5 Gym Hacks (for when you don’t know what the f* you’re doing)

Ok lets be real here, gyms can be overwhelming. Especially if you’ve just joined a new one and are unfamiliar with the equipment / layout / gauging the best time to go when it’s not jam packed / etc. I worked at a gym for around 5 years and got comfortable with everything about it. I knew when to go to avoid the rush, where all my favorite machines were and who to bug when I wanted help with form or exercises. At the time, this was an amazing resource to have.

Fast forward another few years (post employment) to when my beloved gym gave its customers a week notice that they were shutting down. This created a situation where I had to venture out of my comfort zone and familiarize myself once again with a new gym. Now, I know this isn’t how it goes for everyone joining a new gym or even just trying new workouts at their gym / home, but I think the feeling is the same. The discomfort / nervousness / awkward feeling … it sucks! So how do we tackle this monster and maximize the first trip (and every trip) to the gym?!


  1. “Just do it”. The hardest part is getting past all the excuses / worries you tell yourself to avoid the gym. GO. Start by showing up and take it from there. So you’re just there for 10 minutes walking on the treadmill? Great. You’re one step closer to creating a comfort with this place.
  2. Scope it out. This is my go to move. I hate aimlessly wandering around a gym trying to find the machines I want to use or deciding the rotation I want to do, without knowing the gym’s layout. I usually warm up on the treadmill or stair stepper and scope out the place. This allows me to gather my thoughts and pump up my motivation as well.
  3. Bring a friend. Everything is better with a friend by your side!
  4. Social Media. This is an excellent resource for finding a vast variety of workouts quickly. You can search Pinterest by body part / equipment / goal and find something that fits your needs. Then pop over to Instagram and use hashtags to find videos of people doing these workouts to see form and variations. This sh*t is all free, why not use it??! (Links below to some of my favorite accounts / hashtags)
  5. RepeatKeep it up! Comfort and confidence in the gym will come naturally over time.

Useful Links:

Instagram ( Literally so many out there, but these ladies are a few of my favorites)

Hashtag Examples (Adding “workout” to a hashtag search will more likely lead you to videos vs motivational images of people)


Pinterest: (The search options are endless, but these are a good start)


Sweet Potato Fajita Mix

Summer is the time for TEX-MEX and there are many clean food options such as this sweet potato fajita mix. Simply add to tacos, burritos, rice, quinoa, or salad for a full meal!!

fajita bowls


SWEET POTATO FAJITA MIX

Serves 8
Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes, sliced
1-1/2 bell peppers (I used 1/2 of red, orange, and yellow)

1/2 red onion
1 jalapeno
garlic, diced
cilantro, chopped
1 can black beans
1 cup red cabbage
olive oil
salt
pepper
chili powder

Add Later–
Fresh Salsa

Instructions 

  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet.
  2. Sauté the onions, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro.
  3. Stir in the sweet potato,  and bell peppers. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in black beans and red cabbage, turn down heat and cover.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes, check frequently.
  6. Add mix to a tortilla, on a salad, or with quinoa.
  7. Top with salsa of choice. I used both a roasted corn & black bean salsa and fresh salsa.

fajita burrito


APPLE SPICE CARROT MUFFINS 

Easy, apple spice carrot muffins. Moist, hearty, and entirely vegan and gluten-free. The perfect healthy snack or breakfast on the go!

❤ Jonesy

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APPLE SPICE CARROT MUFFINS

Serves 12
Ingredients 
1-1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mixed raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup olive or coconut oil
2 apples –  peeled and diced

Instructions 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin pan with olive oil and set aside. (I use silicon trays, so I do not add muffin liners. If you are making for others, then maybe use the muffin liners)
  3. In large bowl, mix the brown sugar, baking soda, almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, flax seeds, oats, and baking powder.
  4. Stir in olive oil, vanilla, and apple sauce.
  5. Stir in coconut flakes, walnuts, shredded carrots, mixed raisins, and diced apples.
  6. Divide batter evenly between muffin tray.
  7. Bake for 18-24 minutes or until a fork inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool for 15 minutes in the plan, then gently remove and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
  9. Keep covered at room temperature. Good for several days. Freeze for long-term storage.

 


PERSIAN JEWELED RICE

Back by popular demand of my mind, body, and soul — I am officially a vegan once again. I went through my Instagram and realized just how HEALTHY CLEAN of an eater I was for a good 3 years. When– and why– I fell off the wagon, I have no clue!

Here’s a quick Persian rice dish (completely vegan) I made last night to set aside as lunch bowls for the next 5 days. My roommate came home saying ‘OMG, I didn’t think it was coming from our apartment, but the entire hallway smells ah-mazing!!’ Anywho, I’ve decided to get over my laziness and cook/share more vegan meal recipes for you all

❤ Jonesy

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Persian Jeweled Rice

Serves 8
3 cups jasmine rice
2 tablespoons salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup mixed raisins (golden, green, red)
1/2 cup raw almonds and/or pecans
1/2 cup mixed seeds (sunflower seed and pumpkin seed)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups water

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir in onions until golden-brown.
  3. Add coconut milk, water, turmeric, cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in rice. Cover and reduce heat.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring rice.
  6. Stir in nuts, seeds, carrots, and raisins; Cook for another 5 minutes.

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Jonesy’s Update: 6 WEEK RESULTS

HA! In 6 weeks, I lost 5 lbs. What? All that work and only 5 pounds??

But wait for it…  I also dropped 4.4% body fat !! YASS!

I’ve been playing this fitness game for a while now, and let me tell you– if I wanted to solely drop weight, I’d raw vegan detox myself and do all cardio workouts.

But that’s not my goal this time around.

(Before and after 6 weeks)

CHECK OUT MY FITNESS GOALS HERE!!

 


 

What is my goal?

I am working on decreasing my body fat by building muscle mass. So while my body has conformed into what seems like a weight loss of MORE than 5 pounds, it is actually replacing itself with real, substantial muscle.

Why is this my goal?

Well, many times I have dropped weight down to where I am super slim, but I eat one thing outside of my raw vegan diet, I blow up! It’s nothing but water weight being lost, and I AM SO TIRED OF GETTING SKINNY THE LAZY WAY!!

(Before and after 3 weeks)


 

How did I accomplish this?

First and foremost, I had to PUT IN WORK at the gym, and I mean WORKKKKK!

BOXING GIRL: I’ll tell you, that first week when I started fresh and completely out of shape I was ready to quit!! But my inner self kept telling me it’ll get better. The first couple weeks I would have to stop and watch what other people were doing in order to keep up. Eventually I picked up and got good at boxing. Now I’m just enjoying it so much.

Not only does it help with my anxiety and frustration, but it’s the perfect release of ALL THE ENERGY I CAN NEVER GET RID OF, so now I’ve practically cured my insomnia with tiring myself out every night.

GIRLS WHO HIIT: Then there is my INSANE Monday HIIT class and the 30 day HIIT challenge (completed every morning at my apartment gym). Megan has me on my death bed every monday evening at this hour long class.

I mean, I’m bougie AF (long nails, hoop earrings, lipgloss) and now I’m here lifting weights, flipping tires, hanging from bars doing knee tucks.

REALLY THOUGH, who am I anymore? Umm, A BOSS ASS BIOOOOOTCH, DUH!!

 


 

Shred 10 Challenge:

I ended my 6 weeks with 10 days of a food challenge.

The challenge include eliminating the following:

-Gluten

-Dairy

-Refined Sugars and Oils

-Caffeine

-Alcohol

 

While this was not quite a challenge for me because this has been my daily diet for years. I decided to push myself to become a raw vegan once again. OMG, also I’ve been forcing myself to get used to drinking 1 gallon of water a day– URG, I swear this is hard sometimes. Then there are my daily vitamins of B12 and Flaxseed oil, Juice Plus Protein Shake, and Juice Plus trio capsules.

WOW, I MISSED THAT VEGAN LIFE!! 

 

Well, I’m halfway to my 12 week goal. Excited to share my end results in 6 more weeks.

Meanwhile, check out where I’m at with my goals here:

❤ Jonesy


Megan’s Update: Shred10 Wrap-up

Well guys, I MADE IT! Somehow….and feel great!


Now that the 10 days are over, I’d like to look back at what worked for me, where I struggled and if I plan on doing shred again next month (yes groups get together every month to do this, so fun!)

**For anyone interested in joining the August shred, please feel free to contact me!!**

WHAT WORKED:

  • No gluten
  • No dairy (maybe a little feta though)
  • No alcohol (ok I had ONE Tito’s & soda Sunday)
  • No refined sugar
  • Meal prepping
  • 7-8 hours of sleep each night
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Not eating after 6:00pm (I modified to 7:00pm)
  • Exercise

WHAT WAS HARD AF:

  • No caffeine
    • I. LOVE. COFFEE.
    • This was extremely hard for me. I am used to having a Bigby coffee with breakfast, a Starbucks with lunch and either pre-workout or a 5 hour energy before a workout. OMG. I knew it was awful for my body and that’s one big factor that drove me to cut it out.
    • I did allow myself 6oz of coffee from my Keurig mixed in my morning complete shake around day 3 because I was feeling withdrawals, but otherwise I’ve managed to cut a SIGNIFICANT amount of caffeine out of my diet going past these 10 days and feel proud about that.
  • No dairy
    • I literally am 50% cheese, so this was hard at first, but when I agreed that a very small amount of feta was ok with lunch here or there, this became easier and my stomach thanked me!
  • No alcohol
    • I work in a bar 2 nights a week , so going in there and not even having 1 shift drink was a struggle.
    • Also, going out without drinking is kind of awkward and I’m still getting used to it.
    • Even though it has been difficult, this is probably one of the biggest toxic factors that by eliminating, I have felt / seen the most progress!!!!!!
  • Not eating after 6:00pm
    • LOLOL
    • If anyone has tried this, it’s basically impossible.
    • I work until 5:00pm every day, so I had to make enough food to bring to work that would be sufficient for all meals of the day. I also attend a workout class after work, so modifying to 7:00pm being my cut off allowed me to race home and at least have my complete shake was a necessity.
  • Exercise
    • Day One I had to skip any sort of working out because my body was in shock from no caffeine and felt super tired all day.
    • I attended a HIIT class on days 2 & 3 and struggled with feeling like I didn’t have enough fuel in me to really push myself.
    • Once I got the best formula down (eat a hearty protein filled meal 2 hours before and small snack about an hour before + tons of water), I felt stronger for classes / workouts on days 6 / 7 / 8 / 10.

WHAT I PLAN TO KEEP – POST DAY 10:

I expect there to be cheat days or days I struggle, but as an overall I’d like to limit / eliminate these items:

  • No gluten
  • No dairy
  • No refined sugar
  • No caffeine
  • No alcohol
  • No eating after 8:00pm

Also keeping a consistent scheduling which includes:

  • Trio capsules / Complete shakes (DUH)
  • 7-8 hours of sleep each night
  • 3-5 days / exercise
  • Meal prepping for breakfast & lunches

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SIDENOTE: Shoutout to my body! It kicked ass these 10 days and the fact that I can visibly see what 10 days of clean eating and hard ass workouts will do is so motivating!!!! P.s. Overt your focus away from my pale af stomach and legs and bumpy nonsense covering up my abs (I WILL GET RID OF YOU) lol


I will definitely be participating in Shred next month. It is a great boost to start each month!!

XO- Megan

 


Lemon, Ginger, & Cayenne Pepper Mocktail Anyone?

I am a huge fan of the ‘master cleanse’, been doing this for 10+ years. The cayenne pepper and lemon cleanse stops addictive cravings, encourage weight loss, and purify your kidneys, colon, skin, nerves, muscles, glands and all the cells of your body.
 
I figured, I’d actually photograph it for anyone who has never tried this. Again, my ginger juice has been pre- made– it is simply grated ginger boiled in water, then strained into a pitcher with lemon juice.
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Ingredients:
– Ginger
– Lemon
– Honey
– Cayenne Pepper
– Turmeric
Every morning, I drink a shot of this concoction for a metabolism boost. TRY IT! 
❤ Jonesy 
 

 

Megan’s Cheat Day – WHOOPS!

First let me start by saying, this was a great weekend! Saturday started off really well. I stuck to Shred throughout the day. Woke up early to fit in a small breakfast before HIIT and then enjoyed my second breakfast (yeah I said it, and I meant it- Saturdays call for 2 breakfasts) on the patio. Made sure to eat a good meal as well before my closing shift at the bar Saturday night!


Then Sunday hit and all bets were off the table. I was ill prepared for the day and allowed myself to derail shred. I SHOULD have made myself meals to take on the party bus and had snacks for the ride home, but I allowed my excuses (was too tired from working until 2am the night before) to get in the way.

I will spare you the gruesome details, but there was a lot of food being shared at Comerica Park and OMG was it good.

I really wanted to keep to my strict 10 day Shred, but to be honest I am glad I did slip up. This gave me a huge opportunity to immediately see 2 things.

  1. My body was not happy with some of the food and it told me right away.
  2. But I didn’t die from eating bad one day.

I had way too much fun hanging out with my roommates and coworkers and was glad we all had a day off together to unwind #SUNDAYFUNDAY. It is good to keep a balance and enjoy life while finding out what the best combination of “good” to “bad” is for you! Share some nachos, have a drink, enjoy some Detroit baseball then slide right back into your grind the next day!

Yin yang that shit!

XO- Megan


Megan’s Update: Shred10 Day 3 to 5

Alright guys it’s time to check in! A little late to the game, but I made it….Days 3 to 5, lets go!

Honestly, these 3 days were among my favorite thus far. I got past the initial shock of SHRED10 and began to enjoy the process and routine of each day.

6:30am – Wake up / enjoy complete shake on the patio with Maxwell / shower

7:40am – Pack backpack with breakfast, snacks, and lunch / leave for work

9:30am – Eat breakfast at my desk

12:00pm – Lunch outside or at my desk depending on weather (this week was muggy AF)

3:30pm – Eat remainder of lunch and a small snack

5:00pm – Leave work / head to HIIT class

6:00pm – Lay on floor of HIIT class and smile because you somehow made it out alive but don’t know how you’re going to get back up

6:45pm – Get home, walk Maxwell or sit on patio while he sunbathes and drink second complete shake

8:00pm – Lay in bed and watch Netflix til I fall asleep around 9:30/10pm

GUYS THIS IS NOT A DRILL, MY WEEK* WENT EXACTLY LIKE THIS LOL

* Thursday being an exception, since I had to work at both jobs and wasn’t able to workout. Day 4 food image below shows my make shift dinner at my bar job which was a mixture of veggies and hummus from home and a piece of salmon off our menu (SO GOOD).

The lunches I’ve been making through the week have been by far my favorite meal of every day 😍 two variations contain the same core ingredients, but then have a Greek and Mexican twist for the little colorful extras!

Greek: cut up baby kale, lean ground turkey, quinoa, avocado (ignore their color, they still taste great 😂), tomato, cucumbers and a little side of oil & vinegar as the “core”, then added beets, olives and a scoop of hummus.

Mexican: same “core” ingredients plus black beans, corn, and a scoop of salsa.
They both are super filling and I’ve alternated through them all week and they have been delish!


Now that I am right in the middle of this process, I have been thinking about what happens after the 10 days are over. Too often programs like this are done to “detox” or “cleanse” the body but right after completion the bad habits start back up and essentially the whole point is missed. I do NOT want to fall into this path.

As of now, my plan is:

  • Continue with my prepared lunches through the week
  • Allow low amounts of caffeine (i.e. coffee) as needed but limit sugar and dairy within.
  • Keep with no gluten or dairy (OMG cutting these out have felt AH-MAZING), but allow feta and a cheat day in emergencies.
  • No eating after 8:00pm.
  • Continue taking my trio capsules daily (DUH).
  • Limit alcohol intake severely.

I expect to have hiccups along the way and want to eat an entire pizza to myself at some point, but I started this experience to push myself to the next level and I plan on keeping it that way!!


SIDENOTE:  I have decided to start taking more “selfie / mirror pics” to help see my progress (and setbacks). I much prefer this method over watching a scale!

Obviously like I’ve mentioned a million times, HIIT has been brutal, especially through Shred but holy shit does it do wonders for my body! LOVE seeing progress YAY!

XO- Megan


Jonesy’s Update: Shred10 Day 3 – 5

Day 3 -5 of my Shred10 challenge was more of an internal battle of whether I want to go back to my vegan lifestyle or keep meat as a part of my diet.

I’ve been trying to incorporate meats into my diet for the last 6 months (Paleo Diet) and after a lot of thinking (and lack of results other than obsessive bloating and lethargy) I’ve realized that it’s just not for me. So I’m switching it up and going back to my old raw vegan life– honestly, I think every body type is different and I’m happiest with my vegan lifestyle!!!

My last broccoli and carrot slaw of the week (because I finished my Trader Joe’s bag) I toss my raw slaw with chopped pecans, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Also I grab whatever fruits my hand reaches first, so it’s apricot and orange– can’t forget the dates (extra fiber).

Because I deal with a chronic autoimmune disease , my immune system is suppressed, so when I’m sick or have an injury, it’s really bad (seriously I get feeble sickly). Then I get yelled at by my doctors to either supplement nutrients that deserve extra attention and focus such as vitamin D, calcium, B-12, omega-3s, iodine, zinc, and K2, etc OR eat meat to correct the issue quicker. Supplements get quite pricey, but I have a salary based job now and actually make real money so I can afford to supplement everything now!! lolll Just had a tailbone recovery, I had to get my body running again, so I incorporated meats.

Most of my diet decisions are based upon what my body tells me or how it responds to certain foods. I was a pescetarian for years and then I switched to raw veganism— it’s not are hard as people make it seem. There are so many delicious recipes and substitutes available nowadays as opposed to before. I am not a vegan due to humane reasons, ALTHOUGH, I do actually believe there are some major inhumane products in the USA groceries stores. But that goes for vegans or vegetarians who live off processed foods — it’s just as bad!

Don’t judge or ridicule people about their food choices because you think it’s wrong. It better to give offer educated advice on healthy diets– or if you’re like me, force them to try your vegan meals because it’s yummy AF.

Again, each body is different, let people live their life!

❤ Jonesy