Motivation Monday: Your Why

Everyone has a why. A reason. A purpose. When we set goals there is always a "because".

If I asked 100 people why they worked out, I would probably get 100 unique answers. They may be similar, but they would be unique to each individual and their life.

Find your why, and make it happen. When you do that, you have no excuse or reason not to achieve what you set your heart and mind to do.

Fill in your blank daily. It may change, but that blank, will be the motivator to get you out of bed and to the gym.

Know Your Why. Apply it.

Today, I work out because... I have a competition in less than 6 months. I know this is going to get me to the gym this week, because I refuse to be the weakest competitor when I take the stage!

Why are you striving for your goals today?

Until Next Time...
~ Q. Olivia


Monday Motivation: Your Money is No Good Here

About a year ago, I started looking for gyms near my home and my place of work. We have a home gym in our apartment complex, but I wanted a "gym atmosphere" and the opportunity to meet new people. So I started my search.

I went to several gyms, took a few tours, and got a couple of free passes to try the places out. One gym in particular marveled about its theatre room. This room had dozens of treadmills and ellipticals all lined up side by side, and a massive screen projector that played movies all day. The room had low lighting to 'set the mood' for watching movies. Seriously?

I remember thinking, "I can watch movies at home. I come to the gym to workout... in the light." I quickly left that gym.

In October 2012, I found the Houston Gym. I liked it immediately.

I love my gym. It is a place for serious trainers and athletes. It is un-commercial (which I love). And all of the patrons have gym etiquette. They put the weights back. They wipe off the benches after they sweat on them. And you never see people just sitting on a machine taking up space. People actually workout and then get up when they are done.

For the last two weeks I have been on the road, so I have not been able to see my comrades and gym buddies. And I actually miss them!

The gym environment is really crucial for me, especially with the goals that I have. I hate messy/unclean gyms, and I really dislike looking for workout equipment because people do not know how to put things back.

The above photo reminds that it is not the money that you pay, or all of the posh-ness and amenities. It is the hard work and dedication that matter. When you pay for something, you appreciate it a bit more. You are more accountable. You are more determined to make it happen.

So for me, it is more than just the $30 a month. It is the accountability that I have with the regulars that I see all the time. It is the friendships that I make. It is the desire to be around other competitors and winners. It is the way I feel when I arrive, and more especially, when I leave.

No. I do not pay my gym dues in money. But with my presence and commitment.

Until Next Time...
~ Q. Olivia


Wednesday Workout: Conquer the Core

Let's face it. Almost every sport, workout, or activity that you participate in requires the use of your core.
A strong core is essential in overall strength and fitness and has great benefits:

A Strong Core Reduces Back Pain
Abdominals get all the credit for protecting the back and being the foundation of strength, but they are only a small part of what makes up the core. In fact, it is weak and unbalanced core muscles that are linked to low back pain.
Weak core muscles result in a loss of the appropriate lumbar curve and a swayback posture. Stronger, balanced core muscles help maintain appropriate posture and reduce strain on the spine.

A Strong Core Improves Athletic Performance
All powerful movements originate from the center of the body out, and never from the limbs alone. Before any powerful, rapid muscle contractions can occur in the extremities, the spine must be solid and stable. The more stable the core, the more powerful the extremities can contract.

A Strong Core Improves Postural Imbalances
Training the muscles of the core helps correct postural imbalances that can lead to injuries. The biggest benefit of core training is to develop functional fitness; the type of fitness that is essential to daily living and regular activities.

Here are my top three favorite moves that strengthen my core and keep my waistline slim.

1. Side Plank + Leg Raise

This is an intense workout with tons of core benefits, and you get a little burn in the buns also. You can start this workout doing a normal plank. Then adjust your weight to either side. One you have stabilized your body weight and you are parallel to the floor, you can proceed with raising your leg. You can either do reps (lifting your leg up and down) or you can just hold your leg. Both are great options to strengthen that core!

2. Knee Tucks + Push Up
This is by far, on my favorite workouts on my ab day. You
simply roll yourself out on a stability ball, until your shins are resting on the ball and your body is parallel to the floor. Make sure your arms are straight and your back is flat. Do not let the body sink into the floor.
Then, using your feet, bring the ball in, tightening your core. Continue to keep your arms straight (do not lock them), and keep the body tight when performing the second part. Then you will return to the first position and repeat for 12-15 reps.

For an extra workout, when I roll back out to the beginning position, I will perform a push up., keeping by body straight, creating a 45* angle.
This is another workout that assist in creating some cut core muscles, and I can work those triceps.
Double bonus!!

3. Standing Abs
Maybe you remember the phenomenon of Hip Hop Abs with Shaun T, a fun, handsome and in shape dude who introduced the world to "standing abs." His popularity has soared with the Insanity workouts, which I heard are killer. I ordered the Hip Hop Abs DVD set years ago and would do 30+ minutes of standing abs. I thought it was the greatest invention since sliced bread. No getting on the floor to do crunches? Work the abs, while dancing to great music?
Uhhh...Yes, please.
While my DVDs are in the corner collecting dust, I still on occasion do a few moves from the video when I need to get in a quick work out or doing my Tabata sessions. I promise you. They work. There are so many unique and different moves. Here are a few you can try:
There are multiple exercises that work your core. Just remember, that a good core workout works the front, side, and back muscles, not just the front (abs). An overall, all-around good core is essential for strength training, endurance, and agility. Additionally, it helps improve our posture and stability, which is essential as we get older (loss of bone mass, osteoporosis, etc.) and become more fragile.
Strengthen your core today, for a stronger and healthier tomorrow!!
Until Next Time...
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday: Competition

Today I sat down with Coach Wes and discussed upcoming bikini/figure competitions for this fall. We created a game plan, and discussed the next few weeks, and the next 22 weeks thereafter.

I believe that everyone has a competitive drive in them; it just comes in different forms and the drive is stronger depending on what a person enjoys.

Often times I see other women in the gym who have been training for years and have dozens of competitions and years of experience.

It is imperative that I remember that (for the moment) they are not my competition. I am my own competition. I have personal goals that I want to reach that are irrelevant of who else is training beside me. Once I hit my goals, transform my body, and take the stage, then those standing next to me will be my competition.

Until then, I will challenge the girl in the mirror to work hard, eat right, and be the best that she can be. I am my competition....

Until Next Time...
~ Q. Olivia