Helloooooooo and happy humpday! Today I wanted to talk about balance, supplements, and some yummy treats and other things I’ve been loving lately.
To me, balance means a couple different things. Balance is being whole and happy and fairly distributing my attention, care, and time to things that are important, and always prioritizing my happiness first. I strive to find a balance between living in the moment, following my heart and doing what will make me happiest right now, and doing what will bring me the greatest amount of joy and fulfillment through the long haul. As someone who has struggled with depression for many years, my own happiness and living a full and balanced life have become the absolute most important things to me and they guide my every action, interaction, and sometimes inaction (by which I mean not devoting time and energy to conflicts and negative feelings etc).
One really important part of balance, for me, is finding a happy medium between making myself happy in the moment but also doing what needs to be done and not always giving in to whims or impulses, because I’m a chronic procrastinator and still sometimes lapse into that depressed mode of paralysis where I put off important things to try to make myself briefly happy in the moment (i.e. “just one more episode on Netflix…”). But it’s important to find a balance between temporary fixes and lasting ones, so now I really focus on filling my life with pursuits that will give me a lasting sense of happiness, wholeness, and fulfillment, rather than chasing frivolous distractions to alleviate negativity. I still struggle with this, but finding balance is something I’ve really worked to prioritize in 2017. I probably could have watched a shit ton more nature documentaries and Gossip Girl episodes in all of the hours I’ve spent at the gym and been momentarily distracted, but instead I’ve decided to spend that time pursuing something that has turned into my biggest passion and fills my life with a profound sense of accomplishment with every workout.
That being said, I’ve recently taken on two new part-time jobs, so balance has gotten a little bit harder, but I’m making sure that I always make time for the things that are important to me. There are enough hours in the day to make time for the things you really want to do, if you just look for them! So far, I’m enjoying the challenge 🙂 I’ve been loving working at a gym and spending even more of my time at the gym — soon I’ll pretty much live there lol.
Another important part of balance to me is FOOD!!!!! Food makes up so much of our lives as earthly beings who need it not only as fuel but as a people who hold it sacred as a kind of cultural ritual and communal activity. Food is fuel, food is our friend, food is love, and without it we’d be nothing. There are so many amazing incarnations of food and I find it so fascinating how we’ve invented so many ways to marry different ingredients from the land to the sea and create something completely new to enjoy and to nourish us. Yes, I’m waxing poetic about pizza again.
For me, my happiness and sanity have become far more important to me that my body fat percentage. I’m living for me and I’m loving it. For instance, I refuse to cut pizza and pasta and other yummy carbs out of my diet, for one simple reason: I don’t want to. I’ve been hitting my macros lately, eating way healthier, and feeling great without torturing myself like I used to when I would go on “diets”. I prioritize my health and my fitness goals but I don’t sacrifice life experiences, like going out to amazing dinners with my boyfriend and trying new things.
When I used to “diet”, I would often get intense, overwhelming sugar cravings, and I would collapse and buy two king-sized candy bars and devour them and then feel terrible about myself and have this unsettling, awful, sickening sense of guilt and an overwhelming urge to “punish” myself with extra cardio (which I hate doing). Something I’ve realized is that once I started viewing food as the enemy and allowed myself to eat the things I like but in moderation, I started seeing the most results, feeling better, having way more energy (trying to subsist on a 1000 calorie diet with a high intensity workout routine was folly), and I also stopped craving king-sized candy bars.
But I have by no means stopped enjoying yummy treats!! So I thought I’d share some of my favorites lately:
Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie – I cannot get enough of these. I’ve tried almost every flavor now and my absolute favorites are Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl (😍😍😍), Lemon Poppyseed, and Chocolate Chip. These big, soft, chewy cookies are SO. FREAKING. GOOD. Keep in mind these big ass cookies aren’t exactly a “low calorie” treat if that’s what you are going for, but they’re packed with protein for something so unbelievably tasty.
These morsels of carby goodness are perfect for before or after the gym. I absolutely cannot work out on an empty stomach but eating one of these bad boys at least 30 minutes before hitting the gym satisfies my appetite with a great burst of energy. I’m perpetually hungry but I’m especially hungry after the gym, and these are also the perfect post-gym snack, especially on the go, because of their protein punch and also because of how satisfying they are. Packing one of these in my bag for after the gym makes me about 20x more excited to finish my workout because OO BOY I love me some cookies.
BSN Syntha-6 Protein Crisp – it’s hard to believe these crispy bars of goodness are packed with 20g of protein. They taste unbelievably light and perfectly crispy crunchy with an amazing taste to boot! I mentioned on my instagram (@pizza.and.protein) that I have a hard time finding protein snacks that I really like because some of them have that gummy, chewy texture and overwhelming taste of whey, so if you’re picky like me and you hate that, I highly recommend these. I became immediately hooked after being offered a free sample at GNC (always take the free samples, you guys) and picked up a bunch in the salted toffee pretzel flavor.
Oikos Nonfat Drinkable Yogurt – these are the PERFECT on-the-go snack. I can often be seen lately sporting a pink strawberry yogurt moustache from drinking these while walking to catch the bus to work. 10/10 highly recommend.
Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Flapjack Mix in Crunchy Peanut Butter – After hearing so much about Kodiak Cakes, I finally got my hands on this amazing waffle/pancake mix from my local Target and it was a GR8 FIND. Not only are these super quick and easy to whip up (just add water!), but they taste great, are packed with 14g of protein, and they have a CUTE LIL ANGRY BEAR ON THE BOX THAT LOOKS SO HUGGABLE BUT ALSO LIKE HE WANTS TO EAT YOU ALMOST AS MUCH AS I WANT TO EAT THESE WAFFLES. Can’t lose. So far I’ve only tried the crunchy PB flavor, but I LOVE it topped with banana slices, and even more slathered with some natural strawberry jelly. YUM!
Finally, I wanted to talk about the supplements that I use! While I don’t think that supplements are absolutely necessary or for everyone, I have been loving the energy and pump that mine give me, so I thought I’d share my recommendations.
Pre-Workout: Performix ION Pre-Workout in Ice Punch
I picked up this pre-workout on sale at GNC when I became absolutely and finally fed up with the pre-workout that I had been using previously, which made me feel anxious and edgy and just generally awful, not to mention crashing within 20 minutes. After taking a break from pre-workout completely, I picked up Performix ION Pre-Workout, recommended by my trusty new GNC friend. This pre-workout not only tastes super yummy but has worked so great for me. It’s filled with little beads designed to release a “second-wave” of energy that sustains you throughout your workout. I stay at the gym for exorbitant amounts of time because I just love being there so much, and I have had amazing, sustained high energy levels using this pre-workout that have powered me without any crashes or jitters. LOVE LOVE LOVE and will definitely repurchase, even if it stops being on sale.
BCAAs: Scivation Xtend BCAAs – in Mango or Blue Raspberry (I have also heard great things about the grape flavor!)
I looooove slurpin on my BCAAs throughout my workouts to keep me energized and fuel my lil baby musclez (read about BCAAs here because the nerds at bodybuilding.com explain things way better than me!) These are the only BCAAs I have used so, while I can’t compare them to any other brands, I will say that I absolutely love having them to sip on, feel lost at the gym without them, not to mention Scivation’s BCAAs taste INSANELY GOOD, especially for having 0g carbs, 0g sugar, and 0 calories. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!
The first flavor I tried was mango, which I loved, and I recently purchased Blue Raspberry because friendly neighborhood GNC guy told me it always sells out the quickest so I assumed that meant it was bangin. While I might actually prefer mango, Blue Razz is still bangin. It tastes exactly like a blue slushie. If you’re not into blue slushies, don’t get this flavor. If you are, prepare to be transported back to your childhood — this flavor took me right back to when my mom would let me get a blue raspberry ICEE at the movie theater and I had the time of my life and also the most catastrophic brain freezes from slurping it so fast. So, basically, these are a blue ICEE without the brain freezes, sugar, and calories, plus a ton of benefits to your muscle babiez. CAN’T. FREAKING. LOSE.
Protein: Beverly International Ultimate Muscle Protein
I love this stuff. Without a doubt the best protein powder I have ever ever ever tasted. At 20g of protein per serving it is a great post-workout treat. It’s also a great meal replacement. I either mix this almond milk, water, or ice and some bananas and PB2 powder. YUMMMM. I have the Rocky Road flavor, which is very tasty, and I’m torn between whether to buy Chocolate or Cookies and Cream next because I’ve heard great things about both.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions, guys! Or if you just want to be friends or chat 🙂 thanks for reading!