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!

A girl’s best friend

Ladies, ladies, ladies: raise your hand if you have way too many bags than room in your closet and, money in your bank account! ✋🏾🙋🏾 (I raised both hands) Now that that is established, let’s talk purses.👜👜

In my last post, I opened up about my obsession for bodysuits but unfortunately, it is not the only addiction that I cultivate. What would probably come first on my list is bags! I love them, I breathe and dream about them at every time of the day. It is a vice that I got from my mom and that I sadly and proudly carried on and, will pass on to my daughters because, they are simply too beautiful.

As the only girl in the family, it was only right that I inherited the singular passion for all things girlyish. My mom has always been my model and style inspiration. She has that timeless and effortless classy aura and taste that will make anybody want to know more about her. This is something that I have always hoped and worked hard on to channel, even to this day. However, if there is one thing that I definitely assimilated is her taste for bags.

I probably got my first designer bag when I was in Middle School or High School. I am not sure, it was a long time ago. Why so long though? Because my parents believed and raised us to always be grateful and worthy of anything that was given to us. My dad, a very loving but still very strict man, never refused me a thing but, made sure to instigate in me the values of merit. In other words, you can get anything in life, as long as you work hard for it and prove that you deserve it – henceforth I always excelled throughout my education. So, just as my parents started giving me more responsibilities, they introduced me to the designer world.

I bought my first bag in 2011, the Noé Louis Vuitton bag (LR) on Vestiaire Collective. That was my first experience buying a second-hand bag and I must admit I was a little bit freaked out. My sister-in-law who was using the website at the time, referred me and shared her positive experience with them, which helped me a little into trying it out. After I received my bag, I was so in love with it. I was so proud, cause I bought it with my own money for once and I loved the feeling of owning my own sh*t. 👸🏾

After that, I moved to New York and things went south. My addiction reached new highs and became severe. I discovered outlets, warehouse sales, designer sales and what I like to refer to as the devil 😱😈: Century 21, TJ Maxx and Marshalls. My collection went from Gérard Darel, Lancel and Longchamp to CélineSaint LaurentDior, Chanel, Fendi, Ferragamo, Prada and Givenchy, to name only a few. As of today, I own close to 30 designer bags, which is not negligible for someone this young. I look at them like long-term investments that I will be happy to pass down to my daughters and theirs afterwards. This is why I look forward to get a hold of my mom’s collection – even though we have an agreement that I can “borrow” an item per trip back home and, return it the next time I visit.😏

While these days I have slowed down my compulsive shopping, I still have a number of pieces in my wish lists on Vestiaire Collective, Net-à-Porter and C21. When seasonal sales hit, my taping game knows no limit: add to basket & purchase lol. (Don’t tell my husband) There are pieces that I however keep on the fantasy side and try not feed into too much, for fear of losing my mind: Constance & Kelly by Hermes, Peekaboo by Fendi and Miss Dior by Dior.😣😢 Those will only become realities when I am financially established aka I own a house and have savings secured for my kids’ future. Let’s be clear, just because I love luxury pieces, does not mean that I would forget about my priorities – my parents taught me better.

May your collection grow and your bank account flourish! 😅💵💳💰

Back on Tracks

Last week marked the beginning of two important things: my 3rd semester in my PR program at NYU and, my return to the GYM. While the first happened quite smoothly, I must admit the comeback to the latter was not so easy and that is all my fault.

I had been slacking from my almost religious workout routine since October so it is only fair that I would be struggling after three months or so. As part of my resolution to become the best version of myself this year, I want to get my sh*t together and get back on tracks with my weight and fitness goals: losing 10 lbs/5 kgs & toning up my body.

With a fully loaded semester – 4 full-time classes – I am aware that it will be challenging and that I might want to give up on multiple occasions but, I will just have to work harder. Fitness helped me overcome and alleviate a lot of the pain and stress I faced last year after losing my best friend and, I do hope to integrate it fully to my routine this time. This time, I am lucky to have the guidance and tips from my hubby who will be extremely resourceful  into meeting my goals. He’s going to be a real a** but that will be necessary cause I need a pusher to get me started.

Here is what my new routine will consist of:

  • 3 workouts per week targeting
    • endurance/cardio
    • legs
    • upper body
    • core
  • 1 yoga session to improve my flexibility and alleviate the soreness from my workouts

Meanwhile, I have slowly started reducing my calories intake, focusing on lean proteins, lots of fruits and veggies (which are already part of my diet) and, consuming more water. Let’s be clear, Rome was not built in one day so I am not rushing myself into it. I want to enjoy every step of the process while making sure I do not lose my husband when he becomes a bully at the gym (sigh).

I will be posting updates soon about my exact routine and diet but you can check my Instagram story for the latest news. Wish me luck, I will need it!

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The 25th Birthday wishlist 

“Me season” is finally around the corner and I get to be spoiled with the most extravagant and fabulous gifts!!

The most exciting part of my birthday is dreaming about all the things I want and will request unapologetically from my loved ones ! *devil laugh*

“Me season” is finally around the corner and I get to be spoiled with the most extravagant and fabulous gifts :p. What’s the point of aging if I can’t look or feel fabulous? In case you are still wondering what to get me on my special day, this should help you.

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I hate surprises because I never know what to expect or what to wear so one word of advice: Do Not Plan Me a Surprise Birthday party or dinner. I will literally hate you for the rest of the year because:

  1.  It will ruin my makeup cause i’m a cry baby;
  2. I don’t trust you ! lol no but seriously;
  3. I will find out somehow – don’t ask me how, I just know when people are scheming;
  4. I don’t know how to fake my facial expressions so you’ll see right away if I’m either pissed or annoyed;
  5. Just don’t do it. Please. Even if it comes from a good intention, I just hate not having control;
  6. Unless you’re flying me somewhere with a beach, plenty of sun and a bottle of Vouvray :p

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Although I don’t necessarily expect presents this year – except from my parents and bae – the best thing that could happen on October 11 is knowing that you’re still here, somewhere, and you are watching over me because I still can’t believe that you won’t be there to celebrate with me.

September blues

September blues: “The feeling of sadness that occurs when the summer is over and school is now in session.”

September blues: “The feeling of sadness that occurs when the summer is over and school is now in session.”

Goodbye hot and humid days; farewell sunny dresses and fancy sunglasses; adieu squeaky flip flops and open toe sandals. In three days, summer will officially be over to let place to the cooler and rainier season: Fall. Although I must admit I was excited to transition from the suffocating New York City summer to the autumnal scene; bringing along the yellow, orange and red leaves on trees and fallen on the ground; the cozy and warm sweaters or to the indoor weekends and finally taking my AC out of my window (nobody likes mosquitoes, especially if they carry the Zika virus): I am NOT ready.

september-bluesSeptember doesn’t only mean summer is over but also going to back to graduate school, starting a new internship and attempting to get back to a more decent sleep routine. Yes, vacation is “officially” over and this is the time of the year where excitement and nostalgia kick in almost silmutaneously – merh.

How to beat the September blues?

Fall season is not just all gloomy or melancholic; it can actually be very exciting, especially in a city like New York where you get a first-hand experience of the Fashion week and of its amazing street style. It is finally acceptable to start wearing darker lipstick (although burgundy is my all-time favorite) and dust off your favorite pair of boots that has been sitting in your closet all summer! September also brings back the excitement of Halloween and the long and indecisive planning sessions with friends about what costumes and parties to attend which honestly allows me escape my 9-to-5 routine.

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This season, I can’t wait to catch up the new seasons of my favorite TV shows – Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, American Horror History, Empire, The Vampire Diaries & The Originals – to name a few and, start new ones like Atlanta and Queen Sugar (check them out). There is also the return of the NBA season where I can’t wait to see how Kevin Durant fits into his new team and how him joining the Golden State Warriors is going to help bring the championship back to the Bay!

This Fall 2016, Don’t Forget to vote! 

greatquickmemeOn a more serious tone, Fall also means that in a couple of months, America will be voting on their new leader and honestly, this is the most terrifying time of all as the gap between Hillary Clinton and  Donald Trump keeps shrinking. To all of my U.S. citizens in age of voting: PLEASE REGISTER and make sure to VOTE on Tuesday, November 8 because your action and/or inaction will not only determine the lives of your fellow Americans but also those of the millions of immigrants in the country. 

So we have a pretty busy schedule this fall and although it might seem overwhelming right now, let’s not forget that “every season brings a reason to be happy” (yes this is from Winnie the Pooh)!