The Grey Zone

It’s been 10 weeks since I became a mom and what a wonderfully crazy ride. Between the sleepless nights, crazy messy hair and unfounded fights with my husband, I didn’t know what to think nor do. But guess what, we made it through.

You see, this is not something I can take back to the store if I don’t like it anymore nor give away to someone in need. Matter of fact it’s quite a serious commitment that I can’t back down from and I thought I was prepared but God no I wasn’t. I’ve been crying silently in the shower sometimes (when I could take one) trying to escape the frustration of not doing one thing right or being completely clueless.

I’ve been fighting and laughing with my husband over nonsense, while we both try to adjust to our new roles as parents at the same time as being a couple again. It’s been tough, it’s been stressful and scary but overall, it’s been amazing. Oyana is growing well and wayyy too fast. She is putting on all of her healthy weight and getting chubbier everyday! She is one happy baby that surprises us everyday.

On another note, I’ve been trying to get back to my old self. No pressure though. I yet have to get back to the gym and get a new membership so I can tone back my body. While I’ve been lucky to shed all of my baby weight and some extra pounds (thanks to breastfeeding), I lost my muscles and that will require some serious postpartum workout plan.

Work wise, I am still searching. Not as actively though as before because I want to enjoy my break at home taking care of my baby and travel a bit. But I am looking, because I don’t picture myself as a housewife only nor as a stay-at-home mom. I have more to offer and I have three degrees that I worked very hard on to get that need to be put to use.

I also am working/researching on some side projects (freelance most likely) close to my heart that will hopefully help me gain some experience and, stay up to date with my industry of interest. So if you need help or, know anybody that has some PR/Communications projects and opportunities, shoot me an email! Like seriously 🙂

Finally, I have taken a serious step back into my religious life, trying to regain a stronger and better connection with God and my spirituality. As a parent I believe it is important to also provide my children with spiritual guidance and protection. I therefore decided to observe lent this year, focusing on reducing stress and anxiety by limiting complains and unnecessary frustration caused by things I cannot control. I want to reconnect with my God, faithfully and completely, which requires lots of trust and self abandonment. It’s going to be hard, I know it already but, I am committed.

Once I figure out my routine with baby girl and re-establish a proper schedule for everything else in my life – fitness, work, relationship, social – the posting will become more regular on the blog. I know some of you may be disappointed with my absence or even the content of the blog right now but that’s where I am right now. And I will always try to remain as transparent as I can rather than making empty promises.

PS: More posts in French coming soon !

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Health and Fitness: One month strong

Guys, I made it! lol! It has officially been a month since I jumped back on the fitness and healthy bandwagon and I feel great! Sore, most of the time but still very much happy. Overall it has been a challenging yet very satisfying journey, as I notice my body gradually transforming. As promised, I will break down for you my workout routine and diet plan so that you can get an idea of where to start off if you’re not a gym rat!

First, my workout routine focuses on three major things: endurance, strength and flexibility.  For that reason, I have broken it down into 3 days of gym workouts and 1 day of yoga. The combination of the 4 days allows me to engage my full body in a variety of exercises that will help me gradually lower body fat, increase overall energy and build lean and strong muscles.

Monday – Lower body aka leg day

  • 20mn treadmill run (5.5 speed) with zero pause until time is complete.
  • 4 core strengthening exercise:
    • Sit-ups w/ 16lbs medicine ball (15 rep)
    • Russian twists w/ 16lbs medicine ball (15 rep)
    • Leg raises (15 rep)
    • Planks – front and sides (30sec hold)

This serve as a warmup. Then I start working on my legs. I take my time in every reps so that I actually feel the burn. The goal is not to get through the routine as fast as possible but to keep the muscles engaged throughout the workout. Use this as an indication because you might not be comfortable with my weight resistance.

  • Leg curl – start at 50lbs and increase each set (3 sets – 10 rep)
  • Leg extensions – start at 60lbs then increase the weight each set (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Leg press – start at 60lbs then increase the weight each set (3 sets – 12 reps)
  • Hip abduction and adductor machines – start at 50lbs then increased the weight each set (3 sets – 10 reps)

I end my workout session with stretching using yoga positions and a foam roll. Then I do a “core blast” with the Ab cruncher (500).

Wednesday – Upper body (Arms,Shoulders and Back) 

  • 20mn treadmill run (5.5 speed)
  • 4 core strengthening exercise:
    • Sit-ups w/ 16lbs medicine ball (15 rep)
    • Russian twists w/ 16lbs medicine ball (15 rep)
    • Leg raises (15 rep)
    • Planks – front and sides (30sec hold)
  • Close-Grip Front Lat Pulldown – start at 40lbs then increase each set (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Tricep dip machine – start at 40lbs then increase each set (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Machine Biceps Curls – start at 30lbs then increase each set (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Shoulder Lateral Raise Machine – start at 20lbs then increase each set (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Core blast (500 reps) + stretch

Friday – Full body workout 

  • 20mn treadmill run (5.5 speed)
  • 4 core strengthening exercise:
    • Planks – front and sides (30sec hold)
    • Russian twists w/ 16lbs medicine ball (15 reps)
    • Exercise Ball Crunch (30 reps)
    • Knee/Hip Raise On Parallel Bars (15 reps)
    • Weight Plate Side bend – using a 25lbs plate (3 sets – 12 reps on each side)
  • Bench Dip – 3 sets (10 reps)
  • Biceps Curls with a 15lbs Body Bar (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Behind-the-neck Shoulder Press with 15lbs Body Bar (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Front Raise with a 15lbs Body Bar (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Leg curl – start at 50lbs and increase each set (3 sets – 10 rep)
  • Leg extensions – start at 60lbs then increase the weight each set (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Hip abduction and adduction machines – start at 50lbs then increased the weight each set (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Back Squat with Fixed Weight Barbell (30lbs) – 2 sets of 10 reps regular + 1 set 12 reps in sumo squat
  • Seated Back Extension – start at 40lbs then increase each set (3 sets – 10 reps)
  • Cable Row with Static Squat using a close grip (V-shape) handle – start at 50lbs then increase each set (3 sets – 10 reps)
    • Set the pulley at waist height. Grab the handle and take a few steps back and lower into squat position. Hold the squat position as you pull the handle towards your navel; at the end, your elbows should be tucked close to the sides of your body. Slowly extend your arms to return to the start, keeping your core tight and chest lifted to prevent the weight from pulling you forward.
  • Ab Crunch Machine – start at 40lbs then increase each set (3 sets of 12 reps)
  • 15-30mn sauna session (depending on how much time I have left on my schedule)

Sunday – Yoga

I go to Yoga to the People every sunday morning. My friend Alicia took me to my first class five years ago at their East Village location (St Marks Place) and I fell in love with their Power Vinyasa Flow class. The teachers are very welcoming and do their best to make everybody feel comfortable. The classes which last 1h, are opened to every level and really focus on personal experience. I tried their Hot Vinyasa class at the Midtown location but it was more challenging (90 mins) as I just got back to practice after a loooooong time off.

That’s it for the workout routine.  Now let’s talk about my diet!

Three weeks ago I started the Atkins 40 diet to better achieve my weight goal and get rid of stubborn fat. Although I am confident that my active lifestyle is healthy, I felt the need to add a “kick” to it and went for a low carb diet. I heard a lot of positive things about Atkins and decided to give it a try. So basically the diet consists of consuming only 40 grams of Net Carbs of carbohydrates a day.

The Net Carbs of any whole food item are calculated this way: Total Carbohydrates – (Minus) Dietary Fiber. This diet, while very challenging (because I have to weigh my food  to make sure I am eating the right quantity), still allows me to enjoy a full range of food options from every food group—carbohydrates, protein and fats—while still losing weight. Plus, they have a free carb tracking app that helps a lot because it has a large variety of products that we use daily and their carb information. You can also scan the barcode of products not available in their database or simply type their nutrition info manually.

With this diet, I am supposed to lose an average of 2lbs/week! This is great for people who are trying to reach lose weight before the summer! For my part, it’s not the case. I have so far lost 5lbs (2lbs before Atkins and 3lbs while on it) and now have 15 more to drop. My ideal weight would be to get back to 143.3lbs (65kgs) but I am not rushing to get there. I must admit that the carb tracking is frustrating as I cannot enjoy my wine, Chai Tea Latte nor my homemade pastries. Plus, my husband is not a fan but, he supports me regardless. Who knows, I might end up settling for a different weight once I achieve a body form and shape that I love and am proud of.

I hope this helps whoever is trying to find some motivation! The only piece of advice I can give is follow your guts. No one except for yourself can and will find the strength to engage in such a journey. I am proud that I have not fallen off the wagon and definitely look forward to seeing more results!