Today is Free Comic Book Day!

 

 

Black Wonder WomanWhat does that have to do with fitness and wellness you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I love superheroes! So naturally I love comic books. I love the art, the colors, the story lines, the strong characters-especially the female characters.

I was a huge Wonder Woman fan growing up-mostly of the TV show but as awesome as that was isn’t that enough? To me, comic books and their female heroines-and supervillans-showed a depiction of female strength even if it is exaggerated at times. i mean, don’t get it twisted, I know the danger of the totally fabled body type that is often presented in the comics, but to their credit, it is often countered with at least a story line to demonstrate strong, intelligent and capable women with often superhuman abilities.

Modern comic books have more diversity than ever and to me, it is important for me to show my son multidimensional characters that challenge the norm.

So check out www.freecomicbookday.com and find a location near you that has events and of course-a free comic book!

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Spring Renewal Part 2: Oh, Kale Yes.

Swinging 4.7.14

 

 

Day 2 was much, much easier. Did I want solid food-sometimes. But the best thing I had today was a cup of green tea that I had right after coming inside after playing outside with my son. It was marvelous. I’m finding that I just get it over with and drink them up it doesn’t seem like a chore. I tried to not be to rigid in my schedule, although, when you do that, you risk getting very, very hungry.

I feel good! I really do. My energy levels are higher and I have found a sense of strength and pride in that strength that I have been able to deny temptation that is literally everywhere. I got to do three wonderful things today:

1. Played outside with my son.

2. Did some yoga and meditation.

3. Took an epsom salt bath while listening to some wonderful jazz music.

Simply wonderful. Now please enjoy the above photo of my swinging at the playground, flying above the lake.  I feel good.

Spring Renewal Part 1: The Detox Begins

 

 

 

Bite JuiceSo I had a grand idea. A juice detox! We had a turrible (just turrible!) winter here in Chicago, I wanted to break out of hibernation and into a Spring Awakening! I also need to focus to propel my personal goals forward, I’m interested in taking my nutrition to the next level…so-why not? I started yesterday-a Sunday. I thought it would be not too tough, serene even. I wanted to incorporate specially selected strengthening and renewing yoga poses for the full experience. I mean, I knew I would be working off of fewer calories so I didn’t want to overdo it.

I woke up with the best intentions-I really did. I started with my Groupon purchased green juice from Peeled, a juice bar here in Chicago. It has kale, spinach cucumber and other goodies that I enjoy in solid form.  Now, I was pleased because I hate pulp and these are pulp free. The taste of the green juice or Green Lantern was alright. Just more salad-y that I am used to at 8 am. I wanted to do some yoga and meditation but my son woke up, so there went that opportunity.

I did however, have an opportunity to set an intention for the day. It was ” Focus on the blessings of the day, remain in the present.” And I did remain in the present.  My mind wandered throughout the day..thinking about..potato chips, barbecue and the like.  Stuff that I haven’t been craving at all before today, now became the object of my desire, presently but it dissipated.  Did I always think about food like this? Did I always mindlessly run and get a snack (healthy or not)? Hmmm..

Before I left out for the day, I journaled 3 things that I am grateful for and my feelings after my first drink. My feelings were journaled in one word. “Apprehensive.” but I noted that I was looking forward to mental clarity.

I went through my day, drank a lemonade concoction, a red drink called “Maroon 5” and another Green Lantern and finished up with the last two drinks of the day “Maroon 5” and Cashew Milk (I liked it because it is sweet!).  I’m not going to lie. I had moments that my skin was tingling and I felt energized. Then I had a few headaches-not sure if it was from the detox or dealing with my son throwing up his breakfast right after church (he’s fine by the way!) I did try to prep for the detox by eating a vegetarian diet and drinking as much water as possible.

Side note: I would also like to note that while my son was throwing up, a woman came by out of nowhere (we left church early (don’t judge me) so no one was outside yet) saw him throwing up and offered baby wipes, tissue and minty gum (brand new pack) to help his stomach!  I was so grateful to her in that moment. So, I did have a little reminder of how to be grateful in the present.

I will say that so far, this detox has me thinking a little differently about food and how I actually think about it. So that’s cool. Did I achieve the mental clarity right out the gate? Kale nawl. But I have two more wonderful days of juicing to go and I am no longer apprehensive but proud that I made it through the first day. Stay tuned for Day 2.

Fitness Adventures: 6 Reasons Why Pole Fitness Is Awesome

Pole Fitness

 

I am a part of a wonderful Facebook group called The Fit Girlz Clique. If you don’t know about it, go  to Facebook and getchu some! It is a wonderful community of women who encourage and motivate either through pictures, words or both.  The page always has great challenges and fitness events that are always changing and seem fun.  For my first event with this group, I decided to join a Pole Fitness class.  It was held at 8 am on a Saturday at Good Gyrrl Studios in the Bridgeport Arts Center on the South Side of Chicago.  The instructor, Coach Robin of Alpha To Omega Wholistic Therapeutic Services is fantastic and I want to tell you why this pole fitness class was awesome.

1. This class was located in the Bridgeport Arts Center which is a huge warehouse/loft style building on the South Side of Chicago near US Cellular Field/The Cell/Comiskey Park. It mostly houses artist lofts, but also hosts another gym and a poetry lounge to name a few.  The outside has a really nice courtyard area with a mosaic lined walkway and a big silver horse which goes along with the courtyard. I’m not gonna lie, me and a few others got a little turned around finding the actual studio but when we got there, we found the Good Gyrrl Studio to be cute, not too girly and sensually decorated with leopard print, velvet covered seats and four poles in the middle of the room for the pole fitness class.  I also saw some hula hoops and weights so I am sure that other interesting courses are taught there and since a few of us (yes, me too) forgot our mats, there were several mats available for our use.

2. Some of us were a little late, but once we got there, we found Coach Robin ready to go. She got us warmed up, was detailed and informative in her instruction and made the workout accessible for everyone. On another note, girlfriend has some serious pole skills. I was in awe and quite impressed. i learned quite a bit in that one class, such as the use of a product called “tack” that you can rub on your hands and in my case, on my inner thighs to keep from slipping on the pole.

3. I love a challenge which is why I chose this class.  The challenge of pole fitness is first a test of your body weight strength. We worked our core, upper body, inner thighs..outer thighs..every.thing. No weights, only using the pole for support. We learned a few basic spins, one was called The Cradle, as well as how to a Handstand. This workout was fun and no joke!

4. The ladies that participated in this class were wonderful, open minded and even though I had never met any of them before, were some of the friendliest women I have ever met.  We all had varying levels of fitness ability, but we all were there to exercise and experience something new.  Because of the different things taught in this class, some people found some new found ability, others found flexibility and we all caught a little sexy cuz, well, frankly we all were to begin with.

5. I loved the music!  I am a huge Prince friend and one of the warmup songs was “Sexy Dancer”. From the first few bars of that song, I was all in for the rest of the class.  We also took a musical interlude break when Sugar Hill Gangs Apache (Jump On It) came on.  If you know that song, you know the dance that Will and Carlton from the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” did. Yes we did it. And it was glorious.

6. The pole is your friend.  If you take a class like this, you must remember that. It is there to support you and help you do fun, amazing spins that you did not think you could do. And don’t think that because you are not your ideal weight that this is out of reach for you.  If you want to do it, go for it.  You might find something that you didn’t know was there.

There you have it. Despite some light inner thigh chafing and some soreness the next day, I am totally and completely in love with Pole Fitness and will enthusiastically do this again.

Feel fitty!

XO,  Amber

Fitness Adventures: Yoga In Mississippi

YogaMiss

I am freshly back from my fabulous road trip visit to the Big Easy-Nawlins, Louisiana. Me and four other ladies checked out the Essence Music Festival.  I came back refreshed, inspired and proud that I stayed active and ate well and had a fantastic time!  Now, as I mentioned, I went with four girlfriends. Four women. With all the laughing, bonding, side eyes and..cramping. Yes cramping. I had the pleasure of sitting in the middle seat of a lovely Ford Fusion for a significant portion of our 14 hour drive. My legs, back and butt were not happy with me by the time we took a break to stretch out legs. So what did I do in 90 degree heat in the middle of a Mississippi? What else? Yoga.

Some of my favorite poses were:

  • Downward Facing Dog-Stretches the back and the hamstrings
  • Camel-Stretches lower back and opens up the hips
  • Upward Facing Dog-Expands the chest, lower back and opens the hips
  • Dancer’s Pose-Because it is my favorite balancing poses and it opens the hips

I also did some Sun Salutations,  yoga sequence numero uno to warm up the body and get yo stretch on.

All in all-it was a great trip. It was truly beautiful to see all kinds of women come together, hear some great music (I went to see TGT, Janelle Monet and the King/Queen herself, Beyonce) and see the beauty of New Orleans, which is officially in the top 5 of cities I love.

Stay tuned for more on my Fitness Adventures in New Orleans (One includes track great Jackie Joyner- Kersey and Black Girls Run!)

Straight Trippin’

I72--US51-V3

I’m going on a road trip! Yup! Me! Hitting the road and going to New Orleans to check out the Essence Music Festival with some girls and I am so excited for this adventure!  Other than the change of scenery and female bonding and the promise of seafood, music and fun when we get there, one of the things about being on the road, is the one the road food. Fast, fried food that can sometimes taste soo good, but be soooo bad for you. What’s a girl (or guy) to do?

Well, believe it or not, there are some things that you can take with you to have a healthier time on the road! Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Almonds. Tasty, filling and come in different flavors.

2. Hummus and pretzel snack packs.

3. Water-of course.

4. Pouches of tuna. You can add this for some healthy protein on a side salad (or two) from the drive through.

5. Granola bars

6. Trail Mix or any other fruit and nut mix.

7. Pirate’s Booty in Aged White Cheddar-yum!

8. Pre-cut fresh fruit and vegetables. Apples, celery and carrots usually travel the best. I love bananas, but hate the hot banana smell in a small space.

Add some music and some mystery novels and I’m all good until it is my turn to drive. I am too excited for my trip and will be scouting out my next fitness adventure. I can’t wait!

And now, get out there an get some FIT STARTED! Until next time!

Bandz A Make Her….Run?

beyonce-ratchet

Let me start this off by saying I consider myself a feminist. A feminist who thinks that a woman should be able to make her own choices, do what she wants to do professionally, whether it is CEO or stay-at-home mom. I am also a proud woman who seeks to uplift women in whatever way my talents and skills will allow me to. But, for some reason, I LOVE listening to some of the most ratchet music when I work out, mostly when I run.  I love music and typically have classic, old school tastes when it comes to music.  I mean, I would sooner pluck my eyelashes out, one by one, than to sit and listen to “R.I.P” or “I Love Them Strippers” in the car. I’m not kidding.

In my opinion, there is a lot of crap out there on the radio today. But one day, a friend of mine wrote a Facebook post on how she loved A$AP Rocky’s song “Problems” I listened to it online…I was not impressed..NEXXXTTTTT! But then, when I was training for a race, it came on Fit Radio and I was like “Heeeeeyyyy!” The beat was hot and it got me going! So I listed to more and now all of my favorites on Fit Radio feature some of today’s Top Ratchet songs out there.  It keeps me motivated I guess.

Now the flip side. Some of the lyrics are distracting. Rappers are very impressed by their themselves and their man parts. That earns the song and eye roll and a laugh while I run. (I’m sure Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz  are soo upset my by reaction, comforted only by their millions of dollars and video vixens to keep them warm at night) And I am saddened by the thought that these are the people who are influencing young males how to treat females and young females on how to be treated and viewed.

Lesson learned here is that motivation can come from everywhere and that its okay to step outside of your norm and embrace it. Because honestly, as hard as it is for me to admit it, I really do like working out to a lot of those songs.  But, with that being said, please know that Janelle Monet and Doug E Fresh are still in hot rotation on my IPod.

So what do you think? Do you like ratchet music when you work out? I can’t be the only one!