You ARE ready. My new Wakeup Call

As 2014 is quickly coming to a close, I’m thinking about how strong I want to finish. I don’t like leaving chapters open when I really do have the opportunity to close them and start on a new goal. 2015 is dedicated to remembering who I am. 2015 is dedicated to the athlete, the fighter, the one that won’t quit when everyone is pulling you in different directions. It’s dedicated to important appointments, and dates, ones that I will stop breaking and standing up for things that do not push me closer to my dreams, leaving my sneakers sad by the door, waiting to hit the pavement or cycle another revolution on my lonely bike. 2015 is not about how dark it is. It’s not about how tired you are. How sore you are. How much you want to skip your workout because your current state of mind says that can’t. It’s about how much you CAN. It’s about how much you will love yourself for that extra 20 minutes of yoga in the morning, that 6 mile long run you’ve been putting of. The 10 mile long run you forgot you could do. It’s about digging deeper, finding your WHY, your reason to drive forward and bring light to those dark spaces in time. I’m planning NOW for later, it’s never too late to start.

2015 is dedicated to the athlete, to finding my max. Because I miss it. I miss the feeling of pushing myself further and accomplishing the unthinkable. January is usually the month that I spend wiping my sorry butt off the floor because I’m ‘too cold’ to run outside, or ‘too tired’ so I end up having no plan, no motivation, and no results. Well this is the last January I sit on my couch making excuses. I know how to honor my body, give it the fuel it needs, the water it needs, and the rest that it needs. But will I do it? This is it, this is the time, I’m going to get those 8 hours of sleep, and my body is going to LOVE me for it. I’m going to get up with enough time to push myself past that snooze button, onto the floor and someone is going to say ‘OH crap, she’s up’. I’m going to teach others to love their minds and bodies, and sweat and dance while doing it! I couldn’t be more excited to finish this year!

Here’s my new wakeup call. I’m going out with a bang 2014 so look OUT 2015, you won’t know what hit you.

I’m ready. You ARE ready.

Top 5 Ways to Keep Motivated. My Typical Workout Routine

IMG_2373.JPG

Many of you support me on Instagram (thank you!) which is where I check in with my daily fitness routine, meals, motivation, and the occasional fitspo. Well it dawned on me today…seriously…that my biggest reason for success IS Instagram!

Like I say about being ‘your body’s mechanic’ every single one is different and I can’t give you a secret formula for your personal gene makeup but I can give you lots of ways to get started and stay motivated! What works for me, may not work for you, but a lot of you ask me what my typical routine is like and how I finally was able to lean down and tone up after years of being an athlete.

1) Every meal counts:
This probably sounds harsh but think of it as a way to love your body! Put nourishing foods in it. Every time you have the opportunity to replace something worthless with something rich in vitamins and fiber or protein, you are making an impact on your body! Why does this matter so much? Because it’s literally a formula. One you replace one meal a day with veggies and protein and superfood packed grains like quinoa, it adds up! That’s how I did it. I made a conscious decision to include more of the good stuff into my routine, and less of the bad stuff! It’s clearly added up! It makes indulging a little leave me with zero guilt. I still drink wine and #tiuapproved martinis, know how to make healthy desserts, and yea I still eat ice cream on occasion (favorite brand is So Delicious!) wiggle room is left when you make conscious decisions that propel you forward instead of standing still!

2) Exercise Everyday-Anything Counts
I’m serious when I say everyday. I usually start my week by setting up the times I know I can work our based on my schedule. I’m not very good at getting up every morning! So my current trend is lunch time workouts. But setting my mind to doing something everyday leads me to do MORE than I would if I didn’t set that goal. Meaning, I will probably work out five days a week instead of seven. And to me that’s a pretty successful week! But if I don’t set these goals I might go to days or three days and then I don’t feel as accomplished at the end of the week!

3) Find someone to keep you accountable!
Think back to the days that you played a sport. Your teammates kept you going. Why? Because you knew that they were going through the same tough workouts that you were too. Share in your successes and your failures, pick each other back up, and support each other when you had great victories! I am so lucky to have such an amazing team who I know is working out every day and making healthy choices every day and that makes me really respect those girls and guys! I used Instagram to find these motivating peeps! Seriously. Checking in every day was a way for me to keep a fun diary of everything (because food journals are BORING) to me, and I met people in my new city where I didn’t know anyone!

4. HIIT workouts and Always Change it Up!
There’s a reason I finally lost that stubborn 10 lbs and have been able to maintain it for 6 months now. Because I have done SO many different workouts over the past few years, I have been able to combine my strength training with cardio moves to do 30 minute High Intensity Interval Training. But I learned these from always changing up my workouts. I’ve done pretty much everything…except Crossfit. I tried it in college and it wasn’t for me. But I HIGHLY respect my friends who are that hardcore. It just wasn’t in line with my goals and I really enjoy Turbo Kick and tabata, T25, running, Body weight exercises like planks, push-ups, lunges and squats. I love PIYO, yoga, weight and toning routines I learned from Tone it Up and my NASM training. Honestly it takes lots of practice and repetition to know all these things lol that’s why I love having trainers in my own home. I’ll do a more detailed post on my favorite at home workouts soon! Don’t be afraid to try something new! Ask a friend to join you 🙂

5) Set a Goal, Join A Challenge:
There’s nothing like a little competition to motivate you! This can be a race, or a goal of 100 push-ups and sit ups each day! Or just drinking water instead of soda and replacing the afternoon candy bar with a granola or protein bar. Join a fitness group on Facebook, there are literally hundred of them. I run a 30 Day Challenge every month =)  We are living in a fitness obsessed generation, however not everyone will be thrilled in your immediate circle with the choices you’ve begun to make. And that’s ok they don’t have to! But there is this huge online community that can help you start getting connected to people who have been in your EXACT position. I know I know, it’s super sucky to share personal details about your story. That’s up to you, but you don’t know who it might help. There are dozens and dozens of stories I have heard from you that give me hope of helping someone with an eating disorder, or a lack of confidence, overcoming a bad relationship, lack of support from friends and family, and more. Because we have all been in these tough places and finding someone to relate to is a hashtag away #loveyourbody #strongisthenewskinny

Typically I do something different every day. This month I’m running one mile each day and doing PIYO/Yoga to stay strong and flexible! Do I get it done every day? No I miss days. But that’s ok! I still get in more than I would without a plan. I drink shakeology for breakfast every day, usually a small snack at 10am like yogurt or fruit. A veggie based lunch. Wraps and the occasional paninni but I cut pasta out! I load up on grilled or steamed veggies or raw if in salads. I love zucchini and Brussels sprouts, beets and walnuts, spinach salads with goat cheese and strawberries! I eat a piece of fruit or a protein bar in the afternoon and sometimes I have time to workout at night but not lately. I make sure it gets done before the sun goes down haha it’s easier for me in the winter! I just got a new Stand Up Desk at work that keeps me sitting less and it’s giving me more energy! I take the stairs pretty often (heels people heels!) As the holidays approach I’m trying to drink less so that I can indulge at holiday parties and enjoy the increase in occasions. I drink lots of water and and average of half a cup of coffee daily…I don’t really need it anymore! I hope this helps you get a glimpse of my routine! Doing these things on the reg. really adds up. I promise you. Enjoy the journey, take your time, and stay consistent….people will start noticing and they will ask you how you did it!

New Video! My favorite spots in the West Village, Uptown Dallas

IMG_7402

Hello there! I can’t believe it’s almost Holiday Season can you?! Holidays are not only one of the busiest times, but they can also become quiet and slow down for some of us! When I used to live in Rochester, NY, you were sort of forced to take a day (because of all the snow) and enjoy the slow-down! This time of year, I can finally take a step back and say ‘ahhhhh…clarity’.  I set goals BEFORE January 1st, so I’m not shell-shocked when it rolls around and I can’t figure out where to start! It may seem like I’m a regimented gal, but try as I may, life just ebs and flows too much for me to live every week the same! But some things may never change…like my favorite hang-outs! I’m looking forward to spending some time at my favorite café Sip N Stir, featured in this Vlog! I come here a lot to blog, which is one of the things I enjoy doing the most. I wanted to take y’all around my part of town because many of you don’t know much about Dallas. So if you ever come for a visit, there’s more than enough to do. I haven’t even made a dent! I’m definitely going to continue this trend, as there are new stores opening up, and restaurants to try….and you can expect more wedding planning updates too! Hope you enjoy getting to know me a bit better, and some of the things I like to do in the West Village.

IMG_7400

Who’s shopping for New Years Eve?! A lot of you are always asking me where I get my crop tops and outfits! Well I wanted to share my favorite/and affordable little store here called Pitaya. Their branded clothes are made in the USA! There are several around the country but you can shop online-check out their fleece leggings for $8! I LOVE them. They have such a unique story and I really enjoy giving local business owners my money. There’s a story behind everyone’s journey and it allows me to get to know entrepreneurs like myself!  The owner started traveling around the country years ago, and then to South America finding new clothing ideas and textiles. After their first store opened in Indiana 20 years ago, they opened up 12 stores around the country and now have a boutique shop in the West Village of Dallas. Pretty great success story, and we have so much fun playing dress-up every time I go in! What can I say, trying clothes on is more fun now that I feel confident in my own skin! Pop into the shop to see some of these looks I tried on! I really enjoy their trends and unique pieces! Of course, I had to get that hat.

Another one of my favorite spots to go, is the Katy Trail…these stairs are quite hidden in the woods and they are really long! I love running up and down them to get some variety into my workouts. Last weekend was FREEZING for Dallas, I promise =)

And if you’re in the mood for a brew after your run, hit up the Katy Trail Ice House! They have a dozen fire pits in the backyard going in the fall/winter to warm up at and chill out by!

Screen shot 2014-11-21 at 7.31.36 AM

Hope you enjoy seeing my favorite things to do on a typical week, and the fact that Lorna Jane is coming, will definitely warrant another fun photo shoot when it opens! A HUGE thank you to my wonderful Fiancé Hunter, who shot and edited this video for me, and puts up with my new ideas for photshoots on a ‘whenever we see each other’ basis. I couldn’t have nearly as much fun without you. Love you babe!

xoxo

Ari

Guest post from Brittani Rettig: Making time for fitness, fun and following your dreams!

I am so excited to be featuring Brit on my blog today! She is truly an inspiration and role model to me and I have had the pleasure of taking her classes, following her advice, and living vicariously through her newest venture HER OWN FITNESS STUDIO! I couldn’t be more thrilled to share in her dreams by supporting her new chapter, and have plans of teaching in Dallas next year myself! Stay tuned! If you are looking for advice on how to balance a career, a healthy lifestyle, and building your dream job, Brit has all the answers. Please visit her blog and her IG (@gritbybrit) page for your daily dose of fun! Thanks for sharing Brit! 2015 is gunna be HUGE.

corporate to cardio

Hi Guys!  My name is Brittani, and I’m a fitness instructor/blogger/business woman.  I titled my blog “GRIT by Brit” because I believe that mental grit or “passion and perseverance for long-term goals” is the key to getting everything you want out of life.  As fellow fabulous wonder women, I’m sure you know that sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day to do everything on your ‘To Do” lists.  If you’re like me, I’ve often found it difficult to balance work, working out, relationships, family commitments and a social life. To make matters worse, for the 2 and half years I’ve worked full-time as a traveling management consultant and part-time as a fitness instructor/wellness blogger.  I just recently left my consulting career to open a fitness studio and work in fitness/wellness full-time.  My dream came true!  It took a long time and lot of juggling commitments to get me to this point, so I wanted to share some helpful words of wisdom that allowed me to balance everything on my plate.

While Teaching fitness classes is my absolute passion, I had to maintaining my full-time consulting career in order to pay off my student loans.  When I picked up my part-time fitness instructor job at 24 hour fitness, many people told me it was impossible maintain my “side hustle” AND perform well at my demanding consulting job.  I believe that where there is a will there is a way and when you enjoy what you’re doing, you naturally have more will.  1st Word of Wisdom: Don’t let your full-time job be an excuse for not pursuing your interests and passions.  I actually found that my part-time gig teaching fitness classes gave me more confidence and enhanced my performance in my full time consulting job.

I’m not gonna lie, my schedule was pretty hectic (and still is), but by planning ahead and staying committed to my personal schedule everything works out.  You will be amazed at what you can do when you just do it!

People ask me all the time, “how do you do it all?”  Well the honest answer is, “I don’t.”  I’ve learned that I have to prioritize the things that really matter and push everything else to the wayside.  2nd Word of Wisdom: If everything is important, nothing is important.  This means I had to give up a lot of “kinda important” activities like going to every single happy hour I’m invited to or watching TV during the week (I know  – harsh). I still make time for a social life and down time, but now I’m much better at saying “No” to things I don’t really wanna do or activities that aren’t critical to reaching my goals. One thing I didn’t give up is my workout routine.  Over the years I’ve learned that pushing myself through intense physical fitness enhances all aspects of my life – my corporate career, relationships, spirituality and mental health.   That said,  I’ve found it very helpful to create and follow a weekly workout schedule.  Just like I write down the due dates of my bills, I write down the due date of my leg workouts.  I find that having a clear exercise schedule keeps me committed because I can prioritize my workouts and plan around them.

One word of caution – I’ve found that there’s a fine line between being committed to my workouts and being obsessed with them.  I have to admit; I use to be a little obsessed.   But now I’ve found a healthy balance.  There are 5 habits in particular that helped me find this healthy middle ground.  So to conclude this post, I want leave you with 5 Final Words of Wisdom that have helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Workout in the mornings – You never know what will come about it the evening – dinner plans, late night at work, feeling groggy, etc. I’ve found that a morning workout routine is better for staying committed to my exercise goals.
  2. Make a weekly workout schedule – Each day you plan to workout, write down the date, time and type of workout in your day planner and be sure to show up for it just like you would for a business meeting.
  3. Pack healthy snacks – When I’m traveling a lot for work I always pack 3 apples 3 oranges and 3 low sugar protein bars. Having these snacks handy deters from impulse junk food purchases when I’m starving.  Also, every now and then I’ll swap out dinner for a protein bar.
  4. Go to bed early – Late night snacking is the devil. The good thing is, late night snacking can’t happen if you go to bed early.  Also getting adequate sleep ensures I’m ready for my long days at the office and my workouts!
  5. Travel with a water bottle – Hydration is SO important for clear skin, a fast metabolism, high energy and good overall health. Drinking lots of water also curbs your appetite.  I’ve found that drinking at least 2 liters of water per day is the perfect amount for me.  I highly recommend increasing your water intake.

Alright gang – that’s the end!  I know I’ve said I lot, but I really hope these words of wisdom are as helpful to you as they are to me.  Be encouraged and know that even though it’s challenging to balance all of life’s demands, when you have grit and discipline you can pursue your dreams AND live a healthy lifestyle!

All the best.  Luv, Brit

Wednesday’s for your health!

Acne

 

Charlie Rose

Hi guys, I’ve been wanting to share my battle with acne with you for quite some time! And honestly, I’ve tried every trick in the book. You can read more about my journey in my page ‘My Journey’. But the things that have truly truly worked the best for me and transformed my skin in just 3 MONTHS, can be found best summed up in Lauren Conrad’s article about these nutrient dense foods! That’s right. Food! I’ve tried everything from Tea Tree Oil, Accutane, Anti-biotics, Black Soap, Whitch Hazel, this facial toner, that benzoyl peroxide. NONE of it would get rid of my cystic acne! I still break out…and you know why? When I eat junk food…it shows in the next few weeks or less. As frustrating as it is to limit yourself, it’s liberating to enrich yourself! So stop sneaking all that ‘white’ food into your diet. It’s disgusting, and it will show up in zit form. We all covet different beauty traits of course! But clear skin can truly help you put your best *face* forward, and help you gain the confidence you might be lacking. If you’ve been struggling with acne or cystic acne, read about the foods below and re-evaluate your grocery list! I can’t get enough Kale and Spinach (juiced in my Vitamix)

Acne Fighting Foods

 

  1. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids. This includes salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids have been known to give skin an almost instant glow. These foods can also help reduce inflammation, so any blemishes you do have won’t be quite so red. I love making grilled salmon for dinner. Adding flaxseed to a fresh fruit smoothie is another simple way to boost your omega-3s.
  2. Antioxidant filled foods. It’s no surprise that antioxidant foods are great for your health, but they also give your skin an extra dose of goodness too. Antioxidant rich foods like cherries, berries, green tea and spinach attack free radicals in your body that cause skin damage and breakouts. Eating a handful of berries or a is a yummy way to add antioxidants into your daily food routine.
  3. Foods rich in selenium. Brazil nuts, almonds, onion, garlic, and whole grains are all sources of selenium, which is also a powerful antioxidant. These foods help preserve your skin’s elasticity and reduce inflammation. Just eating a handful of almonds a day is an easy way to up your selenium intake.
  4. Foods rich in vitamin C. Melons, oranges, tomatoes, and strawberries all boost your immune system and strengthen your cell walls. These foods will help protect your skin from acne scarring and activate healing powers to amend damaged or irritated skin.
  5. Foods rich in vitamin E. This category includes nuts, soybeans, almonds, leafy greens and eggs. Vitamin E rich foods also help protect your skin from scarring. An easy way to get your daily dose is by drizzling olive oil on a salad or using it to cook. (I always use it on my pan when cooking my Tone it Up Slim Down Scramble in the morning.)
  6. Foods in high water content. This means…drink water, water and more water! Keeping your body hydrated is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And this healthy habit translates to your skin too. In addition to drinking your 8 glasses a day (a daily requirement in my book!), eating foods with high water content like watermelon and cucumbers, and also parsley will free your system of toxins as well.
  7. Foods rich in vitamin A. Foods that give your body vitamin A are rich in beta-carotene, which enhances the benefits of selenium–that powerful antioxidant I mentioned earlier. Your skin will thank you if you include carrots, bell peppers, cantaloupes, and sweet potatoes into your daily diet.
  8. Foods high in magnesium. These foods are awesome acne fighters because magnesium helps to balance out acne-inducing hormones. Try munching on artichokes, oatmeal, brown rice, and figs to get hormonal acne under control. I’ll have to find a recipe for y’all for this one!
  9. Low sodium foods. Foods that are packed with salt not only make your body bloat up like a balloon, they also wreak havoc on your skin. To avoid pimples from flaring up, try to limit the amount of processed or prepared foods in your diet. Substituting canned or frozen vegetables with fresh ones can make a huge difference. You will also feel so much better if you eat “clean foods” that are unprocessed and have low sodium. I’m going to do a post on simple salads in a few weeks-stay tuned!
  10. White foods are the wrong foods. Foods like white bread, white rice, white refined flour, French fries, and mashed potatoes are some of the worst things to have in your diet if you want clear skin. Refined sugar is another culprit in this category because it makes your blood sugar levels spike, which then causes acne outbreaks. No thank you! Stick to whole grains and brightly colored fruits and veggies like these no-bloat foods. If anything else, just remember this: White foods are not the right foods if you want clear skin.

I’m not sure when it finally clicked for me…maybe I just needed to read this! My best friend has been telling me for years that her psoriasis clears up when she’s following an alkaline diet. But please do more research if you like, and make a new grocery list! Start introducing these foods, and turn down the daily donut. We are what we eat is very true! You will feel beautiful all over when you have clear skin on your side =)

Which acne fighting food is your favorite? Personally, I’m partial to spinach, eggs and berries.

If you have a Wednesdays For Your Health request, leave it in the comments below.

XO Ariana Michelle

Sacrifice yourself for others

20131014-211340.jpg

Sometimes you need to think and look real hard at yourself and remember that you’re going through a difficult time for a reason. Our sacrifices are for the work of something greater. For me it’s God’s legacy. For you it may be a family member, a pet, or a dream. Who holds your dreams and desires? Remember that it is good to put yourself second sometimes, because the hard work you do now, will bring great joy and gifts later. I forget that despite how busy this season of my life may be, others are taking notes from me and getting healthier in their lives. This is probably the best part of my day-it makes me super happy! Knowing that I can still motivate you to work hard even though I can’t be right there! I hope you will push through your tough week at work, your difficult semester at school, and know that your hard work is inspiring others out there to be better and bolder each day! Happy Monday 🙂

MOVE-Who’s done watching?

This video by Arc’teryx has hit the ground running and I’d love for you to take a quick look! I understand that a lot of you may need some motivation like this, so I’ll be posting more adventure videos every week. We may spend most of our days behind the desk, but start thinking about life in front of the desk. One of these days, I know you will start an adventure of your own.

“We all try to be busy, instead of trying to be alive.”  Do you remember the last time you felt alive? Felt proud of a hardship or sacrifice you made for your body? Or maybe for a family member or friend? Coached a team? Taught someone to ride a bike? Or has the fear of failure kept you chained to the couch, watching others fight and work and achieve their goals and dreams. WHY NOT YOU?  Not enough time, no victory in sight, not sure where to start. Well guess what, we can all win by being better. Better movers. Better motivators. Better friends, athletes, teachers, pet owners, siblings… But the fundamental ability to move is a privilege. If you have it and you’re wasting it, someone will gladly take it off your hands or your feet.

Our life on Earth is but a tiny blink in the span of the cosmos. A speck. A mere reflection of human adventure and interaction-or lack of? We spend more of our time looking into the lives of others, researching how we can become more like someone else, practicing, gossiping, lying about accomplishments and defeats. Watching. Watching. Watching. Who’s done watching?

To put it best…”Me, I’m moving., because life’s more fun when you move. “