefore, making it sound like a bad thing. The tag line of my blog refers to health and fitness being a way of life, something you make an investment in for your long-term benefits.

So people of the world, mainly the small following who read this blog, it is time to remove the word "DIET." From now on, this shall be our response on choosing to eat smart:

See, doesn't that sound so much better? I eat healthy. It takes away the stress of feeling like you are punishing yourself, when you are really choosing not to partake in certain foods, because you know you have healthier options. Simple.

For the past week I have been fasting, and for those who have not heard (considering that fact that I have not told many people) I am transitioning from a omnivore to a herbivore. That is right. I am slowly preparing myself to become a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian. A what?

That is just a long and fancy way of saying I will eat vegetables, but still enjoy dairy (lacto) and egg (ovo) products. Since I am training in bodybuilding, I still want to be able to get my protein and strengthen my lean muscle tissue.

I will start with this being my diet only 75% of the time (Monday -Friday). Then on the weekends I will allow myself chicken breast and fish only making me semi-vegetarian, I suppose.

The point is, that I am choosing to make a different lifestyle choice when it comes to what I eat. Why am I bringing this up? Simply because when someone offers me a delicious, grilled beef burger, I can kindly say, "No thank you, I do no eat meat." It gives me the power, instead of having to say no because I am on a d _ _ _.

As people striving to live healthier lifestyles, we must not only be careful of what we do and consume, but our attitude and reasoning behind.

Stand firm on your health choices and be proud of them. Everything is not for everybody. Trust me, I am not encouraging or promoting vegetarianism if it is not your thing. I love a hot slice of bacon and a delicious burger, often together.

This transition for me is something personal that I want to do. And it is temporary. At any time, I can make the same switch to go back to adding lean meats to my regular meal plans.

Make the most of your workouts and meals this week. Enjoy them, and know your WHY for doing them. Action without purpose is pointless.

Make it a Magnificent Monday!!

Until next time...

~ Q. Olivia


Monday Motivation: Live Once. Live Right.

Wow... this summer has gone by fast. I cannot believe how long it has been since I have blogged a Monday Motivation. The answer is too long, and I do apologize to all my faithful readers who have messaged me asking about the lack of posts.

My life has been a crazy whirlwind, as so often happens, but I do hope everyone has been keeping up with their goals, successful habits, and learning how to motivate themselves!!

I won't bother you with a quick catch-up of my life... I will save that for the next post. I simply want to present a motivation that spoke volumes to me, not just in fitness, but in life. As many of you know, Lee and I have a marketing company and we are are pushing towards some goals for the end of the year (hence, my sudden disappearance) and I have been doing a lot of reading, listening to inspirational and motivational audios, and of course, game planning with our business mentors.

So the message of motivation for you today is simple:

Now, I know Ms Mae West was a controversial actress in her time, but her words cannot be more true. We only get one shot at this life we are living, and if you do it right, that is all you need. Every day that your eyes open you have to realize you have been given another opportunity to make a difference, be a team player, impact another life, or simply enjoy the beauty around you.

Make every moment count. Have no regrets. You must realize that there is no day but today to live. You cannot live out yesterday again, and you are unable to jump ahead and live for tomorrow. You only have one choice... make it count.

Until Next Time (I promise "next time" will not be months away),
~ Q. Olivia


Monday Motivation 17: Just Try

Today's motivation comes in the form of words; some of the best motivation out there. In every area of your life in which you have set goals, there will be challenges, doubts, circumstances, and negativity keeping your from what you have set your mind to.

There will always be people telling you cannot do something, or that your dreams are too big, or that you are crazy for trying. Those people are quitters. And YOU are not a quitter.

One thing I have found with people who try to diminish my dreams, is that they do so, simply because they do not have dreams of their own. When others hear you speaking about what you want to accomplish, it reveals their lack of goals, achievements, and spirit to do something great. So instead of getting their own goals, they try to trample on yours.

This quote is truly inspirational and reminds me that the words, "impossible," "risky," and "pointless" do not matter. Just think of all the great inventors, scientists, leaders, businessmen, and athletes who have contributed to our world. What if they had let pride, experience, or reason get in their way? Would there have been another in their place to do the things they did or create some of the greatest resources we have today? Maybe. Maybe not.

Always listen to your heart. You heart will always tell you can, when other say different. Who are you going to listen to? Reason? Experience? Pride?

Try listening to the one that know you best. Yourself. What would life be without attempting the impossible, or refusing to take risks, or aiming for the pointless? It would be boring. So take a chance and just, "give it a try."

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday 16: Good Mood

Have you ever woke up on the wrong side of bed? I am sure none of you out there have, but I do from time to time, and the very LAST thing that I want to do is climb out of bed, put on workout clothes and tennis shoes, and make my way to the gym. In my grumpy mind, it just does not make any sense.

When you are in a bad mood, doesn't it sound so much better to just sleep it off until your read to face the day with a smile? In the past, I would vote for staying under the covers rather than lifting a weight any day.

Now that I am older and much wiser, I know that a good morning workout can pull you out of your funk. It is actually scientific!!

When you work out your brain releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. If you do not know what all those things are, just know they are chemicals that your body naturally produces, and actually improves how you feel. After a workout, your muscles can relax deeper, helping ease tension and stress... which we can all use.

While exercise is not an actual treatment for depression, I recently read an article that discussed how studies show exercise does increase the positive mood in depressed individuals. Additionally, the body releases less immune system chemicals that can worsen depression. Obviously, a good workout also raises the body's temperature, which has been shown to have very calming effects.

So, if you are feeling down or sorry, do not stay in bed. Get up and do a few jumping jacks, a couple of push-ups, and a bout of crunches. Those simple items will help increase the blood flow and put you in a great mood to tackle on those impossible Mondays and stay motivated for the rest of the week!!

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday 15: Measure

A women is often measured by the things she cannot control. She is measured by the way her body curves or doesn't curve, by where she is flat or straight or round. She is measured by 36-24-36 and inches  and ages and numbers, by all the outside things that don't ever add up to who she is on the inside. And so if a women is to be measured, let her be measured by the things she can control; by who she is and who she is trying to become. Because as every women knows, measurements are only statistics... statistics lie.

Never allow anyone to shape your future except you. Only you can write your future.

Measure yourself not to the standards of others; but to the standards of your Creature.

Compare yourself not to the images of women on television and magazine covers; strive to reach the excellence and example of great women that embody inner strength, confidence, and faith.

Beauty may fade, but virtue is forever.

This week, all women and men should challenge themselves to determine how they measure themselves? How do you see yourself? Not in comparison to the world, simply in your eyes. What great values and traits do you offer the world? What blessings do you bestow upon mankind? What about you makes you so wonderful and unique.

You must truly love yourself as you are now, on the inside; no matter how thin, athletic, or fit you become in the future; always remember how amazing that inner woman or man was before they started their journey.

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Tasty Tuesday: Nocturnal Noshing

We all do it when we are up in the middle of the twilight hours: raid the refrigerator for snacks. If you are not sleeping, your body for some reason tells you that you are hungry, even if you did just have a healthy and satisfying dinner.

And of course, what do we reach for most likely? The sweets or the salties... and sometimes, both.

Now, as you training, is it a nutritional sin to have snacks outside of you pre-planned meals and snacks. The answer is actually, NO.

Here are some awesome, healthy, and palate-pleasing snacks that you can consume before going to bed.

Snack 1 - Canned Tune w/ Olive Oil

Fat free. Minimal prep work. All you have to do is drizzle a spoon of olive oil and throw your tuna on some spinach and your body will gladly take in the iron and healthy fats to prepare you for an active morning.

Snack 2 - Homemade Trail Mix

All of your favorites at once. Trail mix is power packed with nutrients. Of course, when you make your own you control the amount of sugar and salt you are digesting. My favorite homemade trail mix consists of dried cranberries, almonds, wheat pretzels, sunflower seeds, pistachios, and dried blueberrries. Yum!!

Snack 3 - PBB Roll Ups

As a kid, my my never bought PB for us. She thought it was not a "proper meal" to have PB sandwiches. Then again, she was raised in the South were their idea of proper is grease, sugar, and fat.Little did mom know we were missing out on some serious protein. So now as an adult I get my PB fix with peanut butter and banana roll ups. All I do is spread PB on a tortilla, chop some nanners up and throw those on top, and roll it up. A light, but filling snack that should get your through the night.

Snack 4 - Greek Yogurt + Almonds

Two of my favorite quick snacks together, provides your body with fiber, protein, and omega fats!!

Snack 5 - Nutrilite Cookies and Cream Whey Protein Bar

This little delicious bar packs some heavy protein and flavor. Even better, this bar tastes nothing like a protein bar. It tastes like a candy bar. The cookie and cream flavor is a must for all those with a wee bit of a sweet tooth.

With all of these options you can now snack without guilt. Enjoy your snacks, but make sure they are just that... a snack. Happy Snacking!!

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday 14: Joshua Sundquist

I came across this photos months ago, and my jaw dropped. I saved the photo to my computer and open the file every week or so.

This young man is Joshua Sundquist.

His image has been my motivation on days when I want to complain; not just about working out, but about my attitude, my job, my silly problems that I consider "life-changing."

When Josh was nine years old he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and given a fifty percent chance to live. After a year undergoing chemotherapy treatments, his left leg was amputated. At 13, he was declared cured and began his career of ski racing three years later. In 2006 he was named to the US Paralympian Ski Team. He also won the Body For Life fitness challenge in 2006

Josh is an author, speaker, and athlete. He is an inspiration to so many amputees, and an excuse remover for those of us who are not.

For that reason, and many more, he is this week's Monday Motivator. Check out his website: Josh Sundquist; be inspired and motivated to change your life.

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Tasty Tuesday: Cucumber-Tomato Salad

This is a great and quick dish that is healthy, low in fat, and simply refreshing for those upcoming summer days. I could probably survive of salads, and this is by far one of my favorite simply salad recipes: Cucumber + Tomato Salad

1 Roma tomato
1 Persian Cucumber (baby gourmet)
1/2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
Dash of sea-salt
Dash pepper

Slice the tomato & cucumber, place in a small bowl and drizzle the EVOO and coconut oils over the veggies. Sprinkle with sea-salt and pepper. Toss and Serve.

EXTRAS: For those cheese lovers, sprinkle a bit of crumbled feta cheese on top of the salad. It turns the dish into a bowl of heaven. Cheese makes everything better.

NUTRITION (per serving)
147 calories, 1 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat (7 g saturated fat from the coconut oil), 1 g fiber, 120 mg sodium.


In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday 13: Compete Daily

Today's motivation should make you laugh. At least I chuckled out loud when I saw this photo and read the caption. I am competitive by nature. I hate losing, I hate being in last place, and I hate not giving my best effort.

While I am not encouraging you to compare yourself with others, a little friendly competition never hurt anyone... except the times when injuries may have been sustained by the weaker party :)

I compete against the person next to me on the treadmill. Yes. I try to increase my speed and maybe my incline. I imagine it is the two of us in a race, going head to head, in an effort to see who can cross the finish line first.

I compete against the person on the running trail. If I see them ahead of me, they become my target. I kick it up a gear with the goal to reach that person before they turn a corner or stop running. I desire for my feet to step where their feet are stepping. And then I desire to set the pace for them.

I compete against the person at the weight machines. I desire to lift more, condition harder, and do more reps. I desire to have the perfect form. To execute each movement with fluidity and purpose. I desire to have an excellent lift session, not just a good one.

Most importantly, I compete against myself. Each day I know I can run further, lift heavier, push harder, and execute stronger. No one can beat me, unless I let them. And the only person I allow to beat me, is myself.

Competition is good fuel for the athlete, the artist, the musician, the scholar, and the dreamer. Compete with yourself everyday. You will always win.

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday 12: Set A Date

I have an exciting announcement. A date has been put on my goal sheet. I have selected a fitness competition in Houston to debut my new figure. On September 15, 2012, I will take the stage for the first of many bikini/figure competitions.

When you have a goal, dates are always important. With a goal, you know what you are aiming for. In the last few months, I have set small goals, meet with various personal trainers, and conducted my personal research.

The time has come. The time is now. My journey began a few months ago, but now the hard works starts today. I am so excited and I believe in myself now, like I never did before. I am looking forward to starting me new 12-week intensive program, followed up with competition classes and posing!!

With a date on the calendar, it all seems so real. Always, always... finish the goal you set out to do. Sometimes we fail, but never quit. We ALWAYS finish.

More information to come. Make it a productive fitness week!!

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Workout Wednesday: Terrific Triceps

For women in particular, the arms and upper body is where we lack in strength. When some women hear I am working towards being in a bodybuilding competition their eyes get big. When some of my clients workout and I encourage weights, they inform me that they do not want to get "bog like a man."

SLOW DOWN. It would take years of intense training before you looked like a man. I love working out my arms, it makes me feel powerful in the gym and of course results in shapely shoulders and well-defined arms.

One of my favorite arm muscles to hit at the gym are the triceps!! Here are a few that I incorporate on my arms days:

A detailed, artistic version of the workout :)
I love the bench dip because while the target zone is your tris, it also works those awesome chest & shoulders. Doing a series of these in between other arms workouts or even on a leg day will get that flab under your arms firm in no time!!

Use 2-5lbs weights the first time to get your body
adjusted to the plank press and practice perfect form.
This workout is fabulous because it hits your shoulders, back & abs in addition to those triceps. How awesome is that. This is probably one of the most fun workouts that attack my tris.

This is by far my favorite triceps workout. This is an isolation workout and really focuses on the triceps muscle. So few exercises allow the triceps to be the primary; usually it is the secondary muscle in workouts like push-ups.

So try these out and see how you like them. I know your arms will thank you. It is almost summer time, your arms deserve to be seen lean, sleek, and sexy.

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday 11: The 4%

Hello friends!! Long time no blog. I just realized that I had not blogged since the second week in March. I do hope everyone was able to enjoy National Nutrition Month, and ate super healthy everyday. I know I did not. Haha!!

Life caught up with me and no blogs have been written for almost a month. Tsk, tsk. I have been preparing to share some exciting news which will be revealed in 6 days, so stay tuned.

Now for the motivation. I saw this image on Pinterest (my new social medial outlet) and fell in love with this statistic. Seriously. A one hour workout is only 4% of my day. I literally have NO excuse. All the whining and complaining about how I do not have time to get in 30 minutes of cardio or a quick 25 minute conditioning went out the door when I saw this.

Just remember, we make time for the things that are important to us; and my health is definitely at the top of my list, so I suppose out of my 24-hour day, I can commit one of those hours to fitness. Which is exciting if you think about it.

We all have the same 24 hours. What will you do with yours? Besides making excuses.

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Monday Motivation 10: When in Doubt

This is probably one of the best, yet most simple motivators for me. I know during my high school and early college years, my de-stressor was to go run or workout. Any problems that I had seemed to be settled either on the dance floor or at the gym. As I got older I found other ways to relief stress, but nothing compares to the feelings of exhilaration, stamina, and sweat when you are working out.

If you have doubts about if you gave it your all... work out
If you are frustrated, mad or angry.... work out
If you have had the best day of your life... work out
If you skipped the last two weeks at the gym... work out
If you ate a really unhealthy meal... work out
If you want to fit in those jeans or wear the summer bikini just right... work out.
If you are bored and have nothing productive to do... work out.

When in doubt... WORK OUT :)

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Nutrilite Product Feature: Vanilla Whey Protein

 I love protein shakes. And this whey protein is by far one of my favorite shakes of all time.

Most of you know that my husband and I run our company called Rivers Empire powered by Amway Global.

We have the most amazing health and wellness products in the world. Literally.

This product is perfect for those of us who are weightlifters, endurance athletes, or those who want to build muscle (that would definitely be me).

The awesome thing about the NUTRILITE® Whey Protein Powder is that it is fast-digesting and quickly used by the body to repair and build muscle.

Competitive Information
Compare NUTRILITE® Whey Protein Powder with Herbalife®24 Rebuild Strength and Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro
NUTRILITE Herbalife24 Optimum Nutrition
Serving Size 38 to 40 g 50.5 g 52 g
Calories 150 190 190
Protein 25 to 26g 24 g 30 g
Carbs 8 to 9 g 18 g 9 g
Sugar 6 g 14 g 2 g
Red Orange Complex Yes No No
Artificial Colors No No Yes
Artificial Flavors No No Yes
Artificial Sweeteners No No No
Preservaties No No Yes
Price Per Serving $2.09 to $3.21 $3.70 $2.37
Based on internet and label claims, October 2011. Comparisons made per label recommended serving size. Trademark: Herbalife (Herbalife International, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.). Pricing from Herbalife 2011 catalog and GNC.com – October 2011.
This, and other products are available for sale at our website RIVERS EMPIRE.
In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


March is National Nutrition Month!!

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March is National Nutrition Month®.

The theme for March 2012 is: "Get Your Plate in Shape."

Now there is no excuse to eat healthy for the next month :)

Stay tuned during the month of March for ways to shape up your plate for a healthier lifestyle.

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Fat Tuesday v Skinny Tuesday

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. Traditionally it is called Fat Tuesday because it is the last night before Ash Wednesday, in which the season of Lent begins. So everyone indulges in fatty, richer foods on Tuesday.
Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake

Just with other holidays, people sometimes try to use this as an excuse to consume grease, sugar and fat in large quantities. Do not get me wrong, you can still enjoy your Mardi Gras celebration, just skip out on the King Cake.

I know this is the slogan for Subway; however, I try to make sure my daily diet consists of eating fresh. What does that mean? It simply means eating things that come from the ground. Once or twice a year I do something called the Daniel Fast. It is for religious and health purposes. Basically what the fast consists of is eating only things that are grown from the ground (fruit and vegetables) and only drinking water or decaffeinated tea.
I know many adults who still say they do not like fruits and vegetables. Really? If you are in your 20's, 30's, 40's and beyond, all I have to say is, "Get over it."

I have learned to LOVE eating my fruits and veggies. I never had a problem eating them as a child. And now, I have added many new ones to my palate and absolutely love it.
You will too if you don't already. In our childhood minds we think spinach, brussel sprouts (which I am still picky about), and other green items are evil; but they provide so many vitamin-rich nutrients for you, it would be silly not to eat them!!


You do not just have to consume raw fruits and vegetables. Get creative with your fresh meals.

There are so many recipes for salads, main dishes, and desserts in which all ingredients are simply a fruit or vegetable.

1. Smoothies
One of my favorite breakfast items or snacks is a homemade smoothie. The reason I love smoothies is because you control the ingredients (I always use honey as a sweetener rather than sugar), and it is all your favorite fruit flavors. I love my Strawnana smoothie as well as my infamous PBB (Peanut Butter & Butter) Smoothie drizzled with a bit of honey.

Not only that, but smoothies are filling because you are drinking a thick liquid. So you get full more quickly and you are consuming all natural products. It is a win-win.

2. Salads
There are literally millions of ways you can make a salad. There are now salad bars in almost every restaurant and cafeteria in America.... however; the problem is not that people are eating salads but it is what they put on the salad to call it a salad.
I have seen people eating salads that are piled with turkey, ham, chicken, bacon, cheese, eggs, sour cream, olives, and drenched in ranch or blue cheese dressing. You cannot even seen the lettuce once they have finished assembling their meal, haha.

That defeats the whole purpose of a salad. Salads can be filling, but they should be healthy & light. One of my favorite simple salad recipes is the Spinach & Strawberry salad. It is so delicious and so easy to make. It is strawberries, spinach leaves, vegetable oil, wine vinegar, paprika, and sesame and poppy seeds. Mix everything together, and you have a great meal. You can put blueberries or kiwi or whatever fruit and veggie you want. Make it you own :)

3. Soups & Stews
This is where the vegetables make their appearance and shine. Soups and stews are a hearty meal and usually can stand alone without a side dish. Be careful with the soups and getting carried away with the salts and seasonings. Again, the purpose is to try to keep them as "earthly" as possible.

Basically all you need is chicken or vegetable broth and a spread of your favorite chopped veggies. Simple as that. One of my favorite vegetarian soups is a spicy potato and poblano soup and a roasted red pepper soup.

You can always throw in some penne pasta noodles or pinto beans (extra protein) and make it a stew or chili to thicken it up. Experiement and get crazy.... just keep it healthy!!

In Conclusion... while the rest of the world enjoys stuffing themselves on food in celebration of Fat Tuesday, stuff yourself on vegetables and fruits. Trust me, you won't feel guilty the next day :)

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday 9: What's Stopping You?

What keeps us from following our resolutions, goals, or dreams. Three things: time, money, and laziness. Now... I may have added that last one myself, but I do believe it is true!!

I would go out on a limb to say that over 50% people who started health resolutions in February have most likely given up those resolutions. Treadmills at the gym are once again getting dusty and there is no longer a 15 minutes wait to use the weights.

I just hope YOU are not one of those who have given up your health and fitness goals. Let's discuss these three evils (time, money, and laziness) one at a time.

Although this is one of the biggest killers, I have to say time is not a valid excuse for not following your health plan. Everyone has the same hours in a day; 24. Really healthy people are not blessed with an extra hour everyday to hit the gym. There is not store that you can buy a quick 30 minutes to get your cardio in; we all have the same amount.

This is where time management really comes in hand. I always say, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Plan your week out. Which days are you going to work out? When are you going to do them? How long will your workouts be? What will your meals include? What day will you cook your meals? When will go grocery shopping? If you miss a workout because of an unforeseen emergency, where can you fit it in later in the week?

I know this seems like a ridiculous amount of questions, but all are legitimate and important to consider. Finally, on the topic of time, tackle your hardships head on. If you are not used to working out daily, do not try to start now. First choose 2 days a week to work out; then up the ante to three days; and then four if you're feeling bold :)

Time is one of our most valuable tools; use (and manage) it wisely.

You've heard it... money doesn't grow on trees. Yes, we all know that. At least, I hope we do. While the health market makes millions of dollars a year; you do not have to break open your childhood piggy  bank to eat healthy.
Always set a budget before going to the grocery store. Make a list and stick to it. I am guilty of not doing this on Mondays. Sometimes I make a "mental grocery list" and know I need to get the basics: chicken breast or white fish, fruit and vegetables, ingredients for salad, beans, egg whites, etc. I have found when I attempt to go by my mental list, I end up buying a lot more than I originally planned, and that of course results in me being surprised when the cashier announces the total to me. I usually take a quick second to glance over at what is being loaded into my cart and realization hits me: I came to the store without my coveted list. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Not only can eating healthy be economic, so can your workouts. You do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on a personal trainer or gym membership. Look online for exercises you can do at home, in the park, or at a local high school track. There are literally hundreds of thousands of videos, articles and tips on exercises that do not require dumbbells or weight machines. If you do want a personal trainer, find a committed friend to work out with you. Usually personal trainers will work with two to three people at the same time, and you can split the cost among you.

Although you do not have to spend lots of money on fitness and health, you have to admit; investing in your personal care is well worth it in the long run. It beats spending thousands on surgeries or medications later in life because of health concerns. Right?


This is where these Monday Motivators come in. Motivation is the hardest part about any goal. It is simple to go to the gym and get a 30 minute or one hour workout in. BUT... it is also simple not to go and sit on your couch, eating chips and watching TV.
If this isn't lazy... I don't know what is.
Are you kidding me?!?!

You can always make more money; or find an extra few minutes to do some push-ups, but finding motivation is a challenge. You are the only one who can do it though. If you depend on your co-worker who walks the track with you during lunch breaks or your personal trainer; what happens when they are not around. Who motivates you then? While it is great to have workout buddies and accountability partners, the best person to motivate you is YOU.

Try it. I promise you will like it. In fact, you may even start to love it ;)

I hope this week is an awesome fitness and health week for you. Kick these three excuses and become the healthiest, fittest you ever!!

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Skinny Up Your Weekend

For most of us, it seems that our diets, healthy eating and exercise comes to a halting crash on the weekends. Maybe psychologically you are off from work on those two days; most people associate healthy living with being like word; therefore, when you check out out of the office on Friday, so does your diet.

Not so. Do not allow two days to destroy your hard work from the week!! Trust me, five good days of eating does not balance out two poor days of junk. Research shows that we can easily consume 1,000 more calories a day on the weekends that Monday through Friday.

Here are some tips to skinny up your weekend:

1. Be a Picky Eater.
Weekends are big days for eating out. You do not have to slave away in the kitchen on your weekends. Family-friendly restaurants are used to picky eaters, so it is alright to order things made-to-order; exactly how you want them. Order a burger, but hold all the fattening condiments that come along with it.

2. B.Y.O.F.
Weekends are notorious for get-together and parties. Do not become entrapped in all the high fattening foods at your social gatherings. Bring Your Own Food. It is okay to pack a few Ziploc bags of healthy munchies like vegetables, fruit or dried nuts. Or simply eat a hearty, healthy meal before going out and about. It is simple to say, "No thanks, I just ate" if offered tempting treats without being rude :)

3. Be Active
Boredom can lead to snacking and grazing through the food cabinets. Plan your weekend (like you plan your week) and stay busy. It does not have to be a jam packed schedule, but have activities in mind so that you do not stay at home simply watching TV all day and cleaning out our pantry with your mouth!!

4. Drink Up
Drink more water. Attending weekend events usually involved alcohol. Drinking water or ginger ale between alcoholic beverages, not only keeps your hydrated, but it helps with becoming under the influence, which normally results in making very bad eating choices!! I remember to well those late night runs to Taco Bell & McDonald's. Alcohol + grease are your worse enemies when combined together.

5. Burn Calories

Now, I am not saying you have to hit the gym super hard on the weekends, it is a few days of rest after all; however, get out and go do something fun. Get some friends together for salsa lessons, find a new hiking trail (good for a date with your sweetie), or go be a kid again and spend a few hours playing laser tag or paint ball. The gym is not the only place to lose calories!!

Have a wonderful and fit weekend :)

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday 8: Inspiration

What inspires you? Is it a pair of fabulous skinny jeans? A recent health concern? An upcoming even such as a beach vacation or a wedding day? Whatever inspires you, I recommend that you print it out and post it where you can see it. Seeing your goals before your eyes helps you stay focused and be reminded daily what all the hard work is going towards. Keep your goals visible!!

Motivation is easier when you are around others. Surround yourself with exercise-oriented people. This may mean joining a gym, a running club, or a group of yoga or Pilates students. Finding a walking buddy at work or someone to eat lunch with who also enjoys being healthy.

Another way to stay inspired is to read blogs or become a blogger yourself. When you are writing about your journey it motivates you to continue sharing your story with others out there, whether you know them or not. Besides, you never know who might need to hear your success. Telling people your goals and posting about your success is an awesome motivator. Be inspiring to be inspired!!

Whatever you do to become inspired, do it weekly or daily, as often as it takes.

Just remember, no one can inspire you like you can.
The best changes often start as single, simple actions. Thing BIG and discover how to make your dreams real.

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia


Body Transformation 2012 Challenge

On January 30, I signed up to compete in Bodybuilding.com's 2012 Body Transformation Challenge. Now I have not been posting much about it (particularly since I am only on week two); however, I have been capturing photos of my workouts, meals, and of course profiles to submit into the competition. I am super excited and wish all the other contestants the best of luck!!

Here is a quick photo montage of my recent journey!!

Breakfast Option: egg whites and cooked oats with a dash of cinnamon

Breakfast or Snack Option: fruit smoothie. My favorite is strawberry & banana

Breakfast Option: One wheat waffle w/ 1Tbsp of peanut butter, a fruit of choice, and a glass of vitamin D & calcium fortified orange juice (no acid).

Meal Prep Mondays: Cooking up a few ups of brown rice for the week


Shoulders + Triceps

Homemade Baked (not fried) Eggrolls

Arms + Shoulders

Peeling sweet potatoes for a lunch side dish