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Flawed (and fierce).
Blemished (and bad ass)
Scarred (and sassy).

If the first word must be there, then at least finish the sentence.

Tip of the day. :)

Just a little clarification, in case fitness marketing has SKEWED you over. :)

Some things you should know about ‘fitness’.

1. Fitness is about what your body can DO. Ability. Weight loss does not make you fitter.

2. Getting “fitter” is the process of challenging yourself over time with the end result of being able to do MORE. Being really fit does not make you a better person than anyone else. You’re just someone who can do a little more. That’s all.

3. Lacking physical fitness or losing fitness, usually means you’re limited in terms of what you can DO. For average people, it’s just about the basics: being able to walk around, shop, go to work, play with your kids, enjoy life, escape zombies etc. For those who were formerly “fit” or very physically active, losing their ‘fitness’ may mean noticeable drops in performance: what was once easy is hard or impossible.

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My journey was a bumpy one & I don’t regret how it unfolded/unfolds (learnin’ experience and all that).
But I do sometimes wish I hadn’t spent sooooo long thinking that weight loss was going to make me happy. Or that having flat abs would make me happy. Or better. Or more worthy. I sometimes wish, WISH I had spent a little more time working on my self esteem. Being brave. Worried less about what I looked like. Weighed myself less often. Spent less time calling myself names in the mirror.What ended up happening was harder… but better. I got to my goal weight, and wasn’t happy. I realized I was still able to pick myself apart: if one “flaw” got resolved, a new one would take it’s place. I was still focused on my body, weighing myself often, scared of gaining the weight back etc. But when I got sick, and wasn’t able to do ANYTHING with my body, things got put into perspective really fast. Suddenly, what it ‘looked’ like didn’t seem as important. And freeing up that mental energy… wow. I can’t tell you how liberating it was. I was so unaware of how much was being used.Once I figured out that my happiness was not at ALL related to my waistline, I felt freedom. I started to see my body differently, and treat it better. I stopped being hungry… at all really. I can’t remember the last time I was hungry on purpose. I stopped using workouts as “punishments”. I still push hard, but because I love it. My goals are different. I want to be strong. I want to do MORE. I want to push my own physical limits.And yeah. Be ridiculously, MOTHER F**KING HAPPY.Weight loss & happiness sometimes happen simultaneously, but not always. One doesn’t necessarily cause the other: sometimes, we feel more confident with the extra weight gone and get more invested in doing things that MAKE us happy. Sometimes, we learn about strengths we didn’t know we had. But working on your happiness WHILE making healthier choices is something that can help, with or without weight loss. Getting more comfortable in your own skin. Freeing up mental energy.You don’t have to wait until you get to your goal to start working on being happier. To start doing the things you’re putting off. There’s NO guarantee that weight loss will bring you those things or make you a happier person. There’s also no guarantee for TOMORROW. All you have is today. So start working on “happy” now. :)

My journey was a bumpy one & I don’t regret how it unfolded/unfolds (learnin’ experience and all that).

But I do sometimes wish I hadn’t spent sooooo long thinking that weight loss was going to make me happy. Or that having flat abs would make me happy. Or better. Or more worthy. I sometimes wish, WISH I had spent a little more time working on my self esteem. Being brave. Worried less about what I looked like. Weighed myself less often. Spent less time calling myself names in the mirror.

What ended up happening was harder… but better. I got to my goal weight, and wasn’t happy. I realized I was still able to pick myself apart: if one “flaw” got resolved, a new one would take it’s place. I was still focused on my body, weighing myself often, scared of gaining the weight back etc. But when I got sick, and wasn’t able to do ANYTHING with my body, things got put into perspective really fast. Suddenly, what it ‘looked’ like didn’t seem as important. And freeing up that mental energy… wow. I can’t tell you how liberating it was. I was so unaware of how much was being used.

Once I figured out that my happiness was not at ALL related to my waistline, I felt freedom. I started to see my body differently, and treat it better. I stopped being hungry… at all really. I can’t remember the last time I was hungry on purpose. I stopped using workouts as “punishments”. I still push hard, but because I love it. My goals are different. I want to be strong. I want to do MORE. I want to push my own physical limits.

And yeah. Be ridiculously, MOTHER F**KING HAPPY.

Weight loss & happiness sometimes happen simultaneously, but not always. One doesn’t necessarily cause the other: sometimes, we feel more confident with the extra weight gone and get more invested in doing things that MAKE us happy. Sometimes, we learn about strengths we didn’t know we had. But working on your happiness WHILE making healthier choices is something that can help, with or without weight loss. Getting more comfortable in your own skin. Freeing up mental energy.

You don’t have to wait until you get to your goal to start working on being happier. To start doing the things you’re putting off. There’s NO guarantee that weight loss will bring you those things or make you a happier person. There’s also no guarantee for TOMORROW. All you have is today. So start working on “happy” now. :)

Tips That Work!

Pushups: When raising, imagine pushing the floor AWAY from you, instead of lifting your body. Imagine you are lying on your back, and a heavy door was on top of you. :)

(via Ruth E. on Facebook)

"I did 10 proper push ups with correct form going almost down to the floor yesterday, after reading your post. I remembered what you said about imagining pushing the floor away and it works- so simple- goes to show how the mind can be used to overcome difficulties."

I have a hard time writing the words “flaws” and “trouble zones” without using quotation marks. I think they should come with disclaimers, an explanation, proof of said “flawdom”.

What SILLY words to use for naturally occurring bodily ways to be.

The terms trouble me because….

1. “Flaws” are relative and ever changing. Assigning the word “flaw” to something as common as cellulite is ridiculous BEYOND reason.

Though society gives us a nudge, “flaws” only affect us when we’ve internalized them as such (along the lines of “no one makes you feel inferior without your consent”). Tanned skin, beauty marks, being thin, badunkadunkas - were all “flaws” at one point. Something you find beautiful or sexy, another might not. Using a universal term like “flaw” for what boils down to an OPINION is distorted. Opinions change.

2. I don’t want to influence the perception of “flaws” in others. No girl grows up thinking that cellulite is a flaw: she learns it. I didn’t realize thigh gaps were something some people wanted, until I started seeing them everywhere on Tumblr (still baffles me). There is a period of time BEFORE we learn something is a flaw and before it becomes something to “fix”. By associating things like cellulite, sagging breasts, arm jiggle and other body bits with the words “flaws” or “trouble zones”, we are reinforcing the idea that people SHOULD be “worried” or insecure about them. There’s a difference in saying “this will tighten up your arms” and “this will get rid of your gross, flabby arms”. The latter associates arm jiggle with “gross” & “flabby”, qualifying it if you will. 

Really fit arms can jiggle. True story. Power jiggles.

The majority of “flaws” we perceive are created outside of us. They aren’t actually “flaws”, so much as natural states of being… that have gotten a bum rap. Kinda sad, really. Poor thunderthighs.

So, if you can, try to think of the body bits you’re not too fond of as “unflawed”, a natural way to be, a pallet to work with. You CAN change your body, within reason, and using what you’ve got. But there’s nothing inherently “wrong” or “flawed” about pretty much everything we think about as “wrong” or “flawed”.

Big noses, small breasts, disproportionate features, thick legs, flat booties etc. Just ways to be. You don’t have to love ‘em, but there’s nothing wrong with them.

They aren’t flaws. They’re “flaws”.

And that basically cancels itself out. :)

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I want to thank you for all that you do. Whenever I'm feeling down or uninspired, I visit your tumblr or facebook and instantly cheer up. I've been working myself hard lately and eating super clean--btw your workouts are INTENSE but leave me feeling AWESOME. The "old" me would have freaked out during these periods if someone would have offered me a "bad" food (but end up totally over-indulging in them). Today I was able to enjoy without over-indulging or feeling guilt. It's all about balance =)
fitvillains fitvillains Said:

Awwwww! Glad you liked them! Congrats on your progress! xo

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi Chichi! I love your blog and workouts! I recently got into HIIT and Tabata workouts. I was wondering if you know of any upper body HIIT routines or how to build one? I figured out how to vary lower body HIIT and am seeking an upper body option. Any ideas?
fitvillains fitvillains Said:

Hey there,

Tabata is a fabulous way to train for many goals, especially power and fat loss. And what’s nice about it is that you can customize the principles to suit your goals. Tricep dips, pushups, shoulder presses, bicep curls and more can be done Tabata style, though they can be REALLY challenging if your upper body isn’t strong to begin with. 4 minutes of pushups is tough for even very fit people. 

Try this: double up your Tabata rounds and alternate between one lower body/cardio exercise and one upper body exercise. One of my favorite combos is squat jumps and pushups. Make the jumps hard enough to warrant the break, and switch to an easier modification for the pushups if they start to get difficult. Instead of 8 rounds, you’ll do 16 (8 minutes total). Beginners can even choose up to 4 exercises to alternate through and just add more rounds (Jump rope, squats and tricep dips can be 24 rounds-12 minutes. Add in an ab move like bicycle crunches and do 32 rounds instead (16 minutes). 

Because our upper bodies tend to be the smallest of our muscle groups, it’s harder to achieve H.I.I.T level with moves that isolate them. To train upper body with H.I.I.T, use more of your body with each move: burpees with a pushup, the rowing machine, lunge to press, squats with a bicep curl etc. This will help boost your heartrate while working the muscles you want to target. 

Hope this helps! 

xo

Asker Anonymous Asks:
In terms of loose skin, I'm 4'9 and I weigh about 150 lbs. I don't look "fat" I look more chubby-er. If I lose 50-60 pounds, do you think I'll have to worry about excess skin and such as much as some others would, based on my height and "chubby but not fat" build ?
fitvillains fitvillains Said:

Hey there, 

It depends on a lot of factors, but it’s NOT something you should be worried about if you’re looking to make a lifestyle change. The payoff outweighs the negatives, almost always. :)

Excess skin can be helped with proper hydration, sleep, proper nutrition and gradual weight loss: the skin is like an elastic band. Some people experience little to no excess skin, or very minimal. Most, especially those who’ve lost a lot of weight, do not regret doing so because of a little extra skin. :)

Don’t worry too much about it! Our bodies aren’t designed to be perfect. We just do the best we can with what we’ve got!

xo

Asker Anonymous Asks:
When i'm doing crunches by myself, (w/o anyone to hold my feet down) I can't seem to life my upper body up a lot. i try to use more of my stomach than neck but in the end when i'm struggling to lift myself up, i use my neck. How can i fix this?
fitvillains fitvillains Said:

Hey there,

There’s no need to bring your upper body up all the way, or even more than a few inches off the ground for a basic crunch. All you want to do is lift your shoulder blades off the ground, while keeping your chin and chest open (think tennis ball between your chin and chest: never the two should meet). Press your lower back into the floor, and contract through your core.

Range of motion is not nearly as important as quality of movement. It’s a very small movement, but you should feel it.

Full situps (like the ones you are doing) are something you can work up to with time, but if you can’t manage proper form, skip them. You’ll get just as much benefit from a regular crunch, without coming all the way up. If you’re flying solo, you can also stick your feet under a couch (like hands) for stability. But once you start using your neck? Stop.

Other ways to work your core…

1. Planks. Regular, forearm, side etc. you can modify by going on your knees, but try to work up to a minute.
2. Reverse crunches. Pressing your lower body into the floor, lift your hips 1-2 inches off the floor and press your feet towards the ceiling. Fight the urge to bring them back past your head: to the sky!
3. Mountain climbers. Like plank, but alternating bringing your knees to your chest. You can keep them slow at first, but eventually it’ll be like running in plank. Butt down and eyes forward (we tend to spike up like an inverted V when we should be more like a plank of wood).
4. Standing oblique crunches. Standing and using your hips, drive your knee up to waist level. Keep the standing leg slightly bent, and posture tall. Repeat 10-20 times per side, and contract your obliques as you crunch the knee in. Be careful not to use your legs: like the basic crunch, the contraction is small. Use your hips to bring the knee to waist level, but not higher, and use the arm on the same side to get a bonus burn: overhead as you stand and bring it down as you lift.

Hope this helps! Pain= stop. Form is more important than reps. And there’s ALWAYS a way to modify it to suit your level.

Xo

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi there! I recently lost a large amount of weight due to an illness. In part, this was good- now I am actually at a low enough weight to start doing more exercise and getting healthy! In part, bad- I keep seeing fitness gurus stressing NOT losing massive amounts of weight, because of excess skin. Some people say weight training will help, some people say only surgery will help. Do you have an opinion on this, and any tips? :))
fitvillains fitvillains Said:

Hey there, 

Loose skin is very common when people lose large amounts of weight (or have babies, surgery etc). Skin is elastic, and like a rubber band, when it’s stretched it doesn’t necessarily bounce back to it’s initial shape. The longer it’s been stretched, the less elastic it is, and the older you are, the harder it is to have it bounce back.

Loose skin sometimes just needs time: most people, especially those that are young, will notice improvement within a year or two without having surgery. It’s a slow process, but you might start noticing it’s more firm as you continue along your journey.

Improving muscle tone will also help, so make sure you’re strength training on top of your cardio. Keep hydrated & make sure you’re getting enough sleep: VERY important!

In terms of what you can take, vitamin E cream can help with elasticity, as can foods high in Vitamin A & vitamin C. They won’t eliminate excess skin: but they can make the most of what you got. Skin removal surgery is an option that many people who lose drastic amounts of weight explore, but it’s not recommended unless you’re already at your goal weight AND have a medical need to remove the skin (excess skin can be a hazard and is prone to infection). But if it’s just a little extra skin, wait it out, keep doing what you’re doing and focus on progress. If skin removal is necessary for health/comfort, it may be covered by insurance. However, I cannot stress ENOUGH: you are beautiful as you are. Excess skin happens, but most people who lose large amounts of weight are happier, more energetic and healthier for it. And those are all awesome things they wouldn’t trade. 

No body is perfect. :)

Hope this helps! 

xo

For a few months now I've been trying to lose some extra fat and build muscle, which has been working. My waist is smaller, my arms are more defined and less flabby (yay), but my legs and booty seem to be getting bigger (but firmer). I've been incorporating a lot of squats, lunges, hamstring curls, etc. into my workout, so does this explain these results? Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of my butt. I just wasn't expecting my jeans to feel tighter in the legs and extremely loose at the waist
fitvillains fitvillains Said:

Hey there, 

It’s just your shape! No need to worry (I’m the EXACT same way, and I know for a fact that thousands of my female fans have the EXACT same issue). It’s one of those fit lady problems that isn’t really a problem at all. Just takes some getting used to. (guys too!).

The pants you are wearing are the problem. Not your booty. There are other models, brands and all kinds of ways to dress for this body type that are flattering, show off your assets and fit you properly. Explore new options for your new body. (I live in Spandex and workout gear: I’m always moving/working out with clients and that was how I solved that issue. I’m better with shorts than with jeans, and wear dresses a lot in the summer. Only recently, I got a few pairs of jeans that fit me, but I tailored them. Have them fit your booty the way you like, and get a tailor to bring in the waist for you). 

Chances are you carried more fat around the mid-section like I did. Losing the fat there means you have a smaller waist size and your booty-waist ratio is higher than it was (it’s likely not bigger than it was before, but with a smaller waist it may seem that way). Unless you’re lifting hundreds of pounds, you’re likely not building crazy amounts of muscle there, but instead firming up what you do have while losing fat on top. 

Reasons you should keep doing what you’re doing… 

  • Firm booties are awesome. All booties are awesome. 
  • The more you work your legs, the more fat you burn EVERYWHERE. It’s likely that extra flab gone from your arms is at least partly due to your booty work. 
  • Stopping booty work may mean gaining a bit of fat back around the middle. 

Our shape is our shape, and while we can widdle, tighten, tone and work WITH it, we can’t change the outcomes drastically… without compromise. I traded my boobies in for a leaner, tighter bod, and while it was a bit of a shock to me at first, I wouldn’t trade back. In order for me to have the body and performance that suits me, my boobies had to go. Getting them back means gaining back the body fat I lost, which wasn’t at a healthy level for me. Likewise, the alternative for you may be gaining more fat around your middle just to help SOME pants fit better. And I’m pretty sure you don’t want to do that. 

I’d just opt for new, booty rockin’ pants. They exist I swear! :)

xo

Asker Anonymous Asks:
What is your advice on yoga? I'm 16 and want to do it, but i can't afford a class and don't like looking up at the tv while trying to copy it. Any other options? Is yoga actually sufficient exercise/strength training?
fitvillains fitvillains Said:

Hey there, 

Yoga is AWESOME. It’s fabulous to incorporate into any fitness program. Whether or not it’s sufficient exercise for YOU depends on your body, your needs, your likes, your goals etc. Yoga is something I’ve learned to incorporate into my workout routine, but is not something that is sufficient to help me train for MY fitness goals (not weight loss, but overall fitness, strength, power, agility etc). However, it compliments those goals incredibly well. In fact, the more yoga I added into my overall routine, the better I got at pretty much everything: running, jumping, squatting, pushups etc. Next to gymnasts, weightlifters rank highest in terms of flexibility for athletes. They know the value in being as flexible as possible for performance. Sumo wrestlers too. :) 

With DVD’s and online videos, you won’t be looking up at the TV forever (after about 2-3 sessions, you should be able to use just the cues). A good instructor will provide adequate hints and cues to make sure your body is in the right place: a peek up is usually sufficient OR you can hit pause to watch the move, then perform it on your own. Again, this is usually temporary, and since many yoga moves are the same (or based on the same poses) you’ll learn the ropes pretty quickly. 

For classes, try looking for deals for free week’s and free sessions: I haven’t found a yoga studio without them. Chances are there’s at least a few free classes you can attend in your neck of the woods. If a studio has a facebook page or email address, check in with them to see if they offer free classes for newbies. At the very least, a few free classes may give you a good basis from which to start incorporating yoga more easily, and learn how to do the moves on your own. 

Aside from that, you may not like yoga. I didn’t, until I found a class and an instructor that fit my style. By no means am I a spiritual yogi: for me the poses serve as a way to help with flexibility and balance, stretch and stay active on my rest days. Spiritual, chanting yoga classes make me giggle and frustrate me. I’m just not that kind of girl (the zen they speak of, I achieve with high intensity exercise. I go somewhere else and meditate with kickboxing). There are TONS of yoga class options: what works for one yogi may not work for another. Stay open, even if you don’t like the class. 

This is one of my favorite routines to follow: it’s quick (18 minutes) and walks you through the poses step by step. It’s short enough that you can watch it once before doing it, and pause it anytime you’re not sure of a move. 

And don’t feel bad if yoga’s not your thing! You can incorporate just the moves you like, without the sequence, to reap flexibility and strength benefits. Downward dog, forward fold, childspose, pigeon pose and happy baby are stretches I incorporate into my workouts regularly, holding them on their own for 30-60 seconds or as needed. 

xo

Asker frodo-no Asks:
Thank you very much for your post about BMR and whatnot. I realized that the reason i've been stuck isn't because of my diet, but because I haven't been consuming enough calories to sustain myself or not be starving myself. 1200 just isn't enough for everybody!
fitvillains fitvillains Said:

Nope, it’s not! Not for this girl anyways! :) 

It makes sense once you realize that our bodies are much more complicated than calories in versus calories out. And a lot more efficient at keeping us alive and healthy despite our egos. Just like you can’t outtrain a bad diet, you can’t outfox your body. It’s job is to keep you alive and it needs fat to do it. It will do its best to keep it and hold on to it if it feels threatened: and that’s a good thing. But it can only fight for so long. Eventually, over restriction can lead to more severe health consequences, muscle loss and even organ failure. 

We gotta eat! Figuring out how much is the right amount for YOU is a little tricky, but do-able for everyone. Doing a wee bit of research to know which amounts are right for you, then playing and listening to YOUR body is the best way to make your body happy and get you to your goals. :)

xo

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